R.I.P, Pepe the Prozac kitty

100_6887My loyal readers will remember when I adopted Pepe Zorillo from the local animal shelter.

And you’ll also remember that I had to put him on Prozac to keep him from attacking me.

Unfortunately, the Prozac did not work.  From the time I got him at the shelter until 18 months later, while I was undergoing radiation treatments for breast cancer, he attacked me 24 times.

The last time he did it, during my fourth week of radiotherapy, he broke off a claw in my arm and a tooth in my leg.  The doctor at the radiotherapy clinic said this had to stop.  My system was too weak to fight off a massive infection at that point.

So I had my friend Georgia talk to our local vet, Dra. Nina, to see what, if anything she could do.  Dra. Nina’s first thought was that she would take Pepe and re-adopt him out.  But when Georgia explained to her the attacks on me, Dra. Nina said he would only get worse and needed to be put down.  Apparently Pepe was what Cesar Milan, TV’s dog whisperer, calls a red zone case.

He was beyond rehabilitation.

And so I had to make the really hard decision.  Put Pepe down (okay, let’s be blunt, kill him) or just live with his attacks on me.  And according to my radiotherapy doctor, it pretty much came down to a choice of Pepe or me.

If you’ve known me for the slightest period of time, you’ll know that it’s all about me, me, me.  But, in this case, I still couldn’t make a decision.

What finally convinced me to do what I did was that Pepe was no longer welcome in the house.  He had to live outside.  That was the only way I could guarantee that he wouldn’t attack me again.  But actually even that wasn’t enough.

You see, to get to my bathrooms, I have to go outside.  No, they’re not outhouses.  They’re perfectly normal bathrooms.  It’s just that they can’t be reached from inside the house.  And every time I had to use the bathroom, I took the chance of being attacked again.

And, I told myself, it’s not like Pepe would have a good life living outside all the time.  He would want to come in so that he could sleep on the bed or the sofa or some other comfortable place.  I’d made him a comfortable bed on top of the dryer with blankets, but he ignored those.

But I had to make a decision, and any one of you who have had pets know how hard it is to have them put down even when they are old or in pain.  I had to rationalize to myself that Pepe was in psychological pain.  Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been so mean.

And, so, on the Sunday afternoon before my fifth week of radiation, the week I went up to stay at Georgia and Tony’s house in Tlaquepaque, Kathi and I took Pepe to Dra. Nina’s and she put him down.  Over and over she assured me that I was doing the right thing.   Over and over I hated myself for doing it.  And I still do.

About Barbara

in april of 2008, i moved from the united states to mexico. during my working days, i held lots and lots of jobs....almost all chosen because they were fun or interesting instead of how much they paid. when i started thinking about retirement (in my 40s), i realized that i would never be able to retire to a country where english was the native language. and although i had traveled to every state in the US -- and lived in lots of them -- i had never been outside the country with the exception of canada and mexico. and since you now know that i could never afford to retire in canada (even to the french-speaking area), mexico won by default.
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12 Responses to R.I.P, Pepe the Prozac kitty

  1. Miguel de Joco says:

    Barbara, I am so sorry for the mental anguish you had to go through. I had a similar problem and I know how difficult it was. In my case the cats had become feral, not exactly the same problem as Pepe. When you are ready for another cat let me know as I have a Mexican friend who can locate cats or dogs that need a good home. Recently he found a kitten of about 8 weeks. It only took me a week to get the kitten and my two dogs to be civil with each other. A small miracle. Abrazos mi amiga.

  2. Dominique says:

    I’m sorry Barb. Don’t hate yourself. Pepe had a good life while he was with you. I don’t know of any other person that would throw a party for a cat. Especially one that was trying to kill them. He was living through his own turmoil. I’m sorry you had to go through that on top of everything else. Sending you a cyber hug! Love you mi Amiga!

  3. Shaffer says:

    Damn. That’s tough stuff, very sorry to hear.

  4. Kathi says:

    It was a very long tough time for Barb and us friends of Barb. The kitty really became more and more vicious. After that last horrible attack I had no reservations of what to do….and neither did a couple of vets I consulted with. It was such a difficult decision, nevertheless one that had to be made.
    Pepe came home with me from the vet and I buried him in a hole our dear friend Antonio had prepared. Pepe was blessed and buried and sent on his way to try again. Now our Barb can rest in peace and so can Pepe.
    This episode is not one any of us will ever forget. But life gives you stuff like this from time to time, doesn’t it. Maybe that’s what they mean when they say ‘living and learning’. But damn, that was a hard one, and I’m still wondering what it was that needed to be learned..

    • Barbara says:

      I didn’t even write about the fact that Kathi had to take him home and bury him. I just couldn’t. First of all, it’s not my house and, honestly, I was afraid of the evil that Pepe had in him being released. I know that sounds like a bunch of new age crap….or a bunch of medieval superstition, but either way, I just couldn’t do it.

      And, no, I don’t understand what I learned or got from it either.

  5. Randy says:

    Sorry to hear this news Barb. I had to do the same with a dog once upon a time, so I know it isn’t easy.

  6. Barbara says:

    Oh bless your heart. I’m sorry. You certainly didn’t need this. But if ever there was a time it should be all about you, you, you, this was it. You were left no choice. You come first. You come second. You come third. All else falls into line after that. Take the best of care and continue to heal and regain strength and good health. That’s all that matters right now. Still, I’m sorry your heart hurts.

    • Barbara says:

      Thank you so much. I had the feeling that most of my readers, having “known” Pepe would hate me for this. Amd I would not have blamed them. Thank you for understanding.

  7. CC says:

    Hi Barbara….I am sorry for your loss….however totally understand and agree with your decision
    I am soooo glad to see you posting again and getting your Mojo back !!!!
    I love reading your blog and your sense of humour
    May you continue to get stronger and healthier with each new day


  8. jhuber7672 says:

    I’m so sorry you had to go through this. A friend had to put their cat down because he would attack them randomly and it even attacked me one night. Although a difficult one you made the right choice. Hugs to you! Because I know you LOVE hugs 😉

  9. Karen says:

    So sad you had to do this, but so glad you and Kathi (thanks) were able to make the tough decision. Our neighbor had to do this with one of her cats a few years ago. This cat drove all her other cats and dogs away, and no matter what she did, the cat continued to terrorize and bully the others. So – a good (albeit difficult) decision.

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