Discussing Death

I talked to a cat today who I had never met before. I knew she was sick, but not how bad it was.

She was really angry when I tuned into her. She said “I don’t feel good, and I’m really upset, and I want to know what’s going on.”

Her human started the list of physical ailments: kidney failure, sarcoma on her side (“I’m trying to heal that,” she butted in. “I’ve been able to heal other things on my skin, but this one isn’t getting better.”) The human told her it was incurable, which was a relief to her, because she had been doing her best to make it better and was frustrated at the lack of results. She had various tumors, a leg problem (“that’s getting better,” she said, and her human agreed).

She had been a feisty cat before she got sick, and she was still that way now. I asked her human to outline the treatment options: change her food to support her kidneys (she didn’t like that), have surgery that probably wouldn’t do anything (she rolled her eyes and asked what was the point of that?), let her keep living as she was (intolerable), or have the vet come to their home and put her to sleep.

As soon as she heard the option of assisted death, she smiled for the first time in our conversation. “That would be great,” she said. “Here’s what I want to have happen.”

And she outlined her wishes: she would be on the floor on a piece of her human’s clothing, everybody would gather around, and they would each tell a story about her when she was strong. And then the vet would put her to sleep, and she would leap out of her body rising on the strength of all the stories told about her.

“It’s going to be a great death,” she said.

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