Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fur-Baby

My fur-baby, Karli, has been sick for several months now. We've suspected diabetes but don't have the funding to run tests and/or treat. So, we have had to watch her get thinner and thinner over the past six months or so. She was quite a healthy-looking obese cat for years. Rolly-polly and roughly about 20 pounds. Upon taking her to see a vet yesterday, she weighed just over 9 pounds.

We got Karli about 8 years ago as a gift. Her kitty family had been abandoned and a nice human family rescued her mom and all the babies. The human family wasn't able to look after so many baby kitties, so were looking for some help in adopting. We gladly took the little bundle of fur.
Karli means "covered with snow" in some language or other. I think I may have taken liberties with the spelling when I named her. She looked to me like a tabby cat that had just popped out of the snow, covered almost completely in the white stuff.

Karli was always the lap cat and she only wanted me. She'd claw her way up my pant legs just so that I would hold her. I was always amazed that she never actually got her claws into my flesh but climbed up my pants quite easily. (Until she got too chubby, that is.)

Back when we got Karli, we were still struggling to have our own babies, so our cats sortof satisfied our need for children in the house. Once Audrey came along, we didn't have as much time to lavish on our cats, which I still regret a bit. They got rather spoiled on our attention and I'm not sure they've gotten used to our switch in focus. In fact, after Audrey was born, we took almost no pictures of the cats at all. The last picture that we took of Karli was on Christmas Day this year. All she wanted was to be with me.
I've known several cats who have become ill or injured. Their human families have done what they could for the cats, sometimes very expensively. It has always struck me when an animal has become so ill that it can barely take care of itself and seems miserable. Some of those human families have continued to try to take care of that cat and some have decided that it was time to let that cat go. I have no wisdom as to which is better for families and their pets. All I knew was that I never wanted to be responsible for any of my own pets' suffering.

So, as Karli continued to get worse and worse, I had to contemplate our options for her. I put it off for a while because it was so unpleasant to think about. We finally decided that there was nothing we could do for her and that we were allowing her to get to the point where she would start to really suffer. I wasn't quite sure that putting her to sleep was the best option because it seemed like such a cop-out. I didn't want to give up!
When we took Karli to the vet yesterday, it was with brave faces on, firmly fixed in our decision to put her to sleep. While we waited in the examining room for the vet, we wondered what we would do if the vet refused to put her down on the grounds that she wasn't "sick enough". When the vet came in, he asked a few questions and examined Karli for about 10 seconds. That was all it took to satisfy him that she really was that bad off. I think that shocked me the most. I was expecting to have to tell him all the terrible things that were happening with her and that we really felt it was best, but in the end, he convinced me. She really was that sick.

Ben buried her in the Sandia foothills. He picked a spot that he felt was beautiful and peaceful.
We've agreed that the most difficult part was not deciding to let her go. It was that we HAD to let her go at all that was hard. After so many years, she really was part of our family and I know that there will be an empty place where she was, maybe forever. I won't be sad forever, but I won't forget her.
I also know that our other fur-babies will miss her too. Johnny has already come to me with that questioning meow and his routine is quite thrown off. It's as if he doesn't know what to do without her, and I can't say I feel much different. I performed a classic double-take on Patches when she poked her little white nose around the couch this morning.

What makes me feel okay about it all is that she isn't suffering anymore. That was the greatest thing I could do for her at that point in her life.

The romantic in me believes that she's Home, waiting for us; perhaps with our other fur-babies that we've had to give up for one reason or another. Why not? It couldn't possibly be heaven without the souls we love, human or not.

4 comments:

shydandelion said...

I firmly believe that there are cats in heaven, and I expect to be greeted by old friends. :) It's hard losing someone you love. I am sorry you had to lose your Karli! It reminded me of Tai Pei.. :( I think God is very loving to give us little furry creaturs to love and who love us back.

Jen said...

I think I have a book somewhere called Cat Heaven. . . I'll have to look for it. . . I'm sure there's a white tabby in there somewhere.

Gabe said...

Beautiful bio on Karli. I believe our pets will be there to greet us too. I am quoting Scott on this and he told me once, "Our pets are here to love us and to protect us, and when they go home, they tell God about how well we treated them." I won't forget Karli, it was cool how patient she was with Audrey.

Trillium said...

Sniff. You made me cry. We've had to send two cats to "the happy hunting ground" since moving to Utah. First AJ and then Chase. We had AJ much longer than we had Chase. So, her personality and presence are stronger in my memory than Chase's. I expect to "meet" them again.

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