Last week we put our cat to sleep. He was almost 15 years old and had been suffering from kidney failure for the past few months. Still, it was one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever had to make, and I am still crying as I write this.
My husband and I have known Nermal almost all his life, adopting him as a kitten from North Shore Animal League in Long Island all those years ago. We named him after a gray cat character in the old “Garfield” comic strip. As we signed the papers in the waiting area, I noticed a sign on the wall that read: “Adopting a puppy or kitten is a 15 year commitment.” Fifteen years, I remember thinking. Where will we be in 15 years? At the time, Paul and I were engaged and living together in a tiny, one-bedroom apartment in Queens. Bringing a cat into our lives was the first step we made toward becoming a family.
Now here we are, almost 15 years later. Nermal has been witness to so many of our major milestones — our marriage, several moves, many job changes, the births of both our children. So much can happen in a cat’s lifetime.
Toward the end of his life, I wished I could communicate with Nermal, explain to him why he was feeling so poorly, why we had to bring him to the vet so often and, in the very end, why we were making the difficult decision to put him to sleep. I hope that all the extra treats and attention made up for any anxiety and confusion he may have felt.
There’s more I wanted him to know. If I could’ve talked to him, I would’ve told him these things…
I’m so happy you turned your bright green eyes to us at the shelter and convinced us on to take you home. There were so many cats and kittens there that day, but I’m certain we were meant to find each other.
Sorry for ignoring you so much after the kids came along. They say there’s always enough love to go around, but somehow it turned out not to be true and you got the short end of the stick. I’m just glad we were able to spend more time together after they got older, and that they also grew to love you.
You were our first baby and will always hold a special place in our hearts.
I love you. I’ll miss you so much. I hope we’ll meet again.