I apologize in advance for this post. It was a difficult one to write, and it is a difficult one to read, if one cares at all for companion animals. The following was posted on a FB group I am a member of, and it is so terribly important a truth I had to add it to my blog.
I am wondering what you are doing tonight.
I don’t believe we have met.
You are the person who surrendered your senior cat to an animal shelter exactly 51 days ago.
You are also the same person who had every single one of his toes mutilated when you allowed a vet to 4–paw declaw him at some point during his life – likely when he was a kitten since so many believe it’s best to do it then before they fully learn what it is to be a cat and use their claws.
Yes, best to destroy all chance of a cat fully learning what it is to be a cat.
This means he has likely spent the majority of his life on this earth, trying to manage on 16 amputated toes.
Something tells me you are not losing sleep about this tonight. I am.
I’ve been losing sleep about this since I met him.
I can’t imagine what he was like as a younger cat – before you had this procedure done to him ..and before you removed him from the life he knew when you left him in a town shelter, in the hands of strangers, placed into a stainless steel cage and surrounded by barking dogs.
I envision him as whole. Running around, rolling over..stretching out, yawning, playing…..but I haven’t seen him this way.
In the month I have known him I have seen his bones become more obtrusive, as he has decided to stop eating (this happens often to animals once surrendered to shelter cages. It can quickly have devastating effects on the body of a tiny cat – the devastation compounded if the cat is a senior whose body is not strong and who had grown accustomed to life in a home and now find themselves completely abandoned and lost.) We have been force-feeding him by syringe to help him through this but …it’s stressful for them to have this done and it never amounts to enough food eaten.)
I see his eyes, cloudy from age. His left eye is cloudier than his right. He can still see but I do wonder how clearly.
I’ve seen him attempt to walk around on our wooden floors, but mostly slip and slide because he has no claws to help stabilize his already-weak legs.
I’ve seen him slide and fall over in the litter box as he attempts to steady himself long enough to pee. He has not been able to poo much because he has not been eating enough to produce it. He has tried.
I’ve seen his nose become encrusted from snot, the results of upper respiratory infection (common extreme-stress reaction in cats.)
A few glorious times, I’ve seen him attempting to be a normal cat. Mustering up the strength to stand up and walk around! Greeting people! Meowing! Willingly Eating!!! The hope and celebration that comes from witnessing these moments is indescribable.
However, those moments have been sporadic and short-lived and not enough to help him survive. and so tonight I’m watching him die.
It is not as cold as it sounds. I’m not idly standing by without feeling or action.
I know this is inevitable. It is “natural” , in that where there is life there is also death. It is unavoidable.
So I am here and it is happening and I’m doing my best to make sure he doesn’t go it alone and that he is met with the dignity, respect, love and reverence he deserves.
There are some prayers….gentle chants….and words I say, because I know they really do matter.
I’ve told him how precious he is.
How I am so so sorry that he was betrayed. That he didn’t deserve any of it. It is all true.
I tell him how his body is no longer serving him and it is ok to go…to a place where there is no more pain. There is no more loneliness, fear, or struggling. No hunger, No thirst. No strain.
He will no longer have to bear the pain of 16 amputations with each step he takes – he can fly. Soar even! He will no longer have to wonder where he is and who these people are who are trying to keep him alive.
Pure freedom, and alleviation of all suffering.
This is what he deserves!
More than this, he deserves to know that his life, his presence here has mattered – and always will.
We will continue to help other declawed/abandoned/senior/shelter cats in his memory.
We will continue to speak of him with love, and our hearts will never quite be the same from having known him and having witnessed his strength and his suffering.
He is still breathing right now.
Very slowly. Cool air passing through his tiny little nostrils.
Soon he will be physically free. And then I will go to sleep.
So what was the question again?
oh yeah, so….what are you doing tonight?
How do you sleep?
I can only wonder.
Forest passed away a few minutes after this note was written, and that was about a half hour ago. May he finally Rest in Peace.
Unfortunately the person for whom this note is intended won’t see it as most likely he or she is not spending time on an animal rescue page.. And, I am sorry. We do strive to keep this page positive, but we’ve been here so many times before and it hurts. It hurts when the only thing you can do to truly comfort an animal you have rescued is to help them die well.
Please please ….commit to any living beings in your care and make suitable arrangements for their care should you become unable. No excuses.
This is one of the very few entries that I made through a veil of tears. I have seen this sort of thing myself too many times over the years…and since I have already lost three beloved cats to predators and old age over the past few months, and I have another that is not doing well, it strikes at my heart.
I pray that if anyone reads this, who knows anyone who is OK with declawing, and abandoning their animals when they are bored with them, or they are old, or inconvenient, that you will urge them to read this post…and think about what they are doing to a sentient, important life. Get them to read This Set Of Posts, where I talk about the reality of declawing.
I also wish that anyone who would do these things to any animal be put on a “No Adopt” list, and NEVER be allowed to have control over a companion animal. The most they deserve is a stuffed, plush toy.
God help us all
Bee Man Dave