Last week, 10 days before my 36th birthday to be more exact, Josh and I had to put down our cat. We spent a lot of the last 6-8 months wondering if he was going to last through the next month. I worried he wouldn’t make it to one of my best friends coming to visit (You know who you are <3.) We worried. As far as we are concerned, we were worried parents, we are parents.
Murphy started out as Josh’s cat. I knew Murphy basically as long as I knew/have known Josh. I guess you could say since I visited TX in the summer of 2004 before moving to TX a year later. Murphy didn’t like me then. I was interfering and definitely not welcome.
After I moved it took a quite a few months for Murphy to decide that he liked me. We still remember the first time I grabbed that damn cat by the scruff of the neck because he was “strumming” and banging the window blinds. (You know those crappy metal blinds you usually get in apartments? Those ones.) Murphy had such a look of utter disbelief. Who are you? What? Why? You aren’t supposed to…..! What do I do about this? He was so confused. It was quite amusing.
That was in 2005. Through the years Murphy has been the stoic grumpy old man cat. As he aged he got grumpier. He dealt with kittens and moves and well, life with humans. He dealt with Codex. Eventually he decided he liked her love and attention – except maybe when he had to stop and sit 4 times to get across the living room because she would keep loving on him. He figured out laying on boobs is the best. He got outside a few times a year perhaps? One time he managed to sneak out when furniture and appliances were delivered on the same day at the same time.
The first sign something was wrong was that everyone who came to visit would comment about how skinny he was. Murphy stuck around for a long time. He was on “hospice care” for the past two – two and half years. By 2016 we were compounding him pills about once a week. Three different medicines into little gelcaps, as well as feeding him wet food pretty much whenever he wanted it.
This year I knew he wouldn’t see the winter. The spring storms were too hard on the little guy. Then in the last few weeks he had started moving around even less, sleeping more, getting needier, and just seeming so tired. Codex started sleeping more so she could take care of him too.
Cats are great at hiding pain but you can see a lot in their eyes. This damn cat was great at big brown puppy eyes. I didn’t mind the needier that much. Anyone with cats enjoys a lap cat. A lap cat all day can be difficult, but it’s doable. Kind of. If it wasn’t so stressful and that whole getting up to pee thing.
So then almost 2 weeks ago, we talked, we were sad and he went to the vet one last time to try one last thing. We didn’t want to tinker with his meds and keep him longer just for us. We followed our hearts but also the facts. Murphy was always so dignified and we didn’t want him to lose that by keeping him here longer. So we had one last weekend to baby him – he started to wonder why he was getting so much attention we thought. We had some crazy cat ladies come over and say goodbye. (You know who you are. <3)
Then Monday morning he went to the vet for the last time. It’s one of the hardest decisions we’ve had to make but I can resolutely say that if you are a pet owner/caregiver you will know when it’s time to say goodbye to your sick pet. You’ll see it. You’ll know when they are too tired to go any further. You’ll know when it’s reached the point where it’s too much for them. You’ll question if you kept them around too long too.
Our vet said to us as we left without our cat “If I come back as a cat, I want to live in your house.”
He was the grumpus, the damn cat, the sack of potatoes (referred to when carried on your shoulder) and Codex’s boyfriend. He was calm and thought everyone who arrived was here to visit with him. He must have owned a collection of “been there got this shirt” t-shirts and so he didn’t get freaked or scared or run for just anything. (Looking at you Codex.) Murphy will be that cat who was stoic and dignified but also, always really, so sweet.