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Posts Tagged ‘Yin’

Yang turned 17 earlier this month. Not bad for a kitty who received the then-apt nickname of “vomicat” many years ago. A diet of homemade cat food has kept the old-cat ranginess at bay, and he may just be primed to register to vote next summer.

I know we’re lucky to have had such a great cat in the family for so long. (Not that Yin was any slouch in the long-term pet department: 14 years is not the shortest of cat lives, either.)

Animal lovers automatically surround themselves with other animal lovers, and are thus always experiencing the happiness and the tragedies of animal companionship. Just a couple of weeks ago, a friend’s 8-year-old cat died suddenly, and this week another friend is facing an undetermined, yet probably terminal, diagnosis for his family’s cat. He has the additional burden of helping his young sons deal with their grief, too.

If we had any common sense when it came to protecting our emotions, we’d stop turning animals into family members. The joy we would lose if we chose a lesser relationship with our pets, however, is simply unfathomable.

Thus, we choose, again and again, to love these furry little beasts, knowing that they’re going to leave us much too soon.

Totally worth it.

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Yang, simply exhausted from all the sniffing.

My first CSA delivery of the summer yielded quite a spread, including cucumbers, jalapenos, onions, leeks, basil, squash, greens, strawberries, English peas and Roma beans.

As I unloaded the goods, I recalled how Yin used to closely inspect every CSA haul — it was nearly impossible to set up a picture of vegetables without a cat in the frame.

Yin, very serious about his vegetable inspection duties.

Not 30 seconds later, Yang strolled over and resumed Yin’s inspection and photobombing duties. He spent nearly five minutes sniffing every square inch of plant material, nipped at the Chinese cabbage and finally plopped down right on top of the Yukina savoy.

He was in every photograph, just like his brother.

Cats. They know comedy.

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At 8 a.m. on Friday, what was going to be a return checkup for Yin will instead be our peaceful goodbye to him. He’s been putting up with treatment for his chronic renal failure, but he’s tired. So tired. He doesn’t feel good, and he doesn’t know why.

I think he would keep taking pills and subcutaneous fluids for as long as his little body would hold out, but those treatments just don’t seem right anymore. He hasn’t gained any weight. He spends his days and nights on the refrigerator, coming down only to eat and seek out the litter box. He eats like a champ, but then tucks himself back into his spot on the fridge, displaying varying stages of discomfort or, mercifully, falling into a deep sleep.

I’m tired, too. I lie awake at night, terrified when I hear a noise downstairs, even more terrified when I don’t.

This is the bravest, kindest and most difficult decision I’ve ever been a part of.

A couple of times a day, he’ll perk up and almost resemble his old self, meowing at the top of his lungs for tuna or climbing onto my shoulders pirate cat-style for a ride around the first floor. These episodes give me pause, but I can’t make him go on just for the sake of an occasional glimmer of hope.

His work is done here. To paraphrase one of my favorite professor’s favorite quotes, there will soon be a Yin-shaped hole in the universe. I can never fill it, but at least I’ll always know that I let him go with dignity.

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