One week ago little Boomer took her last nap next to me before I helped her across the good old Rainbow Bridge.
She was the subject of one of my very first blogs two years ago when I was having difficulty managing her hyperthyroidism and kidney failure but we found the right mix of meds and she had a good run for most of that time.
She had lost some weight and was becoming dehydrated (typical with older feline kidneys) so we started adding ice cubes to the water dish to encourage drinking. Most veterinarians will suggest the ice cube thing for older kitties. Cats are curious to the core and if they play with the cubes in the water to watch them move or to hear them tinkle they usually end up drinking more, if not at least licking off their wet paws. Looking back, we had just lost her brother, Oscar and perhaps depression played a role in her health as well.
The ice cubes became an addiction for Boomer. When we would first get to the kitchen in the mornings we were meowed at for the ice cubes.
When it was close to supper time-ish, more meows.
The meows got louder and more demanding the more time passed but it was just one of those quirks we put up with because she was Boomer. And she was old and possibly starting to lose her marbles the past couple of months but still, the ice cubes weren’t a big deal.
We made little accommodations for our aging buddy because she had been a great cat for many years and it was easy to do.
Lots of expensive canned food to crush the pills in. More beds to lay around the house in. Watching wherever Loki went in hopes we could prevent her bonking into Boomer and possibly getting her eyes scratched (again). Combing her hair matts out when she reduced her personal grooming (and being watchful of those claws!)
We did these things and more and Boomer just kept ticking along, prancing into the hallway bathroom where the guinea pigs used to be and leaping up onto our bed for bacon in the mornings.
Until a few things changed…
She started to develop a weakness in her legs. If we would reach down for a good head rub it would almost knock her over. More vocalization, and louder. Incessant sometimes with an almost frustrated-sound to it. Even less grooming and even more sleeping and, a few weeks ago, dragging her back feet at night.
We shared glances at each other when she would just about topple over and we fed her treats on demand and her pills twice a day and she lost a bit more weight and became a lot more scruffy-looking and less tolerant and I had a long, teary chat with Boom-Boom and sometimes I had to check if she was still breathing and we had inner discussions and eventually out-loud conversations.
Which was when we decided it was Time.
Making the decision to end a long, good life is heavy. We agreed to do it last Saturday but we both avoided the topic, instead giving her little bits of chicken I cooked that night and suddenly it was Sunday. And we are health care providers who truly knew it was Time even though she didn’t have a terminal disease. Its not as if she was dying.
But she wasn’t really living, either.
I wonder how heavy that decision is for bad people.
For people who make plans to end a person’s life. To separate the body from the soul for all of eternity, leaving a lifeless vessel behind. To stop the incredible machine that is the cardiovascular system from working its tremendous pump that keeps a body’s life force flowing.
I wonder if they struggle with the choice. Do they rationalize their way out of it for a week or two? Or do they plan to do it Saturday and then before long its already Sunday?
I appreciate that bad people who do horrible things like that have their wiring mixed up or they are under some sort of influence that they can’t control.
Or they are immune to the weight because of the volume of times they have made that choice.
In our case, for all the right reasons, we sedated our 20 year old room-mate together and she quickly snuggled in next to me, resting her head on my leg as her last conscious act. Through tears and remarkably leathery skin I found the forearm vein that Alistair helped me hold off and just like that I stopped her heart and she looked at peace.
Saying goodbye to Boomer wasn’t necessarily easier than poor Mouse, who was young and healthy until he was suddenly gravely ill. It wasn’t easier than having to rush to Harry’s side by myself when his splenic tumor terminally ruptured. None of these has been easy. It will never be easy.
But I can accept Boomer’s death more readily because she’s been on The List for 2 years and also because Alistair was with me and we made this decision together. For Boom.
And just like that we have 2 indoor cats and 2 barn kitties.
And there will be more changes in the weeks ahead because Calypso was diagnosed with his own cancer in November and each day truly is a gift.
He continues to romp and play and eat like a fiend and steal Loki’s kibbles and Alistair’s boot insoles so his story is for another time.
I miss seeing Boomer in any of the beds scattered throughout the house and in a funny way I miss her caterwauling at me to add ice cubes to the water dish. I sometimes reach for her pills, forgetting there is nobody to give them to and I smile.
Her spirit is likely curled up somewhere with Cooper and Oscar and she isn’t dragging her little white feet and her eyes are bright and her haircoat is glorious once again. She’s grooming, prancing and enjoying a good sunbeam and although my heart is sad its kind of happy, too.
RIP, Boom-Boom. A good life deserved a good death.
14 thoughts on “Bye, Bye Boomer”
You did the right thing at the right time. Still doesn’t make it any easier, I am sure. Hugs
No, not easier, you’re right, Cindy. I know she’s in a better place, though. She was a neat cat for sure. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Tanya, you are a remarkable write, a remarkable mother, a remarkable person. Hug!
oops- a remarkable writer!! Clearly, I am NOT!
You crack me up, Barb. Thanks for that and your sweet words.
Tanya so glad you had Alistair with you and that the deciding came easier for you! It truly is the hardest thing we have to do but again the greatest gift to our beloved critters. Not easy when you are alone.Your writing helps us all! Keep it up!
Absolutely better when Alistair is home and it is a family decision. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Kathy!
Definitely needed tissues for this one 😢 It sounds like your Boomer had a wonderful and treasured life as do all the lucky Fyfe animals. The “day” is getting closer and closer for some of our furry friends in our house and reading this helps know it really will be ok….it will SUCK beyond belief….but it will be ok. Thank you for that 💕 RIP to your sweet Boomer!
P.S. I never knew that about ice cubes….
Nice little trick for senior dogs and cats. Thanks for your thoughts, Shera-Lee. Even tonight I started cutting off a bit of chicken for Boomer (20 years of habits!!!) before I remembered. I smile more and more thinking about her.
You are an artful wordsmith Tan and this blog could not be more timely. Letting go is never easy and can be fraught with mixed feelings. Is it too soon? Is it too late? When is the right time? They let us know though, don’t they? What a privilege to be with them when it is time to say good bye and tell them we love them and most of all, to thank them for sharing their lives with us. Thank you for supporting so many of us through these journeys. xoxo
If only we could be so lucky… to be able to choose the time & place (even luckier if that place is our home where we are comfortable and free of fear) and the people to be with when we transition… sad, of course, but beautiful at the same time. I’m so glad you guys were with Avery and were able to make his farewell peaceful and full of love. xo
Oh no :(. I’m so sorry to hear this <3. I have two kitties myself would be so devastated :"(
It is devastating, Marc-Andre. They fill our worlds will so much love and are special companions. I miss seeing Boomer in her little beds, curled up, sleeping soundly.
I feel for you. 😦 if you’d like to post her story as a tribute on our blog you’d be very welcome. I feature a different cat each Saturday as a guest star. Could make it a purrs and prayers for the rainbow bridge post ❤