There are few things that bring more joy than petting one’s animals. The feedback they give us is soothing: the purr of a cat or the grateful moan of a dog.
These days, though, that joy has been taken away.
Martha has been our wonderful kitty for over 17 years. You may read the story of how she came to us here. For quite some time we have known that she has an age-related kidney condition. In the earliest stages it only affected her water intake and urine output. Now, however, her kidneys are failing.
It shows in her appetite.
It shows in her stool output.
Now, even her urine output is decreased compared to her initial kidney problem.
Where it shows the most is in her body weight. While she’s still beautiful, shiny and gorgeously inviting to touch, it is no longer her coat and fullness that we feel, but her frame protruding from lost muscle mass.
We know this is the next step in the march to the end of her life. And we can only be grateful for 17 ½ years of joy and love. Still, even if she lived to be 50 we would find it hard to let her go.
We just love her so much.
We will continue to pet her and spend time with her every chance we get, even though touching her reminds us that her life is mortal. (Yes, I know that the definition of mortal limits the word to humans, but our pets are all almost human to us, as we know they are to our readers.)
I write this piece today as a way of preparing myself, as well as a way of relating to those who are experiencing the same phase in the lives of their own pets. Writing about it takes me one more step along in my preparation.
Just as one day I will have to write about Martha to help me heal from her passing.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.