As I’ve said, he’s been up and down for the last few months, and was clearly getting close to the end of his ninth life. But the past few days he’d been perking up a bit.
On the train on my way to meet my friend (K.) for coffee, I got a call from plumtreeblossom. She had gotten home, and Rowley had greeted her at the door and seemed attentive and lucid (which has been on and off lately). But just about five minutes after she got in the door, he started to have trouble and discomfort with his hind legs and tail, and over the course of a few minutes they were completely paralyzed, and he was clearly terrified and in serious pain or discomfort. That’s when plumtreeblossom called me. I was going to meet K. in Porter Square, so I ended up just stopping by at the café and letting her and her partner know what was going on and apologizing for cancelling plans. She kindly offered to drive us and Rowley to the vet if need be, but I was able to schedule a Zipcar, so I just took her up on a ride to plumtreeblossom’s house, where Rowley was making noises I’d never heard from him before. Poor cat.
So we got him in the cat carrier (sadly much easier than usual) and got him to Angell Memorial.
We’d been expecting that he’d keep getting better and worse and better an worse and eventually instead of getting better he might just die at home — whenever she comes home, plumtreeblossom has been bracing himself to find him dead.
I hadn’t really thought about putting him down, because so far, even when he hasn’t been lucid or eating he hasn’t seemed in much apparent pain or misery. But this was different. Even if we could get him through the paralysis, it wasn’t a normal quality of life he’d be coming back to. So we were both pretty clear that it was time to put him down.
The vet at Angell said (and this had been my guess, just because it was the only thing I’d heard of that caused this sort of sudden paralysis) that he’d thrown a blood clot, and she agreed that euthanizing him was the right thing to do. (I suppose the most helpful thing for a vet to do in that situation is to be supportive of whatever decision the animal’s people have made, at least if it’s a reasonable one, but she seemed pretty sincere.) The people and especially the vet were as supportive as they could be, and the environment was great, and we got to be with him in a homey little room with couches while he died, and take as much time as we wanted with his body. And we cried and held each other and stroked him as he died.
I love you, sweet Row-Row. And I love you, dear plumtreeblossom, and I am so glad that the logistics worked out so that I could be with you so quickly and stay with you through this.