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Advice on Euthanasia

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I would like to hear people's thoughts on my cat's situation.

He is 19 years old, and although he has a healthy appetite, he has reached a point where he can't keep himself up anymore and I'm losing the battle too. He urinates on himself regularly, and never cleans himself. His fur has become matted and dirty, to the point where I can't get him clean anymore. His mobility is poor, although he can still walk around with difficulty - this is even on medication. All he does is eat and sleep, and on the rare occasions he gets up, he never wanders outside of a 15-20' radius of his bed. I think he's either losing his sight or becoming senile, because he seems to lose track of where he is at times.

And while all of this is difficult for me to bear, I can't bring myself to euthanize him unless I know he's suffering. He's in no pain that I can tell. But is his degraded quality of life enough to justify putting him down? I'm torn.

post #2 of 23
Kevin has he even been to the vet to be looked at? About the decision, it is an extremely personal one. The problem with cats is they are stoic and will not show pain. So trying to figure out if the cat is in pain and looking at the cat to see is not a good measuring stick.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
He was last at the vet in the spring. That was when I started giving him adaquon injections for his joint problems. They said he seemed physically healthy, but didn't have any other suggestions about his declining behavior.
post #4 of 23
Oh Kevin, I can only imagine how hard this must be for you but MA's right they do hide pain well and if he can't be bothered to clean himself?!.

Please take him back to the vet because spring was a few months back, and what ever happens you know where all here to help you
post #5 of 23
I agree you should discuss this with your vet. We weren't sure if Molly was in pain or not at the end. The vet could never really pinpoint what was wrong and did many tests. We held out hope for test results that would provide is with good news, but all the tests were inconclusive. At the time our vet told us that if we decided it was time to put her to sleep that she wouldn't question our decision. The bit of advice she gave us was to not make a rush decision and to think it over. She wanted both my husband and I to be in agreement and didn't want us to question ourselves after the fact. I called the vet the next morning to tell her we decided to give it a few more days to see if there was any improvement. By that afternoon, our Molly let us know it was time for her to go. She got up and fell over - she was no longer able to walk on her own. We brought her in that afternoon and had her put to sleep. The vet did tell us that her condition had definitely worsened since the day before and that she probably would not have made it much longer.

This is a very personal decision. Every cat is different. Please bring your cat to the vet and discuss this with them.
post #6 of 23
This is such a hard, painful decision, but one that really should be done in conjunction with your vet, as they may be able to give him soem medication that would help him. I lost a cat to liver probs in Jan - the vet told me mid Dec that as she hadnt responded to treatment it was my decision how long she had, as I was the one who knew if she had enough quality of life, but told me a few things that were bad signs. New Years Eve she was back at the vets, but it was a different vet - this one said that she wouldn't euthanise with how she was that day, but she would feel like she had a constant hangover and could deteriorate at any time - gave her sub-q fluids and told me to take her back the week after. I felt extremely guilty that I had prolonged things for me, not for her, got very drunk, and had the worse hangover of my life - you can imagine how quickly I made the decision for my cat!! The day before she was acting out of character, but my neighbour came round on the 2nd time that day she had acted normal (6pm ish) and I told her my decision and she told me I was wrong as my cat seemed fine. I know that I could have given her a few more days, but I wanted to let her go before her condition got too bad as I didnt want her to start deteriorating while I was at work and she would suffer for hours. Hope you can see the point in there, I do have a habit of rambling.
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the advice.

I will definitely talk to my vet. I doubt they can do much, because I believe my cat's hygiene and lethargia problems are a result of his joints. We're already treating that according to the vet's instructions, and although there's been noticeable improvement, he hasn't resumed anything close to a 'normal' life.

But maybe there's something else going on that they can find. One can hope!
post #8 of 23
Don't forget Kevin?, were always here for you Lots of good luck to both of you and keep us updated.
post #9 of 23
Best of luck with your dear cat. I hope the vet finds something that will help. If not, maybe he will put your mind at ease about euthanasia .

Is he an only cat? I know when my Mattie was ill, her sister Festus would clean her. If you have another cat who will help, it is both a comfort to the ill kitty, and helps keep them cleaner. Best of luck with this old beloved cat. I do hope he has more time!
post #10 of 23
Is this a "quality of life " question or an indication that your cat may be missing some vital nutrients. What's the first plus in all of this? "He has a healthy appetite". That's saying alot. Several members here have much younger cats and are pretty well at their wit's end trying to entice their cat to eat. What's the downside? Well, he's dirty and matted, and urinates on himself, and sleeps far too much. A cat who sleeps excessively will decline in grooming habits and could very well wake up and wonder where he was. That's happened to some people. What is there to interest him, what reason is there to go further from his bed than 15 feet? If he's stiff and sore, he may not want to. Urinating on himself may be a symptom of just how sore and stiff he feels, so excessive sleeping becomes the solution. Is there another solution to this? Well, assist with grooming and provide more interest to his life and watch to see if this will , in turn, turn things around. This has happened to elderly people who waste away because they have nothing to do but stare at the walls. Interest them in something, anything , and a new vitality returns. As for his stiffness and soreness there is a product called Arthritis Relief by Natra Bio(Ferndale, WA). Excellent results. In two hours the stiffness abates.This product is for " stiffness and difficult movement, swelling and redness, pain in the bones and joints," with " no stomach upset, fast gentle relief" . It's homeopathically- based and available at a health food store. Perhaps, as the stiffness and pain are relieved,and your cat is groomed so that it's not a monumental task for him to take over once his interest in his surroundings returns, plus there's more interest added to his life, you may just see a big change.
You may find the following of interest:

Jan. 8 to Aug 2003 - The testimony about Sambo our cat - (born July 1985) - We can hardly believe the recovery Sambo is making. As of last July he had lost 10 pounds (he had been 16 #) could hardly get up and down the stairs, slept a lot and dumped around. Walked like he was 100 yrs. old and we were sure we were going to lose him. He wasn't eating very much either. He slowly was getting worse and worse. He was so skinny and his fur got matted and terrible and then he started pulling his fur out - completely on both sides of his body. It was an area 2" long and full length of his body and on both sides. We never took him to the vet because we thought he was just getting old and we would just have to accept the fact that we won't have him very much longer.
We had just heard about Transfer Factor (basic) and we thought if it helps humans, maybe it will help our kitty. We thought maybe Transfer Factor would at least make him feel better and we started giving him 1-capsule of Transfer Factor on Jan. 8, 2003 (which was the first day Wayne came to our home to have a meeting for some of our friends to introduce them to Transfer Factor - which was new to us too!).

Right away we could tell that Sambo was getting better and so on Jan. 15, 2003 we increased the dose to 2 capsules a day. His speedy recovery was hard to believe. He had regained 1/2 lb. by Jan. 18th and his fur was growing back on both sides and the rest of his fur was looking much better too. It had become very matted and ugly. Energy? He is bouncing up and down the stairs, up and down from the bathroom sink ( he loves to drink the running water but hadn't been able to make the jump for months) and hardly lays down for naps. Previously, he had been sleeping a lot. Once again he is following Neil everywhere as he had done for so many years, he was like our 'young' Sambo again and we knew he was going to be fine!!

It is now Oct 2003 and he is still doing very, very good. Has a good appetite, has energy, doesn't sleep very much in the daytime as we would expect an old cat to do and has a lovely new fur coat. At this point, we decided to try the Feline formula instead of the TF human formula.

Update Dec. 19, 2003. We had to stop giving our cat the Feline Complete formula because Sambo started going down the hill and losing weight. The Feline Formula did not agree with him. After we resumed giving him Transfer Factor Plus (human formula) Sambo started doing very well again We are going to get to enjoy our pet longer which pleases us very, very much.. Neil and Patty Trammell

My Siamese cat has severe deterioration in her back legs. I had taken her to three veterinarians but they couldn't help her. It got to the point that she couldn't walk. After taking 3 capsules of Transfer Factorâ„¢ a day, she rarely falls down at all, and she is so much healthier and happier. Donna Hendricks

Some stores carry TFP and it's available over the Internet. Non-toxic even in megadoses. Give with food.
post #11 of 23
to you at this time Kevin. Its a hard situation to be in, but I have no doubt that you will make the right decision. We will all be here for you during this time
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
I spoke to my vet today. She's very compassionate, and has helped us through the illness and death of two cats prior to this. And she's always been willing to give us a ray of hope if there is one to give.

This time, I was very surprised that she readily broached the subject of euthanasia. After describing my cat's condition, including how the adaquon has not been enough to improve his litter box and grooming habits, she gently asked if I had considered that this might be the end stage of his life. Once she asked, I admitted that I had been thinking about it and she recommended a couple of local vets who do housecalls. If I go through with this, I want it to be at home.

In response to June, who suggested I try some homeopathic remedies: I already give my cat Cosequin and Adaquon both, and feel that his mobility has improved quite a bit as a result. Before, he could barely stand. Now he can walk around, abeit with some difficulty. But this improvement has not translated into a reasonable quality of life for him. So, do I continue trying supplements and medicines while my cat continues to decline? In some ways, I think that would be easier, because I would have hope. But what if he is suffering the whole time, and I am just prolonging the inevitable? What if hope at this point is false hope? These are the ultimate questions I need to answer.

At this moment, I am leaning toward letting him go. It makes me very sad, but he has lived 19 years and survived many prior health problems that could/should have killed him. Perhaps enough is enough.
post #13 of 23
My heart goes out to you Kevin. I am glad you have discussed this with your vet. It is the hardest decision one has to make during a beloved pet's life.

Originally Posted by keigwin

These are the ultimate questions I need to answer.
Please remember no matter what advice you receive from anyone here, it is your decision. We are not there with you to evaluate your cat's condition.

No matter what the final outcome, my thoughts are with you.
post #14 of 23
What a sad situation to be in. It is very hard working out if they have enough quality of life, maybe you need to look at how many good days he has compared to bad, or how many good points of each day he has compared to bad. To get him to 19 though is amazing. Good luck in your decision, and we are all here for you.
post #15 of 23
Oh Kevin, from what you've said i think you know?!, but always remember you don't have to go through this alone
post #16 of 23
Originally Posted by keigwin
But what if he is suffering the whole time, and I am just prolonging the inevitable......At this moment, I am leaning toward letting him go. .... Perhaps enough is enough.

I would ask, for you or for him? You and your vet may have reached the end of your possibilities but has he reached the end of his? You ask "What if he is suffering?" What if he isn't? What if he's doing pretty darn well for a senior cat? What if you are stopped by your own limitations. Have you tried acupuncture( ? Donna Kelleher, DVM holsitic vet in Seattle, WA writes of a dog who had the worst case of arthritis she'd even seen as well as degenerative mylopathy. The dog(German Shepherd) was completely down in the back legs and had to be carried all over. What do you think the end of that dog should have been? Do you think they reached the end of what was humanly possible? The dog recovered. How long do you think it took? Days, weeks, months? It took five treatments and the dog was ....barely able to stand? No , the dog was running around. If this dog had been seen by numerous other vets what would his prognosis have been? Has your cat been seen by a holistic vet( Would you want to know what was available holistically? There is a homeopathic combination called Arthritis Relief manufactured by Natra Bio in Ferndale WA. It 's originally for people but widely used for pets. It says it is safe and will relieve " stiffness and difficult movement, swellng and redness, pain in the bones and joints" with " no stomach upset" and does just that. Relief in as little as two hours, mobility increased in as little as two hours. Why? Because it stimulates the natural healing process. Please consider that before you consider euthanasia. It would be a shame since your cat survived many and varied diseases to euthanize him over this.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by June
What if he's doing pretty darn well for a senior cat?
I can tell you right now, he's not doing "pretty darn well" for any kind of creature, senior or otherwise.

I appreciate your suggestions, and I respect your opinion. After all, people's opinions are what I want here. I do have to wonder, though, if these alternatives are so effective, why don't any of the three doctors at my vet's office know about them? Or if they know about them, why wouldn't they recommend them?

Originally Posted by June
What if you are stopped by your own limitations.
Perhaps this is true. We all have limitations. As it is, I test his BG daily, give him insulin shots twice a day, give him Cosequin supplements and Adequon intramuscular injections, sponge bathe him every day, give him a full bath every week or two, constantly comb out his matted fur, and clean up his urine and feces when he misses the litter box (which is 90% of the time). On top of this, I have to deal emotionally with seeing him relegated to living his life in one spot, never interacting with the rest of the family, and undoubtedly lonely. So maybe you're right. Maybe this is all I can take.
post #18 of 23
Kevin you follow your heart in what you think needs to be done. It must be so difficult for you, but stay with us and keep us informed on how things are going
post #19 of 23
I think when you get to this point in your life, you pretty much know the answer. The reason for the stall is that it is an incredible emotional and wrenching decision to make. You want someone to give you a miracle in a can. But sadly, in some cases they do not exist. I always tell people who ask to listen to their cat, not their heart. Get down to the cat's level, look closely into the eyes, do you see glimmer? Do you see light? Do you see hope? Or is the cat just tired? Tired of the fight, tired of the pain, tired of it all? Go by that measuring stick and as I have had vets come here and put down cats who were also so tired and told me "enough is enough." It is a gentle journey, with someone on this side assisting, and someone on the other side guiding the way-

Hugs to you for whatever you decide. It is clear you have great love for this fortunate cat. Others should be so lucky-
post #20 of 23
I'm very sorry to hear about you situation, if the vet can give you no answers then only you know what's best for your beloved. I will tell that sometimes a cat will hold on because he knows the parents aren't ready to say goodbye. My beautiful Petey did just that...after months of laying on the back porch...I told him it was okay and I loved him...that he night he went to his favorite tree and went to sleep forever. I'm glad you've got the opportunity to be at home with him. I wish my vet had given me that option with our other cats,but I did stay with them and hold them which was better than any other option out there. Lots of hugs and wishes out to you and your cat. My prayers are with you!
post #21 of 23
I really feel for you. When I had to make this decision for my cat Toby it was the most difficult decision I had ever made and I was tormented even though he had cancer and it was clear he was going to die.

The only thing I can tell you is that you will make the right decision - your love will guide you.

post #22 of 23
Originally Posted by keigwin

Perhaps this is true. We all have limitations. As it is, I test his BG daily, give him insulin shots twice a day, give him Cosequin supplements and Adequon intramuscular injections, sponge bathe him every day, give him a full bath every week or two, constantly comb out his matted fur, and clean up his urine and feces when he misses the litter box (which is 90% of the time). On top of this, I have to deal emotionally with seeing him relegated to living his life in one spot, never interacting with the rest of the family, and undoubtedly lonely. So maybe you're right. Maybe this is all I can take.
You are an amazing person to do all this for your cat!!! Only you know your kitty best and can decide when it is time. Whatever decision you make will be the right one because it will be made out of love.
post #23 of 23
Every one of us must face that time
to let go
and free the spirit from the flesh
we love so much and fear
Pain and love go hand in hand
and memories abound

freedom to cross
freedom to grieve
freedom to share the pain
free to love
when we meet again.
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