Sad Duties

We had to put one of the cats to sleep today.

Her name was Cassie, and she hasn’t featured in the blog much. She was a lurker under beds and behind chairs, and a bolter-in-terror from human feet. The vast majority of our interactions involved extracting her from those hiding places (once actually inside the couch) to administer medications and remove mats. In the last six months, I managed to coax her into accepting the occasional ear rub, provided I made myself very small and allowed thorough sniffing first, and Kevin recently discovered that certain cat treats could get her out from under the bed and trying to take his fingers off to get at them, but she generally wanted little to do with us. Even her response to ear rubs was a sort of “Fine, this is pleasant enough, but I have no interest in seeking anyone out to get one.”

Unfortunately she developed pancreatitis, and survivability on that is fifty-fifty if you’re lucky. The best thing was that it was fast—a week ago she stopped being interested in treats, and by yesterday she was completely unresponsive and they were talking about feeding tubes. That’s a line I wouldn’t want crossed in my own care, we’d already tried aggressive medical intervention without results, so we had her put to sleep. She was so heavily sedated that I doubt she knew we were even there, but then, I doubt she would have cared much anyway.

I realize that it’s traditional at this point for well-meaning people to post links to Rainbow Bridge stuff, and I do appreciate the sentiment, but it really wasn’t that kind of relationship. There’s an afterlife for cats if there’s an afterlife for anybody, but I suspect Cassie would be more likely to have a quick wash and get on with whatever happens next, rather than waiting around to see any of us again. We provided someplace warm and safe and stocked with cat treats, and that’s all she wanted. I’ve cried plenty, because these things are always rough and sooner or later someone has to make the miserable decisions, but this was more like helping a grumpy turtle across the road than like having a close friend. The road in this case was just five years long and mostly under beds.

7 thoughts on “Sad Duties

  1. RhianimatorLGP says:

    You gave a cat who might have lived a completely unloved life, as much love and care as she was willing to accept. That adds up to good karma points in my book.

    I’m sure there will be another such creature crossing your path, and I have no doubts you will do whatever is needed then as well.

  2. Hawk says:

    Hugs, and sympathies. Even when it’s someone else’s animal, this sort of thing can really get to me. It’s never easy to make such decisions. You did your best, you know you did what you could.

    Maybe you can find a “grumpy turtle” sort of plant for your garden. You know, one that doesn’t want much other than to lurk…be a good sort of memorial of the cat.

  3. Louiiiise says:

    I’ve always felt like it was some kind of privilege as well as a duty to accompany an animal on its last journey. It taught me things about how to deal with death, my own and other people’s.

  4. simon says:

    Sorry to hear this. I’ve lived with cats all my life, all from rescues, some will love you and some will avoid you no matter how gentle and kind you try to be.People can be such arseholes.

    The one thing you can be sure of though, and that is if you take the decision to end the creatures life you must see it through to the end. And trust me, a vet giving an injection to a sedated cat is a lot easier than bashing in the skull of a twitching ‘roo by the roadside with a shovel.

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