I'm participating in the WEGO Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge. Today’s topic: Best conversation I had this week.
This might not be the best, because it was the most painful conversation this week, but it was by far the most important.
“Neptune. She’s doing this weird thing with her mouth. I think she hurt her jaw.”
I look at the elderly calico cat grooming herself on top of the fish tank. “She seems OK, now.”
“She wasn’t two seconds ago. Her teeth were making this…” Interrupted by the cat sneezing and twitching her head, Evelyn gestured. “That! That’s what she was doing.”
My heart sank. Neptune has been with us since February 1998. She’s frail and thin. Clearly something was wrong with her teeth. The cat pawed at her mouth and cried out. “That’s not good.”
“No. It isn’t. What are we going to do, Mom?”
“Watch and see if it gets better, and if it doesn’t get better by tomorrow, I’ll take her to the vet.”
“And then what?”
I scooped the cat off of the fish tank and held her against my shoulder. “And then we’ll see. I don’t know if it’s ethical to put Neptune through surgery to fix her mouth when she’s so fragile she might not survive. And how would she eat afterward? She hates wet food.”
“I know.” Evelyn stroked the cat’s ears.
Under my thumb I felt a lump in her side. “I think I feel a mass in her side. Feel that?” I held my thumb over the spot and took it away as Evelyn put her hand on the cat’s side. “Feel that?” I asked again.
I was hoping she wouldn’t, hoping it was my imagination. Hoping…“I feel that.”
I’ve been at this crossroads before. I’ve said goodbye to cats with cancer, cats with kidney failure. It never gets easier. “I think we’re going to have to put her to sleep this week.”
“No,” I said. “I’ll see what the vet says and we’ll take it from there.”
Evelyn scratched Neptune’s head. “I love her.”
“I do, too.”
Evelyn sighed. I sighed. In my ear, Neptune purred.
This post was written from a blog prompt for April 4th from The Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge at WEGO Health.