On Tuesday we took Gary, my awesome giant cat, to a vet on the other side of the state. He’d been having some back problems for the past month or so, and our vet referred us to a neurologist so that he could get an MRI. We were hoping he would have a slipped disk or something like that, which could be fixed with surgery. Unfortunately, the problem turned out to be two large tumors on his spine. They had put so much pressure on his spinal cord that his back end had basically lost function and one of them had pretty much destroyed the bone in a certain area. (At least I think that’s what the doctor said. Honestly, I sort of checked out after he said two tumors.) There was nothing we could do to help him at that point (and there was probably nothing we could ever have done – we still don’t know where the cancer started). The hardest part wasn’t making the choice to put him to sleep – we both knew that was our only option. The hardest part was telling them not to bring him out of the anesthesia they had used for his MRI. I wanted to wake him up and snuggle him and take him home for a couple more days. But that would have been incredibly selfish and not at all fair to him. The consolation is that he was still happy, even at the end. It took us like 10 minutes for the nurse to get his heartbeat because he would keep purring whenever she touched him.
If I’m honest, I feel terrible pretty much all the time right now. I know it’ll get better, but it was so sudden that I’m still grappling with how a sprained back turned into two tumors. And he’s been such a big part of my life for the past three years, that it’s really hard not having him waiting for me when I get home. (Fun fact: One of the reasons I started dating my husband is because Gary warmed up to him immediately. At the time, Gary would often hide when a male came into the house.) Gary had a pretty tough life – he had lost 5 or 6 teeth to absorptive lesions, the kid in his first family shot him at least three times, and when I got married he ended up with two annoying step-sisters. But he was still really nice and sweet and everybody loved him, even with all that crap. He didn’t deserve all that bad luck.