I hate making that decision. But, as I blogged about a couple of weeks’ ago, my Ariel–affectionately christened “The Boss Lady” by Mom–was diagnosed with a mammory tumor last winter (end of Jan/early-Feb). Back then it was only about the size of a marble. As she was rapidly approaching her 16th birthday, I elected to simply keep her comfortable until “that” time. I knew the usual treatment was surgery and, at such a great age, I wasn’t confident she could or would survive it. Not to mention the painful recovery. I did not want her last days on earth to be filled with pain. The vet was in complete accord.
Up until two weeks’ ago, Ariel seemed almost unfazed by the tumor. It grew slowly. And, other than a slight limp that developed as it grew, she stayed active and alert. Eating, drinking, elimination, breathing, etc. were all normal. And then two weeks’ ago, she took a downward turn. The tumor seemed to grow almost overnight. Her weight dropped and she developed a wheeze. It was a Sunday; the vet hospital was closed. The herbalist plied her with an infusion of elecampane root and catnip–the first, to alleviate any congestion (I’ve treated myself successfully of pneumonia with it); the second for pain relief and to help her rest until the doc could be called on Monday…for “that” call.
Or so I thought.
The next day, her almost skeletal frame was back up to the same level of activity. Albeit with a slight decrease in appetite. Mom and I simply fed her smaller meals but more frequently and she seemed to thrive, climbing up and downstairs, jumping on the bed, etc. She slept with me this past Friday and spent Saturday evening curled up on the rug in Mom’s room, watching the younger cats playing.
Sunday she took another turn for the worse, becoming lethargic and refusing to eat. Yesterday I made “that” call. She was scheduled in for “that” appointment for 3 p.m. today; she passed away on her own at 12:30 this morning. The Boss Lady until the end, leaving on her own terms (and His!), surrounded by those she loved and whom loved her. I had just picked her up to place her back on the pet bed she had shifted off of (she kept shifting around, trying to get comfortable) when she suddenly let out a cry, stiffened and then went completely limp in my arms. Though bittersweet, I consider it the sweetest of gifts to have held and petted her as she left.
At times like these, there’s a story about the Rainbow Bridge that circulates. I don’t know if there really is a “Rainbow Bridge”; I hope so. But I do know that I felt her old pals, Mr. Byron V. Bunny, and Gizmo (another bunny) nearby as she passed, as well as my Trooper, who loved her like no other. I hope that her litter mate, Woody, and friend, Megan, were also there to greet her on the other side. I think they were. I think they’re happy to have the Boss Lady with them again. I know I would be. Sixteen years is a great age for a cat but, even were we given sixteen more, it still wouldn’t be enough time together.
I love you, Ariel!
Ariel Burbank June 2000 – November 2016