Violet in 2013.
“Deathing” Is a Natural Process.
For about 2 and a half weeks, having announced her decision to move back into spirit, Violet refused to eat anything except pureed raw chicken liver. This is a highly nutritious food, filled with fat, protein and vitamins.
Violet also agreed to take some of my home-made electrolyte formula. This provides the potassium salts cats need when drinking unusually large amounts of water. Any cat in renal failure will be drinking a lot of water, so electrolytes are essential to maintain mineral balance and comfort.
Then, on Wednesday of this week, Violet came out around breakfast time very weak and wobbly. She refused all food. We had agreed that I would not force feed her or pester her with constant requests that she eat. She is in charge of her departure schedule. So after offering her liver 3 separate times and watching her facial expressing indicate disgust at the very idea of eating, I decided to let go of any need I might have for her to eat.
Violet took over one of the living room chairs and remained there the rest of the day. She seemed comfortable and didn’t get up for any reason. I offered her water at various times. Sometimes she drank; sometimes she didn’t. I used a small dish with low sides so she didn’t have to sit up to drink. She had seemed so weak that morning that it seemed even sitting up was difficult.
Every so often, after she drank, I asked about the litter box, but she had no interest. Once I took her after she said, “no” – the human need for confirmation, I guess – and she just step out of the box and give me a very dirty look. I carried her back to the chair.
That evening, Violet did use the litter box before I returned her to her cat cave for the night where she told me she wanted to sleep. The cave is on top of a hassock backed up to a wall where there is a baseboard radiator. The cold weather we’ve been having means the heat is still on and the cave is very cozy.
This is an old picture of the cave. Right now, the cave top and entrance are covered with a towel and piece of an old wool US Navy blanket remnant. This keeps the cave dark and warm.
Violet’s lying on a piece of foam designed to support elderly or super-thin animals to prevent bed sores, covered with a very soft, washable fabric that holds body heat. This is a sumptuous spot for her and her favorite place to meditate over the years.
Now it’s her retreat as she prepares for departure, and that’s where Violet spent Wednesday night.
On Thursday, Violet refused to leave the cat cave. She continued to reject all ideas of eating. She continued drinking water and taking her electrolytes by dropper. When I took her to the litter box, she seemed very weak and wobbly, although she was able to stand while using it.
When a cat goes 3 full days with food, their livers start to break down and after 3 days, recovery is nearly impossible. Knowing this, and knowing that refusal to eat is a natural part of the preparation for the return trip home into spirit, I assumed that this was it for her food consumption.
Over those two days, each time I checked on her, Violet would be glowing — serene — peaceful. No sign of any pain or discomfort. The expression on her face was one of “nobody is here right now. If you must speak with me, I’ll do my best, but really I don’t want to be disturbed.” I kept all conversation to a minimum. “Water?” “Litter box?” “Are you doing OK?” “I love you.” I also gently pet her briefly, and she would purr when I did that.
Then on Friday morning, as I began making breakfast for Sakhara and Starlight, I turned around to find Violet standing behind me. She wasn’t at all wobbly after 2 days of fasting. She was strong and steady and asking for liver. She was using that expression she has when she’s making a demand.
“Liver!” she requested in her imperious feline manner. Fortunately, I had plenty of it prepared in the freezer, so I warmed some up and she ate a hearty breakfast.
So Friday was an eating day. She ate several meals, each one smaller than the previous, but overall she consumed quite a bit of liver.
So it seems that each morning will be different. This morning, Saturday, Violet showed up again in the kitchen requesting food, but she ate only a taste of liver and then drank water and retreated to her cave.
Clearly this process is not straightforward. Violet take the lead and I follow as best I can. Starlight and Sakhara, her companions and friends, visit with her from time to time. Sometimes they groom her a bit. Sometimes they sleep with her. Mostly they let her be.
I asked Violet this morning if she can describe what’s going on for her.
I was floating around those days [when I wasn’t eating]. I was in the spirit world. I’m very familiar with it, as you know.
This time, I was talking to my guides about releasing my body. They check in with me now and then to see how I’m doing.
I’m totally fine. This is all as it should be.
Thank you for respecting my requests. This isn’t like the last [life] time, when I needed you to nurse me. This is better.
I’m doing my best to honor Violet’s wishes in all things. This isn’t about fighting with her to get her to do what I want. This isn’t about trying to keep her here longer for my ego or personal needs. This is about Violet ending her life as she chooses to do so.
And while I’m sad at time, I also feel peaceful about this process. It’s a miracle to watch it unfold so beautifully and naturally. Violet, as all my animal friends, is teaching me. It’s a great gift.
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If you have an elderly animal preparing for his or her journey home, please know that each one’s process is unique. While there are, of course, some general patterns, each animal will have his or her own preferences. Sometimes those preferences will align with yours, but other times the animal may want to teach you about other ways to do things than what you might find easy or comfortable. If you can be open to what they want to teach you, the opportunities for personal growth are enormous. If you’re not open, that’s OK too. There is no judgment here about what is “right” or “wrong.” There is only love and compassion for all.
As a professional Animal Communicator, I often speak with elderly animals to help them communicate their choices to their human family members. It’s an honor to do this. Please do call on me when you’d like assistance with this type of situation.