My Cat Knows He’s Dying… And He’s The One Comforting Me

cat, comfort, grieving, Uncategorized
Happy Scruffy Relaxing

Scruffy relaxing on the couch under the lemon tree

Scruffy has been my feisty fearless  cat for the past 14 years. He was always energetic, playful , and had the most upbeat cuteness about him. I first got him back in 2000 at the SPCA in San Francisco (when I was in high school). I was grieving over my last cat (Lani passed away and I still miss him to this day) and I wanted to save a kitten and give it the best life possible.  In a room full of cats at the adoption fair , that’s when I spotted an adorable tiny black persian cat with big green eyes , jumping on the other cats and running from one side of the room to the other side as if he’s going 100 mph. This little black fur ball  was so spunky and everyone at the SPCA would point and laugh at Scruffy in amazement. That’s when I told the attendant “that one! I want that black kitty.”

Throughout Scruffy’s life, he seized every moment to live carefree. Scruffy loved to sunbathe in the backyard, chase the birds, play with my dogs, and was always friendly to anyone who came in contact. At times , he would cuddle with me, but for the most part, he lived to be free and adventurous. There were some occasions where he would bring a dead bird at the back door and meow loud and proud, and I remember my mom would scream and have me rush Scruffy to the vet to see if he had any diseases. He loved to play with anything, whether it was a ball, my makeup brushes, crumpled up paper, plants. If he was sleeping and I put some yarn on him , immediately he would chase after it as if he’s sleeping with one eye open.

Now, after 14 years, Scruffy’s temperament has changed. He no longer meows loud. His energetic persona has vanished. He no longer sunbathes, plays with the dogs, or run around. Instead, he hides in little corners and he yearns to be on my lap, seeking attention. I looked in his eyes and there was a thick build up of mucus. He was standing in the hallway with drool coming from his mouth. He looked gauntly and sad.

I took him to the vet and was told to expect a call about his blood work the next day. Two hours after, Scruffy was vomitting blood and I rushed him to the emergency room. He stayed there overnight. He was diagnosed with kidney failure, heart murmur, ulcers in the mouth, and upper respiratory infection. He had a catheter with iv fluids hooked up , and he was not eating. He stayed another night and when I went to visit him, he looked miserable inside a cage. The doctors wanted me to keep him there for 5 nights to see if there’s any improvement but it was just too expensive. By this time, I had already spent close to $3ooo (mind you, I am unemployed) and  more importantly, I knew he wanted to come home. If Scruffy was going to live his last days, I would want him to be in a place where he was happy and surrounded by people who love him- not in a cage with strangers. That was 2 days ago.

I woke up this morning and Scruffy was on the floor by my bed looking at me. I put him on my bed and we made eye contact. His eyes were watery, drool was coming down his chin, and he looked so weak and helpless. That was when I started to cry heavily. I held him close to me and he rubbed his head on my cheek. He put his paw on my hand as if he was telling me that he knows it’s his time to go soon and he wanted to thank me for giving him a wonderful life.  I held him for a couple of hours. It sounds odd but I felt that there was a connection between us, where he was  telling me not to worry and to never forget about him.  I don’t know how many more days he has left with me, but having him in my arms and giving me kisses is comforting me more than anything. I love you , Scruffy!