Ask Max Monday: The Impossible Question of How

Ask Max Monday

Hey Max,
Dood, purlease explain to my peon/mama why looking out the front door 6ft to the west of my window seat is so important. I have to throw temper tantrums, everyday dood, in front of the front door for like 20 mins or until I get bored to get the door opened to look out! Unbelievable right? She sometimes acquiesces to my demands but most times tells me no. Yes, you heard that right She says no to me?! She says it’s not safe, it makes our home hotter/colder, blah, blah, blah. Dood, you are a wordsmith, so if any can explain it so she understands it’s you!

Your doodette,

Puddzee Pye

Dear Puddzee Pye’s Peon: Look. It’s simple If you don’t want to endure daily tantrums of an increasing nature—and eventually she will treat your things to a toothy death—you might as well cave in at the first request and open the door. Get a good screen door, like a security door, and increase the heating/cooling budget, then just leave the sucker open. Otherwise life will become nonstop OPEN THE DOOR OPEN THE DOOR OPEN THE DOOR and eventually you’ll become an online ONDOR meme, but without the Game of Throne royalties to ease the pain.

Max, it’s summer! What’s your favorite part of summer?

Air conditioning.

Max, I know this is a very deep personal case by case question to ask, but I just need to ask it . If you don’t want to print it, I understand. But from your unique perspective of being an older and very wise cant learned cat, I thought you might have some personal opinions on this. If a kitty is older and has developed health problems and there is not enough financial resources to provide or there IS not treatment available, what do you think about letting the kitty go in her/his own environment, instead of being unnaturally sticked with a sleeper shot, then ending their life with another shot? Some people tell me I am being cruel for wanting my kitty to be in the safety of her own home in her last days, and letting nature take its course as it has for generations and eons. Max what do you think?

I know this is supposed to be a somewhat humorous blog without big hairy questions asked, but I am desperate for direction. What do you think Max? I have taken my kitty to the vet already. They always want to put sticks in them with shots .

Thank you

Barbie , sad cat mom

Well, for me the idea has always been that I want to go before life starts to hurt so much. Yes, cats in the wild and feral cats are at the whim of nature and die when they die, wherever they happen to be, but personal pets aren’t left to the whims of nature. A good part of why people have them is to protect them from the things that nature throws at them.

If she’s not in pain or sick and is just old, that’s one thing. But if there’s a health issue at play, and there’s no remedy, kindness has to win. Dying sick, or in pain, might be natural, but it’s rarely kind. I know that were it me, if my quality of life had declined to the point where I enjoyed nothing, my people would have the temerity to let me go.

I would rather be taken from this life a week too early than suffer and leave it a day too late.

There’s nothing inherently wrong about euthanasia when it’s in the best interest of the pet. No one should have to suffer through their last days if it can be helped; in this, people do for their loved pets what they cannot do for their loved people, and it’s a good thing.

Look at her closely. Ask her how she feels. If you know she’s at the end and she’s done, the kind thing is to utilize what you have available and use the assistance of the vet to let her go. There are vets who will come to your home and perform the service there, where she’s most comfortable, but the most important thing is the quality of life that she has. Doing this is not “unnatural.” It’s a kindness, and one I hope is offered to me if my twilight days are of such a declining nature that I’m no longer happy and pain free, longing for a darkness that is, despite the wishes of the people who love me, coming.

Find your braveness in doing what’s right, whether its keeping your kitty at home where life is comfortable and the end doesn’t hurt, or if it means allowing someone to help her find her way from this end to a new beginning. I can’t tell you what that rightness is, only what I would want for me.

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10 thoughts on “Ask Max Monday: The Impossible Question of How

  1. Hey Mr Max, it’s me Sterling. I am more than one year old now so why do the hoomins still call me Sterling BabyCat? Why does Ant Nora never make me in charge when she goes out? It’s always my woofy sisfur or Cousin Murphy or the Mama Fluff lady cat. And why is there two other cats who live outsides with the horses??

  2. My sickly old cat comment for Barbaie-Sad Cat Mom is that my old kitty tried to hide and get away the last couple days of his life. I think he was trying to spare US the agony of watching him die or letting us know that it was hit time. He hid in places he never went before (like behind books in the bookcase and in the walk in shower between the curtains) and tried to run for the door which he never did before.

  3. My heart goes out to Barbie and her furbaby and Kudos to Max and his people for their guidance to us all. Hopefully I will not have to face this same situation for a very long time, or at all. I did, however, come to the same conclusion after reading the book Unsaid by Neil Abramson. To ease my furbaby to the Bridge will be an act of love for us both. I hope I have the strength to take it one step further. The book describes how difficult it is on the vet to euthanize an animal. I had never thought about it from their perspective. I hope that I will have the courage, with the vet’s help, to be the one to administer her peace should it come to that. And then cry my heart out.

  4. Dear Sad Cat Mom -Barbie,
    Thank you for asking your question about when and how to let our beloved feline family members go. I’m in the same position. My beloved Mistletoe suddenly was unable to walk last Decrmber. After seeing the vet, who encouraged me to start thinking about “letting her go”, but also assured me that she isn’t in any pain, I’ve been worrying about making this final decision often. Money, sadly, is a part of the equation. On a fixed income what things cost is always considered. I have family members who would like to see me make that decision sooner rather than later. But still I resist. On Mistletoes good days she is about 80% of her old self. She does everything she used to, except conquer the highest highs of the family room bookcase. On her bad days she’s at about 50%. She wobbles as she walks and her balance is gone. But she still is interested in what is happening throughout the house and makes it to the litterbox without fail.. She also is still very firm on what she doesn’t care for, and willing to slap any kitty who tries to sniff her backend. Those who want me to have Mistleoe put down right away always mention how it hurts them to see her like this. I get that. I’d rather she was physically the cat she was a just a year ago too, but life…and death.. don’t work that way.

    So, my decision is to give my sweet Mistletoe the support she needs to live a good, happy life, until she isn’t. The day I believe that she’s unhappy or in any pain, I’ll make the call to the vet for our final appointment. Do I hope that she takes that responsibly away from me and goes, on her own, when she’s ready? Absolutely! But I don’t count on it. i hope hearing from someone in a similar place was helpful. I wish you the best in this sad situation.

  5. Barbie, I completely understand your hesitance. It is not easy, especially when they’ve been in your life for so long and they are your true furkid. But kitties love their humans and don’t want them to know they are in pain. They will still purr and cuddle even if they are always hungry/thirsty because of age-related problems. They will use their litter box, even if it is uncomfortable. Kitties are very stoic, so you have to look carefully.

    Having the veterinarian come to my home was the best thing I could have done for my old pal. She did not like the car, and I didn’t think I could stand the stress of moving her in a car. It cost a little extra, but the sedative took effect in my arms and she fell asleep quickly.

    The moment her heart stopped, there was a crash (still unexplained) on the screen door she used to try to climb and knock down to chase birds, so I’m pretty sure she thought that was hilarious and effectively distracting enough for her little soul to escape. Everyone jumped and said “What was that?!” But I knew.

    Did I worry I did it too early that day? Yes. Did I feel like I was betraying her in a way? Very much. But looking back, it was the right thing to do for a wonderful friend. I don’t know how much longer she would have lingered, but it would have been sad and miserable for her, and she wouldn’t have had the heart to let me know how bad she felt.

    Wherever she is, she’s much better now.

  6. Barbie,

    If the shot is your strongest objection, ask the vet about a sleeping pill for the first stage of euthanasia. After the cat is soundly asleep a shot can be painlessly administered for the final stage. There are home visit vets now, as well as vets who will come to your home as a special service, which can greatly reduce the trauma to your pet. Please consider being as kind as possible to your beloved kitty when the time comes.

    Whatever your choice, my most profound sympathies are with you today. This is the hardest choice a pet owner faces and you and your cat are in my heart right now.

  7. A very wise set of answers.

    On a different tack, or should I say paw path, Mrs H is checking out the dance scene and wants to learn some kick ass moves when she heads for Club 50-70 next week. What are the best dances, for humans, and us cats, and is there one we can do together, or is that just way too risky!?
    Toodle pips
    Erin the Cat

  8. Yes, wise Max…why make the kitty suffer, just so the human can feel that it’s ‘natural’. Quality of life, freedom from pain are key.

    1. Indeed… this idea that natural = good is bizarre… Think about it. Cancer is natural, malaria is natural, flesh eating bacteria natural. “Natural” things aren’t inherently good, and sometimes, man made things are ok too 🙂

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