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How do you know "when"?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I don't know if this is the proper forum, but - how do you know when to say that final good-bye? My 13 year-old tabby has a brain tumor that would be difficult to remove. He's on steroids and eating better than he was. He doesn't use the litter box, but we'll deal with that. How will I know when? I'm so confused.
post #2 of 17
I'm so sorry that you are having to think about saying goodbye to your friend

My childhood kitty Tigger also had a brain tumour and lived very happily for a year (despite being blind)

After the year his health began to deteriate (surgery could not be done due to the location of the tumour)

We knew it was time to say goodbye when we could look in his eyes and see that he was no longer spiritually with us....he had ceased to be the Tigger we knew and we could see he was in pain.

Your kitty will tell you when it's time...but it's still very difficult to make the decision.

Sending you many prayers.
post #3 of 17
Honey, this is the hardest decision that you will have to make.

When you look at your baby and you know that he/she is in pain, is uncomfortable, can't do things for themselves. If there is no medical help available......then you have to ask yourself what kind of an existence is this?

When I lost DiddoKahli, as far as I was concerned, the sun rose and set on her. But she came down with acute renal failure. No medical help. They can't do anything for this condition. She was dehydrated so I used the under-the-skin rehydration therapy at home and a whole bunch went in and basically nothing came out. By Sunday morning, she looked like a basketball.

I took her to bed with me Sunday night and she cried, she hurt. I needed to carry her to the litter box and she cried. There was no way I was going to let this cat go through another day. I took her the next day and had her put to sleep.

I miss that cat more that I can tell you, but I don't regret my decision for one instant.

The decision will be yours, but it will be made from the heart and it will be the right one. Hugs and licks from KittenKiya's Clan.
post #4 of 17
When my boy had cancer, I watched him.
When he lost interest in the things he enjoyed most I knew it was time.

He was an extremely nasty tempered cat his whole life and a famous overeater, when he became nice and stopped eating, I knew what he was telling me.

I'm sorry you're having to go through this, but I truly believe that he will be able to tell you when he's ready.
post #5 of 17
... I have no way to tell you when it is time other than your kitty will
post #6 of 17
I have had to put 4 cats to sleep over the years(a urinary, liver failure, brain tumor, and a 16 who aged overnight. the first three were easy ina sense cause they got so sick so fast I knew nothing in my range would save them without hurting them more. the old cat, smokey was hard cause it was such a drawn out thing. he could get around but not well yet he was still happy(came for his rubs, and to get combed ate well, used litter box(meaning he knew he had to go. i knew last winter it would be his last cause he slowed down ALOT from his previous year. i put him to sleep oct 2 right as it was starting to get cold he got to live the summer which he loved(tried to keep room warmer and he would bask all day in sun on my bed. i can honestly say he went at the right time-i mean i could have kept him another year or so but he would have been in to much pain for me to justify that. the others came so sick so fast(the liver cat dusty went from walking and being normal to in a coma in matter of days and that eats at me. amy the tumor cat was fine till she went into vilonet seizures hershey was sick on and off his whole life with uti and it finally got him at 3 1/2. make a list of the top 3 or 5 things enjoyed most. like eating, being combed, getting onto the bed(be it jumping, up a ramp) getting around within rason(slow is one thing pained to take a step is another) when you see that he is just living but not enjoying life its time/
post #7 of 17
also meant to add to that I have 23 cats(4 months-14 yo) and sometimes this scares me so much....i am going through a when to put down with my oldest-about 14 and just age related illnesses all at once.
post #8 of 17
I am sending you vibes for strength and wisdom. I've faced this this past year, and am facing it again. I know how hard it is for me.

I know that how I decide may not be right for you, and most of all, it really is something where your cat will let you know.

I've looked at quality of life - is my sweetie still playing, still purring (non-pain purr), still enjoying treats or asking for them. Is my sweetie in constant pain that I can not alleviate? Is the spark still in my cat's eyes? How is their muscle strength, can they still walk, get up to turn around, find a comfortable position. Are they still seeking/wanting my attention, still interacting with me and/or my other cats?

I'm also discussing with my vet what to look for physically that would let me know things have progressed to a point of being time.

I'd have a long talk with my vet about what you'll see as things progress and what advice they have on how to tell.
I'd cherish every day with your sweetie, don't grieve now, that can wait until he is gone.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all. Neither he nor we are ready to call it yet. It was hard today since he cried all the way back from the specialist - but he had just come out of anesthesia and he was hungry. He's on prednizone and that has perked up his appetite.

I appreciate the insight and good thoughts - thank you.
post #10 of 17
I can not add much more to what everyone has mentioned. He'll let you know when it's time. Just cherise your time together and love your kitty.
post #11 of 17
I cannot add anything more than what the other posters have mentioned but your sweetheart will let you know when it's time. It's one of the hardest things you will have to do but also one of the kindest things. Cherish each day with him.

I lost my 18 year old almost 3 years ago to cancer almost overnight (We knew he had cancer but surgery and chemo wasn't an option). He was fine one day and gone three days later).
post #12 of 17
I'm so sorry for you and your cat. I've had 6 cats, and only lost 2 so far. One was hit by a car, and the other one we had to put down. He was about 15 years old, and had chronic diarrhea. He went from a healthy, active male to a tired skin-and-bones old man in about a year. His appetite wasn't the same, and you could feel his spine and hipbones through his skin. The vet thought cancer, thyroid disease, etc.; nothing we tried helped. When he lost control of his bladder, we decided it was time. He was no longer comfortable laying down on the kitchen table in the morning because he was too bony (and this was his tradition every morning; laying on my dad's newspaper). Poor Baxter's quality of life had deteriorated and we couldn't see putting him or ourselves through it any longer. We laid him to rest on November 25, 1997, at nearly 16 years old.
It was a very difficult decision. But, like people said above me, we examined his quality of life and realized he was no longer doing things he enjoyed, and that everyday life was painful for him. We don't regret the decision, but that doesn't make it easier to go through.
post #13 of 17
I just lost my 18 year old girl last June, we did everything we could for her. She had CRF and my husband gave her sub-q's for a year to keep her going. There were days where I felt I was being selfish and keeping her alive for me. My little girl wanted to pass away at home in bed with me. I held her on her final day with me on the bed. I already had a doctors appt to let her pass that morning. We were just waiting for the vet to open. Mort lost bladder control on the bed and was near death when I got her into the vet. It was a very very sad day and is always a very hard decision to make but I think Mort was guiding me thru her passing and she let me know when she wanted to be let go.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
OP here again.

I just don't want to play "God". My husband is supportive of me - he knows that I need to make the call. So, Garfield is down to 12 lbs (he was at a high of over 18 lbs a few years ago.) He was 13.5 lbs about 3 weeks ago. He'll eat if I stick the food dish right in his face, same with water. I hold him all evening, every evening. He wanders around the house during the day when I'm home. He's confined to a spare, kitty-proofed bedroom at night and when I'm not home. I know him best & I think his blank stare is trying to tell me to let go, but I'm still not sure.

I know that no one else can make this decision - I guess I just wanted to vent here. Thanks.
post #15 of 17
I'm so sorry about your kitty It sounds like he is going downhill poor baby. But only you know when the time is right to say goodbye.
post #16 of 17
I also think that your cat will tell you when he is ready to go to the bridge. I am sending prayers and hugs from Mississippi for you.

post #17 of 17
I am so sorry you are facing this decision, I have done it more times than I care to remember in the past 4 years. I personally have let some of mine go earlier than some people would, as I prefer mine to still have some dignity and quality of life when they go, I have seen my neighbours leave their animals till they have no quality of life, and it has made me rather lose them a day/week too early than a minute too late, however hard it is for me, that decision has to be made with their interests in mind, not mine. You might also want to decide how you want things to be at the end, so that you dont have to make too many decisions when you really aren't in the right state of mind too. Big hugs to you, this is the downside to sharing our lives with these wonderful creatures.
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