The Kat and Calypso Diaries

Sunday, April 26, 2015

With Calypso gone, the Katherine and Calypso chapter of my life comes to a close. Calypso passed away at approximately 9:50 a.m. on April 24th. She was 17-3/4 years old.

Beginning in mid-January, I daily administered 100-150 ml of subcutaneous fluids to the old girl. She protested, of course, but was surprisingly calm enough that rarely was there ever an issue. The fluids helped: she rallied for a good month and a half: eating, making her way down to the basement litterbox, basking in the sun afforded by the raised window blinds, swatting, hissing and generally being her usual self.

But by the last couple weeks, Calypso had hit a wall. She barely ate, hovered close to the water dish from which she perpetually drank, lost half her normal body weight to under 6.5 pounds and slept a lot in her makeshift cat bed: one of my old plaid, thermal shirts I'd gathered on the floor next to the bed.

The decision to euthanize is always a rough one. It becomes steeped in emotion as I try to weigh my pet's current state and quality of life versus my own mental state and selfish reasons for keeping her alive. Finally there's that final rush of reason overcoming irrationality.

My girlfriend and I arrived at the vet with Calypso Friday morning. Calypso lay quietly in her carrier, the same one I'd inherited the day I'd first introduced her to my household 16 years ago. We were taken to a large exam room, where I sat the carrier down on an ample brown rug, unzipping the front to allow Calypso to gauge her surroundings.

The veterinarian entered and discussed cremation options, as well as the procedure itself. I had asked about whether sedation was necessary; Katherine's final moments had seemed complicated, which I'd hoped to avoid with Calypso's passing. The vet agreed to use a lighter dose if Calypso ended up fighting too much while they inserted the catheter. But it would soon become clear that Calypso was really in no condition to do more than growl in protest.

With the catheter inserted, Calypso was returned to the room with her hind quarters wrapped in a towel. When she was placed on my lap, Calypso crawled over to my right leg, where she always loved to lay. My girlfriend and I stroked her head a few times as she got comfortable. We were given some time alone together, resting like this peacefully as we reflected on Calypso's long life. When the vet returned, Calypso barely noticed as she crept in to administer the overdose of sedative. As I continued to pet her, Calypso's head lowered to meet my knee and her body relaxed forever.

With the vet gone, I stood up and gingerly set Calypso onto the nearby exam table, curled up as though in a deep, restful sleep. We said our last goodbyes, cried a bit, and then quietly exited the room.

We will miss you Calypso. You were a wonderful cat and a trusted companion. And Katherine: play nice with her.

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