Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Euthanasia on my mind.



Kitty-Kat Heaven.
 

When can a Pro-Life Catholic do it?

My cat is old and she's been sick for several weeks.  She's been having elimination problems.  I take her back to the doctor tomorrow.  He will examine her again to see if she just has an infection, or something worse.  The cat has a good appetite, remains affectionate, but doesn't use the cat box.  I've always cleaned the cat box twice daily, now, thinking it is too hard for her to go downstairs, I brought the cat box upstairs.  It is not working.

I may have to euthanize the cat... but she seems so alert and responsive... yeah, but it may be time.

It occurred to me that we moderns have an inordinate attachment to our animals, our pets.  Contemporary pet owners literally regard their animals as family.  Single people and childless couples especially regard their pets as children.  Just watch the pet shows and the pet ads if you disagree with me.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say things like, "I like animals way more than people..."  Hence our reluctance to let them go or put them to sleep.  Although we convince ourselves it is more loving to euthanize them than to let them suffer. 

I think this is why euthanasia for people is becoming more acceptable in secular culture and amongst the poorly catechized.  We convince ourselves that our family members, like our pets, should never have to suffer... and many of us see no value in suffering...

The problem is we do not understand ourselves.  We do not understand that we have an immortal soul - animals do not.  We want them to have one - but it's pretty much determined they do not.  We do.  Therefore, we can euthanize a pet, but we can't euthanize our loved ones - mortal man, created in the image and likeness of God, has an immortal soul.  

15 comments:

  1. It's done so the human doesn't have to suffer watching the pet or their loved one decline in this world that emphasizes perfection and youth. Age and imperfection gotta go. After all, I might remember that I could get sick if I don't kill you off first.

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    1. I recall when my mom was dying - I prayed and prayed Our Lord would take her quickly so she wouldn't have to suffer - after her death I understood I wanted her to go quickly so I wouldn't have to suffer watching her suffer, unable to do anything about it. I was not acting compassionately as I thought - compassion means to suffer with.

      But you knew that. :)

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  2. Terry, I'm so sorry to hear this. Your little kitteh's have always been your friends and like family.

    I always rely on the vet to give me the heads up.

    Unless, of course, I happen to be sitting here while Erica spits up a bunch of grass and slime on my office floor (I kid you not!) At least she was nice enough to get the hell off my desk.

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    1. It's difficult, because I tend to be one of those people who say, I like animals more than people - so this is irksome for me.

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  3. +JMJ+

    And then you have that bit of "Jesuitry" about not being able to be perfectly happy in Heaven (where everyone is supposedly perfectly hapy) unless one's dead pet is there, too; ergo, pets can go to Heaven.

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    1. I can't imagine heaven. I simply want to see God in the beatific vision - wherein every desire is fulfilled beyond all imagining.

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  4. I think all things come from God and all things return to God -- including animals. I don't worry too much about the words to describe how it all works. I recall a friend who was dying. He's beloved little dog had passed away a few years before. My friend was adamant that at times he could feel the presence/spirit/whatever of his dog on his bed with him. It was very touching to hear him speak of this experience. It brought him great solace and comfort.

    Peace,

    Michael

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    1. Thanks Michael - I think that way as well. God breathes his spirit into being and withdraws or inhales it back to himself - sort of. I think I was more poetic with my last cat.

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  5. Terry, I'm sorry to hear about your cat. Sounds like kidney failure (which can be eased for a time through subcutaneous fluids, if you are so inclined).

    I think you are right on the connection between animal "euthanasia" and human "euthanasia." People grow so accustomed to dispatching beloved animals that they think that it's right to dispatch suffering humans. I think, though, that in the case of our animals, God has given us the awful responsibility of standing in His place and making the terrible call. In the case of humans, that is never our call but always and only His.

    I think you are wrong on the immortality of animals' souls. Certainly, animals don't have HUMAN souls, but those that are so like us physiologically and socially certainly have ANIMAL souls. God breathed life into them as well as us, and I can't imagine that He would want to toss them away like so much garbage. I also think that He not only made them for our benefit but for His own great delight. C.S. Lewis has a chapter in "The Problem of Pain" where he talks about animal suffering and animals in the afterlife. It's quite good and you should check it out if you haven't already. He suggests (quite correctly, I believe) that animal suffering resulted from OUR fall, and so animal "redemption" will come through our redemption. Exactly what form that will take in heaven is anyone's guess, but surely our just God has a plan for all His creatures. Of course it won't resemble our imaginings (eye has not seen and all that), but I'm confident He won't tell any innocents that there's no room at the inn.

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    1. Oh thank you very much for that - such a consolation.

      I agree, I think it is kidney failure too.

      Thanks for the C.S. Lewis reference.

      I think I'm trying to avoid feeling pain right now.

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  6. Terry,
    Excellent explanation on the relationship between animal and human "euthanasia" - one of the best I've read. As to whether or not animals have souls, I'm inclined to agree with you but I'm open to discussion.

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    1. Thanks Mitchell - don't go by me of course! I'm no theologian, that is for sure.

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  7. Terry,

    If it is kidney failure, try Azodyl from entirely pets (get the 90 count small pills and administer twice per day). If you look at the reviews, most people have remarkable success with this probiotic. It is working on our early stage CRF cat with significant reductions in BUN and creatine levels.

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  8. Terry, if it is kidney failure, try Azodyl from Entirely Pets (get the 90 count bottle and administer the pills 2x per day). See the reviews for the remarkable results. We have our early stage CRF cat on it and have seen significant reductions in BUN and creatinine. Don't throw in the towel on your kitty just yet.

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    1. Thanks very much Randy - it was more serious and she was not well. She was 17.

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