My family had to put down a cat yesterday that had been a part of our family for nearly fifteen years. We've had to do it with other pets, but unlike other things, it doesn't get easier each time you have to do it.

Nearly fifteen years ago, my wife brought home two stray kittens from the bank where she was branch manager. They were dirty, had ear mites, and starving. I thought "We're not going to keep these two." But, It was around Christmas time and they grew on me quickly. I named them Holly Berry and Merry Christmas. Yesterday, we had to say goodbye to Holly.

She was a sweet cat that would lie on the back of either my wife's or my chair. Then, she would purr and kneed the back of our heads with her claws. She also never developed very good toilet habits and ruined more than one rug. But we loved her.

She had been rapidly failing health the last couple of weeks, and a trip to the vet revealed that she was not in bad shape for a geriatric cat. However, she declined in a hurry within the last week, so we decided to let her go.

My wife made the appointment and was with her when she was euthanized, holding her little paw. My son called Sandy's cell at just that moment and had her hold the phone near Holly's ear so he could say goodbye.

We had discussed this with our four oldest kids, and our ten year old, Hailey, said "life won't be worth living without Holly!" In time she will understand.

It is really tough to say goodbye to a member of the family, even the feline type.

Here 's a link to a site that deals with how to tell kids about euthanizing a pet.