January 20, 2007

A Memorial to Aimee

Aimee - The Scratching Post - Galena, IL 1996
Aimee, Galena, IL 1996

On Wednesday, January 17, 2007, I euthanized Aimee, my calico cat.

She's been sick for some time.

We made the decision to withhold conventional treatment, give her homeopathic remedies and let nature take its course when we learned she had a chronic, degenerative disease.

Diabetes mellitus. Chronic renal failure. It didn't matter.

We weren't going to torture her with car trips, tests, pills, feeding tubes, IVs, needles or any other accoutrements of modern science that are anathema to a cat.

Instead, we gave her the best quality of cat life possible.

Aimee, Galena, IL 1996

She had plenty of good food, a warm place to sleep, lots of lap time, many sun baths, a few mice to decapitate, a vast outdoor poop excavation which she assiduously maintained, plenty of purr-fect back rubs, furniture to scratch and all the things that make life enjoyable and comfortable for a cat.

Every few weeks I tossed a couple of tiny sugar pellets into her mouth or forced her to taste sweet water from an eyedropper. This was the worst she had to endure as her disease progressed until the end.

Even that was not completely intolerable.

One moment, in my arms. One moment, in the vet's arms. One moment in the anesthesia box. One moment of funny smelling stuff. No more moments.

She wasn't freaked out. She didn't struggle. She peacefully gave up the ghost.

Aimee, Austin, TX 2003

Now she's buried with her toys behind my house, in sight of my bedroom window. We couldn't bury her deeply, so we covered her grave with a big slab of natural limestone. It ought to be sufficient to keep the foxes from disturbing her. A cat sculpture we brought from Galena sits on top.

It's a very nice spot.

The healing art of homeopathy didn't cure her, but I doubt that science would have either.

It's possible I could have prolonged her life with exteme measures. It's possible with a different remedy she would have rallied again. It's also possible she would have dehydrated into a coma and passed peacefully. It's equally possible she would have dehydrated into convulsions and passed violently.

I didn't take that chance.

These photographs show her in healthy, happy times.

Aimee, Matisse & Me, Austin, TX 2005

I prefer to remember this rather than the thin and deathly ill kitty I took to the vet or the little corpse the vet handed back to me.

I have a lot to say about the vets I encountered in the last few days. I may have more to do in that regard at another time.

For now, I'm satisfied that Aimee had a great life and a swift, peaceful death two months shy of her 14th birthday to the day.

It's for the best.