Tuesday, 21 July 2009
I got a call two weeks last Saturday about a thin stray cat and could we help. By the time I'd checked with a couple of people, the caller rang back to say it had been taken in by Westall kennels. As they don't do cats except as paying guests and are normally for dogs, I rang them and said we'd take it off their hands after the statutory week when it became their property.
In fact it took two weeks because I forgot and didn't go till last Saturday. They said it was an old but friendly cat. Which it was -a bog-standard amiable tabby- until you tried to get it in a cat carrier when it turned into the feline from hell and I have the scars to prove it.
I got it to Carol's safely. Later she called me to say it probably needed neutering, so I made the appointment for this morning with a checkup first. Carol confirmed it was an old cat and one which didn't use the litter tray. I decided to call it Reg as it seemed the feline equivalent of a smelly old man.
At Vets4Pet, Sarah the young vet confirmed it definitely was male and lifted its tail to show me and made me wonder how Carol could have any doubts that it needed doing. It had a very wheezy breath but, surprisingly, good teeth and Sarah said she doubted it was more than five, if that. Then she checked Reg's heart and discovered what she thought was a heart murmur. Concerned she went to check it on Honor's more sophisticated equipment.
Reg had a very severe heart murmur and would probably not last twelve months during which his condition would deteriorate. Even neutering him would pose more than normal risks.
It was pretty obvious where Sarah was heading with this and I found it difficult to disagree. I rang Carol and told her who, if a little surprised at first, said that during the weekend he'd been with he'd acted consistently like an old cat.
Now all he had to look forward to was a year in an open cage, surrounded by strange cats, slowly deteriorating as his heart struggled to keep going. So I authorised the kindest and hardest thing I ever have to do and Reg was put to sleep.
And that is the short story of Reg.
I got home and told Susan the story and she agreed that I'd done the right thing. I mentioned to her that Sarah asked me if I wanted to stay with Reg. I didn't because I'd only met him a couple of times and it wouldn't make any difference to him. If it had been Aslan or Marmalade (see earlier posts) it would have been different because I'd grown extremely fond of both of them. Susan then said something about maybe taking Aslan. As Susan's not too well at the moment -either a viral infection or swine flu- I'm not pushing it, but I'd love to bring Aslan (and Marmalade) here. I'll remind her when she's feeling a little better.