Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I hope we're doing the right thing.

Our cat has cancer. She's going to the vet today. Barring a miracle, she will not be coming home. She has a large tumor on her belly which she is bound and determined to remove herself. She's losing weight and hair. She reeks of death. She's mostly happy now, but that won't last for long. It's a hard choice but I know it's the right choice.

I am not sure we are doing the right thing for my son. After my husband and I decided on a course of action, I told Jake that Tweety is very sick. I explained that she will probably die soon. He was upset. He didn't understand why we couldn't just give her some medicine. He didn't believe that she was sick. I pointed out her loss of hair and her scrawny flank. After that conversation, he understands that she is dying. We are not telling him that we are putting her down, just that she is dying.

Last night as I was waiting for sleep, Tweety came by for a cuddle. I had a nice chance to say goodbye. Now, I'm wondering if we ought to have given Jake a chance to say goodbye as well. Which is worse? That he knows we're killing the cat or that he doesn't have a chance to say goodbye to her? He is only six. I do not believe he has the experience necessary to understand euthanasia. I'm almost thirty-six and I am struggling with it.


Kelley said...

Christy, I surely don't know the right answer. The loss of a pet is such a hard thing to deal with, particularly with kids involved. If Jake needs to find ways of saying goodbye, you'll find good opportunities (my kids have framed photos of our dog who died a year ago next to their bedsides. They still talk to her once in a while). I'm sorry it was Tweety's time.

Katie Alender said...

Christy, I'm so sorry about Tweety!

I don't know. I remember as a child not wanting to say good-bye to animals my parents were rehoming. And very specifically how my little sister didn't want to say good-bye to a bird we had that was dying. So I think it might be the right thing... at the very least, it's not wrong. After all, you can still have a special memorial or tribute for Tweety.

But oh, I'm so sorry!

Jen said...

I think you're doing the right thing. I would say that you guys are great parents and have the health the whole family (pets included) at heart when you make decisions. So if it feels right not to give Jake all the details, then it probably is.

Kelly said...

That's so hard, Christy. I agree with Katie... at the very least it's not a wrong thing to do, and is very possibly a good thing. You can find a way to help him remember that he keeps memories with him forever. I'm sorry that you're losing Tweety... I know it hurts.

Mary Witzl said...

I like Kelley's suggestion: a framed photograph is a good idea. I wish I had photos of all the cats and dogs I have known and loved. I still see them in my dreams.

You are doing the right thing, no matter how wrong it feels. Whether we like it or not, death is a part of life. When your son is older, you can tell him that you had your cat put to sleep. For what it's worth, at six years, I don't think I would have understood euthanasia either. And I too would find it a tough call, even at my age.

Christy said...

Thank you so much, everyone. Now that it's done, I feel much better about it. I'll miss her a lot, but we couldn't let her suffer. We told Jake she was very sick and we've been having lots of little conversations. Last night, Nick told him that she died. He cried a bit, of course, but really, it was ok.

Now I just have to get up the nerve to put away the food bowls and litterbox.

Bethany said...

I'm sorry, Christy. :(