Yesterday, our family cat Socrates passed away.
As much as we all say it, it really did happen too quick.
He was struck down with a disease called Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). If you don’t know what it is, I don’t recommend looking for it, as the stories that you will read are genuine tear jerkers.
I started writing this when he was still with us.
In fact he is asleep on my lap as I am typing this out. (He always slept on my lap and the bed during winter. When the weather got warmer, he stopped. though started again when he got sick).
I will be finishing it when he has gone, because I am not sure whether he will pass away at home or be taken to the vets.
While it is a sad thing to have happen, and I don’t wish it upon anyone, though with Socrates getting sick, it has made me revisit and challenge some of the views and beliefs that I have.
Every day that I spent with him was a day where I had to judge whether my actions were inline with my beliefs.
From the first diagnosis, where the vet told me that it would be “understandable” if I chose to euthanise Socrates there and then.
The decision may have been “understandable”, though would it have been “acceptable”?
For me, the answer was it wouldn’t be.
It is easy to dismiss things and say “he is just an animal”.
Though, are they really?
And what does that say about us, as we are “just an animal” too?
Now this isn’t going to be a philosophical discussion on sentience or anything like that, it is just me putting my thoughts down on “paper”.
All life has to mean something, otherwise all lives are meaningless.
And, this where I found myself in the later stages of his life.
He started losing weight, and having trouble keeping his food down.
Chatting to the vet at this point, I was told again, that it would be “understandable” if I brought him in to be euthanised.
Though once again, I found myself asking if this would be “acceptable”.
And it wasn’t to me.
This was because he would purr when I picked him up, and he would have dreams while as asleep on my lap. He also still liked going outside to sniff around the garden and roll in the grass.
Who was I to decide that he shouldn’t be able to do that any more?
For those who don’t know about my “other lives”, I am vegan, and have the belief that other animals should be given equal consideration with decisions that impact their life.
And this is the yard stick I used to measure what I did with him.
Even right up until his last day.
The decision was made to let him pass away at home, rather than endure the stress of being put in a carrier and driven to the vets, to be euthanised in a strange place.
I spent most of the day with him, patting him, and being there with him.
(If he was a human, there would have been no question of me taking time off and staying with him).
I tried to make those final moments of his as comfortable for him as I could.
I know they were difficult for him, though how difficult, I have no idea.
In the end, we will all meet our respective maker.
And that is when we will understand these words of Marcus Aurelius from the book * Meditations*
You are a little soul carrying around a corpse, as Epictetus used to say