This morning we had Soot, our 19 year old kitty, put down. She had a great life until a few months ago, when she began to lose weight, unable to keep her food down. A trip to the Vet showed that she had a large abdominal mass (i.e., cancer). Other bodily functions were also shutting down; probably her kidneys. We tried medication to slow down the tumor growth and help her appetite, but she only vomited more. She began to live in her litter box, getting filth all over her, something a healthy cat does not do. Upon hearing of her lack of response to the medication, our Vet recommended what we had been thinking - it was time to put Soot down.
I feel right about our decision to end her life. My personal views also favor euthanasia for people, so it's not surprising that I would be comfortable with ending a pet's life. But still, I don't take it lightly, ending another being's life.
Having her put down brought back all kinds of memories. I got Soot when I was in my mid-20's, living in an old brewery in Columbus, Ohio, Der Zimpfer Street Brewery. Mid-20's! I was just a baby! I had another kitty, Kahlua, that I had gotten when I was in college (Kahlua lived to be almost 19!), and a black lab named Lajka. I picked up Soot on a whim, thinking she would be a good companion to Kahlua. Turned out that those two cats wanted to have nothing to do with each other!
I intended Soot to be an indoor cat, so I had her front claws removed when she started scratching the couch. Although I don't plan to get another cat, if I ever did, I would not remove its claws. I still recall how awful I felt when I got poor little Soot, just a kitten, back from the Vet with her paws wrapped up. Although Soot bounced back from the surgery, I felt like I had mutilated her (which I had).
Soot did get outside a few times, much to her consternation. Once, in the brewery house, Soot jumped out of the 2nd story window, I suppose because she saw a bird or a squirrel out there. I found her hunkered down in the tall grass beside the house, scared to death. I don't think she moved more than a foot from where she landed! She got out of the house once in Boulder too. We found her under the back porch after she had spent a night outside, fortunately in the warm months.
Soot made it through three dogs; Lajka (who passed away in 1995), Mushka (who passed away this summer) and Strelka. She didn't like any of the dogs except Strelka. They got along well, having many staring contests in my office while I worked. I am sure Strleka will notice Soot's absence.
Soot made it through many boyfriends, although I am confident the current one is the last one! Although she didn't like most men, Soot took to Jesper right away.
Soot survived two moves; one to Cleveland and one to Boulder. She did not like Cleveland, but once I moved her out to Boulder, she came out of her shell and became a much more social cat. She usually slept with us, especially in the winter. It is amazing to me how much room a 10 pound animal can take up on a bed!
I am glad she came out of her shell and had a few good years as an interactive member of the family.