Sunday, September 5, 2010

Prayers, please...

What do you do when every decision seems selfish?

In the past 10 days, Mica has seemed to be on the decline. His usual robust appetite was diminuished, even his sense of smell seems to have disappeared, as he usually has a bit of food still on his once immaculate brick red nose.

His beautiful rudy Abysinnian coat now seems to hang like cloth across his bones. Every bone can be felt. While he was always a slim cat, he's now all elbows and angles. And yet his sweet smiling face remains unchanged.

His eyes, green as grapes, now seem slightly unfocused. Can this be the same fellow who caught four mice just 9 months ago? His back legs are stiff and a bit wobbly. Yet he can still find my leg to stretch out against on the couch. I haven't heard his birdlike "chirrrup" in months or had him tell me off when I'd closed him out of room. But he still purrs contentedly while angling his chin for a soft scratch.

What do you do when you just can't seem to stop crying?

I look at these photos, many not taken that long ago, and I'm astonished at some of his physical changes. In between tears, there have been moments of horrible frustration. Like when he used Petey's bed (or the laundry bag...or my gym bag) instead of his litter box. Knocking things over a couple times a night so I'll wake up and go turn on the bathroom tap for him. Now he follows me into the bathroom whenever I go near it. I have to help him up to the sink, he can't always make the jump. And more often than not, he doesn't even bother drinking, or dips his face too far in and sets off a round of sneezes. I go through yet another bottle of Nature's Miracle, scrubbing away another accident and I'm frustrated that my home is being ruined. Then I get mad at myself for feeling that way.

We've been together through almost my entire adult life. From the time he was 5 weeks and 6 days old until now - 20 years and 6 months later. He moved with me into my first apartment. Curled up on my heaving chest when I cried at losing my first cat Moki and my third cat, Maui.
He was meowed his way from Boston to New York on a late night shuttle flight and learned to make those "ackakakakakaak" sounds at pigeons that dare rest on the air conditioner outside the window. On those dark terrifying nights — after 9/11, when I heard my father was diagnosed with cancer, when I left my job—I'd find calm in stroking his soft fur. He'd give me a "we'll be fine" look and a single raspy kiss on my finger. Petey rarely gives a kiss, Mica bestows them freely.

And now the thought of losing him, it rips off all those carefully layered bandages of mourning. And the pain of losing my Mom, my Dad, my other pets, back to my childhood dog Sam all come back in a blurry collage of pain and memory and loss. I think of my two dear friends who are fighting for their lives against horrible cruel diseases and feel as if I'm mourning for them as well.
I took Mica to the vet yesterday. He was his sweet, gentle self. Never complaining at being poked and prodded. A patch of his snowy white fur on his neck was shaved for blood work and it was determined that despite his unquenchable thirst, he was very dehydrated. A vet tech showed me how to administer subcutaneous fluids, while Mica sat still as a monk, deep in meditation as she first stuck him, then had me try. On my third unsuccessful time, I just broke down. He turned and looked and me as if to say, "we'll be fine." I got the needle in and he got the rest of his fluids. While the vet tech told me that many times a cat will look like a camel with a hump after the fluid goes in, Mica's body was so dry he just absorbed it instantly. He slept last night, curled under my arm, braced against Petey's back. Around 4:00 am, he jumped off the bed and went into the bathroom where I'd placed a second litter box. I'm delighted to report he's now used it twice. Petey's bed, freshly laundered late last night, is tucked away unused in corner. Petey will just have to make do with his favorite chair and my bed.

Mica had his second injection of fluids this morning on the kitchen counter, nibbling away at contraband non-prescription cat food as my pet sitter and I played nurses. He never made a peep, just retired later to his new favorite spot on the rug in the bedroom, facing the bathroom with it's ever-promising spring of water.

I am supposed to fly to Hilton Head on the 29th, and Eric, a friend's son and a fourth year med student, will be staying here while he's on a rotation at NYU. I have no fear of him administering the IV should that continue to be necessary, but would I really feel comfortable leaving Mica , even for just four weeks (one of which is supposed to be spent on a holiday in Mexico)? Is it fair to Mica or Eric to have to worry about Mica waking up Eric late at night or having accidents in the apartment for him to find and clean up? And should something happen to Mica, how could I stand to not be there for that final farewell?

How do we really measure "quality of life?" How do our needs balance one another's? Is it selfish to keep him alive when he's already lived far longer than most cats for many happy years and his passing is inevitable, not curable? Or is it more selfish to let him go, even if he doesn't seem to be in pain and is quite content to pass the day sleeping on the couch?

What do you do when you can't stop crying and no clear decision presents itself to you?

You pray.


♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

Hard to find words for you at this time. Your love for Mica shines through. We send you lots and lots of hugs and good thoughts.

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

Two French Bulldogs said...

Lots of good thoughts sent your way
Benny & Lily

Eric said...

Praying right there with you Twinnie and Petey. We may be thousands of miles away but in reality we are right there with you as we know and understand your heartache and pain. So we are sending this message to you with much love and huge big hugs to comfort you. You'll come to the right decisions when you need to make them and Mica will guide you too you know, truly believe that.

Give your special and beautiful Mica some gentle little kisses and strokes from me.

Hugs twinnie,thinking of you. B and Eric xx

rottrover said...

Eric's right. Mica will guide your decision. Enjoy him.

Posy Linda said...

Sometimes our little furry friends have a way of talking to comfort us, laugh and smile, and sometimes fuss. I believe Mica will tell you when it's time and when he does you'll know it too. My husband and I send you all hugs and our best wishes during this difficult time. Posy sends very special kisses to Petey.

Daisy said...

Soft purrs for you. I know you will treasure the time you have left with Mica, and you will know when Mica is ready to go.

WFT Nobby said...

No easy answers here - only you who love Mica best and have taken such wonderful care of him can decide. Please take comfort in knowing that your friends worldwide will be thinking about you and, in all our different ways, offer you love and support from afar.
Special kisses to Mica
All the best, Gail.

Tama-Chan, Benny, Vidock, Violette, Ollie, Heloise, Momo, Ryu said...

Oh Jane. All of our hearts go out to you. Mica is such a shining star in the world of the Abyssinian, where cats seldom live past 15, never mind 20. He is such an inspiration and we have always enjoyed his photos and stories so very much. The prospect of losing a friend who has shared so much with you is so heart-breaking, but remember that you have given him everything anyone would ever want and he will go, when he is ready, with a heart full of love and a great life. He will always be there with you.

Purrs, Woofs and Hugs,
The Abys of the Poupounette, Tommy and #1

Lorenza said...

All I know is you love Mica a lot and yes, he will let you know when it is time.
I will have my paws crossed and my mom will be praying for him and for you too.
Take care
Kisses and hugs

Martha said...

Feeling your pain, and anguish. Our thoughts are with you. Mica has been so much a part of your life over so many years.
Wish we could make it all better for you.
It's OK to cry - we are crying with you all the way over here in Scotland.

Asta said...

What an impossible question, with no answer. Mica has always been so very special and it's not possible to consider him leaving. I remember having to hydrate Nora and my tears falling . I agree with your twinny Eric..Mica will help you , like he always prayers are with you to ease your pain. We love him very much too
smoochie kisses

sprinkles said...

I feel your pain. It's never an easy decision to make but Mica will let you know when it's time. I'm sure of it.

Rocky Creek Scotties and Rocky Creek Ramblings said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with you - we hope Mica makes the decision for you.

Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh, Ruairi and their Mom, Lynn

Agatha and Archie said...

No words of what to tell you do only love and kisses and hugs as we have been there... and had to give the fluids as well.... Mica will guide you... they are all so very very smart....PL2 was in the exact same situation with one of her dogs after she had lost her Dad and can feel your pain so vividly.. Giant hugs and thoughts and love to you and please give Mica very soft kisses from all of us and giant hugs to you and Petey.. A+A+PL2

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! said...

And you look at Mica and talk with him -

I did it shortly before we let Kyrye cross -

They will usually let us know when they can -

I know there is a piece out there called 'Dogs Don't Have Souls' - I would expect there is a feline equivalent -

Our next door neighbours' greyhound Chloe has suddenly gone downhill in the past few days - she's 13 - when her dad was telling me tonight, he said I knew the feelings they were going through - I said all too well -

I added 'from the time we bring them home, we know this day is coming but we choose to do it anyway' -

Our thoughts are with you -

Bocci said...

Oh, Parental Unit and I are so sorry to hear about your dear Mica-what a beauty!
We do understand how hard it is to make a decision. You wrote a beautiful post, and in our opinion, are doing the right thing to ask for help and guidance :-)

All our best,
Bocci and Parental Unit

Maxmom said...

Oh Jane....
I am so sorry for your pain...I have an inkling of understanding of what you are going through, but it doesn't make it easier. It is something, as Mica's owner, that you have to decide for yourself and merely allow your friends to support you.
What I found helpful, whilst I was dealing with Max, was to choose one friend, whom I really trusted who helped provide me with the objectivity I needed when I was so overwhelmed and unsure...but in the end, whatever decision you choose, remains yours.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Sending lotsaluv

Lacy said...

OO My sweet Jane, dont leave Mica to come to NC..i had a dream about 2 weeks ago, and it was a very sad was about Mica, and it was soo real, i asked Ami if he was ok...she said her or G saw u at the run and u didnt mention anything bad had happened to him...ur in my thoughts and prayers...


The Black and Tans. said...

Our Mum had the pleasure of meeting Mica in July and she is upset to read this post.
Big hugs to you all, and special Dale licks to Mica.

Molly, Taffy and MOnty

Duke said...

Big hugs and prayers go out to you, Miss Jane!

Love ya lots
Maggie and Mitch

Clive said...

Jane, we are so sad for you reading this here this morning.

I guess as Eric said , you will come to the right decision when you need to and Mica will indeed guide you in that decision.

We'll say a very special prayer for you, Mica and Petey tonight.

love from us all

Princess Patches said...

I don't think I would do anything as long as Mica doesn't seem to be suffering. Usually, our pets will tell us when it is time for them to go. We are glad Mica has had a long and great life! We will keep our paws crossed send healing Aire-hugs for all of you!

Penny & Patches

Gus said...

Jane, Petey and Mica...we are sending thoughts and prayers your way to support all of you.

gussie and teka and the muzzer

Becky Andrews said...

Oh this is such a touching post for a beloved animal, Mica. Wishing you both well at this very difficult time. It is indeed such a difficult decision that we can relate to ... as hard as it is - you'll know. Sending love and our thoughts to you all.

Jake of Florida said...


I have no smart words -- just an echo of what everyone else has said. Listem to your heart. And listem to Mica. You'll know what to do.

Loving hugs from me and the Barkalots,


doyle and mollie said...

aw petey we are sorry to hear micas not doing too good if she passes we know she will have fun with our dear bodi cat who left us last year.... loves and licks

Unknown said...

I can offer nothing more than my good houghts but know that mica will always tell you when... you'll know. Sweet mica- we are thinking of you!