The gut always knows what’s good or what’s not. Or what’s right or wrong. Or when it’s time.
Yesterday, as you read, we had to put down our beloved cat of 19 years. Marcel was his name and he was a pip of a cat. He was born in Chicago and we adopted him from a sweet cat shelter, along with his brother. Two teeny kittens. One gray and white (the runt). One orange and white. Alex, Mr. Orange and White, only lived to the age of 6. He developed an aggressive cancer and it ravaged his little furriness all too quickly.
Marcel, Mr. Gray and White, has had the proverbial nine lives…and then some. He survived an accidental slip into a big fish tank, a tenuous climb out onto a 2nd floor air conditioner, a drive halfway across the country (didn’t know that the floor of the moving van got so hot), various “escapes” from our houses and apartments and food poisoning (baaaad can of cat food a few years ago) to name just a few of his close-calls. He packed a lot into his 19 years.
Given that his equivalent human age was 96, he clearly nearing his end. While he wasn’t overtly suffering, his little gray body was just giving up. He was deaf. He had cataracts. He wasn’t able to make it to his litter box and throwing up was a common occurrence. Recently, we found out that he had a tumor in his sinuses that was growing and his kidneys were starting to malfunction. Bizarrely enough, he still had moments of his own, kitten-self. Usually those moments involved food. We tend to believe that he thought he was a human. Many evenings he sat in one of the dining room chairs waiting for a handout. His little head peeking out over the table, watching the meal as closely as a chess player watches for the next move. Give him any kind of meat, or black licorice, or popcorn-this crazy cat was on the case.
He visited each of our bedrooms at night to check on us-we’d find the doors slightly opened each morning. He cuddled with my husband as if he was a stuffed animal. He rubbed foreheads with him each and every morning.
Marcel was a pal if ever their was one.
And although it was a gut-wrenching decision, my husband and I came to the conclusion that it was time to say goodbye to Mr. Gray and White. Yesterday morning was awful-lots of crying by all of us- but by the afternoon, I had settled into a calm. My gut told me that it was the right decision. Right that Marcel would no longer continue the downward spiral. Right that our kids would not witness him suffer and wither any more than he was now. Right that we were all with him when we said goodbye.
The gut always knows. And when it’s listened to, it will point you in the right direction and give the right answers.