For Simon this was a matter of life quality, of the parts in life making it worth living. It was not about hurting, (Simon had been hurting before). It was about dignity and freedom. Simon had been the champ of the block. He had been owning and defending a very big turf. Last year Simon had possibly lost a fight with a cat, at least his turf seemed now restricted to his garden, not much more (I guessed this by finding other cats fighting just on the other side of the street and Simon remaining in the garden). But this Simon in front of me in the hospital, this poor cat who refused to eat, was to weak to live that life. He could no longer fight at all. He could not even muster the strength to walk straight (and this had begun earlier). He would either be beaten if outside, or forced to give up also the garden and stay inside. This was something Simon realized. This was not the future Simon wanted for himself. He had started out as an indoor cat, but was now an indoor and outdoor cat depending on his own will. He loved that freedom, he loved being outside. He did not want a future life where he was forced to live inside, or being unable to move around freely outside. He rather wanted to die. This was the conclusion I think he had taken when deciding to stop eating.
I saw no choice but to accept his decision. I had actually made that promise, that if he decided not to eat, I would allow him to die. So I asked the veterinarian to go ahead and put him to sleep. And I petted him and kept him as comfortable I could until he was dead. Then I cried. and cried. I had lost a truly remarkable friend.