Thursday, October 24, 2013

Losing a Pet

Many years ago, Katie asked for a cat.  We said no.  Katie was a handful at that age and I didn't think that I could cope with cat maintenance and a strong-willed child.  After much thought, we decided to use her desire for a cat as motivation to help her become a "happy, contributing member of the household".  Kate had one month to prove that she could be responsible, helpful around the house, and better and following household rules.  Katie fulfilled the requirements of our agreement and we got a beautiful black kitten from a friend of mine.  The new kitten's name was Chicago.

Over the years, Chicago has been a joy, a problem, and a member of our family.  She slept with Katie or Steve each night.  As we prepared to take Katie to college this fall, she asked if Chicago could stay with us.  She was afraid that at 14 years of age, Chicago might not do well living in an apartment with strangers.

Last night, Chicago lost the ability to stand on her back legs.  She could move them, but they wouldn't support her.  She wasn't in pain (actually she was purring), but dragged the back half of her body across the floor.  We called the vet, but he didn't return our call.  This morning he called and apologized for not calling.  He also asked if the kitty was still alive.  Mike took Chicago to see the vet and we learned that she had a tumor or blood clot that had lodged in her spine and was not allowing messages from the brain to her back legs.  The cost of surgery was astronomical and the problem would most likely return.  At 14 years of age, Chicago didn't have many years left.  The vet recommended that we have her put down.

It was a tough decision, but pet ownership comes with a responsibility to treat the pets with compassion.  We had Chicago put down this morning.  She will be missed.

No comments: