Saturday, September 26, 2020

He is (or well, he was) just a cat! On legalized for mere animals

 We just killed our cat today.  Well, I guess what happened was that we paid a vet to do it, or even more sanitized, to 'euthanize' Mew.  Mew might not have agreed, but to us humans at least, that term sounds better and exculpates us from having to feel like or be viewed as murderers, or failing to consider the victim to be a kind of person with a sense of self, and all that.  

No, and after all, while killing a human person is murder, euthanizing a mere cat is completely legal and, indeed, is considered a humanitarian or even kindly deed (a strange word, since the 'human' part of that word involves murder or slaughter, which is what our species mainly does far more than kindness).

But hold on just a moment!  Wasn't there a good reason for this euthanizing?  After all, we are not just vicious beasts (I'm not sure sure about mere cats).  We love(d) our cats!  Mew, probably deserved to be 'euthanized'.  In this case, his crime was that he didn't pee only in the litter box, and to the contrary, threatened aspects of our house with Detrimental Urinary Damage (DUD), which sounds more technical, indeed, even legalistic, than just saying 'staining some walls'! As an indoor cat, he, was...a DUD.

Of course, in the case of humans, before one can invoke capital punishment, we have to hold what is called a 'trial', and there has to be a law knowingly broken in a major way as an objective, disinterested jury must unanimously judge.  In the case of mere cats, it is our own subjective judgment, say, how much we like our rugs and so on that were being peed on, that defines capital crimes.  After all, we are not just wanton killers!  

Oddly, it seems weird that if cats were awarded the same kinds of rights to fair trial, before being executed, they would have a jury of their 'peers' (no pun intended)!

To be fair, we put up with Mew's peeing literally for years, cleaning up after him and tolerating the damage.  There was no way we were able to successfully train him, or even medicate him, to control it.  He also lived a non-trivial 11 years, and there was no way he could be adopted by someone else, or survive outdoors.  

And he did not suffer at his end, I'm told (I could not bear to be there and had to go take a walk).

Ah, well, it's not so bad.  After all, we still have two other cats, and we give them the same cuddling and love as we, Mew.  Well, we give them that so far, at least--but they aren't, not yet anyway, criminally neurotic.

I have to end this, as I'm getting too morose, and probably everyone actually reading this post has committed comparable biocide at some point in the past (and I'm not referring to meat-eating, which is an entirely additional version of biocide).

Nor does it serve to say, in private or in this public forum, "I'm sorry, Mew!", because he can't read or hear me and the deed is not reversible: it was done on purpose, for our convenience.  If we were truly sorry, we'd not have paid the vet to do it.

I must, in all honor, if there's any to be found, add that we did try, at least a bit, to see if we could find a good home for such a, Mew.  And after all, we did generously give him a large bowl of tuna as a last meal!

And I must also sorrowfully add that there is huge hypocrisy in this very lament for poor Mew.  I am not a vegetarian.  Indeed, it is relevant perhaps that, as evolutionary beasts, we essentially got here and must survive by consuming other living things.  Who says plants want to be boiled alive or even eaten raw, even by vegetarians?  My burger was once a cow, my bacon a pig, and a carrot or celery stick a 'me'!  

In a way, this omnivory in itself is the brutal evolutionary 'law' that, thanks largely to Darwin, we know to account for the diversity of life itself, and our very existence here on the Earth.  And that is why we, like cats, are but temporary tenants....


David J. Littleboy said...

Condolences on losing your cat. It.Just.Hurts. When I was a kid (mid-1960s), my mother, who grew up on a farm, was (I thought at the time) overly sensitive to the pains of our pets and overly eager to "put them to sleep". Of late, I've realized that she was probably right. A cat doesn't know/can't possibly understand that it has whatever disease and has a small chance of surviving despite the pain of the disease and procedures. Especially cancers. But it's been a long time since I started hearing of otherwise sensible people paying gobs and gobs of money for cancer treatments for their pets.

If you took care of your pet, were nice to it, played with it, said pet had a way better life than it would have had in the wild. The euthenasia bit is the negative part of the karma coming back from cheating mother nature of her torture of her beings.

But, damn. With all the hassle, and pain of loss when the pet finally passes, I really really really wish I weren't allergic to cats.

Unknown said...

sick. euthenasia is to relieve the animal of pain. killing your pet because you could not train him properly is murder. if you could not get it right early on, give him up for adoption early on. and writing a tongue-in-cheek blog post underscores your lack of conscience. you should be ashamed. if you truly loved your pet you would grieve privately.

Ken Weiss said...

Nobody, especially us, is happy with what happened.
Here is a thoughtful and sensitive commentary on this post and on what we did to our pet:

Obviously this is a VERY difficult subject. And Anne reminds me that there were issues beyond his peeing, that we need not go into here. What happened is the very definition of 'tragedy' perhaps. The snotty, snide comment by 'Unknown' is entirely out of order, because it almost suggests we didn't try to save our cat, or 'train' our cat, however that can be done, or didn't love and care for our cat. Indeed, the very opposite is true, as we tried everything we (and several vets) over several years, could do to address the problem. Our post was not tongue in cheek and I would not dispute that 'murder' is a kind of term for killing an animal that did not knowingly, in the willful, culpable sense, commit the offense. Nobody feels worse about what happened than we do (the cat experienced no pain or fear)! Nobody can deny that what we happened to our pet, who trusted us, was awful. But it was 'better' in some ways than all alternatives--which we considered but don't care to go into here.

What to do? Put the cat in the local pound, at age 11, to live out the rest of his life there, because no one who knew the issues would want him?

Had we lived elsewhere, we might know someone who has many pets indoor and outdoor (no winters there) and who might have taken our cat. Though an elder cat might have trouble adapting to other pets into whose territories s/he was placed.

And what is the definition of animal 'pain'? There were many reasons to relate our cat's behavior to a deep kind of unhappiness or disturbed state, that was chronic.

At least, "Unknown" hopefully does not eat meat, or any plant tissue that was living when harvested (including seeds), if s/he is not a dreadful hypocrite. And does s/he favor capital punishment? Is s/he pro-choice in humans? Or pro contraceptives? Or pay taxes, knowing that some of that goes to the police or military? What about mowing the lawn, or using wood for housing or furniture?

Finally, there was reason to believe that our cat's problem _was_ a kind of pain, perhaps the worst kind: mental pain of some sort that neither we nor a parade of vets could know or treat (indeed, we have a long list of things we tried treating our cat with, under various vets' care, over several years).

Anne Buchanan said...

I would like to add that this cat had been peeing outside the litter box for years. It was a nuisance, and we tried everything to prevent it, but we lived with it, though we tried a long list of possible solutions, some of which maybe worked for a bit. But, this cat, who came to us as an adult cat, was very disturbed, and I believe, as does Ken when he's not being flippant, that he was suffering, which is why, in the end, we made the decision we did.