I had Maki put down this morning.

On Monday morning, I dropped my aunty off at the vet’s to stand in line and dropped my mum off at work. Drove back to the vet and found out that we were #4, but still waiting in line. That was 8.13, and the vet was full of cats and people. The clinic officially opens at 8.00, but you can go early to queue. When it was our turn, we got the male vet whom I don’t really like. Maki tends to get irritated on the way to the vet, and by the time we take her out of her basket, she’s snarling. The vet just thinks she’s got a temper when in reality, she’s the sweetest thing ever. (Plus, she also doesn’t like the way he handles her.)

When the vet looked at her bottom, he paused. I’d kept looking at him, and he turned around and was looking in his medicine trays. You could kind of tell he was thinking. So I asked him what her condition was. And he said something which I couldn’t catch, and said he would give her some antibiotics. I pushed on and asked if it could be infection of the uterus (that pyometra thing) and he paused and said yes, that could be it. And so I said, isn’t the fastest cure to spay her? He was going to give her normal antibiotics, not anything specific, and I wasn’t going to go home with Maki in the same condition I brought her in. He didn’t even attempt to look at her closely, or again after the first look. I stared at him, waiting, and then he looked at his assistant and asked if there was a spot for surgery later today. She said there was one spot left in the late afternoon, and then he said okay. And then he told me that she’ll be operated on this afternoon and I could pick her up by 4.

Just like that. He didn’t confirm the diagnosis, or anything else. So I left Maki, brought my aunty back, and went to work, hoping it’d a better vet who’d look at Maki later.

At 11.30 or so, the vet clinic called, and the female vet whom I liked spoked to me. She asked me if Maki was male or female, and I thought, didn’t I write down in the form that she was female? And she said, she wanted to make sure, because Maki’s vagina was no longer a vagina, but just a hole. At which point, I think I was just struck dumb. All I could say was okay, yeah, okay, when she talked to me. She said that it seems Maki had been bitten by something venomous on the behind. Maybe she’d sat on something, and because it’s been so long, the venom had done it’s work. She said that there was nothing she could do, and that Maki might probably have trouble peeing and pooing, and that she’ll most probably be an invalid and I might have to help her do those two basic functions. She then told me that I could have her put down if it comes to that, but for now, she’d give Maki some antibiotics. And there I was going, okay, yeah, and Ummi and Nuran at the office had paused in their work to listen. Finally the vet said that she’d cut away some of the tissue around her bottom and had anaesthetised Maki and I could bring her home. And I said okay.

I’d planned to pick Maki up at 3.30, assuming it would be a normal spaying, but after hearing from the vet, I decided I couldn’t wait that long and decided to take half the day off work and pick her up after lunch. I actually could sit there and tell Ummi and Nuran that Maki had been bitten by something poisonous and that she might have to be put down. And I did some work. I lasted maybe 10-15 minutes and then had to rush to the bathroom to cry. When I’d calmed down, I had a bit of lunch and chatted with them, and then went off to the vet.

Maki was still under anaesthetic when I brought her home in her basket. Her bottom looked better after having some tissue cut off her anus, but it was all wet. The vet had shaved around the area, and you could see how swollen it really was. I took the chance to clean the dried blood off her face and her legs, and spent the day doing next to nothing. She finally woke up in the evening, but was really weak and groggy. And I saw how thin she’d become. That night, I cried my eyes out when she came to me to be petted. And I was thinking, I should have just asked for her to be put down when the vet had called. She couldn’t even mew or purr. When she got off to drink a bit and eat, I went to bed and cried some more. The vet had said to bring her back Wednesday for another antibiotic shot, so I thought I’d see how she was the next day.

I woke up in the morning and Maki seemed fine. She mewed the way she always would, greeting me at my door. And she was eating and drinking. Her bottom was weeping slightly, but I didn’t take a very close look. I went to work and when I came back, Maki was outside walking around the house. I took a closer look at her bottom, and it looked so raw, and her vagina (the tiny hole it’d become) was weeping again. There was also a slight cut on the side of her bottom, and it was also weeping. I spent the night with her and it just broke my heart, how she couldn’t sit properly or lie down properly. She kept getting up to lick her bottom. The worse thing was knowing it wasn’t going to get better. I cried again as I petted her. I’d cried Sunday night before bringing her to the vet, telling her it would be okay, and now I was crying because I couldn’t do anything to help her. Every time she licked her bottom, I couldn’t help but want to cry. The decision really came when she came to sit on my lap and she dripped blood onto my leg. I decided that I would rather put her to sleep than to see her in this condition. The worse thing was how normal she was, now that she wasn’t groggy from the anaesthetic. It was just her bottom, really. But the vet was right. She couldn’t poo well and she had not peed the whole day. So I cried and she couldn’t even understand why I was upset. And I think perhaps because I’d felt it was the right decision, I didn’t really cry as hard as the night before. There was almost a sense of relief that I wasn’t going to see her suffer anymore. Maybe it’s selfish of me not to give her a chance, but it really hurts to see her to way she is. I know that I won’t be able to take it.

So I brought her to the vet this morning. For some reason, I got the male doctor again, and I told him that I wanted to have Maki put down. And he’d paused in wanting to give her to usual antibiotics, and then said he’ll refer me to the female doctor. I had to wait half an hour for a family to come out with their cat, and when it was my turn, the female vet (she’s really nice and can converse very well in English) remembered Maki and calling me. She nodded when I said I wanted Maki put down and said that it was all right, she understood, and she reassured me that the decision was the right one. And she told me that it was all right to be upset and that I wasn’t the first one to feel this way about putting a pet down. So I filled in a form and she brought Maki to a room. I waited, and then she came out with Maki in her basket and I drove home.

I dug Maki a grave in the backyard and buried her. And I miss her already.

Maki had been really close to me. Perhaps because we got her when she was so young, and I fussed over her throughout her kitten months. During the day, she’d sleep and then go out. In the evenings, she’d come look for me to be petted, and she’d sit on the rug outside where we could see each other while I was at the pc. She was always so eager to play and affectionate. Out of all our cats, she was the one who really responded to her name and would come whenever you called her.

It’s almost strange how you can keep calm and say, life goes on, you know? But her food dish’s cleaned and kept away, and the rug she always sits on will be cleaned and sunned. I’ll probably get another cat when the chance comes. Probably. But for now, I just want to remember my baby and how happy she’d always made me.

I love you, Maki.

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