Is a cat really scared when they are put to sleep?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – It’s always bothered me that they are so frightened when they are taken to the vet to be put to sleep. Also, they are given an injection that paralyzes them, which I think would be very frightening for them. Would it be better to give them a sedative at home and then take them to the vet? Is that an option? I would really appreciate a reply. Thank you so much for all your very helpful articles. I look forward to them every day.



Hi – thanks for your email Sue. You wrote about your concern regarding if cats are extremely frightened when they are put to sleep. I have personally seen thousands of pets euthanized. Personally, I don’t think they are frightened. I think that they are scared a bit just being out of their home environment but most cats that I see euthanized are so sick – that it is their time.

Basically – what we give is an overdose of an anesthetic – something very similar to what they would give if they were going to have anesthesia/surgery. I really believe that is very peaceful and very quick.

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

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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