I make a second appointment at the vet for Striped.
That night, she does not pee in the bed. She just sleeps quietly next to me.
The next morning, I get up and over my morning coffee, I read on the internet. I google things like “anxiety disorder in cats,” and I read the discussion boards, including one that is devoted to homeopathic medicine for animals. I had no idea there was such a thing so it’s kind of educational, except I can’t really follow the conversation because apparently this sort of thing engenders strong opinions among its adherents, so a lot of posts are removed by moderators, rendering the rest of it incomprehensible to the googler who stumbles on it two years later.
One comment jumps out at me: Cats won’t use their box if they are afraid to, causes of this fear may include another cat, a dog, etc. I roll this thought around in my mind. The dog did sleep in my room that night. Maybe that was the reason? And the next night, he slept downstairs, and there was no problem.
Do I owe her more time while I sort this out?
The vet’s office calls to confirm the appointment, and I go into my bedroom and sit down on the bed. Striped comes out of her hiding spot under the bed and joins me. She lets me pet her. She nuzzles my hand. She does not bite.
We did this last time and that time I said, no, I’m not ready, suddenly she is so sweet; and then I talked to the vet and got some possible explanations; and then I backed out of the appointment to see if things would change.
I look at her and I see she is thinner. Her fur seems a little raggedy – like she’s not grooming at 100%. Something is very wrong, although I may never know what exactly. This is what my gut is telling me – the gut I never listen to, and later, always wish I had.
She and I sit together and she isn’t scared. She accepts.
This isn’t selfish. Neither of us is happy and never has been and there aren’t a lot of alternatives. People will propose alternatives; people always want to believe that things can be fixed or made better, and that they can help you do that by offering you some words to that effect.
But I know her better than anyone and I’ve played all the alternatives out in my mind for this cat and if I thought any of them would actually make her happier, I absolutely would do it.
The next day, I bring the carrying crate into her and she simply walks into it. At the vet’s office, she simply snuggles close to me. The end is peaceful and gentle in a way that her life never seemed to be.