We came home from our last Vet appointment knowing the next time would, probably, be the time we took her to be put to sleep.
For the following week, things were very much taken on a day by day basis. We talked about how we would know when the time was right. If she didn't eat; if she lost weight; if she looked in pain; if her fur started to look a it stark. I was very aware of the "better a week too soon than a day too late" principle, and each evening I was sure it would be her last.
Each morning, she'd wobble downstairs to eat (having wobbled downstairs in the night to get to the litter tray - she won't use the one we set up in the upstairs bathroom for her). Every couple of days when we weighed her, we were surprised (and relieved) to find she was maintaining her weight.
On the day of her last Vet appointment, we bought her a small heated pad to go under her bed upstairs. She loved it! A day later, I bought another one to put downstairs, so it didn't matter where she was, she'd have a warm bed to snuggle in to.
She was moulting like mad. She's not really been able to groom herself, so the hair wasn't getting groomed out (and swallowed). The tumbleweed hair balls were everywhere. It didn't matter how often I vacuumed, or how often we brushed her, they just...bred!
Time marched on.
In the fine weather - when it was cold but sunny - DH carried her in to the garden and set her down on the grass, while he got on with something. Sometimes she would sit where she'd been put, sometimes she'd wobble round part of the garden, sometimes she'd wobble to the door and then sit down in the sunshine. These excursions really seemed to perk her up.
Sometimes, she'd get on the bed (with more success on some occasions than others) in the middle of the night, staying between us for a couple of hours.
If DH was working in his study, she wobbles in to see him, and sits on his lap. She's not been a lap cat before.
In the evening, DH would carry her downstairs and put her on her "downstairs blanky" between us. Sometimes she'd stay, sometimes she didn't. When the fire was lit ("orange TV" we call it, because the cats stare at it like kids watching tv), she'd move to sit in front of the fire.
I tried brushing her with dried catni on the brush hairs. It did the trick, encouraged Wash to Wash her. He was a bit to energetic though, so I've had to stop doing that,
Recently, she's come downstairs to eat several times during the day. She's also tried to wash herself a few times. For the last couple of nights she's gone to the catnip station to have a fix, something she hasn't done in weeks.
We could see that Izzy was back in her body. Her body was still frail, but she was in there.
I've realised that, for a week or so now, I haven't started each day wondering if Today will be The Day.
A few days ago I read that Tom Cox's gorgeous Cat, Bear, had finally died. I cried. A lot. Bear, also known as My Sad Cat, was 21 years old. Tom's description of Bear's last few arthritic weeks really resonated with me, we are going through the same sort of things with Izzy (although she's only 12!).
It reconfiemd for me that Izzy isn't going to get properly better.
And we're really lucky that we've got a bit more time with her.