We have a nearly 20 year old tabby who is now not in good health. We are approaching those last few weeks we think where we have to deliberate how long to leave him without either seeing him off before his time, or holding out for the best and regretting making him suffer.
He's had thyroid problems for a while, but it's controlled by tablets.
At easter he took a dip and didn't seem at all happy, he was given steroid injections and vitamin by the vet. He made an almost miraculous recovery! From dragging himself around to jumping onto high perches.
The vet said he had a lump in his abdomen and probably had just a few weeks left.
Weeks and weeks later and he is still with us, but has started to get wobbly on his back legs. If he stands and shakes his head, he will fall over. He needs a little stool to get up onto his favourite sleeping place.
However, he's still (slowly) making his way outside for his toilet (we do have a tray but he's preferring not to use it) and to drink out of the pond (again, he has water inside the house but prefers to drink from the pond!) And he's eating.
We took him to the vets on Friday and they gave another steroid injection - but it's not had the same miraculous effect this time -in fact he's no better really.
So it's rock and a hard place time. He doesn't look too miserable but isn't the happy go lucky cat he was. Bless him. We are treating him lots and watching out for any further dip in his condition.
So sorry to hear this 2kids. What a lovely photo of him.
We went through very similar decision-making with my lovely 18-year old cat a month or so ago. I'm not sure if it will help you but this is what we ended up doing.
He had also had thyroid problems, then blindness due to high blood pressure and more recently he started to dribble a bit & it turned out to be tongue cancer, there was no cure for this. He had steroids which worked really well the first time but after they wore off we did not get the same good response from the 2nd lot and we faced a really hard decision on how long to keep him going for.
In the end we decided to have him put to sleep before he started to have any considerable suffering (this was guided in part by experience with my other old cat who was put to sleep last year, and I think we left her maybe a couple of days too long before having her put to sleep). There was a lovely weekend of sunny weather forecast so we gave him a really good final weekend with lots of time outside in the sun, lots of strokes & cuddles and anything he wanted to eat. I even let him lick my dinner plate which is usually strictly forbidden. I booked an appointment with hte vet 24 hours in advance and they were very understanding. Although it was sad, and I still cry about it, I think it was much easier to deal with because we had planned it and we were able to keep everything very calm. With my old girl cat there had been a bit of a dash to the vet and it had felt more out of control, even though it was not a dire emergency as such.
My old boy lasted about 1 month from his first dose of steroids & I'm glad for the extra time it gave us but I'm also glad we didn't leave it any longer as he would have started to struggle, & at 18 I think he had had a good long life.
We got him at 6 weeks old from a local rescue centre in '95. We had him before the children came along.
He loves to be outside - he's there now, asleep by the pond. He looks happy enough so I've left him. He was feeling particularly sorry for himself on the day the photo was taken and was skulking around in the plants for some peace.
He's still getting up for food and to go out (the warm weather helps) but the second he stops doing that or starts having accidents in the house because he can't get out or to the cat tray then we know he's too uncomfortable to move around happily.