When I was about either or nine years old, the neighbors across the street had siamese cats born, the day after my birthday. I saved my money and bought one. I named her Misty and she's lived in this house for 18 years or so- this year makes 19. When I left for college and during the five years of craziness in Kalamazoo and then moving back home she stayed here with my parents.
Unfortunately, time catches up faster to animals than it does to people. She's blind now, but because she's lived in the same house for so long it isn't that much of a problem. She's also developed arthritis in her rear hips which is a bigger problem. She has trouble walking and lots of trouble jumping. She's recently developed some kind of breathing problem, she'll sit and wheeze and gasp for breath. She also has digestive problems, she's recently lost a lot of weight, and she's having trouble making it to the litter box.
All in all, her quality of life is degrading fast. I'm afraid I'm going to have to put her to sleep, and probably soon. I feel bad about having to make that kind of decision, but I also feel bad when I see her running into walls or missing a simple jump onto the couch. I could wait until she just keels over, but I think at this point she's just kind of surviving. I'll miss her, but she has lived a very long and happy life, especially for a "purebred" (inbred) animal.
I don't think my children will understand as much, but she's learned to stay away from them. They're just not gentle enough to even pet her. After all, you can feel every bone through her skin now.
Goodbye Misty, I will miss you.