When is the right time to help a pet pass on?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by painterZ, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. painterZ

    painterZ New Member

    I can't remember if I've posted about my cat here or not but the poor thing is 16years old, has hyperthyroidism which makes her so thin that her spine and hip bones show through her skin, her heart is bad, and now her eyesight is going. They hyperthyroidism makes her vomit and have diarrhea more days than not. I can hear her stomach growl like she's hungry, she'll eat and then vomit. I've taken her to the vet and talked to the vet twice to see if I'm just keeping her miserable by selfishly wanting her around. The vet says that her heart is so bad that she'll probably die from that. I wish she WOULD have signs of caridac distress (shortness of breath, cough, weakness) but she doesn't. I'm really thinking that a life of vomiting and diarrhea must just be miserable. She's so sweet. She's always been affectionate, and followed me around like a pup...nosey too. She still is all of that, but seems more "clingy" than affectionate...kind of like when your child is sick and won't let you put them down. Do you think this is a stage where it would be humane to put her to sleep or should I wait? The vet isn't really helping me with this decision at all and everytime I think its time to let her go she curls up on my lap, purrs and looks at me with huge sunken eyes. I have no idea what she is trying to tell me. Help.


  2. colorfulcolorado

    colorfulcolorado New Member

    Pure vitamin C? That helped my brothers cat with kitty leukemia. The vet swore up and down that that wasn't the same cat he had seen-but it was. It took a few weeks and she back to her old self then about 1 year later she died of natural causes. Just thought I'd throw that out there. Take care!
  3. Gingareeree

    Gingareeree New Member

    Last year my hubbie and I had to put our beloved kitty of 15 years down. It was one of the hardest things to do,however I think we waited too long. Prior post is right ,your kitty is giving you all the signs. It's hard but you will be doing the right thing. God Bless, Jeanne
  4. 4everkid

    4everkid New Member

    This sounds exactly what my 16-year-old Skippy was going through. Skin & bones, ravenously hungry, but couldn't keep any food down. It got to where he was eating constantly, but starving to death. And it only got worse from there.

    I has another 16-year-old, Sally who was just starting to get thin and boney. She was not as advanced as Skippy. She was still happy and energetic and able to digest food, but her throat muscles became weak and she had trouble swallowing. (A cortisone shot fixed that.) She seemed like she had a year or two left in her, but she vanished and never returned.

    Skippy on the other hand, became weak and unable to bathe himself or make it to the litter box. His bones were so brittle you could feel them crackle when you picked him up. His last few days, he became swollen and limp and couldn't walk anymore.

    We decided months before, it was time to put him to sleep, but none of us had the heart to do it. I feel like we waited too long, because he was really suffering. When we finally set up an appointment, he died before his appointment day arrived.

    It is not my intention to hijack your thread with my cat problems, but to illustrate what comes next. There comes a point when the poor thing is miserable and has lost all dignity. Sally had not reached that point, but Skippy had. I regret prolonging his suffering because I was not able to part with him. He still loved attention, and purred till his last breath. I mistook the purring as happiness and contentment. I have since learned that they also purr when injured, sick, in pain or dying.

    I know exactly what you are going through. When they look up at you, all boney and pathetic and purring with gusto, it is hard to tell if they are saying, "I love you" or "help me." It sounds like if she is still nosey and following you around though, she is still in fair shape.

    The progression of Skippy's deterioration:
    Thin & boney
    Started vomiting his food
    Passed the "pack leader torch" to his younger companion
    Quit going outside completely
    vomiting got worse (this is when I should have let him go.)
    became weak and brittle - very inactive
    Stopped bathing and began pooping everywhere
    became swollen
    too weak to stand

    Getting thin and boney is just a part of getting old. All elderly cats eventually get this way. Skip was once a 25 lb cat, until about 2 years before he died. He was still happy and in pretty good shape for a while. But once the vomiting started, he deteriorated quickly, (about 9 months). He probably weighed about 5 - 7 lbs when he died.

    If you choose to hold off, you might try getting some of the special prescription cat food from the vet that is more easily digestible, to help her keep her food down. We tried that, (Hills Prescription Diet) and it helped. But it only came in one flavor and he got sick of it.

    If your cat can't keep ANY food down, it might be time. We fed Skip about 5-6 cans a day, but yet, he was starving. I wish I had not let him suffer so long now.

    I am sorry for what you are going though. I know how hard it is. When you have lived with a cat for 16 years, it is devastating to face the fact that you will lose them. Even harder to make the decision to put them out of their misery. But if the time comes that you feel you must put her to sleep, remember you are doing it FOR HER, to end her suffering. Keeping Skippy alive, was FOR ME, to postpone MY suffering.

    If I were you, I would try the prescription diet food and see if that helps. If she still can't keep her food down, it may be time to let her go before she really begins to suffer.

    Again, I am so sorry for what you are going through.
  5. budmickl

    budmickl New Member

    I think you know the answer to this question.

    Once you have done everything possible - monetarily and medically - and the pet doesn't have any quality to his/her existence, I think it is time to stop the pets' suffering.

    I put my Mick down after nursing him for over a year with blindness, deafness and loss of control of all bodily functions. I had him to the vets several times during that year. I'd ask the vet if I should do it. He would say, Mick is living in his 'assisted living' days. The last time I asked, he said Mick was now in pain. I couldn't stand the thought of his pain any longer. My selfishness was not a good enough reason to prolong his suffering.

    Giving up the one who has been there for you every day in every mood is impossible to imagine. But sometimes, we have to do it.

    Good luck and my thoughts are with you whatever you decide.


    BILLCAMO New Member

    this decision several times in my life.

    It's never easy.

    Blessings ,

  7. painterZ

    painterZ New Member

    for your support, suggestions and stories. I think you all are right, that I know what to do, it's just hard to admit it. The first week of September I'm going away for a few days to the beach. I don't want to leave my other cat all alone (my dog will be with my parents) so as long as my sick kitty doesn't have any drastic changes I'd like to have her around for a few weeks more. Is that wrong too? If she does get worse I'll immediately take her to the vet. In the meantime I will try the food change and the extra vit C...ColorfulColorado...do you know what the correct dose would be? I don't have high hopes for either working but its worth a try for the next two weeks.

    4ever...my cat Chausettes (socks in French) has a lot of the same symptoms. I knew things were getting bad when my younger cat began to dominate Chausettes' territory. The torch has definately been passed. She does still follow me around but its more because she's clinging to me than just following me because she likes my company. It's definately different...I'm not sure how to explain it.

    I hope my decision is the right one. I hope waiting two more weeks isn't cruel. My other cat is just so used to me, my dog, and Chausettes being around that I think she'd freak by suddenly being all alone.

    Thanks again for your kind words and support...

  8. ksp56

    ksp56 Member

    What a difficult decision to make, but with the many other's, I do believe your precious kitty is telling you what is best for her.

    I try to think if this is the way I would want to live, in my end stage of life. Of course, I wouldn't. There wouldn't be any quality of life for me, and I don't think your kittie has any at this time.

    Putting off your decision for two weeks means two more weeks of pain for an animal you love. She will only become more sick as the days pass. Please think of this. What is best for her, at this time.

    I've had beloved pets put to sleep. It is heart wrenching. It always has comforted me, knowing they are better off, even if my heart is breaking.

    I do think you know what needs to be done, and very soon. You will have much caring, love and compassion here. While I know it doesn't change your heart, you do know you are not alone..

    Gentle Hugs,

  9. Gingareeree

    Gingareeree New Member

    I have to agree with the prior posts. Speaking from my own experience,having been through this twice, it's never easy. We love our little pets and want to keep them around as long as we can. I hope this will help you.... I heard a guy on the radio speak to this very subject. He said, our pets only know that they are in pain and nothing beyond that. We tend to humanize our pets in so much as we project our feelings on to them. Meaning we imagine how diffiult it would be for us to leave our loved ones behind. It's not like that for our pets. If you are leaving for few weeks please put your kitty to rest before you go. Sorry this is so long,but Ihope it helps witrh your decision,Jeanne.
  10. painterZ

    painterZ New Member

    that I've decided to help Chausettes recieve some peace. I have an appointment scheduled for 10:15a tomorrow. Today and tonight we will have a celebration of her life with lots of petting, stories of fun times together, thank you's for being such a wonderful kitty, and of course cat nip which she still enjoys. I want to thank you all for your thoughtful words and kind support. I still have some doubts but my heart tells me otherwords. Thank you again.