In 1953, Hemingway’s cat Uncle Willie was hit by a car. He wrote a heartbreaking letter to his friend Giangranco Ivancich about his decision to put the animal out of his misery.
Just after I finished writing you and was putting the letter in the envelope Mary came down from the Torre and said, ‘Something terrible has happened to Willie.’ I went out and found Willie with both his right legs broken: one at the hip, the other below the knee. A car must have run over him or somebody hit him with a club. He had come all the way home on the two feet of one side. It was a multiple compound fracture with much dirt in the wound and fragments protruding. But he purred and seemed sure that I could fix it.
I had René get a bowl of milk for him and René held him and caressed him and Willie was drinking the milk while I shot him through the head. I don’t think he could have suffered and the nerves had been crushed so his legs had not begun to really hurt. Monstruo wished to shoot him for me, but I could not delegate the responsibility or leave a chance of Will knowing anybody was killing him…
Have had to shoot people but never anyone I knew and loved for eleven years. Nor anyone that purred with two broken legs.”
To seem to make sense,
So we all could be happy, yes,
Instead of tense.
And I made up lies
So that they all fit nice,
And I made this sad world
— Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle (via meltingprince)