What To Do

September 27, 2006

The decision I am facing is a difficult one, there is no easy, clear-cut answer. There's no easy clear-cut set of factors. Objectivity is impossible, and long term impact - regardless of the choice - will be profound.

My cat has diabetes and a heart murmur - both of with will require constant daily intervention upon my part if she is to live. The diabetes will require twice daily insulin injections. All the online literature I've read in the past couple of days indicates the treatment plan, like the cat, is individual. Some cats adapt to the new intrusions in their life and some don't. Some don't respond well to the insulin - their blood glucose levels never become stable and the caregiver spends a lot of time adjusting and reacting. The heart murmur will require one pill every day.

Both of these treatments will require that I capture my cat and hold her twice a day. Nekko isn't that kind of cat. She has never liked to be held, and will hide in inaccessible places when she even suspects that someone wants to pick her up.

Fear: Trying to administer her treatment will cause her personality to change. She'll run and hide from me as I will be the one making her take a pill every morning, and get shot twice daily.

My lifestyle will undergo a dramatic shift. Gone will be my ability to pack up and go at a moments notice. Even with prior planning I'll have to hire a medical technician (or train someone) to come and give Nekko her pill and shots. After just starting to taste a fully engaged life again, losing control of it in this manner is almost more than I can bear.

Fear: I'll resent Nekko for "taking away" my freedom. Consequently I'll be rougher with her than necessary. The warm, loving relationship we've enjoyed thus far will be a distant memory.

In the past two months I have begun a relationship that I want to continue. It has become the focus of my life and has filled me with joy, wonder, and happiness. For reasons I am not going to elaborate on here, having to schedule my life around Nekko's care alters the parameters that this relationship can take. It requires sacrifice on both our parts.

Fear: Adding a major stressor to a developing relationship is certainly a growth opportunity, it is also perilous.

The time when I'll have to decide whether to assume the responsibility for keeping my cat alive, and accept the loss of freedom, and alterations to my personal life or to end her life is rapidly approaching.

I do not know what to do. I do not know how to make this choice. I am very sad.

Author's profile picture

Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.