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January 28, 2013

Mariah, the cat

Let me tell you about the cat that my sister, Mary, and I brought home when we were 15 and 17 years old.  She was a cute little kitten.  A friend of ours had a cat that had kittens.  We picked this one out, she was a calico with long fur and mewed very loudly and high pitched, so we named her after the singer, Mariah Carey.  In the years that followed, we left for college and worked and got married...

I took pictures of her with a plastic purple egg on Pascha in April 2012.  She looked very good then.  She kept herself clean.
(My mom started and then my husband finished digging a hole for her.  She is now buried right by these wooden planters, where the mint and ground phlox grow in the spring.  It was one of her favorite places to lay.)
My parents kept Mariah at their house.  Now, it's almost 20 years later and Mariah is still mewing very loudly, but in the middle of the night, in the house and even outside, so that it wakes my parents.
Dad has Parkinson's disease and now a broken arm and the hours that he is able to sleep peacefully are limited.  Mom cleans up after Mariah, who in her old age has stopped cleaning her fur, it is matted and knotty, and even has some feces stuck to it...  It's my job, now, to help out.  I wanted to bring her to my home, but she has never known another home and we think she is going deaf and blind.  We also have a young cat, dog and 3 chickens...  I don't think Mariah would like it here.
So, we prayed for her to pass away peacefully in her sleep.  It didn't happen.  After talking about it, we called the vet and made an appointment to have her put to sleep.  When they examined her, they said that her kidneys were enlarged and that her muscle tone was very low...  They were very kind and explained that they would give her 2 injections, the first one, which would let her sleep, as they would give to any cat, undergoing a spay or neuter, then another injection that would stop her heart.  ♥  It was very hard to hear that and to not feel guilty about allowing this to happen.  I told my girls that animals don't have souls, that this is different from a human life, but I still felt badly.
I have to think of the life of an animal, as the life of a tree (maybe it was beautiful and bore peaches for many years and is now dying, shall we leave it or cut it down?) and there I feel like what I did was humane.
She would've been about 90 years old in cat years.  Most cats live 12-15 years, although some live quite long!  Mariah had a longer than normal life.
It was the first time I've ever had to do something like this...
I hope it is the last.

7 comments:

Anna said...

Oh Marfa, this is such a hard thing to do. But when it's our responsibility to see that an animal in our care doesn't suffer needlessly, because they don't understand suffering, it's the right thing to do. And our pets trust us to do the best thing for them. Been there. Animals don't have souls like human ones, but then again they are without sin, and glorify their Creator by just being. We can certainly have loving relationships with our animals, not just ones about work, food or shelter, but personal ones. And no love ever just disappears into thin air. Thinking of you.

Anna said...

I'm SO sorry, Martha. I know it's very hard - I've had to do it too : (

elizabeth said...

this is hard. praying for you all... daily... and lighting candles... sending a HUG your way!

Martha said...

thank you so much for your kind words, Anna, Anna I. and Elizabeth! ♥ it means a lot...

DebD said...

What a lovely companion your family had! I'm sorry you had to say goodbye and I'm sure it is hard not to feel guilty, even when you know it's the right thing to do. Many hugs.

Michelle M. said...

I'm so sorry. I saw your photos on fb the other day- your girls looked so beautiful. We have yet to do this with a pet, but my parents have had to several times over the years. It is heartbreaking.

I hope your girls, you and your family are doing ok. Hugs!

Anna said...

Abbot Tryphon (of Vashon Is,WA) just posted on this topic as well - hope the link works: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=501320609906306&set=a.122116211160083.8744.104578182913886&type=1&permPage=1