About two years ago, my now (thankfully) ex-girlfriend and I got a black, male kitten. I named him Pixel, but fortunately he couldn't walk through walls. He was a well behaved, friendly little cat, and he'd had no serious behavioral or physical problems for the year and one half I'd owned him. That was until the Saturday morning when something happened that regretfully sealed his fate.

I was asleep in bed when the phone rang. As I started to sit up and reach for the reciever, suddenly Pixel jumped on my head and started violently scratching and hissing. Instinctively putting up my arms, I did my best to protect my eyes, pulled him of me, and tossed him off the bed. I got up and looked in the mirror to inspect the damage, and it wasn't pretty. Pixel had left deep scratches all over my head and forehead, extending down through my eyebrows in some places. I was lucky the little nut hadn't blinded me. He had, however broken off about seven of his claws in my head.

Twenty minutes later, blood was still streaming down my face as I walked across the street to the pharmacy. My roommate and I didn't have any bandages in the house, and I needed something to dress the wounds. I've done a lot of strange things in my life, but the stares people gave me that morning were the strangest looks I've ever recieved in my life.

I spent the rest of day treating my wounds and calling vets and the humane society for advice. The humane society was concerned about the possibility of rabies, and recommended that I eaither bring Pixel in for observation, or lock him in a kennel cage for ten days and observe him myself. Being frugal (cheap), I borrowed a cage from my parents, and did it myself. Pixel was pissed that he was confined, but he didn't show any continuing ill behavior.

The end of his temporary confinement was fast approaching, and I was trying to decide what to do when it was up. Pixel appeared healthy, but I no longer would have felt comfortable with him roaming free in my house. At the same time, I didn't want to give him away to someone else. I would have felt guilty if he ended up attacking another owner or one of their family members. The only option I felt I could live with was to put him down.

I didn't want to pay to have him euthanized , and I also felt the need to "clean up my own mess." I grew up in the country, and was raised with the belief that you don't call on the government to fix problems you can legally fix yourself. If your dog gets rabies, you kill him yourself, Old Yeller-style.

So, I took Pixel up into the National Forest and tied a rope between his collar and a tree branch. He could only run about three feet in any direction. The little cat was fairly calm, but I could see the fear in his eyes. He'd been in a box for ten days, had never been anywhere like he was now, and could tell that something was wrong. I petted Pixel and said goodbye, on the verge of tears. After a few minutes, I got up, walked ten paces back, and took aim at his head with my .22 rifle. Pulling that trigger was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Pixel kind of spasmed for a second after the bullet struck, and then dropped. I walked closer and put two more rounds into his skull to make sure he was dead.

After that, I untied the rope from the tree and drug the corpse over to the shallow grave I'd dug a few meters away. As I tossed the dirt in on his body, the last of his residual nerve impulses twitched out. I packed the dirt down and marked his grave with a simple wooden inverted cross. (If I'm a heathen that made him one also, right?)

I missed the little bastard dearly for a while, but I feel I did what was right. I learned much about cats, and also about myself. The scars healed, and somehow, Pixel's grave was untouched when I visited it a few months later.

From now on, I'm only going to have dogs as pets.