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Again with the goddamned cat

I know nobody really wants to read about my cat, and I had something else to write about that was maybe even sort of funny, but then Callie has a tumor that we probably couldn't treat even if we wanted to and so here we are talking about my cat. She drives me insane. She howls at 5 am for food (and for most of the day for that matter), she will only drink out of a faucet so I have to turn the sink on for her 20 times a day, and beats up Pixel and she pees all over the place and I love her madly. She's almost 20, I've had her since I was 12. Twenty years. Through almost every important thing that has happened to me in my life, I've had this cat. Through every change, every new thing, college, marriage, motherhood, she's been there, the one thing in my life that never changes. And yes, we have known for years that her kidneys were shot and yes all she does lately is eat and sleep and pee on the carpet and I keep telling myself that I am ready for this, that I could and would put her to sleep tomorrow if she seems unhappy or in any pain. That is my responsibility, that is what I owe her for 20 years and it very well might be a good long while yet, impossible to say, but when it comes I can do it, I'm ready.

Except that no, I'm not. Really not. How do you get ready for this?

Comments (46)

That's horrible. I'm really sorry. And you don't get ready for it, I guess it's just something you have to do for her, not for you. Because when that time comes, it will hurt more to see her in pain.

I don't think you will ever be ready for it. Sorry sweetie...


it's one of the most hardest things you'll ever have to do. i'm so sorry that you have to make a decision like this.

That is a tough one. There is no real way to be ready for it. You can prepare, and talk yourself up - but once you get to the vet... you find yourself.. very un-ready. I had 2 cats. Angel was 23 when we had to put her down.. kidney failure. I was there with her, and I knew it was for the best, she was in so much pain.. but my heart was broken. 2 years later 24 year old Tinker passed away. We were happy to see that she got to go in her sleep.. and at home with us... but the pain is the same. One thing I know for sure - is when Callie is ready to let go... she will let you know, and when you get the sign, you'll be as ready as you can be.

Shit, you can't.

And then when you try to do the right thing, it can backfire. We took shit from the workers at the vet when we put our dog down. The inoperable cancer was ruining her life (couldn't eat, hard to walk), and we didn't want to wait until she was miserable and absolutely unable to move to relieve her pain.

I switched vets after that.

Awww is SO hard to make that decision. We've had to do it twice, once recently. They become part of you and what you know and not having them around feels like a piece of you is missing.

20 years is a long time to form that bond and even though Callie won't be around forever in your house, she'll always be there in your heart.

I'm so sorry. I have wondered myself how I will deal with it when that time comes with all of our pets. I have decided that my husband will have to make the call, since he is not as attached to them as I am. He knows that my wish is to do what's best for the pets, not me, so I've put that responsibility in his hands. But I still won't be prepared for it.

I'll send good thoughts your way and Callie's way.

Oh, I am so sorry. I went through this with Whiskers two years ago. I had had him for 13 years-- since I was first married, through the births of my three children, through my divorce. I still miss him.

I thought I would know when the time was. I didn't realize until around midnight one cold winter night that I hadn't known in time. He wouldn't live through the night. He died horribly at home. And it was just awful.

But somehow it was less awful than clinically holding him and injecting him-- no, actually, it was more awful than that. But I didn't do it in time. And it was inconceivable to do it before it was time.

It sucked.

I wish I had something better to say.

So sad! That's so hard. I had dogs that had to be put down when I was younger. My family, not so good at picking out the healthy puppies. I didn't ever have to do it though. And I'm so fearful of when that time might come with my kitties. So curse and cry and miss Callie when the time comes.

Beth, I am so, so sorry. I don't even know what to tell you, because I don't know what I would do. Hugs to both you and Callie.

NO! Don't do it. I'm selfish. I would probably just shrivel up if I had to make that decision with my darling kitty. Makes me ill to think of. If I were you, I'd just pray that God takes her on His own peacefully, if that's what has to happen. So that you don't have to decide. Ugh. I'm so sorry to hear that.

I've had to do it and I just sleptwalked through. Then I came home and cried.

It's the right thing to do but it's never easy.

I'm sorry. I've loved all my kitties over the years too.

I worked for years as a vet tech and I always got to be the one to try to comfort the clients who had to have their pets put down. I still don't have any magic formula for preparing for it. You don't really get just do it. You repeatedly tell yourself that it's what's best for Callie and that she is depending on you to make that call and not let it go too far so that she is miserable. It sucks, and I'm sorry that you have to go through it.

It's unprepareable (is that a word?) Our pets our like family and it's very hard to put them down. Just as it's hard to let grandma go when she's suffering. It's something you never, ever prepare for. It sucks. I'm sorry that it's happening.

This is one of those things, that like everyone has said, you won't be ready for. You know it's the best thing, but then you just wish that it didn't have to happen.

many hugs, for you and Callie... It sounds like she has been very lucky have had you for as long as she did.

You don't, but you will get through it. I found this nice poem...

And God asked the feline spirit
Are you ready to come home?
Oh, yes, quite so, replied the precious soul
And, as a cat, you know I am most able
To decide anything for myself.

Are you coming then? asked God.
Soon, replied the whiskered angel
But I must come slowly
For my human friends are troubled
For you see, they need me, quite

But don't they understand? Asked God
That you'll never leave them?
That your souls are intertwined. For all
That nothing is created or destroyed?
It just is....forever and ever and ever.

Eventually they will understand,
Replied the glorious cat
For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am....forever and ever and ever.

Author Unknown

Oh, Beth, I'm so sorry to hear that. I lost my 18 year old kitty-baby a couple of years ago, and another a few years before that.

I don't think it's ever easy to decide, and sometimes, being human, maybe you guess wrong about whether it's time or not. For what it's worth, my rule of thumb is: if they're a little senile and special-needs, well, they're old and deserve a little coddling, but if they're unhappy and in pain, it's time to let them go before things get worse.

Maybe, when the time comes, you can make a donation to your local Humane Society in her memory; help out some kitties who didn't have such good mommies.

I'm so sorry. I have a secret - this is the reason I can't have a pet - it's soooo hard when you have to make this decision. So I am too chicken.

I'm so sorry. I understand that "going through all of life" with them thing, it's like ... they're just as much a part of your life as - your job or your pillow or ... anything else that is valuable and special.

My cat will only drink out of the faucet too. It's really f'ing annoying.

So, so, sorry that you have to go through this. My dog is only three years old, and even so I lose my shit thinking about when her time comes. I guess that is the contract we make when we get a pet: We know from the start that we'll (probably) outlive them. Doesn't make it any easier right now, I know. I wish you lots of strength and peace of mind.

(Also, I really like the above poster's idea to donate to the humane society in memory of Callie, when the time comes. It always feels better to do something.)

Nothing makes you ready for this. You just do it. Because it's the right thing and it hurts like hell and you cry a lot and you curse at people and you even bawl in front of your boss (ok, that was me). But you do it. Because you have to.

So sorry.

You're never ready for it, but you realize that it is the best choice and you make it. I had to put my cat of 7 years to sleep just before Christmas. I know it was the best choice because he wouldn't understand why we were putting him through the pain of surgery just so he'd feel better later. And I had to let him go. I wish you good thoughts and luck as you make one of your harder decisions.

it wasn't motherhood that made me finally feel like an adult, it was having to put my kitty to sleep. sometimes being a grown-up is no fun at all.

You cuddle up with Chris, get some ice cream, some tissues, some dvds you like, and you cry about it. And you know that you are a good kitty owner and a wonderful mother and wife. And that this is painful, but your kindness and warmth are the best things that anyone (or any cat) could ever ask for.

I'm sorry honey. It can't be easy, and there's really no way to be ready...but it really sounds like it's the right thing to do. I wish you courage.

i can only imagine, and do NOT look forward to saying goodbye to any of my fur children in the future. we had dogs growing up, but they were all outside, and we never seemed to be able to keep one that way for more than a few years.

now that i've had my own pets and have had them LIVING with me, interacting with me, sleeping with me, sitting in the bathroom with me while i pee (yes)...i just can't fathom saying goodbye to any of them. but i know that the day will come when i will have to do that thing which is difficult for me and best for them. god, i only can HOPE that they all just go in their sleep of old age because DAMN, i am going to cry just thinking about this.

if you have to do this very hard thing, please spend time remembering what a fabulous life you gave her, and how much she loves you instead of focusing on the ending. ;) hugs.

I'm sorry to hear, read rather, about Callie. I've had kitties go missing and one's we've had to put to sleep. There is really no preparation for the loss of an animal, whether expected or not. It'll be hard, but at least she'll be happy in kitty heaven. Enjoy your weekend.

You'll do what you know is right when it is the right time. Because that is the type of person you are. I've only been reading you for a few months, but your heart comes through your words. You love, that means pain will enter your life when those you love leave it. But, how painful and useless life would be without the love.

You don't get ready for it, I don't think. My 10 year old cat, Muffin, has obviously been in pain for a while now and I'm scared to take her to the vet because I don't want to her that we have to put her to sleep. I'll keep you and Callie in my thoughts :) (By the way, all Muffin does is eat, sleep, pee, and beat up our other cat - sound familiar? :) )

I was under the same situation. I wasnt ready to let go yet. Mine was cancer and I tried surgery twice and went to hand feedings and everything to try to keep my baby alive. You will know when it is time. It was very easy for me. I walked in his room one day and he was coughing and I knew that was the day. I was finally ready. I had mourned this day for so so long that it just wasnt a hard decision anymore. I knew it was time. I took him to the vet and they put him to sleep and then I carried him back home and buried him. I cried and was sad but not anywhere near as hard as I had already envisioning losing him. I knew I had done everything and it was truly his time. As long as your cat seems to still be happy then let it be but if its just eating and sleeping all the time I would worry that maybe it wasnt feeling well. If its having kidney problem it could also be in alot of pain everytime it goes to the bathroom. Its a hard call I know. It does get easier after the first loss though. When my second was close to dying I didnt put her through everything I had done for the other. I just made her comfortable till she passed and it was alot less stress for the both of us. You should know when it is time. I was once asked if I was keeping him alive for myself or for him...once I truly thought about it I knew it was for me because I was trying to escape the heartache I would feel with him wasnt for him clearly he was miserable and ready to go. I wish I knew the right answer to tell you.

I always read your blog but its the first time I've posted a comment. Reading yours and all of your commenters stories made me get all weepy; now I'm hugging my baby kitties and getting on their nerves. Hugs to you, Bean, and your kitties, especially Callie.

I'm so sorry Beth. I went through this just recently. I had a stray come to my home and when I took him to the vet we discovered he had FIP (a fatal kitty disease). He was only in my life for two months and it broke my heart to have him put to sleep. I can not imagine the pain you must be feeling. I do know that for the last few months of his life, he was well fed, warm, safe and loved and that has to hold me. You can take comfort in knowing the same of your Callie. It's crap, and not nearly enough- but it's the only thing there is. Hug your baby, it'll help. Stay strong for Callie, she's depending on you to do the best for her as you always have.

I am so sorry for you. It is such a difficult thing. I had to PTS my 11 year old Fred two weeks ago. He had severe kidney failure. I forcefed, and gave SubQ fluids at home until the end. In the end, I decided I wasnt suffering, he was. I had his paws and name tattooed on my back, he was my best friend. Its never easy, but I think what was harder for me, was for all the years of companionship, I just wanted him to know how much we all really LOVED him. Good luck to you. Salems Mom

In the last 5 years, I had to say good-bye to two beloved pets and have found that actually the worse part of the event is coming to terms with the decision. I cried and cried both nights that we made the decision but found when the vet actually came to the house (we got travel vet to visit to ease both them and us) I didn't really cry at all. At that point it was more important for me to make our animals comfortable and for them to know that we loved. Of course, the tears did come afterward but I knew it was the best thing we could of done for our beloved Beans & Jack at both those times.

Ooooh I'm sorry... Mine is 17... He's my daughter's little brother... I'm not sure I'll ever be ready for that...

You don't get ready for this. You just do what has to be done.

I know how you feel. I had to put my cat, Checkers, to sleep for the same reason. She was 22 years old and had a hard time eating and yowled constantly throughout the day. I think Calypso will be thankful even though it'll be hard. Good luck!

Oh, I'm so sad to hear that your kitty is so sick. I can't even begin to think about that yet with my cats, so I can't advise you much because this is the first time in my life that I've been able to have pets (my mom had horrible allergies). However, Mein Hublein has had cats his whole life, and I think that what some of the others said about never really being able to prepare yourself is true - this is a member of your family! I will say that Hublein had a couple of cats who had to be put down, and it was the right decision in both cases because the cats were old and sick, and in so much pain that it really was the better choice for them. There was one who died at home, though, and my MIL was able to pet her and whisper soothingly to her in the quiet dark of the morning as she passed away, and there was something healing in that. Whatever you decide will difficult, I know, but it will be the right decision.

Have you ever read the poem 'The Rainbow Bridge'? Just Google it and you'll find it - we used to pass out copies of that at the vet's office where I worked.

I'm sorry, Beth.


That's about all I will say for now. I have much more to say but won't bother you with it. I'll post it, probably, later.

I feel for you. My heart aches with the pain yours must be feeling right now.

Just; *Hugs*.

You don't. Ever.

Oh Beth, I'm so sorry, this situation does bite mightily. I'm reluctant to rant about my own pets, but I'd hate to stay quiet if this information might help you: When I had to put a cat of mine down (long story involving lots of pee and poo for a year) I donated ALL my sheets and blankets, and most of my towels to an animal shelter and bought new ones. The old stuff reminded me of the cat as I was CONSTANTLY laundering pee out of them. Now the items purchased that day remind me a little of that cat, but mostly I'm reminded of my conviction that "the pooh goes on". To explain "the pooh" is a pet's version of "the force" circa Lucas. Elements of Callie's sweet sassy personality will show up in another cat, and this cat will find you, or perhaps Mia? (In which case you are obligated to say "yes, we'll keep that kitten!") As you are sad, please remember that the next chapters in your cat book will bring you joy - I had the same cat from age 5 'till 22 and no longer feel tragic about her death, it opened up physical and mental space for my current pets to happily thrive in.

I guess you can never be ready. I know I never will be. But 20 years with kidney problems is amazing -- 20 years period for a cat is amazing - and makes me very hopeful for my Zoe who has kidney disease and is only about to turn 8. Hang in there.

I had to put my dog to sleep almost five years ago and thinking about it still brings me to tears.

But I'd do it for her again if I had to. I would hope the same thing for myself-- that if someday I am in too much pain and there's nothing to be done, a kind person who loves me will help me escape it.

But still. Never easy.

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