Friday, January 30, 2015

Another goodbye









Yesterday we said a sad goodbye to the last our cats, Phoebe (1998-2015). She had been struggling with thyroid issues for the past couple years, so we knew her time with us was coming to an end. I had told myself that when she was having more bad days than good ones, it would be time ... and this week was that week. Very sad but she had a good long life and passed away peacefully while getting her ears rubbed. She was in heaven even before she got there. :)

I've had to euthanize a few pets in my lifetime. It's a decision I hate making, but a necessary one as I feel suffering is even worse. I would much rather know that my pet died peacefully and without pain, surrounded by people who loved her than ... well, the alternatives. We'll just leave it at that.

Of course, it was sad waking up this morning without an animal to feed, walk, or water for the the first time in 30something years. On the other hand, for the first time in awhile, I did not wake up in the middle of the night needing to puff on my inhaler. When I was a child, I was terribly sensitive to cat dander ... by the time I reached my teens, the irritation seemed to disappear. Now my asthma is back full-force and it occurs to me that the allergens that used to bother me -- dust, cat dander, dairy products -- are back in play. We shall see.

When we were talking to the vet before Phoebe's passing, he noted that she was polydactyl, that is, double-pawed, and asked us if we were aware that meant she descended from the Mayflower. He said that a double-pawed cat was brought over on the ship and thus double-pawed cats today are all descended from that cat! I did a bit of journalistic research, and while I couldn't find specific evidence that polydactyl cats descend from one specific Mayflower kitty, I did learn that polydactyl cats were introduced to New England through ships coming from England and they're more common here than they are in other parts of the U.S. Through my father's side I descend from a number of Mayflower passengers -- I'm something like a 16th or 17th generation New Englander! -- so it's quite fitting that our beloved cat was a real Yankee, too.



  1. Wow - that is fascinating.
    Sorry about your loss though. I'm dreading this with our dog, but she's only five so fingers crossed it won't be for a while. I comfort myself knowing that they don't really know what's going on and they die peacefully, so all the pain is experienced by the humans and not them.

  2. I'm so sorry.

  3. I'm so sorry about your cat. It is the moment every pet owner dreads, but you're right. To watch an animal suffer is awful. You did the kind thing.

  4. Thank you, J!!! It was great seeing you yesterday. I'm glad I didn't have to rescue you from the alligator tank. ;-)

  5. That's exactly it -- it seems almost a relief for them, while their caretakers are left behind with holes in their hearts. At age five, your dog has a good long life ahead of her. I've found that the many years of happiness pets bring you are worth the pain of their eventual demise. The key is to enjoy the good times.


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