I received tons of kind, helpful advice from a lot of people recently regarding some difficult decisions my husband and I had to make about our cat, Yin. The statement that stayed with me day and night, though, was one that a fellow Alabama blogger, Bo, shared. Bo’s 15-year-old dog had died in her sleep not even a week before my original post, and his comment struck home: “I really wish I would have controlled her last moment with us.”
Thursday, September 2, was Yin’s final day with us. I gave him a tour of the garage, a spot off-limits to cats for a number of reasons, and spent literally hours rubbing his belly and his soft, silky ears whenever he would put up with it. I baked a piece of chicken so he could enjoy the smell and the anticipation of one of his favorite treats.
As I was putting a few pieces of soft, too-sweet cantaloupe down the garbage disposal, I heard the distinct ka-chunk of Yin jumping down from the refrigerator; he had always loved melon and was sniffing the air, wondering where his share was. I panicked, realizing I had just thrown away the last bit of melon in the house on the last day the biggest melon lover in the family was going to be around. I quickly grabbed a container of homemade coconut-cantaloupe ice cream out of the freezer and patiently sucked the ice cream off of a few cat-sized pieces of melon. Yin enjoyed every mushy bite.
My husband seared a piece of ahi tuna for dinner so that Yin and his brother, Yang, could enjoy their fair share of what has turned out to be their favorite food ever.
It was an epic last day.
I spent the night on the couch downstairs because I didn’t want Yin to wake up alone during his final few hours. I fed him chicken at 1:30 a.m. when he got up to find the litter box, and rubbed his ears until he decided to go back to sleep on the fridge at 3.
Yin died at around 8:30 a.m. on Friday, September 3, as my husband stroked his side and I rubbed his head and left ear.
Not wanting to leave his body to the care of strangers, we drove him to the crematorium ourselves. We wrapped him in a pillowcase that my grandmother had embroidered before she died in June, and outfitted him with two toys, five Greenies and a tablespoon of catnip for the cremation.
A little over an hour later, we left with a small metal tin containing his ashes.
Thus ends the saga of Yin, who we cared for from the time he and his brother showed up on the carport of our rental house in Mobile, Ala., to the moment we left his tiny body in the cremation room.
It was a fun 13 years. I miss him like crazy, but I also feel honored that we were able to help him have a dignified end to a wonderful life.
Read Full Post »