As I sit here and watch you sleep I am thinking if you are happy with your life? You will be 18 years old in May and I wonder if you will make it until then.

I know being old you will need to sleep more and that cats sleep A LOT anyway but is that enough? I’m considering your quality of life and it’s a combination of so many things; I know you’re eating and drinking, still going out to the toilet yourself, still mobile and able to jump, still seeking affection, still going to watch the world go by out of the window which you always loved. Plus you are still having inquisitive moments when there is something different like a new cardboard box or the furniture has been moved. Sometimes you look at me and I can see it is still you, you’re ok.

But I also see you are eating more but still losing weight, when you drink it dribbles down your chin and when you move your back legs have lost muscle and you cannot jump so high anymore. And sometimes, you seem to forget you have eaten or why you have entered a room, you stare with wide eyes and I can see something is different. It’s not all the time and I tell myself you are elderly for a cat so decline is expected but I don’t want you to suffer.

You were so tiny when I first got you, you fit on the palm of my hand and I find it hard to remember a time without you. You were my first pet when I moved to my own house and we have been through so much together.

You have always had health problems and been treated by the vets but now I start to wonder if the stress is worth it. More conditions are likely developing with age but do I really want to put you through all that?

I remember the struggle we had 6 years ago when we decided to ‘put to sleep’ your best friend, our first dog. I am even more mindful and determined that I will know when it is time for you. I worry that you will leave the house and just never come back or have a crisis in the night but I desperately want to be there for you. When the time comes, I have my ideal plan for you but I know life is not always ideal so I will have to take it as it comes. I hope I have prepared enough, for you and for myself.

If you are to be put to sleep it will be my decision alone, no one else will make it for me. I’m hoping there will be a definitive sign but I also am aware that may never com.

 I know you so well but will I know when it is time?

A time where you can no longer move about, a time where your behaviour changes, a time you no longer want to eat or when there is a certain look in your eyes…

I feel incredibly sad already sometimes when I look at you, knowing you may not be here soon but I know we loved each other deeply for a long time and I have to be thankful for that.


Jess Pugh-Smith

Jessica Pugh-Smith is a veterinary receptionist with Dignipets and a dedicated pet owner of dogs, cats, rabbits and chickens! She has recently finished her Blue Cross Pet Bereavement training and has a lot of experience supporting pet owners through a difficult time of pet ownership.