A Tough Controversial Decision…
I have been struggling with this decision for quite some time. My cat Jimi is over 15 years old. I got him at a point in my life where I was single, and moving around the country quite a bit. Very nomadic. He has been with me through low points and high points in my life and career, and always been a good companion and a truly sweet cat. And now as he ages I feel like I owe it to him to give him some true happiness and pay back all the love he has given me over the many years.
You see, Jimi has been having seizures, and at one point along time ago he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Although I have never seen any sign of that at all and do not really believe that vet. No other vet has been able to detect the signs of that in him. I also know that seizures are common in older cats. He has had a couple, one particularly bad one where I was home alone just recently and he seized and fell over. It lasted for over two minutes and he pooped himself. I think this one caused some damage. He just doesn’t seem the same. He sometimes walks in circles and screams for no reason, but there are some times of lucidity because he does come when called and acts relatively the same at times. As I said, moments of clarity.
He is definitely showing signs of aging. He no longer grooms himself very well and has mats underneath his belly which he will not let me brush in anyway. He has never liked to be brushed past his head but he used to take care of himself and now he does not. He has basically given up covering anything in the litter box which doesn’t really matter for number one, but number two is pretty awful for everyone. There are times when he starts to sneeze, clearly something is blooming right now here in Florida because my husband is sneezing like crazy as well, but he sneezes so much that he almost falls over and obviously gets dizzy from it. His legs do not work like they used to and he is relatively unsteady. And frail.
It is really sad to watch. But this is what you sign up for with animals, as well as people. You care for them regardless of their health or age and you try to make the best of it for them as best you can.
And so enter my controversial tough decision. I have mentioned this before but the little cat in my household, Albert, tortures the shit out of not only Jimi, but the dog as well. After going away on vacation for two weeks it was very obvious that this was no vacation for Jimi. And being home and working from the house I am watching how much Albert tortures everyone. It is awful. He hides whenever Jimi goes to use the litter box and when Jimi is on his way out Albert jumps him. Albert is constantly swatting at his tail and his hind legs, and fighting with him over everything. This is no way to age gracefully.
So I have decided to allow Jimi to go outside onto the pool deck and sit in the sun, and roam around the backyard. When I first got Jimi he was an indoor and outdoor cat. But since I moved to Florida I have kept him indoors exclusively, for fear of him falling in a canal, getting hit by a car, or getting eaten by something. But when I think about what he really desires, it is always just to lay in the sun and eat some plants and roam around and look at the sky. Isn’t that really what we all want? Just some peace?
So rather than having him get tortured until he so sick we have to put him down, I am allowing him a last hoorah in the sun. He is basically outside for most of the day, at least when it’s sunny and warm. He spends the night inside with all of us of course.
I have truly grappled with this decision. I know that he could get sick outside, but he’s already sick. There’s not much I can do for him to make him feel any better, so why not allow him to enjoy whatever time he has left? And he is enjoying it tremendously. He has always been a very loud purrer (I just made up that word), kind of like a purr machine. And all he does outside is purr loudly. And drink from the pool as well. Even though there is a dish with clean water out there.
He is happy and it makes me happy to see him this way. Am I a bad person for allowing him outside? I of course know all of the statistics regarding outdoor cats, but at this point I think no more damage could possibly be done. But who knows?
I welcome any feedback and thoughts, comments. Even though it is my decision and I have already gone with it, I am still wrestling with it. I love him too much to allow him to be tortured for the remainder of his short life.
What would you do?
~ by Michelle Sammartino-Zeto on January 27, 2015.
Posted in Aging Cats, animal rescue, Animals, Boca Raton, Canine Cancer, cats, death, Feline, Florida, health, life, pet portrait, pet rescue, Pets, photography, Veterinarian
Tags: aging, cats, deteriorating, getting old, health, seizures