Michele just called with that "I have incredibly bad news" tone that put me on my guard instantly.
"Our" cat, Bijou, was feeling a little poorly, and Michele thought it was a bladder infection again (she had one the previous year), and so brought her in this morning for a check-up and to get antibiotics.
They found a large mass in her stomach. Nothing they could do. She was in pain, and would only get worse... narcotics might have bought her some time, but...
She got some Valium first. When we first got the kittens, Scout and LoveChild, she had gotten a prescription for "kitty valium" (the difference from human valium being that you got it from a vet), and she loved it... so much so we thought she would act out just to get it.
Michele says she was purring right up to the end. They let her stay with her.
I was bitter for a fraction of a second, but I knew there was no way I could say goodbye without putting her through more agony, even for a day. I would have done the same thing.
There are those who would think that Michele should have waited to tell me. Bluntly, that's a no win situation -- either I would have been hurt by the delay, or hurt because I'm at work trying desperately to pretend to be a professional male in his 40's, and failing miserably. I think I prefer the latter, as hard as it is to keep it together.
As it was, all I could say was "She was a good kitty..." and barely contain the sobs.
She was talkative (we always suspected she was part siamese), incredibly smart, loved to play "fetch" with little mini-koosh balls (she used to drop them on us while we were sleeping if she was bored and wanted to play). She had a good life, and got to finish it watching the world from on high on a balcony, the way she loved doing in Fremont.
She was a good kitty.
God damn it to hell -- that's all I can say for now.