As long as we have lived in these apartments, there has been a stray cat that roams here. At first, he looked pretty healthy and we’ve said hello many times. Recently, he’s not been looking so well. We started putting out food and water for him because he looked so thin and was losing fur. He started to greet us with that raspy meow, full of purs, and tried many times to nudge his way into the apartment. However, we have two very healthy cats and we won’t jeopardize their well being by bringing in an ill stray.
Still, I felt in my heart that he was miserable and that he very badly wanted a home. I hated that I couldn’t pet him or love him in the way that he wanted. I talked to my husband and expressed how much it meant to me that we seek help for his sweet sweet cat. So, today, before we headed to lunch, the cat showed up. We decided now would be a good time help him. We lured him into a cat carrier with yummy soft gravy cat food and set off to the vet for a check up. Our goal was to assess his condition and then find him a home (or at least a foster). We even talked about bringing him into the house temporarily, if he was safe to have around the girls. They asked us for a name for him, so we called him “Glenn”, named after the apartment complex.
We spent almost the entire day at the vet. The examination room had a window and a very comfy couch. Glenn relaxed on the couch for while, then on the table at the window. We played with him and pet him. The vet said he was a lot older than three years, had missing teeth, and fluid in his tummy. We paid to have him tested for feline leukemia and fiv (feline aids). They said that leukemia is extremely contagious, even through touch, and the fiv is contagious only through fluids (blood, saliva, etc), but that neither are curable. After a long while, they came back and told us that Glenn had fiv (feline aids).
They explained that fiv can lay dormant for a long time and then suddenly it starts and it does to the cat the same thing that human aids does to human immune systems. They said that he had infections and that things would only get worse. Given his age, the condition he was in, and that he would likely never be adopted, the kindest thing we could do was have him euthanized. They said that the only other option was to have him permanently in quarantine, but that it wouldn’t be a good life. We have healthy cats that we simply cannot jepordize and we’re at our limit for the apartment we live in, so there was no way for us to accommodate this. It wouldn’t be right to put him back outside with his health declining and likely infecting other cats.
Glenn wasn’t even our cat and we cried. It was so HARD to make this decision. I wanted him to have a home and to be loved. The day that I noticed his misery, was too late for my heart. How could I not love him? He deserves love. He’s such a loving cat for a stray… he must have had a family once upon a time. I wonder… was he healthy once and then abandoned and later infected as a result? We had a plan to rescue him, but instead, we made the hard choice to do what we felt was the right thing. We spent more time with him in that room, giving him love and pets. He had a nice meal and, at least for a little while, he was loved again. Glenn got to house-cat one more time.
We took Glenn to Animal Welfare to have him euthanized and gave them the veterinarian paperwork. I cried and told him that we tried and that his hardship would end soon. After dropping him off, we were very sad the remainder of the evening. Glenn has been on my mind all night. We had gone out for the evening and came back home pretty late (it’s almost 3 am while I’m writing this post). On the ride home, my husband said that I still seemed pretty out of it. So I talked about what was going on in my mind… and my heart.
I imagine that Glenn is in quarantine, alone, wondering why we left him there. We built a trust with Glenn and then we swept him off to an unfamiliar place and left him alone. I’m sure he’s comfortable, but he’s probably scared and confused too. I don’t want him to be alone. I wish I could be there the whole time and be there when he drifts away. In my mind, as I think of Glenn, he’s not really alone… at least not in my heart.
It doesn’t feel right that we dropped him off to be killed and then go about our happy life. He’s not just a stray that doesn’t matter. He’s Glenn… a friend that we have known for the past three years. For that, I allow myself to be sad and to grieve for him. I don’t know if they euthanized him today (they were close to closing when we dropped him off), or if they’ll do it tomorrow, or if it’ll be Monday. Until I feel that he’s gone, my mind and heart will stay with Glenn.
I’m glad that we could give Glenn some real love today. We’ll miss you around here ❤