My expressionless, phlegmatic stare toward the back of the room must have become obvious to the veterinarian at the animal hospital. She subtly nodded to her assistant on the right who extended a tissue box in my direction. I had a feeling this wasn’t the first time they had this conversation with a patient.
“In situations with lily poisoning, once we start to see abnormalities in the cat’s kidney levels, oftentimes the most humane option is euthanasia,” she explained to me in a soft, tentative voice. “The alternative would be to keep him here for 72 hours on fluids to see if we can flush out the poison. But to be fully transparent, even if he lives, we are talking about a dramatically reduced quality of life. Overall, his chances aren’t good.”
I tried to recall how I got to this sterile, fluorescent-lit room in the first place. No more than 45 minutes earlier, I was sprawled on my bed while I cuddled with my five-year-old black-and-white longhair cat, Jeeves, on the bed. His kneading and purring kicked off a common post-work ritual for the two of us, one we had been doing consistently since I adopted him four years ago. He’d shower me with affection, I’d give him a treat or extra dollop of wet food, and then he’d proceed to inspect every square-inch of the apartment—you know, because things definitely changed since yesterday.
But this time, however, there definitely was something new and exciting to inspect—a bushy, pungent bouquet of Easter…