Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rest in Peace, dear Feline Friend

Two days before Raya, I had to make a very hard and painful decision. It was a decision I hope I will never have to make again.

One of our kittens, Jill, had contracted a disease known as sporotrichosis, and we were told that it is a disease which is not curable, but controllable.

I googled it to understand better what it is and here is an abstract from the PetMd website...

“Sporothrix schenckii is a fungus that has the potential to infect the skin, respiratory system, bones and sometimes the brain, causing a diseased state called sporotrichosis. Infection is caused by the virtually ubiquitous dimorphic (mold and yeast) fungus, S. schenckii, which typically infects via direct inoculation - that is, through abrasions of the skin or by inhalation. The origin of the fungus is environmental; it is naturally found in soil, plants and sphagnum moss, but it can be communicated zoonotically between different animal species, and between animals and humans.

Cats tend to experience a severe form of cutaneous sporotrichosis, making them an even greater risk for transmitting the infection to other animals and people. In cats, intact male cats that roam outdoors and fight are predisposed to puncture wounds, which then offer an advantageous route for S. schenckii to enter the body. The infection may also be spread by other cats, often through scratches to the skin.”

We were told by our vet that because it can be transmitted to humans, it can sometimes be fatal. The Vet had asked us to make a decision whether to keep on giving her medication but to be extra careful when administering the medication so as to avoid any transmission of the disease to us or to put her down.

She will eventually die when the disease is at an advanced stage. I have already seen two stray cats that had come to our backyard looking for food covered with lesions and open wounds with blood trailing, but had thought that they had gotten into a fight.

There is another stray cat that is also starting to show signs of having the same thing, and again, I had thought that she had gotten into a fight. Now I know that all 3 had contracted sporotrichosis.

As far as I can remember, we had never come in direct contact with any of them. Even when we did, we would wash our hands thoroughly.

My only worry is my son who is not as fastidious as his dad when it comes to personal hygiene, but I pray to Allah that he will be safe from the disease, insyaAllah.

We have cared for Jill since birth and it breaks my heart to have to put her down, but letting her live might not necessarily be a responsible decision as not only could her disease be transmitted any other cats that she comes in contact with, but to humans as well.

We have 2 more cats to take care of. Sacrifice one for the sake of the other 2 and many other cats and humans or keep her and end up losing all 3 cats and the risk of the disease being transmitted to us.

For 2 days, I was in turmoil, not knowing what was the best decision to make.

Hubby suggested that I seek advice from Idah, his cousin who is also a cat lover.

When I posted my dilemma on Facebook, Shanny came to share her experience of having to put down her dog too many moons ago and Diane offered some advice by quoting a phrase on Star Trek that said that the good of the many outweighs the good of the one.

Both advice from Shanny and Diane gave me strength that I needed to make a decision. Idah, in agreeing with Shanny and Diane, added on to say that Jill is suffering and furthermore, since there is a possible danger to the other cats as well as humans, there should be no hesitation in making the decision to put her down.

My sister posted that it is better to send Jill to a better place right now.

My hubby and I, together with Aiman, sat down to discuss what was the best thing to do. When we finally decided that putting her down would be the best decision for everyone, I prayed to Allah to give me strength.

I cried as I looked at her as she calmly sits waiting for what's next as the other cats looked at me with curiosity.

I slept little the night before, thinking of Jill.

That morning, before we were to put her down, I sat in front of her again and looked at her, wondering if she knows.

There she was, just sitting quietly, staring at me while her siblings meowed away in another cage, and my heart breaks.

It was painful looking at her, and my tears would not stop flowing again...

I thought that we had made the right decision, yet it felt so wrong. I prayed to Allah to help us go through this.

Idah was right. Once we have decided, we shouldn’t delay because it gets more difficult with time. Even at the vet, my tears would not stop flowing.....

Jill is now in a better place. Rest in Peace, dear feline friend.

No comments: