To kill or not to kill, that is the question.

Its 11:30 pm. our family is together, but soon this is all about to change.  My child was hurt today. She had a procedure by a plastic surgeon that put her back together,  hopefully with minimal scarring into the future.

The purpetrator to her injuries? Our family pet. He can’t stay in our home now. He must go. I know it seems simple to some but let me give you some background.

For years, my partner and I lived in apartments. I was desperate for a cat but it wasn’t to be. I grew up in a family with pets. We waited. We moved a long way to be closer to our families.

We got jobs, bought a house and four weeks later I went to the animal shelter for a look. As I walked along the rows of cages, there were so many tiny kittens and adult cats waiting to be rescued. Some sleeping, some laying, some crying. There was one that was climbing a cat stand, playing, jumping, miowing. I kept walking. The adopton facilitator showed me some kittens. “These are very cute. Maybe one of those?” I looked. They were very sweet, curled up in a warm, furry pile. We went back to the climber. “I’d like to meet him please”.

I entered the cage and sat down close to the exit. He looked at me. “Hello” I said. He jumped down from the cat stand, walked over to me, climbed onto my lap and cuddled in. “Would you like to come home with me?” I asked. He miowed and curled into me. The adoption facilitator was training someone that day. She said to the trainee “This is how adoption is meant to be. You won’t see a better meeting than this”. I took him home.  He was 8 months old. His shelter name was spike. We named him Henry. He’s been my baby since that day. He has my last name!

We soon realised that he was scared of men and workboots. You can probably imagine why he has those fears.

We built a back deck. He hurt his back the day we signed the construction contracts. He couldn’t walk without crying out in pain. I flew out for work the next morning after a night of hand feeding him cat food and water. My partner took him to the vet.  He had hurt his back.

Fast forward to the death of my grandmother. He sat with me while I grieved. As I lay on the floor crying, he snuggled against me. When our friend came to stay and look after him while we went to the funeral, I wrote a three page letter about how to look after him. I grieved. He was always there, even in the weeks that followed as life went on but I had sadness creep through the everyday.

Later my first child was born. We did all the things the pet experts suggested. My partner brought home a singlet of the baby’s so he could smell her before she arrived. We put aluminium foil on the cot mattress (hilarious in retrospect but we were first time parents hehe). We did it all. He was so gentle and sweet. He cuddled up in between my shins while I spent what felt like endless hours breastfeeding. 

Then my second child was born. I birthed her at 1:30 pm. I arrived home at 9pm with a newborn in my arms. The next morning my toddler came into our bedroom and discovered Mummy with a flatter stomach, her new sister in her arms and Henry curled up in between her thighs. Again he was always in close proximity,  although this time around, navigating around an enthusiastic, almost two year old toddler. He managed beautifully.

The children grew. He did too. My dad had an accident at a hardware store. I tried my best to look after my father during his immediate recovery from his shoulder operation and the weeks that followed. For the first week after my Dad’s operation, I slept (badly) on the couch upstairs in between my unwell baby’s bedroom and the stairs downstairs to where Dad was staying. It was very rough. Dad was suffering badly. I was very worried. I also worked during this period on a major project at work.

Who slept next to me on the couch? Henry. Who visited my Dad during his convalenscence and really brightened his day? Henry.

All those days working from home, all those all nighters rewriting reports so they would meet client deadlines. Henry lay in his cat napper next to my work desk. So many days we would intermittently smooch. He made the stress manageable.

Henry has a beautiful soul. When my partner worked night shifts, we would play quiet games for hours. He would play fetch with mouse toys. When we had chidren he snuggled with me.

Through all the colds, flus, period pains, celebrations, family time, challenges Henry has been there. Just two weeks ago I went to bed feeling horribly ill. He lay on my chest with face next to mine. I slept better.

Today he made a mistake. He has scratched my eldest before because he was cornered and frightened. Today though, she could have lost her eye. He has to leave our home. My child isn’t safe if he is frightened.

We took Henry for a walk in the back garden. He got frightened by a neighbour who is loud and speaks unkindly to his wife. So we took him down to the front garden instead. His tail was still puffed up. All my daughter did was lean down and innocently pat his back. He turned and hurt her.

I watched as my baby was repaired. I saw it all. I was there for her fear, anxiety, sedation, procedure and I will be there for her recovery.

This time Henry won’t be with me. He won’t be a comfort. He will be put away. In exile. While we decide what his fate will be. While our daughter recovers from her injuries with me by her side.

I am well versed in animal welfare issues. I understand the complexity and vulnerability of rescue animals’ lives. I know how much love they need to heal from their bad experiences.

So what about Henry? What will become of him? We could rehome him to a childless person/couple. In two years time they get a great job overseas and have to move. Henry gets handed on to a friend/cousin/coworker. They don’t really love him.  His history is forgotten. He makes another mistake. He is abused because of it, or neglected. He leads a miserable life. Maybe remembering our family, maybe me. Or worse. He’s given away for free and ends up as live bait for some greyhound or dog fighting ring. He could die a horrible death within view of heartless scumbags.

I believe pets are for life. Our responsibility to them is a serious, lifelong committment. Henry’s care is written into my last will and testament. I am heartbroken.

So to kill or not to kill. That is the question. We could have a vet come to the house and he could be euthanised in my arms at home. Or he could face an uncertain life and death.

Should he die in the arms of his favourite person or should he be tossed aside, not understanding where his home and family is? Why he has been abandoned.

So now it’s 1am the next day. I sit here listening to him snoring, crying, about to check on my injured child.

I am heartbroken because I can no longer fulfill my promise to him. To always care for him and keep him safe and loved. I am heartbroken because my child is badly hurt. No parent wants this.

As I sit here with pain in my heartspace, where he has always put warm, fuzzy feelings,  the question remains.

To kill. Or not to kill.






37 thoughts on “To kill or not to kill, that is the question.”

  1. That’s so sad and very hard to decide. I know how much we love for a cat and how hurt of the heartbroken to see our cat in pain. Sorry for you and Henry

  2. Why were you letting your kid pet/maul your cat, that you have had since it as a kitten, when you already knew it was scared. This is YOUR fault, not the cats, not even the childs, but YOURS and you are trying to get out of your responsibilty by blaming a scared cat. Shame on you!

      1. Seriously, you’re going to murder your child (the cat) because he got scared and scratched someone? That is absolutely horrific. I wish I could save the Henry from you. Would you have a human child put to death because they were afraid and scratched someone? If not, then how is another animal any more deserving of it?

        Get over yourself, for the sake of the cat. You’re going on and on about your own feelings, when it’s the cat whose life is at stake. Stop with this attention grab for yourself and your own comparatively inconsequential feelings.

        You chose to have children after you’d already taken on guardianship of another animal. You have a responsibility to that animal. Which does NOT include putting them to death, unless they are in the final throes of some incurable disease after doing what you can for them medically.

        If you cannot fulfill your responsibility to Henry, the very least you can do is find another home for him, the best home possible. A childfree one which will not abandon him for the crime of not being human.

  3. You need a psychatrist if your going to get your cat killed because he scratched a kid…….I hope you karma comes and gets you

  4. You want to murder your cat for hurting your kid?! What is wrong with you?! All children get scratched and bitten by cats at some point or another. This is a knee-jerk over-reaction on your part. Teach your child to respect your cat and leave him alone when he is scared. If that is too much for you, rehome him to someone who is less of a drama queen than yourself. No, he won’t end up miserable and abused simply because he occasionally lashes out when scared (as all animals do).

      1. It’s very easy to kill a cat and then pretend it’s for the cat’s own good, isn’t it… My words are not “vicious” but your intention of executing this animal who you claim to love is. If it had been another child who had lashed and and hurt your kid, would you be considering killing them too? Or is it just non-human animals who are expendable?

      2. Nothing about this situation is easy. I don’t believe any animals are expendible. I actually appreciate you saying “for his own good” because that is where the biggest fear lies. If he is neglected or abused, I wouldn’t be there to protect him. If you have any constructive suggestions I am listening.

    1. Honestly before making such a harsh accusatory cruel comment use your brain and think. This lady is already going through trauma and heartache, and has only voiced her concerns regarding the issue she has at hand. This is an unfortunate incident that she now has to face after first seeing that her daughters injuries are mended. If it was a dog there.would be no doubt what would be done regardless of whose “fault” it was. Think before you speak “keyboard warrier” who obviously doesn’t know the whole story 😠

      1. That’s not true at all. I have a doberman who came to me after biting a toddler. He has a wonderful life with me and killing him would definitely have been the wrong thing for his old family to do. I just keep him well away from children.

        Seriously, you wouldn’t kill a child for attacking another child so why kill an animal for doing it?

  5. I find this unfair and cruel … Give him away to an elderly person who will love him as you don’t… Kids get hurt all the time unfortunately and getting rid of this beautiful animal who trusted you loved you is just ancuse…

    1. I do love him. The risk with someone elderly is if they can’t look after him he could get handed on again. I don’t want to get rid of him. I’m taking him to see our vet tomorrow to see if his back is sore because he acted out of character.

  6. Wow. This is the worst story ever. You are selfish and ruthless. To imagine killing your first baby because he scratched a child who came at him when he was scared. Shame on you.

  7. Please, please, please try to re-home him! He might get abused, but there is also a 50% chance that he might not, and might find just the right person for him. if you don’t want to do this, please follow your heart, and don’t. My adopted cats bring me SO much joy and my life has improved so much after I got them.

    1. Hi Lucy. I’m taking him to the vet tomorrow because he acted out of character and his back could be sore. I have medicine for him that I will give him after he’s eaten. He has to have something in his stomach to take it.

  8. Did I misread the article? You are thinking about killing your cat because it scratched your kid? Are you serious?

  9. And I’m pretty sure that if it were up to Henry, he’d rather take his chances at another (non-murderous) home, than be sentenced to death! You don’t execute your baby for scratching someone out of fear! Stop trying to convince yourself that he’s better off dead. He’s not. His purpose in life is not YOU. It’s not all about YOU. His existence does not revolve around being with you, or pleasure and comfort that he gives you. His life is for himself. If you truly cared, you’d give your head a shake and understand this and acknowledge the fact that HIS life has meaning for HIMSELF, with or without you in it.

  10. I’ve just seen a fb post that was shared about a Softpaws product that caps the cat’s nails so they can’t scratch and cause damage. Google it, if the link doesn’t work. I had never heard of it before but they look awesome and there are lots of photos and testimonials on the website. So basically, for about $19 every few months, you can cover your cat’s nails and won’t have to KILL HIM!! The person sharing the fb post said ‘Seems there are alternatives to having your pet ‘put down”, and I couldn’t believe anyone would have their pet put down for scratching. Then I read your blog. 😦

    1. Andrea I’ve just bought some. Thank you so much for the link and info. They are apparently comfortable and last several weeks. We have the details of a reputable pet behaviourist that has helped other adopted animals and their families very successfully. With all our plans in action we think everyone can be safe and happy.

  11. I’ m glad you have found more choices for this dilema. I can imagine you were horrified and distraught. What an unfortunate experience for everyone.
    Interesting how ready people are to throw stones at someone who is already down. An easy target for people to slam there perspective on. I’m sorry you had to endure that. Wonder if it relieved them from there on tragedies?
    hope your beloveds all heal well from this crisis. ❤

    1. Thank you very much for your message. Henry has had a very nice day and is happy. We are doing all we can for our daughter. It’s been a very distressing 24 hours. We can’t bare to part with him so will try everuthing. Thanks again.

  12. Contact a rescue group or set up a cat friendly area. Being put to sleep for a random event is not an option that should be considered. Perhaps the rescue group will be able to keep you informed of Henry’s new home.

  13. Please contact me. I have the most beautiful forever home for Henry that you could ever imagine. I just need to know if he is good with other cats and indoor dogs. xxx

      1. You are very welcome, and I am soooooooooooooo glad that you are keeping him. I think you will be very glad that you did. xxxxx Love and prayers for your entire family

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