Monday night, I watched our cat, Della, die.
I was not particularly attached to Della. In fact, when my wife's last cat died, I said I did not want another cat.
When a friend of ours was seeking a good home for Della because Della and her other cat did not get along, my wife decided she would take Della in. I told her I would have nothing to do with the care of this cat. I hate cleaning litter boxes. I don't want to clean up feces from an animal. I do not hate cats, nor any other pets. It's just that I had three children at the time, now I have four. I have changed countless diapers and I just did not feel I needed any kind of pet to add to things.
That said: Della was a good cat. She was affectionate and very mild natured. Della was very good with the children. She put up with a lot of grief from our two-year-old, Noah. All she asked from us was food and water and to be pet once in awhile.
So. It was an unsettling experience for me to say the least. Details aside, Della essentially just laid down and died. I could see her life fading before my eyes. I knelt down by her and stroked her fur. I just knew she was dying. I knew there was nothing I could do to help her. All I could do was be with her as she breathed her last.
I think that having witness Della's death, I was affected more deeply than I think I would have been to find her dead in the morning. It was just such a sudden thing. Minutes before she passed, she was walking around by me. In retrospect, she was making strange, wheezing noises. I did not realize she was in distress. It was only when she lay down and I looked at her that I realized she was dying. So I, the one person in the house who had the least affection for Della, became the one to comfort her in her passing. Surprisingly, I miss Della. Last night, I found myself imagining seeing her. I expected to hear her scratching at the bathroom door where her food and water were. But she is gone.
I watched her die.