The examination table was hard, black, and cold. The impersonal greenish-blue cast from the fluorescent lights overhead added to the uneasy feeling of what was to come. The vet entered the room, stuck a needle under the skin, and in moments, the Yellow Cat was gone. Just like that, it was over. The sedative, administered a few minutes earlier, made it easier for all of us. The cat grew quiet, the tension easing away, until he relaxed and lay down on the table where both the Missus and I stroked his fur one last time.
There was no question about doing the procedure, putting him down. He had contracted a virus called feline peritonitis; no cure, always fatal. A brochure explained that there were two varieties of the virus, one they referred to as “dry” and the other “wet”. The wet was what old Yellow Cat had. His belly was bloated with fluid as if he’d swallowed a balloon.
“We could drain it off,” the vet said, “but the fluid will return, probably in a couple weeks, maybe less. When it gets up in their chest and compresses the lungs, the animal starts to gasp for breath and panic sets in. Not good.”
There were other health problems as well. His right eyelid was cancerous, again no guarantee of success if treated, and then there was the weight loss. In the past couple months, the cat got skinnier and skinnier despite cleaning his bowl and always demanding more. Every rib stood out, his spine a ridge of bony bumps.
So, in the end, today, the options were few. But damn it, I liked ol’ Yella. Of all the cats, Yella was the best. He was perfectly happy to spend his days on the deck, curled up in whatever chair had some sun shining on it, taking cat naps, and peacefully watching the birds at the feeders. At night, he’d find a spot at the foot of the bed and not move until morning and time for breakfast. It was a far cry from his first few years here at the humble abode when Yella had the reputation of being the scourge of the neighborhood, terrorizing other cats on the block as well as the resident wildlife, earning him the nickname of the al-Qaida Cat.
He’d been a stray cat, one we brought from Tulsa when we moved to Sand Springs. He showed up on the porch one day, walked in like he owned the place, and eleven years later… he still did.
The Yellow Cat had a good life.