Which way to go?
Photo by David Castillo Dominici at

I had to have one of my babies put to sleep Monday. It is always an agonizing decision and a heartbreaking one. I have had to make this decision so many, many times that it has taught me a few things along the way. Here is one thing that I’ve been taught the hard way.

The cat I’m talking about was Andy. He had suffered the last couple of years from a constant sinus problem. He would sneeze, cough and his nose would run, but always just clear liquid. He’s been to the vet more times than I can count and given all sorts of medications for it. He had x-rays done and they were fine. The vet said it was just sinuses.

Well, in the last couple of years we have forced antihistamine medications down him, antibiotics and I even tried an herbal formula. He would get better for a couple of weeks and then be right back to square one. He hated all the medication and nothing seemed to cure it. It was just an endless circle.

This last time, I went through the normal routine…antihistamines, the herbal stuff, some immune building supplements.  I even tried saline nose drops…everything I could think of. He continued to get worse and in time the fluid from his nose was yellow and smelly. I knew he was seriously ill.

This is where I had to agonize over what to do. I knew from the past that antibiotics would not get rid of it and he would be sick again soon. He had lost weight and was just miserable. I decided to have him put to sleep instead of trying to keep treating him. It was one of the times I’ve had to  make that call and it is a horrible thing to have to decide.

I have come to believe, through all my babies illnesses, that it is sometimes kinder and more loving to let them out of their misery instead of embarking on a long drawn out battle of treatment. Especially when the treatment is not a final cure… that’s a different story. I look back sometimes at how I tried so hard to hang onto them and it only prolonged their misery. To me, that is more heartbreaking.

We are so lucky, although it doesn’t feel like it at the time, to be able to gently and painlessly let them go rest in peace.  We aren’t lucky enough to be able to do this for humans, but at least we can for our furry babies. It doesn’t make your grief any less painful, but it helps to know you were able to let them be free of  their pain and agony.

So if you are torn about a situation such as this, think carefully about it and go with your gut instinct. I knew several days before I actually did it that this was the best way for him, but I finally had to force  myself to do it. I hope this helps anyone who is facing this dilemma. It is one of the bravest things you will ever do because you are putting their misery before your own.

I’m glad you are resting in peace Andy…I love you and miss you with all my heart, but I am glad you are feeling fine now.


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