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Cat Owners Comment About How to Know if it is the Right Time to Euthanize

By: Petplace Staff

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We have an informative article on Petplace called "When to Consider Euthanasia in Cats" that we promoted in our newsletter. We received some wonderful emails back about different thoughts and experiences we wanted to share with you.

If you are facing this difficult decision, I hope you take comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your pain.

To read the full article – go to When to Consider Euthanasia in Cats.

1.You can Never Be Prepared.

We've been faced with thi euthanasia decision many times over the years, even so more often as our beloved Abyssinians age and have more chronic health problems (CRF, CHF, diabetes, mammary gland CA). Possibly worst time was coming home late one night and finding Georgie Boy paralyzed in his hind quarters from a hematoma and he was crying out in pain and bewilderment. No amount of information about this possibility ahead of time prepared us for the reality.

Thankfully we have a wonderful veterinarian who is available any time. Our choice, which I realize is not for everyone, is to hold our beloved pets while the barbiturate is being administered, if possible, and if not to then pick him or her up and cuddle him or her in his or her final moments. We have chosen to cremation and to have the cremains returned to us to be included with my cremains upon my death and scattered where I have indicated.

It is never an easy decision to make. The loving support of friends who understand our loss and our wonderful veterinarian and his staff have helped eased our suffering at these times. Also knowing that our beloved pets are free from disease and suffering, have joined the others and are waiting for us on the Rainbow Bridge.

2. I'm Not Sure When is the Right Time

Thank you for your article on euthanasia. I currently have a sick cat who will probably need to be put to sleep soon. It is such a heart wrenching decision. I have been going by whether she eats, & how much energy she has. It is hard watching her go downhill slowly. Unfortunately my vet has no idea what is wrong with her, so treatment has basically consisted of keeping her eating & comfortable. I hope when the time comes I can make the right decision for her. It is so hard to let go. I don't want to end it too soon, but I also don't want her to suffer. Thank you for letting me share this. It definitely has got me thinking.


Fountain Hills, AZ

3. My Meatball

Meatball was my first pet. He was an 18 pound (but Vet certified healthy) ball of LOVE, hence the nickname. He followed my mom to her car in a walmart parking lot and convinced her that our home was his! I was 9 years old when I first met him and I knew he was MY cat! He grew up with my and my two sisters, attending tea parties and wearing a LOT of doll clothes. He grew up to be a completely social cat without a timid bone in his body. He would climb into the lap of anyone who sat down in our house and give them a kitty massage (kneading on their side or neck). He never had the high and mighty personality that some cats posses. If you called his name he came, if you walked into a room he immediately acknowledged your presence and would do anything to come snuggle with you. My mom called him my shadow because he was especially loyal to me and followed me EVERYWHERE.

I had just graduated from college when I started to notice Meatball losing weight. His appetite seemed normal and he was still his same sweet self. Just to be cautious I took him to the vet for a check up. Everything was clear so we tried some new food and everything was good for a few weeks. He kept loosing weight and soon I started to notice him becoming very lethargic and not eating. I took him on numerous trips to the vet and spent hundreds of dollars testing him for everything in the book. The vet still could not find what was wrong. I even left him at the vet for a few days to be force fed. He ate for about a week after that, but soon stopped. I was in a panic. In my mind I knew what I needed to prepare myself for but I was in complete denial. He wouldn't eat regular food, but would sometimes eat treats. I bought every kind of cat treat in the pet store, I even tried fish food because he would try to eat through the can on top of our aquarium. It worked for a few days but he wouldn't eat enough every day to stay nourished. By this time he had dropped from 18 pounds to 9 pounds! I could see his bones. He went into hepatic lipidosis and his kidneys started to fail. He began withdrawing, hiding from me which I knew was a sign he was in pain. I kept trying, it was all happening so fast and I was not ready to let go. I read so many stories online about people who went through the same thing and got their cats to start eating again and back to normal. I couldn't make him better, I felt like a failure.

Three days after my 24th birthday I took Meatball to the vet to be euthanized. He was 15 years old. We never knew what caused him to stop eating. I felt so heartsick and guilty. I never thought I would euthanize him, I felt like it was wrong of me to "play God" and that I would let him pass away on his own. I felt like I was killing my cat but I could not let him suffer, and he was suffering. I was still questioning myself, thinking I could make him better, but I think deep down I knew there was nothing else I could do. I chose to stay with him through the whole process. It was the most heartbreaking thing I have ever had to experience, but I have never regretted being there for him. I was strangely enough at peace when it was all over with. I was relieved that he was no longer suffering.

I can't offer any words of comfort to someone going through what I did, there is nothing that can take away your pain. All I can say is listen to your instincts and you will know when it is time to let go. Don't let your beloved pet suffer. I read this poem a few days before I decided to euthanize Meatball and it gave me a lot of peace:

"Help Me Make the Decision"
From: Newspaper-Dear Abby
Unknown Author

If it should be that I grow weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this last battle cannot be won.

You will be sad, I understand.
Don't let your grief then stay your hand.
For this day, more than all the rest,
Your love for me must stand the test.

We've had so many happy years.
What is to come can hold no fears.
You'd not want me to suffer so;
The time has come - please let me go.

Take me where my needs they'll tend,
And please stay with me till the end.
Hold me firm and speak to me,
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time that you will see
The kindness that you did for me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I've been saved.

Please do not grieve - it must be you
Who had this painful thing to do.
We've been so close, we two, these years;
Don't let your heart hold back its tears.

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