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Sumi's Last Ride

Thursday, January 07, 2010

We had to put Sumi down tonight.

Remember when we had that really cold snap in December? The kittens were inside for that, but one unfortunate "recess" outside, sentenced by my husband for "rough play", saw Nala get sogged by Shiloh in -40. As a souvenir, she got frostbit ears and a cold. Thus, the kittens ended up staying inside for about three weeks. During that time, Sumi became even more reclusive than normal, and in fact at one point, I had to go searching for her since I hadn't actually seen her in a couple of days--she had found a new hiding spot behind my dresses.

It wasn't until the kittens were about to be put back outside, as the weather had warmed up and Nala was pretty much over her cold, that I noticed how thin Sumi seemed to be getting. Then it occurred to me that I hadn't really noticed evidence of her eating or using the litter box much for a while. Maybe a week? I wasn't sure. Hard to tell when she only comes out at night. Was it the stress of having the kittens in the house, or the fact that they ate up the food we had been using for her so we had to switch to what they were eating, or a combination of both?

At any rate, after trying to get her to eat for a couple of days, I googled "will a cat starve itself to death?"

Apparently, the answer is yes.

Amanda M. is a veterinary assistant by training, so I went to her for suggestions. I checked the things she told me to check and found out that it was not urinary crystals, and noticed that she was actually drinking a little, but just not eating. Then I remembered a can of soft food that her previous owner had given me--I had offered it to her before, when we first got her, and she had not eaten it, so I never gave her the other can. At this point, I figured anything was worth a shot, so I opened up the can (room temperature) and offered her a little bit. She ate maybe a tablespoon. But at least she ate! The next morning, she ate about another teaspoon (cold from the fridge). After that, she never ate any more, warm or cold.

According to the internet (which knows everything, don't you, dear internet?) after several days of not eating (some cats are REALLY picky about switching to new food) a cat will start to develop fatty liver disease, and at that point loses its appetite. Some of the suggestions for picky kitties were force-feeding the cat one pebble of the new food, and often the cat will decide it's not so bad after that and chow down. I tried it--didn't work. Maybe she was too far gone by that point, I don't know. Anyway, once they start to get fatty liver disease, there isn't much besides a hefty vet bill that can bring them back from the road they've chosen.

And while I don't want to be a poor steward of what God has given me, a hefty vet bill was not in our future on Sumi's behalf. Honestly, with the psychological problems this cat has, I'm kind of amazed she lived this long--and she's only about 18 months old.

Anyway, it's been a week since she ate that wee bit of soft food, and at least three weeks since I saw her eat much of anything else. She's all bones and fur. She's started puking up bile. She stinks. I can't handle watching her die this slow, painful death, so as I type, Jason is taking her for her last ride.

I'm sad that I couldn't do anything for her. It also broke my heart to coax her to me, the one person she really trusts, so I could put her in a box for her Green Mile. It all seems so wrong--like Frodo coaxing Gollum to follow him and be captured by the Men of Gondor. No one liked Gollum, but that doesn't change the fact that it kind of ruined his chances for redemption forever. I don't even kill bees and spiders most of the time, just capture them and put them outside. (Flies I kill. And mosquitoes. Don't ask for the logic of my justifications, but really--who doesn't think flies and mosquitoes deserve to die? Well, other than the flies and mosquitoes. But I digress.)

Have any of you ever had to "euthanize" a beloved (or at least needy and tolerated) pet? How did it make you feel?

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5 comments

  1. Twice.

    The first time in the small town of Ocean Falls that only had a vet when he came to town once a month. A big dog chased my dog, Marvin under the wheels of a car. I could feel he was broken and bleeding inside. Other than when he was hit he didn't complain or make a peep once. I carried him to a police officer's house to help him pass quickly and avoid the pain ending it with an instantaneous bullet.

    The second in Fort Nelson. Again, the vet only visited. This time it was Melanie. She was old and having heart attacks fairly often. When she did, she needed to walk off the pain but it was so painful she had to press against a wall and walk or she would just keep tumbling. She had arthritis and couldn't manage the 5 steps down to the yard anymore. I booked an appointment for her to be held while she received a shot to drift peacefully to sleep.

    My pets become family members. For me, though I haven't had to do this, it was like pulling the plug on a family member. I don't I ever got over it. Don't think I ever will. I know it was best in both cases and I did the very best I could to do what was needed in the most humane way possible at the time but killing of any being capable of love should never be something we get over. Never.

    Ug. Even now I'm tearing up remembering it.

    It's wrong to kill. Some times the wrong thing becomes the right thing.

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  2. Yes, I've been down the road a few times. It hurts....and I've been down the road of watching them die slowly and painfully, because I thought I was doing the right thing. Petit Jean had developed cytozanosis (spelling may be incorrect), a disease from a tick bite. They get a high fever, and stop eating and drinking. Then they kind of zone out and nothing scares them, their inside organs start to deteriorate and it is very painful. The vet said there was only one thing that he had heard of that might help, and even then it didn't always, and even then they could get worse before they got better. But I decided to spend the money and take the risk. "(At night when I got into bed I would call for Petit Jean. She would come galloping from wherever she was in the house and come and sit on my chest while I petted her and we had our evening quality time. She was my bud! She was also Rip's playmate!) So after the vet gave her the shot, I took her home and prayed. And she seemed to improve for a few hours (or was it wishful thinking) and then she got worse, and worse, and I cried and prayed. But she died on my bed in horrible pain and convulsions! I swore I would NEVER do that again. When Tigger was diagnosed with the same disease, I simply had the vet put her to sleep. And that was only marginally easier!
    I'm so looking forward to Jesus coming and taking us to heaven where there will be no more tears, or sorrow or death!! I can hardly wait!!
    LY

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  3. No, I've never had to. I'm so sorry, Talena. So sorry!

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  4. Thank you for your comments, and for those of you that shared your stories. Yeah, it sucks. But I guess we sometimes just have to do the hard thing, 'cause it's the best thing. Sigh.

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