Many people get this response from others when they find out that someone is treating a chronically ill cat. It's quite all right to take the high road even when you want to say, "Well, you're only a jerk and I still would treat you." But until a person has their own experience with pets, it's wasted breath to give them any return. Smile politely and move on.
I'll confess something. I didn't want Pearl. I had two cats. It was plenty. Taking in another would mean a long integration, difficult in my small apartment. Pearl was unlike any cat I'd ever had. More independent, more snooty than any cat I've ever lived with. I took her because who would adopt a 6 year old, black, gimpy legged cat? And she really was a handful. She was not happy with Sugar at all. She took months to integrate. I didn't understand her. She was definitely more like a roommate than a pet. But she was smart. She swore like a sailor when I could eventually just say "NO" to chasing Sugar and not put her in time out. She stopped, but she chuntered under her breath as she walked away from the hunt as if to say, "You always take her side. Boy, some friend YOU are. You don't understand me. I don't know why I stay here." *huff*. But she was a character and she was her own being. And I began to really appreciate her for being herself and not for cuddling and being "cute". She was like a naughty little sister by then.
For many people like me and you, who are taking time to read this blog, it isn't just a pet. It's a family member. It's SOMEONE. They make US someone. They teach us things.
Then, she got ill. And iller. And she let me poke her ears and stick things on her face to breath and stick things in to her neck (well, OK, shots are probably not even felt, so maybe it doesn't count). She sits when I say "Sit" for her blood tests. She teaches me patience. She comes for cuddles even though it's rare that I am not DOING something to her to control an issue. How can you not love that? And how can you think "it's only a cat"?
Now she is 15 and arthritic and she walks a bit like the drunken sailor she once swore like. She is grayer and allergies make her itch. The arthritis makes it hard for her to groom regions I'd rather not go, but have to so she can stay tidy. But she's still funny and seems happy enough and still occasionally chases Sugar and Sugar actually likes it. I know the day will come when I will have to part with this irascible character but I will always be thankful to her. I will always be glad she was "just" a cat.
Recently I read the most beautiful article. "With Pets as 'part of the family', grief hits hard when they pass" by Anthony Breznican of USA Today. It's well worth the look and definitely view the video. It begins "I didn't want this cat".
I totally understand.
Updated link: Updated link Pet Grief