SO much guilt right now. Word Graphic Warning. LONG - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 45 Old 07-20-2013, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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SO much guilt right now. Word Graphic Warning. LONG

I don't know if I did the right thing.

Although...I guess it doesn't matter any more really. What's done is done. I guess I just want to know in case something like this (I hope is NEVER NEVER does) happens again :/

I work on a ranch, where we have all kinds of animals including cats and dogs. The cats are for the most part tame, but because we have woods we get a lot of feral cats who will live in the woods and come up to the barn for the food and water we give our barn cats. Unlike our barn cats who are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, wormed, etc., these cats are on their own so they're essentially wild. We just leave them alone usually.

Well, we also have dogs who come out to the farm every day, and they happen to be blood hounds with a huge hunting drive. I'm not even sure why they're out there since they often kill chickens and stuff. As you can imagine, a feral cat...and even more, a feral kitten, seems like great prey to them.

Long story short, one of the dogs treed a TINY kitten who was probably 10-12 weeks old. The dog started baying so one of the guys went to see what the dog had found, and discovered the kitten. I don't know why he did this, but he knocked it out of the tree and the dog got it. As you can was NOT good. I guess he realized the dogs were playing with it after a second, picked the kitten up, shoved in a cage back up front, and left it.

I discovered the kitten a few hours later, around 1 pm, in the cage on it's side, panting very hard with its mouth gaping open, completely limp and its eyes glazed. I asked about it and got the story of what happened to the cat, but when I asked what they were going to do with it they said 'if it dies, we'll throw it out. If it lives, good for it.' They weren't going to try to save it, but they weren't going to try to put it out of its misery either. I told them it was almost dead and I was ordered to dump it out of the cage in the woods and let 'nature take care of it.'

I've been told to just suck it up and realize suffering is part of life, but I'm soft hearted. In their opinion, I'm weak. But I couldn't just dump that kitten out. I've worked with shadowing vets enough to know an animal beyond help, and this kitten was one of them. Its legs were bloody and wet with dog slobber, its ear was torn, and it had a very, very obviously broken rib if not more than one rib. Every time it panted I could see the rib moving in and out. With the way the cat was breathing (very, very labored and it had to tilt its head to get air) and the placement of the rib, I'm 99% sure it punctured a lung or possibly even its heart. I took it out of the cage and laid it on a blanket carefully and made some phone calls. I was hoping to take it to a vet to be humanely euthanized. I called all of our local vets though, and only one was open. They said to call an ER. So I called an ER.

The ER wanted $160 to euthanize the cat, and more to dispose of it, even though I didn't own it. Maybe I should have just sucked it up and borrowed some money from my parents (I'm only 17 :/) to euthanize it, but both they and I are on VERY tight budgets and I didn't have that kind of money. They probably don't either. So to me, that option was out.

I couldn't just LEAVE it there though. I figured if it hadn't died in 2-3 hours it probably wouldn't die quickly on its own, which meant a lot of suffering. It was humid, (90% humidity) and 99 degrees today, and to make matters worse it was about to rain... And at that point the kitten kept wringing its tail and making this horrible pitiful screaming sound when it had to move to thrash its head into a position so it could breat, so I KNEW it had to be in a lot of pain. I didn't know what to do :/ I decided to give it 10 more minutes, and if it didn't die on its own, I would kill it myself.

But I'm a city girl. I don't know how to kill an animal. I never WANTED to know how to kill an animal. I had no gun, or I would have just shot it in the head. My other idea was to break its neck, but I had these horrible images of not doing it fast enough or right and it being mostly dead, screaming in pain...and I just couldn't do it. So I filled a bucket of water, picked the kitten this time it was actually trying with its last strength to self mutilate itself, I guess to end the biting into its own paw...and I drowned it.

It was the worst thing I've ever done in my entire life. KNOWING I killed something myself. On purpose. It looked so...horrified as I dunked it into the water and I had to hold it down to make it die faster. And I know it suffered while I did it. I've never seen an animal look so scared in my life, and I watched as it inhaled water. I didn't know what else to do. It probably took it over a minute to die, but I buried it after it did die, with an apology for having to take it's life. It didn't do anything was just a baby.

What else could I have done? Should I have seen if it was savable? I just couldn't bear to see it hurting.

I cried the entire way home, and I feel like an idiot for doing so. I'm the one that chose to do it. But it hurts to know I did that. That poor animal.... and yet I know if it had been someone else on the farm they would have just killed it (or let it die on its own) and not thought twice. But I still feel sick. I threw up after I killed it.

And worse... the kitten bit me in a last ditch effort to protect itself from me. It bit HARD and didn't let go as it was drowning. I didn't want to hurt it more by trying to get it off, so I shoved my other finger in and pried its mouth open. I went to urgent care per my mom's demand since the kitten was feral and looked sick, so I have antibiotics...but now I have holes in my finger to remind me that I killed that cat. I don't even want to look at my hand now.

What would you have done? What should I have done? I just have no idea :/

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post #2 of 45 Old 07-20-2013, 07:41 PM
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I would have killed it too, but I don't think I could have drowned it. I would have broken its neck or cut its throat or something. Or, more likely, gone in to have it put down, if I had the money.

You did what was right in the only way you could. It was either let it suffer and die for a few more hours or torture or give it a minute of panic and end it. Which would you take?
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post #3 of 45 Old 07-20-2013, 07:42 PM
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You did the right thing. It wasn't easy or pretty but it was right. If it helps, I was right there with you.
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post #4 of 45 Old 07-20-2013, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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I just can't believe I didn't have the guts to slit its throat or break its neck because I thought I'd do it wrong and leave it worse off than before. They probably would have been a lot less painful for it :/

Everyone in your life is meant to
be in your journey, but not all of
them are meant to stay till the end.
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post #5 of 45 Old 07-20-2013, 07:46 PM
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I have no idea what I would have done in a situation like that but my heart is just broken for you. I know how much you love animals and I can't imagine the pain you're feeling right now.

I am so sorry you had to experience what you did. But you did the right thing. It was really suffering and your actions saved it hours of suffering, I can't find fault with that.

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post #6 of 45 Old 07-20-2013, 07:51 PM
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Oh I hear ya! Ok, next time something like this happens, put the kitty in a sack and slide and tie the opening if the sack over the exhaust if a running vehicle, CO2 poisoning, apparently a peaceful death. Or give it a very sharp heavy blow to the head.

I had to slit a Sheeps throat a few times, complete over-kill as I was scared I would do it properly! The heads were nearly decapitated!

Don't feel guilty.
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post #7 of 45 Old 07-20-2013, 08:04 PM
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Ps. I ran over a whole quackery of baby ducklings when I was about 17, they all walked out onto the road and I jammed my brakes on and skidded right over the top of them! In hindsight if I had just kept driving I probably would have only ran over a couple instead of sliding sideways over all of them!
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post #8 of 45 Old 07-20-2013, 08:09 PM
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This was a very difficult post to read. If I were in your shoes I really don't know what I would have done....
I have killed animals in the past (hunting) but I've never felt the life drain out of an animal with my own hands. I've always used a gun and somehow that separates you from the experience. I've also never killed an animal that I wasn't going to use for food or that I didn't think was a danger (once I shot a rabid skunk). I've often thought about what I would do if I was alone and one of the cows was horribly injured or if my horse was but I've never actually decided that I could shoot them myself. I'm too attached to them, too emotionally involved... Luckily when we've had injured or sick animals on the farm that were beyond saving my husband has done the dirty work (and he hates doing it!). I can only imagine what you are feeling. You did the right thing to put it out of it's misery... If you thought it was beyond saving than it definitely was.
That being said a properly placed bullet is a quick death. I've seen it many my experience it's alot faster than what the vet can do.
I'm also rather shocked that the vet wouldn't put the animal down for free knowing that it didn't belong to you. I've worked for vets in the past and they would have done what was best for the animal no matter if they would get payed or not. It's disgusting to me that they saw an obviously very responsible 17 y.o. girl with an injured kitten and didn't feel compelled to help. You shouldn't have had to make the decision to end that kittens life...I'm sorry that no one helped you.
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post #9 of 45 Old 07-20-2013, 08:10 PM
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Ti am so sorry you had to go through that. Dont wver feel guilty for putting a helpless animal out of its misery.

The way I see it, when you put an animal in a position where they are not naturally in their own eliment and cannot fwnd for themselves you have the duty to care for the. Even if that means ending their life.

You did what needed to be done with the materials you had on hand.

Completely understandable that you would be afraid of messing up a slit throat or neck break (I know sorry morbid topic)

As muppetgirl said. Co2 poisoning could be a more "peaceful" death.

Moot point though. I hope you never have to deal with a situation like that again
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post #10 of 45 Old 07-20-2013, 08:20 PM
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I'm so sorry you had to go through this.
Remember though that the minute of panic had to be better for the kitten than spending more time in agony.
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