I have had the most awful day. There are many things I still loathe about being a grown up and may possibly never successfully adjust to, and close to top of that list is making decisions about the lives and deaths of pets. Today we had my mother’s cat put to sleep. Now, I know many people will say, ‘It’s only a cat, get over it.’ or comments of a similar level of understanding and helpfulness. But the point is that this loyal and fiercely independent little animal has been my mother’s constant and adoring companion since the death of my father, from cancer, a few years ago.

Don’t get me wrong, Pickle was no lap cat. In fact, he was the terror of the neighbourhood, and has been known to see dogs and foxes off the premises, as well as holding trespassing cats ‘hostage’ up the trees they have climbed in order to escape him. Whilst handsome, he was not a classic beauty. He was so strong and lithely muscular that if you picked him up when he was not in the mood for a cuddle, it was rather like trying to deal with a hairy python, he could writhe and slither out of any grip you could manage, and all without leaving a scratch on your skin. He was something of a gourmet too, and could tell whether the prawns came from Sainsbury or Tesco (he preferred Sainsbury).  But to my mother, he was Pickle, the gentle animal who curled up at her back at night and kept her warm, who came to meet her at the door when she got home, and who liked nothing better than to share the armchair with her whilst she watched TV or read in the evening.

2013-04-02 10.05.52

Over Easter weekend he lost weight very suddenly and seemed to have trouble eating. We took him to the emergency vet yesterday, and then to his usual vet today, to be X-rayed. The X-ray showed that he had a large tumour which was pressing on his intestine and stomach, and so it’s not likely that he would have lasted much more than a week or so had we tried to keep him going, and he wouldn’t have understood why he felt so crappy, or why he couldn’t lead his normal wild and bossy life.  

So Mum and I did the grown up thing, and made the sensible decision, putting his interests before our own, because if we had put our own first, we could never have parted with him.

And that’s what I hate about being a grown up. We learn to make the hard decisions. We know they are right, and we tell ourselves that really there is no choice, and we are carried through events by the fact that the right decision has been made. And then we find ourselves on the other side, without them, and we wonder how we will ever fill the huge space that such little creatures leave behind.


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14 Responses to RIPickle

  1. Bonnie says:

    I am sorry for your and your Mom’s loss. Losing a family member, even the four-footed variety is very difficult. They enrich our lives so much and the last kind thing we can do is not allow them to suffer. As awful as you feel right now, you did the right thing. My heart goes out to you.

    • painterswife says:

      Thank you so much, Bonnie. Today I’m going to fill in the holes I dug in the garden yesterday. We wanted to bury him here, but the ground is cold, hard and chalky, and the danger of him being exhumed by foxes is too great, that we had to have him cremated, but the decision wasn’t made until I’d had an exhausting go at finding somewhere I could dig deep enough…
      I have been to your site and I adore your dolls. How big are they? The painted nails and details hands and feet are wonderful, and you get so much character into their faces!

      • Bonnie says:

        Thanks. I love doing them. The rocker doll is about 20″ and the fairies are about 15″. I’m working on some new ones now but haven’t posted them to my website yet. Have you been to my new blog at I moved over from wordpress. I have the newest ones there.

        Our garden is our final resting place for a hamster, a budgie, and 3 cats. They each have thier own personal stepping stone made by either my daughter or myself. It’s actually very nice to be able to go out and see the stones and remember how lucky we were to have had these wonderful creatures in our lives.

  2. hahasarah says:

    That’s so heartbreaking. I’m sorry you had to go through this. It sounds like he was very loved and had a good life with your mom.

    • painterswife says:

      I couldn’t agree more, hahasarah! He (and his sister Poppy) were rescue cats, and he had the best life possible living with mum on the edge of the woods with a big garden and loads of wildlife to harass! Poppy is still with us, but it’s heartbreaking to watch her looking everywhere for her brother. I’ve checked out your blog, by the way, and left a comment. LOVE the online dream diary idea, and the bib for your beautiful niece. How did her parents come up with her name – it’s so unusual! Anything to do with the author? My favourite post of yours has got to be about Zelda’s cage – the way it’s written and the swearing really made me laugh (and I needed a laugh today). Thank you.

      • hahasarah says:

        Thanks for checking out my humble little blog! Glad I could make you laugh. My sister named her daughter Huxley after hearing it in the movie “Demolition Man” which is based on Alduos Huxley’s “Brave New World.” Everyone asks her if he’s her favorite author, and she’s like,”Hmm, I should probably read that book…” She also has a daughter named Rikku from the video game Final Fantasy 10. Very unique names 😉

      • painterswife says:

        They are great names – and yes, tell her she really should read the book, it’s worth the effort.

  3. rarasaur says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. *hugs*

  4. I am so sorry. We had to put our little dog down because of a huge liver tumor and I put it off too long. She was so miserable. You did the right thing and I know how hard it was.

  5. Sounds like Pickles was pretty lucky… He had a warm person to curl up to, someone who cared enough to get him the good prawns, someone to make sure he didn’t suffer, and someone to miss him. Too bad all the kitties in the world don’t have such nice people in their lives. Hugs to you and your Mom. Robbin

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