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Time to put our beloved cat down??? PLEASE I need your opinions and help!

Oct 28, 2009 - 18 comments

So, as some of you know, I am almost 26 weeks pregnant and we have been very fortunate to have been able to sell our house and move into a new one this weekend.  Here's the situation with our cat...(we have two of them, we lost the third one to cancer last year at this time)

He is around 17-19 years old (we don't know the exact age as he was found).  For the past year or so, he has been unable, or unwilling, to use the litter box for urinating. We have been using puppy training pads and putting them down where he seems to go the most often and that helps.  For the past 6 months or so, he has been pooping outside the box as well.  Every day he is throwing up a number of times, and typically, right after he throws up, he has to poop. (For the record, I don't think nor have I ever thought that his lack of use of the litter box was a behavior issue.)  For a variety of reasons, in the past, we have decided not to seek medical care to treat his issues. My main belief being is that he was so old that it didn't seem right to do any costly and emotionally harming procedures (He has serious emotional issues and taking him in the car is enough to cause him to pee and poop on himself!).  Also, he has had blood, at times, in both his pee and his poop.  He also has a lump on his neck that has moved, but not really grown in size. However, for the last few weeks, he has been scratching at it and his jawline incessantly and now, seems to have a balance problem and will fall over while he's trying to scratch. He's always been an incredibly skinny cat, but he is still eating and seeking affection.  

I have an emotional bond with this cat (My husband has it with the other one, but we love them both) and I think that I am too close to see what's for the best...

Taking him to the new house would be 1) VERY emotionally traumatic for him and 2) his lifestyle would have to change SIGNIFICANTLY (he'd have to be sectioned off and have an area that he could be in, but wouldn't be able to be just walking around with us like he does now)...we just can't afford to have to replace the new carpets if/when he would pee and poop on them.  My husband believes that it is the right time to put him down, as his health hasn't suffered so much that it has affected his quality of life. But that if we wait, we could be putting him at risk of being in serious pain or suffering in the future. I have only had one experience with putting a loved pet down and it was the cat that we lost to cancer. I knew in my heart that it was the right thing to do, but we opted for a home visit from a QUACK of a doctor and the experience was so horrendous that I do not exaggerate when I say that I have been scarred for life from it!!!!

Please don't write telling me what we should have done in the past, as it is in the past and there's nothing that I can do to change that. But if you could tell me what you would do in this situation, I would appreciate it.  I know that it is a personal decision, but I am the kind of person that benefits from knowing what others would do. I am just so concerned that I am not going to live with myself for doing this.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I appreciate your feedback. We have an appointment scheduled for him for this evening and I am just really scared that I am not making the right decision.  

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Avatar universal
by pooket825, Oct 28, 2009
I am so so sorry about putting a beloved pet down, I know that it is very hard. when I was 18 (now 28) I had to put my beloved cat named conan down, we let him out one night and when he was wanting to come in he was scratching at the door and when he came in we noticed he was bleeding from his ear I believe and we had to put him down so I know how hard it is when you have had a cat for so long and you care and love this pet so much not to make him suffer
I am so sorry again

Avatar universal
by 1nana, Oct 28, 2009
I feel for you. It's a tough decision, but it sounds as if it is the RIGHT thing to do considering the circumstances.

BIG hugs to you, Lisa!

127124 tn?1326735435
by have 2 kids, Oct 28, 2009
If it were me I would euthanize him.   It sounds like many things are going on with him and he is so old.  At times like this you need to think of him and what would be best.  If you reread what you wrote you will know in your heart what the answer is.
Good luck in your decision.

203342 tn?1328737207
by April2, Oct 28, 2009
I'm so sorry you are going through this. I know how you feel. I just had to put my dog to sleep back in April. It's never an easy decision! You have to look at the quality of life he has. If the quality of life isn't very good anymore, if he's in pain or sick then I'd say it's time to let him go. It sounds like he's going downhill lately. We watched my dog go downhill but I couldn't make myself do it just yet. But when he stopped eating, drinking and just laying around, and had bloody diarrhea, I knew I couldn't let him suffer any longer. It was a very gentle passing. I was there with him and held him. It was hard but I'm glad I did it because I know he didn't suffer.
Part of being a pet owner is having to make this difficult decision eventually. I'm not looking forward to this with my other pets. Your cat is pretty old for a cat and it sounds like you gave him a wonderful life. It may now be time to let him cross the Rainbow Bridge.
I'll say a prayer for you and your kitty that you will be able to know what to do and have peace about it.
*Hugs and prayers*

458072 tn?1291415186
by peggy64, Oct 28, 2009
I am in the same situation with my dog. Not the moving part, but she is old, has congestive heart failure,and it is getting worse and worse. You want to, but at the same time, you just don't know what to do.

It is so hard.

223237 tn?1302188391
by meiram, Oct 28, 2009
I think that I would do it now, if I were in your shoes.  I am sorry that you had a terrible experience with the previous vet.  When we recently had to put our cat down, it was so nice to have someone come and do it at our home.  He was also traumatized by car rides and it just didn't seem right to have him so stressed out right before it happened.  Maybe you could research a little bit and find a more reputable vet.  Sorry you are going through this.  It is hard to lose a loved one, four footed and furry, they are still part of the family.  

874521 tn?1424116797
by opus88, Oct 28, 2009
It is one of the hardest decisions us pet lovers have to eventually make..but it does come down to the quality of life and the trauma of the future move, I know how hard this can be on an older kitty.
I sympathize with you both and I think for kitties sake I would do the same...don't feel guilty you have loved  and given this kitty a loving home for many years, you are agood mommy.
he will go to sleep gently in your arms this is our final goodbye and will be done very humanely by a GOOD vet clinic.
so sorry for your past horrors...should never have to be this way, my vet came to my home for my old boy(too traumatic for him to go to the clinic AGAIN) it was a very loving sweet experience for me here at home, he was calm and being cuddled like any normal day.
God bless you both

184674 tn?1360860493
by AHP84, Oct 28, 2009
I'm really sorry you're going through this. I know exactly how you feel; I've had so many pets over my lifetime and have had loving bonds with all the ones I've lost to either old age or tragedy. It's worse losing a pet to a traumatic tragedy or accident by far, but that doesn't mean having to let go of a longtime bond with a pet is any easier, either.
You have to go by what you know will be best for your pet rather than the loving bond you feel you can't let go of, and that's what makes it so hard. Separating reality from emotion.
If I were in your situation, I would have him put down. He's at a point right now where it is probably the best time, before traumatic life changes and stress get to him and make his health decline to the point of severe suffering and worse heartbreak and guilt for you.
I had a dog last year that was barely two years old...a border collie named Eric...and he was diagnosed with degenerative cerebellar damage in his brain, which affected his balance and fine motor coordination. His ultimate death would first mean paralysis, starvation, and dehydration because he wouldn't be able to do basic things like get up to potty or eat and drink. I made the decision to put him down when he got to the point that he couldn't walk two steps without falling over and hurting himself, and he felt left out when he'd see my other dog run around the yard. He'd just sit there, watching her and crying. He was miserable, but hadn't declined so badly that he had no quality of life left. But I didn't want him to reach that point, either. I knew I wouldn't be able to handle it emotionally, and I'd feel incredible guilt if I let him get to that point.
I hope for your situation that, whatever decision you make, you find peace within yourself about your decision and everything turns out well; may neither you or your beloved kitty suffer any pain or trauma during this time.

1035252 tn?1427227833
by Ashelen, Oct 28, 2009
it's natural to doubt your decision, but you're doing the right thing to let him go. I had to put my 12-year-old irish setter to sleep when he had Osteo sarcoma (bone cancer). I know it's a little different when the ailment is mostly old age as opposed to something as obvious as cancer, but the decision is still the same. you're doing what's best for your kitty, try not to doubt yourself, you need to keep your center balanced for your in-the-belly little one, and doubting what is obviously the right decision is only going to make your grief worse. I would do the same thing... and know that with a good vet, his pain will be over immediately and he can wait for you over the rainbow bridge. God bless, and prayers go with you through this tough time.

740516 tn?1360942486
by AppleBr, Oct 28, 2009
My cousin is facing similar situation with her old dog and I'm scared to death I would have to face this someday,even my baby being still quite young bad things can eventually happen...
Too much sad to keep writing.
You all are in my prayers, animal lovers are quite special people!

216278 tn?1308861082
by wanting4#1, Oct 28, 2009
Thank you very much for your comments. While they are hard to read, it has helped me tremendously to know that others would do the same thing and that I am not being completely selfish.  It's just in the past, when I would think about this and know that it would happen someday, I never wanted it to be 'part of the moving checklist'...that's part of what just makes me sick. But I also know that his quality of life would diminish in the new house and that makes me sick too.

Maybe I'm just not meant to be a pet-owner...this feels so's beyond words!

Thank you, again, though. Once again, the MH community has come through for me. Hugs to all of you for your compassion and kindness!!

784382 tn?1376931040
by turkee23, Oct 29, 2009
this is so sad... im a pet owner and yes this is one of the hardest things you must do...... as a pet owner we must do these things as we out live most of our sounds like the right thing..... im so sorry

my cat is about the same age, and i know that time is coming soon... he is getting SUPER skinny , but he eats like a pig, his eyes have turned gray from cataracts(sp?)...he still plays with my little cat so for now we just wait.....

dont worry all of your animals are at the rainbow bridge....

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....  

i hope this makes ALL of you animal lovers feel better!!...


216278 tn?1308861082
by wanting4#1, Oct 29, 2009
I just wanted to let you all know that Junior went very peacefully to join his sister in last night.  We gave him a sedative about an hour before we had to get in the car and that made the start of the journey much easier. I was able to hold him in a blanket snuggling with me the entire way to the vet (instead of listening to him cry in a carrier).  The nurse came in and gave us time, which I had really had the entire day, so I didn't want to drag it out too long. She took him to put the IV in (I didn't have to watch them doing it...another plus over the horrible experience with my sweet BuBu).  Then she brought him back and we held him and I cried so hard.  Harder than I even thought possible.

The doctor, a very nice and gentle man, came in and gave the first shot which made me sleep and then the second one and it was over.  My husband held him for a few minutes, too and we gave him to the doctor and came home.

There's no doubt that there will be many moments, many tears and heartache still to come, but it was peaceful for Junior and the trauma of a horrible experience didn't happen this time. I thank God for that, dearly and truly.

Thank you all, again, for your support, compassion and love.

996946 tn?1503249112
by LindaTX, Oct 29, 2009
I am so sorry for your loss.  When I took my "Big Tom" to the vet, I knew it would be the last time.  I drove with him lying beside me in the front seat, while an ABBA cd was playing in the backgrounf. It was surreal.  I drove slowly and took the long way because I didn't want to face the inevitable. He was conscious until the end. The vet walked out to the car to meet us. In those last few seconds he had qiuetly slipped away.  I felt like he had chosen to be with me until the end.  Big Tom was 17.

102073 tn?1309549099
by Keyan, Oct 29, 2009
I am so sorry for you loss. I think too it was the right decision. I just want to add, that you sure ARE a good pet owner, 17 years of a pet life says a lot about your care for them, I wish everyone would be as good as you!! I am a pet-owner and I call myself a Pet Lover, although my favorites are Dogs...I can't live without me and my human family pets are true members of our family....My mom loves her dog grandbabies!! and treats them like if they were real babies!!

Congrats on your new house!

506791 tn?1439842983
by Piparskeggr, Oct 30, 2009
Coming a little late to the thread...

However, 17 - 18 years IS a good run for a kitty.  Junior sounds like he was at the end of is journey in this life.

I've lost 8 cat friends over the course of my life thus far and my wife has lost 11. (4 of whom we shared our house with...)

Whether the death is natural, unexpected or planned as a final grace, it is never easy, and should never be.

I think you are just fine as a pet owner, companion. ,-)

Avatar universal
by 1centwiz, Oct 30, 2009
Tears are falling on my cheeks for you... I too will facing the situation soon I fear with my beloved Symba Princess Kitty...

Avatar universal
by ignatzkitkatz, Oct 31, 2009
Thank you for such an honest sharing of your struggles with deciding how to best love and care for Junior at this stage of his life. I know he was one fortunate feline to have been a part of your family. He knew the special love that you and your husband gave him right up to the end. What a fitting honor to Junior that you did what you knew in your heart was best for him, despite knowing how it would affect you emotionally. That's true, self-less, love. We're walking alongside our older cat as she finishes her journey here and I only hope I have the courage and wisdom you shared with us when her time comes. Bless your heart...

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