Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Choosing to do the humane thing

Death sucks. Declining health sucks. Difficult choices suck. All of this comes from a guy who is admittedly emotionally detached. That's another story for another day. Saturday morning, though, we had to make a difficult choice regarding the younger of our two pet cats.

Clocking in at a mere nine years old, Buffy was a distant but fluffy member of our household. She stayed out of the way since her earliest days. We wouldn't have even had her if it weren't for the fact that we took in a stray cat who turned out to be an expecting cat mother. We gave away the three other kittens to loving homes and opted to keep the remaining kitten around so its mom wouldn't be lonely.

The two were great friends for the most part. They could be seen bathing each other or sleeping in a pile together somewhere in an unoccupied corner of the house. Buffy was never much for human interaction though, outside of the occasional vigorous petting session on her head. Anywhere else and she's nip at whomever was performing the unwelcome petting.

We knew that her health was on the decline as she had been battling something for the majority of the summer months. We opted to give her a bath on Friday evening and noticed that most of the lush fur from her belly was gone and that she was bleeding. It was obvious that Buffy wasn't well and that she was in somewhat visible pain.

Saturday morning was decision time. Do we let her continue to live with declining health or do we call the vet? After crying for a while - thankfully our five year-old daughter was outside with friends - we grabbed the pet carrier and I took her to the vet.

I returned home with an empty pet carrier and a bit of a lump in my stomach. Like any human/pet relationship, we definitely had our differences but I never thought that, nine years ago, I'd miss this large, fluffy, ball of orange fur. Owning a pet is easy, choosing to do the right thing when they are in pain and suffering is a tough decision. I had never had to make the decision to part with a pet before and I know that this is only the beginning in a life filled with difficult, gut-wrenching decisions. She is in a better place now with no more pain and suffering. That sounds cliched but it's the truth. She will be missed.

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