My cat Athena is dying. Two different vets disagree on what is killing her, but the one thing they are in agreement on is that it won't be long. She will be the second cat I have lost in eight months.
One day she was fine and the next day she wasn't. I had just left for a fire assignment. It was supposed to be a short one, but my pet sitters called and said I should probably come back. I woke up at 3 am and started driving through the darkness to be with her.
And I just stay with her. I don't leave the house. I don't exercise. There will be time for that later.
I will never be anyone's mother. For a long time I never wanted that, and then when I thought it might be okay, it was too late. Instead, I had cats.
That was okay too. People don't unconditionally love each other, even if they think they do, but pets love you this way. They aren't critical or defensive or say they hate you when they're mad. They greet you the same way if you were gone 5 minutes or 5 days. They forgive you if you irritate them by getting a new kitten. You can wear yoga pants all day and not brush your hair and watch the Kardashians and they don't judge you for it. They don't grow up and move away, or break up with you because they met a new person.
I tell Athena it's all right if she needs to go. That I've loved every minute of the last 15 years with her. Maybe, if you believe in these things, and I want to, my other cat who adored her will be waiting for her somewhere. They will be together again, happy and healthy. My heart is broken, but she needs to be free. I have to let her go.