The Hardest Day

“It never fails to astonish me. You’re alive, you’re dead. No drums, no flashing lights, no fanfare. You’re just dead.”
— Margaret Houlihan, M*A*S*H

Yesterday morning, I noticed a weird raw spot on the side of Uggy, the semi-feral kitty who mothered our boy Evinrude and who has spent much of her life living under our deck. By nightfall, it was visibly swelling and we decided we’d better take her to the vet in the morning to get it checked out.

This morning, the damn thing was the size of a golf ball. Hoping it was just a cyst or an abscess that could be drained, we took her in to the emergency clinic.

The news wasn’t good. It was a tumor, and it was moving fast. The vet said it ran deep, too, and that to surgically remove it would probably take out a big chunk of her pelvis. In addition, she had a serious heart murmur suggesting some other underlying problem. The vet figured that, left untreated, she had maybe a couple weeks left, and given her outdoor lifestyle, we feared that she’d likely disappear beneath something in my dad’s junkyard to die and we’d never find her again. There really were no good treatment options. So we made the hard call.

I’ve never had to do that with one of my animals before. They’ve always spared me this decision.

I have no idea where she came from or what she might have endured before she showed up here in the Bennion Compound, very young, very afraid… and very pregnant. I’ve long suspected that someone dumped her and she just got lucky in finding her way to a friendly port. I think she basically had a sweet nature and wanted to be loving but whatever she’d gone through made it hard for her to trust anyone, and you could only get so close to her. But she trusted me, at least more than she did anyone else. She was on my lap at the end, one of the very few times she’s ever allowed that.

Tonight I’m struggling with the idea that she trusted me and I basically gave the order to have her killed. Even though I know it was the right, best thing I could do for her. And I’m also wrestling with whether I gave her the happiest life I could have, if I was too impatient with her, if maybe I didn’t trust her enough. Ultimately, I just wish I’d had more time… time with her, time to be good to her, time to make the final decision.

Anne and I both want to thank the compassionate staff at Copper View Animal Hospital for making this as easy as possible for both Uggy and us.

Rest in peace, Mama Cat. Wherever you are, I hope you find all the cheese you will ever want, and that your boys Hannibal and Jack are there and you’re all finally able to get along.

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2 comments on “The Hardest Day

  1. Karen

    Oh I’m so sorry. That decision just tears your heart out. Thinking of you and sending love.

  2. jason

    Thanks, Karen, I appreciate that.