The Grand, Baby Gate Mistake

When we first got Min, the ‘nasty’ cat, she was, well… she was nasty. My daughter talked me into getting her from her uncle’s friend because no one else would take her and she absolutely had to have a new home.

This, of course, was after she’d talked me into getting ‘Loco,’ from the girls’ dance group teacher because no one else was going to do it, so we absolutely had to.
“Min likes being brushed every day,” he told us. So we brushed Min.
Min liked being brushed very much. She liked being brushed the way a serial killer loves stalking their next victim. She loved to let the brush glide gently over her silky fur and around her appendages, and then suddenly thrust her front talons deeply into your humerus, while pummeling the exposed flesh of your forearms into shreds with her back paws. It would sometimes take two of us to pry her off.
We tried oven mitts, but she would only exact revenge later by swiping out at us from unexpected locations while we went about our day. We gave up.
Min also liked to back Loco into a corner and lash her repeatedly. I had no idea cats could move their paws so fast it looks like a blur. It took me a while to rescue the dog the first time I saw it because I was mesmerized by how much it seemed like I was watching an old cartoon flick.
Min grew older and mellowed. She adapted to our dog and rabbit, and eventually became approachable when Mia came on the scene. She’s the CatFather, still–and the other pets know it, but she’s become affectionate over the years (in her signature scabrous style), and we love her dearly–nasty quirks and all.
Lately, Min seems to be aging exponentially, though. At first she couldn’t hear very well. Now she can’t see–we find her sleeping in odd corners because she just ends up somewhere, and there she stays. She’s become skeletal. If not for the huge amount of fur she has, she’d be an eerie sight.

She’s also slow going up and down the stairs and doesn’t always make it to the kitty litter on time. She makes messes almost daily. I have to lock her in the room where the litter is every night so that I can keep the messes to a minimum.
And, I am battling the age-old, old-age pet dilemma–when, if ever, is the right time to put them down? Now, see–I can’t do it. Just typing those words makes me cry. There’s still so much life in her yet. She loves to hop up on my lap and fall asleep. She loves for me to bring her out on the back deck and brush her–I can finally do it without oven mitts or fear of retribution.
I left her out there the other day and after a few minutes found her emaciated body curled up, fur wafting in the breeze and tail thumping the deck, a look of contentment across her face. So, I came up with my grand, baby gate idea.
Surely, the two younger pets would learn to leap over it, and Min would be confined to the upstairs–with food, water and kitty litter seconds away.
I propped it up and started teaching Loco how to jump it.

She cowered and waited until this afternoon when I lifted her over, and made a beeline for the food and water. Mia slept through the whole thing.
Then I heard a loud thump, followed by a lamenting meow, and Min limping down the stairs. She walked into the kitchen, spread herself out on the linoleum, and wagged her tail. How can you mess with determination like that?
I don’t have the heart to put her down, so I’m praying God will take her peacefully in her sleep–on billowy clouds of ascension, while angels play harps, and visions of tuna pâté dance in her head. But, in the mean time, if you have any ideas, I’m game.


  1. I love your description of cat death. It sure beats the fact that “All Dogs Go To Heaven”. I could read your blogs all day.. Keep em coming ♥♥♥

    • Oh, this is the thing that makes it hard. I don’t really know, and how will I know it if the time ever comes that she is?

      I honestly don’t think so–she doesn’t look in any kind of torment. But, she sleeps most of the time.

      When I was young, our aging or ailing pets suddenly ‘disappeared.’ Now that the decision rests on me I’d rather not have to even think about it unless I see that she is obviously suffering.

      Thanks, Gracie.

  2. Awh, Min is so pretty. What a great life she has with you. I really dislike the skin and bones. My cat Rustin stopped eating after his best friend Brando died.I didn’t want to put him down either. I told myself I wouldn’t, as long as he still purred. The day I pet him and no purr was so sad, but we put him down a week later. Tough, tough stuff. There is just no easy way. Hopefully it will be beautiful, just like you wrote it.

    • Thank you–I’m hoping, too. I only had to put down one pet–my little Shitzu, Hunter. When I was sick he never left my side–that was one of the hardest days of my life. He had kidney disease and we never knew. By the time we found out, the only merciful thing to do was end his suffering.

      I’m not one to give animals ‘human’ status–that’s just wrong; but, our pets really do become part of the family, and we love them, and their quirky personalities deeply. 🙂

  3. […] say your life flashes before your eyes when you know you’re about to die. Funny, in those last moments I got to spend with her, it seemed as though a virtual timeline panorama of the past eight or nine years with Min rolled […]

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