Losing a pet is something unthinkable, and you can never imagine or feel how heartbreaking it would be unless you experience it firsthand.
I, for one, was given the front seat when it happened, and I wasn't ready for it.
It was usual for our cat to get an occasional itch around its ears and neck. After several days, his skin would heal and return to its fluffy fur. As if he heals himself without any medical assistance.
However, the itching became frequent for a few months, and it came back every other week. There was brown and crumbly discharge around his ears and neck. He was losing his hair, and his appetite decreased. He suddenly did not want to go outside and hid more in the corner of our house.
It was the first time we had a cat, so we were unaware that these were the signs to watch when a pet has an illness. We thought it was a simple flea or tick problem that can be solved by bathing. Then the swelling of his face and neck began. We knew then it wasn't an ordinary itch anymore.
We rushed him to the vet to get a shot, and the vet advised us to observe him for a while. But after a few days, he was also emitting a foul smell because of the pus from his wound. The good thing is we have an empty room where we can isolate him while he is recuperating.
Yet imagine the anxiety that surrounded that time in our home. Our beloved pet, our stress reliever, is battling an illness he got from a simple itch. His sweet and affectionate personality turned lethargic and weak. But one of the weirdest things he did was meow all the time. Our cat rarely did that because he was quiet and reserved.
The following day, I found out he had passed away.
I felt numb all of a sudden. My first thought was, "Didn't we do enough? What went wrong?"
Tell-tale signs your pet is sick
According to American Humane, animals, like our pets, have this inherent trait to mask signs of sickness. It is an instinct they used for protection in the wild to prevent being attacked by predators. So if you noticed the following symptoms, it could be an indication of an illness:
- Loss of appetite
- Decrease in energy level
- Blood in the urine or stool
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Bloating of the abdomen
- Excessive scratching or licking of the body
- Foul odor coming from the mouth, skin, or ears
- Abnormal whining or crying
When our pet started showing the signs I've mentioned above, we were faced with a stay-at-home order due to coronavirus. We're still on lockdown. We were hesitant to go out at the time. Also, as much as we want to go back and forth to the vet, we couldn’t do so for fear of being sick.
Does this make us lousy pet parents? This question leads us to the next matter in hand.
When does keeping your ill cat or dog alive become 'too much'?
About our cat: He was only loaned to us because its owner cannot pay their dues. At first, I was against it because I'm a dog person, and I'm not too fond of a cat's behavior. So, I stay away from it to avoid being clawed or scratched.
Then one day, it approached me and brushed its soft fur against my legs. The cat, a total stranger to me since it was a kitten, gave me a friendly rub out of nowhere. It brought a tiny smile to my face, and I thought I heard a swoosh somewhere that struck my heart.
I have become a cat lover since then.
Losing a pet in the most depressing time, specifically during the COVID-19 outbreak, is heart-wrenching. Your source of joy and companionship is gone. If only the situation wasn’t dangerous, we would not have hesitated to make several trips to the vet just to save him.
The cost doesn't matter if the medical care could keep him alive. Yet, according to Healthline, "saving your pet's life comes at more than an economic cost." It can also do more harm than good. What if the medication is only prolonging the pet's pain? Later, you will have no choice but to put them down to end their suffering.
I am somehow thankful that he died a natural death. He didn't suffer for too long, and we weren't forced to get him euthanized. It is already hard to see him helpless. What more when he needs to be put down? Can we bear watching it?
Pet owners who leave the room while their pet is being euthanized sparked a debate in the Twitterverse, as told by a Today article. The tweet reads:
"Asked my vet what the hardest part was about his job & he said when he has to put an animal down, 90% of owners don't want to be in the room when he injects them, so the animal's last moments are usually them frantically looking around for their owners & tbh that broke me."
Dr. Katja Lang, a veterinarian, told TODAY that she understands the emotional toll the owner may experience as they witness their pet being put down. So, she would never judge them for how they would handle the very traumatic situation.
If you want to leave the room, bring your pet's favorite things like a blanket, a toy, or even the food she loves. This will help them calm down while the vet is performing euthanasia. Because the moment you exit that room, your beloved pet will frantically search for you, wondering why did you abandon them.
How to cope with the death of a pet?
All your life, you've considered your pet as a part of your family. They are with you 24/7. You feed and bathe them. You also throw away their poop and clean the areas where they urinate. It is like having a baby or a child that needs to be taken care of. So that is why it is painful to lose a pet.
If you are still in the process of grieving, yet you want to have another furry companion, you may adopt a realistic pet as a temporary alternative like Perfect Petzzz.
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All they need is unlimited hugs and pets from you. No more, no less.
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