Re: Big Kitty

1

Note - the HHHHHHHHHHHHHMM scale has descriptions of a pet owner that is a little more dedicated than I.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:21 AM
horizontal rule
2

The HHHHHMM Scale

This seems so much more sane than what we do to people.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:23 AM
horizontal rule
3

Sorry about your cat, Heebs. I'm dreading the day I have to put my big cat to sleep. I know I'm going to cry like a baby.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:26 AM
horizontal rule
4

Oh, that's good. When we had to put DogBreath down, I had qualms -- she was clearly dying, but it wasn't clear to me that we had to put her down that day, or how to tell when it made sense to. But this looks like what would have been a helpful mode of analysis.

(My parents were grateful to my childhood cat for sparing them that decision. He was healthy and vigorous until quite old, slowed down a bit in his last year or so, was sick for literally a couple of days and then died of his own accord before they could get him to the vet.) (I think? Maybe there was a vet visit, but no decision yet on treatment/euthanasia? But I don't think so.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:27 AM
horizontal rule
5

I'm sorry to hear your cat is joining Star Clan.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
6

When we put my cat down last year Noser asked if we should get his body back. So we wouldn't waste the meat.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
7

My friend's perpetually procrastinating boyfriend ended up leaving his kitty's body in the freezer for almost a year. I was genuinely surprised when he buried the kitty.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
8

Anyway, 6 is funny.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
9

Rilee said we should get another cat that looked the same and give him the same name also.

I scored the two of them as equal on the creepiness scale.

Rilee told people the vet killed the cat. With a gun.

Not so much, though.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
10

7 is sort of horrifying if they also kept food in the freezer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
11

10 is sort of a surprising level of squeamishness from Moby Hick.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:46 AM
horizontal rule
12

Accidentally eating the corpse of an extremely elderly cat is a long standing fear of mine. Fact!


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:50 AM
horizontal rule
13

Was it necessary to specify "extremely elderly" in there?

Wait, don't answer that question I don't actually want to know.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 12:08 PM
horizontal rule
14

Our cat situation is same as it ever was. Fat cat Fats, age 12 or so, eats the skinny cat's food because he doesn't like his kidney-friendly food, which keeps him fat and makes his kidneys unhealthy. Skinny cat much prefers to have a little bit of food at a time than eat a bowl at once, which makes separating them for mealtimes near impossible. Either one of these cats' lives would be immeasurably improved by the other one dying. Φ has figured out that our default mode of interaction with the cats is yelling at them and imitates us. "Kitty don't eat my food!" she yells when the cat is nowhere near her food.

Also the skinny cat, Sullivan, turning 17, has decided that he needs to be fed between 5:30 and 6:30 every morning and lets us know my issuing a gargly moan and scratching the wall. I lock him in the office without feeding him because I don't want to reward the gargly moan, but I live in fear that he's going to shit in the office, which he does now and then anyway.


Anyway, sorry about big kitty. Pet deaths are terrible, even when arriving as relief. I've lost two cats as an adult. The first one was skinny cat's brother Marlowe, who had to be put down; the second was cute little Spencer, who ran into the street chased by a terrible little dog. Fats has exhausted two or three lives since I've had him, between animal attacks and kidney business, but he keeps on keeping on, and Sullivan keeps himself safe and in shape by responding to every approach by fleeing in terror.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 12:11 PM
horizontal rule
15

My heart goes out to you, Heebie.

This seems so much more sane than what we do to people.

Every time I stop to think about it, I am dumbfounded by the cognitive dissonance that allows people to believe, on the one hand, that it is a clearly good and moral act to bring a swift and merciful end to the life of a dying pet, who cannot express its own desires clearly, nor can it understand its own situation in the way that humans can. But if a terminally ill mentally-competent human wishes to bring an end to their own suffering? No way! We couldn't possibly allow that, because only God can decide how long they have to suffer.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 12:17 PM
horizontal rule
16

15: Ain't that a fact.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 12:22 PM
horizontal rule
17

Applied diligently, I think we should be able to use the Moral-fact-less thread to destroy all meaningful discourse in this forum.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 12:23 PM
horizontal rule
18

My Lady did what indoor/outdoor cats do, which is to go out and not come back. She stopped eating a couple days before Thanksgiving and mostly I was just hoping that she would make it through the weekend (while I was occupied with all my family and the new baby) so I could be with her while we put her down. But we left her door open on Wednesday before Thanksgiving and didn't see her again. I miss her as an individual but am grateful to have one fewer pet. I do worry that the dog will find her body under the house and pull her out one day.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 12:25 PM
horizontal rule
19

AIMHMB, our dog wandered out into the yard to die. Dad went to find her after she didn't show up for dinner. Then she died before we took her to the vet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 12:28 PM
horizontal rule
20

All my sympathies, HG. My own beloved 14-year-old cat was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in December, and went through two emergency hospitalizations that month. She's being kept going now by a very complicated and aggressive drug regime, but, as the vet said, this makes it a race between her heart giving out and her kidneys, and I shouldn't expect her to live through the year. She's my first pet, I've had her since she was one, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to be devastated when she dies. For now, though, she seems like her old bloody-minded self, and I'm very glad to have the extra time with her.


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 12:31 PM
horizontal rule
21

Sympathies, heebs. I'm growing more attached to the cat I'm going to be moving away from. She's dim and selfish, but she likes my company.

fed between 5:30 and 6:30 every morning and lets us know my issuing a gargly moan and scratching
Mine did this forever, locking her in the office didn't help. What did help was ignoring her, not moving so that she thinks I slept through it. Then, if she asks politely, I'll get up and feed her. No more scratching after a month.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 12:36 PM
horizontal rule
22

I've had to make the call with two dogs so far. Makes me choke up just thinking about it. Thanks, heebs.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 12:41 PM
horizontal rule
23

Hmm, our vet lives on a farm and offered to bury our kitten there when it died unexpectedly. It didn't really occur to me to think that she might not follow through with that. (I'm not sure if she offers this to all our patients or it's because we're lesbians or what; there was no charge.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 12:54 PM
horizontal rule
24

From the OP:

I don't want to take Big Kitty's body home for burial since he can't be next to his brother, so I feel like I must do the fake-out-for-$35 choice, only it's harder to pretend

Many sympathies, heebie and family. I've been pretty stubborn about wanting to bury my cats ourselves: it's a semblance of closure for the rest of the family, whomever they are. If I'm living somewhere with no suitable burial place, take the cat out to the woods near some daffodils, or an inspiring boulder -- whatever seems a suitable resting place -- and let everyone have a good cry and remembrance. I've buried some cats with some token of their lives, sometimes, as well. A favorite blanket or toy, or one time a tulip.

Like Megan, we had one cat walk away to die. That's okay, if he (the cat) wants to do that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 1:10 PM
horizontal rule
25

Depends on how the kids feel about it: are they close to Big Kitty, or would they barely notice when he's gone?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 1:15 PM
horizontal rule
26

Barely notice. He does not suffer fools gladly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 1:18 PM
horizontal rule
27

I'm sort of worried about Selah and our dog, who's 11 and in good health now. But Lee talked adoption up by making a big deal about "forever!" and so Selah goes through this litany of all our names and "forever! ever!" and I keep saying, "Well, for as long as the dog is alive she'll be your dog!" but I suspect by the time we get to that point she'll be old enough to be bitter. Or not and I'm just the one being bitter because I think promising "forever" to anyone is a bit dangerous.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 1:24 PM
horizontal rule
28

You could get her a series of hamsters to prepare her.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
29

Oh, well, if the kids will barely notice, then it's just whether you (and/or Jammies) would like the closure that a burial ceremony can provide. Not everyone feels that way about ceremony -- which need not involve actual burial, of course.

Big Kitty maybe means more to you (heebie) than to anyone else in the family? It's perfectly okay and reasonable if you might want to recall your history with him even if nobody else in the family registers the same thing. Myself, I need a ceremony for that, to register that something has happened here. Part of the grieving process.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 1:50 PM
horizontal rule
30

Moby, you are not allowed to meet my children. So far "No, because the dog would eat them" has been a good response to rodent requests, but I'm ready to make it just plain "No."


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
31

My family found my weeks-missing childhood cat, dead in the basement, when I was away visiting a friend. They had a graveside ceremony without me. My friend Reuben delivered the eulogy. He began, "Let us not speak ill of the dead." Rainbow was all right, but not what you'd call a love. I wonder if the family who lives there now ever found the pet sematary under the pine tree.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 2:02 PM
horizontal rule
32

My parents had a strict "one pet at a time" rule. We had a very elderly guinea pig who'd lasted seven years, thwarting my wishes to get a cat. The guinea pig died while I was visiting family. My mother told me on the way home, probably expecting tears (she was pretty sad about it - a softy about animals if not people). I was a little sad, then immediately followed up by asking whether this meant we could get a cat.

Sorry about Big Kitty, heebie. Good list. I think most people I know realized in retrospect they waited longer than they meant to.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
33

It took me a while to find a vet in Japan who would be willing to put our old cat to sleep when the time came - it's regarded with the same horror there for family pets as euthanizing an old person is here. My ex-mother-in-law did actually keep her deaf, cataract-blinded, doubly incontinent, senile dog tenderly alive for over a year in that state; fenced into one side of the living room that was carpeted with pads to absorb the urine, spoonfed home-cooked soft food, and patiently picked up time after time when she got herself stuck in a corner and howled and howled with confusion because she couldn't remember how to back herself out again.

For the cat, though, in the end I wasn't able to go through with it. She was rigid after having a seizure, and the vet offered to put her down then. But I called her name and she blinked, and I couldn't bear to be the one who chose to end her life. She recovered enough to eat and purr when stroked for a few days, then had a second seizure, this time fatal. Because she wasn't originally mine but my estranged husband's, I had the proper Japanese pet funeral done, with an individual cremation and transfer of the bones into an urn with chopsticks: we had to supply a photograph, flowers, and some of her favourite food to be offered in the Buddhist service, though I demurred at paying the extra for a staff member to chant sutras and light incense for her on the 49th day after her death. When we left Japan the urn went to my ex, and I guess is probably sitting on a shelf in his apartment now.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
34

To me, that's stranger than all the comic book stuff everybody talks about.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
35

Parsi, I think you're missing the point - I regret not doing something for Little Kitty, and now I feel like I can't because asymmetry would bother me more deeply, and so I'd rather be told that ceremonies and burials are NBD and doesn't mean anything compared to the eternal love for the pet, etc.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 2:56 PM
horizontal rule
36

patiently picked up time after time when she got herself stuck in a corner and howled and howled with confusion because she couldn't remember how to back herself out again.

This made me laugh, poor thing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
37

35: Oh. The asymmetry wouldn't bother me. Mileage varies, then, obviously. Do whatever makes you feel best about it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
38

Sympathies, HG. One of our two sibling cats succumbed to heart failure last fall, after about two months on fairly complicated medication, which sounds like Cosma's situation. We put him down at the point where he wasn't taking any meds and wasn't eating and was clearly not wanting to do anything but lie and hide and had a hard time breathing and moving. His brother has been extra-clingy since, and makes noise whenever we're home and not in the same room as him (often waking my wife up, though I usually sleep through it). I kind of want to get another cat to keep him company, but it's a high-risk strategy.

I got the ashes from cremation back in a box. It's a sealed box, so I'm taking it on faith even that there are ashes in it, much less that that they're the right ones.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
39

My friend Reuben delivered the eulogy. He began, "Let us not speak ill of the dead."

When my sister first started keeping chickens, the first four chicks she bought died, smallest to largest. She maybe had the first chick a few hours, but we buried it by the dogwood. My sister started the eulogy, "This is chickie April. She loved the outdoors..."


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
40

It was hard for my wife when her great traveling cat, Max, had to be put down. I think she opted for the pet-home burial option. It was a rough few weeks afterwards.

Our current two cats, Moca and DC are both pretty young. Since they're so close in age, I suspect we'll have double the elderly cat problem at once in the 2020s.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
41

I'm so sorry to hear this, Heebie. Having our fat kitty put down a year ago was so much harder and sadder than I ever expected it to be (so much so that I'm crying now just thinking about it). I completely get the symmetry thing, too, which is one reason why you might want to not bring the body home if you know that you'll feel extra regret every time you look at his grave marker, or whatever.

Maybe putting together a quick photo book or something of both cats and telling the kids stories about them would help provide a feeling of ritual without being too "ritual-y."


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 3:15 PM
horizontal rule
42

It's weird, you will not meet someone more weirdly bonded with his cats than I, but as soon as I had Dora put down, they offered me the various options and I'm standing there, looking at her, and she's gone, and I'm like "why would I take this home? The thing I loved isn't there." Um and then I spent a week occasionally crying while I walked down the street. I don't know, it's not a topic on which I have any rational input.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
43

Rilee said we should get another cat that looked the same and give him the same name also.

OMG, I basically wanted to do this. Someone at one of the shelters I went to actually said to me in a talking-to-crazy voice "a lot of people think it's not the best idea to get the same kidn of cat you had before." So actually I didn't. And really I wasn't going to name the new one Dora, but after I found out that lots of crazy people want an exact replica of the old cat, I thought about getting a tortoiseshell and naming her Judy From Salina Kansas but calling her Madeleine.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 4:14 PM
horizontal rule
44

Funny, I don't even remember being offered an option with DogBreath. We walked in with her, and sat for a while crying as and after she died, but then we left, and I don't recall a discussion of what was going to happen to her body. They must have talked to Buck, I guess.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 4:14 PM
horizontal rule
45

but after I found out that lots of crazy people want an exact replica of the old cat, I thought about getting a tortoiseshell and naming her Judy From Salina Kansas but calling her Madeleine.

I am in awe.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 4:18 PM
horizontal rule
46

"his" is doing a lot of work in 42.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 4:25 PM
horizontal rule
47

We have the cremated remains of our dog sitting in a plastic bag on the floor in a corner of my home office.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 4:30 PM
horizontal rule
48

47: as in life, so in death?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 4:45 PM
horizontal rule
49

I have always loved dogs but I'm honestly unsure of whether I could ever have one given how rough it looks for their owners when they die. I don't understand how humans have been around so long and bred dogs in so many weird ways without ever trying to breed ones that live longer. I mean, how is that not a really obvious thing to try for?


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:17 PM
horizontal rule
50

Breeders are objectively pro-short livedness.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:27 PM
horizontal rule
51

What do you think the tiny ones are for?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:28 PM
horizontal rule
52

Eggplant also isn't under the thumb of Big Dog


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:30 PM
horizontal rule
53

One has complicated feelings, getting a cat after having one for its entire life and watching it go the way of all cats. I'm much more aware of how not long they last and that one day I will have to be extremely sad all over again. It's a strange thing to sign up for.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:32 PM
horizontal rule
54

51 - Guard dogs, I would assume. I mean, a rottweiler is kind of scary and all but imagine the equivalent mass in the form of chihuahuas. That's like twenty of the things at least, which is way scarier.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:32 PM
horizontal rule
55

I'm sorry, heebs. I can't give good advice on burial; I kept my giant kitty in the freezer until I worked myself up to take the body to some nearby woods that are frequented by coyotes.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:32 PM
horizontal rule
56

54: No, they're like really slow growing fruit.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:33 PM
horizontal rule
57

I don't feel any guilt over my treatment of his body. At least, none detectable against the background guilt of my not realizing he was really sick until too late.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:39 PM
horizontal rule
58

Smearcase, why not a parrot, then? Probably outlive you and dine on your corpse.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:41 PM
horizontal rule
59

I guess we still have the ashes from our 1992-2003 dog in a box in the basement. Should have scattered them down at the Billy Goat Trail before we came here, but the process of moving was too distracting. And you know we weren't going to be going back there, so.

The dog loved my parents' summer home in BC -- they're putting it on the market, so maybe we should go scatter the ashes there before it's sold.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:42 PM
horizontal rule
60

I don't know what it says about me that all I've been able to think about this thread is "wouldn't it be cool if there was a service that would take your cat's body and shoot it out of a cannon?"

Probably that my memories of my own dead cats are too painful and repressed to comment without ironic distance but anyhow the cannon thing would be cool.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:43 PM
horizontal rule
61

I felt the same as Smearcase when asked what to do with the remains of my 1978-1988 dog.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:46 PM
horizontal rule
62

58: You could get the same effect if you go a sufficient number of cats. Probably twelve or so.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:47 PM
horizontal rule
63

Well, that'd be more of a relay--given Smearcase's age, I don't think any single cat will outlive him. A long series of cats, sure.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:51 PM
horizontal rule
64

Sort of a cat centipede


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:52 PM
horizontal rule
65

An eternal meowing braid


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:56 PM
horizontal rule
66

As soon as the combined number of cats in your house outweighs you by more than a few pounds, you're living on borrowed time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:57 PM
horizontal rule
67

It's science.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 5:59 PM
horizontal rule
68

I've never been outweighed by my pets. That's how I know I'm not a hoarder.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 6:49 PM
horizontal rule
69

9 Rilee said we should get another cat that looked the same and give him the same name also.

I just read the odd little book Soundings by Hali Felt, a biography of Marie Tharp, a geologist who mapped the ocean floor and discovered the rift valleys where sea-floor spreading happens. One of the anecdotes about Tharp, who was fairly eccentric, involves her having a succession of black dogs named "Inky". Whenever Inky died she would get a new Inky. Apparently her friends were mostly okay with this until the point when she got an Inky that was white, which seemed like a step too far.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 6:51 PM
horizontal rule
70

What if you kept newts? Like Gussie Fink-Nottle. Mad About Newts, on TLC.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 6:53 PM
horizontal rule
71

9 Rilee said we should get another cat that looked the same and give him the same name also.

We had the class hamster during the Thanksgiving vacation when my kids were little. We came down in the morning (Thanksgiving day) and it was cold and dead. We went into total panic, thinking about trying find a duplicate hamster in an open-on-Thanksgiving pet store, just like people in a sitcom. My wife held it in her lap while we were strategizing, and it warmed up and came out of hibernation. Either that or she has powers beyond those I know...

HB, sorry to hear about your cat. We went through the declines and deaths (via euthanasia) of our two sister cats two years apart. We did bury them in the back yard but the important thing is to remember them. I still keep a picture of them in my office. We have a third cat who we got later who is still barely middle-aged.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 7:00 PM
horizontal rule
72

One has complicated feelings, getting a cat after having one for its entire life and watching it go the way of all cats. I'm much more aware of how not long they last and that one day I will have to be extremely sad all over again. It's a strange thing to sign up for.

Yeah, I haven't been quite able to gear up for it again yet myself.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 7:33 PM
horizontal rule
73

Jane also suggested we should get an identical cat and give it the same name. I confess I do want another black cat partly because I have arranged a bunch of minor everyday stuff in life on the assumption that black cat hair would be what happened to it. But maybe it would just be too weird.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 7:35 PM
horizontal rule
74

Get a black cat with a few white spots!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 7:36 PM
horizontal rule
75

If you have red bull with no white hair, you can give it to Benjamin Netanyahu to take back with him and he can start World War III without needing to bother us to do it for him.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 7:39 PM
horizontal rule
76

I think that would in fact be ideal!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 7:39 PM
horizontal rule
77

76 You think you know someone, and then out of nowhere the strangest thing.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 7:42 PM
horizontal rule
78

We all want the world to end. Some of us are just more open to our own feelings.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 7:46 PM
horizontal rule
79

There's a good chance I'll die before either of the cats will. That is entirely fine with me; I've developed a flinch about dealing with (either up-close or just by finding obits) other's deaths.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 7:48 PM
horizontal rule
80

That worked out well.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 7:50 PM
horizontal rule
81

I enjoyed it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 7:51 PM
horizontal rule
82

73, etc: We named the lamb Lambie Pie every year, which was both a reminder of its intended fate and a reference to eternal recurrence.

So cute. So tasty. I don't know if it's living with livestock when young, or having worked in a nursing home, or innate coldheartedness, or what, but I find it sensible to put down pets way, way earlier than most people now do. Coddle the healthy, whether you're going to eat them or not, and put down the ones in pain.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 7:53 PM
horizontal rule
83

73, etc: We named the lamb Lambie Pie every year, which was both a reminder of its intended fate and a reference to eternal recurrence.

So cute. So tasty. I don't know if it's living with livestock when young, or having worked in a nursing home, or innate coldheartedness, or what, but I find it sensible to put down pets way, way earlier than most people now do. Coddle the healthy, whether you're going to eat them or not, and put down the ones in pain.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 7:53 PM
horizontal rule
84

77 - Hey, it's certainly an effective solution to the whole "pet dies before you" problem.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 7:53 PM
horizontal rule
85

I have some farmer and grew-up-on-a-farm relatives and I've always admired the ability that people raising livestock have to react to pet deaths with something like "Oh by the way dear we're running low on dog could you pick one up on the way home?". It really does seem healthier/more conducive to wellbeing than being really bothered about things. I don't know if there's any way to end up with that ability that doesn't require having livestock though.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 7:58 PM
horizontal rule
86

Yeah, I haven't been quite able to gear up for it again yet myself.

I think it would be true to say I didn't have much choice. I was starting to look for bookstores that had cats in them and loiter for an hour. Sometimes you have to figure something out about managing your crazy. It was like the cat version of the first page of Moby Dick. A few things keep me (some values of) sane and at that point the one bearing the brunt of it was Bave.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 8:07 PM
horizontal rule
87

85: Professional farmers mostly think we're nuts for coddling our food animals, of course. Also I think they think we're creepy for ever moving a creature from Care to Eat, where I often think they're creepy for being okay with actual enjoyment of hurting animals in the Use category.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 8:26 PM
horizontal rule
88

87: "Enjoyment of hurting animals" IME isn't an accurate way to describe what's happening on a farm.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 8:35 PM
horizontal rule
89

That reminds me of "The Mean Farmer," a radio show that I believe was out of Madison.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 8:42 PM
horizontal rule
90

A pig like that you don't eat all at once.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 8:43 PM
horizontal rule
91

"Enjoyment of hurting animals" IME isn't an accurate way to describe what's happening on a farm.

Sheep lie!


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 9:22 PM
horizontal rule
92

*I* don't think "Enjoyment of hurting animals" is innate to raising animals for food, but farm, ranch, and logging families are way, way more likely to be OK


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 9:22 PM
horizontal rule
93

I do want another black cat [. . .] But maybe it would just be too weird

We had a black cat when I was a little kid, and my mom had a whole protective thing about black cats. They're the subject of all this superstition, which she thought was total bunk but it meant she had to be EXTRA CAREFUL about our black cat's safety (e.g., keeping it locked up inside around Halloween, because people look for black cats to do weird things to, you see). What I'm saying is, Stanley's Mom supports people who are willing to give good homes to black cats.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 9:28 PM
horizontal rule
94

Professional farmers mostly think we're nuts for coddling our food animals, of course.

But dogs and cats have not been "food animals" for many thousands of years. Owing to the domestication of those animals. Fido is not a food source, he is a trusted companion, and possibly even a friend.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 9:32 PM
horizontal rule
95

*I* don't think "Enjoyment of hurting animals" is innate to raising animals for food, but farm, ranch, and logging families are way, way more likely to be OK with cruel amusement against - and this seems relevant - any animal marked for death. E.g., gross ways of killing surplus kittens, IME. The kitten kept got a name and a basket and its siblings were given to the teenager, who stepped on them to see if they would pop.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 9:33 PM
horizontal rule
96

Fido is not a food source, he is a trusted companion, and possibly even a friend.

To some people. To others he's a tool, and entitled to no more affection than any other tool.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 9:38 PM
horizontal rule
97

94: plenty of places eat dogs and horses. Contrariwise, people who hand-milk value placid, affectionate cows & goats.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 9:39 PM
horizontal rule
98

I guess we can surmise that Just Plain Jane isn't Chinese, Korean, or Tongan.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 9:42 PM
horizontal rule
99

There's an argument among the Horse People I know, and the lazy version of the argument goes something like "We should just eat horses like France does. It'd be a far better way of dealing with wild horse overpopulation."

I can't see eating horse myself, but I'm vegetarian. So hey: chow down, and save the horses by eating them!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 9:48 PM
horizontal rule
100

I think we should deal with the wild horse population by re-introducing their other predators. Hippophagy for excess domestic horses - in every downturn there are more horribly neglected horses than the rescue ranches can take in.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 9:58 PM
horizontal rule
101

God, the wild horse debates. "Wild horses are a reintroduced native wildlife species." I wish I could reintroduce Smilodon to bite everyone who makes this argument right in the fucking neck.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 10:03 PM
horizontal rule
102

I wish I could reintroduce Smilodon to bite everyone who makes this argument right in the fucking neck.

And per clew it would control the wild horse population in similar fashion! It's win-win!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 10:06 PM
horizontal rule
103

There are rescue ranches for ex-layer hens. Most of them buy feed. I'm back-of-the envelope sure that they're killing more birds by displacement than they're saving, and rarer ones too. They think they owe a duty.

Another problem with 94 is that for almost all of those thousands of years it was normal to beat and malnourish human servants, let alone animals. "A woman, a spaniel, a walnut-tree: the more you beat them the better they be."


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 10:07 PM
horizontal rule
104

Black cats are [paragraphs of incoherent fandom.]


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 10:31 PM
horizontal rule
105

I would settle for re-introducing panthers to western and central Pennsylvania, so as to control the population of drunken undergrads deer.


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 10:44 PM
horizontal rule
106

Bombay cats, the breed we seem to have, were bred to look like tiny panthers, but it is hard to imagine they are adept at tearing drunken undergrads limb from limb. We have not loosed her upon any.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:19 PM
horizontal rule
107

it is hard to imagine they are adept at tearing drunken undergrads limb from limb

In the interim I think we can build a broad base of support for lithe cougars adept at tackling and having their way with us.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:26 PM
horizontal rule
108

I'm in.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:27 PM
horizontal rule
109

I think of my big cat often and it still makes me sad, though less acutely, but I don't like the idea of having that connection fade from my mind. A few days ago I thought I might try making a bedtime habit of briefly imagining him curled up on my chest purring. On a scale of unsentimental farmer to person who gets their deceased pets taxidermied, how unhealthy would this be?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:31 PM
horizontal rule
110

isn't PA in the range of coyotes interbreeding with wolves? Not as lovely as big cats. (Gemmunz.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:38 PM
horizontal rule
111

Are there any wolves left in the Northeast these days? (There certainly are coyotes.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:39 PM
horizontal rule
112

109: I think it's more sweet than creepy.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:40 PM
horizontal rule
113

111: iirc wolf reservoir in Canada?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:42 PM
horizontal rule
114

Canada's really big, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:43 PM
horizontal rule
115

It looks like most of it does have wolves, so fair enough.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 3-15 11:49 PM
horizontal rule
116

Who eat large ungulates, so horses should be no problem.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 12:42 AM
horizontal rule
117

Yeah, definitely no problem on that account.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 12:46 AM
horizontal rule
118

The stupid idiot California voters passed a stupid proposition banning horse meat so now not only can't we eat it like we should be able to do but we can't even sell the horse meat to sane countries that eat horse.

Sorry about your cat. I've gotten pretty into the cats we have. As I've said before they're like disdainful, occasionally affectionate high school girls -- they've mastered the art of using selective contempt as a tool for manipulation.


Posted by: Tim Ripper Owens | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 1:46 AM
horizontal rule
119

You're like 40. Kind of creepy analogy there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 5:23 AM
horizontal rule
120

106: One of ours is (we think) also a Bombay. She will definitely tear vermin limb from limb. Our other cat was abandoned as a kitten before he became proficient at hunting. She taught him how to shake toys to "kill" them, which amuses me to no end.
109: So, on a scale from cruel to creepy, you come out as sweet, however that works.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 6:33 AM
horizontal rule
121

107, 108: I knew I could count on someone here to make that sort of joke better than I could.

Wolf-coyote hybrids: I will take what I can get. (Did we always have coyotes, or have they been moving east?)

109: Not especially healthy, but very charming.


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 7:02 AM
horizontal rule
122

Rilee said we should get another cat that looked the same and give him the same name also.

My family used to do that with children. Younger siblings were routinely named after older siblings who'd died before their birth. Apparently Norwegians are a very practical people. I assumed it was common in most places with high birth and child mortality rates, but now I'm wondering if it's a more culturally specific practice.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 7:02 AM
horizontal rule
123

Everyone in my family used the same six names, so I don't know how you'd tell.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 7:04 AM
horizontal rule
124

123

My family was also working with a very limited pool of names, one of which was Ingeborg. They usually managed to give the currently living children different names though. (Although we had two sisters named Anne and Anna, which is stretching it.)


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 7:12 AM
horizontal rule
125

120: ours shows no mercy to bugs, provided you lift her to where they are and possibly pre-kill them for her. It's sort of like a very small safari.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 7:19 AM
horizontal rule
126

122: I know two families now who've done that within the last 15 years. It really breaks my heart when you see siblings listed for adoption where two (usually boys) have the same name and it's presumably because one was lost to foster care and the other was a "replacement" for that and yet the parents still couldn't keep custody.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 7:23 AM
horizontal rule
127

AIPMAOPP, we had a dog that ate June bugs until he puked and then repeated the process until the June bug infestation went away. My dad, who was a farmer, suggested replacing that dog (that is, putting it down and getting a new one), but my sister forbid it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 7:24 AM
horizontal rule
128

I mean, he grew up on a farm. He wasn't a farmer at the time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 7:54 AM
horizontal rule
129

I've never heard of wolves in Pennsylvania. The coyotes will have to breed with the red foxes. Or groundhogs.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
130

Apparently, we don't have enough habitat.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
131

We had a wolf siting just north of the subdivision in December. Lions are around. Neither seem to be doing enough for our drunken undergrad problem.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
132

Another way to prevent getting too attached to pets in addition to living on a farm: have a very independent cat. Ours is an adopted stray, likes people (we probably aren't the first people who fed him and let him inside, and still may not be), but really values his independence. He spends some most days and some nights outside even this time of year, and when summer comes he'll probably spend more time outside than not. I kind of assume that some day he'll just not come home no matter how much we call (hit by car/asshole with gun/freezes/caught in some kind of machinery) and that will be that. If he settles down as he ages I might have to face some uncomfortable choices like everyone else here.

I know that keeping cats indoors is safer for them and for the local songbird population. But I can't imagine a safer place for an outside cat than our urban residential neighborhood, he had already survived for a few months before we adopted him so he knows what he's doing, and the little pest chewed his way through two window screens this summer, so he doesn't really give us a choice.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 12:54 PM
horizontal rule
133

Maybe he was part of Wind Clan.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
134

I shouldn't, but I can't resist: a visit to the Auschwitz for kittens


Posted by: Nworb | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
135

The same-ish name thing used to be common in Ireland - might have different middle names. Family legend had it that one great-aunt got her old age pension a couple of years early by producing the other baby's birth certificate ...


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 4:54 PM
horizontal rule
136

Heebie, I somehow missed this thread and haven't read it, but I just wanted to express my sympathy. Such a horrible decision and a sad time.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 5:04 PM
horizontal rule
137

My family never did the "Mary XXX" thing very often. They just named all the boys "Michael".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 5:06 PM
horizontal rule
138

And now I have and am sad for everyone who has lost their pets. :(

When my girl cat died unexpectedly after a short illness (I thought she had a bladder infection when I took her in a day or two before her death, to learn that it was likely much more serious but there were medications to be tried, etc) at age 4, it was a small relief that she took the decision out of my hands but I also felt terribly guilty, worried that she had suffered too much. I can't imagine losing my two babies right now, but hopefully as they're both still very young that's a long way in the future.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 5:25 PM
horizontal rule
139

Sympathies, Heebie, and to everyone who's had to deal with this.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 5:29 PM
horizontal rule
140

Parrots, tortoises and redwoods

Live a longer life than men do;

Men, a longer life than dogs do;

Dogs, a longer life than love does.


Posted by: Flaming Vincent | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 5:31 PM
horizontal rule
141

A relevant Brautigan story.

It was long past the proper time for the dog to die, but the dog had been dying for so long that it had lost the way to death.
...

As he carried the coffin outside he peeked in at the thou­sand-dollar* rug. Beautiful design, he said to himself. All you would have to do would be to vacuum it a little and it would be as good as new.

My friend is not generally known as a sentimentalist. Stupid dead dog! he said to himself as he neared the grave, Damn dead dog!

"But I did it," he told me. "I buried that dog with the rug and I don't know why. It's a question that I'll ask myself forever. Sometimes when it rains at night in the winter, I think of that rug down there in the grave, wrapped around a dog."

*1960s dollars.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 5:58 PM
horizontal rule
142

"I had Seymour till he was three. That's when I knew him, and that's when I loved him. I'll never forget him. But he forgot me a long, long time ago."


Posted by: Fry | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 7:02 PM
horizontal rule
143

130: Since I last looked it there appears to be a lot of turmoil around the scientific consensus on the taxonomy of species of canis lupus in North America, and their hybridization with coyotes. Especially for eastern and red wolves.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 7:12 PM
horizontal rule
144

It's interesting to me that the Wikopedia article doesn't use the term by which my dad learned to call the Ontario wolf, the brush wolf. If only we had another commenter from the Ottawa valley...

I well remember how the Ottawa River would freeze and become snow-covered at Deep River and Chalk River, the nuclear installation where my dad worked. Both are a few miles downstream of the Algonquin Park mentioned repeatedly in the article.

On his first winter there, about 1950, my dad saw from his office window that a pack had forced a deer onto the ice. It took a lot of running back and forth, but they eventually ran it down and killed it. No colo(u)r nature films in those days; he'd never seen anything like it. He'd tell the story vividly, starting when I was just small, so it was always part of my imagination. Must have made a hell of an impression on him.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 7:38 PM
horizontal rule
145

Mild coyote introgression.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 4-15 11:55 PM
horizontal rule
146

Big doggies are around 12 now, which is getting on there for 70 pounders. Still active as hell, chipper, endurance and stamina a little down, female overweight, no graying noticeable yet.

Male dog has the worst cancer, aggressive metastatic bladder carcinoma. Noticed blood in the urine and excessive urination, but the drug treatment appears to have helped that, and can even give remission for a while. Inoperable, chem is pretty unacceptable and doesn't have good results. Changed diet a little. Median prognosis is 180 days, it's been 90 already. Taking a day at a time.

Scared for his partner. They are inseparable.

Gone through probably about ten pet-partners in my life. These were the 2nd most loved. All the partings were horrible.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 6-15 8:02 PM
horizontal rule
147

145: Better than mild coyote intussusception


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 6-15 8:34 PM
horizontal rule