One of the hardest things about my job is helping to make the decision when to end a life. It's the one thing I hate about my job the most. Cats are supposed to just go to sleep and not wake up one day. Cats are not supposed to get cancer or heart disease or high blood pressure. But they do. When a disease has managed to overcome them, and their small body does not want to make the decision to leave their human, sometimes you need to point them in the right direction.
I had to assist in a home euthanasia today on a cat named Moogi. Moogi was a short haired kitty that looked very much like my Coconut. Moogi, with a big apple head and a short stocky body, had cancer that wrapped around his colon and urethra, preventing him from performing the basic functions required for life. Surgery couldn't fix this, neither could radiation or chemo. The cancer was highly malignant and the oncologist said it would only return in time. So his humans decided that he should just be comfortable until he said it was time for him to go. Today, a cold, windy, clear day in January, and Moogi has not urinated for almost 2 days. It's time.
We arrive at the house, a very nice house. A house any cat would love to live in. His humans had the fireplace going for him, because he loves to lay on his favorite armchair and relax by the fire. We're talking a full-blown wood burning fireplace, not one of those fake gas things. It crackles, and the smell of hickory fills the room.
Of course, they are already in tears about their cat... how could they not? They were waiting for us to arrive to take their cat from them. Moogi is in his chair cleaning his leg, as if nothing in the world was wrong. He looks up at us as if to say "Hello! I did not know we were having company?" I start to tear up right then and there. He has no idea what is going to happen.
We draw up some sedation for him so he will sleep for the entire procedure. I tell his humans that they can go ahead and pick him up and love on him and hold him for as long as they need to. They can let us know when they are ready to let him go. A slight stick, which he didn't even notice, and it's only a matter of moments when Moogi is in his anesthetic sleep.
Both of his humans sit on the couch with him as he slumbers peacefully, his dad holding him like a baby and telling him how sorry he was there was nothing they could do to fix him.
It's over in a matter of seconds when the second and last injection is given I.V. and he relaxes in their arms and takes his last sigh. A tiny, trusting soul, peacefully transformed into a kind of stuffed animal, a container to be respectfully taken care of, now that the soul has moved on to better things.
Moogi had a peaceful exit, a good death. Moogi got to move on at home, in a safe, comfortable place, with the people that loved him surrounding him, touching him, holding him.
As we leave, I tell the doctor I work with that I'm sick of putting on my black feathered wings, holding small kitty paws to direct them where to stand in line for reincarnation.