Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Kitties

I have been facing this question for some time now: when is it time to put down your pet?  How much do you do, how much do you put up with, how much expense do you bear before it's just not justifiable anymore?  I do believe that the answer to that question is different for every pet owner and very much dependent on the situation.  Here's my situation.  We have three cats.  You might think that's a lot but I grew up on a farm and we always had a dog or two and a cat or two in the house, in addition to the other dogs and cats (different quantities at various times) and farm animals in the barn.  I'm used to being surrounded by animals.  I've had my old kitty, Nibbles, for a long time.  She was one of the kittens of a litter that was born when I was 8 or 9 and for some reason, really took to me.  When I got married and moved here to Wichita, she came with me.  I'm not exactly sure how old she is but she's at least 15, possibly a couple years older.  My other two kitties, brothers, were acquired after we moved to our current house.  My husband and I were looking for a piano for him and we went to see one at the home of a lady who had two kittens left from a litter.  One was the runt (turns out he wasn't... he was just a short hair or medium hair and the others were long hairs) and she didn't want the runt to be by himself so we took both.  It was a good decision because Nib is too old to play with them so they have each other to play with.  They are now going on 4 years old. 

But back to Nibbles.  A couple years ago, I noticed that her health was deteriorating.  She had gotten thin, wasn't eating a lot, and drank lots of water.  I took her to the vet, expecting the worst.  The vet said she had diabetes which is treatable with insulin.  At the time, I wasn't really given the option to put her on insulin or have her put down.  The vet just assumed I'd treat her and since I wasn't mentally prepared to lose her yet, I went along with it.  Since that time, I give her two insulin shots a day.  She recovered her health, as much as an old cat can.  But she's only gotten older and I really wonder if I should be prolonging her life.  The insulin is rather expensive and although the doses are small, it still adds up.  But after this long, how do I say that I'm going to put down my kitty just for financial reasons?  Can we afford the insulin and syringes?  Yes, right now we can.  Do I want to afford them?  No, not really.  That money could be spent on other things or saved.  But since she hasn't had any health crisis since the diagnosis, there's not really any reason other than financial to make the ultimate decision.  She's old and I know it's just a matter of time before her body and internal organs start failing.  Do I just wait until she has cancer or some other disease that we definitely aren't going to treat? 

I've never had to make this type of decision before and it's definitely the hardest decision I've ever faced.  I love my kitty.  She's been with me for as long as I can remember.  But she's just not in good healthy anymore.  As far as I can tell, she's not suffering at all.  She seems quite content to sleep away most of the days and nights.  But I have to make that decision at some point.  Do I make it now or wait until she gets something incurable?  Sometimes I really wish I could hand over all the responsibilities of adulthood and go back to being a carefree child.  Wouldn't that be wonderful? 

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