Our family's beloved veterinarian returned from maternity leave a short while ago. I was over the moon to hear this, but deflated just as quickly when I found out her work schedule was the same as mine.
I seriously considered asking for time off so I could take our cat to see her. Seriously!
But yesterday, by some amazing string of coincidences, I ended up with only one daycare child for the majority of the day. I took advantage of the lull in the action and booked an appointment to see my most favorite vet.
We had to walk but that was okay. Andre has enjoyed riding in a stroller since he was a kitten. He even allowed the kids to put a bonnet on his head, sat back and let them buckle him in and off they rolled.
Older cat, bigger stroller. So off we went, minus the bonnet. He basked in the sun, relaxed and enjoyed the ride.
It was all light and easy when we arrived. A cat in a stroller does tend to attract a little attention. I felt the need to explain this was our only mode of transportation (I wasn't really a crazy cat lady).
We settled into our room and before long, our vet came in to see us.
She didn't like what she heard and saw. Every single breath Andre took while he was in the vet's office was loud and labored and raspy. What she heard with her stethoscope was even more than that. His lungs are in bad shape. It takes great effort for him to breathe. He has lost a lot of weight in the past six months.
None of this was good news. None of it was a surprise to me either. I already knew pretty much everything she told me. I knew our days were numbered but I may have been in denial as to how big that number was.
She looked at me with kindly eyes that spoke volumes. She said very little but her eyes told me, "Any time now ... any time."
My eyes filled to overflowing with dampness and I couldn't speak. When I could utter a few words, I said, "My head knew this but apparently my heart hasn't figured it out yet."
All I knew for sure was "Not today ..." to which she responded of course it wouldn't be "today".
I was grasping. I knew it.
She offered to give him some antibiotic which would last for two weeks but at this point it would not be a solution. It is only a band aid.
I felt so very greedy when I said "Yes" to the antibiotic. I'm not ready. I need time.
I need to fill up on all things Andre and ensure he lives out the rest of his days filling up on whatever cat food he prefers to eat (she said at this point, the last thing she is worried about are is kidneys).
He had a gourmet feast of "Friskies" salmon pate last night. The tasty gold nugget cat food (which has been a hit in our cat population since day one) is in his food dish.
It did my heart good to see him gobble down his preferred food choice. Every quiet breath he takes, every purr he manages to muster, every snuggle and every time our eyes connect will be duly noted in these final days.
My head knows this. But my heart is aching with sorrow for the day which is not too far away.