*Warning: rant ahead*
I am so mad right now I could spit. Or say inappropriate, unladylike words or something. Fiddlesticks. Jockstrap. Fart.
Nope, that's not helping. Here's the thing: Mr.Q & I are (in case you haven't noticed) cat people. We've been known to get a little carried away, from an outsider's perspective, when it comes to our beasties. When I was in university, I often lived on cheap rice and generic cornflakes, while the cats got the good food. The way I see it is this, though: When you adopt an animal into your family, you take on an unwritten contract with them. You get fuzziness, company, protection, comfort, warmth, pest control - and you provide security, food, and responsibility for their health and well-being. That's just the deal. And as the one with the opposable thumbs and the credit card, it's up to the human to uphold the contract.
Mr.Q is, if it's possible, even more of a cat person than I am. He comes by it honestly: his father, despite his burly, sometimes-obnoxious redneck persona, was the biggest marshmallow since Stay Puft, when it came to cats. He (my father-in-law) had this big, beautiful, fluffy, spitfire demon of a cat named Angel who travelled with him when he was away on long work contracts. When my FIL passed away four years ago, Angel kept my mother-in-law company - wouldn't let anybody else near him, in fact, just her. In the beginning, it sometimes seemed that the cat - and his connection to her husband - where what kept her going.
Now, my MIL and I don't have the closest relationship, but we try pretty hard for Mr.Q's sake. And as impatient as I can be, I'm not heartless. So when she called late last night to say that Angel had died, I was quite upset for her. What had happened? I knew she'd been concerned about a cough he'd developed, she'd said as much when I saw her last month. Was it kidney failure, a blockage, cancer? Poor cat...poor MIL!
Then again, maybe not. When Mr.Q got off the phone and told me the story - well, I've rarely seen him so angry. Here's what happened. Angel developed rapid, shallow breathing, and stopped eating, drinking, or using the litterbox, for three days before MIL took him to the vet. Three days. How much fun must that have been for him!
Finally, she decided to take him to the vet - to have him put down. Not to be checked out, not to see if there was anything they could do. Nope, she just decided that was it for the cat. The friend that took her tried to convince her to at least ask the vet if the cat could be saved. Nope. The vet asked if he could treat Angel and take him to the SPCA, if she didn't want him anymore - at no cost to her. Nope. She'd paid to have him euthanized, and that's what she was going to get.
Now, don't get me wrong - I know all too well how expensive vet bills can be. If it came down to it, and my cat was suffering, and there were no financially feasible options and nothing else I could do - I would have him put down. But this wasn't a question of money. She was given a choice, one that would cost her nothing, and she chose to kill the cat.
And it's not the first time she's done it.
I just don't know what to think about human beans sometimes. It makes me want to not get out of bed, some days.
(I do know that I am reminded, yet again, that I am very grateful for my own family. We may be a quirky bunch, but we're not batshit.)