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A No-kill, Non Profit Animal Shelter Based in Montreal

Kara: A Difficult Decision; A Humane Euthanasia

Kara was one of the cats rescued from a hoarding situation during the first days of 2011. Unfortunately, she was the least manageable of all the cats removed from the horrific and dreadful apartment. Hard to catch and impossible to hold, she was incredibly malnourished, weighing only a couple pounds, with dull and dry fur and urine burns covering her paws. Yet we knew this cat deserved a chance at a happy life.  Needing a tremendous amount of work, we took her on knowing we would do everything in our power to give her the best future possible. We stuck by our promise to her, always putting her wellbeing at the forefront of every decision that was made.

Kara went to live with our most experienced fosters in the hope that, with lots of time and patience, she could slowly start to learn how to trust people. Despite our best efforts, Kara showed no signs of getting over her distrust and fear of human contact.  At the same time, Kara was not clean in the house. She peed on everything; couches, beds, carpets and sinks, and the peeing increased if someone tried to interact with her. The veterinarian gave her a clean bill of health, so we knew her malnutrion was caused by stress and growing up in a home where there was never a clean litter. Both Kara’s antisocial behavior and her refusal to eat continued to increase, despite help from veterinarians and behaviorists. It’s a sad fact that more cats are euthanized for inappropriate urination than anything else.  We could not responsibly adopt out a cat unwilling to use the litter, especially one unable to be touched or handled. Keeping her at the foster was no longer an option either because just having people around stressed her out.  Putting her in a barn was also not a good choice, as the unfamiliar animals and people could cause this extremely timid cat to flee into the woods where she would freeze or starve to death. With the foster and the vet every solution was discussed and attempted (medication / changing the type of litter) in order to deal with the inappropriate urination but nothing seemed to bring this scared cat out of her shell.  After weeks of deliberation, discussions with veterinarians, and lots of tears, we realized that the only option that was fair to this beautiful cat was euthanasia.

Kara went peacefully, and is missed greatly by her foster and by everyone who worked with the hoarder cats. It was a tough decision, but it was the only way we could keep our promise to always focus on Kara’s wellbeing. In her few months of freedom, Kara learned to play with toys, eat dry cat food, and what life was like with cat beds, radiators, and space to run around. If only she had been raised in a world where she could have learned that humans are supposed to be there to help her and provide comfort, not scare her and provide pain. If only she hadn’t been kept in such horrible conditions where she thought filth was her only option. Thankfully, in her last weeks, Kara was well fed and healthy, and when she passed she did so without pain, in a room with people who loved her.

A Note from our Veterinarian:

“Euthanasia is the hardest decision to make. All life is precious, but euthanasia has its time and place. It should only be considered for animals that are suffering, terminally ill or have such a serious disease that the owners cannot deal with and it would be impossible to rehome the animal. Unfortunately Kara was suffering on many different levels.  Born as a feral cat, which are unsocialized, unowned free-roaming cats that do not allow handling by humans. She was then “rescued” off the streets by a hoarder who provided an environment of neglect, overcrowding, and malnutrition, which sadly produced lasting consequences. Kara was just unable to adapt to living in a home and her uncontrollable stress level caused her much suffering which translated into her not eating and peeing everywhere. The effects of hoarding are severe and lasting, taking heavy tolls on both the physical and psychological wellbeing of the animal. We are glad that she is no longer suffering and has finally found peace.”