Today we lost our Zoe.
She had kidney and lung cancer and that’s a tough thing to overcome for a 16 year old cat. The day before yesterday she stopped eating and we knew it was only a matter of time. She had shrunk from a 16 pound cat down to a 5 pound wisp of a thing. We didn’t want to put her down before it was time and our friends at Park Pet Hospital helped us though this tough situation.
You see, Zoe was a family member. Through most of her life she was a backyard hunter — never wandering outside of the chain link fence. Last summer, we had to take away a live rabbit from her that she had brought into the house. She always brought her catch in for us to show off. She was content with her kibble.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of cats when we got her. My wife wanted a cat but left picking out out to me. I picked her up from the humane society — a little grey and white tiger. We named her after Zoe Baird — former Clinton nominee to the Supreme Court. While Baird didn’t win congressional approval, our Zoe met with all the approval she needed and that was our home.
Last fall she started having problems which we had to put her on medicine for. She hated it. It made her itchy so she was pulling out her fur and made her susceptible to urinary tract infections which we had to put her on antibiotics for. After a few months she told us she just didn’t want to take the medicine anymore. Isn’t that curious. What I mean is how pet owners say they know what their animals want as though they were talking to them. I’ve always found that irritating, but after 16 years you get to know your pets as family members and you have a pretty good idea what’s on their minds. That was the case with Zoe.
Dr. Jacobs understood and agreed with our assessment. Zoe continued to lose weight but regained her vigor and zest for life. It’s better to have a happy cat who is losing weight than an overly medicated and uncomfortable nearly comatose cat who isn’t really the animal she was. So Zoe was happy again.
Then last month we noticed some blood in the tub.
The bathtub was one of Zoe’s favorite places to hang out. She would meow at us to turn on the water to a drip so she could lick the little droplets as they came down. Since that was one of her domains, we knew it wasn’t the dogs. So we took her in.
Dr. Jacobs took an x-ray and discovered kidney and lung cancer. He was very patient, answered all the questions I had, and then gave me her prognosis. It wasn’t good. Zoe had from a few weeks to maybe even a few months but no longer. It’s been 6 weeks since that day.
The only way we’ve been able to get Zoe to eat for this time has been canned cat food. She never would touch the stuff before. She was strictly a kibble kind of gal.
Then two days ago she stopped eating. And I don’t mean tapered off, I mean stopped. We knew what that meant. Her gaze had started to become more distant. She wouldn’t come or even respond when we called. She was starting to have a tough time of it. We knew the cancer was getting the best of her and I wasn’t going to put her though an agonizing death.
We called Park Pet Hospital and made the appointment.
Dr. Hoppe answered all out questions and after 16 years of having her loyalty and love, we knew that putting her down humanely was the right thing to do.
It was quick and went as could be expected. For the first time in 16 years I returned to the house without Zoe. I know it will become easier over time. I know we made the right decision. But right now all the memories of 16 years are flooding back. And thoughts of when she was a kitten, curled up on my stomach and I napped on a warm summer day are all I’m left with.