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My Cat Lucy

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I brought my cat Lucy to the vet last sunday morning 'cause

she lost appetite and her eyes were teary. I was hoping it was nothing serious.

The vet checked her out and told me she needed more testing so she

had to stay over night. From symptoms he saw he told me there are

a good chance of her having either cancer or heart disease.

I suppose to call now to find out the final result of her diagnosis.

This kind of thing happened to me a while back when Neus(previous beloved cat)

had to put to sleep. I am preparing myself for another tragedy. It's really hard.

I already miss her. I definitely can't be there witnessing Euthanasia. Trying to figure out

what to do. I am going to call now and see what they say. My heart hurts.

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My dear friend,

I don’t know if you’ve learned Lucy’s diagnosis yet, but please know that we’re all thinking of you and hoping for the best. I understand that you've been through this before with your precious Neus, but that does not make it any easier this time.

I’d like to offer some information that may be helpful as you face whatever lies ahead for you and your beloved kitty.

As you await the results of Lucy’s tests, you may find yourself experiencing all the emotions of grief in anticipation of losing her. This is known as anticipatory grief, and the physical and emotional reactions involved are the same as those experienced in normal grief. It’s extremely difficult to watch your precious animal's health and quality of life deteriorate over time. If you’re thinking about euthanasia, you may be struggling with anxiety over separating from your cat, uncertain how you'll ever bring yourself to say good-bye. Torn between not wanting to see her suffer and not wanting to lose her, you may continue to go to great lengths to postpone or to avoid the decision all together.

Deciding when and whether to euthanize your cherished pet is probably one of the most difficult choices you'll ever have to make. Exploring all aspects of the decision with your veterinarian and with others whom you trust is very important. Keep in mind, however, that in the end, the decision belongs to you and to you alone. And if and when you do decide to choose euthanasia for Lucy, remember that you will be doing it for reasons of mercy and compassion. You will be choosing to end Lucy’s suffering and to create for her a dignified and painless death.

Most of us find it very difficult to think about planning ahead for the death of our pets. We act as if merely thinking or talking about the pet's dying will somehow make it happen – or we act as if not thinking or talking about our pet's illness will somehow make it go away. Yet the reality is that none of us has the power to cause the death of another merely by thinking or talking about it – and illnesses aren't prevented or cured simply by choosing not to think about them.

Detaching from a cherished pet is just as difficult whether it happens suddenly or over an extended period of time. But having time to prepare for what lies ahead can be one of the more positive aspects of anticipatory grieving. As you come to this difficult decision, I encourage you to use this time to gather information and to think through whatever questions you may have about the actual procedure, so you can discuss your concerns with your veterinarian. Then when the time comes, you'll be better prepared to use your own good judgment based on the reality of your particular situation.

I'd like to refer you to the following articles posted on my Grief Healing Web site, in hopes that they'll help you as you make the most of the time you have left with Lucy:

Anticipatory Grief: Anticipating the Loss of a Pet

Thinking It Through: Exploring Questions about Euthanasia

Euthanasia: The Merciful Release

The Fourth Day and

How Do I Know It's Time?

I've also written an on-line e-mail course about pet loss, which (if you're interested) you can get a sense of, at

A Different Grief: Coping with Pet Loss

I hope this information proves useful to you, my friend. Please know that we are thinking of you, and when you feel ready to do so, we hope that you will let us know how you and Lucy are doing.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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2 weeks ago tonight, I laid my baby to rest. I had been dreading that moment and decision for two years when he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and kidney failure. The docs gave him 6 mos. to live, and he ended up living a comfortable life for two years and a few mos. after that.

When he was diagnosed, I decided that if his passing was not "natural" that I would make the decision for him. I promised myself that I would do what was in his best interest, not what was best or easiest for me. He trusted me to care for him during his life and he was trusting me then to make the best decision for him.

Two weeks ago, I knew it was time. My vet makes house calls and we had discussed many times what it would be like. The vet arrived, Bunny (my little guy) and I laid down on the bed in his favorite spot. The doc gave him a painless injection. I spoke to him, rubbed his tummy and ears, kissed his sweet face and sang to him. His passing was peaceful. I held him for several minutes afterward - he looked releived.

It was the most difficult decision and yet it was the only right option for us. I am at peace because I was with him all the way. I saw him go - I was there. All suffering ended. The circle of his life was complete. We were together.

My prayers are with you and your dear Lucy.


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