We won’t be treating Harmon’s cancer.
It’s not even a consideration. He is 16, and has blessed me with the most unconditional and amazing love of any animal I’ve known. Through times of my life when I felt like I was the most vile and worthless human, he never failed to climb in my lap and press his girth against me, purring his trademark rumble and squeezing my leg with his claws. Every night he curled against my legs in bed, or often on top of them and I would struggle against his weight and warmth to prevent my legs from falling asleep. Yet he never relented. It was like he knew what his role was, knew exactly what I needed even if I couldn’t feel it myself. He knew his place, and it was on my lap, or curled tight next to me.
It’s one thing to discuss cancer treatments with a human, one who can understand and comprehend why they may need poison in their body to ward off such a terrible disease. You can explain about hospitals and doctors and needles and IV tubes and side effects to a human. You can’t tell a cat any of this. You can’t explain that it will help relieve the pain. You can take a human to the hospital and tell them you’ll return to visit, or be there when the treatment is over but you can’t make the animal understand that. They won’t know it’s in their best interest. They only will know pain, fright and confusion. I could never do that to Harmon, and I could never do that to me.
And he’s 16. He’s been in beginning stages of renal failure for about two years, but without major problems. And for the love and strength that he’s given me, it’s grossly unfair to think that I can prolong his life for my own benefit. He’s been in a safe and loving environment since he was a baby; I am the one face he’s known his whole life and he’s given me back oceans of love for the simple act of accepting him into my life. What he needs now is relief from the pain and the knowledge that for the end of his life, I was here with him, making him comfortable and showing him how much I love him.
As for what’s next, we just need to watch him. I’m more than aware of the fact that we’ll know, without a doubt, when it’s time to say goodbye.
This ‘bed head’ shot has always been one of my favorites. Harmon does ‘bed head’ really well.
I’m a little worried about how Bustopher will handle the loss of his cat-bro….
More importantly, how will we??
That’s why they call dying a ‘process’, I guess.