Were you attacked on social media after deciding to euthanize or not to euthanize your cat?

This discussion is in response to Michael’s article on PoC concerning when to euthanize a beloved cat and the criticism that can come from those who follow you on social media.

Smokey (photo courtesy of Kellie Wester)
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Whether you have one cat, a couple of cats or run a cat rescue, you need to be aware of the response your friends on social media may offer you at this devastating time. My friend Kellie Wester has experienced this personally. This PoC article earned Kellie more personal messages than she could keep track of where her “friends” wanted her to euthanize three kittens found with very bad upper respiratory infections.

Affectionately known as Atlas, Phaedra and Demeter, all three kittens survived. Atlas lost both of his eyes and has learned to navigate the house as well as a sighted cat. Phaedra lost one eye and both of Demeter’s eyes were saved. Photos of #teamatlas can be found on Kellie’s My Friendly Ferals community page on Facebook.

Kellie has also been harassed after having a very senior cat euthanized following a good last meal from a drive-thru fast food business. People following her farewell posts about Smokey criticized Kellie because Smokey was still eating. He had a lot of health issues and the decision to euthanize him wasn’t made lightly.

Last night I was checking on a few friends on social media. My friend Barbara recently made the decision to have her cat euthanized after the matter was discussed with her veterinarian. Barbara was soon accused of having her cat put to sleep for “convenience.”

It’s heartbreaking to have to make the decision to euthanize a cat. It’s just as tragic (but in a different perspective) to have friends you thought you knew to turn on you and say you’re making the wrong decision for your cat.

Have any of the readers here experienced an emotional backlash from friends after posting your decision to euthanize on social media? Please sound off in the comment section.

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6 thoughts on “Were you attacked on social media after deciding to euthanize or not to euthanize your cat?”

  1. I tease people and tell them as long as they don’t post about what they eat, where they live, politics or religion and they’ll be fine. Unfortunately, it’s the truth. I’m actually on Facebook as little as possible these days except to search for article ideas.

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  2. Which is why I no longer post that I will or will not be letting any of my furbabis go across the Rainbow Bridge. I have 4 deaf ferals in the house as well as 2 who havd been abused. I had to take one of those to the vet as I was worried when I saw him eating carpet threads that he was pulling off the cat tree. The cat tree went out the door and he went to the vets’. When I brought him home (he was fine-tests and xrays showed nothing) the rest of the clowder got so stressed that they all started throwing up and hiding and not eating. Next to go in was one of the ferals who put up a fuss (putting it mildly), but behaved at the vets”. He also was okay-xrays and all tests came back okay.All are well and back to eating their regular diets. There is no way I would tell anyone but my kids and a VERY few friends if and when I felt it necessary to let my furbabies go. It’s a decision that everyone has an opinion on, and most don’t realize or care what a traumatic decision it is to release a beloved friend from pain.

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  3. Good topic. So far no one has criticised me but I have criticised myself for delaying the euthanasia of my lady cat. I waited too long and I regret it to this day. Social media forums can be quite cruel places though. I don’t think people would talk to each other face-to-face in the way they communicate with each other on Facebook.

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    • It’s the hardest and worst decision. Don’t beat yourself up. Your lady cat knew whatever you did, it was out of love. I faced it twice in one day recently, and I told people I don’t want to be god, I don’t want to decide when anyone dies, much less my beloved pet children. Now a third cat is really sick, and maybe I should have let him go Thursday but someone said to me, “All the cats I have had loved me enough to be willing to give me a little extra time with them.”

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  4. In the “cat world”of those rescuing, taking care of ferals in managed colonies, or saving animals not easily adoptable, it is a world of constant judgements being made by those cat “lovers” who are totally ignorant of the problems involved. Many feral, stray or rescued cats have health problems, injuries, or contagious diseases. True ferals cannot just be easily “taken to the vet” nor easily be given medications or treatment. Those who TNR for feral colonies often pay the costs entirely out of their own pockets and most are NOT rich. Those who have one or two cats criticize them for not feeding “premium” cat food to colony cats. Do THEY offer to pay for “premium” food for those cats or help pay vet bills? In most cases, hell no, they don’t. They then criticize saying no one that can’t afford to feed “properly”and take those cats to a vet for every ailment should not be caring for them at all. The hypocrisy is rampant in the world of cats and it largely comes from those who are totally ignorant, just plain hateful or simply stupid and cruel.

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    • You make some good points Sally. But I think social media can be quite a hostile place as well as a friendly place. Perhaps people feel freer to speak their mind online as they are semi-anonymous.

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