Dear Dennis,


You reached the ripe old age of 18. And then you started to change. You’d been on medication for your thyroid and for arthritis for a few years and had a few flare-ups of inflammation that we treated.


Overall, you kept your daily schedule: downstairs with the first human to ask for a meal, nap in a sunny area, bathroom functions, a few more meals, evening lap time and upstairs to bed with the humans. You were grumpy with the kittens and hated when I tried to brush you, but that was just part of your charming personality.


But, one day, it became apparent that you weren’t feeling well any more. You used to love to sleep on my younger daughter’s bed, and you had trouble climbing the stairs to get to her room.


You’d lost your regular grumpiness, and stopped trying to groom yourself. There were matts of fur on your hips, and you weren’t keeping your nails up any more.


The signs of pain or unwellness in cats can be very subtle, but as we have learned more, there are some great resources to help you look for pain or illness in your cat. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), International Cat Care and Cornell University all provide some good information about looking for the little changes that mean your cat is not feeling well.


I spoke with my family, and we realized our time with you was coming to an end. So, we spoiled you. You got a lot of privileges that aren’t allowed in our home, including the joy of cleaning off the plates after dinner. We also agreed to plan ahead for your euthanasia, to make it less stressful and reduce the urgency for the kids.


The day we said goodbye to you, I wanted to minimize any stress so we planned ahead. You had a wonderful evening and got to eat all the chicken breast you wanted.


Early in the morning, I snuck into the bedroom where you were curled up on your bed at the foot of my daughter’s bed. Your hearing was gone, so I was able to give you a sedative injection without even waking you up. You stayed curled up in your little cat bed and drifted into a deep sleep.


In 2014, a study done by Dr. Cooney in the U.S. showed that injection of euthanasia solution directly into the kidney in cats is a humane, painless way to perform euthanasia and that’s what I did with you. Within a minute, you were gone.