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Rocks and Hard Places

I’ve been too distracted this week to post my usual bits of randomness. Jasmine is dying. We’ve known about the tumor for a couple of months now, but her condition has been steadily deteriorating. I’m at my wit’s end. Whenever I think her time might be up, I sit with her and cuddle and play and it doesn’t seem like she’s ready yet. Yesterday she was overjoyed to go outside and roll around on the sidewalk and chew on some grass. And when I gave her a plate of wet cat food, well, it was like a little slice of heaven. She gobbled it right up. Afterwards she sat on my lap for a spell, purring and looking up at me affectionately. How on earth am I supposed to know when it’s time? It’s not like when I’ve been ill and medical professions have asked me to rate my pain on a scale from one to ten. My poor cat can’t tell me that. But I wish to god she could.

blue star, yellow stripe

Update: It’s some small comfort that, in this day and age, our vet uses email. If I’d had to have this conversation with her over the phone I would have been in tears and/or hyperventilating. Instead I was able to calmly send an email and fairly calmly read her reply.

In general, when cats start to reach the end stages of their diseases, they tend to withdraw from their normal daily activities and interactions. Cats do not often show visible signs of pain or “complain” about pain by whining or panting like dogs sometimes do. What cats tend to do is go off by themselves. They might seek out odd places to sleep or hide that are not places they normally spend time, such as under a bed or in a closet. They don’t want as much interaction with people and will often stop grooming (so the coat may look greasy or ratty), eating, showing interest in normal daily activities (such as appearing when you get home from work), or other similar changes in behavior. If Jasmine is still eating, drinking, and affectionate with you, then it sounds to me like chances are at this point she is probably not experiencing a significant amount of pain. However, trust yourself and your gut feelings. You live with her and know her best, so you are the best judge of her behavior.

So not just yet. But probably soon. Sigh.


  1. mopsa wrote:

    I am thinking of you, dear and wishing you the strength to get through this one. It just sucks.

    Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 7:53 am | Permalink
  2. Thanks lady. My sweet girl has been with me for nearly fourteen years…and given me comfort through some pretty big life stuff. It’s going to be hard to let her go, but I don’t want her to suffer.

    Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 8:59 am | Permalink
  3. zophia wrote:

    i’m so sorry sweetie. i remember going through this with my sheepdog. it is so hard. my thoughts are with you.

    Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 1:33 pm | Permalink
  4. Kylark wrote:

    So sorry, Sharyn. I had to put my kitty down about two weeks ago. I didn’t have her as long as you’ve had your kitty - only about three years (she was sixteen years old, a hand-me-down), but I was still very sad.

    Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 9:02 pm | Permalink
  5. Lorika wrote:

    I’m so glad you now have comments! Plus, I love the new design.

    But, on a sadder note, so sorry about Jasmine. It sucks that pets, while they stay like children to us, still grow old long before us, and must leave us. I thought when my baby Sabby left me after 14/15 years, I would just lose my marbles, but oddly it wasn’t nearly as hard as I had built it up to be. She had a wonderful life, and Jasmine is too. I think you will know when it’s time, don’t worry. She’ll let you know.

    Friday, May 19, 2006 at 10:14 pm | Permalink
  6. Maggie T. wrote:

    I’m so very sorry, Sharyn! You and your Jasmine remind me to cherish our kitties and give them extra scratches and hugs.

    Saturday, May 20, 2006 at 9:19 pm | Permalink
  7. Definitely. Cuddling with Jasmine is so sad now, because she’s so skeletal, but she’s a tough old girl. Remarkably she’s still her same sassy, bossy little self, demanding to be pampered. She is now eschewing the inferior dry cat food and any time we walk into the kitchen she demands a freshly opened packet of Iams special something-or-other wet cat food, and proceeds to lick off all the gravy before eating the bits. I have a feeling our princess will reign supreme until the very end.

    Sunday, May 21, 2006 at 7:52 am | Permalink

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