Dear Einstein, A Letter to a Beloved Lost Pet

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Dear Einstein,

I’ve been dreading this for years. I knew when I chose to have so many cats that I would someday likely have to make a decision about whether to artificially extend one of your lives or try to save you from enduring unnecessary pain. Even so, when the decision had to be made, it was no easier, even though I had said for years that I would rather have to put one of you down than to see you suffer needlessly. This is the first time I have had such power over the life or death of a loved one and I hope it will be the last, although I know it probably won’t.

To be honest, you have been kind of a pain in the butt for most of your life. As a kitten you were a holy terror who had amazing powers of destruction. As an adult, you were a grumpy, angry cat who would often give a warning bite when petted the wrong way (pretty much anywhere but around the head). You were fun to tease because your reaction would be over the top within seconds. All I had to do was walk within a couple feet of you and you would start growling in annoyance. You were definitely the alpha male in this house and constantly reminded us of that fact. You reminded everyone of a regal lion, both in dignity and in your attitude of entitlement.

As we sat in the veterinary emergency room, making a decision about your fate, one of the vet techs came in and told us what a sweetheart you were. We laughed and said “she really doesn’t know you well, does she?” The fact that anyone would think that, told us how very sick you were. To be seen as cooperative and mellow just wasn’t in your nature. As I looked into your sad, blank face with tears running down my own cheeks, I knew I had to let you go. If we fought to keep you alive, you would have been miserable. I know you would have hated the long hospitalization, frequent medical procedures and forced medication.

Even had we went ahead with the treatment, the vet was blunt about the fact that you had six months at most to live and even that was highly unlikely. He told us the cost of treatment in dollars and that was certainly something that would have been a struggle for us, but the true cost to us was the misery we knew we would have to put you through just to keep you with us a bit longer. In good conscience, I couldn’t do that to you, because regardless of how mean and grumpy you could be, I love you with all my heart.

I admire your straightforward, take-no-crap attitude and the fact that you were never afraid to be yourself and stare any enemy down. I admire your intelligence…Einstein was definitely a fitting name for you. I loved the precious moments when you would be uncharacteristically loving and sweet (mostly when you were sucking up or asking for something). I think of you every time I open the door and you aren’t there trying to sneak out. It is these things, these precious memories that I will carry with me now that you are gone. I love you and miss you. Goodbye, my sweet Steiner.

To Keep or Not to Keep…That is the Question

Tonight at church we found a couple kittens who had been abandoned in the parking lot.  They were inside a cardboard box, but other than that, hadn’t been left with any necessities.  We don’t know how long they had been there, but they could have been there since Sunday.  The little guys were starving, but more than that, one of them was obviously ill.  We took them home, gave them a bath, fed them and then tucked them in for the night.

Originally the plan was to drop them off at a shelter tomorrow, but now it’s getting harder to do that.  I told myself I WOULD NOT GET ATTACHED, but then we gave them names and took care of them and snuggled up to them…I worry that it won’t be that easy to part with them now.  We need to make a decision soon, after all, one of them really needs medical care, but should we pay for a vet visit or just take it to the shelter and let the vets there heal it?

Now that I think about it, we probably shouldn’t have given them names, because it will only make it MUCH harder to consider giving them up…but on the other hand, we already have three cats…do we really want five?

Here are some photos of these kittens after their bath.  The first two photos are of Ichabod.  He (or she) looks pretty healthy and is a very loving butterball.  The last two photos are of the sick kitty.  He (or she) is severely underweight, and I figure it probably has worms.  This one is tentatively named Mao…but make sure you say it right…like a cat would.