|Parker - March 27, 2012|
(She has given her Mommy full permission to blog about this)
Parker's mommy here.. I've been thinking about writing this post for about a month - I imagine if you have never lived with an animal with a terminal diagnosis you might wonder what it must be like. I thought I'd let you take a peek into our world and know what we think and go through. What makes us smile and what can make us cry.
Don't let that adorable photo of Parker fool you. She is totally blind. To look at her you would never know it. Unless of course you wave your hand in front of her face and get zero response. Or you see her slip up, falter and then run into an object. Those are the types of things that can instantly make me cry. I will never get use to that behavior from a cat who was so lithe and stealth on her snowy white paws. To see her falter may be the saddest part of this crummy disease. 98% of the time she navigates fine. We just have to be careful and not move the furniture very much.
I am a planner. I always have been. I know that when Parker's time comes she will not suffer. I have my regular vet office's assurance that they will come to our home if needed, and if that plan fails, I have another in place. I will keep my promise that Parker will never get stressed out by a car ride and a vet visit again. Her journey to the Bridge will begin right here in her home. Along with these plans I asked a dear friend a few months ago to purchase a very special basket and line that basket with soft fabric fit for a princess. She did as I requested and I now have that basket tucked away, out of my sight. It's for Parker...after. It's the basket that she will lay in to make the trip to the funeral home. I have already made arrangements with them and they will accept her when we need them to, night or day. I only speak of this now because I don't speak of it very much in my day-to-day life. It makes me feel a little lighter to share it. I also imagine that if you have never been through this you might wonder what different people do when faced with the reality that they are going to lose their beloved pet. If you are me, you plan. You also take photos, but you take less than you use to, because you want photos of a healthy Parker to outnumber the photos of an ill Parker. Better to look back at someday down the road. It's funny, but it's hard to look at old pictures now. They tend to make me cry.
Each evening for the last few months, Parker and I have a little ritual. She has a favorite blanket that she likes to nap on. Her Daddy molds it into a round shape with safe little walls around it. She sits in that blanket next to me each evening and she knows that it's treat time. Be it Temptations, chicken, steak, cheese, whatever - it's our time. She eats out of my palm,licking my hand as she scoops up the treat. It's so very, very precious. It also makes me cry.
Parker's eating also makes us laugh. With everything that she's going through, her appetite has never dwindled. She has never forgotten what it was like to be feral and scrounge for food. To this day she eats as if she'll never be served another bowl of food in her life. Each day, my husband feeds the cats wet cat food as a treat (we split one can of Fancy Feast between the 4 cats). Parker's little internal kitty clock knows when the time is drawing near and she begins to cry and talk to my husband. Standing in the kitchen literally yelling at him to open the can. Blind and sick, she still sounds like a bad-a** cat demanding the good stuff.. Watching that spectacle makes me laugh. It's like listening to the young and vital Parker.
Living with a terminally ill animal means that you wake up each morning wondering and you go to sleep each night wondering. It means that you treat each milestone and holiday differently. It means that you hover a lot. It means that you examine each hiccup, each stretch of a muscle. I'm sure that if Parker could see, she'd be so very annoyed at me - Parker was never a kitty to welcome hovering. I imagine that when I have to travel there's a part of Parker that goes "thank goodness'- now I'll get a little peace..."
So....as it stands we take things day by day. Parker sleeps about 20 hours a day and spends the rest of her time eating and stretching her muscles.. She's in no pain, but she is so very teeny-tiny. I often wonder what it is she dreams of. She gives the most spectacular yawns now - that makes me laugh. She also has become much more affectionate - she was never what you'd call cuddly - now she loves to be hugged and scritched and petted and smooched. making up for lost time, I guess.
You are never ready and I don't try to fool myself that I've become prepared for the inevitable. I cry at the drop of a dime and I know it's because deep down, I am always thinking what a raw deal this is - for her - and for us, the family that loves her dearly.
Both Parker and I say thank-you for all of the support you have shown to us. We don't know how much longer we have together, but we make the most of what we have.
Big smoochies from her, big thanks from me.