WWYD-sensitive subject - deciding when to put cat to sleep.

fourkids4usJuly 31, 2014

My cat was 17 in April. For the last several years, she has suffered from thyroid disease that is managed by medicine. She takes a pill twice a day.

Years ago, she couldn't get to her litterbox (can't remember why, we must've been having some work done) she peed on our brand new carpet in the landing of our stairs to the 2nd floor after not being able to get to our letterbox. We had the piece removed and replaced, but unfortunately, anytime after that that she got upset, she used that spot to pee. It happened several times. Though I've wanted to replace the entire upstairs carpet now for years, I've been waiting for my cat to pass on rather than risk her peeing on my new carpet again. Occasionally, on a hot day, we can smell it and it drives us all crazy.

In the last six months or so, she has taken to peeing on our mudroom floor right outside her litterbox, mainly when we are out of town. I have someone that comes in and takes care of her and the letterbox, so it's not that her litterbox is unclean. then she will be good for a while, then every so often, will pee in the same exact spot. My husband, who has not really a cat person, has become furious about this.

In the last year, she has started to show her age. Her hygiene is suffering and she is no longer cleaning herself very well. Her fur is getting matted and knotty, despite me brushing her. About six weeks ago, I took her in for a checkup and the vet said she was in fine health aside from the thyroid disease, has not lost weight (although in her old age, she lost about 4-5 lbs over the years). She weighs 8 lbs. When I expressed my frustration with the litterbox problems, she said there was nothing we could do that we haven't already tried (uncovered large box with low sides, etc).

So in the last few weeks, she has had diarrhea a few times on my hardwood floor, and has several times a week been throwing up, sometimes just bile, sometimes hair balls, which she rarely had a problem with in the past. The diarrhea hasn't happened lately but she has not used her letterbox at all - she is pooping in several places around my living room on the hardwood floor and peeing on the mudroom floor. The other day, when cleaning up her poop, I noticed that her must've peed too, b/c there is a stain on my hardwood floor!!!! It's up against the wall, so not very noticeable. I put a rolled up towel there just in case she tried to go there again. So just now, I went to answer the phone and heard what sounded like running water - I went to check and sure enough she was peeing on the towel! I just put her litterbox there for now, but obviously I can't leave it there - it's in plain sight for any guests to see. In any case, I'm worried she will just pee somewhere else on my hardwood floor. Her fur has become even more matted in the last week and she just looks awful from a cleanliness standpoint. OTOH, her disposition hasn't changed. She's never been very sociable but she still easily gets around and will occasionally come join me on the couch.

All that said, I have no idea how much longer she will live on her own, but she's obviously looking more haggard. When I queried my vet at her last appointment, mainly b/c dh is so mad about the litterbox issue and the fact that our house is starting to smell, she said that b/c the cat is in fine health, they will not euthanize.

While I'd rather not have to put her down, the only alternative is keeping her locked up in my kids' bathroom where there is a tile floor. Obviously this is no life for a cat. I think it's time to put her down. I'm fairly sure my vet is not going to be willing to do it.

I have a call in to my good friend who is a vet to ask her opinion, both personally and professionally. She is aware of the past issues.

Am I being cruel and heartless to consider putting down a 17 y/o cat who is obviously not dying, yet is not doing well either? We faced this with our dog and the vet (different one) did not make us feel guilty. They looked at it from a quality of life issue with him - he could still walk but was definitely in some pain, had a hard time getting up and down and was having regular loss of bowel control. He was a nearly 17 y/o lab/shepherd, so amazing he'd lived as long as he did. I feel like this current vet is making me feel awful to consider putting my cat to sleep and has refused to do it (when I was there 6 weeks ago and brought up the possibility).

I guess I'm wondering, at what point is enough is enough? Is forcing my cat to live in a dark bathroom really better than thinking she had a good long life but now maybe it's time to say goodbye?

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Annie Deighnaugh

I'd be very unhappy with the vet. It's a hard enough decision anyway without someone being that obstructionist. It's not like this country isn't overrun with unwanted pets and animals are put down by the millions each year for no other reason than they have no homes.

You've given this cat a good long life, and if there's nothing medically that can be found to fix the situation, then, at her age, putting her down is a valid option.

GF recently went through a similar situation with her 19 year old dog who at times seemed very spry, but was becoming increasingly incontinent, seemingly unaware that she was even pooing while she was walking. They tried various meds including anti-anxiety medications and nothing seemed to help. So finally, they decided it was time and her vet was very supportive of her decision.

It's not an easy decision for sure, but you have to do what you think is best for all involved.

Cas was avoiding the litterbox at times before he passed, and I was so thankful to have found Nature's Miracle Cat Urine Destroyer...it really helped our rugs by lots!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 5:09PM
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I had to put down my Maltese a year ago because of cancer. She was healthy until the end but she had a problem with bathroom issues. I used diapers on her and it worked great. I used regular baby diapers and cut a hole for her tail. They were quite absorbent and I had no problems with leakage or odor.

I am thinking a 17-year-old cat may like the confinement of an enclosed space. I would try putting her in the bathroom, light on, with a comfy bed and her food, water and box. I wouldn't close the door, just put something in front of it that is easily moved by humans but not your kitty. My Maltese spent most of her last months in the bathroom on her pillow. She was free to leave but she seemed to like the comfort of her spot.

The decision to euthanize was made when she spent an entire night crying in pain. Up until then, I wouldn't have dreamed of ending her life. She was not in pain and her quality of life (eating and snoozing, pain-free), was good for a 15-year old dog.

I hope this helps!


    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 5:10PM
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In my opinion, you are not being cruel and heartless. Your vet is not in sync with you and you need to take the cat to a new vet.

I ran into this with a vet when I had an elderly cat that was at the point of dementia and the vet would not euthanize her. It is a form of cruelty to the animal that is unforgivable.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 7:08PM
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It is my understanding that cats are very good at disguising pain and/or discomfort. Because your vet hasn't found any concrete evidence of illness or disease, I would still question whether he is pain free and comfortable. I agree that it doesn't seem fair to confine him to a small area when he is used to having the run of the house and interacting with family members. And it isn't fair to you and your family to have to deal with the consequences of him not using his litter box. If it were me, I would be looking for another vet for a second opinion if nothing else. Wishing you the best.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 7:18PM
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My feeling is that pets need to be put down BEFORE their lives start degrading. Only you know when that time has come. Not some judgmental, procedural vet.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 7:52PM
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"My cat was 17 in April."

That's all I needed to read. Put that poor old thing down and move on. Now, please.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 7:54PM
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Has she ever been tested for kidney disease? It sound like her kidneys are maybe failing from the hyperthyroid and she is getting dehydrated. That's what's causing her fur to get matted. Is her skin dry, too? I don't want to you to spend any more money for tests if you don't already know this.

We had a kitty with hyperthyroid, kidney disease, hypertension, and inflammatory bowel who was really well managed until the last month of his life. His weight would be around 6 lbs but that last month he really dropped. He would poop outside the box often because he couldn't make it in time. We didn't have problems with urination, and it was so sad that even in his final hours, he was trying to use the box to urinate when he could barely stand up he was so weak. We were hoping he would pass at home, but we wound up taking him in.

His care the last month of his life was pretty expensive: fluids, blood tests, etc.

I wish you the best in making your decision. It does seem like your kitty has not so good quality of life.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 8:13PM
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My hope is that you will have a housecall vet who will send her to Heaven-in your arms if you can bear it. Yes, cats hide pain and illness so as not to become prey. PLEASE PLEASE have a housecall vet. The vets take the pet away for cremation, and you can have the ashes.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 8:20PM
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I was thinking kidney disease, too. It sounds like the symptoms of our kitty. It was heartbreaking to see her quality of life slipping away for the last few months of her life. Our vet was so supportive, and frankly, I would run from a judgmental vet like yours. You have given your cat a great life for 17 years and you are not some irresponsible pet owner looking to euthanize a healthy cat because you no longer feel like caring for it. Please get another vet and let your cat die with some dignity.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 8:28PM
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Simply put -- with all love -- it is indeed time for you to do this one final act of heartfelt kindess .....

We grieve with you .... and sending thoughts of strength and calm .......

She lived in love and with love in a forever home .... and will be missed .......

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 8:38PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I am so sorry but whatever you do is not wrong.
But I am with whitelacey on this, and how do You feel about it? Do you want her with you as long as you are not causing her pain and stress? Make her life wonderful in whatever direction that goes.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 9:34PM
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Our cat suffered renal disease and we put her down last year at 16 1/2. Her weight loss was gradual so we didn't really notice it. We could tell she was slowing down which we figured was normal given her age as well as not making the litter box sometimes, etc. her decline began at a very busy time for us....kitchen remodel and house renovations and planning son's wedding. We were remiss in not getting her to the vet sooner, but it would not have changed the outcome as by the time cats show renal disease symptoms it is already in the advanced stage. For a month we took her in for hydration, etc and she would perk up temporarily. They wanted us to start handling her hydration bags and so forth and a friend with cats had been through that with her cat and said she would never do it again and that because she was 16 1/2 we should let her go. It was the best decision for her...and us....DH was starting to have back problems lugging the litter up and down the steps and I felt like I was imposing asking the neighbors to watch her when we were away. It was sad to do it, but i know we made the right decision. At 17, I think you can say goodbye...the quality of life is not there anymore and your cat is suffering.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 9:50PM
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Thank you for all of your kind words.

TBH, I think much of her current state of decline has been caused by our "new" dog. We got our cat just months after getting our old dog. They grew up together, and while not friends, they tolerated each other and lived a peaceful coexistence where each had the run of the house but they didn't much bother each other. In our dog's advanced age, he was not very active and they pretty much left each other alone. After he was gone we waited a year before getting a new dog. Our "new" dog we adopted from the pound - a 2 y/o 95 lb black lab mutt who is very active and playful. Our elderly cat wanted nothing to do with him despite his persistent efforts to be her playmate. He mostly leaves her alone, but when he arrived, she took up residence in the living room and rarely goes anywhere else in the house or he chases her around. I'm sure some of that has caused the litterbox issues as she waits until he is not around to head into the mudroom. The rest of the time, she sleeps under the dining room chair or underneath my sideboard. In the year and a half that we've had him, we've seen my cat's health steadily decline (she suddenly started shedding a ton, which I'm certain is stress from the dog and the disruption to her life).

In any case, she *is* 17. So while she might have lived a much longer healthy life, I think our dog has caused her to age more rapidly.

I talked with my friend the vet tonight. She was quite shocked at my vet's attitude given my cat's age. She suggested that I call them and explain the situation and my cat's current condition and ask whether they will euthanize her. She said if they won't, then to give her a call and she will call her office and have me go there instead (she works at an emergency clinic so not the place we'd normally go). She knows the owner of the practice I go to and was surprised to hear they were unwilling to euthanize in my situation, but the vet who we see is not the owner, so it could be her personal philosophy, not that of the practice itself.

As I type this, I just heard my cat in her litterbox, here in the living room. She just used it, which is the first time all week! I'm wondering now if she has just had enough of my dog and rather than be able to "hold" it and wait for a good time to hit the mudroom, she has been going on my living room floor b/c she can't control her bowels that long. I'll give her a couple of days and see if she continues to use the litterbox in its spot, but still, it's not an ideal place for it, right in my front room!

My kids will all be out of the house next week (camp and my oldest is visiting relatives) and I've prepared them for the fact that our cat may be gone when they return, so I've told them to say their goodbyes before they leave. Sadly, none of them are *that* attached to my cat as she has never been that affectionate with them. We will see what the next few days brings.

Thanks again for your advice and thoughts. It's helpful to know that many of you agree that she has lived a long and happy life in our home and it's time to end her life while she still has her dignity intact. Though I'm not as emotionally attached to her as I have been with previous cats, it is still a bizarre feeling having the power to take someone's life away. I think that was the hardest thing I faced when euthanizing our dog. Even though I knew it was the right thing to do, I always hoped he'd just not wake up one day so I wouldn't have to make that decision. I kind of hoped the same with my cat, but unfortunately, looks like I'm facing down the same sort of decision with her too. :(

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 10:20PM
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If this cat was in it's natural state, it would have died already, I think.

Humans can understand a certain amount of pain and suffering in order to prolong life, and are willing to accept a reduced quality of life because they have insight into their own mortality and the complexity of interpersonal relationships. (Staying alive to not "abandon" a spouse, to see children or grandchildren grow up, etc.)

I think though that doctors (vets included) sometimes forget that just because a disease can be treated or controlled to some degree --that this may not always be what's best. An adult human can make decisions for him/herself. A domesticated animal can't.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 10:38PM
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Exactly what Pal said. One of our cats is elderly-we're not sure of her actual age, just know weve had her 14 years and she was a full grown adult when she showed up at our shop. She's lost a lot of weight and has slowed down considerably. I took her in to our vet for a check up, and she was proclaimed 'normal' for a senior cat. That evening I had a discussion with DH about her-should she develop a health cndition that would require us to medicate her regularly, we decided we'd have her put down.

I am an avid pet lover, but I agree that taking heroic measures for a pet is not something acceptable to us. I also feel that way about a human who is terminal-no heroic measures, just because we CAN there comes a time to let nature take it's course, and in cases of pets, euthanasia is usually the best option.

It's so hard, we don't want to be the one responsible for making that decision, but each time we've had to make it for our pets (a 16 1/2 yo dog, a 14 and a 13 yo outdoor cats) it was for the best. Keeping them going would only prolong their suffering and assauge our guilt a little.

Sorry you're having to face this decision.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 2:04AM
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Lab mix and cats. I'm going through the same thing right now with two lab mix puppies and two cats. But my oldest cat is coming around and won't hesitate to attack the dogs. lol.

For the time being, I would put a gate up where the cat can hang out close to her litterbox and food, and have an area of the house she can hang out in safely.. If she feels safe things may take a turn for the better.

My Lizzie knows when the dogs can't get to her and has no problem walking around the house. But when the dogs are loose inside, she hides.

Lizzie can easily figure out when she's in a safe zone.

I'd try this before you put her down, if you think it's nerves.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 7:23AM
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Oakleyok, the problem is that we don't have anywhere that we can shelter her from the dog. We don't have a door to our living room - it's an open room that you walk through from the front door straight back to the kitchen. There is no door in between - same with our family room, it's just a big open entryway b/w the kitchen and family room. Fortunately, she has no problem holding her own when it comes to the dog. She's not afraid of him - I think she's just annoyed by him. I wish I could do that for her. In any case, he doesn't bother her when she's in the living room - he typically hangs out in the family room and kitchen where all the action is.

On the upside, she used the litterbox in the living room since putting it there yesterday. I'm wondering if part of the issue is that with her age she feels she can't make it to the mudroom so she was just going on the floor. In any case, I can't leave the litterbox there for long but I will spend the next few days monitoring her to see if there is any improvement at all in her quality of life.

Palimpsest, I agree with you. We've been fortunate that neither of our first two pets ever had any sort of condition/injury that required extraordinary means in terms of treatment. Amazingly, our dog never had any issues at all in the years we owned him. Just old age that eventually caused incontinence. Our cat does have the thyroid disease but that hasn't required anything other than having to take a very inexpensive medicine twice daily.

Thanks again for all the suggestions and opinions.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:20PM
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My cat lived to be 19 years old. The last 6 months or so he began looking haggard, not grooming, losing weight and appetite. My vet said we could run a series of tests to find out exactly what's wrong but recommended not putting him through the stress of that given his age. We loved on him as much as we could and he died on his own at home. I KNOW animals are often in pain and we don't know it. Regarding my dog, my vet said panting, lethargy, changed bowel habits, ect. can all indicate pain, even though there is no crying or whining. If your cat is vomitting and having diarrhea and missing the litterbox, your cat is in pain, and sounding very stressed.
I agree that you have given your cat a good life. Anyone could understand why you would find it time to tell your cat goodbye and put her out of her misery.
I would get a new vet.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:25PM
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Oh boy - that's tough. I have been through most of the same with various cats. The first cat I had put to sleep at age 20 when he started peeing around on the floor and couldn't see. In retrospect I probably could have gone on a while longer before having him put to sleep. The next cat I did go on with a few more outside the litter box problems before he deteriorated so far from CRF that I had him euthanized. The last cat did end up living in a guest bathroom for awhile as we just couldn't bring ourselves to euthanize him. He was happy just laying on the heat register and sleeping. We had him out with us when we could supervise and bring him to the box every few hours.

If I were in your situation I would want to have him put to sleep too if I couldn't find a way to confine him and prevent further damage to the house. I think it's reasonable to expect indoor cats to use the litterbox and if they don't something has to be done.

I'm sorry you have to go through this. It's so hard.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 1:11PM
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One night after our dog had been declining fast, the dog started to die right then and there and it was painfully grotesque. I killed him then and he didn't feel a thing. The family knew I was up with the dog and heard from me that he died in his sleep.

The ONLY thing anyone can do is what's best for the pet, no matter how much one will be personally affected. Period.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 1:49PM
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Yes you should put the cat out of it's misery and you out of your misery. I'm dealing with that next week. My oldest sister has a cat but her son lived with her and tended
to it's needs as my sister is very sick. Now her son is in ICU on life support and she can't handle the cat who is 14 and sorry looking. I volunteered to take Rusty to the vets to be put down next week. It only makes sense under the circumstances. Even the vet agreed. This was a feral cat who never let a living soul touch him with their hands although he lets me for some reason. He's had a good healthy life up until the past few years and now he's deaf and blind and confused. I have no qualms.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 1:51PM
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A cat that is now peeing all over the house is not a healthy, happy cat. You are not a happy owner. Everyone is miserable. Seventeen years is a long run for a cat. Do what's best for all and send kitty to his final reward, then don't look back. I know it is not easy. I had my 18 year old cat euthanized and I cried like a baby.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 2:01PM
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I just wanted to let you know that we have had to put two of our cats down this past year. They both had kidney disease and showed symptoms in totally different ways from one another. One was 19, the other 17. We realized after the fact that we really let the 19 year old go longer than we should have due to her spunky personality and the guilt we would feel about euthanizing her. In the end we felt guilty for not euthanizing her sooner. When our 17 year old started to decline we knew we would not wait as long for her and make that mistake again. It was awful both times, but the second time it felt so much better letting her keep her dignity. Both of these cats had been with us since they were kittens, and so in my mind, the people that should make the decision are the people that had loved them every day of their 19 and 17 year lives and knew them best. As much as I respect vets, I don't think a vet should try to make that decision for you. You will know when it is the right thing to do. I am very sorry you are dealing with this. It is so hard.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 6:20PM
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When I'm convinced that A) the cat's quality of life is no longer enjoyable for it and/or B) the cats control of bodily functions is no longer adequate for me to not resent him/her, it's time.

It's not easy...but why would you want to keep the cat miserable longer or keep the cat and resent it ?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 6:26PM
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As pet parents, this is the most difficult decision we have to make. What I tell my human patients, friends, and family is - if you have any doubt about your medical condition/treatment - get a second opinion.

In your case, I strongly encourage you to get a second opinion from a feline specialty vet. As my cat doc says, ''cats are not little dogs.''

A good vet, just like a good human doc, will not be offended by this. Many times we appreciate a second opinion to confirm a diagnosis or to find something we may have missed, especially in complicated cases.

Here is a link that might be useful: cat vets

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 6:50PM
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Thanks, again, everyone. I know it's the right thing to do at this point. I supposed I'm just annoyed at the vet's stance on this. Even my friend, who is a veterinarian, was shocked. Her opinion is that I need to call the vet, explain the situation and tell them that I want to put the cat down and see if their stance will have changed in the 6 weeks since my cat was last seen by them. If they still refuse, she has offered for me to take my cat to her emergency clinic where they will do it w/o question. I'm almost inclined to do that anyway mainly b/c I'm usually non-confrontational and don't need them to continue to make me feel guilty if they again say they aren't willing to euthanize her yet since she is still "healthy."

Dh and I are going away this coming week for a couple of days, so I think I'm going to have to do it before we leave. I'm worried that if left alone, with my neighbor caring for her, she will pee outside the litter box in places not obvious to my neighbor in which case, it could ruin more furniture/floors in my absence. Plus, I don't want my neighbor to have to deal with the mess. And I'll be able to grieve while I'm gone….on a very relaxing getaway that is the perfect place to de-stress about this.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 2:23PM
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I would be inclined to do the same thing. If you take him back to your vet they will most likely want to do more lab work, an exam, etc. which is costly and stressful to kitty.

I'm really sorry you have to deal with this. We've had to put two pets down in the last nine months. It is so hard but it was the right thing to do.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 3:04PM
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When your vet pronounced your kitty in "fine health" a few weeks ago, what was that based on? Bloodwork, x-rays, ultrasound in addition to physical exam? Because if those things were not all done (and really even if they were) there could be any number of serious issues (cancer, kidney disease, etc.) and animals do suffer from senility as people do. Cats will hide pain and disease and try to act normal until they are very ill or very senile. What you are describing (that level of incontinence and lack of grooming) is not quality of life and I think you need a new and more compassionate vet. Just because an animal can stay alive, doesn't mean they should have to...when their quality of life has deteriorated so much, letting them go peacefully can be the very kindest thing we can do for them.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 5:06PM
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Ugh, well, now I know for sure that Monday will be the day. I was just vacuuming up some of her fur and noticed that the foot mat that I put in front of her litterbox to catch the litter was soaked in one corner. She peed all over it…right outside her litter box! Thankfully, I had put the little mat there last night on a whim so she wouldn't track litter all over the floor. And fortunately, the back of the mat is rubberized so the urine didn't seep through to my hardwood floor.

So now she is upstairs in my kids' bathroom. They are all away at camp this week, so I can keep her enclosed there. She is howling like crazy though as I know she doesn't want to be locked up in there. So even though my heart aches knowing what I have to do, my brain says that this is the right time. I'm glad I warned my kids that our cat probably would not still be here when they returned so they all had a chance to say goodbye, though none were very attached to her as she was not friendly with them.

And funnygirl, you are right. They probably will want to run more tests. I'm going to call on Monday morning to see what they say, but if they tell me they'll want to run tests or examine her b/f agreeing to euthanize then I will just take her to the emergency clinic. They were SO kind when we took our dog there that I'm inclined to do it there anyway, where I know they won't be judging me at all.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 5:13PM
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The lack of grooming and behavior problems and weight loss = elderly unhappy declining cat with not a good quality of life.

I would call a house-call vet. Much of their practice consists of euthanasia because it's less stressful to a terminally ill animal.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 5:25PM
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The house-call vets in my area won't euthanize unless they are existing patients of the vet.

My advice is to skip the call to the regular vet and go directly to the emergency vet.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 5:56PM
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Go with your vet friend, you don't need to deal with or give any more $$$ to an insensitive vet.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 7:32PM
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We have raised dozens of dogs and cats during our lifetime, with much love, care and concern for each one. Your elderly cat has reached the point where her quality of life has deteriorated severely, and you should go ahead and take her to the emergency vet for a compassionate release on Monday. Forget about dealing with the other vet, you don’t need or deserve to be given a guilt trip for wanting a peaceful end to your animal’s suffering in a timely manner.

Then take your time off and know that you’ve done what is best for all concerned - with no regret.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 12:17AM
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Oh I love Nanny2a's words -- a compassionate release. That is exactly what it is. I also agree that you should skip the other vet. Why in the world would you spend a ton of money on tests for a cat who is clearly in the last stages? Have the cat humanely put down and donate the money to a shelter, in her name.

When I went through this with my cat I stayed with her and scratched her behind her ears until she was gone. She hated the vet and I wanted to be there to reassure her until the end. The term "putting them to sleep" is an apt description. They just peacefully close their eyes and drift away.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 11:06AM
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I fourth (?) the suggestion for a housecall vet. Our cat hated the vet and having her euthanized at the vet would have meant that she ended her life not only sick but in fear and confusion.

With the housecall vet, she was able to pass in familiar surroundings with her family. The housecall vet also took her away and arranged for her ashes to be returned to us.

Finding a housecall vet may take some time, so I urge you to do it now.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 10:43AM
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She is not "in fine health." Although I love my cats very much, in this scenario I would also be searching for a way to euthanize.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 1:48PM
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Well, today was the day. I decided not to bother with my current vet. I didn't want to feel like I was being questioned or judged about the decision. My friend called her clinic and told them I would be coming in. She told me who the vet was on duty and to ask for her, she would call her and tell her the situation. When I got there, it turned out that my friend was there doing some paperwork. I hadn't expected her to be there. She asked if I wanted her to stay, so she remained in the room with me while her colleague administered the meds. It was very quick and peaceful.

Prior to bringing her in, I took her out of the bathroom where I had holed her up the last few days and brought her downstairs to cuddle with me on the couch for a while. Eventually she went up to her old perch on the back of my couch, looking out the window. I took this picture of her while she relaxed - makes me sad b/c she was purring away, oblivious to what was going to be coming. As we prepared to leave, my dog sat quietly, unlike him, as I put her in the carrier, and when I returned, it seemed as if he was strangely aware. Normally he is very energetic and happy to see me, but today, he greeted me at the door quietly, then sat at my feet with a sad look on his face most of the afternoon. I wonder if he has some notion that she is not coming back.

Strange to think she is no longer in the house. She lived with us nearly our entire marriage - we got her about 6 months after we married.

Thanks again for all of your words of encouragement as I faced this decision.

Here is a link that might be useful: Keo the cat

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 7:19PM
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You did a brave compassionate thing for Keo the cat….we faced many of the same health issues with our former kitty that Keo had & finally she was having problems breathing, took her in & she had cancer & only weighed 4# when we had her put to sleep. It was SO hard on our family, but the right thing for Patty the cat….just like it is for Keo the cat.

Big hugs to you & your family….Liz

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 7:43PM
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I know you did the right thing. However, I am crying for both you and her. She is a beautiful kitty. What you did was humane. By being with her you know she did not suffer. (I've had several cats who died alone - while I was at work, I will never know if they suffered as they were dying.) It is obvious you are a wonderful pet parent. Please take care of yourself during this painful time.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 7:48PM
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You did the right thing. I believe she was giving you the signs that she was suffering. She was beautiful.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 9:34PM
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Oh I am so sad. You totally did the right thing, but your story brings back memories of when I have had to do the same. I am crying.......

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 9:40PM
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It is never easy no matter how old or sick. So sorry.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:37AM
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Keo was a pretty girl. What a lucky girl to have been so loved for so many years, and then to have such a loving release at the end.

I bet the dog is picking up on your feelings and emotions. Dogs are amazing that way.

When I took my cat Sheena, I carried her on my lap because she hated the carrier. She was in such bad shape that she could barely walk, so there was no chance of escape. I still miss her.

So enjoy your good memories of Keo.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 11:58AM
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So sorry, Jan, for the heartache you've been through the past weeks. You did the right thing but it's never easy. Keo was a pretty kitty. Your description of her last day with you all says it all about animal instincts.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 1:14PM
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I am crying for your loss.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 6:33PM
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I'm so sorry for the grief and stress you've felt throughout this time. You've done a kindness -don't forget that. It was difficult, but you did it because you loved Keo and wanted her to stop hurting. I've had to do it a number of times, and it's always so incredibly difficult, and always followed by weeks of melancholy. But I've never regretted it.

Right now I know of a kitty, about 17 years old, who weighs about 3 lbs., and is truly suffering every day from many ailments. Her owners believe they'll 'know' when the time is right to put her down, but to everyone else, it looks like the time is right here, right now, and we feel such sorrow and pity for this poor, frail, hurting kitty..... You did the right thing.

I don't know whether you're familiar with this poem, or whether it will resonate with you, but I thought I'd pass it on...

The Last Battle
If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done,
For this " the last battle" can't be won.
You will be sad I understand,
But don't let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn't want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.
Take me to where to my needs they'll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don't grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do;
We've been so close "we two" these years,
Don't let your heart hold any tears.
- Unknown

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 7:33PM
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