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When to make the tough decision? Any advice appreciated...

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hello,



I have a kitty, Fizz, who is 14 years old. She has been diabetic for 4.5 years. We never put her on insulin because we did with her sister, and she had seizures and almost died twice from insulin shock.. that's another story.. Anyways she has 2 impacted molars. I talked to the vet and pretty much the long and short of it is they probably won't be able to do much. I love my cat deeply she has been there for a good chunk of my life. I am having trouble making the final decision. I know that she is starting to deteriorate quickly. I keep hoping that one day I would wake up and she passed away but she is hanging on. Some days are better than others. I mean she isn't suffering that we can tell. But I know that she is acting differently, very similar to Snoops before. When we took Snoops in to put her down, she looked at me as if to say thank you and didn't even fuss when the vet started to give her the injection. Just in case anyone thinks this isn't hard for me, I am having trouble seeing the keyboard through the tears.



I really wish that she would die on her own, I don't like thinking about what if she still was enjoying life and I cut it short on her. She still loves snuggles and likes to sit on my shoulder. How long should I wait? Should I wait until she can't move? Can't eat? Can't go to the bathroom by herself? My husband tells me it is up to me when we should take her in, but I am really having a hard time. When her and Snoops were babies, I used to wake up with one kitten on each eyelid sucking on it. Fizz helped pick out my husband. He was the only person she ever sat on other than me. That was the first time she had even met him. Mind you when he moved in she peed on his coat...



Sorry.. I am not used to being able to talk to people who feel similar about their cats like me. Most people don't hesitate too put an animal down, or give it up. I always said that if my kids were allergic to my cats I would give the kids away.



Thanks for listening.



Shannon

mom to 5 children, 10 cats, 3 dogs, 8 sheep, 7 goats and 20 chickens.
post #2 of 26
It is a very difficult decision to make - I had to make the same decision in the past year. It really does all come down to quality of life. Have you discussed this with your vet? They should be able to give you a lot of insight on whether or not your cat is suffering.
post #3 of 26
This made me cry too. If she is not in pain, I think I would wait until she could not eat or go to the bathroom. If she is in pain I would do it sooner. If she still purrs and snuggles she is having some quality time.
post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathylou
If she still purrs and snuggles she is having some quality time.
That isn't necessarily true. Cat's also purr when they are distressed or in pain. Molly would always purr at the vets.
post #5 of 26
Cats are so low on the food chain that they are quite stoic when in pain. I had one feral cat that had chewed his leg off (he got caught in a trap) He came home, he had almost bled out and was dragging, but he was purring. They purr when they are scared, in pain, even right before they die as well as when they are content.

If you are keeping her at home and hoping she will die on you in her sleep, then there must be something there that you are looking for? Some sort of spirtual connection or journey perhaps that the two of you can share? What does your vet say, does he recommend putting the cat down with dignity and peace, or leaving her home?
post #6 of 26
I'm sorry I'm a little confused. Why do you want to put the cat to sleep? Because of her teeth or her diabetes?? Have you gotten a second opinion on if anything can be done with her teeth and diabetes?? Is there something else wrong with her that you would need to put her to sleep for?? I'm sorry, maybe I read it all wrong, I just don't exactly understand why this is an option for two treatable problems?
post #7 of 26
Anyways. I always take my vets advice. If they believe they are suffering I believe it is the only humane thing to do is put them to sleep, also if the vet believes they truely have no quality of life left either, I also believe you should do the humane thing and put them to sleep before they are in pain.
post #8 of 26
Sweetheart...I am so sorry that you and your beloved kitty friend have reached this point in your journey together. To date, the hardest decisions Ive ever had to make in my life were deciding when the time came to help 3 of my pet "kids" across the Rainbow Bridge. And to date, those were the best decisions Ive ever made about anything in my life. I will step out on a limb here and say that since you have put to computer screen the thoughts going through your head and heart regarding your cat for the rest of us cat lovers to ponder with you, deep inside of yourself...you already know what the answer is. Check with your vet to see what they think from a medical standpoint, but trust in yourself and your instincts because you know your girl better than anyone else in the world.
post #9 of 26
It is a tough heart breaking decision. However I feel that the person that can acknowledge their beloved pet's life, love and devotion and help them cross when they know in their heart it is time, is a true loving caring owner/parent. It takes courage, but most of all love. My heart and prayers are with you all.

Sue Ann
post #10 of 26
In my opinion, you have already done too much. You must think about the QUALITY OF LIFE of the cat vs how you feel. Not easy to do. It is time to let her go.
post #11 of 26
I had to make that decision in July for my cat. He had always been a very dignified cat and I wanted him to die that way. My vet told me there were some other things he could try, but no guarantee. I had left him at the dr. office all weekend and his bloodwork was getting worse all the time. On Monday, I knew I loved him enough to let him go. I didn't want to see him reduced to pitiful and hurting.
I think you will know in your heart when the time is right. Has his diabetes progressed to the stage that nothing else can be done to help him. Have you checked to see if the problem with the teeth is treatable? I would consider both those questions and go from there.
post #12 of 26
How is she doing all things aside? Is she eating well? I would say, if she's eating well, as in not starving herself and losing weight every day, then I think it's safe to say as of right now she's still feeling alright. But if she's losing weight, having a hard time moving, or can't make it to the little box, it's time to feed her all of the things she was never allowed to have, do something she enjoys, and then say goodbye.

Honestly, it comes down to quality of life. Alot of people want their pets to "die at home". Well what if you aren't home when she dies? Or what if she dies while you're asleep. She's alone. You can probably find a house call vet who can do an in home euthanasia, and she can fall asleep surrounded by the people who love her, in her own home. It would be great if she could die at home, but if she got really bad, it could take weeks, to the point she could be lying somewhere starving herself and just wasting away, and that isn't fair. It's a really difficult decision. But you have to keep in mind, if you couldn't eat, or you couldn't walk, or you couldn't make it to the bathroom, how you would feel.

Personally, I think you will know when the time is right, at least I hope you will judging by how she is feeling. You know her quality of life isn't going to be as great as it used to when she was younger, even if she magically got better. So if you decide one day that it is time, DO NOT feel guilty. She's served her purpose on this earth, to be your best friend, it isn't possible for her to have a better life because she had a great happy life with you.
post #13 of 26
i had the same decision to face august 20th but i saw life in her eyes she still looked so happy. when i was at the vets she looked at me with big eyes very alive. i couldn't let her go

but plebayo ur thread makes me feel so bad .

i just agree with everyone else "quality of life"
she will tel u how if she want to cross the bridge now or later for now i would spoil her as much as u can!!!
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
She is still doing well as far as eating and going to the bathroom. She misses the litter box sometimes (she overshoots). For the most part she is still active. It's just that with winter coming I can tell she is starting to change. I don't know if that makes sense. She has good days and bad days. With her sister I remember at the end that all she did was eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom. She could still do all those things but that was all she did. She didn't want to be petted or cuddled. Fizz still skitters across the floor after the microscopic cootie that only she can see. She was pretending she was in the Indy 500 last night.

She was just having a difficult day that day when I posted, I don't want to rush off and put her down just because of one bad day. I think that sometimes a person enjoys the comfort from other people who have gone through this, it is not an easy decision.



Her hind legs aren't as good as they could be, due to some circulation problems from the diabetes. She had lost lots of weight when she first got the disease. That was one of the first indicators, as well as the litres of water she would drink and the big pees in the litter box. She has done way better than Snoops did with insulin. I have discussed options with the vets. The decision about when to put her down is up to me.



Shannon
post #15 of 26
((((Shannon))) I am crying, just reading this.
You will know when and what to do. I am praying for you. You have given her a wonderful life.
Bobbie
post #16 of 26
Shannon - I am so sorry that you are going thru this terrible decision process. There are rarely clear cut answers and everyone that loves their babies agonizes over the decision.

I've lost a number of cats over the years and there are a number of cues that I look for. One of the most common things to look at is their appetite. When they get terminally ill, there is usually little if any interest in food. If she has a healthy appetite, she just isn't ready to go.

I look at their mobility. I lot of older cats get joint pain and may not be as active as previously, but if they really don't make any effort to get around (stay in the same spot all day long with perhaps a break for food/water and litter box), chances are that they are in pain. Sometimes they quit using the litter box because it's too much work for them to get there.

I look at their reaction to me, and specifically for changes in how they interact with me and/or other members of the household. When the cat that slept on your pillow their whole lives decides that they don't want to be there anymore, they are telling you something.

Put all the pieces together and look at the general quality of life. Are their bad times far exceeding their good times. Is the only good time of the day those 5 minutes when they get the strength to crawl into your lap for a pet and the rest is miserable? Or have they taken to crawling under something and spending the entire day away from everything? As hard as it is to look at it objectively, think about when the times were good and compare it honestly to the current moment. Close your emotions up for a few minutes and be brutally frank with yourself. I had a vet ask me once if I was keeping a cat alive for myself or for the cat. It stopped me cold when I searched my soul for the answer.

But also don't think that because she's had a condition for a while and is less active that is time to say goodbye. I had a dog with cancer given 30 days to live that stuck around for 18 months and I'm glad I didn't jump the gun when handed the diagnosis. All of my cats and dogs told me in their own way when it was their time, it's just so hard to ignore your emotions and listen to them.

In the mean time, love them for all they are worth - that love helps them thru the change they are going thru.
post #17 of 26
Let go. Wishing for her to die on her own might mean she lingers, suffering, for weeks or more. Please have pity on this poor baby and put her down if she's in pain.
post #18 of 26
so sorry you are having to face this. It isn't a clear cut thing though, as my vet told me last year, you are the only person who knows the cat, and knows what quality of life she has. If she has more good times than bad, or more good days than bad, then that is a good thing, and you would be as well to have a bit longer with her. I used to think that I would my cats to go in their sleep, but after reading other people's experiences, I no longer want that. By making that decision, you know that you will be with the cat until the end, and that they wont be left to suffer. I let my cat go sooner rather than later in Jan as I had been told she could go downhill at any moment, and with working full time, I didn't want to risk putting her through suffering all day, and as it turned out, she only had 2 good points her last day, she did a lot of things out of character. Is there any antibiotics she could be put on for her teeth? The other prob with leaving teeth is they can cause kidney probs, and that might not be good if she has diabetes.
post #19 of 26
Quality of life is a phrase that gets a lot of air time these days. I don't agree with most people over the definition or the sentiments behind it. I am pro-life all the way. I don't believe in putting an animal or a human out of their misery just because they are dying.

God gave life to each of us and only he knows the number of those days, not even the angels in heaven can tell them. Doctors can make recommendations til the cows come home. But as someone mentioned in an earlier post, but that doesn't make them accurate.

That isn't to say that the animal (or person) should be left to suffer. One of the great things about modern medicine is that they can ease the pain and suffering associatd with death to a large extent. And being at peace and in comfortable, familiar surroundings (like home with loved ones) can make their last minutes, hours, or days more satisfying for all parties when possible.

Death is a natural part of life, but many people are afraid of dying for one reason or another and they will take any alternative offered to avoid it. Search your soul and examine your situation before you make any decisions; especially life and death ones.

May God give you peace and comfort with your situation.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aries
Quality of life is a phrase that gets a lot of air time these days. I don't agree with most people over the definition or the sentiments behind it. I am pro-life all the way. I don't believe in putting an animal or a human out of their misery just because they are dying.

God gave life to each of us and only he knows the number of those days, not even the angels in heaven can tell them. Doctors can make recommendations til the cows come home. But as someone mentioned in an earlier post, but that doesn't make them accurate.

That isn't to say that the animal (or person) should be left to suffer. One of the great things about modern medicine is that they can ease the pain and suffering associatd with death to a large extent. And being at peace and in comfortable, familiar surroundings (like home with loved ones) can make their last minutes, hours, or days more satisfying for all parties when possible.

Death is a natural part of life, but many people are afraid of dying for one reason or another and they will take any alternative offered to avoid it. Search your soul and examine your situation before you make any decisions; especially life and death ones.

May God give you peace and comfort with your situation.
I think the difference between humans and animals is that humans can and will speak up if they are in pain. Animals cannot do that and as I've read here often will suffer great pain in silence as part of their instincts to not be vulnerable to predators.

I still have tears when I think about our dear Simba who suffered many days of pain because of my own ignorance of his situation and not wanting to let him go. I pray that he has forgiven me as he now romps over the bridge free of pain.
post #21 of 26
I agree that some will suffer in silence (some humans do this too). But I still feel that how we deal with death (our own or that of a loved one or those of complete strangers) helps to define who we are. The world in general is unplugged to the suffering and death that occurs every day; it is part of life.

To just give up hope, is the end of life. Hope gives us strength and spirit and generates miracles. Please, don't laugh; miracles do happen. Sometimes just one more day is a miracle. Sometimes it is just one more snuggle or one more day snoozing in a sunny spot or the comfort of a friend being near when there are no words.

In the end, all each of can do is to pray, stand by our beliefs, give comfort and love, and empathize with those who are dying.
post #22 of 26
It honestly doesn't sound like Fizz needs to go, she sounds like she's an old lady who just gets a little stiff once in a while. My biggest concern would be my cat starving to death, or laying in pain for days waiting to die.

Regardless of how natural death is, I personally do not think it is fair to watch an animal waste away, starving waiting for its body to finally shut down. I don't think it's fair if your cat is having a respiratory problem to let them suffocate because it's "natural" and they are "at home".

I honestly wish you and Fizz many more happy days together. Give her lots of hugs and get well vibes from me
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plebayo
It honestly doesn't sound like Fizz needs to go, she sounds like she's an old lady who just gets a little stiff once in a while. My biggest concern would be my cat starving to death, or laying in pain for days waiting to die.

Regardless of how natural death is, I personally do not think it is fair to watch an animal waste away, starving waiting for its body to finally shut down. I don't think it's fair if your cat is having a respiratory problem to let them suffocate because it's "natural" and they are "at home".

I honestly wish you and Fizz many more happy days together. Give her lots of hugs and get well vibes from me
I agree with this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aries
Quality of life is a phrase that gets a lot of air time these days. I don't agree with most people over the definition or the sentiments behind it. I am pro-life all the way.
But I do somewhat agree with Aries. I lean more toward life - I think too many are ready to end their animal's lives too soon. Having said that, I would never want my pet to suffer or be in extreme pain.

Just be sure you've looked at all the options, talked to your vet at length, talked to your cat to see what they want, and be very sure of your decision. Good luck and I hope Fizz lives for a long time. You sound like a good cat mama.
post #24 of 26
Quote:
But I do somewhat agree with Aries. I lean more toward life - I think too many are ready to end their animal's lives too soon. Having said that, I would never want my pet to suffer or be in extreme pain.
I have to agree in that aspect. Like someone already mentioned, it's great she's at least treating her for her diabetes and not euthanizing her, sometimes people would rather just end the animal's life instead of spend money and time doing insulin and what not. So I have to agree to an extent. But all too often do we get cats in being treated for renal failure, being force fed for weeks on end, that end up dying. And they end up dying in a vet clinic, alone, without the people they knew, without the smells that they knew. So the biggest aspect I come from is... if it was me, would I be happy.

Quote:
Good luck and I hope Fizz lives for a long time. You sound like a good cat mama.
Agreed 100%
post #25 of 26
Shannon, I feel for you and kitty. I had to put my Sammy down 6 years ago, and it was the hardest decision I ever had to make. With him, his appetite was not good, but by changing his food and fussing over him, he lived a year -- a good, energetic, happy year -- after his appetite waned. [he was FIV positive]

I hold with those who say that you'll know when the day comes, but it sounds like it's not here yet. Trust your love for her to tell you when it's time.

Your desire for her to die a natural death at home makes me think you might want to consider asking the vet to come to you. With Sammy, the vet came to our house and Sammy died on his Mommy's lap on his favorite couch, and Mommy had a loving supportive person on either side of her. For me, it was the thought not wanting his last experience to be the sights and sounds and smells of the vet's office. I had to call around to find someone, and the vet I found was wonderful - they even sent me a condolence card.

My thoughts are with you as you begin to struggle with this sad idea.
post #26 of 26
Well, if she can still do the indy 500 she is not ready to go!
I guilt trip myself thinking back on some decisions maybe I waited too long. I see some of us also do the guilt trip thing. It's very hard, and I think they understand we love them and are trying to do the best for them we can.
It sounds like she might be adjusting to the medication pretty well.
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