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when and how to know, the ultimate decision

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
One of our three much loved cats Aleta , 14 is sick. We had blood work done and the indications are kidney failure She has lost a lot of weight and was dehydrated. My wife has been giving her subcutaneous water injections per the vet's instructions (day 7 of 10 days). Also we are carefully feeding her as she tends to throwup. She is getting better, but....
It just seems that she is sometimes in pain, lethargic, and when she is sitting, she just appears weak as she wavers a little.
We will go back to the vet for a re-check. The question is when to know when to do the humane thing. How does this type of illness progress?
My wife and I don't want her to be in pain.
I have already dug a hole in the backyard and will build a little casket, to be ready (as it is winter here and the ground can be hard), but we a just distraught. She is such a sweet cat.
post #2 of 22
We lost our Simba 2 years ago at this same time of year in the same way.

You will know in your heart and when you look in your kitty's eyes if he/she is in pain and whether it's time.

It hurts a lot, but sometimes we have to make tough decisions.

Thoughts and prayers for you, your wife and dear beloved kitty.
post #3 of 22
You will know when the time is right. You and your wife know the kitty better than anyone else. We lost our beloved Max in July last year. He was 12. He had always been a dignified cat, and we wanted him to die dignified.
It was painful decision and we still love him and miss him terribly. I send hugs and prayers to you, your wife, and your precious kitty baby.
post #4 of 22
I once let a cat go on longer than I should have, for selfish reasons, and I never will again. As others say, the cat will let you know if you keep aware and look carefully for signs as to her enjoyment of life and being with you.
post #5 of 22
You will know when it is time. Discuss it with your vet also.
post #6 of 22
I'm very sorry to hear what you and your kitty are going through.
When my cat went into renal failure last year, I was also afraid of the possibility that I might let her go too long. Not out of selfish reasons, but because I was terrified I just wouldn't be able to recognize when my cat had had enough.
After we discussed her situation, my vet reassured me she knew I was acting in her best interests; therefore, I wouldn't miss the signs and I would know when it was time to let her go. As painful as it was, the day came when I knew...
There wasn't a big incident that made the decision for me (and I didn't want it to get to that either). There just weren’t as many good days...and although she could have gone on, when I looked into her eyes, I just felt it with everything in me that she was getting tired...so in our situation, it was time to say goodbye...
By asking the questions you have, it's quite apparent you want to do what's best for her. You will know when the time is right to say goodbye, but speak to your vet for guidance and reassurance.

Here is an excellent site about CRF which is filled with wonderful information.


Also, your vet can provide you with medication which can decrease nausea and vomiting which is most likely a result of excess stomach acid.
My thoughts are with you and your kitty.
post #7 of 22
I am so sad for you and I hope this is as pain free as possible. Enjoy the rest of your precious time together.
post #8 of 22
I am so sorry you have to go through this.

You will only know if it is time if you look at her and see how SHE is feeling. I look at it that as a human I wouldn't want to be starving, throwing up, basically having my body shut down until the end.

We have had clients who have let their cats waste away to a meager 2lbs-3lbs, the cat is weak and looks a mess, it's horrible to see. They claim the cat "understands" and know they "are helping". But I don't see how a cat can understand why a human is keeping it alive, while it is in all this pain.

When you do decide to let her go, spoil her all day, give her all the things she wasn't allowed to have before, take her outside maybe if she's an indoor only cat, then take her and let her rest in peace.

It is truley your decision, but I like to sit back and put myself in the animal's place. It hurts letting go, but if it is best for the animal to finally get a good night's sleep, and to abe able to shed that old, tired body I would do it in a heart beat.
post #9 of 22
When it's time

Making the Decision

you look outside yourself and you look at the quality of life your cat has now. You remember that they try very hard to hide pain because they are so low on the food chain. You look into their eyes, your read their soul and you do the right thing for them, whatever that might be. You don't keep them around only because you can't deal with their leaving and that is the hardest place to get to.

Best of Luck-
post #10 of 22
Originally Posted by Plebayo
You will only know if it is time if you look at her and see how SHE is feeling. I look at it that as a human I wouldn't want to be starving, throwing up, basically having my body shut down until the end.
We have had clients who have let their cats waste away to a meager 2lbs-3lbs, the cat is weak and looks a mess, it's horrible to see.
We have also had clients leave their cats until they reach that point, and it's painful to see them in so much discomfort. Just like my vet said, I knew before she ever got to that point, and did the right thing.
You have to be very in tune with your cat and how she's feeling....and if you're being selfless, you will do what's right for them.

Originally Posted by Plebayo
It is truley your decision, but I like to sit back and put myself in the animal's place.
That's the best way of putting it.
post #11 of 22
I can't tell you when to let go but I can tell you that I am so sorry you and your wife are having to go through this. I look at my pets and wonder what I will do when the time comes. You love them so much that it's hard to let them go. I like to think that I will know when it's time and that I'll have the strength to let go in peace. My thoughts are with you.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone for your thoughts.
We have been spoiling her and she is perking up at least for now.
We'll have a meeting with the vet next week to see what is next.
I am checking out the links everyone provided.
post #13 of 22
Just last month I lost my precious Jasmine in this same way. Looking back, (and reading from the link Kiaira gave) I'm afraid I didn't see the signs, and may have let her go too long. She was never officially diagnosed with CRF, but I'm afraid I failed her in not getting such a diagnosis.
Just the month prior she had been hospitalized for not eating, and my vet had mentioned liver lipidosis (?), but she had recovered from that. Just before she died she had begun to get picky again about her eating, and the day she died I was planning to try and get her into the vet, only she beat me to it in the overnight/early morning hours, which I never expected. I'm afraid I loved her so much, that I hurt her in the end.
post #14 of 22
I don't have anything to add....just wanted to say that I am thinking of you and know how painful a decision it is to say goodbye to a loved one. I just lost my precious baby 2 weeks ago. The vet recommended that we put him down but we tried to save him and he passed on his own less than 10 hrs. later. He made the decision for us. The pain is still so raw. I wish you peace in this difficult time.
post #15 of 22
One thing I learned the hard way is that sometimes cats purr when they are in pain. My Mattie was pts over a year ago, and near the end she was purring more often, so I thought she must still be having good moments. Later I learned about purring when in pain.

How often does your kitty come to you for affection? Is she able to get around the house comfortably? Is there a chance that she will recover, according to the vet?

By consulting the vet, and listening to your heart, you will know. I hope she recovers and has more time to spend with you.
post #16 of 22
Am so sorry you are having to face this - it is something I have had to do more times than I would like, and it is never easy. I would always prefer to let my cats go a day early than a day late, and have done so. I would quiz your vet (or do research online, whichever is easiest for you), and know what are bad signs. There are signs that our cats give us, such as acting out of character. And weighing up good times and bad times is a good measure. My heart does go out to you.
post #17 of 22
It is so terrible to have to make this decision, as I was also doing just four weeks ago.

My heart goes out to you and your wife. Just know that Aleta knows she is very loved, and whenever the time comes, she will be healthy again and will be waiting for you and watching over you from the Rainbow Bridge.
post #18 of 22
My heart goes out to you & your wife, and to Aleta. We lost our beautiful Belle just two months ago, also to CRF. I did the force-feedings & the IVs, so I know what you're dealing with. Like Kiaira said in her post, there was one final incident that let me know I couldn't put Belle thru any more. The decision was made one evening, and I had every intention of calling the vet the following morning, but I didn't think Belle would last that long. So I held her in my arms for 3 solid hours, and she passed away there. No matter when you make the decision, you will second-guess yourself. Even when you know it's the best/right thing to do, you'll want to hold on to her for just a little longer because she might feel better tomorrow. I'm sorry I don't have better words of wisdom for you. I just know this is one of the hardest decisions you'll ever make. I'll be thinking of you & your wife, and your precious Aleta.
post #19 of 22
I just wanted to add my sympathy to you and your wife at this time. Our cats rely on us to take care of them in good times and bad and to help them cross over when this life becomes too difficult. I struggled with that decision when my Molly had cancer and selfishly waited too long because I couldn't bear to say good-bye. I'll never do that again!
post #20 of 22
I just wanted to say that you and your wife have my sympathies for everything you are currently going through and will go through. I went through this recently with Mittens - she was my first cat and I had no idea how I would know when it was time to let her go. In the end, Mittens made it easy for me - I woke up one day and she just gave me this look and I knew that she didn't want to be here anymore. Trust me, she will let you know
post #21 of 22
You have my sympathies. It's a very difficult decision - one I've had to make too and never easy. When our old cat George was ill, after several weeks of 'treatment' at the vet we used then (not any more - we have a better vet now), one day I looked into George's eyes and there was something different. It is a look I've seen in both animals and humans when they're about to pass to the other side. It's almost as if the light of life goes out. The eyes lose their sparkle and go dull with a faraway look, it's as if they're seeing but not seeing. It is something you'll recognise straight away - and never forget. It's something that's extremely difficult to describe. This is why when my 16 year old cat Lucy was very ill just before Christmas and nearly died, I knew I had to give her every chance - there was still fire in her eyes. Fortunately, with good vet care and lots of TLC Lucy made a full recovery.

My heart goes out to you at this very difficult time.
post #22 of 22
Oh, this is a hard time for you! Like so many others here, we had to put down our Bugsey Malone just before Christmas. We tried really hard to make life comfortable for him-but he had heart disease and it was obvious he was miserable. But we just didn't have the heart to haul him down to the clinic and put him through additional stress there. Our vet offered a great alternative-she came to us and administered the medicine while he was purring out on the sun deck. It meant a lot to us that he went to kitty heaven as a happy, content cat. If that is something you vet does then I really encourage you to take that offer.

My thoughts are with you. Spoil your cat rotten!
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