As of this writing, my two almost-eighteen-year-old cats, Connor and Graycie, are on hospice.  Yes, hospice.  For cats. Who knew?  They’ve been ‘on’ hospice for one year as I made the decision not to hospitalize Graycie again last February after her emergent three-day admission for congestive heart failure.   Throughout this year, both of them have been stable on their medications and, save for an occasional call or email to the hospice vet, no visits to any facilities.

Connor’s once muscular 18-pound body is thin and bony and his hips aren’t quite working as they used to.  HIs appetite is good, he is responsive, but admittedly he’s a bit slower. Grayce is blind (not new, she lost her sight almost 3 years ago) and has a quiet, happy life.  But these companions have been with me almost 18 years as they were born under the rhododendrons in front of my home. And like most pet owners, I’ve loved them throughout their lives regardless of behavior, hygiene, or illness.  We have enjoyed each other’s company for a long time and they’ve been great comfort to me during life’s ups and downs.

As emotionally heartbreaking as I know the decision will be, I will call the hospice vet and schedule him to come out to my home where he will gently put them both to sleep.  As their ‘hospice nurse’ this last year, I have taken good care of them, but now as their mom, it is so hard to let them go.  I will miss them very much.