Entries tagged with “cat”.


The day I have been dreading for six months finally arrived. I took our mouthy little Siamese to the vet for the last time. He has been sick for some time and has been steadily declining after a brief rebound over the summer. Two days ago he had a seizure and lost use of his hind legs for a few hours. By evening he was at least able to walk again, but it was readily apparent that his time had come. I told our five year old daughter to give him a hug and a kiss goodnight. I had no illusions about what would happen when I took him to the vet the next day. Jen wrote a nice post on what this little cat meant to our family.

When Kwoan and I arrived at the vet we were sent right into the examination room. The vet soon came in and reviewed Kwoan’s history, talked with me about how he had been doing and gave him an exam, confirming that he had cancer. He said there were two options. The first was to take him to an animal hospital where they would further confirm the cancer and could do surgery or start chemo. The second was to put him to sleep. As tough as it was I knew that the right decision was the latter. I could not imagine putting him through surgeries and treatments that would only prolong his pain.

The process was fairly simple. One tiny shot under the skin that would make him doze off and then another intravenous shot that would end his life. The staff was very helpful and did everything to make Kwoan and I as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. After Kwoan received the shot to make him doze off he crawled into his carrier and drifted off to sleep. In that moment I thought “Stop, it’s not too late,” but knew that would just be selfish on my part. The vet then took him out of the carrier and gently laid him on a towel. I could see he was peacefully asleep, still breathing. I kept petting his head and rubbing behind his ears the way he loved. They proceeded to shave part of his leg and give him the second injection. A few minutes later the vet checked his heartbeat and informed my that he was gone. The staff then left the room to give me a few moments with him. I said my goodbyes and left him lying there at peace and out of pain.

After arriving back home I knew Jen would be home with our daughter soon and that I would have to break the news to her. She was sad and at five does not yet fully understand what dying means. Later that night I realized that perhaps I didn’t either. I had never witnessed a life at its last breath as I suspect few people have. At the time I think I was a little emotionally numb, just trying to get through something that had been coming for a while. Being there did not hurt so much as the feeling of responsibility. The fact that I brought Kwoan there, that I had made the decision to end his life. Even though I know it was the right decision, it still hurts and I can not help but feel I have lost a little shred of my humanity in making that decision. It is not a decision I can ever undo or go back and “make right”. The finality keeps coming back when I feed our other cat and accidently pull out two cans of food or I realize I don’t have to tip-toe around the kitchen to avoid Kwoan’s tail as he was always underfoot or be woken in the middle of night by his alley cat caterwauling.

Kwoan - Kittie WithOut A Name So tonight I took our mouthy little Siamese to the vet for what I thought would be the last time. He’s been sick for awhile. In the past year he has lost about two thirds of his normal weight, going from about 15 pounds to about 5 now. He is usually very active and chatty, but lately he just eats and sleeps. Even by cat standards he is a hyper-groomer, always ready for show, so when he started to get mangy I knew it was not good. We give him as much food as possible, but he’s still losing weight. So I went to the vet with the expectation of not bringing him home. The vet suggested we run a few tests before we give up. He has been on thyroid medications for about a year, but his test showed still elevated thyroid levels. Otherwise his blood tests looked normal. The vet cautiously told me that this does not preclude another issue, such as cancer, but we can try doubling his medication dose and see if he responds over the next week or two.

Kwoan came into my home as a rescued stray when I first started dating Jen, almost seven years ago. It took him all of about two minutes to get comfortable in the house, meet my other cat and start his usual mouthiness. We had trouble coming up with a name, a problem with us as Jen’s cat is simply named Kittie and my old cat came pre-named. Ultimately, we gave him the non-name of Kwoan, which stands for Kittie WithOut A Name. I love my pets, but am also realistic about things. When we had our first child we had to send a cat to the shelter, because we simply didn’t have time to keep up with his health issues and non-use of the litter box. I try to keep things in perspective. Children are family members and pets are residents of the household. I never refer to my pets as kids, children, etc. Yes, they bring me joy and are nice companions, but nothing compared to my kids, not even in the same universe. Still, taking our Kwoan out of the house for what may have been the last time was no less fun or heart wrenching. The thought now of having to do this again and having to explain to my four year old daughter again, that Kwoan may not becoming home just tears me up inside.

I do not want to make the decision to put him to sleep, but I know that it comes down to me. The vet also mentioned that if he does not respond to the higher dosage that he can refer me to an internist at an animal hospital. I really want to see the mouthy little Siamese get better, but I’m really not willing to go down a long path that involves multiple potential “last” trips. Not to mention the cost. It may sound cold, but the reality is spending a large amount of money to keep my cat alive for a few more months or even years means taking something away from my family. I can certainly justify a few hundred dollars, but at some point I do have to put a price on this cat’s life. And that maybe the toughest decision of all…