According to Webster’s dictionary, euthanasia is “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.”
So when is it for “reasons of mercy” that a rescuer should make a decision to euthanize an animal. Or are they just killing it?
Well, here is the story of a black cat.
This black cat came from a hoarder and spent most of her young life locked in a shed on a property.
When rescuers convinced the owner to release her and the other feline family and friends, they were all taken to vets and brought up to date on shots and spayed or neutered. They then were placed up for adoption.
But, this black cat was different. She stayed hidden under the bed for days and weeks in her rescuer’s home.
She was not aggressive. But, definitely showed her discomfort in being held. She would cowl and draw away.
She would never be seen socializing or sleeping with any of the other cats in the house.
When the rescue family was remodeling an upstairs room, the black cat would somehow always make her way behind the insulation and drywall and stay crammed in the attic space for days; finally being lured out with smelly food.
When she was transferred to a bathroom, she spent days, even months, hiding under the claw foot tub.
Food and water had to be set up in the room, along with a litter box.
Then one day the unimaginable happened and she escaped out the kitchen screened door. Unimaginable indeed because she never even attempted to leave the bathroom, although she could have at any time.
For days and nights the rescuer would try to get her to come out from under the house with no success. She would leave food near the opening hoping she would at least eat.
In the night, the black cat could be heard meowing through the patio floor. But, refused to come out. What a dark and scary place to be.
While some cats may be okay living outside, this was definitely no way for this cat to live. Never getting out in the sun. Never running half way up a tree. Never chasing a defenseless butterfly.
Never being a cat.
Months went by.
Finally one evening, the black cat came out far enough to try to eat and was caught. Her coat was deteriorating and patches of hair on her neck were being lost.
She was treated with flea medication and ointments and back into the bathroom she went. And, you guessed it; right back under the tub.
Hours were spent sitting on the bathroom floor talking softly and reaching under the tub to stroke the black cat.
Then the nightmare really began. The black cat decided to stop using the litter box.
Nothing physically was ever found wrong with her. Was the whole situation a mental disorder? And, how could that ever be diagnosed?
Who could ever know what the cat had endured during her first months of life. Why was she acting this way?
So, it was time for the rescuer to make a decision.
Continue to clean up the mess?
Continue to only catch a glimpse of the black cat scurrying back under the tub from the food bowl when the room was entered?
Continue believing that this is no way of life for any animal?
And, continue to make excuses to the rest of the family why this behavior was being tolerated?
So, does the rescuer euthanize the black cat for “reasons of mercy;” to spare it from a life of fear and hiding; from ever being a cat?
Or, would the rescuer just be killing the black cat?
Leave a comment with your thoughts and conclusions.
Names have been eliminated to protect the innocent.