Euthanasia (Trigger Warning)

I am not pro Euthanasia. I think it should be illegal for humans and pets to be discarded willy nilly. Euthanasia however has a special place when it comes to the suffering of animals, and if humans ever value minorities and the disabled, humans. Yes, I am well aware that cats and dogs are put to sleep for being unwanted and unloved, and that is a part of this conversation I am having with myself. You see, today it became clear to me that if Nymph is here Monday with her dull eyes, her silent meows because she just can’t take the pain caused by making a real meow and if she no longer purrs at all, I will take her in. We will reassess Wednesday if she is still here Monday and is okay enough that this is in her best interest.

Even considering this step is not in MY best interest. I realize part of what is in the house and what is under that ice, from my discussion with myself about fragility. Under the ice is the feelings I locked away after killing my dog, to protect my sister. In as little detail as possible for my sake, it was not humane but he had taken a three year old girl by the throat and so I did what I had to do. I can go into more detail but why? Even thinking of that hurts me. Especially the reasoning and the fact that we had raised this dog from a puppy, and I still cannot fathom why he attacked my sister.

In the house are the feelings related to every lost pet, every lost self, every moment of agony that I cannot quite accept was real. All the things I talk about, and there are more things that I am not sure really happened on the surface but I know deep down these “things never happen here” happened to me. More evidence that the crimes we westerners associate with third world countries happen here, and to the supposed preferred female archetype too.

I think a bit of my issue here is the location of my vet’s office. The first time we went in I had a serious flashback, I could still talk and was aware it wasn’t real but I spent most of the time seeing two worlds, and I think I may have “stumbled across” the location of the murder my father comitted. I am not able to explore that memory fully, it’s still distorted and my brain won’t process it when I try. The only way to force it is dangerous for me, so I won’t do it. I already know EMDR and also just going to the place where I was triggered? Very bad.

Still, back to the choice at hand. Nymph is dying a horrible and painful death. I decided that when the pain is there and she has no her left, if her body won’t stop going I will stop it. This time it will not be in my backyard. This time it won’t be an animal lost to a toddler left alone in a swimming pool that thought the kitten should swim, this time it won’t be an animal spreading disease because he was dumped instead of taken to the vet, though loving people did treat his expensive illnesses and then he left and returned to me like a ghost, this time I don’t have to watch her suffer for months on end because I and my cat don’t merit medical treatment. This time, she still ends up dying. The screaming in the house is me, screaming because how can I watch someone I love die? Agian? Humans, animals, even flowers before I understood them as others do, at least enough that seeing them cut doesn’t hurt me but it still can make me sad (though I worked as a florist so flower genocide haunts me at times) This is what is in the house.

Under the ice is my self hatred. I don’t talk about that very often because I don’t actually have a lot of self hatred and it tends to be fleeting. I am not a bad person despite being forced to do things that hurt my soul. There are sounds I never will forget, there are screams of pain mine and theirs that I can’t escape, so I put them away under ice and the house. There is no one or the other and that is a bit scary but the cracks are memoriy itself. They are a different form of rememberance, perhaps more violent or more gentle than the flashes that twist me into knots, I don’t know.

For Nymph this choice came down to a single thought, do I want her to stay for me? No, I want her to just die so she stops hurting. I want her to go, even though that pains me to want, because I love her. That’s when I knew that if she needs help letting go, then yes I can choose death over more painful death. Sometimes cats who are sick hold on to a point where no medication eases their pain, we’re on the edge of that already. I lived two years without pain medication and suffered. I won’t let her go days or weeks that way. I love her.

The second thought on this was, is it wrong? I thought I would say yes to myself, but the answer, though complex and a struggle to get out of my head? No, it is not wrong to let her go. It is wrong to make her suffer because I am afraid of feeling guilty. There is no way for me to escape the guilt at this time. No matter which choice I make, I will feel guilt.

Moments of guilt, is this soon enough, did I wait too long? What if I act too quickly? What if Sprite never forgives me? What if Nymph haunts me? what if? What if? I had to stop that sort of thinking and put it into terms for myself. If I were in a world where there wasn’t any morphine, an I couldn’t take pain medications would I have continued to let myself live? No. Ny doesn’t have as many options as I do, so I will help her. There is no cure for this disease, and Sprite, her share in this is also leading to yes.

I never wanted to have to make this choice again, but at least this time it wasn’t the choice of the giant dog vs my sister. It wasn’t life or death, just death and death.

Sprite is trying to keep Nymph happy. Yet she has hidden from her a lot more today. Sprite is crying for her. She woke me from my nap because Nymph was making that silent scream face, Sprite asked me to help her and all I could do was hold them both. Nymph has yet to leave Sprite’s side for the last day except for when Sprite goes somewhere Ny no longer can follow.

The purring thing is also misleading, which is why I am worried I may miss the cue, but I speak cat far more fluently than I do human, even typing this is harder for me than glancing at my cats and having an entire conversation. My self doubt is a part of grief and any time you choose death, even when it is one death over another, there is guilt. I feel guilty for Rose, because I feel her death though inevitable as she was alive (which I had to change from is to was) was preventable at this point in time. I feel the degradation she and I faced from the carer agency we shared, as well as the doctors we saw played a part and I am angry.

Nymph does not have that. I wish her vet was my doctor infact because he has treated us all with greater kindness and he hid nothing from me. He did ask me once if that was okay because he didn’t want to make it worse and I told him the truth, upfront hurts less than me trying to guess between the lines of discussion.

So back to Cat’s purring. Sorry this is so jumpy, my brain is not letting me flow as much because this is an active thought process not my more common secondary rehashing of ideas. I think the difference shows as those tend to be a bit more orderly. Screw order! Cats purr from pain, happiness, fear, and all sorts of emotions. Most often love and comfort. Cats purr to heal. The fact is, each purr feels different and when I touch Ny and she starts to purr, it is still love and comfort purr. Her pain purr is a ragged gaspy purr, it is a sad purr that doesn’t feel soothing. Still, those big golden eyes of hers are greying over, and I can smell her scent changing. That bothers me. Being super smell sensitive I liked her scent before. It was like ice cream. Sprite smells like sugar cookies.

The effect of her purr starting to change has not happened yet, which is how I know she will still be there in the morning. I sort of hope she and Sprite share my feet again, each one wrapped around them because that was a gentle way to wake up but I also keep waking Nymph when I cannot tell if she is alive. This happens a lot more each day. I have told her if she just wants to let go she should but I don’t think she can yet.

So Sprite is holding her. She has washed her every day, tucking her up against her side. She curls around her and Nymph wraps herself up closely and just closes her eyes and I know, if she no longer can rest that way I will do what is right, even if it is not what I want and in other situations I find this sort of thing abhorrent. This sort of pain and incurable disease, this sort of suffering is what Euthanasia was actually meant for. Is it murder? I honestly think in this case, especially since I can and WILL ask Nymph, as I have once already, no. Will it hurt and will I doubt that sense of no? Absolutely.

Some of the things Nymph has told me in the last few months we have shared:
1. You taste good, can I have milk on your hand again?
2. I want up! Can I get up too? I promise to not bite Sprite more?
3. Oh, it’s bouncy! (Twice, once for my stomach and once for my waterbed, she proceeded to jump up and down on both for the next hour)
4. Bug! Bug! I’ll get it! I can do it! Rawr! Aww… bug got… bug! (She then squished it under her paw, it was a spider.) Bug stopped moving.(She licked it, made a face) Bug is gross!
5. Soft, warm. I like this. (insert purring that out purred sprite as she stuck her head against my back and curled up next to me the firsttime) Okay I sleep here. (Sprite sleeps there, she wasn’t thrilled about that)
6. I love you.
7. Play? Here’s toy! Yeah!
8. I like hands. Yeah, put your hand on my head. See. I like this.
9. My tail is stuck again! Why doesn’t her tail get stuck?
10. I’m a big girl, just like Sprite.

Nymph has made me and Sprite very happy. That first moment when I met her, I was so surprised by her. I had begun to fear that I would never find a cat that was as cool, amazing, intelligent, or unique as Sprite. My two fae match their name sakes in ways. Nymph with her long thin legs, her adult size tail which is already longer than Sprite’s tail, and her big eyes and ears. She looks like she belongs in a fantasy novel to me, the cat companion to the heroine, her own stylized beauty perfect for such things. Of course Sprite was in the Golden Compass so her beauty with it’s delicate ethereal quality was already immortalized for all to see.

I still find myself imagining what Nymph would be like all grown up, and I regret knowing she wouldn’t ever be much larger than Sprite. Sprite is actually just a tiny bit bigger than Nymph, lengthwise. Ny was taller, and when they sat eating it was Ny’s tail that reached the second shelf down, that’s about a foot. Her tail stretches past her front paws and she has enough tail for two. Right now she has it wrapped all the way around her like a portable hug.

She doesn’t play today, because it hurts. Last night she hunted her last bug, and went for the string toy for a few moments, before the pain stopped her. She tried so hard to hide it but you cannot hide such things.

The part of this that is harder is when I cannot keep my tears on the inside, she still tries to make me happy. I know she knows she is dying. Sprite even told me so. When I asked her why she wasn’t sitting with Nymph, “I don’t want to see her die.” That was what she said. “It makes me sad. Make her better.”

I have come to a realization from this however, about heart break. Hearts do not break, they shatter. They are glass flowers that grow on the vines of our souls, and when we feel healed it is because it is a new spring time with in our minds and hearts. It is because we have regrown a part of us. That is why we are never the same, that is why at times we miss things and feel those shards of glass, they are there beneath the Heart Tree, evidence of the lives we have lived and the chapters that we have written. These shards can cut us but they also hold things of beauty. So though my heart has burst with sorrow, it held more joy than any heart I had before.

I am going to start looking for a new feline on my birthday. I don’t think I will want to. I however must take care of Sprite, and Sprite can handle a month of being alone before she starts to get depressed. I want to find a new companion by her birthday. I also know from experience with her that a month is how long she tends to openly mourn. Therefore, though I will never actually stop mourning, I will do what is best for Sprite.

I know I don’t stop mourning, I just don’t cry as much and remember the happy little moments like when Nymph decided the best place to sleep was in my miniature roses, and I woke up to find her coated in petals. Or when she then brought me a rose the next morning, having decided Roses are really great to pounce AND tasty. She took most of the actual roses, leaving the buds and laid them all around me. Sprite being allergic to roses had no reactions so she did not take part. When I can remember those moments and smile without tears, then I am once more living.

I haven’t managed to do that for Snowball, the kitten my brother drowned. Though as an adult I realize, A could’ve drowned as easily as he was without adult supervision. I am grateful he did not, and I know he has never forgiven his error. I think I have, I just don’t forgive my anger at him, he was three. My mother? Not forgiven for that. She should have been watching him.

I haven’t managed to do that for Sweet Thomas Feline, diagnosed with FIV, feline aids, he turned out to be misdiagnosed and was going to be euthanised. My step father dumped him on the mountain. Tom was found by a classmate, though with no color and this predating microchipping, she had no idea he was my best friend. In fact this classmate was kind to me about my horrible sadness. She was the first person to tell me it was okay to cry and to see that tears tend to mean bleeding for me. She wasn’t a friend but she wasn’t cruel. When Tom returned and I called the tag to find out who had had him, she and her parents allowed me to keep him. They didn’t ask for money but were glad that their cat who disappeared was my dead cat and that he loved someone so much he would walk for six months to return to them. Tom didn’t die with me, instead he chose to not move with me one last time, he was old and hurting and there was a lady, I thought she was ancient but likely not, she gave him a home indoors with REAL TUNA. I have yet to remember his face in the window the last time I saw him as he watched me walk away, the window was open, but he stayed inside and yet he was sad to see me go. He may still be alive, though I doubt that. With her his medical needs were taken care of and he was safe from cars, dogs, storms, and so on. In fact Tom became the father of several generations of cat in a town and is essentially their patriarch. Tom is why I believe in steralization. Someday I will tell you how I obtained this cat, who was a champion apple head blue point siamese. It was an adventure.

There are Philip and Lily, Minerva, Backlash, Fox Meowder (yes after the XFiles character Fox Mulder) and so many more. There were each of the kittens that didn’t make it, and there was Colores’ last litter, who died because their mother did too. She may have turned up in my biology class actually, on my dissection table. I did not dissect the cat that looked like my missing cat, I could not. I failed the class over it. I have no regrets. My biology teacher showed us pornography, home made, because that’s of course human reproduction. The school never ordered cats. My cat wasn;t the only one that looked like a missing pet.

Still, as an adult I have been able to protect my cats, I have been able to fulfill their needs. With Nymph I had to ask for help, and with Sprite once before too but I can do that. In fact if I had not learned to ask for help for them, I would not be here today because I learned to ask for me too. In a life of regrets about how my animals were treated because I could not care for them, there are no regrets about the treatment of my cats as an adult.

I also have seen another cat suffering with medications to keep him alive, feeding tubes, and I have had the horror of this cat asking me to kill him. “Just let me die”. I have seen the light lost in his eyes for almost two years now. This cat, is six pounds. His body was meant to be twenty pounds. I think of him when I see that same look of agony in Ny’s eyes. I regret being unable to save him from years of agony. Is it wrong to save Nymph weeks or months? Days? My heart answers, no, because that is love.

Another lesson in love that I am learning.

Lesson the First: Love is not pain, as I learned before.
Lesson the Second: Love means doing what is best for someone you love, even when you aren’t sure you can live with it later, because if this is truly an act of love then it is selfish to not meet the need no matter how sad it makes you. This is why people can break up and still love one another. This is why a mother can go hungry for her children. This is why sometimes you have to say no. It may make you unhappy to do so, but if it is what is right then do it out of love.

Of course that lesson isn’t learned yet and it is one which others claim in defense of horrific acts. In those cases that isn’t love. In this one, deciding that she should not have to writhe in agony and scream for weeks? That is an act of love. It is another piece of the happiness I have given her.

This picture was taken just as I finished this piece. Essay/Decision making process. Now you know how I decide even what to eat. Intensive mental exploration.

This picture is a symbol of love.

a small white kitten curled up with a larger silver and grey cat on brown carpeting. the kitten is a calico with orange and grey spots with a white under coat. Both cats are about the same size and make a spiral.

Hush my sweet, sleep so sweet, true is love and true are you.

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4 Comments

  1. I have nothing else to say except I’m thinking of you and Nymph. *Hugs*

  2. Kat, your courage is ever so warming and inspiring. I am here in spirit with you and Nymph and Sprite. You are putting her dignity above your own feelings, you are a noble care-giver. It is never easy to decide on Euthanasia for our little friends whom we love so much. I too have held my dog in my arms as I let her go and her eyes staring in my face will never leave my memory. She was suffering horribly from terminal cancer eating her up inside. It was chokingly horrible, and to this day I have dreams of her. I am so touched by your courage. Big big big hugggggggssssss. xxx

  3. […] is a quote from her most recent post: Hearts do not break, they shatter. They are glass flowers that grow on the vines of our souls, and […]

  4. ((((HUG))))


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