Louie, a Ginger Tabby

The Little Louie Effect

I believe everything happens for a reason. We might not understand the reason at the time, but there is always a reason. We may never discover the real reason for an event, but if we look hard enough, we will find the little lessons that make us see things differently.

And sometimes, it's the cruel fate that was issued to a little kitten that force you to realize that, even if the choice fills you with guilt, your decision was the best for all involved.

You're going to have to give me a moment here while I set the stage for what will seem like an odd lesson.

Little Louie

Midway through March, my daughter came home from dance class and asked if we would be interested in homing a kitten. A friend had found an abandoned litter on their farm, and was catching them one by one, and re-homing them.

Louie is asleep in the cat carrier.

Louie on the day we brought him home.

We had been talking about getting another animal in this house for some time, so of course I said, "Yes." A few days later, we brought home a ginger tabby. And we called him Louie.

Being a rescue kitty, found abandoned on a farm, we knew he was going to need some nursing, but we were up for the challenge. The people who had found him had taken him to their vet and had given him a who range of medications. We continued with that treatment plan, making an appointment with our own vet for a week later. And Louie looked to be getting stronger by the day.

After he had been in the house for about a week, we took him for his first visit to our vet. We knew he was still not 100% well, but we had no idea how sick he really was.

It turned out that the little guy had somehow contracted Feline Leukemia Virus, which eventually leads to cancer in cats. And with the other symptoms that he was already expressing, it appeared that he had already progressed into the latter stages of the disease… and cancer was inevitable.

8 or 9 weeks old. And he never had a chance.

Louie cuddled up with me under a blanket.

Time for some cuddles... the last ones.

My husband and I made the hard decision to have the little guy euthanized. It wouldn't have been fair to the little guy to let him suffer as he got sicker. And it wouldn't have been fair to our older cat, either. The longer the little guy was in the house, the greater the chances were that our older cat would also contract this dreadful disease. (It's passed on through saliva and other bodily fluids. We were already doing what we could to keep the toileting and feeding situation of the two cats separated, but the little guy was getting curious about the older one.)

These decisions are never easy, and I feel guilty about it too. But if I didn't feel guilty about it, I wouldn't be human.

The Little Louie Effect

So, ever since we got the diagnosis and the prognosis, I started thinking through what lesson Little Louie was meant to teach me (or us). Yes, it is possible that he wasn't meant to teach me anything, but as I said right at the beginning, I believe that there is a reason for everything—even if we don't understand the reason at the time.

As I sat there, trying to process it, the random logic just clicked.

Because of the prognosis and the trajectory of this disease, the little guy never stood a chance. And I refused to just let him suffer, knowing that he was only going to get worse. So, I chose to end things while they were still on a high note and feeling good.

And that was the lesson that Little Louie taught me. Sometimes, we start down a path that will not end well regardless of what we do. The sooner that we can recognize that ill-fated path, the better. If we become too invested, those difficult decisions that need to be made—the decision to end the suffering—become harder and harder. If we cling too tightly to the railing, determined to head down that path, it won't be just ourselves that we'll be hurting. It could be a little kitten and a completely innocent older cat.

Griffin asleep on my bed.

Griffin (our older cat) deserves to remain healthy.

Sometimes, the decision to end it and head a different direction is the best decision you can make, even if that decision fills you with guilt.

As I write this, I realize that this is not the first time that I've faced the decision to end things, churning my stomach with guilt. And I doubt that this will be the last time that I face this, too.

But I'm calling it the Little Louie Effect, because this little guy has helped me to see that my decisions (or my inability to make decisions) impact on everyone around me. When deciding to end things, I have to consider all parties involved, and take the path that will have the best outcome.

Some people (or in this case, pets) will get hurt, and I will definitely be filled with guilt. But I can't keep heading down paths that will not end well no matter what I do, all in the attempt to ease my guilt.

Sometimes, the harder road is the right road.

A side note:

Griffin (our older cat) is still to be tested for this virus. Louie was in the house long enough that there could have been an exposure incident. We're hoping that Griffin's standoffish nature regarding the little one will play in his favor, but won't know for sure for a few weeks yet.

Copyright © 2024 Judy L Mohr. All rights reserved.

This article first appeared on judylmohr.com

Posted in Family Life, Random and tagged , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.