My animal hospice journey: End of life from a cat’s perspective
By Mickey Max Nichols
I can sense Mom‘s frustration and disappointment in me as she talks into her computer. I can almost understand what she’s saying: “UGH! Mickey’s doing it again.”
By “it,” she means peeing on the floor. I’m embarrassed, and sorry, and sad to have disappointed her again, but I also can’t help it. I've been living with a condition that my mom calls “renal disease” and then just recently, something called “hypothyroidism.” I don’t know what these are; all I know is that sometimes I don’t feel good. Other times I feel okay and then I think about how things sound differently, and lately there's been a great quiet. Mom used to talk about hearing loss and deafness, so I wonder if I have that, too.
I know that my mom understands. Most days, I have a hard time remembering where I am, and although I prefer to use my own litter box, sometimes peeing on the floor is the only way I can tell my mom that something isn’t right.
You see, she always tries to do the best for me, but I hide it from her when I’m struggling. She gives me several warm beds to choose from and feeds me only the best food, except when I am crying so loud and she treats me with Fancy Feast. She always talks to me in the most loving voice, and I can tell from her soft eyes that she loves me so much.
But back to this peeing problem I have and the miscommunication Mom and I are having…how else can I tell her I've been feeling differently lately? Not long ago, it was common for me to be wobbly and wandering, calling out, but hearing no one. Then my young friend (related to her - a daughter?) comes to find me, but before too long they would move and the process would start all over again. I think my young friend gets frustrated with my crying, which makes me sad because she is usually so nice by setting up my water bowl over the heater vent where it remains purrfectly warmed. I usually like that water, but then when I get there I don’t really feel like drinking it…then my friend gets mad! She can appease me by giving me Fancy Feast and we seem back on track. But other times when she’s in a bad mood and doesn’t seem to understand, I get tired of asking and opt to retreat to my heated cube bed for another nap. Oh well, we’ll try again later.
The other day, while I was napping on her desk, Mom was talking with someone who had a very kind face. As they talked, mom’s face became softer and softer. I learned that the lady’s name was Gail from the Animal Hospice Group. I really like my Mom talking with the Animal Hospice Group, because she seems to have lifted spirits afterwards. The next day, Mom squirted a differently flavored liquid in my mouth, then gave me some Fancy Feast, which makes it more tolerable after that yucky taste. Magically, that stuff seemed to change how I’ve been feeling! Phew, what was the connection between the nice Animal Hospice Group lady’s face on the screen, the yucky stuff, and my feeling better? I can’t figure that part out, but it makes me hope that they’ll talk again, because now that I’m feeling better, everyone has been happier with me too. I'm feeling like taking a nap again.
From time to time, sometimes when Mom gets impatient, I’ve heard her say to me, “pet hospice is a journey, right Mick?” While I don’t really know what that means, I do know one thing: thank goodness I have this sunny spot on her desk where we can spend our best time together and I can warm my ginger fur, that I have that purrfectly warm water in my friend’s room, my heated cube bed retreat when I'm not feeling so good, and that nice faced lady with the Animal Hospice Group who has a magical way to make us all feel better in one way or another. And I’m thankful that I have a family who for now, helps me to have more of those good days than those OTHER days.
This year, for Giving Tuesday, please consider making a donation (click here) to the Animal Hospice Group to help moms like mine. Your generous support can help more moms and dads as they support their senior animals with conditions like renal disease and hyperthyroid.
Your Giving Tuesday donation will provide families with love, support, and peace of mind.
~ Mickey Max Nichols (with help from Mom)
Give this Tuesday, next Tuesday, or on Giving Tuesday come November 29th. The Animal Hospice Group appreciates your consideration and support! The Animal Hospice Group in affiliation with BrightHaven Inc., a CA 501[c]3 Corporation.
Thank you to all the Caregivers out there! We are grateful for your devotion to helping others (animals and humans).
Please show us all that you like this article by sharing, commenting, and/or giving this a "LIKE" on Facebook. Photo in post (header): Mickey, as a 20-year-old gent, and Giving Tuesday - donate to help AHG.
This article is dedicated to my friend and biggest supporter, Gail Pope.
Michelle Nichols - November 16, 2022