Saturday, March 10, 2007

My Cat JoePa: 1993–2007

I had to have Joey put to sleep a couple of weeks ago. People always want to have more power but the power to decide who lives and who dies isn't an enviable power. And when I was finally granted this power, I did whatever I could to pretend I didn't have it.

JoePa the cat was always a very fat cat, reaching close to 14 pounds at one point. I got him from a shelter (where all pets should come from) in September of 1993. Joey was playful and loved to sit on laps or lie in bed. In April of 2005, he started looking thin and was acting listless so I took him to the vet. After an hour or so, it was determined that Joey would have to be brought to the hospital for tests. And I was suddenly thinking about a dying cat. But I was also thinking about the fact that it was Passover and we were going to be driving out to Long Island for the first Seder.

Here's the thing: Joey's a cat. I never felt attached to him on a higher level beyond pet and owner. But now I'm sitting in this stainless steel building, killing time by watching TV and other pet owners. There were lots of dogs and dog owners are definitely more attached than ct owners. Maybe that's because dogs have more of a personality.

Anyway, I was told that Joey was going to have to be kept overnight and that it wasn't looking very good. Apparently, he had diabetes for some time and he was dehydrated. I didn't know. I mean, I wasn't about to just let him die. So I was a little sad but at the same time, I started thinking about cost. This day alone was going to cost me a nice chunk of change. How long do we keep him alive? Can I have an animal put to sleep just because it's expensive? It doesn't seem right.

The Seder that night was difficult as I waited until the proper time to call and check on Joey. And when I did, I was told that he responded really well to re hydration and he'd be okay with some medication. I don't remember what the cost was but it was close to a grand. And then there were the follow up appointments. And the insulin. And the syringes. There was a debate brewing at home over what to do about this. But Joey wasn't in any pain and I wasn't about to kill the cat because of inconvenience.

Then came the incontinence. He started peeing all over the place. We had to throw out two area rugs and a couple of door mats. We broke an electric litter box. It would soak through a mat and into the wood floor. But I still wouldn't bend. Then he started pooping in the playroom and that was it. The time had come. I chickened out and made Stephanie take care of it.

Our other cat, Spider, makes lot of noise now. Maybe he's looking for Joey. I miss him and in quiet moments, I think about him. But in the end, he was just a cat. He got sick and he could have died naturally but he was really stinking up the house. So rest in peace, Joey. You were a great pet and we'll miss you.

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