I thought I'd write this now even though things haven't happened yet. I doubt it'll be any easier later, and maybe it will help me process things now. When I post this we will have said good-bye to my cat.
I've had my cat for nearly a third of my life so making the decision to have her put to sleep is very hard even though I know it's her time. The vet confirmed her kidneys have all but failed and she probably isn't very comfortable. She's so thin she's just skin and bones now, it seems. She hadn't been eating very much before we took her to the vet although gourmet cat food seems to have helped with that somewhat, at least temporarily.
I got her from the pound when I was a graduate student in Oregon. I was on my own for the first time and wanted a pet. For the first year I lived in an apartment that didn't allow pets, but then I moved to one that did. I remember going to the pound that day in January, 1994: When I said I was looking for a kitten they said they didn't have any. I asked if I could still look around, though, and there she was. They said she was about 9-months-old so that's why they said they didn't have any kittens, but she was young enough for me. Apparently, an older woman had taken her and returned her because she was too active; the woman wanted an older cat that would be calmer. A young, active cat was perfect for me.
I went home to California for vacations and brought her with me. Friends had told me horror stories about cats getting carsick so I did a trial run first, taking her on about a 30-minute round-trip drive. She did fine and took several 950-mile (one-way) trips with me back and forth between California and Oregon. One time she flew with me as my carry-on luggage. The first time I drove to California with her I set up the back of the car with her food, water, litter box, and towels to curl up on; she spent the majority of the trip on the passenger seat next to me instead. (Making me find a different home for my snacks so she'd have a place to sit.) She'd eat and use her box during the drives, and at night she would look out the windows at the cars and trucks going by.
Before hubby came along (and even sometimes after) we'd have breakfast together: She'd sit on the kitchen table while I ate my cereal, then when I finished she'd lick the small amount of milk left in the bowl. Here in North Carolina she liked to sit on the back of the couch sometimes; we bought a blanket to put up there just for her. Often she would nuzzle up to hubby's head when he sat on the couch. She didn't do it to me as much; I guess she thought hubby's hair smelled nicer than mine.
I'll also never forget the time the basement apartment I rented in Oregon flooded due to heavy rains. I woke up one morning and saw my poor kitty going "squish, squish, squish" across the carpet. Then there was the time I tried to give her a bath... It was a bloody experience (for me) and I decided from then on she did a perfectly fine job bathing herself.
When I got my dog it took time to adjust to twice as many feet in the house. Now it will feel empty with half of them gone.
She stayed with my parents when I spent two months in Africa, then moved with me through two rentals and to the first home I owned in California. She learned to tolerate a dog and then a husband, then made the 2,600-mile journey with us from California to North Carolina. I know she's had a good life but it's still so hard to say good-bye.
I'll miss you.