After a week of news containing so much excruciating sorrow and raw pain it feels almost disrespectful to bring this up, but as of 4:30 today, this is what has been on my mind. Thinking that our beloved Manneman had a toothache, we took him to the vet today. He’s lost some weight over the past year, but then again, he’s an aging cat (probably about 15 if he truly was 2 when we adopted him) and might be forgiven for not having the appetite of his youth. Turns out, our furry ball of love has bone cancer. We’re aghast – the prognosis is not good. Which kind of bone cancer is impossible to know without a biopsy, but here I’m starting to balk. Do I really want to know? The outcome won’t change, so do we really want to put him through all that?
What we’d like to know is how much pain he is in, but of course neither he, nor the vet can really tell us. While silently scoffing at myself for asking, I asked the stupid question if she could tell us how long he’d have left. Stupid, because who can give a definite answer to something like that? She kindly humored me, and estimated 6-8 weeks.
My mother, whose father was a vet, and who spent many years working as a nurse, wisely says that we often treat our pets better than our humans, in that we allow them to die when they need to, preserving at least some shred of their dignity. I hope their humane approach has rubbed off on us. We will keep Manneman as comfortable as we can, for as long as we can. But, I also hope we will find the strength to not selfishly string him along when his suffering becomes too great. But when that is… well, who knows.