Cat has to pull herself up on the bed, not using her back legs

Our question this week was:

My cat is 16-years-old and she is pulling herself up on the bed or furniture to be with us. She goes up and down stairs to get to her cat box but beyond that she rarely ventures out of the bedroom. Do you think that she is in pain? She does not cry and lets me pet her back and neck. She was unable to walk without being in pain a few years ago.

We brought her to the vet and he said that she had a pinched nerve at that time. Taking her age into consideration do you think it is time to put her down so she does not have to go through any more traumas. I hate to keep bringing her back and forth to the Vet if there is little he can do for her at her ago. She has all of her other senses, eats well and is still very loving.

Thank you for your help….I am having a very difficult time with this.

Marie Hayman


Hi – thanks for your email. From what you wrote – you have a 16 year old cat with a few problems: First, she is “pulling herself up on the bed or furniture” and spending a lot of time “in the bedroom”. You also indicate that she is eating well and still very loving.

Your basic question is – what is her quality of life, is she in pain and when is it time to “put her down”?

It sounds like she is probably uncomfortable since she is not as mobile. However, I’m happy to hear she is eating well and affectionate. Maybe by her limiting her mobility is what she needs to do to be fairly comfortable. You can try to make her more comforrtable by making things as convenient as possible. Ensure there is a litter box close by (if she has trouble going up and down the stairs – move one closer to her). If she has trouble getting up on furniture – consider using a soft ramp (e.g. “puppystairs” which is a soft ramp –for more information go to

I think it is reasonable to have her evaluated by your veterinarian to confirm her underlying problem and ensure there is not a secondary problem that is causing a problem. I don’t think that a physical evaluation would be putting her through too much.

As far as “when its time”, that is a very personal decision. I think if a pet is eating, drinking, affectionate, maintaining their weight and using the litter box, then they are still maintaining a reasonable quality of life. YOU know her best. If you think she is in pain or her quality of life is bad, then maybe it is time.

An article that might be helpful to you is on our is “When to Consider Euthanasia in Cats“.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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