It was a typical day for Zoey - she had just got back from a long day of work, and all she wanted to do was sit in her room and catch up on her favorite show. But when she saw her boyfriend Duncan standing in the kitchen trying to act nonchalant, and the cat not greeting her as usual, Zoey knew something was up. She put her keys onto the table and looked at him, his face filled with worry.
"It's Cashew." Duncan said, looking down at the floor. "She's not doing very well." Duncan and Zoey had taken her to the vet a few weeks ago; she was losing weight, peeing in the weirdest places, they didn't usually take her to the vet, she was always a healthy cat, but they had a feeling they should. Their intuition was right. After a physical examination and bloodwork, they deemed her status to be not terrible, but her kidneys felt small and the losing weight was a little concerning to the vet. They told the vet that they couldn't afford any treatments, so left with kidney-friendly cat food and medication she had to take twice a day for her kidneys to continue functioning, and without any further testing they left. Zoey kneeled down to the cat's level and immediately started crying, watching her frail body, the panting sounding like a stuffed nose. Duncan tried to keep his cool for Zoey, but taking a closer look at her showed the bad boy's red eyes from crying.
"What should we do, Duncan?" She blubbered, taking a deep breath after her statement. She had a feeling that she would have to be put down eventually, but didn't think it'd be this soon. She thought she at least had until the end of holidays with her. Duncan went down on their level, stroking her back while she pet Cashew.
"I think it's time, Zoey. If we don't do anything about it, she's going to die a painful death, but if we do something now, she can go without pain. I already called the vet and we're scheduled for 5:30. I think it's time we take her." Hearing this made Zoey cry even harder, making the prospect of saying goodbye to her childhood cat even worse. Zoey has had this cat since she was 5, and when Zoey and Duncan moved in together her parents had let her bring Cashew to Duncan's place. Duncan didn't like to admit it, but he loved this cat just as much as he loved Zoey. Last Christmas they even bought her a Christmas sweater and had her wearing it for their first Christmas card together. Zoey grabbed Cashew and wrapped her in a blanket, crying as Duncan led them to his truck. The car ride there was full of Zoey crying, heavyset breathing from the cat, and Duncan's constant reminders that soon she will be in a better place. Zoey stopped in her tracks when they came upon the door to the vet.
"I can't do this. I can't be there." Zoey handed the cat over to Duncan. "I'll be in the car, you go." Duncan took the cat, but handed her right back over to Zoey.
"If you don't come, you'll get even more upset with yourself, I know this is hard. Just think of this as putting her to sleep. Come on." Duncan opened the door for her, and slowly but surely she walked in, hesitant. Zoey sat down with her cat, stroking her and quietly crying just a little bit more each time as Duncan checked in for the appointment. Thankfully nobody else was in the room but them and the receptionist, since they got an after-hours appointment. After waiting a few minutes, the vet came to get Duncan and Zoey and brought the three into a special room. This vet was the one who met with Zoey and Duncan when they first came to the vet, so Duncan requested her to be there when she goes to sleep, and luckily she was available today. Inside there was a nice cat bed, and the room had paintings of clouds all around. The room also had classical music playing, and was a very peaceful place for someone like her to go naturally. Zoey unwrapped Cashew from her blanket burrito and gently placed her onto the cat bed, her breathing getting worse by the second.
"This is very simple." Dr. Valdes said, getting everything ready. "We're going to give her a sedative, that way when we give her the IV, she won't try to squirm out and cause herself even more physical pain. All she'll feel is a tiny prick. Typically it's best if who she's closest to is touching her, indicating that what they're feeling is okay, while we give the sedative, if you're comfortable with that." Duncan looked at Zoey, indicating that it was okay for her to go to her. Zoey put her hand on her back, looking down at the ground with the feeling of her spine making Zoey cry even more. Cashew had been losing quite a bit of weight, and she was already pretty small to begin with, but the more Zoey stroked her the more she realized that she had lost more weight between the last vet visit and now. Duncan kneeled down on the floor with her, smiling and shedding a few tears while putting his arm on her shoulder, petting Cashew with Zoey at a rhythm. When the IV was put in, they heard a small cry, but the vet reassured that it was completely normal.
"I'm so sorry, Cashew… You're going to a better place now. I love you so much." At this point it was hard for Zoey to breath since she was crying so much, and Duncan was starting to cry a little more, too. It took about a minute of gasping until Cashew was put all the way to sleep, and when it was done the vet stepped away to let the two of them say goodbye. Duncan whispered a thank you as she left the room.
"It's going to be okay, Zoey." Duncan said, kissing her head. "When we're ready, we can get another cat to love and care for." Zoey sniffled, nodding and looking up at him. "Whenever you're ready, we can head out. We'll go home, order takeout, put on our PJs, we can do whatever you want." Zoey smiled, wiping her tears with the tissues that were left in the room. She pet Cashew one last time before standing up and heading out to speak with the vet, who was waiting for them at the door.
"If you would like, we can arrange to preserve her ashes so you can spread them somewhere or in something she loved, or we could give you a list of local pet cemeteries and we can help arrange her to be put there." She told them.
"I think I want her ashes. I know just where to put them," Duncan paid the receptionist, thanking the vet for her time, and headed back to the car. The car ride was a quiet one, but when they got home they sat on the couch for a bit, Zoey crying in Duncan's lap. It was weird not seeing her walk around, which made her even more upset. The apartment felt empty without her.
"We did the right thing, babe." Duncan said, stroking her red hair as she cried.
"I'm crying because we did the right thing. We did the right thing, but we'll never see her again." Duncan had started to run out of things to say to her. He had only gone through pet death once, with his childhood tarantula, Scruffy. He had never gotten any other pets as a child after that because he never wanted to go through the trauma he went through with Scruffy, and with Cashew gone, he realized that he was right in doing so.
"Thank you for being here for me. I know that if I found her here alone, I wouldn't have done anything but cry over her and it would have been too late. So thank you." Duncan kissed the top of her head as she got up against his shoulder.
"So how about we order some pizza?" Zoey gave a weak smile as he mentioned her favorite food.
"Can we get pineapples on them?" Duncan frowned.
"How about on half?"
"Deal."Zoey took her phone out of her pocket and gave it to Duncan as it rang, the pizza place on speed dial. Duncan kissed her once again, putting his arm around her as he ordered them pizza. It was going to be a long recovery, but in the end, they still had each other and that was all they needed.
A/N: So unfortunately this is partially based on a true story. I was getting ready for work and my brother told me to come "say goodbye" to Cashew. I asked him what he meant, and he told me she wasn't doing too well. I walked out and saw her sitting near the door, gasping for air. I cried hard for her, and my brother was crying, which made my mom cry, too. I'm super sad about this, I've had Cashew for a long, long time, and I honestly thought that I had a longer time with her, if not a year then at least during the holidays. I decided to make this for Doey Week on tumblr and I'm really glad I did, this has helped me a lot. This is my first one-shot in a long time so if you liked this, please let me know, if I have enough of a follower base I may continue doing one-shots. If you want to see more of my work, I currently am finishing up my 5-year-old OC story Total Drama Arts, the beginning is super crappy and there are some continuity flaws, but I'm hoping the ending (if it ever comes) will make the flaws not as important anymore. Anyway, I know Cashew is in a better place now and I'm really glad I decided to write this. Pets are not just animals, they're family.