And mostly it's rhetorical because i know the flippin' answer.
It's because i'm a sucker married to an even bigger sucker.
It's still a question i ask myself when i end up at the vet's office with someone else's pet, like i don't have enough of these things going in my own house to occupy a lifetime.
A local florist, relative of the one for whom i deliver flowers for Valentine's and Mother's Days, kept Prissy, a formerly huge, beautiful, properly spayed and inoculated Maine Coon. She had, though, become elderly, frail, and her hair, because the people at the shop didn't keep up with the brushing, very badly matted.
They didn't know how badly matted. Probably because they had seen her each day, and she still ate (and, i found later, ate a lot, more than she should have), and purred when petted, they didn't realize.
Thus when Sweetie saw her and was shocked beyond belief at how badly matted she was, he decided he couldn't stand to see her that way. Every time he went over there to pick up flowers for the building, he would stop to pet her as she greeted everyone who came. It broke his heart, and he called me.
Of course, i told him she needed to be shaved, and a groomer couldn't do it, they would need a vet or vet tech. She couldn't be anesthetized because the last time she was, it took her almost four days to come out of it. At 18 years of age, she couldn't even be tranquilized a bit with that medical history. He made the appointment with our vet, and since he's at work during office hours, it was my job to pick her up and get her to the vet, and then back.
Except that, when i saw her, i knew there was no way. The cat's hair was matted beyond belief, and i knew as soon as i picked her up that she was terribly skinny under that huge mat of fur. She also didn't smell very nice, not a good sign.
When i commented on how thin she was, the employee who was outdoors noted that she ate at least 3-4 cans of food a day, as well as having unlimited access to dry food. The alarm bells were sounding so loud i could barely smile at him and thank him for the information.
She didn't want to go in the carrier, but couldn't put up much of a struggle. When she walked, she was in serious, obvious pain. Probably arthritis as well as the pain from the mats, constantly pulling on her skin.
Tanya is one of the best vet techs ever. She told me to leave Prissy there, and she would call me. While i had a terrible feeling about that, because i wanted to be there to tell her it was okay to stop when it turned out the job couldn't be done, there was another patient there so i didn't argue. Also, i didn't get out of the car when i got home, just sat and waited.
Within a few minutes, i got the call. Tanya was in tears. "I can't do this. The cat is screaming in pain, she can't be anesthetized because of her age, I gave her pain medicine but it's not going to help, I can't do this!"
No, you can't, i told her. That's why i wanted to be there to help, so i could tell you it was okay to stop.
As i drove back over, she continued to tell me, "This poor cat is skin and bones! If I keep trying to trim her, I'm going to cut her skin. In some places, I can't tell where the mats start and the skin ends, and she's in pain. Underneath her, the area is matted with feces and urine, too, so I can't even trim in that area!"
Yes, i know you can't, i told her again. Don't worry, i'm on my way back.
When i got there, it was just as i had imagined. Tanya had done a lot more than i ever thought possible, and you could see every bone on Prissy, the areas that were shaved. She was a bag of skin and bones, busily scarfing down every bit of food they could give her. That meant probably diabetes, and the dehydration pointed to kidney failure. She probably had liver involvement, too.
The unshaved areas were horribly stuck to her skin. There was one place where a mat on her leg had grown to the mat on her side, which was another reason she walked as she did, like she was in pain.
At that point, i called Sweetie and told him this cat was in pain, already had illnesses that couldn't be treated in her current condition, and she needed to be euthanized. It was cruel not to.
He gave me the owner's phone number, and Dr. Bea called him. After she had gone over all the problems, he agreed to come himself after lunch and be there when they did it. Then he would take her home to be buried in the back yard.
The thing was, as Dr. Bea said, the cat had a beautiful personality. She purred, except when she cried in pain or growled when we touched the part of her spine where the pain from arthritis was so bad. That purr had fooled her people into thinking all was well. They didn't understand that the purr functions as a way of self-soothing, not as a sign all is well. Sometimes it's not a happy sound, it's a distress sound.
How do i get dragged into these things? How do i end up with Dr. Bea fussing at me for bringing in other people's pets? Because i'm a sucker, married to a bigger sucker, but in this case, it was a blessing for a beautiful cat that couldn't tolerate anesthesia, who was so far into multiple system failures that leaving her to the people who just fed her and didn't see what was happening would have been cruel.
Basketball Day -- birth anniversary of James Naismith
Birth of Tiamat -- Ancient Babylonian Calendar (mother of gods, goddess of primeval chaos; date approximate)
Constitution Day -- Dominican Republic; Tajikistan; Tatarstan, Russian Federation
Electric Razor Day -- Jacob Schick patented the first electric razor on this day in 1937
Finnish Swedish Heritage Day -- Finland
Fish Returning Days begin -- Fairy Calendar (the fairies borrow centuries old fish in sealed crystal boxes from each other, and why they prefer each others or what they do with them, they will not tell)
Green March Day -- Morocco; Western Sahara
Gustavus Adolphus Day -- Sweden
Halfway Point of Autumn
Hawaiki Nui Va'a Race -- French Polynesia (spectacular three-day open water outrigger canoe race from Huahine to Raiatea to Tahaa to Bora Bora)
International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict -- UN
International End Gossip Day -- the founder of this didn't want to be gossiped about, and left no trace
Marching Band Day -- birth anniversary of John Philip Sousa
Mariachi Night -- Brawley, CA, US (sponsored by the Imperial Valley Joint Chambers of Commerce, a free night of celebrating the heritage of Mariachi music)
Marooned Without A Compass Day -- internet generated; how's your sense of direction?
National Nachos Day / I Love Nachos Day
Saxophone Day -- Adolphe Sax birth anniversary
St. Illtyd's Day (Abbot, reputed cousin of King Arthur)
St. Leonard's Day (Patron of barrel makers/coopers, blacksmiths, captives, childbirth, coal miners, coppersmiths, greengrocers, horses, imprisoned people, locksmiths, miners, porters, P.O.W.'s, prisoners; Castelmauro, Italy; Conegliano, Italy; Kirkop, Malta; against burglaries, robberies/robbers)
Pat Tillman, 1976
Rebecca Romijn, 1972
Ethan Hawke, 1970
Maria Shriver, 1955
Glenn Frey, 1948
Sally Field, 1946
Mike Nichols, 1931
Walter Perry Johnson, 1887
James Naismith, 1861
Ignace Paderewski, 1860
John Philip Sousa, 1854
Adolphe Sax, 1814
Good Morning America, 1975
The Phil Donahue Show, 1967
Meet The Press, 1947
Today in History:
Shipwrecked Spanish conquistador Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca becomes the first known European to set foot in Texas, 1528
Spain grants independence to the Dominican Republic, 1844
Scenes of Clerical Life, the first work of fiction by the author later known as George Eliot, is submitted for publication, 1856
Canada celebrates its first official, national Thanksgiving Day, 1879
Mohandas Gandhi is arrested while leading a march of Indian miners in South Africa, 1913
Colonel Jacob Schick patents the first electric razor, 1928
Edwin Armstrong presents his paper "A Method of Reducing Disturbances in Radio Signaling by a System of Frequency Modulation" to the New York section of the Institute of Radio Engineers (hello, FM radio!), 1935
Parker Brothers acquires the forerunner patents for MONOPOLY from Elizabeth Magie, 1935
Plutonium is first produced at the Hanford Atomic Facility, 1944
The United Nations General Assembly passes a resolution condemning South Africa's racist apartheid policies and calls for all UN member states to cease military and economic relations with the nation, 1962
Cuba and the United States formally agree to begin an airlift for Cubans who want to go to the United States, 1965
Green March begins: 300,000 unarmed Moroccans converge on the southern city of Tarfaya and wait for a signal from King Hassan II of Morocco to cross into Western Sahara, 1975
Australians vote to keep the Head of the Commonwealth as their head of state in the Australian republic referendum, 1999
Swiebodzin, Poland announces the world's biggest statue of Jesus, called Christ the King, is completed, 2010