To Take a Life-Part 1

Tiger

I recently had to do something I hope never to repeat, but I know I will. I put my cat down. A big, fat punch to the gut pretty much sums up the entire experience.

Kitty came in to my life about 7 years ago when the thought of being a cat owner kind of appalled me. I was a dog person for crying out loud and cats were mean and snooty, right? I was allergic to them too, so when this neighborhood stray started hanging about my yard looking for his forever home, my answer was a firm, no way!

He did look thirsty though, what harm would a little water do? Some scraps of food couldn’t hurt either and oh how his hair needed brushing! Soon enough, I was in possession of pet grooming tools, food and water bowls painted with dancing cats, and a “spoiled” placemat to lay them on. I have no recollection how this happened, only vague memories of heading towards the pet store before blacking out.

I eventually decided this strange but oddly endearing creature could stick around and soon kitty became Kitty. Under no circumstances though was he allowed inside the house. Except that one night it was super cold out and I let him eat indoors, just that one time.  I must have blacked out again because when I woke up the next morning Kitty was curled up at the edge of my bed like he belonged there. He did.

We were good for each other. I always enjoyed having pets but at the time was not around enough to give one the attention it deserved. Kitty was different. He was beginning to trust me but still too fearful to spend much time nearby other than eating and sleeping. His feral instincts kept him at a distance, which suited me just fine.

While I liked having him around, I didn’t feel guilty leaving for hours or days at a time because he preferred being left alone. We had a good deal going; pet companionship without responsibility for me and food, water and shelter staples for Kitty, plus a safe backyard to lounge in.

This all went out the window a couple of years later when Kitty decided he could not live without me. My once proud and independent lion was now mewing constantly for attention and waiting anxiously by the door for my return whenever I went out.

It was ok because I felt the same way about him and soon became your typical neurotic, overspending pet owner, complete with obnoxious baby voice when talking to him. I did manage to spare Kitty the indignity of wearing costumes/clothes though, minus that one incident with cat reindeer antlers which shall never be spoken of again.

His age was always a mystery and my best guess was he was 14 or 15 when things started going downhill. He was losing weight and no longer interested in his favorite foods. The vet felt a small mass but couldn’t get much more specific, even after X rays and lab work. Ultra sounds, biopsies and surgery were the next steps but I didn’t want to go down that road at his age. I’m not gonna lie, the thousands of dollars in costs I was looking at played a significant factor too.

So we decided on prednisone to control the inflammation and get him eating again. His appetite did pick up for awhile, but after a couple of months he was losing weight again and in obvious pain. It was time to make the decision. He still had some good days though which made things difficult.

Is now really the right time? Should I have spent more money on a diagnosis? Am I hastening this along because he’s become so high maintenance? Who am I to play God here?

Someone once told me that choosing to end your suffering pet’s life is the most difficult, yet best thing you could ever do for them. You are taking their pain and anxiety away and putting it all on yourself. Yes, that’s what it’s come to and it would be my parting gift to him.

Just as everyone says, things happened quickly. I held Kitty’s head as the vet injected a sleeping drug. He then looked right at me as he drifted off, which I like to think was a last goodbye. The next injection stopped his heart and I watched his little body flatten as his soul took flight.Kitty1

The only way to avoid the hurt of losing a pet is to never have one. This is not acceptable to me so I know I will go through this again. I gave my heart to that darn cat and it’s hurting now, but you know what? It’s bigger because of it, not broken.

Thank you Kitty for this precious gift and rest in peace there at Rainbow Bridge, the land of endless catnip, Meow Mix treats and roasted chicken.

A few hours after putting my cat down, I found myself in my dad’s room at the memory care center, where my mom was feeding him dinner because he’s forgotten how to eat on his own.

Post to be continued in part 2 here.

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55 Responses to To Take a Life-Part 1

  1. Cats are so regal and so royally generous with their affection to those they choose to love.

    Condolences for your loss. All those good times you gave to each other are such a blessing.

    Time burns us all down, unfortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. archaeopteryx1 says:

    A very touching story and very well-written. I’m sorry for your loss.

    I have a gray stray that for the past five years, has been coming over for food in the afternoon. One year he didn’t come over for months, and I worried about him, but one day, there he was again. This time, it’s been nine months since I’ve seen him – he came one afternoon and I was out of catfood – I bought more that evening, but he never came back; it’s still in the cupboard. Well, he was always independent, so I’ll see him or I won’t – either way, it’s out of my hands.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Thanks Arch and I’m sorry about your gray stray. I do hope he comes back but you’re right, it’s out of your hands. Cats are funny that way and completely unpredictable.

      Like

  3. The love story with Kitty was touching and nicely told. A fitting memorial.

    You’re dealing with more than one loss, and I send peace and comfort and warm thoughts in your direction.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wally Fry says:

    That was a nice story Tricia. Sad, but nice.

    I agree about cats totally. I have always been a dog person, but well now I have Percy. It’s different with cats. Personally I am of the opinion that when a cat says I love you so to speak, they really mean it. Dogs pretty much love everybody sometimes.

    Our pets get in our lives in ways that sometimes surprise us. I remember Scooter, a Golden Retriever I had for 13 years and finally having to put him down and being just heartbroken for the longest time.

    Sorry for this, and I so understand how you feel.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tricia says:

      Oh Wally that is so true about the love difference between cats and dogs! Dogs will always have a special place in my heart, I too had a special golden growing up who forever holds a piece of my heart, but you’re right, they freely give their love to anyone that pays them attention! With cats you really have to work at it but so rewarding when they finally come around.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and good luck with that little Percy of yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This totally just made me cry!!! It made me think of my own four-legged fury family and the inevitable future without them, and yes, I cried. Thank you for bringing us all into this journey and this part of the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Al says:

    Pets become a part of our soul. This is because, in their few short years, they school us on unconditional love, acceptance, forgiveness and just about every other human emotion. Sorry for your sorrow, but happy that you had an opportunity to love this special cat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      They do become part of our soul, don’t they Al. So true too what you say on what they teach us. I am sad for sure but wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks Al for your kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Such a costly act of kindness! I’ve had to perform it many times, being constantly surrounded by more animals than makes any sense (to anyone except them, anyway) and there’s always that horrible uncertainty about whether or not it’s time, and then the emptiness they leave behind. I’m so sorry you’re experiencing that, Tricia, but glad you had the knowledge and strength to release him from pain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Thanks Belladonna, your common sense and compassion really help a lot. The uncertainty is horrible, but then again that’s probably something else animals don’t experience much and think us humans weird for caring about. 😉

      Thanks for coming by, I’ve missed you around here. I’ve been wondering how you’re doing too. Things ok?

      Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        I don’t agree – I think animals care about us too. I’ve already related the story of my sick friend and his cat, and if that sounded unbelievable, I can certainly invite him over to tell you himself.

        Dennis: “If you grew up on a farm or ranch you would understand the relationship between animals and humans.

        My mother was a farm girl, born and raised, and I had a horse ranch for five years, and I DO understand the relationship between humans and animals – you treat them like warm bodies, they act like warm bodies, you show them you care about them, and they care about you.

        Like

        • Tricia says:

          @Arch…I agree, I think animals care about us too. I was saying they probably don’t care much for feeling “uncertain” like we humans do about everything all the time.

          Or maybe you meant the comment for Dennis?

          Like

      • Things are okayish. I’ve been in the dumps a bit. Back to lurking on other people’s blogs … hope to get back to writing my own soon… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Tricia says:

          Sorry your down, I can imagine it’s about your mom. I hope you get back to writing again too!

          Like

          • Well … considering that I expected to bury her before I came back to the States, and instead she’s bebopping along quite well, it’s all good. Should be, anyway. But I really hate being so far from her, knowing that she’s missing me and needs my help. She NEVER complains or whines, but we’re very close and I know she’s sad and lacking a confidante with me gone.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Tricia says:

            You’re a good daughter and your with your mom in spirit which matters a lot too. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  8. Dennis says:

    Sorry you had such a hard time of letting go. I can’t generate that much sorrow over losing a pet. They are a pet and an animal not my soul mate or part of my family, Sorry I just don’ t get it. If you grew up on a farm or ranch you would understand the relationship between animals and humans.

    If you’ve ever held a friend as their life bleeds out of them or a parent you have to pull the plug on then that is a WHOLE different story. They are human, they are part of your family. I would trade all the pets I have had for one more day with my friends and parents who have passed.

    That’s just my two cents.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Yeah it was pretty hard. I’ve had to say goodbye to other pets but never been the one to actually make the decision and hold them while it happened. It’s pretty awe inspiring when you think of the power you have in controlling death like that.

      I’m not trying to compare animals to people, I know the death of one does not equate to the other.

      Many of us form a special bond with our pets, even farm animals, that while not comparable to human love, is just as strong and emotional in it’s own way.

      Writing helps me process things and I’m hoping maybe my story helps someone else facing something similar.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. E. Williams says:

    Very sorry for the loss of your friend. We’ve had as many as 9 cats and 4 dogs at one time, and over the years it’s tough every freakin’ time. Sad that it has to be that way and that they don’t live as long as we do.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tricia says:

      Thanks E. Wow that’s quite a herd you must have had there. A lot of love in that home I’m sure. It is sad to say goodbye every time, but better to have those darn critters with us for the short time they are here, than not. Thanks for coming by.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. irtfyblog says:

    My sister told me just the other day that cats choose who they want to be around…this…of course…was after one of her two cats decided to walk over and plop down on my lap. So, the fact of the matter is that Kitty chose you and obviously it was because of your kindness and loving heart. 🙂

    I can’t imagine how difficult it was for you to not only lose your companion but having to make the decision to put her down. I’m so sorry for your loss, and look forward to reading your next post.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ColorStorm says:

    My heart is is bigger……………not broken……..most of your readers know this already, 😉 but still never easy going through these things.

    Good stuff trish. There’s a gospel story in there somewhere eh, about the planting of one in the earth.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. jncthedc says:

    I am crying as I’m commenting because I have had to make this decision too many times. It is gut wrenching yet such a meaningful way to show your love for your pet. For me, it never gets easier and I continue to hurt when I think about the life ending procedure. It is, however, very peaceful and easy on the animal and truly a final act of love.
    I’m so sorry for your loss of Kitty. I am also sorry for the trauma I know you’re experiencing with your father’s health care issues. Stay strong, release emotions when necessary and realize how blessed you are for having all these people and animals in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Thank you Jonathan, your comment really comforted me. I do find myself flashing back to those last moments and it’s painful but I guess it would be weird if it wasn’t. Thank you for the blessings reminder too.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. makagutu says:

    You are quite the story teller.
    Hope all is well with your old man and lady

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: To Take a Life-Part 2 | Freedom Through Empowerment

  15. I’m so sorry about your feline friend, Tricia. I admire your courage in staying with him through the procedure, which is something I’m way too much of a wimp to do. Whenever I have a cat that needs to be euthanized, I take it to the vet, pat it on the head, say goodbye to it, pay the bill, and then leave. (Yes, I’m a total coward.)

    Last year one of our elderly cats needed to be euthanized, and my middle daughter volunteered to take it to the vet for me, which of course was very nice of her. But then she decided that the deed had to be done while her two sisters were here (they live in other states, and visits home are few and far between), because she thought they needed to say goodbye to the cat. When the time came, the girls insisted on bringing the body home afterwards and giving it a formal burial. I had stayed home while they went to the vet so I could take care of my grandson, who was about eight months old at the time. When the girls got home, we all went outside to the hole they’d dug in the garden. The girls were crying their eyes out when they put the cat into its grave, but as soon as they started shoveling dirt back into the hole, my grandson started giggling — for some reason he thought it was hilarious. The more they shoveled, the more he giggled, and pretty soon everyone was laughing… because it’s almost impossible not to laugh when you’re in the presence of a giggling baby.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      I appreciate your kind thoughts Bluebird. And the story about your grandson giggling made me laugh out loud, thank you for that!

      You are not a coward and I don’t think I was very brave, just numb. It’s a very personal decision to make whether or not go with your pet and nobody knows but you what will work best. Certainly being stressed out and crying while sitting with your animal probably doesn’t do him/her much good as they can sense that kind of thing. I’m sure Kitty did with me.

      Pets enhance life so much though that the hurt in the end is worth it, eh? At least we give them a good life while they last.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We have been through it a bunch of times and it never gets easy… I cry whenever one of our kitties has to be put down. But that doesn’t stop me from feeding the next pathetic little stray that shows up at my door, then naming it, getting attached to it, letting it become part of the family. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Robert Heinlein had a bit of wisdom related to this:

        When the need arises – and it does – you must be able to shoot your own dog. Don’t farm it out – that doesn’t make it nicer, it makes it worse.

        This is from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long, from this source:
        http://www.logixdev.com/sb_q.html#notebooks

        Much of it you would find agreeable, I think.

        ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

        Liked by 1 person

        • Tricia says:

          Nice quotes Keith, thanks for the link! I know what you mean about being able to shoot ones own dog, but I’d say it maybe takes a stronger person to know what they are and are not emotionally capable of. In times of high stress it’s best to know this and nothing shameful about handing the task off to someone else.

          Like

  16. Citizen Tom says:

    I have lost pets, given them away and buried them. Never gets easy, but it is a blessing to have a a pet.

    We all know in our hearts that animals think and feel. Like human beings? No. Not even a dog or a cat is human, but we are kindred enough to care about them, and some of them care about us.

    We still have a bit of the Garden of Eden, a part that remains sweet. Adam and Eve were suppose to care for the garden. That included the animals.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Awww, I like that reference Tom to the Garden of Eden and our responsibility to take care of the animals. And yes, they are a blessing. Thanks for coming by.

      Liked by 1 person

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Having just learned that CT believes in a literal ‘Garden of Eden,’ despite all of the science to the contrary, really decimates any respect I ever had for his intellect.

        Like

        • Tricia says:

          I’m sure Tom is just heartbroken over losing your respect Arch. Completely inappropriate response by the way, but I will let it stand for others to eye roll over.

          Like

          • archaeopteryx1 says:

            Frankly, I felt that bring the Bible into a personal story of the loss of a beloved pet was just a bit inappropriate, myself.

            Like

          • Tricia says:

            On the contrary Arch, because Tom and I have had many discussions on Christianity and the Bible, he knows I would not be offended in the least by his comment. In fact it made me smile and gave comfort.

            While you can, at times be an endearing and fun commentator to have around Arch, you too often put your need to demean anything remotely related to Christianity above basic common decency towards your fellow man. I believe you know better than to do this but yet you continue.

            Like

          • archaeopteryx1 says:

            No, I simply feel it is wrong to use your tribute to the loss of a loved pet as an opportunity to proselytize. And I am ALWAYS endearing, it’s just that that quality, from time to time, is a little less obvious.

            Like

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