Something odd and heartbreaking happened in our house about a month ago...
Years ago, I was "not living" with a boyfriend (yes, that means what you think it does....but that's another story) and we acquired a cat. "We" being a very loose term meaning I didn't want one and he did and it lived at my apartment and then moved with me and became mine. So for the past thirteen years I've had this cat. He saw me through some really tough times...my first real job, tailspin of depression as I learned to adjust to life and work and being on my own. The demise of relationship with abovementioned boyfriend.
When we had Tiny Man, we had some issues with the cat....it was to be expected. Someone coming in on his turf and all. There was some peeing. There was some crankiness. Ultimately we wound up spending a little more time with him and it solved the problem.
The past two years have been tough, though. Tas (the cat) got older, slower, and a little more antisocial. Toast came into our lives. Tiny Man went out of our lives. Then the inappropriate peeing began, and I started to slowly lose my mind.
We tried everything. We cleaned, we spent more time with him. We changed his diet. One day he actually peed ON hubby (you can laugh...we're at a point where we can laugh about it now). In short, it got ugly. We took him to the vet to find out that there was nothing "wrong" with him, it was all behavioral. We blocked off areas....then the new areas, then more areas. We put him on Valium.
In the end, yes, we had him put down. The issue here is not that I believe it wasn't necessary (it was), or that he didn't have a good life (he did, and was 16 when we made this decision). It's the immense guilt I feel over making the decision, knowing that he was still functional, moving, eating, living. His life became my choice. I feel as if I turned into one of those people who rushes to get a pet as they get married, then the kid comes and WHOOPS...that pet was a bad idea after all, lets get rid of it. People who do not understand the consequences of adopting a pet really REALLY bother me.
On the other hand, the fact that he was using our house as a litterbox tells me that something wasn't quite right after all. It is also immensely unsanitary for Toast to be playing around all this. So while I know the decision was the right one, it doesn't change the fact that the guilt persists.