Sadly, I’m going to have my cat, Sheba, put to sleep later this morning. I am not sure how I will get up and walk out of that veterinarian office without her, but somehow I will find the grace to do it.
Sheba was born on March 31, 1996 in Trade, Tn. I knew my neighbors cat was pregnant, and I had asked if I could have one of the kittens. Sherry, the cats’ owner, told me she would let me know when they were born.
One morning, Sherry came knocking at my door. The kittens were ready to be looked at, but not yet ready to leave their mother. I excitedly followed her to her house and down the mountain.
She led me into her bedroom, opened the chifferobe door, and there was a mother cat with her three-week old kittens. I stood and looked at them for a while trying to figure which one I’d like to have. They were all gorgeous little balls of fur, but I finally decided on the grey and white one. There was something so endearing about her face. When I looked into her beautiful greenish-gold eyes that were rimmed with what looked like white eyeliner, I knew I wanted her to be a part of my life.
Four weeks later, I picked up my little Sheba and brought her to my house. I introduced her to her new littler box, her bed, and her food and water dish. Like all kittens, she was a rabble rouser, but I quickly fell in love with her.
I moved six times after I got Sheba, and wherever I went, she went. I took her from Tennessee, to Louisiana, to Virginia, back to Tennessee, to Kentucky, and now we are back in Virginia. I made sure that wherever I lived would be conducive to having a cat.
Sheba has always been an indoor cat, but I chose not to have her declawed, so she could go outside when she wanted. She likes to chase mice and squirrels, and scamper up and down trees like a pro.
From the beginning, Sheba has been my “glue” cat. By that, I mean she has always been stuck to me like glue. For sixteen years, she has not only followed me from state to state, but also from room to room. No matter how quietly I leave a room, it seems when I move, a bell goes off in her head, because she’ll cock one eye open, see me leaving the room, and get up and follow me.
Sheba has always been territorial and she loves to sit on either mine or Paul’s lap. When we go to bed at night, she walks down the hall behind us, and when we get settled in bed, she climbs in on top of one of us, or in between us. She’s strange, in that she’s never welcomed other animals into her circle, but she loves humans, especially those who will pet her and make over her. When she is being petted, she reminds me of a peacock being preened.
I learned in December, 2011, that she had a tumor in her stomach and kidney disease. In three short months, the tumor has grown to the point where it’s taking up so much room in her stomach, she cannot eat, and she is in kidney failure. The veterinarian had put her on a regimen of medicine in hopes that we could prolong her life. And we did, for three months.
I’m dreading this morning, but I know it’s what I have to do because I cannot let her suffer. I watched her closely all yesterday afternoon, and all she seemed to be able to do was to lay still. I kept picking her up and cuddling her to my heart, while I told her how much I’d miss her and what a great blessing she has been in my life. I cried into her soft grey fur, as she quietly absorbed my sorrow and my great love for her. I have not heard a meow from her, nor has she eaten, or gone to the bathroom since yesterday.
I’m heartsick, but I know it’s time to say good-bye and let her go. Later this morning, I will sit with her on my lap, while the IV that is dripping into her body will make her fall into a deep sleep, Then the doctor will give her a shot that will end her life. I’ve arranged for her body to be picked up by a local funeral home, where she will be cremated, and her remains will be returned to me.
How will I possibly find the courage to say good-bye to my companion of almost sixteen years? I’m not sure yet, but I trust that over the next few days I’ll be okay, because I know in my heart it’s the humane thing to do. At least Paul will be with me, and I will not have to do this alone.
Good-bye my girl. I will miss your constant companionship, and I will always love you. You are part of my family, and you are like my child. You’re my beloved Sheba.