My least favorite part of pet ownership: saying goodbye.
Rusty was a stray. She came to me when my ex- was off working in Louisiana in the summer of 2004. She stood right at the patio door, giving me the big, cute, kitty eyes. The first night or two, I let her go her separate way. She came that third night, and I said, “You’re coming with me.” I adopted her then and there.
She slept on top of my head that night. My little kitty turban. She’s been near and dear to my heart ever since.
When I took her in for her shots and to be spade, they estimated she was 1.5 years old. Which means she was about 15-years-old.
I’ve been gauging time through moves lately. She was with me in the first apartment in Jacksonville, off of Baymeadows. Kitty Kat and Pete were already there with us. She lived in the house in Jax with me, and then in Georgia. She moved back to the house in Jax with me when I got fired from that Georgia job. Willow joined the menagerie here. The menagerie moved out of the house to the apartment after me and my ex- split. They moved with me to Tampa, to that apartment on Bruce B. Downs. Both Kitty and Pete passed while I lived in that apartment.
Rusty and Willow moved with me to Seminole Heights, first to the house I shared with a roommate and then to my 400 sqft castle. Willow passed there.
Rusty moved with me to St. Pete. Bubo joined our family here.
Rusty’s been with me nearly since the post-Okinawa beginnings. She’s been there so much. She loved to cuddle, but not to be held. When she could still jump, she’d sleep and snuggle with me sometimes. Sometimes she was still my little turban. She hasn’t been able to do that for a good year and a half. She liked to look out of windows, but she hasn’t been able to jump up onto the couch for at least 9 months.
Slowly but surely age has caused her body to deteriorate. Walking around got slower and slower. She still ate and drank, but nearly all other times she slept, breathing heavily. She didn’t seem to be in true pain, aside from her joints, so I let her be.
I hoped nature would take her. The last couple of days she’s been pooping on the floor. Today I woke to pee on the floor too. Defecating in weird places: another sign that the end was near. So I made the call.
I hope she didn’t suffer too much by me waiting to make this decision. And they didn’t let me in the back with her when the performed the euthanasia, so I hope she didn’t suffer that way either.
I feel like a glutton for punishment by continuing to live with pets. They bring such joy and comfort over the course of their lives, but this moment hurts so incredibly much each and every time. And the decision of when and whether or not to euthanize never gets easier.
Rusty was a queen among cats. Graceful, loving, kind. She would groom Pete and Bubo. She would give me kisses after ng thank you. She was super chill. I can’t ever remember her biting me. She was a beauty. I will miss her…