Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dreaded Day

Today is the day that I've known was coming... Dr. Lane is going to put Tisha to sleep this afternoon. In spite of a variety of medications and treatments, Tisha is continuing to decline; she will only eat if I take food to her, and then she will only nibble a bite or two before she turns away. Even her long-time favorite treat--whipping cream, which I buy in half-pint containers just for her to drink--can't lure her to walk a few feet. She'll lick at it briefly if I take it to her, but she does so lethargically, leaving most of the cream behind.

When I pick her up to take her to her food, she immediately scurries back to the small corner that has become her world... and she frequently stumbles and falls in doing so. She's soiling herself again because she just can't get to the litter box.

Tisha has been my girl since she was eight weeks old; the moment I saw that blue-cream fur and that flat little face with those huge, loving eyes, I knew that she had to go home with me. She and Asia came to our home on the same day, and they became inseparable friends, often devoting as much time to washing one another as they did to their own cleanliness. The photo above is from a much happier time, when both cats were healthy and happy; hardly a day went by without our two girls sleeping side-by-side on chair or a sofa or a carpet in the afternoon sun.

In recent years, arthritis has limited her climbing, but when she was younger, she and Asia were pioneering souls, clambering up the furniture in search of new adventure. When we had the house in Rome, I recall coming into the kitchen on many a morning to find the two of them atop the refrigerator, peering down at me while the cabinet doors yawned wide open behind them. Their expressions always seemed to say "we don't know how these got opened," and I pretended to believe them.

Tisha was an inveterate cabinet door opener in her prime; she was the cat who frequently figured out how to use the weight of her body to swing doors open so that she and Asia could determine what might lurk behind them.

I have memories of the many cumulative hours spent lying on the sofa while Tisha dozed contentedly on my chest, her face showing all the beatitude and contentment of a beaming feline Buddha. There were times when I needed to get up and do something, but I just couldn't bring myself to disturb her.

And I'll always remember the time that I put a flea collar on her, not knowing it would trigger an allergy; less than an hour later, she found me where I was sitting at the computer and pawed at my leg to get my attention, as if she knew that I would help. I saw that face, eyes watering and nose running, I heard her struggling to breathe, and I somehow knew to remove the collar and run water on her to rinse the residue away. Through all of that, even though she had no idea what was going wrong, she never fought me because she knew I was making things right.

Tisha was very lonely after Asia passed from cancer a while back. The arrival of Anna and Mischa into the house brought her some comfort for a while, but as her hearing and vision failed, I think the presence of other cats made her anxious.

Tisha has always turned to me to make bad things better. I can't make this bad thing better for her, no matter how I try. I can only make it stop being bad for her...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

as an animal lover i can sense how you feel. my three shih tzus's mean the world to me. they are a part of my family.the one good thing is tisha will not have to suffer any longer and she can be with asia once again. i am so sorry. aunt donna