“Dot is going to outlive me.”
That’s the comment I’ve been making to people every time someone would react to her age. “Wow, 16. She doesn’t look it!”
And she doesn’t.
I first met Dot a couple of years ago when I met my best friend and her dad. Dot was his cat.
When I came back from my road trip this past fall, after my best friend (and Dot’s) dad had passed away, she became a fixation in our apartment and my life. When she ran away from our apartment, in a neighborhood she wasn’t familiar with, my heart stopped. I couldn’t do anything but worry about her for those two days. I ran around our neighborhood. I tweeted. I prepared fliers, ready to plaster them all over town. It was then that I realized she became a part of my heart. When she came back to us, I could breathe again.
So, when I moved into my own apartment in December, she came home with me.
If I stayed out all night at a friend’s, Dot would be there to greet me when I walked in through the door in the morning. When I sit at my desk to write, Dot is right there, keeping my wrists warm. When I get home from a trip, Dot is there to tell me everything that had happened when I was gone.
Her health, for the most part, has been solid. Except for the throwing up. I thought it was because her hair was long and she was giving herself too many hairballs. The throwing up kind of stopped for a bit after she got groomed. And then it began. So did the pooping out of the litter box. Watching her throw up and seeing tears form around her eyes from the force tore me apart every time.
A couple of months ago, a tumor appeared in her ear.
She kept losing weight.
“She’ll be fine,” I kept telling myself.
The other night, I woke up to her throwing up – twice. And then again in the morning.
In my gut, I knew it was time.
It’s the hardest decision I’ve made in my entire life. I could be selfish. I could put her under anesthesia to have the tumor removed, put her on meds so that she’s by my side for another few months. Maybe it’d just be weeks.
But I’m not the one throwing up. I’m not the one who’s sick. I’m not the one who can’t communicate my discomfort and pain.
So I made the call.
Tonight is my last night with Dot. Tomorrow morning, my sweet girl will go to sleep and finally get some rest.
Saturday morning, when I wake up, my apartment will be silent. There won’t be a paw on my lips, trying to get me to wake up.
Anyone who’s owned an animal knows the unconditional love that they have for their humans. Yes, cats are fickle animals, but deep in my heart, I believe that Dot has always been an introvert like me. Her love filled up my heart, and on my loneliest days, just having her near me helped.
My sweet girl lived a long, full life. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have been a part of that life, even if it was just for a few months.