Buddie’s eulogy is a beautiful tribute to Nutmeg. I’d like to round out the memories of her final chapter.
Nutmeg had been on thyroid medicine for a long time, and when we moved to Nash, the new vet we found suggested subcutaneous fluids to help support her kidney function. I’d stick her with a needle a couple times a week to get her extra fluid.
We’d take her in every few months for blood work to see if the thyroid medicine was helping. The vet would increase it because her weight continued to fall. She kept eating well, and we pampered her with any food we could find that had “gravy” in the title.
Then, in mid-February, the inkling of concerns I had came to the fore. Her weight had fallen to under 5 pounds. She was still walking around, but seemed…fragile…to me.
Extensive emailing back and forth with the vet ensued. He suggested a steroid shot. I asked what the hope was for that, and what the potential outcomes were. We were discussing a twenty year-old cat, who has always been in excellent health, overall.
The vet and I finally reached comfortable agreement. He would prescribe a pain medicine, because that was my biggest fear; that she was in pain, and it wasn’t being handled. We would stop all the other meds.
In essence, Nutmeg was on home hospice care. She continued to have the choicest food money could buy. There were bed options on pillows wherever she chose to lie. She drank from whatever faucet she could get to, and we had a cat “water fountain” to give her the opportunity for flowing water.
The pain medicine made a big difference. She began to move around much more, talk to us again, and she even carried some of her toys, which she hadn’t done for awhile.
This new level of comfort lasted until the very end. When the children and I were in Vermont last week, Buds was tickled to tell me that he had been awakened early on Sunday morning by Nutmeg standing on his back, informing him it was time to get up and feed her.
It had been weeks since she’d climbed onto our bed, so that felt like a pleasant sign.
When we returned home, her appetite was unabated. Several times a day she would mosey out to the kitchen, sit in the spot where the cats are fed, and look at me. When I’d look back, she’d meow. Then I’d feed her.
Our system was very simple. She instructed me to feed her, and I was glad to comply.
On Wednesday night, as I prepared for bed, I stooped to pet her as she lay on the floor in our bedroom. The last few days she’d taken to sleeping right by her water fountain. In the morning we’d awaken to find her in her bed, so she was still moving fine, just seemed to prefer this particular spot.
I gave her some loving good nights, then snuggled in to sleep around 9 p.m.
Buds awakened me at 10:30 to let me know she was gone. She was laying in the same spot on the floor, just stretched out, looking peaceful and comfortable. We petted her for awhile. Monkey, Yessa, and my visiting mother all had some time to say good byes
The house seems very quiet now. The new kittens are generally quiet. They haven’t shown any extraordinary talents yet that compete with a fetching cat, but they are loving, and that goes a long way.
One final thing: The vet told me more than once that we had reached a point where euthanasia was a very appropriate option. Buds and I even talked about it several times. He was always sure that she wasn’t quite ready to go, and I was very comfortable that she wasn’t in pain, so we were able to convince ourselves that she would make it through our two recent trips…and she did.
This death, at home, free of pain, was exactly what I hoped for her. It’s what I hope for all beloveds.
Trying out a new bed option.
Snuggled in a new spot.
Teaching the next generation the joys of faucet drinking.
Sharing food space.
Having a Yessa snuggle.
Sunlight feels good on old bones.
My perspective about death has been shaped by many events, and my views continue to evolve. This video, which was part of my End Of Life Doula training, is how I will remember Nutmeg’s death. When death came, it was as a loving friend, who had seen the beautiful life she had lived.