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when to put my cat down?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello. My name is Stephanie. I am struggling with the question of when to put my sick cat down. He has advanced liver disease. He is jaundice, has dilated pupils, sleeps alot, doesn't go outside anymore, and stares out alot. He has a descended stomach and is underweight.

However, he still loves to eat, hang out, snuggle, talk, and wants to be around us.

He doesn't make any vocalizations of pain. Do you think I should wait until things get markedly worse or now is time enough? I love him very much and want to do the right thing by him and I know he loves life and wants to live. Any thought would be appreciated. Thank you.
post #2 of 21
Hi and welcome! I can't tell you when to put your cat down. Maybe ask your vet for advice? Liver failure isn't something that you can fix, atleast I don't think. Maybe ask about a certain diet or if there are meds. I don't have any advice really I am sure more people will for you.

Sorry you're going through this.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you. I just want a few opinions. It is terribly hard and don't want to put him right down until I know for sure. And I think hearing what other people might do in this situation helps.
post #4 of 21
How old is your kitty?


You might read some of the entries in the posting in the Rainbow Bridge part of this forum. I'm told that many times it is a mutual decision between you and your cat. You CAN ask you kitty whether it is time or not and you will receive a reply. I can only speak for myself and if my cat still seemed to be participating in life in the manner that yours is, I would wait for the time being. Your vet's opinion should also be taken into consideration.
post #5 of 21
Hi Stephanie, I am sorry you are faced with this decision for your beloved boy.

This is what I think. If he is still enjoying special things in his life, and is not in great pain, he's not ready.

I believe a cat will tell you when he's ready. Ask him! Watch him! You'll know.

Here are some guidelines to go by:

Does he hang out with you or does he go off and hide in a corner?

Does he show interest in things around him or does he lie somewhere and stare blankly at nothing?

Does he eat?

Use the litter box? or does he have trouble with incontinence?

It's obvious you love him very much, and he loves you. Too soon is better than too late in my opinion, but from what you say he's still getting some enjoyment out of his life.

Welcome to the forum, and please keep us posted. What's his name? How old is he? What's his story?
post #6 of 21
That's not really a decision for us to make...it's up to your best judgment since you know your kitty best. What do you think? Is he suffering right now? Despite his happy behavior, do you know how he feels? Are you all biding time, or is your vet working toward a cure? Is he happy and pain-free? How old is he?

These are some questions you should perhaps mull over with your family and your vet. It's a big decision, so take your time. I know how hard it can be, since I've [unfortunately] seen a few owners have to debate over this when I worked for a vet office.

I'm sorry I could not give anymore advice, but as I stated before you're the one who knows him best.

and for you and your kitty, and we will all be here for you, no matter what your decision. I hope that things turn out okay for you and your cat. You're in my thoughts.
post #7 of 21
No one can really tell you when to put your cat down. That is a very personal decision. It is an extremely hard decision. I know, I had to have my darling Kiki PTS a few years ago due to total kidney failure.

You need to ask yourself if his quality of life is worth prolonging it. Cats hide pain very well. I didn't know Kiki was sick for the longest time. She would just stare at us and we finally came to grips with the fact that it was time to let go. I was with her when the vet gave her the final shot. She knew I loved right to the end. She knew it was time for her to go over the bridge.

Whenever you decide to help your kitty over the bridge, we will be here for comfort and support. There is not a single person on this board who hasn't made this decision.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
My baby's name is Malcolm. I do not know his exact age, but around 13-14. He is an amazing cat that has turned "cat haters" into cat lovers. He used to follow us on mile long walks without a leash. He will always come when called. He will never run from a dog, no matter the size. And those same dogs that hate cats, like him. He is so very social and loves people. Never hiding from anyone or anything. When ever any one of my friends talk about cats, they always compare them to my Malcolm. His genuine trust and love for people and other animals is amazing. And there is so much more that set him apart.....I love him so very much and will miss his little snores by my pillow every night. Thank you all for your support in this difficult time. THANK YOU!

How do you post a darn picture?
post #9 of 21
I think the time to euthanise a cat is when they no longer have quality of life. That may be a combination of no longer being able to eat on their own, no longer able to use the litter tray, are in too much pain to move around, have a marked change in behaviour that doesn't improve, or other such things.

If he's still eating, snuggling and hanging out, then I think he has a bit longer left in him. If he doesn't seem in pain, and the vet is happy with his condition, then just keep cherishing every day you have with him

Where are your photos stored? You can get a free account with Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa or other such photo hosting websites, then you can either right click on the photo and select copy link location, then click on the icon in the post that looks like a picture of a mountain and a sun, then paste the code into the pop up box. Otherwise if you're in photobucket, there's an option to select IMG code - you click on that, and can directly paste it into here so it looks like this [IMG] your link [/IMG]
post #10 of 21
If you don't have an online photo storage account (some older computers won't do it):

You can also load pictures direct to your post by using the manage attachments option at the bottom of a reply box.

Don't use quick reply, use the reply button at the end of the thread's last post (or at the top of a thread)

Click on Manage Attachments, you will get a box, click browse, that will take you to your picture files, choose your pic, click up load.

Malcom sounds lovely, please keep us updated!
post #11 of 21
First of all, big hugs to you right now. This is going to be one of the hardest decisions you will make in your life.

Your cat sounds a lot like my first baby, Hippocrates. When he contracted cancer and I struggled with the same agonizing decision, my vet at the time asked me a question that I still use to this day. Are you keeping him alive for you, or are you keeping him alive for him?

The quality of life questions posed by others is one way to judge. If you can hold your personal emotions in check (I know, nearly impossible), you can tell if he's decided that he's had enough of life. Even though my Hippocrates was obviously ill, he still snuggled with me, he still ate, and he still enjoyed his time in the sun. On the day that he stopped all of these things, he was telling me he was done.

Give him anything he wants right now, and love on him with all your might.
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
post #13 of 21
Stephanie, I'm sorry that Malcolm is so ill. He sounds like a very special boy.

Can you tell us specifically what type of liver disease he has? My oldest cat also has liver disease, for several years now. She gets meds and supplements to help manage it. How is Malcolm being treated for his disease?

You say that Malcolm "still loves to eat, hang out, snuggle, talk and be around us". To me, those are signs that it's not yet Malcolm's time.

Please give us more information on how you've been treating his illness.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello and thank you. We give him steroid shots and B12 shots every few weeks. That does help. My Vet did not think doing any invasive testing was the right thing to do. Because of his age and that he was an inside/outside cat, that he doubts that he would have been treatable anyway. This all started 1 1/2 years ago when our 16 year old cat died. Since this is my first pet cat to die slowly in my life, I did not know about all this stuff. Wizard died suddenly and he was fine one day, the next week he was gone. Malcolm started not eating when our old cat wizard stopped eating. I did not know at that time how bad that was. Malcolm was overweight then and I thought he would be fine. He was horribly depressed when Wizard died. Just broken. So, maybe he got fatty liver disease when he stopped eating, so I have been feeding him high quality food since then. If Malcolm was under 10 years old, I probably would have thrown the bank at him with all the top specialist to do anything to fix him. But, I got Malcolm when he was already full grown and do not know his exact age. I have had him for almost 13 years. So, really he is 14 or 15 when I really think about it. Shoot, maybe older.
I do not know if I did the right thing or not. Maybe I should have done more.
post #15 of 21
stephanie, i am sorry that you and malcolm are having to make this hard decision. it's never an easy one to make.

i would assume that you have taken malcolm to the vet already. what has the vet said to do? Is malcolm on a special diet? as everyone else has already said, the decision is entirely up to you, your family, and malcolm. malcolm will let you know when he's ready. if he is still spending time with you, i would love him up as much as i could. however, if he's going away and hiding, well, that should tell you something.

take care of both of you.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoAnjel View Post
Hello and thank you. We give him steroid shots and B12 shots every few weeks. That does help. My Vet did not think doing any invasive testing was the right thing to do. Because of his age and that he was an inside/outside cat, that he doubts that he would have been treatable anyway. This all started 1 1/2 years ago when our 16 year old cat died. Since this is my first pet cat to die slowly in my life, I did not know about all this stuff. Wizard died suddenly and he was fine one day, the next week he was gone. Malcolm started not eating when our old cat wizard stopped eating. I did not know at that time how bad that was. Malcolm was overweight then and I thought he would be fine. He was horribly depressed when Wizard died. Just broken. So, maybe he got fatty liver disease when he stopped eating, so I have been feeding him high quality food since then. If Malcolm was under 10 years old, I probably would have thrown the bank at him with all the top specialist to do anything to fix him. But, I got Malcolm when he was already full grown and do not know his exact age. I have had him for almost 13 years. So, really he is 14 or 15 when I really think about it. Shoot, maybe older.
I do not know if I did the right thing or not. Maybe I should have done more.
It does no good to second guess yourself now. You didn't know how dangerous it was for an overweight cat to lose weight too quickly.

I'm so sorry for the loss of your beloved Wizard. Malcolm's grieving probably weakened him too, in addition.

I do know that the liver is a regenerative organ in some cases. 15 is old, but not ancient. I've read a lot about the benefits of milk thistle supplement for liver health. You might ask your vet about using it for Malcolm, or look into it yourself, if your vet is not open to other ideas.

Have you thought of getting a second opinion? Another vet may have a different idea of treatment.
post #17 of 21
Stephanie, my heart goes out to you, because this is the worst kind of scenario to be in

I dealt with a somewhat similar situation with my Diesel, who just went to the great litterbox in the sky on Friday. I had wondered before, when he was going through rough patches with chronic renal failure, if "now" was the time.

When we made the tough decision over the weekend, it wasn't a decision - It was blatantly obvious to us. Diesel wasn't Diesel.

I hate giving this kind of answer, but you'll know when it's time.
post #18 of 21
Whether you do it tomorrow, or next month you will still be second-guessing yourself asking if you did the right thing.

Perhaps this article will help you

http://www.thecatsite.com/Care/127/W...y-Goodbye.html
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by otto View Post
It does no good to second guess yourself now. You didn't know how dangerous it was for an overweight cat to lose weight too quickly.

I'm so sorry for the loss of your beloved Wizard. Malcolm's grieving probably weakened him too, in addition.

I do know that the liver is a regenerative organ in some cases. 15 is old, but not ancient. I've read a lot about the benefits of milk thistle supplement for liver health. You might ask your vet about using it for Malcolm, or look into it yourself, if your vet is not open to other ideas.

Have you thought of getting a second opinion? Another vet may have a different idea of treatment.

I'm also very sorry about Wizard. And poor Malcolm - he really suffered as a result of the loss of Wizard.

I agree with otto's reply to you, especially about getting a second opinion. It seems that your vet didn't actually give you a diagnosis as to what specific liver condition Malcolm has. If the vet didn't know exactly what was wrong, how could he assume that Malcolm "probably" wasn't treatable?

There are common, non-invasive ways to help diagnose what's going on with Malcolm's liver - bloodwork, x-rays, and ultrasound.

Otto's right - the liver is an organ that can regenerate itself, as long as some healthy cells remain. Milk thistle (silymarin) is extremely important for cats with liver disease. It's a natural supplement that is safe for use in both humans and cats.

Nutramax makes a veterinary product called Denamarin. It's a once a day pill given on an empty stomach. It combines sam-e, another beneficial liver supplement, with silymarin. I used it for my own cat for awhile, but I didn't think it had enough silymarin in it, so I've been making up my own capsules of the supplement (with advice from a vet as to dose).

I strongly recommend getting Malcolm on silymarin ASAP. Talk with your vet - he/she should have no objection to this. Denamarin is a good start as you may be able to find a vet who carries it. There's also lots of milk thistle available at health food stores, but steer clear of the liquid version. Most contain alcohol, which is not good for cats. You want a silymarin combined with phosphatidylcholine which increases the absorbtion of the milk thistle. Denamarin contains phosphatidylcholine.

There are also other meds and supplements that may be used, depending on the type of liver disease. Subcutaneous hydration may be beneficial, too. Steroids are helpful in the short term but can cause problems with prolonged use. Do some research on them. Hopefully, if you can get a second opinion, you can speak with that vet about the pros and cons of continuing with steroids.

My guess is that Malcolm had hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) as a result of not eating because of his grief over Wizard. You didn't know that could happen, so don't blame yourself. You've been trying to do everything you can to help him since he got sick.

I hope some of this will help your special boy.
post #20 of 21
Here's the photo of your baby

post #21 of 21
What a darling! You are getting some excellent advice here!
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