Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I have had animals for most of my whole life -- from cats and dogs to horses, cows, and rabbits.

So when a new animal joins me, I have a conversation with him or her, pointing out that I will most likely outlive him or her, and I have a maximum amount I'll spend on any large vet expenditure. I want that all out in the open.

And over the years, I have, of course, had animals die: from illness, accident, injury. From old age.

But I have never said good-bye to an apparently healthy animal. Until now.

On July 30, I had my 9-year-old cat euthanized. She had always been opinionated, as any self-respecting cat should be, but over the past five years, she'd been getting more and more aggressive.

Not long ago, she attacked my 10-year-old sleeping dog. I had never heard such screams from him before; he was left with a body full of raw scratches. Two more attacks were stopped in the weeks after that. And the dog was afraid of her.

Through the years, Bunter would bite. When petting her, one had to be careful, because if you didn't stop petting her soon enough, she'd bite or scratch.

It took two people and tranquilizer to trim her nails.

She once left a vet bloody, and me bloody and on antibiotics. (She was scared that time, though.)

I had pheromones plugged in all over the house; yes, I tried kitty Valium.

Finally, though, as I saw her mood and temperament continue to get harder and more aggressive (and had to warn visitors and neighborhood kids to be careful), I called the vet for a heart to heart.

After a lengthy conversation with her longtime vet, I made the decision. It was the hardest thing I ever did. I stayed with her as she was put to sleep. And I never, ever want to have to make this decision again.