March 9, 2013

"One day, Meeno woke up in the middle of the night and asked me to kiss his forehead."

"His expression became tender after I did so, and he went back to sleep again. After repeating this gesture for almost half and hour, he suddenly began to purr loudly...."

#16 in a 20-photo slide show.

29 comments:

Petunia said...

That's very touching. I wonder if Meeno had been ticking along in chronic renal insufficiency for awhile and then the stress of having his dad gone for so long kicked him over into kidney failure.

It looks like Meeno had a good, long life with a caring owner. That's more than a lot of animals get.

Sorun said...

My experience with vets is that their instinct is to try and keep an animal alive as long as possible. When one recommends euthanasia, that's something to pay attention to.

Taking an old animal to the vet to be put down is really the best outcome you can ever expect with a dog or cat. Having the animal die at home after a long, painful illness is not that good.

When an uncle's dog needed to be put down, he gave it a steak and shot it in the head while it was eating. That may be more humane than going to the vet, but it disgusts the women in the family.

YoungHegelian said...

I had a trio of three cats who all got to a ripe old age (17 to 19) in the 2000-2003 time frame that I had to have put down due to kidney failure or cancer.

For all three, I waited too long, and I regret they suffered because of my weakness. It's really difficult to let go of a companion of 18 years.

Sorun is right. When the vet tells you it's time to euthanize your animal, it's time to euthanize him/her.

A lot easier said than done, but I'll try and do better with the present set.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

It is the scariest thing about having pets -- the near-certainty that they are going to die before you will. We have two cats, both around 5 years old, and the near-certainty that we are going to see both of them die is awful. (Not as awful, though, as the prospect that we die first, and they starve to death locked in our house -- I'm making arrangements with a neighbor now to make sure that doesn't happen.)

My parents own a couple of parrots that will likely survive them, and their care is on me.

Widmerpool said...

Sorun,

But see Overzealous vets

I think the first story is quite funny, actually (and very believable).

greenlantern said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za7ThH5x01k

Methadras said...

This has made me sad and I didn't want to be sad today. Not today.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

YoungHegelian,

Would any of your cats have wanted to die? Wouldn't all of them have fought, however feebly, anything like an obvious attempt to kill them?

I am conflicted about euthanasia of pets, because it seems to me often to be more about the owner's not wanting to witness suffering than the animal's not wanting to bear it.

When the vet tells you it's time to euthanize your animal, it's time to euthanize him/her.

Who knows your pet better? You or the vet? Who knows better whether your cat is still able to receive, and enjoy, comfort among his or her friends (feline, human, and otherwise)? Why the hell isn't something like hospice care OK for animals?

Sorun said...

@Widmerpool

I've also paid $500 for a test with a result I already knew, and then being told: "but we can't be certain without more tests." In fact, I have a lot of expensive stories. It's important to the vet that they're able to tell you something, no matter the cost.

I finally learned that dogs and cats will die. It doesn't matter so much which organ failed (one of them always will), as long as the animal doesn't have to suffer too much.

JAL said...

I think we usually end up believing we waited one day too long.

My dog died at my feet. He knew I was there, and needed me to be with him (he crawled towards me) but it wasn't a sweet passing at the very end. I wished my doc had been able to give me something I could have fed him (or injected -- I'm an RN) at home. I could have done that.

Putting down my horse was harder.

Compamion / partner animals more often make us bigger people, somehow.

Emil Blatz said...

I had this experience with a cat that I adopted from the Humane Society in Madison in 1987, which followed me through marriage and divorce, moving to the south and remarriage. The cat passed in 2004, but in the mid 1990's it survived a diagnosis of kidney failure from a vet who had broached the subject of putting her down. I did the sub-cutaneous fluid infusion thing for several weeks, and she rebounded.

I have a friend who has a tropical bid as a pet - which has a lifespan of about 70 years. She was 35 when she bought the bird, so estate planning is necessary.

We have 2 13 year old male cats and an 8 1/2 year old Cocker Spaniel. I think the easy way is to feather in new pets so you never have that drop off to zero pets in your household.

Or you can work a deal with a half dozen neighbors and borrow their pets for much of the day.

As much as I am inclined to dislike the NYT, there they go again, making themselves the newspaper you love to hate. This and some of their more ambitious multimedia stuff is almost to pay for.

LYNNDH said...

Our Brandy died in our home, no worning. About a month later it was Holloween and had been snow a bit. Some kids came to the door and I gave them candy, then I noticed a cat in our breezway, and I just know it was Brandy, coming to say goodbye. I had not seen any cats out like him (yellow) before or since then. It was him. No, he was not with the kids.

wyo sis said...

This story is similar to one we experienced when our oldest children were young. It's heart wrenching. Pets are a great blessing.

YoungHegelian said...

@Michelle,

Who knows your pet better? You or the vet?

Sometimes, Michelle, the vet does. My vet knew better than I did the intense pain that a bone tumor causes.

Cats are very stoic creatures, and they can bear up under a tremendous amount of pain & suffering. The life of an animal in the wild is filled with pain, so they get good at handling it. That doesn't mean they should.

Would any of your cats have wanted to die?

No creature wants to die, but when death is unavoidable (e.g. when they have no kidney function left), we have a responsibility as their owners to "reason" for a creature that can't, and end their useless suffering. If I my cats could have written a will, I would have followed their wishes, but they can't.

edutcher said...

The only pup we had that was a pound puppy was B Treasure Dog, who lived to the ripe old age of 16 1/2. And, yes, when she went it was sad.

edutcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JAL said...

My donkey has a life expectancy of 35 years -- about 25 years left.

I told him when I got him "Alfred, it's going to be just you and me in the end." Everyone else will be gone.

And he still may outlive me.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

YoungHegelian,

No creature wants to die, but when death is unavoidable (e.g. when they have no kidney function left), we have a responsibility as their owners to "reason" for a creature that can't, and end their useless suffering. If I my cats could have written a will, I would have followed their wishes, but they can't.

Query: Would you say the same for human relatives with dementia?

Carol said...

Would any of your cats have wanted to die?

Normally I would say no, but my last cat-who-died was so old and sick that he took to lying out in the rain, outside our property fence where we couldn't see him and where predators could get him. It was like he was deliberately trying to die from exposure. He truly was a stoical creature.

I'm glad now we took him to the vet at the end. We should all go so peacefully.

RigelDog said...

His dead cat came back to visit him; vital as in his prime years. Yet the author says that he is an atheist and doesn't believe in life after death. Dude, you just witnessed life after death! You don't even have to believe in God to think that there might be a way that our energy lives on.
Three years ago our elegant black cat, The Butters, became wasted and stopped eating; he'd developed kidney problems as so many cats do. The vet said we could try medication and syringe feeding, but he didn't hold out much hope. The Butters is now sixteen and doing very well...he still occasionally does that "crazy-kitten-run-and-bounce-off-the-walls-for-no-reason" gig. I would not have a pet linger in pain needlessly but I'm so glad we tried treating him for at least a few days.

RigelDog said...

His dead cat came back to visit him; vital as in his prime years. Yet the author says that he is an atheist and doesn't believe in life after death. Dude, you just witnessed life after death! You don't even have to believe in God to think that there might be a way that our energy lives on.
Three years ago our elegant black cat, The Butters, became wasted and stopped eating; he'd developed kidney problems as so many cats do. The vet said we could try medication and syringe feeding, but he didn't hold out much hope. The Butters is now sixteen and doing very well...he still occasionally does that "crazy-kitten-run-and-bounce-off-the-walls-for-no-reason" gig. I would not have a pet linger in pain needlessly but I'm so glad we tried treating him for at least a few days.

bagoh20 said...

When I was about 12 years old my dog got hit by a car, and I carried her home. She was paralyzed and bleeding badly in the yard. My father got my 22 rifle and handed it to me, and simply said "She's suffering son". Nothing else was said by either of us, and while crying profusely, I did what had to be done. There was no doubt about the right or wrong of it. It was the first time I ever saw anything I loved die.

I have had to put down a few dogs since then, always from old age, when they could no longer walk or enjoy life, but it gets harder every time. Men get more emotional as they age, and I cry more often now than I did as a kid. As a kid you do it for show or power, now I just can't help it.

David said...

You will someday lose each creature that you love. It happens without fail. The creature dies, you die or the love dies.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

bagoH20,

I have never seen a pet with a loving owner that wasn't able to enjoy life because of old age. I've known one dog that really did need to be euthanized, because he was dangerous. I have also seen another dog in the same household euthanized because he had a heart condition, and it would be much nicer if he died at the vet's than at home.

bagoh20 said...

Michelle,

The last dog I had to euthanize a few years ago was with me for 17 years. He finally just got too old to even stand up. Most days he couldn't make it out of bed to even go out to do his business. For a while injections would give him some relief for a few weeks, but eventually they stopped working too. Being a loving owner for me means accepting the responsibility to give a loyal friend the respect and dignity of ending a painful, joyless life. To have him simply fall asleep and not wake again is for me a loving gift to avoid further discomfort, unfulfillable needs, and the chance of a painful injury. There is no escaping the end, but we have the ability, and therefore the duty to prevent a painful, and miserable time at the end for a helpless creature. After all the years of fun and loyalty, I owed him that. Often they die on their own before they get that bad, but if not, I will help my friend pass with dignity. I'd want the same thing for myself, so it's just following The Golden Rule for me.

bagoh20 said...

It's important to remember that at a shelter near you there are probably numerous young and healthy dogs and cats being euthanized every week entirely because of us, our bad decision making, and our selfishness. We made them, and we abandon them to suffering and death, yet we have the gall to fear them.

Joe Schmoe said...

The #18 picture of the author with his dead cat in his arms is hauntingly, achingly beautiful.

ken in sc said...

Our last dog to die went into a coma and died at home. I happened to be in the room when he breathed his last breath. There was no sign of his suffering, but of course it was sad for our family.

Seven Years of College Down the Drain said...

The cat was named after Meeno Peluce?