by Laura Davis
Today I ended my best friend’s life, but life is never easy.
Twelve years ago a little fur ball of energy came into our household. Meant as a birthday present for my daughter Sarah, Jinx (short for Hi-Jinx) was rambunctious, curious, cute, adorable and everything else in between. The night we brought him home, he cuddled in my arms like a baby. On his back with his paws in the air, he welcomed my fingers rubbing his round little tummy. He took my heart that day and our family has never been the same since.
I remember trying to train him to not scratch the couch, so I went out and bought a scratching post. We sprayed it with catnip to encourage him to use it. We sprayed him with water when he continued to use the couch. We used two-sided tape to discourage him from scratching – he pulled it off with his teeth. Every time he looked interested in sharpening his claws on the couch, we would place him in front of his scratching post. Today, I’m on my second sofa.
Jinx, was a very talkative cat and would actually have conversations with me every morning. If I was late getting downstairs in the morning to feed him, he would stand outside my door and yell. And it wasn’t just a normal “meow” kind of sound – it was more like “Mom, Mom, Mom”. Clearly, he had picked some things up from my children and he knew how to manipulate me into getting his way.
Often, when I was in the kitchen cooking a meal, Jinx would sit at my feet not wanting anything but conversation (possibly some treats), a nice rub down or grooming. He always picked the moments when I was busiest to do this. He was wise, an “old salt” as they say and often times I felt as if he just came into the kitchen to catch up – say hi and to let me know, he was doing well and liked me.
He was a cuddler and as he grew older it became apparent that his place to sleep was on the couch in the living room beside me. If anyone wanted to sit beside me, they were not allowed, as Jinx would stare them down until they moved. The cushion in the middle of the couch belonged to Jinx and anyone who dared to sit there would soon learn they were not welcome.
He was an indoor cat, but he always longed to go outdoors and would bolt from the house whenever the opportunity presented itself. One hot summer day, I did not realize he had escaped our air-conditioned home and as I was about to leave the house, I found him on the back porch, panting and in obvious distress. He had been stuck outside, without water for hours in 30°C weather. His tongue was hanging off to the side of his mouth and he was obviously dehydrated. I covered him with cool wet facecloths, gave him cold water and he soon rebounded, only to attempt another escape a week later. We could never go outside after that without first asking, “Where’s Jinx?”
Last month, Jinx started getting sick. He lost a huge amount of weight and went quickly from 21 lbs. to 14.4 lbs. He stopped eating and many times would howl over his obvious discomfort. We had blood tests done, an ultrasound and x-rays’. We know he had hepatitis and pancreatitis and even though he was put on numerous medications, he showed no signs of improvement. He died today while my children and I held and kissed him goodbye.
Today, I had the unfortunate responsibility of ending my best friend’s life. I’m told it was the humane thing to do and yet there remains a measure of guilt that while I’m sure is normal; it is unpleasant just the same. I do believe however in the afterlife and while most people would probably disagree with me in regards to our pets being in heaven, I am looking forward to the fact that one day I will step through the Pearly Gates myself, shout out, “Where’s Jinx?” and he will come bounding toward me, healthy once more and calling out “Mom, Mom, Mom” while he cuddles in my arms once again.