Videotaping Your Dying Cat
by Elisa Black-Taylor
Tramp the night before he died
Good morning readers. Today I have a good discussion planned on a very touchy subject. The idea for this article, which I've entitled Videotaping Your Dying Cat, came to me as I was playing around on YouTube.
I invite everyone to make comments at the end. We may all get a different understanding of each other at a psychological level by discussing this topic.
Here is the video a friend sent me that triggered the idea. It's not actually of a cat dying, but the miraculous happy ending of a cat story about a cat everyone thought would die. So grab a Kleenex and enjoy this video. WARNING: I'm serious about a tissue-you're going to cry.
After watching the story of this miraculous kitten, I did what most people do and started watching a few of the other YouTube cat video suggestions that appear to the right of the featured video.
The videotaping of a beloved dying cat is something I'd never seen or really thought about. Apparently a lot of other people have because there are dozens of dying cat videos on the internet.
Here's an example, and there are many more along the same subject line available on YouTube for those who want to depress themselves. Or prepare themselves for the imminent passing of a precious cat.
I do have to say this video is very accurate at recording a natural cat death.
The video doesn't show an animal in pain or being abused. It shows a loving owner saying goodbye to her cat and recording the memory on video. Is this a good thing to do or is it a little creepy? Have any of you done this?
In a way I can empathize. Not only is it a way to remember your cat's finally hours (or minutes) on earth, it can be played back to reassure the owner their cat had a peaceful passing over the rainbow bridge.
But to upload it on YouTube? This could probably be considered an educational video as well as a final keepsake of a dying cat. Perhaps the owner put it on YouTube so she wouldn't lose it if she accidentally erased it off of her camera. I can also understand making the video public instead of private. People forget login information on their sites and a public video is much easier to find. After all, YouTube is permanent if the owner of the video so wishes and can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection.
Personally, I wouldn't want to tell my friends or family to watch the video I made of my dying cat. That would cross some kind of boundary in my code of ethics.
Part of me would worry that some sicko would get his jollies watching a cat die, but I really don't think that is the intention of someone uploading this type of video. Still, what started out as a beautiful tribute has probably entertained a few psychopaths who enjoy watching animals die.
I forced myself to watch several of these videos. They're very sad and I don't know if I could set up a camera or allow someone to film such a private moment between me and one of my cats. I certainly wouldn't want to take time away from my cat to focus on camera settings. I do see how theses videos could help someone deal with grief. On the other hand, I also believe it could trigger a crying spell and increase depression.
I would like to share one photo I took of my dying cat Tramp back in 1993. He was very very special to me and he's the only rescue I couldn't save. Tramp died from FIP (feline infectious peritonitis). He only lived a few days after the diagnosis was made. I took him home to die and took this photo the night before I lost him. I don't have this photo on any of my websites because it's not a good quality photo and it's very hard to look at. Would I have videotaped it back then if I'd had the technology? Probably not.
I never really recovered from losing Tramp. I'd nursed him back to health from a starving flea infested kitten with distemper only to lose him to a disease I couldn't fight. That hurts enough without any reminders of him slipping away. I still have memories of feeding him chicken soup from a syringe that last day.
Another reason I haven't shared this photo is I don't want to be ridiculed for taking a photo of a dying cat. I only wanted something to remember him by.
Just for the record, I also took a photograph of my first dog Rusty the night he was humanely euthanized due to cancer. I was only ten years old at the time. It was my way of dealing with his death.
Which is why I can't criticize those who videotape a peaceful death of a dying cat. I can't judge someone else for something I might do in the future.
Have any of you done this? Would you consider videotaping your dying cat? Just how far is too far in putting a video like this online for public viewing? Comments anyone?