My cat is sick

I’m not sure which is worse—death that you know is coming or death that happens suddenly.

For my seven-year-old cat Simon, it was the latter. He was perfectly fine when I left for work that morning. When I got home, he didn’t come out to greet me like he normally did. I went into my bedroom and saw a lump underneath my covers. This was nothing unusual—Simon liked to burrow under the sheets to take naps. But when he didn’t react to my presence, I knew he was gone.

His death crushed me. He and I were of similar temperaments, which increased our bond and created a kind of understanding between us. He was my constant companion through all the ups and downs. It was ages before I stopped breaking out into spontaneous fits of crying.

Nine years later, my new cat Jaxon (pictured) has taken sick. The short version is that I took him to the emergency vet because he can’t keep down food or water. Bloodwork plus an ultrasound showed that he either has cancer or inflammatory bowel disease. It will take a biopsy to determine which.

If it’s cancer, he won’t have much time left, even with treatment. I’m trying to prepare myself for a post-Jaxon world, but I have no idea how to do that. In a weird sense, part of me thinks he’s dead already. This has the effect of causing every additional day with him to feel like a bonus.

Maybe that’s how we should treat everything in our lives. Even the most solid, dependable elements of our existence can be taken away in a flash. When that happens, our mental models for how we make sense of the world no longer work. We have no choice but to adapt to the new way of things.

For now, I just want my little buddy to get better.