Putting a Pet to Sleep

Is it moral for a young woman to end her cat's life to save her social life?

BY: Joseph Telushkin


Dear Joseph,

I am a 21-year-old woman living in an apartment with a 15-year-old cat. My father had originally gotten the cat for me when I was a child, but he never really wanted it. When I moved out, he made me take the cat with me. Now the cat is old and sick (the veterinarian says there is not much he can do for her), and her odor is so bad that none of my friends will visit my small studio apartment. Needless to say, this is terrible for my social life. Also, the constant stench from the cat is making me sick, and her loud meowing at night often makes it hard for me to sleep. Would it be immoral for me to put the cat to sleep?

--Sleepless in New York

Dear Sleepless,

For those who believe that there is no real difference between human and animal life--because all life is equally holy--the answer is obvious: You must keep the cat alive and bear with the consequences. After all, you wouldn't kill a human being because her bad smell was adversely affecting your social life.

For those who believe that animal life is of little value, the answer is equally obvious: When an animal becomes inconvenient, eliminate the inconvenience.

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