Personal Essays

The Quintessential Cat (an essay)

In April of last year, our cat, Jasmine, became quite lethargic and developed a seemingly insatiable thirst. Up until that time, she had appeared to be the same normal, loving companion she had always been. My wife and I were alarmed, of course, and rushed Jasmine off to the veterinary clinic to get help in finding out what was going on. We were told that she had developed diabetes and that all her blood numbers, blood sugar, kidney function, liver function, were so high as to be unmeasurable. She was dying. The damage was already so severe that there was no chance of survival for her.

One of the survival traits of animals is that they don’t show any obvious signs of illness or injury. In the wild, this helps keep other animals from seeing any sign of weakness which would precipitate a fatal attack on the sick or injured animal. In the wild, the axiom is that the strong survive. Our domestic animal friends have inherited this behavior, and so, sometimes, we can’t tell if they are sick until it’s too late.

We made the extremely difficult decision to have Jasmine put to sleep. I was devastated. The loss was so painful to me that I decided not to get another pet. I just couldn’t bear the thought of going through that kind of pain again. Even now, sixteen months later, writing these words brings back much of the sadness and loss which I thought time would have healed to a much greater degree than it has. Still, there has been some healing, but I guess I will always miss absent friends, both human and animal.