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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 4 April 2002 Issue

Readers Responses to:
Personal Tragedy, Losing Boris

Letter from Valerie - 16 April 2002


I'm going to tell you a personal story so maybe it will help you get through this. I never talk about this because it's so painful and it happened 5 years ago, but to this day I will start crying just thinking about it. I had a 2 month old kitten named Cattie who was very sickly.  She was doing fine, but then suddenly started going downhill and her Mom (I have her mother also) rejected her.  She would still play, bathe, etc. with the other baby, but not Cattie.

The mom's always seem to know when something is wrong, so I took her to the vet.  The vet told me she had a congenital heart defect that would eventually kill her.  I asked about Cattie's quality of life and the vet told
me it would not be good.  That she would most likely suffer because of the heart problem and die at a young age.

Well, I made the decision to put her to sleep.  Today, that is not something that I would have done.  But at the time,
it seemed like the right decision.  I was working on a huge colony and so many of the cats were very sick from poor care and constant inbreeding, I figured Catty was another one of it's casualties.  

Cattie was very very small and when the Dr. tried to put her to sleep the "normal" way -- 2 injections -- her veins completely collapsed.  The vet was getting so upset she had to leave the room and call another vet in.  

Meantime, I was holding Cattie who was so scared, Linda.  She was kissing my face and I didn't know what to do.  She already had some of the euthanasia fluid in her and for a split second I thought "Just take her home" but I didn't because I was afraid of what would happen to her and also I was in shock because of what was going on.  I never had a vet start crying in front of me.  So the next vet came in and put her to sleep with a needle in her heart.

Linda, I cannot explain to you how sick and depressed and filled with guilt I was after this, but I think you understand because of Boris.  

I'm crying right now thinking of it and I'm sure I'll cry about it the rest of my life.  But what we have to remember is that we do what we think is best at the time and we have to just trust that.  You loved Boris with all of your heart and would never have done anything to purposely hurt him and that is what you need to always remember.


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