I went to visit Arawn at the hospital on Monday, and found him inside a sealed travel cage with a tube feeding oxygen into it. He seemed calm, but tired. The vet told me that it was the only way he could breathe now, since the tumor in his lungs had made it so difficult. He explained to me what I already knew, that there was no cure for feline leukemia and that Arawn simply wasn’t going to get any better. He was thin and haggard, far away from the strong, 8kgs (16lbs), huge, shiny black cat that was easily bigger than a medium dog.
It was clear that Arawn was suffering and it was only going to get worse, and so we decided that euthanasia would be a much better alternative at this point. The vet opened the cage and left me alone to say my goodbyes.
At the time, I had my doubts about the whole deal. I had never been through something like this before and I needed to be entirely sure that this was something being done for Arawn’s sake and not for my own comfort. I felt uncomfortable with it because the whole process was really costly and I just couldn’t afford any more hospital days or tests or anything like that (even though I knew that if such things could’ve helped, I just would’ve found a way to gather the money) – so a thought in the back of my head was shouting out that wasn’t right to do this just because I couldn’t afford to keep him alive any longer. But as soon as that cage was opened, all my doubts were cleared. Arawn didn’t get up, and the lack of oxygen made his breathing turn raspy and forced. He tried to meow but couldn’t, and when I pet him he managed to sit up. After looking at me for a few seconds he simply let himself drop back to the cage floor, even banging his head as he fell. He didn’t care, he just lay there and did nothing.
It was clear then what I had to do. I no longer had any doubts who the euthanasia would benefit more and by then it became obvious that it was the whole deal of keeping him alive that was being done for my benefit. I quickly asked the vet to give him back the oxygen until the deal was done with, and cried my ass off as I paid for Arawn’s last injection.
. . .
I’m perfectly aware of the fact that when you have a pet, the pet is very special to you but most likely irrelevant to everybody else. I’ve even said the exact thing before. During the 4 years that Arawn lived with me, I never considered him to be a pet. During my daily life, I’m not really a very sociable person; most of my days are spent alone in my house, drawing or whatever and I like things that way. I always saw Arawn as a friend, my best friend. Most of my time was spent with him and I’m not ashamed to admit that during these years I probably spoke more to Arawn than to almost anybody else.
I’m not stupid, I know Arawn wasn’t a person. I don’t even pretend to believe that Arawn understood even half of a word I said during our time together. But I didn’t need him to be human – actually, I was glad that he wasn’t. I don’t need my friends to be human, I just need them to be good company, good companions, that’s what I think really makes a friend so special.
I don’t think there’s really much more to say, other than thank again all the people that have been kind enough to send me words of support. I realize there’s probably a lot worse things happening in the world right now, things that are much more important than a small, bald, Colombian webcomic artist whose pet cat died. But to me, I lost my best friend. And I miss him, a lot.