This evening we have an appointment to take my beautiful 18 year old cat to the vets to have him euthanized. He has been slowly getting poorly for a while and a trip to the vets earlier this week revealed poor kidney function, a build up and fuid and bile, and a mass which may possibly be cancer. He is not a well cat. The prognosis was bad and the vet recommended he be put to sleep, because even if they operate he will never really be well again. We would just be prolonging his pain with no real hope to increase his quality of life.
Even knowing all this, the decision to euthanize him has been difficult. It has brought back painful memories of when I was on jury duty a few years ago. It was a child abuse case involving two children and three adults. It was pretty horrific and despite believing completely that the adults were guilty of the accusations, it was still difficult to make a decision knowing that it had complete control over someones life. I know I was right to vote guilty, but that didn’t stop me agonising over the fact that doing so would change these people’s lives – what if they weren’t guilty? Because justice is rarely a case of fact, no matter what the TV shows would have you believe, its a case of opinion. Our opinions may have been based on the evidence and testimonies at hand, but that doesn’t make them fact. It was right that the decision was difficult no matter how much I believed their guilt.
And so, I struggle with the same control over life. Because my cat, unlike say an equivilant pensioner, cannot tell me he is in pain, has no quality of life and yes, would be ok with us helping him on his way. We have to make that decision for him. We have to make that decision based on the fact that he has not eaten since Monday and has not really moved from one spot, he appears to be in pain, but even so he’s open for cuddles.
I know it is for the best, and yet it is a difficult decision to make, because it should be. Even weighing it up, it should never be easy to make the decision to end the life of another. And that is what I am struggling with the most – I hope instead that he might slip away at some point today and save us from the inevitable decision to take his life. A decision, I should hope, most people never want to be in a position to have to make.