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Is it inhumane to allow your cat to die naturally?

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
Please don"t assume I am abusing or neglecting my beloved cat. She is 19 yrs and 3mos old and just became ill a week ago today. It is just her time. I have NEVER had to make this decision before and would rather her stay here in my arms until she goes. We don't euthenize our parents or grandparents when they are in their last days, why is it that you are scorned by others if you say you let your pet die at home when it was THEIR time to go?
Ultimately, if I had ONE wish, it would be that my pets could answer one question I have for them once in their lifetime and I could pick what day to ask. Today would be that day for her and it would be, "do you want me to help you go?"
I DO NOT want to be selfish and I DO NOT want her to suffer. But she watches me, just lays and stares at me me everywhere I move. Is she trying to tell me? I have a decision to make SOON! Does anyone have the answer for me?
post #2 of 38
If she is suffering it is kinder to help her go to sleep peacefully. We do not euthanize humans in the U.S. but terminally ill people are kept heavily medicated so they aren't in pain. If she doesn't seem to be suffering you might decide that it's better to allow her to die naturally. I don't believe a dying animal (or human) is always suffering just because they're dying. There is no right answer when it comes to these kinds of things. I'm sorry that you're facing this decision now. It's never easy. One thing to keep in mind is that even though she may not be suffering now, things could get bad in the middle of the night and if there isn't an emergency vet close by it can be very hard to deal with.
post #3 of 38
I have to agree. If she's suffering then it's not right to let her linger in pain. We don't put people to sleep because it's illegal in most places. Despite medication and treatment a lot of terminally ill people still suffer. I'm sorry you're going through this. Being your first time I understand how you feel. It's a tough decision you have to make. It's a decision you have to make based on unconditional love. We always have to put our pain aside and do what's best for our kitties...You'll be in my thoughts...we've all been through this
post #4 of 38
First of all, I'm so sorry you're facing this.

I think Willowy wrote an excellent response. I think your vet is the best person to ask - is she suffering? What's the likelihood she will be?

Our Tuxie was very young when he became anemic. We fought and he survived - but it was because he wasn't suffering, and if things didn't work, it wasn't likely he would. But we wouldn't have known if we didn't ask the vet for his thoughts (and medically informed opinion).

post #5 of 38
Hi, I am so sorry you are going through this... I dread coming through this decision every day...
Here is my take on euthanasia: I believe in it, and I don't. Meaning: I believe in it in terminal cases when there are absolutely no chances for a life after that disease/episode with manageable quality of life. I don't in all other cases.... I believe that if there is any chances of survival, and the person/animal can be happy have a good life afterwards.... fight like heck with all you got...
With that said... if there is absolutely no hope... Then I see no reason for prolonging the pain and suffering... And yes... we don't euthanize humans simply because it is illegal. But ask as terminal patient who is suffering horrors if they would rather end their lives with the dignity of euthanasia, and I can almost guarantee you that they would answer you with a sound yes.
Your cat is very old.... I think your vet should be consulted for an honest conversation to see what her health really looks like and what her outcome can be. Her situation might not be so serious or it might be her time... I hope I make some sense.... I am so sorry again
post #6 of 38
I agree with Carolina.

If you really believe that it's your cats time to go and there's no hope of her improving, it would be kinder to let her go peacefully and comfortably.

Right now, our 18 year old cat is at the vet's. She's had diarrhea for 2 weeks and they can't even get it to stop. She's been there for a week now. We know its her time to go and my vet is being really stubborn and is trying to bring her back to life. It's really heart wrenching to know she's there, in pain and feeling miserable. We want to see her go properly. Watching her almost die here in the living room was sooooo hard. We have to go tomorrow and demand she put down...

So yeah, if you're sure its her time and your vet agrees, let her go gently.
post #7 of 38
Hi, I am so sorry you are dealing with this. Your cat had a long life.

Personally, I think people like Dr. Kevorkian are champions. The only reason we don't hear of more human euthanization is because it's illegal to murder another person. But as was mentioned, we keep our terminally ill loved ones heavily sedated for their own comfort.

My dad passed away from lymphoma about a year and a half ago, and the end was rather unexpected and very, very quick. His one wish was to spend one more day at our family cabin with my mom and all his kids and grandkids. We managed to make it happen, though it was a logistical challenge due to transportation, oxygen tanks, etc. He had signed a DNR form much earlier because he didn't want his family to ever have to make a decision to take him off of life support. It never came to that with him, his death was very quick. And while it seemed TOO quick at the time, he had been pumped full of morphine his last couple of days anyway, so in time we were all able to be thankful that he didn't needlessly suffer in pain.

I honestly believe that our pets too have a way to tell us what they want us to do. It's our own human nature that causes us to second guess our decisions. YOU will know if your sweet girl is in pain, and I hope this doesn't sound blunt, because I don't mean it to be, but if she is telling you that she is in pain and you keep her alive because you don't want to have to make a tough decision, you aren't doing her any favors. If she is telling you that she is peaceful at home and wants just a couple more days with you, I think she will tell you that too.

We all know that cats are experts at hiding their pain, and you say that she just sits and looks at you, what does she do when you stroke her? Does she give you that chin up "I love this!" look, or does she maybe wince a little bit because she is in pain? Talk to her and look at her eyes. I am so sorry you are dealing with this right now, but I truly believe she will tell you what you want to know.

post #8 of 38
Whatever you feel is right then I am with you.

I don't believe it is inhumane to let your cat die naturally. I am still feeling the guilt of putting my Yon down 2 years ago.
Since then, I lost QT (old age and illness), Skinny (old age), Go (cancer), Ashley (organ failure), Roku (vet mistake). For each, I said goodbye - I told them they can leave now, I will be okay. AND THEY DID almost right after. I swear it's true. None spent their last moment at the vet - the place they dreaded and hated.
Mystik Spiral has something there - they have a way to tell us and at the same time they know how we are feeling so perhaps when it is time to go they are just waiting for us to let them know we will be okay and they don't need to worry.
post #9 of 38
This is a terrible time for both of you and I'm so sorry you're having to deal with it. Your cat has had a long, good life. If your cat is in pain and/or suffering, I would agree with others here that allowing her and helping her pass along quietly and peacefully is the way I would do it personally. Euthanasia is the one thing we can do to help our four legged friends and family, that we can not do to help our human friends and family. Ultimately it will be your decision on what to do and my thoughts are with you.
post #10 of 38
1st, I'd call a vet who's homeopathic or natural and consult with them

2nd I will never let a vet decide what to do with my pet again.

3rd If it's not howling & showing terrible pain, it is not in that much pain.

4th Pet it & tell it how much you love it as often as possible.

5th I do not want anyone else choosing my own death. When it's time, I'll know.

6th In the last 10 years I've had 7 cats put down by vets. 4 young & healthy, but had a blockage or an infection. Now that I've done so much research, I ache for them. I could have helped them, but didn't realize it then.

7th Who knows better when it's time to pass? You or your animal? If they're in horrible pain, they have a horrible yowl. You can see them trying to sleep, but they keep getting up & moving. I give them 4 days to self heal. If I do not see progress I go to 3 different vets. Chemical, Natural, & Holistic. Then, we talk, me and the beautiful animal I hold dear.

8th I will always try to let them pass natural from now on.

Blessings and love
post #11 of 38
I think its simply a matter of what kind of organ failure the poor kitty is encountering in old age. If its to the point of tremendously diminished quality of life or the cat is in pain, then there is no point in allowing that to continue for weeks to the inevitable conclusion. So its definitely a case-by-case basis.

Unfortunately, cats hide their pain as best they can, so as not to appear weak, so you have to look for subtle signs and add that with what you know from the vet about the medical state.

I'm so sorry you have to part, but I feel that I will be very proud and happy if I can provide my darling pets such a long and full life as you have.
post #12 of 38
I think if you are wanting her to stay at home then you can talk to your vet about having it done at home. Many vets will come to your home to euthanize - or sent a vet tech out either on a down time at the clinic or after hours when it's non emergency. My vet's office does it as well as the vet I used to work for. I would call and talk to your vet - not the receptionist. Explain that you've come to the decision you think it's best for your beloved kitty but you don't want to pack her up and haul her into the vet's office. They do it more than you think - and if they are not willing, they may tell you of a vet that does.

I personally think euthanasia is something kind we can do for them that we are not able to do for our ailing loved humans. Think on it and I wish you luck in your choice. Better to let her go peacefully than in an emergency situation in my opinion.
post #13 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by star2000dancer View Post

1st, I'd call a vet who's homeopathic or natural and consult with them

2nd I will never let a vet decide what to do with my pet again.

3rd If it's not howling & showing terrible pain, it is not in that much pain.

4th Pet it & tell it how much you love it as often as possible.

5th I do not want anyone else choosing my own death. When it's time, I'll know.

6th In the last 10 years I've had 7 cats put down by vets. 4 young & healthy, but had a blockage or an infection. Now that I've done so much research, I ache for them. I could have helped them, but didn't realize it then.

7th Who knows better when it's time to pass? You or your animal? If they're in horrible pain, they have a horrible yowl. You can see them trying to sleep, but they keep getting up & moving. I give them 4 days to self heal. If I do not see progress I go to 3 different vets. Chemical, Natural, & Holistic. Then, we talk, me and the beautiful animal I hold dear.

8th I will always try to let them pass natural from now on.

Blessings and love

 

Sorry to necro an old thread (hope there's no specific rule against that, I couldn't FIND one...), but this is a great response.

 

People are always pushing euthanasia, all of this this "Do the right thing when it's time" and "Spare the pet its suffering" and "Don't be selfish."   I go over and over it but seem to always come to the same conclusion.  The SELFISH thing is to accept that killing the pet is the normal, go-to thing to do.  You're doing it to make yourself feel better because YOU can't take its suffering.  Lingering in pain?  Well life is painful sometimes, and so is death.  People go out and expend massive amounts of energy and money capturing stray and feral cats, for the express purpose of euthanizing them.  For what?  For the animal's best interest?  Ha!  Because what, it's better to be killed by some stranger who thinks he knows better than to live on the street and maybe sometimes be cold or hungry?  We don't go around euthanizing the homeless for their own good, do we?  rolleyes02.gif

 

Animals are much more in tune with themselves than we are, and frequently (if not always) know when it's time to go.  In the wild they crawl off to die alone.  At home they stop eating and wait it out.  So it doesn't make sense that it's just obvious to most of our society that we're doing it a favor by killing it.  Virtually our only job, our ONLY one, as pet owners is to NOT murder our pets.  That's it.  So why are we so eager to do it the minute our pets get sick?

 

I suppose it's one thing if you're one of those people who says, "If I'm ever in a coma or a vegetable or something, pull the plug!"  I mean... at least you're not a hypocrite.  But I myself am someone who does NOT want the plug pulled.  And if I'm in pain, I'd rather linger in pain and have my mind, my thoughts, my life which may very likely be my only one, than have some jerk come and kill me because he thinks he's doing me a favor.  So who am I to make that choice for my pet?  Especially when they always seem to make the choice themselves.

 

I had a ferret with insulinoma, and toward the end he had seizures.  I agonized over putting him to sleep but my boyfriend, who is against euthanasia in virtually all circumstances, said, "You don't know what he's going through.  Maybe he's in pain, okay.  But maybe he's having a dream where he's in a magical ferrety wonderland, frolicking through a field in the sunshine.  And then some jerk comes along and kills him."

 

How can you argue with that?

 

Well he died that night, my ferret, and when my second ferret got the same disease I decided I couldn't do the whole seizure-thing again and I put him to sleep at the end.  I thought, at least this way he won't die alone in his cage while I'm out getting groceries or something.

 

But because he was dehydrated, his veins were small.  The vet said she didn't want to have to poke and poke him with a needle over and over again and would therefore have to take him to another room to be euthanized, with gas or something, and for some reason I couldn't come, because it was vet techs only back there.  So in the end he died away from me, with strangers.  And in the end I felt that defeated the whole purpose and I'd made a huge mistake.  I'm still not sure if it was the right choice.

 

Well anyway, I'm not saying that euthanasia is always evil.  I may even make the choice to do it again, if a pet of mine seems to be in real pain and I'm weak as a result.  (I'm currently dealing with a terribly cancer-riddled cat right now, actually, and this question is always on my mind.)  But I am, though, thinking that we as a culture are way over-eager when it comes to doing it.  People are constantly having their non-terminal pets put to sleep for trivial reasons.  I read people online who had pets killed because they couldn't be potty trained.  (What kind of  vet even went along with that?  They should both be shot!)  And there are all these "Last meal" videos on YouTube, where people give their dogs great big plates of burgers and steaks and fries and stuff for their last meal before taking them to be killed.  Um... what is WRONG with that pet that you're killing it, when it still has such a big appetite?  Call me crazy but it looks to me like the owners are jumping the gun because they can't deal with the idea of its future pain and have to kill it while it's in its prime.

 

Anyway, this thread was a good read and I'm glad everyone here isn't all automatically, "OMG GO KILL THE CAT RITE NAO!"  That's what it was like on some Yahoo answers I read.  >.<

post #14 of 38

Dear Josie,

 

I'm so glad my post was of some value to you.  Your post was excellent.  I hope we helped a lot of cat owners.

 

Blessings, Star :)

post #15 of 38
Ok, in my adult life ive never had to make this decision but as a child I had to go through it with pets because it was my mums choice. Even then I remember not feeling right about it..sort of uneasy! I do believe you should try let the pet go when its their time. Obviously if an animal is hit by a car and is in pain with no hope etc then Im all for it. I believe in pain relief when due and euthanasia only in some cases like (correct me if Im wrong) fip where the lungs fill with fluid and they drown etc. Old age is something I personally think Id leave BUT in saying that, Ive never had to deal with it. Most of my cats are young but I have 2 that are 15 and 1 got bit by a brown snake early this year and everyone said to let him die and dont pay out the money to get him fixed..it was not even an option to me. Life is a gift and he might have another 5 or 10 years left.
So I agree with the above comments..listen to your cat and decide then. You will know what the best choice is because your cat will yell you.
I really do feel for you and Im so so sorry you are going through this! Xxxxx:alright:
post #16 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by JosieQ View Post

~~ And there are all these "Last meal" videos on YouTube, where people give their dogs great big plates of burgers and steaks and fries and stuff for their last meal before taking them to be killed. Um... what is WRONG with that pet that you're killing it, when it still has such a big appetite? Call me crazy but it looks to me like the owners are jumping the gun because they can't deal with the idea of its future pain and have to kill it while it's in its prime.

Ah, well, wait a moment.

 

I doubt folks who go to lengths to witness their experience with a "Last Meal" offering do so as cavalierly as you suggest.

It's possible I've missed these Youtube videos of "pets in their prime" truly being documented on the cusp of being put down for trivial reasons, also being so lovingly treated to such an undulgence.

 

I myself just two weeks ago gave my terminally ill dog a last Porterhouse steak dinner, along with endless chunks of Liverwurst during that "last car ride" to his euthanasia.

He was so ill that he could no longer stand up on his own, frequently urinated and defecated while falling because he didn't have the strength to stand up,

and panted constantly in confusion and likely pain as well.

His lymphocyte, red blood cells and BUN were off the charts, and endless other factors - he was 14 and his eyes and demeanor, tuned into us, informed us he was struggling and sinking without hope.

 

He likely could have "lived", as in- his heart would continue to beat and his brain would nominally function... for a few more days, weeks ...

 

but after months of shoulder-to-the-grindstone effort, heart, mind and soul, in pursuing returning him to health, or even just managing his symptoms,

there was the reasonable conclusion that his only "natural" path was suffering to the inevitable end.

 

So that last rich treat of food was a mercy to us and to him; it completely distracted him, and to a minor degree us, from what was to come.

He hated the vet's office and with both of us in the car he knew there was only 1 of 2 places he'd be headed, and always got depressed over the idea of where he was going. Those spoons of Liverwurst to get there SAVED MY SOUL from the torment of what we felt obligated to do for him.

 

I understand the inclination to think: If an animal has an appetite, it is NOT time.  But I've come, through experience, to not believe that this is a hard and fast rule.

 

We folks who love as deeply as we do our pets never euthanize for convenience.  Of that we can be assured.

post #17 of 38
If a pet is going to be pts I agree..feed them what ever naughties they crave...whats the harm? And the case above is where id agree to pts. I remember my childhood dog Misha was a fluffy shepard and she got to that point, covered in wee etc etc and mum chose that option but then another dog was looking to go that way and my mum jumped the gun and had her pts, to early I think...in fear of what she saw with Mish.
It is really case by case. Xxx
post #18 of 38

The thing is with current vet treatment we can keep a beloved pet going long after what would've been their 'natural' time to die.  It becomes a question of when we are continuing their life long past the point where they no longer truly have a life but are just existing.

post #19 of 38

Hi Cass,

 

I had that problem a few times and put down a 5yr. old beautiful female, and a10yr. old best friend.  I regret it and cry to this day when I think about it.  Both never took their eyes off mine, altho' I was wailing.  Tears are welling up right now.

 

I talked about it to a Alternative Animal Doctor.  She said she cured animals from that.  A diuretic helps.  If it continues I would try to reach her. 

 

I also have a girlfriend who helps people grieve when they lose a pet.  She is wonderful. 

she runs it be donation alone and she was ill the last time I talked to her.  But she's willing to help everybody.

 

PM me for more info.

 

There are some wonderful animal people around.

 

Blessings and Love, Star^ :)

post #20 of 38

Oh Honey.

 

You went way over what I could have ever stood.  Have no regrets.  That poor baby needed to pass.  You might like to contact Empty Leash.  It's a girl who helps us grieve for our lost pets.

 

Blessings and Love,

 

Star^  ;)

post #21 of 38

Good to know.  Thank you.  Blessings, Star*

post #22 of 38

There should be no doubt in your mind your pet wants to go.  That's all.

post #23 of 38

I agree.  Doctor Kevorkian was a hero.  And you sound like one too.,   Blessings, Star*

post #24 of 38

Hugz, Luv* 

post #25 of 38

Kelskey, she was 19 years old.  You were a wonderful Mom.  Hugz sweetie.  Star*

post #26 of 38
"And if I'm in pain, I'd rather linger in pain and have my mind"

I have a problem with this sentence... First, you've obviously never experienced what chronic physical pain feels like. If you did, you wouldn't want to live with the pain for too long without some type of intervention (drugs). Second, people aren't euthanized because it's illegal. Also they're given tons of drugs to reduce the pain. Animals are given low doses of pain drugs because we can't gauge their pain to properly give them the correct amount. Third, animals hide their pain. They don't always wail and scream if they're in pain. They hide, retreat, become lethargic, act totally different or listless. It is the humane thing to do to put down an animal who won't get back the quality of life it used to have.
post #27 of 38
I wanted to share my experience of trying to decide whether to have my Maggie put to sleep. She was my baby, a yellow lab I raised from 6 weeks old and loved like my own daughter. She was my best friend and we did everything together. She went to college with me and came to work with me at the bar some days. Everyone knew her and loved her. Maggie was a humanoid, the smartest dog I have ever met and full of personality. She meant everything to me and I know I made it through my darkest days because of her. This may sound melodramatic, but it is the truth: there were times when I had nothing to live for and the only thing that kept me here was worrying about who would take care of my Maggie if I was gone. I couldn't leave her. Things eventually got better and my life stabilized, and she was still there for me, as always.

When she was 13, she started to show signs of hip dysplasia. By the time she was 14, her back legs stopped working. For a short while, she scooted, dragging her back legs straight out behind her. She behaved like nothing was wrong and it didn't bother her. She still played frisbee, I just had to throw the disc directly to her. She was happy, healthy and acting like herself. We went to the vet, of course, and they said as long as I was willing to take care of her, what we were doing was fine. She was cheerful and she was not in any obvious pain. On cold, rainy days, she would get a prescription pain killer because she would get a little stiff. Otherwise, her hips didn't bother her an she was the same dog she always was, she just couldn't walk. Eventually, as her hip joints became more misshapen, her back legs turned forwards, so she was sitting flat on her bum with her legs in front of her. She couldn't scoot anymore. I couldn't afford a doggie wheelchair, so I carried her. She enjoyed doing the 'wheelbarrow,' when I picked up her back end and she walked on her front legs. We took a walk like this everyday so she could sniff and check out the perimeter of her yard.

We continued like this for a year. Then she started to go downhill and I refused to see it. Hindsight is 20/20. Because of her posture, she could not void her bladder properly and constantly got bladder infections. She was on antibiotics the whole last year of her life. I had to help her pee by placing gentle pressure on her abdomen. My husband started talking about her quality of life at this point, but I denied that the bladder issues were a big deal. She was still thrilled to see me when I got home from work and loved to snuggle. I still carried her outside to lay in the grass and watch the bugs. Then she couldn't sit up anymore without help. I won't go into more details because now I am crying, but it had been about a year and a half since she stopped being able to walk. Once she couldn't sit up, she started to die, but it took about 8 months.

By the time we got to the end, her life was crap. I didn't, or wouldn't, see it at the time. She laid in bed and that was her life. She ate because I fed her and she snuggled because I snuggled her, but she was not living a true life. Now I can see that I was being selfish and refusing to let her go- for me, not for her. I loved her so much, I couldn't stand to think of life without her. Not having the courage to have her put to sleep and die with dignity is one of the biggest mistakes of my life (and I have made some whoppers). She was just a shell of her former self, but her heart kept beating, so she was alive. I really feel like I dishonored my baby with my selfishness. She gave me love on top of love and would have done anything for me, no questions asked, but I didn't do right by her. I regret it so much. She passed away almost 5 years ago and she is still the first thing I think of every morning when I wake up. And then my second thought is crushing guilt about the decision I refused to make in time. It shouldn't be this way.

One night, I came home from work and she was unresponsive. Her body had started to slowly shut down and she most likely had a stroke. She was comatose, in that twilight area between life and death. My sister in law is a mobile vet, so we called her to come over to put her to sleep. While we waited for her to arrive, I really looked at Maggie and reality hit me. She was so thin and frail. I looked at her wasted body and cried. She should have had a better end. I could clearly see all her ribs, her spine, and the contours of her skull. She gave me so much, she gave me everything she had and I let her linger and waste away for weeks, if not months. She must have been so miserable and depressed. There is no way she wasn't in pain, and she had been in pain for months at this point, I had been in complete denial and refused to see it. I held her and cried and apologized and told her I loved her while Krisi gave her the shot. Then she was gone.

If I could go back in time and redo one thing, it wouldn't be doing better in school or not dating the guy who introduced me to hard drugs or any of the other stupid, ruinous things I have done. The one thing I would change is having Maggie put to sleep when her life quality of life turned bad. She deserved better than to waste away on a bed for weeks and months until her body gave out. My selfish actions destroyed what should be beautiful memories of the best friend I will ever have. I am so sorry.

So, yes, I think it is inhumane to let a pet (or human) suffer when their life can end peacefully and with dignity. Selfishly keeping my dog alive for me and not doing what was best for her is the most unintentionally cruel thing I have ever done and I am ashamed.

Healthy Maggie, a few months before her legs stopped working:


In the scooting phase:


About 8 months before she died. This is the last photo of her, I didn't take any more. After I saw this photo, I cropped most of her body out and continued with my denial. She lost about half of her body weight in this photo over the next 8 months.
post #28 of 38

I have chronic, knock down, drag out pain.  And Doctors have never treated it correctly.  I could go into stories about my pets, but they're too many and too long.  Vets are even worse than Doctors as far as diagnosing and treating pain. 

 

I'm an athlete and use to hiding pain. , they never think I'm even in pain.  I learned "Send me in coach" no matter what.  Imagine what they do or don't do for animals.  Watch the animal, they'll tell you.

 

I liked a great page on Huffington Post about cats.  I put it on face book.  You might like it.

 

Blessings, Star*

post #29 of 38

I'm crying now.  I'm so sorry.  I wish I could have done what you did.  I keep thinking of Terry Shiavo..she wanted to live because she was surrounded by love.  Your baby went when she was ready,  a lucky baby to have that kind of love until then end.  Have no regrets.  Nothing can replace that kind of love.

 

Love is a natural pain killer.

 

Blessings, love and hugs..

 

Star*

post #30 of 38
@ happybird, I am crying my eyes out reading this but this is a case where I agree in a pet being pts. But just know,even if she were in pain she had the best life with your love! Xxx

@ star, what did your friend cure? Was that to me?
Im in Australia smile.gif
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