Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


We put our cat, Domino, to rest today. He was sixteen years old, supposedly. We were told when we adopted him that he was two, and we had him fourteen years. The boys were three at the time. Domino was an integral part of our family from the day he came in the front door. It was Thanksgiving Day when our neighbor brought him over. The house smelled like turkey, and we think for that reason, Domino liked us immediately and felt right at home.

So he and the boys grew up together. We have so many memories. He loved to bring us “presents” – he was a master mole and chipmunk hunter. And no matter what we were doing, he always wanted to be right in the middle of it.

Never one to shy away from visitors or hide under the bed, Domino instead was always curious about company. And he loved his toys. Especially if they were laced with catnip. A highlight of every Christmas morning was to watch Domino wrestle his present out of his tiny stocking, claw off the gift wrap, then lick and gnaw at the “mouse” until it was a soggy mess.

He had several companions over the years.

Rusty, who we found a new home for after he became fond of peeing on the front porch instead of the litter box.

And Mabel. Sweet Mabel. Who died a mysterious death while still a young kitten.

And then Snowflake. Poor Snowy, who died an untimely early death after an unfortunate chance encounter with a fly who bore a hole into the flesh of her neck . . . it’s a long story.

This was as close as they ever got to each other.

Domino outlived them all.

But as elderly cats are wont to do, his kidneys failed. And then he stopped eating. For awhile, we hoped he would die a peaceful death in his sleep, sparing us the agonizing decision called euthanasia. But after a week and a half of watching him starve . . . but not quite to death, well, it seemed like the right thing to do.

It all makes sense. Until we actually get into the vet’s office. And we watch him pace the linoleum floor, making a bee-line for the door in hopes of escape.

While the vet gives us “time,” Andrew and I discuss why it’s the right thing to do. That we don’t want Domino to suffer. That we have no idea how long he might hang on, and it could be a long slow death. And that this is better, so he doesn’t have to go through that. Not to mention that seeing him die like that would be terribly difficult for us, as well. And then we talk about how, in that way, we are more “humane” to our pets than our human loved ones. But of course, we can’t do that for humans because it’s a slippery slope. The lines between mercy and murder would blur and we wouldn’t know where to draw them.

And so we agree, it’s time. Andrew leaves the room. But I stay. I don’t want Domino to feel like we’ve abandoned him. I pet his head and look into his eyes as the doctor injects those few ccs of pink fluid. And I wonder what Domino thinks about as the tension leaves his body, his legs buckle beneath him, his eyes dilate. And it’s done. Is he grateful for a burden lifted? Or does he feel betrayed? Does he blame me? How can we know?

Rest in peace, Domino. We loved you dearly.


Georgia said...

My heart goes out to you and yours. We lost our b/w cat of 13 years(Amy's kitty)years ago, but the memories remain. Violet was a cat's cat and we loved her for it.
We'll see her at the Rainbow Bridge, I hope Domino and y'all meet there as well.

Jan Rider Newman said...

Angie, I'm sorry you lost part of your family, part of your history.

Angie said...

Thank you, ladies.