This year was one of loss for our family.  Two of our three remaining cats had to be euthanized. This year, my son turned eleven.The decision of his involvement in the euthanasia decision and process in the past was easy. He didn’t take part except to mourn with us after. This year, he asked to be part of it.


As everything else in our lives, learning is as though through osmosis.  I noticed my son was shaky and very sad until the actual euthanasia process began.  He became studious and concentrated on how euthanasia worked. He asked questions as he caressed our dying pet and the doctor explained as best he could.

The vet utilized the standard method which is to inject a euthanasia solution directly into a vein. The euthanasia solution is a massive overdose of an anesthetic, so the animal literally falls asleep without any more pain than the initial needle poke or catheter eventually stopping heart function. Once the injection is inserted, the process takes only seconds.

In our case, our cat took a few deep breaths before her breathing stopped after the injection. The doctor warned she could cry out but assured us if she did it was just her breath passing through her vocal cords. He also explained sometimes the bowels and bladder may empty as the muscles relax, or the limbs may twitch. He assured us none of these things were signs pain. In our case none of these things happened and our beloved cat simply seemed to relax until she wasn’t breathing anymore.

As we walked out of the veterinarian’s office, my teary eyed son commented that there are two parts to death.  The emotional and the physical.  You can control the physical but not the emotional. I cannot regret his presence in that room as we said goodby to our cat when it sprouted such insight.

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Article by Nuria Almeida

Photo By sylvanfae


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