With each passing day, it becomes more and more obvious that Loki’s days are numbered. Our kitten with the neurological problems falls more often than not, has trouble focusing his eyes and must be cleaned after frequent, aborted trips to the litter box.

Amy’s neck is scratched because he caught a claw in her skin while flailing with his front legs. A few days ago, he ripped open my lip when a seizure hit while I held him. He doesn’t mean it. He doesn’t even know he’s doing it.

On rare, lucid moments he will lay quietly in my arms, purring and looking as peaceful as any normal kitten. But those moments are fewer and far between. I may be a photographer but I can’t bring myself to take his picture. Not in his condition. It doesn’t seem right.

What is it about pets that pull so strongly at our heartstrings? How can they trigger a compassionate trait that no human companion can find?

I’ve long admired Amy’s ability to deal with such things. She used to volunteer in hospitals, caring for the sick and dying. I watched her care for her mother in the final days and marveled at her compassion and stamina. I can’t do it. I have limits. Watching the little black kitten stumble and fall and lay on the floor, twitching in seizure-induced spasms becomes too much. I too often have to leave the room and find a quiet place to cry alone.

Some days I just want to scream at the walls and ask “why?” This little kitten never hurt a living thing. Why take him before he has a chance to live a full and enjoyable life?

No, life isn’t fair.

Maybe fairness was never part of God’s master plan.

But knowing that doesn’t ease the pain or stop the tears.