I've been fortunate to have had a couple occasions where I was able to rescue cats marked for euthanasia by the city's Animal Control.
Yesterday I got one of those such calls. To be honest, they are the calls that I hate the most. Knowing that I may be the last hope of keeping these cats alive is truly a heavy weight on my shoulders.
Two cats whose owner had just passed away were brought in for euthanasia. The reasons differ from biting to hiding to not eating to being sick. From my understanding, a vet was not even consulted when they were brought in, "dumped" on the Animal Control Officer, and instructed to euthanize. These two beautiful cats are traumatized, perhaps even more than the family members themselves. Losing a loved one is heart wrenching, I know, I lost my father to cancer 10 years ago; but never would I have even considered to euthanizing his beloved pet(s) after he passed away. Never.
What some people don't realize is that animals mourn too. They can get depressed. They too can "die of a broken heart". Animals do feel pain. Physically, emotionally, and mentally. The problem here is that they are simply viewed as a possession, a thing. Well, they aren't. I often find pets are more intuitive, sensitive, and compassionate than humans. Plus, they love unconditionally and forgive without hesitation. Are "things" able do that? No, they aren't.
Pets share a very close bond with their partners in life. Imagine losing the one person you loved, trusted, and relied on; only to suddenly find yourself being hated by the very family that had been entrusted to care for you. You'd be traumatized at the very least.
When you adopt a new cat or kitten from a rescue, it's often advised to isolate the rescue for 1-2 weeks before introducing them to the household. This helps to reduce the amount of stress on the feline and reduce any behavioral problems that may occur due to the trauma and stress the feline may be living with at that time. These two cats were given three days before being dumped at Animal Control. They are both 7 years young, declawed, and in perfect health. The family member would have paid a surrender fee ($188 each for this particular Animal Control) for both of them and likely more to euthanize. Well over $400 if we throw taxes on that.
Why? Yes, they are hurting inside. Will killing the late family member's two cats take away the sadness? Will it give them some kind of satisfaction? Do they feel it will give them some control in their life? They can't cry financial hardship due to the fact that they just shelled out over $400 to kill them, and add in the cost of also euthanizing the late owner's dog. Was the dog sick too? Was the dog hiding? Was the dog refusing to eat? Did the dog bite them? Whatever the reason(s), I'm certain it doesn't justify killing three innocent animals.
I just don't understand the absolute hatred and selfishness in their actions. I would certainly understand them being surrendered as they *could* be a financial burden, there may be allergies, or even lack of space. I understand when all of a sudden, a family member might feel overwhelmed facing the care of three animals they weren't equipped to care for. It may seem daunting or just too much in their time of grief. But please, don't feel the need to euthanize these poor animals. It's just not necessary. Ask a friend for help in making the right decision, or surrender as you had done but without requesting them to be euthanized. How will that help mourn the loss of your loved one knowing you killed their companions without a justifiable reason.
In the hopes that this is actually read by a couple people, my point is simple; if you have pets, please talk to a loved one about their care should anything happen to you. Your age doesn't matter, things happen, and your companions deserve the proper care in your absence. Please ensure your pets will be looked after and not traumatized even more by being sent to die alone, without caring hands or love surrounding them.
As I was about to publish this, I got word that these two cats will be spared with special thanks going out to several people who stepped up and stood up for these animals that had no voice. Thank you to these angels who cared enough to make a difference and saved two lives this Thanksgiving weekend. For that, I am truly thankful.