As we have recently re-homed a rescue cat, now called Pippi, a thought has been popping into my head that I can’t shake so I may as well write it here and see if it helps.
I don’t have much of an answer to this question I have been pondering, at least not one that makes me feel particularly satisfied.
My question is this-why is it acceptable to put an animal to sleep if it is in distress but also when it is fit and healthy or could still have a happy life, but no home can be found for it?
Our last cat was put to sleep because he had a tumour that he’d lived with for a while and which had responded reasonably well to treatment. Suddenly one morning it was obvious however that things had gone down hill very quickly. I rushed him to the vet and after a bit of thinking time, I had to decide to have him put to sleep. It was one of those horrible emergency situations where I had to make the decision on my own. It was heartbreaking and I eased my pain with the usual things-’he was distressed and in pain’, ‘ it was the kindest thing to do’ etc.
But was it? Who am I to make those decisions? He’d had a good life-another cliche I told myself, but cliches are such because they are also truisms. He was 13 when he died, a good age for a cat with FiV apparently. He had been spoiled, loved and we’d given him a good life.
The thing that bothers me however as much as still missing him is the notion of what it says about us as human beings that we are generally able to accept euthanasia in our animals but not in our fellow people. I don’t have a ready answer, but it gives me pause for thought.
I know it’s not as simple as this because life is always complicated and so are decisions made around it, but it’s still a question worth asking I think?
You can call me a softie or a hippie if you like but I happen to value life in all its forms, although I do have an issue with slugs and as for those carpet moths-they’re just infuriating. But I do think we should also value the right to choose too for all living things.
It’s such an incredibly difficult and emotive issue, but it’s important. I hope I made the right decision for our pet and I took it with the vet’s advice so I think it was the right thing to do. But how I feel about the whole idea of animals being put to sleep just because there are no appropriate homes for them is something I struggle with, but then I can’t re-home every single one.