Thank you, Spirite.
i wanted to provide an update here for anyone else struggling with the decision on when to call it quits.
i've been on such a rollercoaster about when to say the actual goodbye for the past week or so. but it feels more like a month rather than just 10 days because of how many times i've gone back and forth in my heart and mind about it. i feel bad for being like the girl who cried wolf, but i did actually just cancel the appointment i had for the vet to come to the house tomorrow to perform the euthenasia. i also hate to have Angel feel my indecision so much because i don't want to give her any stress. i swear after i got off the phone with the vet to make the appointment yesterday that Angel was relieved, though. she actually came sauntering out of her hole where she'd been hiding for so much of the day these past weeks and came straight over to me and sat by my chair for a minute to let me pet her, then even climbed up onto the bed and slept with me all night. and she hasn't done that for probably the past 10 days. i've been reading all the stories i can from everyone on this forum and Tanya's CKD support group as well about how to tell when it's time, and after observing Angel again today, i just couldn't do it.
the positives are:
1. she has shown me that she does still like my company by sleeping with me last night and purring like crazy as we spooned and i kissed and pet her all night long.
2. she is eating pretty well (maybe 90% of her normal intake) even without the appetite stimulant anymore. she does want different food than her normal stuff, but she eats with gusto when she gets it.
3. she is using the peepads perfectly. i think the weakness in her back legs makes it more difficult to step into the litterbox itself, but she has learned to at least go to it and then do her business on the peepads next to it.
4. shows no signs of pain like meowing at least
5. she seems very alert to me
i feel like the only negatives right now are:
1. her weak back legs. it hurts me to see her back legs slip out from under her every once in a while, but she doesn't seem to notice much or be in pain because of it
2. peeing much more often (i've changed her subQ fluids to 2-3 times/day in smaller amounts from the full 150 ml all at once to keep her hydrated more evenly throughout the day, too - and i wanted to reduce the risk of taxing her heart with the full amount all at once just in case)
3. still does stay in her quiet hole under a covered bench for much of the day, but i can't tell if that's more because she just wants to stay out of cold, drafty, loud areas or if it's because she doesn't feel good (i have put an electric blanket in there to keep her arthritic joints warm and the first time i did that, she came out a little while later and walked down the stairs all by herself. she snuck up behind me where i was lying on the floor petting my other cat. she appeared suddenly at my right shoulder, hissed at Olivia, then proceeded to drink from Olivia's water fountain as if to say, I'm back B---h! it made me so happy!)
some of the reasons for the rollercoaster have been all the additional meds and supplements i've been given by the vet to administer. they've caused so many different side effects that have made me think on and off that she was in her final days. for instance, the buprenex for pain was way too much for her and i think it made her so groggy that she couldn't even get up to go to the litterbox so she ended up peeing on blankets where she lay at least 4 times before i completely stopped the buprenex. then the inappropriate peeing stopped. i was told as well that the appetite stimulant COULD also cause a little grogginess since it is an anti-histamine so luckily i was able to stop that as well without her losing her appetite again. also, the increased phosphorus binder i was giving her caused constipation, so i feel that was making her appear more listless. i increased the miralax and squash and she has been going to the bathroom more regularly again. the electric blanket was another thing - not vet related, but important all the same. when i turned up the heat more and provided electric blankets for her, she seemed to limber up a little more and was more mobile again. i started her on B12 injections along with some oral B-complex, too, and that could be helping her aneamia, listlessness, and weak back legs.
so just some thoughts and observations from me in the hopes that it helps others in the future when the time comes for their own furkids.