Old Blue Eyes is gone
Posted by G.A. Matiasz on August 7, 2007
I had to put down Archy, my cat, yesterday. For the past two weeks I’ve been dealing with his steadily deteriorating health, all the while contemplating having to end his life. I’ve been extremely sad, and a little depressed, because of this. Needless to say, I haven’t been in the mood to blog.
I had Archy for thirteen years. He was a rescue cat, abandoned in a dumpster, probably because he wasn’t pure Siamese. As the above photo reveals, he had the bluest eyes, yet wasn’t deaf as are most blue-eyed cats. I named him after the cockroach archy in Don Marquis’s archy and mehitabel.
Archy was a grouchy cat to almost everyone except me. I knew him as affectionate, playful, and downright cuddly. He was a complete lap cat, though he didn’t like to have his belly touched. My wife got to know him over the past five years and was able to see his sweet side.
He was fascinated with my wife’s cat — now an eighteen-year-old female long-haired orange tabby named Daisy — when we moved in together. Archy was always trying to make friends and play with Daisy, but she would have none of it. No doubt, it was one his great disappointments in life.
Archy got to be over twenty pounds, and became diabetic about four years ago. The diabetes contributed to neuropathy in his hind legs, which only got worse over the years. In addition, he had a deteriorated disc in his spine that also made it difficult for him to walk. And, he had severe constipation. He was on a half dozen medications toward the end of his life, none of which seemed to do much to improve his condition. His diabetes, in particular, was never fully regulated. He had a couple of sugar crises as one type of insulin after another became ineffective in treating his diabetes.
About nine months ago, Archy found it harder and harder to have a bowel movement in the litter box. He just didn’t have the strength in his back legs to support himself, and so had to lie down on his side on the carpet to take a shit. I bought a large cage for him, outfitting it with a litter box, a place for food and water complete with carpet samples, and a bed on a perch. I put him in the cage at night, and when we were away and couldn’t watch him. For a while, the cage forced him to use the litter box, but only for a while. Soon, he was shitting on the rug samples. Then he started urinating more and more outside the litter box, finding it harder and harder to stand to take a pee. He used the bottom of his cage, and for the last two weeks the carpet samples, and often Archy himself, would be covered in excrement.
That cats are such incredibly fastidious animals only made it worse. His quality of life was approaching nil, so the decision to end his life, while difficult, was inevitable. I didn’t want him to kick it all terrified in a veterinary clinic, so I had the Vet on Wheels euthanize him at home. With my wife and I holding him. As I said, that was yesterday, and I dismantled his cage that evening.
I’m sad and grieving and a bit relieved at the same time. Unlike humans, animals are unconditional in their love for their people, yet care giving for a sick animal is very stressful. I will miss my little companion deeply. At the same time, Archy no longer has to suffer the pain and indignities of his various illnesses.
Goodbye, my sweet boy.