Anyone w/ a pet can confirm the inexplicable bond that forms between pet and owner. Maybe I don’t have a human child, but I know all the love, awe, responsibility and anxiety that comes w/ raising a little one. Parents, please get off your high horse about how pets don’t compare to children and you can’t really know love until you bear one from your own flesh and blood; anyone can have sex and reproduce, but it takes a certain type of person to open their home up to a helpless little creature and vow to love and protect your vulnerable new addition.
But what happens when you can’t protect them? What happens when your fierce, undying love isn’t enough? What happens when your vow to never let anything bad happen to them is tested and you lose?
Back in December, we noticed Binxy wasn’t as excited about his meals as he always had been; and if you’ve ever met Binx, you know the one thing he loved most in this world was eating. Even stranger, he looked like he had been putting on weight, despite the decreased appetite. We took him to the vet and they told us fluid was building up in his abdomen; to make a long and terrible story short, after running multiple tests, they confirmed that our little guy had abdominal cancer. Felines typically don’t respond well to treatment; only 30% do, and even then, it’s like a band-aid over a massive wound, giving them only 2-4 months to live.
After long and tearful discussions, while holding on to Binxy too hard than was probably good for a cat w/ abdominal cancer, Brent and I decided not to move forward w/ the chemo. The clinic was almost an hour away and it didn’t seem fair to subject him to long uncomfortable car trips that probably wouldn’t do much for him.
Every day w/ him became a blessing. When I got up to give him fresh water and coax him to take a few bites of food, I would cherish the time together. When I saw him walk slowly across the room to be near Brent and me, still a social butterfly, I would burst into tears. When I saw him take the steps one at a time, but shrug off my insistence to help, I would break down. He wasn’t the Binx we had known and fell in love w/, but this new softer and slower cat was stronger and braver than I could ever hope to be.
Last Friday I went back to work after spending a few wonderful days at home w/ my family and Binxy. I was texting w/ my sisters to see how Boopshu was doing and it didn’t sound good. I was furious at myself for going back to work, for not being intuitive enough to see that my cat needed me. I felt incredibly guilty for leaving such a sick animal in the care of my sisters, still on their holiday vacation. My sisters, fellow cat lovers, are the most amazing sisters in the world and brushed off all my thanks and apologies, only saying they were glad they could be there for Binxy in his time of need.
If you’ve ever been in the terrible situation of having to put down a beloved pet, you probably heard a lot of “you’ll know when it’s time,” and “they’ll tell you when they’re ready.” That’s what I had heard and read and I had no clue what the fuck anyone was talking about. How the fuck was I supposed to know anything? Clearly I couldn’t keep him safe and healthy and had failed him as a caretaker.
Turns out that trite and clichéd nonsense is pretty accurate. Binx took a turn there was no coming back from; on Thursday he was his same, albeit sick, slow paced self. On Friday, he was an animal in pain that was begging for mercy. Brent and I spent the worst night of our life at an animal hospital that is open 24/7 for this exact reason, and while I had hoped it would be under the care of our own vet, I am so appreciative to this place for helping us ease his pain. Perhaps he had been trying to tell me but I selfishly wasn’t listening. Binxy was so strong and so brave right up to the end, and I sit here wondering how we got so lucky as to adopt the best little guy in the whole fucking world.
Binxy, you are missed more than you’ll ever know. I hope you knew how supremely loved you were, how very much you added to our lives. I sincerely hope you weren’t in too much pain for too long. And I hope wherever you are now, my Boopshu, that your food dish is always filled and your blanket is always fluffed.