A long while ago, I wrote a blog piece about my cat, Syren, entitled “My cat hates me.” In it, I shared all the reasons I knew my cat was plotting against me.
In early February, I woke up to something unusual: silence. Normally, Syren screams at the first sound of my alarm and doesn’t stop until I leave – if then. That day, there was nothing but quiet. It raised my curiosity, so I went to look for her and found her on the kitchen chair, curled into a ball. When I pet her, she barely moved.
I came home that night and checked on her. She hadn’t moved all day. Nor had she used the cat box. Nor eaten.
When she was still there that night after rehearsal, I took her to the ER. I arrived at the ER vet approximately 9:30. For the next 4.5 hours, tests were run, blood drawn, IV’s connected, x-rays taken.
The vet had no definitive answers. It could have been one of three things: kidney failure, blockage in her intestines or cancer. The choices I had: exploratory surgery, regime of medications or wait-and-see. All of which would most likely result in a prolonged and painful demise.
I chose the only option I felt I had: let her go while she was still healthy enough to remember a long life of hating me. Let her cross the rainbow bridge with the fresh memories of driving me insane.
The vet let me hold her while he gave her the injection. It took less than a minute for her purring to stop. She appeared asleep, although her eyes were still open.
“They do that sometimes…the eyes,” the vet said. “I can take her.”
“Just another minute.”
It wasn’t just a minute. It was more like three or four, although I can’t say exactly.
Finally, I handed her over to the vet.
“This is a delicate question,” he began. “Regarding her body-”
“Yes,” I said. I already knew what he wanted to ask. “You can take her to the school.”
Veterinary schools use deceased animals like Syren to practice sutures, surgical procedures and so forth. To some, it seems barbaric and callas. I disagree. If we want vets who are competent and trustworthy, we must allow them the opportunity to practice their craft. The love we feel for our four legged family members is not lessened by what happens to their bodies after their spirits are gone. Why should they suffer at the hands of an ill prepared veterinarian, when it is a problem easily remedied?
Please consider where you stand on this issue.
I don’t know if Syren approved of my actions or not. I’ll guess she’ll tell me, though, soon enough.
Syren: May, 200 – February, 2017