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Cut for angst.

My friends' cat is dying. He's seventeen years old, so this isn't much of a surprise. I'm not sure exactly what problems he's had, but he's been ailing for at least six months now, at the very least having problems moving from place to place. I know, for example, that the cat's been confined to the laundry room for the last two months because he's unable to climb into the litter box, and spends a lot of his time lying by the water bowl, drinking and peeing on the floor at the same time. He's been in at least some constant pain, requiring meds and shots every day. In the last three days, the poor thing has stopped eating and hasn't moved at all.

It's been hard on my friends (I'll call them Carl and Sandy), but I'm upset because they refuse to put the cat to sleep. Sandy said that Carl just couldn't stomach taking the cat in to the vet (neither of them wants to "move him away from his home"), so they were trying to see if the vet would come out to their house to do it. However, she says she can't just say goodbye, since it's her cat; she made a motion of holding the cat when he was just a kitten, cupped in her hands. So, today she's providing "hospice care" as she describes it (which implies she was unable to get the vet to come out). To me, that just means cuddling the cat while it suffers.

Am I being uncharitable? I understand that it's difficult to lose a pet. My cat passed away last year: she was twenty-one years old and perfectly healthy, and one day, she stopped moving around and stopped eating, just looked up at us with sad eyes. After a day of this, we took her to the vet, who told us that it was just time, that her organs were shutting down, and it was the hardest thing in the world, but we had her put to sleep. We couldn't stand how much she was suffering. My husband held her and told her how much we loved her and what a wonderful kitty she was, up until the very last minute. But isn't that the right thing to do? How can anyone allow their beloved pet continue to suffer?

I offered to take the cat in myself, but Sandy said she wanted to do it herself, not that she's going to do it. I'd foot the bill, if that would help. I just... I don't know. It just makes me angry that my friends would allow their cat to die a slow, painful death because they can't stand the idea of putting him to sleep and want the cat to be "comfortable" at home. And I feel bad because I feel like I'm being completely unfair to my friends. And, of course, I can't do anything. I've offered help, and that's the furthest I can go. I can't tell them that they're doing it wrong, because it's really their decision. Sigh.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 8th, 2015 07:35 pm (UTC)
It is their decision, you are right in that. People react differently to their pets illnesses and impending death.

In a way, that is the nice thing about having a bird as a pet; for the most part, they don't linger beyond a few hours. Most of them just keel over, feet up, and that's how you know they are gone. I did have one that I held as she took her final breaths, but it was only a short time.

I've had friends keep their animals until they finally died on their own, and others take them to the vet. Either way it's difficult. All you can do is be supportive and be there for them when they need.

Good luck to you and your friends.
Apr. 8th, 2015 07:51 pm (UTC)
That is hard, but you've tried to say to them, and it can only be their decision, really. :-/
Apr. 8th, 2015 08:21 pm (UTC)
I can understand your anger. My mother's dog is old and getting more frequently ill (and apparently has now presented with heart arrhythmia acto yesterday's vet visit after sudden diarrhea and vomiting, more than we'd normally expect from her admittedly sensitive digestion) and I dread the day we may have to make this kind of decision about her.
Apr. 9th, 2015 09:51 am (UTC)
It is their decision, but I totally get your unhappiness with it. Seems like needless suffering to me.

Apr. 18th, 2015 10:36 am (UTC)
I think the same, personally, that the best thing would be to spare the poor thing some further suffering—but at the same time, I guess I understand why they just can't bring themselves to do it yet… They need to come to terms with all of this in their own time.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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