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Separating bonded pair of cats easier while still young

By Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

It made me sad to read Robert N.'s letter about euthanizing his pets. My heart goes out to him. When we lost our last kitty, I was so thankful God took her in his timeline. For me, the guilt feelings of deciding when the "right" time to euthanize her were overwhelming. I pray I never need to make that decision again. -- Donna B. Tampa, FL

Dear Donna,

If you have pets, then you will likely have to make the euthanasia-decision at some point during their lives. It is part of the grand bargain we make when we agree to share our homes with animals that we outlive by decades. The best we can hope for is that our pets either die of natural causes, as with your kitty, or live to a ripe old age and don't develop health problems that force us to make a euthanasia decision earlier in their lives.

You are not alone in this feeling. Regardless of when this decision is made, it's always a difficult one for pet parents to make. Sadly, some people swear off adopting future pets as a result, saying it's just too painful to think about. Eventually, most people adopt again when memories of the happy times spent with their pet eclipses the grief, and they suddenly long for that friendship again. Anyone who has ever had a companion animal can relate to your feelings.

Dear Cathy,

Your column often reminds me of our first dog -- a sweet beagle who literally adopted us. One night, she was sitting in the garage when I came out to put newspapers into recycling. That poor dog cowered and crawled backwards to get away. I can't imagine how mistreated she must have been in her previous home. Thank goodness, she picked a home that made her queen of the palace for the next 13 years. -- Dick C., Westbury, NY

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Dear Dick,

Sitting in your garage, eh? She chose you for a reason. I think animals can sense kindness, and taking in a lost soul has got to be the ultimate kindness. Thanks for giving her a loving "palace" where she could feel safe for the remainder of her life.


(Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.)



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