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To allow my cat to die of old age

(97 Posts)
slimyak Wed 03-Apr-13 15:19:10

Took 18 year old cat to vet yesterday. He's not fairing well, coat a bit shabby, losing some weight (for the first time in 17.5 years) not really himself, definitely a bit of cat altzhimers in there.
Wanted to get him checked out just to make sure that if he's fading out it's without pain or distress, and vet made me feel a bit shit cause I didn't want to fork out £450+ on tests for a number of things I wouldn't put him through the treatment for if they came back positive.
Am I a cow for thinking he's allowed to die of old age and doesn't need to spend the next few months constantly at the vets having injections and tablets pushed down his throat? I just don't see the benefit for him. He's had a great life and he can live what's left of it watching the world go by from the back of the sofa or maybe in the garden if he can be arsed.

I'm looking for palliative care rather than a cure - he's 18 for gods sake! But I still feel like a shit cause I haven't blown most of the mortgage on getting his stomach scanned and a list of blood tests as long as my arm.

sparkle12mar08 Wed 03-Apr-13 15:22:04

Your's is probably the most sensible pet post I've ever read on here! YAdefNBU, give him his dignity, ensure he's not in pain and take heart in the fact that the vet is, frankly, just after your money.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Wed 03-Apr-13 15:22:08

I have a cat and I wouldn't like to think it was in any pain. Perhaps if you have the tests done and you find out it's something sinister you could maybe put the cat out of it's potential misery sooner rather than later. I know it's a lot of money but I would rather pay and know the cat is comfortable.

squeakytoy Wed 03-Apr-13 15:22:16

YANBU at all. The vet is just out to make money would be my opinion on that.

If the cat were 8, maybe even 12 then yes, but at 18 let the old boy live peacefully without invasive procedures that will probably finish him off anyway.

mmmuffins Wed 03-Apr-13 15:23:29

YANBU. I would do the same.

tiggyhop Wed 03-Apr-13 15:23:40

I completely agree with your approach: as long as he is not in pain then I would be doing exactly as you have done. None quite the same but I was vilified by friends for refusing to spend 300 pounds at the vet's to confirm whether my cat had an in curable and untreatable disease - I took the view that if he did have the disease it would confirm itself and he didn't need invasive tests for that, but I was made to feel like I had scrimped on his care and it was horrible. Don't feel bad in my view you are doing the right thing

sparkle12mar08 Wed 03-Apr-13 15:23:55

And that is exactly what the vet is hoping you'll do, pay for the tests because of emotion. If you are sure he's not in pain (though I'm not sure how you tell, I don't have pets) then leave well alone. If pain or distress start presenting, then do the decent thing and have him pts, with love and dignity.

annabanana84 Wed 03-Apr-13 15:25:05

If he's in no pain, then I don't see you're doing anything wrong, just allow him to live out his senior years sleeping and eating as old cats should smile

However, if he is in pain and you can't afford the vets bills, you owe it to the old boy to end his life peacefully with euthanasia.

DeckSwabber Wed 03-Apr-13 15:25:59

YANBU. One of my cats had a bad stroke and was never going to recover but it cost me £300 before I could get him put down, which is what I should have done on day 1.

If he's happy enough then enjoy his last year or so in peace.

hiddenhome Wed 03-Apr-13 15:27:43

It's unrealistic to conduct tests on an elderly animal. Any tests and subsequent treatment would probably just distress him.

I have an elderly cat who is untreatable because of her vicious nature. I plan on just letting her potter along until she either dies or becomes distressed and has to be put to sleep.

HappyJoyful Wed 03-Apr-13 15:31:07

YANBU, I'm in a kind of similar situation with my cat - though appears we've a more understanding vet than your's. I was informed that if they were eating and happy 'in themselves' and not in pain, then to let him be.
Don't feel bullied by anyone.

LynetteScavo Wed 03-Apr-13 15:33:24

YANBU.

Expensive tests would probably lead to expensive procedures that an old cat shouldn't have to suffer.

TwoBoiledEggs Wed 03-Apr-13 15:35:26

You are definitely not being unreasonable. Just keep watching out for signs that your cat is increasingly unhappy/disorientated. I realised the day I had my lovely old cat PTS, that actually I left it a little too late. With altzeimers type symptoms, it comes on so gradually :-(

hiddenhome Wed 03-Apr-13 15:37:27

I always tell the vet what to do now after one refused to put my hamster to sleep (she had cancer). I ended up at the emergency vets one weekend when she was so bad she couldn't even walk sad God knows how much she suffered and I wish I'd been stronger and told him just to do it then.

You're the one who's paying and you know your pet best so you call the shots.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 03-Apr-13 15:38:30

YANBU.

We had a very elderly cat who was really traumatised by visits to the vet (sedation to be examined) and hated hated hated taking pills.

We had the choice to possibly prolong her life by subjecting her to blood tests and twice daily pills, or let her potter on until she was suffering and get her put down. We chose the second.

In my opinion medical interventions which cause the animal to suffer more than they cure are for the owners benefit more than the animals

An animal simply cannot understand that it is for their own good.

fackinell Wed 03-Apr-13 15:39:47

I love that you took your cat for an old age health check!! It always makes me smile to hear of responsible pet owners. I agree with the others, as long as he's happy and not in pain, leave him be. He's an elderly cat and doesn't need all that crap in his twilight years. Spoil him with all his favourite foods and hugs and leave him be. He is so lucky to have you and you him. grin

Broodymomma Wed 03-Apr-13 15:42:50

I went through this with my beloved cat in November. Granted he was only 13 but looking back it was obvious it was his time. In the emotion of it all I agreed to loads of tests and then re tests when I wish I had done the kinder thing 3 days before I actually did. I regret so much that his last few days were spent cooped up in a vet cage having all manners of injections and tests when we all knew he was not going to improve. Do what's right for him you will know when it's his time and then do the kind thing and pts. Let him live out his days at home where he is loved and happy but at the first signs of not eating make your decision. You will know when it's time. Not very mn I know but am sending you a virtual hug as its bloody awful to go through.

MusicalEndorphins Wed 03-Apr-13 15:42:56

YANBU. That vet isn't very reasonable or sensitive. I am sorry your cat is not himself, but it is quite normal at his age, and I would let him live his golden days in peace. I would take him back to be put to sleep if he seems to be in pain, or stops eating and drinking and using the litter box.

LadyVoldemort Wed 03-Apr-13 15:43:09

Yanbu, that's what I'm doing with my cat anyway.

As much as I love him I do try to keep a realistic perspective. He's a cat, if he gets very ill then I would rather have him put down than put him through distress and give him maybe a year or so more life, not to mention the vet bills! He's had a very happy life, I don't think he could ask for much more.

If you don't think he's in any pain or distress then YADNBU to not want to put him through any unnecessary procedures.

LadyVoldemort Wed 03-Apr-13 15:43:36

Ps sorry about your cat flowers [catnip]

I'm totally with hidden, I think there's a point at which it's cruel to an animal, because it can't understand what is going on, unlike a human who can understand their diagnosis and make a decision.

I hope he spends the rest of his days in peace.

Pollykitten Wed 03-Apr-13 15:47:45

yanbu

Snugglepiggy Wed 03-Apr-13 15:50:01

You are being sensible and kind and not a bit unreasonable IMO.I work in the pet care industry and see this far too often.Well meaning owners subjecting very elderly animals that aren't ill,just OLD to innumerable procedures and vets trips.Like human medicine veterinarian medicine had advanced apace.But just because we can do blood tests ,scans etc doesn't always mean it's appropriate.
You know your cat ,and I'm sure will know when the quality of life- not enjoying food ,getting distressed when handled or mobilising etc. - will tell you time's up.Our lovely old moggy lived to be 19 and had a great life.The last week or so she spent hours out in the garden under her favourite bush by the pond,it was a lovely warm spell, and the night before we took her to the vets to say goodbye she stayed out there all night as content as can be.No pills , no injections.Just a lovely and peaceful end to her days.

Tigglette Wed 03-Apr-13 15:50:36

Yanbu, we did the same with our much loved cat. When he was about 16 we found a small lump and took him to the vet who offered the option of doing tests and biopsies but also said there was little point in trying to treat older cats with cancer and that's what he would be testing for. The vet said he wasn't in pain and seemed fine in himself so we decided to keep him at home do regular "old cat" health checks and neither test for nor treat cancer.

He lived until he was 18, was happy in himself all of that time and was more bothered by a touch of arthritis than anything the lump might have been doing. He died at home with both DH and I with him and it was so the right decision for us and him. In contrat a colleague spend over 300 quid per month treating her dog for cancer for 18 months and both seem to have suffered incredibly during that time.

Bring him home to spend his last few weeks/months with love and dignity.

PipkinsPal Wed 03-Apr-13 15:52:16

I had an old cat of nearly 17 and I knew he wasn't right. He would sit with is head on the side, had lost weight, had awful diarrhoea at times and was getting frail. At that age I couldn't put him through tests and having to force tablets down his throat. It wouldn't be fair. He and I knew his time had come and we went to the vets and he passed away peacefully. He is now buried by the hedge he used to sit under. He was a lovely, gentle and obedient cat and I miss him. Hope you do the best for you and your puss. Hugs.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 03-Apr-13 16:00:38

Damned if we do damned if we don't. For every owner that complains when we do offer tests we would have another who complained if we don't offer it. We have know way of knowing what you would like to do until we tell you the options. Many of the old cat diseases we find on the blood tests can be easily treated and improve the cats quality of life.
We give you the options it is up to you whether you take them up or not. I agree there are some vets out there who struggle when people don't want to investigate to the 'nth' degree, but most are of us are of the if it doesn't change the treatment then we would advise against it group. Even palliative care require a small amount of investigation to deem the most appropriate treatment.
If you work out my hourly rate I earn less than the minimum wage and I'm a partner, so yes I'm rolling in money. The charges are less than comparable tests etc. in the human sector.

MusicalEndorphins Wed 03-Apr-13 16:01:58

slimyak
If you google cat palliative care, there are some suggestions.

This one offers practical solutions

Lovethesea Wed 03-Apr-13 16:07:03

YANBU. Quality of life is much more important for your cat than quantity. I took in a stray years ago, had a lovely year or so with the most affectionate boy ever and then found he was very ill and wouldn't recover. Was offered treatment but the vet agreed it wouldn't cure anything and might leave him in pain we couldn't see. He stopped eating and looked depressed. I had him PTS in my arms then sobbed and sobbed. But it was the right choice and I don't regret it.

WestieMamma Wed 03-Apr-13 16:09:21

Nope, YANBU.

When our cat got old we did the same. Kept an eye on him, loved him and when the vet said he was now in pain (the cat not the vet) we let him go.

My cat was 17yo (approx, she was a rescue) and she had to have a blood test after she refused to eat for a few days.
She did lose weight over her last couple of years. The vet said her test showed increased thyroid but she hadm't had treatment for it.

You have to weigh up the benefits of not treating and the invasiveness of the tests.
And just who is it really for ?The owner or the animal.

dopeysheep Wed 03-Apr-13 16:23:42

I don't think it was the offering of tests lonecat, but the OP said the vet made her feel 'a bit shit' for not taking them. Maybe it was the way it was done?

It is easy to think vets do sometimes take the piss a bit tho - my dog needed sn eye op and I was quoted £90. When I came to collect him they charged me £240 for 'aftercare'.

goingupinfumes Wed 03-Apr-13 16:38:01

YANBU we are leaving our oldest dog to get old, we have been offered all sorts of treatments operations etc - he has a cancer (low grade) tumour on his leg and it's wrapped around his tendons, so do we get it chopped out at great expense and stress to the poor boy with no guarantee he will be able to walk afterwards? or leave him happy walking playing, eating drinking having a lovely life with a lump on his leg!!

Hes not in pain and as soon as he is we would look at our options again, I think your are being lovely to your cat!

GrendelsMum Wed 03-Apr-13 16:41:05

Our excellent vet took the opposite approach - basically sat DH down, said 'look, your cat's elderly and has been in poor health for a while - yes, we could do various tests and treatments, but is that the best thing for her?' I really think it was the right thing.

LisaMed Wed 03-Apr-13 16:53:07

YANBU

But I would say that as I am doing the same with 19 year old evil cat.

The vet said that his view was that she could have six months of comfortable life just being left alone or perhaps eighteen months with all the test and procedures and be very unhappy. So far she has outlasted all estimates of life expectancy, and is still enjoying herself. She sleeps in patches of sun, kips on radiators, sheds on piles of clean washing, steals food from my father's plate and sits across my knitting. When she can no longer enjoy those then I will make the call.

Mind you, evil cat declared war on vets very early on and now when they visit (she is too frail to go to them) a neighbour holds her down with welding gloves and the vet usually gets a war wound. Last time the vet refused to trim her claws as she yowled, swore, hissed, spat and threatened all the way through the brief examination. He said he thought she would find it too traumatic. All the vets who have seen her have agreed that giving her tablets is just not possible. It would be cruel to put her through tests and treatments.

freddiefrog Wed 03-Apr-13 17:03:26

YANBU

We've just been through it with our 16 year old cat. We had her put to sleep 2 weeks ago in the end as she was struggling.

About a year ago cat went blind and the vet thought she may have a brain tumour and wanted to to an MRI scan. We refused as at that age we wouldn't have put her through the treatment. We agreed to some non-invasive tests to rule out anything easy and treatable, but drew the line at having her sedated

She had a happy year of mooching around and dozing on cushions, but the day she didn't get up to nick the dog's food was the day we knew she'd had enough.

The vet was horrible about it, but I feel we did the best thing for her and it sounds like you are too

I fully agree. My cat is 17 and seems OK but looking rather tatty and thin. She has insurance, so any tests or treatment would be covered but I feel the same as the OP, she is not in any distress or pain, and going to the vet is a complete nightmare for her (always been a very nervous cat), so i am just letting her potter on. If she seemed distressed or ill I would rethink of course.

ExcuseTypos Wed 03-Apr-13 17:16:32

YANBU. Find another vet!

Our vet said when our cat was in the same situation " I could carry out several tests which will cost you hundreds, but I don't they are necessary, your cat is very old and IMO it's not in her interests to carry out any further treatment"

Honestly ask around and find a vet who isn't going to try to fleece you.

ExcuseTypos Wed 03-Apr-13 17:16:57

Sorry about your lovely cat too.

slimyak Wed 03-Apr-13 17:17:13

Thanks to all for not making me feel like a heartless bitch. Lisa, I'm liking Evil cat. My old Goose has a simliar attitude and has often been refered to as an angry badger in the hands of someone who wants to do something unpleasent to him. In fact the temp taking yesterday brought on a fight, a growl and a lot of wriggling, so there's still life in the old mog yet.

Lonecat, please don't take it as a personal attack against Vets. We have always had good vet care for our animals and although rarely seeing the same Vet more than a couple of times (not sickley animals as apposed to quick staff turnover) this particular individual just made me feel really bad. It was the fact that my option of if he's not in pain lets leave him be at his grand old age, didn't seem to be an agreed option. He's not showing signs of pain and distress and I think that's a viable approach, I believe that other vets we have seen previously with our other 2 elderly cats would have agreed.

Right I'm off to open the tuna and plump a cushion.

kinkyfuckery Wed 03-Apr-13 17:20:10

If the vet doesn't suspect he is in any pain, I like your way.

Hopefully the old chap still has a happy wee while ahead of him yet.

Booboostoo Wed 03-Apr-13 17:25:36

I think a bit YABU because you don't have a diagnosis. For example hyperthyrodism can cause the symptoms you mention (not the dementia though) and is easily controlled with a tablet. My cat has been on Felimazole for 6 years and has no problems either with the tablets or the blood tests so it really depends. I think that without the diagnosis you are not making an informed decision. You are both guessing that it's an old age problem and guessing that the treatment is not worth it.

If your cat gets very stressed at the vets, or would be terribly upset by a blood test then YANBU, but otherwise get a diagnosis as it might be something quite simple.

Booboostoo Wed 03-Apr-13 17:26:49

Just to add, I don't think you are a heartless bitch in the least. You sound like a very caring and loving owner. We all do the best we can for our pets and these decisions at the end of life are never easy ones.

I made a similar decision for my dog, he had prostate problems, we believe it was cancer, he was 12 years old. The vet after trying various medications that didn't work wanted to sedate the dog and investigate, at 12 years of age and knowing what the potential diagnosis was, we decided not to put the dog through a procedure that at the end of the day would only give us a diagnosis. No matter what the outcome he was untreatable, the vet didn't agree with our decision, but respected it.

He lived a very pampered life with us for another month before we made the heartbreaking decision to have him PTS, he was becoming uncomfortable and distressed (he was doubly incontinent at this stage) the last thing we could give him was a dignified death.

You are not a bitch, you are doing the best thing for your pet and I am sure you will continue to do so.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Wed 03-Apr-13 17:48:20

Our 15 year old cat has just be diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, so far we are trying to control with diet, but she's having blood tests this week to see if that is working, and also to see if she's diabetic - hyperthyroidism apparently masks diabetes so when that gets treated it can show up. In the last 3 months we will have spend £250 in blood tests and consultations.

The money worries me TBH, but we will carry on as long as she is happy.

WhoWhatWhereWhen Wed 03-Apr-13 17:50:37

When my time is up, I hope I get treated with as much kindness and dignity as you are showing your cat.

YANBU.

LisaMed Wed 03-Apr-13 17:50:52

slimyak you sound like someone who really cares about the cat, not just your own feelings. Cats can be very good at getting the best out of life. Sometimes I think it is best to let them get on with it.

My vet's practice are lovely and they all know about evil cat. Last time she visited the surgery three of them together tried to get a urine sample and failed. She only takes the piss, she will never willingly part with it. She is almost certainly blind but apart from slowing her down a bit she doesn't seem too bothered. She always used to run into doors anyway. Now she slows down and avoids them. The vet said that the tests are likely to be extremely traumatic for her and given that she fights so much she would have to be sedated, which she may not survive. At 19 I just let her get on with it. If I thought the tests would help or that she was suffering I would act, of course. Until then, however, I just keep grumbling about thieving, shedding, stealing, scratching and foul smells.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Wed 03-Apr-13 17:51:30

BTW old,mtaty and losing wieght depsiteveating a lot were her symptoms

Areyoumadorisitme Wed 03-Apr-13 18:09:48

YANBU at all OP, you sound caring and sensible. We have two 12/13yo cats and when the time comes, hopefully not for a few years, would plan to do the same.

We were once offered an MRI of one of the cats heads to see if his problem was neurological at a cost of £1,000 - even the vet said it probably wasn't worth it! (It turned out not to be neurological and he is now absolutely fine.) When I had a private MRI on my knee it only cost £400 as a comparison....

JamieandtheMagicTorch Wed 03-Apr-13 18:10:43

OP what did the vert want to test for?

JamieandtheMagicTorch Wed 03-Apr-13 18:11:00

Vet , not vert

Gruntfuttocks Wed 03-Apr-13 18:18:45

I think the existence of pet insurance might encourage people to go for more tests and treatments than are sensible for their pets, just because they don't have to pay. My vet tried to persuade me to book an endoscopy and referral to a specialist centre for my (young) cat that had diarrhoea. I declined the lot and asked for some simple symptomatic treatment. A week of antibiotics and hey-presto, all better. In the mean time, the cat had passed his campylobacter infection on to me via a nasty bite, but that's another story.....

countrykitten Wed 03-Apr-13 18:22:21

I agree with Lonecat who I assume is a vet.

I have been through this quite a few times with elderly cats (the last two were 18 and 21!). There does come a point where it is best to say that palliative care is the only way forward but there are equally things which can be treated really easily. One of my cats became very ill with renal failure and looked to be at death's door but with simple medication every day he lived on for a few more happy years.

It's ultimately up to you but it would be a shame if your mog is getting ill through something not too serious and you could treat it. Surely you should at least get a blood test? That is the minimum that I would do in your place but I do think that you are right to think that very invasive tests and procedures may not be appropriate.

Just one thing I would say though is that having your cat put to sleep when you know it's time is the kindest thing we can do for a pet. Please don't leave a very sick animal to die 'naturally' in some mistaken belief that it is kinder. A friend of mine did this and she is still distraught through what she now sees as her failure to do the right thing for her poor cat who battled and fitted for a long time before eventually dying. sad

But hopefully this is a long way off for you and your mog. Best of luck.

Viviennemary Wed 03-Apr-13 18:29:30

My cat died not long ago aged 16. My vet was really sympathetic. Sorry you had such an experience. If your cat is eating and getting around OK and isn't in pain then just let things go on as they are. My cat wasn't. sad

wintertimeisfun Wed 03-Apr-13 18:38:08

i totally agree with sparkle. alot of vets try to get you to spend copious amounts of cash on some things i don't think necessary. my personal take on it is that when it is my cats 'time' then so be it. i love her dearly but she is a cat, not my child and i have more important things to spend hundreds on. she will never be in pain and if she needs an op then she will have one ie did recently with teeth extraction but keeping her alive with daily medication spending hundreds indefinately i personally don't agree with.

countrykitten Wed 03-Apr-13 18:42:30

I think you are being unreasonable about vets here - on what grounds can you speak about 'a lot of vets'?

In my experience of a lifetime of many animals and many vets in different areas they are, in general, very caring and understanding and have the animal's welfare at heart.

wintertimeisfun Wed 03-Apr-13 18:46:46

then i must have been unlucky. until i moved to a fab' new vets all my previous experiences were tbh pretty bloody awful. i rescued a cat, took it directly to the vets to get it checked firstly for a chip, then an mot thorough check. i explained really clearly that it was a genuine rescue and the story behind it including the business details of the company i had rescued it from (builders yard). the bitch of a nurse was fucking awful and treated me as if i had stolen the bugger, it had no chip. still angry. all subsequent visits were awful. many friends local to where i live with pets all seem to complain about three various vets although the one we are all at now are bloody lovely. obviously not all vets overcharge but they remind me of garages, they can say all sorts needs doing, who are we to know any better. my sister in law is married to a vet, some of the things he said were awful, i never liked the bugger and his comments made him more dislikeable

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Wed 03-Apr-13 18:54:21

YABU for having a nn that I keep reading as Slimy Yak.

YANBU to not want to subject your beloved old gent of a mog to test that will cause undue distress. Let him go on with dignity, then reassess as and if the time comes that you think he is suffering at all.

thegreylady Wed 03-Apr-13 18:58:17

YANBU I am dreading this with my two who are 15 now.At the moment they are both well and happy although girlcat has developed an unnatural fondness for an orange balloon!The first one stayed inflated from Christmas Eve until March 5th when it began to deflate so we replaced it.She never puts her claws out but just pats it around the room and chirrups at it.

countrykitten Wed 03-Apr-13 19:02:10

15 is not that old really - I hope that they have many, many more years with you.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

whois Wed 03-Apr-13 19:07:18

YANBU

Our 3 cats have lived to reasonable ages before 'fading out' You'll know if the cat starts to be in pain and isn't happy. Difference between a tired old cat still eating and purring in the final days and one suffering.

One lived to 18 before just getting tired and gave up life peacefully. Wven managed a trip into the garden on her final day to enjoy the sunshine. Died with mum stroking her. The two boys we got to replace her, one lived to 12 and then got ill - rather than prolong his life when suffering and 'treat' him we put him down when he became in obvious pain. The other boy lived onto 16 but got thinner and thinner, took him to the vet a few times to check he wasn't suffering and again it was obvious the day he became in pain and took him to the vets to end it.

Chesntoots Wed 03-Apr-13 20:21:27

My old chap has kidney problems. I got really upset at the vets because he refused to eat the special food and wouldn't touch food with either his tablet or powder in. I thought I was crap owner of the year and failing him. My vet was fantastic and pointed out that it was preferable for him to enjoy the time he has left, even if it is shorter, rather than distress him forcing tablets down him. Since then sometimes he has his food, most of the time he just has normal cat food. He is quite happy lounging about and play fighting with my younger cat. You are not a bad cat mum - you will know what to do when the time us right, the same as I will.

Oops- sorry, Long post!

Dilemma247 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:35:23

Sometimes it's best to leave cats to their own devices and sometimes it's cruel to deny simple treatment to a sick animal

It's hard for vets to decide, and hard for owners to decide

Your cat, vet and you are somewhere in the mix of all of that, OP

It's sad that some people have such a bad opinion of vets..

dayshiftdoris Wed 03-Apr-13 20:42:13

YANBU

I took my lovely cat for her jabs and they noticed she was a bit anaemic looking... £50 later and the results were kidneys function abnormal, liver function abnormal & grade 3/4 (grade 4 the worst) heart murmur.

They too offered lots of tests but said that the heart problem will kill her and it was a very slight, ungradable murmur last year.

We decided no... shes ?12 or 13 (a rehome) so she has the best spot on the bed, good food, lots of fuss and black Tom cat walks her home every time she goes out grin

I felt terrible but she wees in terror everytime we crate her to go the vets... that would be worse plus the different systems involved would make things very tricky.

This happened week before christmas... shes by far the perkiest mmber of the family - very happy... go figure that one!!

VeganCow Wed 03-Apr-13 20:58:40

YANBU.

I will stick up for vets here and say in my experience, they are led by the (informed) owner.

I agree that tests cost a lot, and that if you are uninsured, it really mounts up. But, all the vets I have known have been fab.

FarBetterNow Wed 03-Apr-13 21:07:01

Old cats often can't be bothered to drink water, so my vet suggested adding quite a lot of water to soft cat food and giving it a few minutes to soak in, before giving it to the cat.

This will help his kidneys.

countrykitten Wed 03-Apr-13 21:12:07

I bought a water fountain for my old cat and it really helped - catmate do a pretty cheap one and it's great for encouraging reluctant drinkers too.

ithaka Wed 03-Apr-13 21:26:45

My mum really regrets that an over zealous vet made her cat's last months prolonged and uncomfortable - she wishes she insisted she was PTS, but some vets do make you feel like a heartless pennypincher for not wanting to explore every avenue.

In fairness to the profession, my current vet is wonderful, particularly through my old horses last years. Well into his 30s, it was hard to keep weight on him. My vet's view was that he was very old, you could run tests, but what would be the point when he knew we would not want him to suffer and having loved him for over 20 years would be best placed to make the decision that his quality of life was seriously compromised.

The ability to gift our pets a painless and dignified death when their life is a burden is something that I wish we could extend to our human family members.

shallweshop Wed 03-Apr-13 21:42:20

YANBU. My cat was 20 when she started to have difficulties going to the loo. She was uncomfortable and straining in her litter tray. I steeled myself and took her to the vet where I fully expected them to advise me to have her put down. However they took her away and gave her an enema which would have been so stressful and awful but I felt I had to give her a chance. 2 days later the enema still hadn't worked and I had to return. The vet still wanted to try another enema but, when pressed, admitted that even if it worked, it would only give her another 3 or 4 weeks of life. In the end I had to tell the vet to put her down. It was the hardest decision and I really wished the vet could have been a bit more helpful in assisting me with making it.

wintertimeisfun Wed 03-Apr-13 22:15:11

day - that's really similar to what happened to my cat and i. i took her late last year for her yearly mot (jabs). vet (who is lovely, much nicer than the previous git we used to go to) listened to her heart and found she had a mild (grade 2) murmur. he offered loads of expensive fancy tests, the only one we went with was a blood test (still expensive though) to see if her thyroid was ok. fortunately it was. he suggested other tests although he did it in a way as if he was pushing the boat out. i told him i was against looking to spend money we haven't got and simply that aside from the thyroid, if she has a weakened heart which she appears to have then so be it. i don't believe in fiddling with something that can't easily be treated or cured. she is loved, pampered to death, totally contented. i rescued her from living in a builders yard outside, if she were to die tomorrow she would die happy smile i don't think she will die any time soon but when it is her time then it is her time. i kind of feel a bit like this about myself (i have high cholesterol and do not want to go on statins....)

Quilty Wed 03-Apr-13 22:36:04

YANBU - and if the vet made you feel bad about not wanting to put your cat through lots of tests then I would probably change vets as well. The vet should tell you what can be done but I think any good vet when faced with an animal which is nearing the end of its life should be honest about the situation. If they are trying to persuade owners to spend money that's not in the animals best interest then they aren't in the job for the right reasons.

floweryblue Wed 03-Apr-13 22:41:30

what Quilty said. You know your pet, hopefully you know and trust your vet, if you don't trust your vet, maybe a second opinion?

DrCoconut Wed 03-Apr-13 22:50:17

Our cat died in 2008. I knew for some time that he was ill but he was still active, eating etc. one day I knew his time had come and took him to the vet. She diagnosed FIV and possible cancer. Ginger deteriorated while we were deciding what to do and we had him pts with us by his side. I could have had him diagnosed much sooner but he had a wild streak and being cooped up indoors (apparently what is recommended for FIV), subjected to tests and medicines etc would have been no life. Out in the yard one day and gone the next was right for him. Your instincts will tell you what is right.

bootsycollins Wed 03-Apr-13 23:08:28

Bless your lovely old cat thanks

Your much loved cat, your decision. You'll do what's right for your old boy.

I'm really glad I read this thread, I've never thought about these circumstances because its just too sad to imagine but I know I would be the type to panic and instantly agree to tests if I was in your situation. Reading all these experiences and opinions has made me realise that sometimes it's just best to go with the peaceful and dignified option rather than put your cat through any unnecessary discomfort and trauma.

slimyak Thu 04-Apr-13 08:11:06

Just in response to someone earlier saying about getting him tested for hyperthyroidism which also masks as diabetes, vise versa. Well my other cat died of complications with this whist on treatment at 13. He had tablets twice a day and trips to the vets at least every two months and blood tests at least every 3 months. He was a much more chilled out cat and otherwise healthy so I was happy to go down that route. Goose on the other hand hates the car, is terrified of the vets, fights and froths at the mouth if he's given tablets. Not the best way forward for him.

Funnily enough I suffer from hyperthyroidism and while pregnant I also had gestational diabetes, conflicting illnesses. I can empathise with lots of old cats it seems, however when I posted with my diagnosis when preg no other human seemed to suffer this.

Maybe I'm a cat [hmmm]

I have another old cat, again 18, but very sprightly. Had a bit of a turn before Christmas, again a much more chilled out puss so had the hyperthyroid test as she was showing lots of the symptoms on a low level. Came back negative, had a vitamin B injection and she's been back to being kitten like since.

I think my stance is, vets are caring folk who will usually give you all the options, but they can't make decisions for you. I had a bad visit. I will always do what I think is best for my animals and that's based on their individual personalities. I will not keep them going for my sake, and I will make sure they are happy to the end but promise to make the horrid decision to bring that end forward to avoid suffering on their part.

It's all so clear when I'm not so emotionally charged.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 04-Apr-13 08:20:40

YANBU

I regret my cat having dialysis I knew she was dying she was 15 she perked up for a few weeks and the vet wanted to repeat her treatment I refused as it was too stressful for her she was put to sleep peacefully a week later having had a lovely week being at home getting lots of fuss

JamieandtheMagicTorch Thu 04-Apr-13 08:43:17

Thanks for this thread OP, under sad circumstances

Food for thought. Am taking Molly for another blood test tomorrow.

LisaMed Thu 04-Apr-13 09:40:20

The vet's practice we go to has been going for some time. When my husband first had a dog, nearly forty years ago, we went there and there was the 'Old Vet' and the 'Young Vet'. The 'Young Vet' is now probably past retirement age but still going. He is lovely and the only one to manage evil cat without assistance.

He had to treat psycho cat for a sore eye. He said that he could do some tests to see why the eye was sore but no matter what they came back with the treatment was likely to be x and so for now just skip the tests, use the treatment and see how it goes. Psycho cat was fine after the eye drops. Fortunately psycho cat was only a psycho to strangers and was a complete pussy to us so drops were possible. I am really not sure they would be possible for evil cat.

So I think that some vets look at the whole picture. And really for elderly animals it can be really cruel to put them through a lot of tests/treatments etc. I would also add that if evil cat was ten years younger not only would she still be of an age to have senior cat food but I wouldn't hesitate in getting the tests done.

slimyak Mon 22-Apr-13 20:54:49

Just so you know, Goose was put to sleep last week. Since taking him to the vets he went down hill quite fast, loosing his fur, no energy and very quiet. Last Wednesday I decided it was time, he wasn't eating and was struggling to drink water that I was bringing to him as he was struggling to get about unaided.

He purred to the end but it was definitely his time to go. I'm glad I stuck to my decision of no tests as no treatment would have worked that fast and there's no cure for old age. He got to sit at home in his favourite spot, pampered with extra stroking, tuna and roast chicken and even managed a spell sitting in the sun in the garden.

I'm picking up his ashes tomorrow and me and DDs are going to scatter them in a sunny spot and plant a buddliea bush. In his prime, sitting under a butterfly bush snacking on butterflies was his favourite pastime ( which is why there hasn't been a buddleia in the garden for the past 10 years!)

Goose was a fluffy cushion in my life for 18 years, I will miss him.

To all those of you faced with difficult pet desicions I hope you feel you make the right choices. it's not easy but it's all part of the deal.

giveitago Mon 22-Apr-13 21:19:14

OP I got my first and only cat at the age of 11 and she was put down when when I was 33. I loved her to bits.

But I had her put down when her kidneys went as I felt that after almost 22 years my darling cat's great life shouldn't be forced by medical interverentions which would mean she was in sugery for all that time and without us. She woudn't have survived.

I'm so proud my lovely cat lived to a few weeks off 22 years years. But her time had come, I had her put down. It was AWFUL .

But can I also say I still miss her in my mid 40s. But so so grateful I had her character and company for 21 years of my life.

StuffezLaYoni Mon 22-Apr-13 21:21:13

So very sorry to hear of your loss. I think you did the absolute best for Goose and she was lucky to have you.

StuffezLaYoni Mon 22-Apr-13 21:21:31

He, sorry.

SacreBlue Mon 22-Apr-13 21:27:15

Bring him home to spend his last few weeks/months with love and dignity

This^^

<sniffs back escaping tear>

He sounds lucky to have you and I am heartened at all the lovely replies

Beamur Mon 22-Apr-13 21:28:26

Glad your puss had a content and peaceful end.
DP had an elderly (but quite full of character!) old tom cat when I met him, the cat had been acquired from a rescue as an old boy to start with and had always had a recurrent ear problem, which required a course of drops maybe every other year. Towards the end of his life, a vet suggested that there might be some underlying problem in his ear that surgery could identify - after some discussion, we decided that invasive surgery all that entailed to sort out a problem that was easily treatable with drops just wasn't worth the hassle, expense and trauma for an old animal. It's not about the money (although it's not unreasonable to consider that) but what's best for the animal. Our vet certainly didn't insist, or make us feel bad about our decision.

Monty27 Mon 22-Apr-13 21:31:38

OP sorry to hear. I think you did the best thing. Hope you're ok.

Sunnywithshowers Mon 22-Apr-13 21:36:15

I'm sorry for your loss. x

OTheHugeManatee Mon 22-Apr-13 21:39:28

YANBU. I seem to be unusual on this thread, as when my old cat had a heart attack the vet said 'well, we could patch him up and he'd have a shit quality of life for maybe another six months if you want us to, but it's up to you if you want to put him through that.' So I had him PTS.

Bawled like a baby, and the vet surgery sent me a condolence card. I did think they were sensible and ethical about the whole thing though.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 22-Apr-13 21:41:11

Oh - just saw you had your cat PTS, OP. I'm so sorry for your loss, but glad he was so loved right to the end.

we have Cat of Mercury (she spreads when she lies down). She is 18 and we thought she had a thyroid problem (losing weight, shouting in the night) but she doesnt....apparently she is as fit as a fish mongers cat! She is very arthritic though and is on loxicom (kitty crack) which will (and is starting to) fry her kidneys.

We have decided to make sure she is pain free and if she has 6 months of pain free time and fried kidneys that is better than 12 months of pain and good kidneys.

we know she is senile (hence the wailing at night) but she is a happy senile!

timtam23 Mon 22-Apr-13 21:48:03

slimyak am so sorry to hear about Goose but I think you made absolutely the right decision to let him have a dignified last few weeks

my 2 cats are 18 and 17 and I think at least 1 of them will get more doddery soon - am dreading it as they've been in my life for so long.

Enjoy your happy memories of Goose

that will teach me to look at the whole thread....

i am sorry about Goose...i am having a little cry now

cant post any more

sparkle12mar08 Mon 22-Apr-13 21:48:36

Oh op I'm sorry to hear that. Goose had a great last few weeks I'm sure, my sympathies to you x

LarvalFormOfOddSock Mon 22-Apr-13 22:03:37

OP, I'm so sorry. Sounds like Goose had a fabulous life and the best palliative care.

I'm going through the same situation at the moment with my 18 yo cat who has (suspected) cancer. I refused biopsy under sedation as the treatment most likely would have been the same whether it was cancer or just a non-malignant tumour anyway.

You've given me the confidence to feel happy that I'm doing the right thing for him. I just hope I know when the time is right for saying goodbye as the tumour is getting really big now. I hate to think he might be in pain.

AnnaClaudia Mon 22-Apr-13 22:08:31

So sorry, it's so hard when they have to be pts. My vet said "it's the hardest thing you have to do for them, but the alternative would be not to have pets, and that would be worse" - how true. x

AnnaClaudia Mon 22-Apr-13 22:11:06

Was in your situation (large tumor on my poor Jess's face) last year. You will just know when the time has come. xx

MummytoKatie Mon 22-Apr-13 22:17:49

My grandmother had a stroke in Mid February and has been "not expected to last the week" since then. Her quality of life is non existent. She is 95 so has had a long life.

She can't eat, see or move. She already had dementia and could remember just enough to know that her mind had "gone funny". (She went to Cambridge in the 1930s as a working class female just to sum up her intellectual background.)

Believe me - you have made a good choice.

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