Putting a pet to sleep... decisions decisions

(24 Posts)
officebairn Tue 10-May-16 13:29:02

To put you in the picture of my situation, I'll explain the issue with the cat:

(DH's cat from before we met, 5 years old, had him from kitten, loves him dearly.)

Went missing last summer for 3 months and came back with his collar caught around his arm/neck. Rushed to emergency vets, collar had cut into the cat's skin, caught terrible infection, smelt awful, some parts started healing around the collar, etc. A whole mess basically. The emergency vets (PDSA) were able to help remove it and clean him up and treat him for the infection at the time as one of us was unemployed and had proof of benefit.

We wanted surgery done to stitch up the wound back when it happened but the vet said No it could heal on its' own but unlikely and pretty much said 'best of luck with it, off you go'. Now fast forward to today and it hasn't healed, in fact it has become much, much worse and both of us are working (N.min wage) and can't afford the fees for an actual vet (they're asking for £800, to first investigate then operate).

DH wants to loan the money to pay for the operation, putting us in debt that we really really can't afford right now, already scraping by as it is. I'm trying to be supportive and I've taken on all his good pros and cons but realistically at the end of the day I think it would be better to put the cat down (for lots of reasons).

What should we do? Should I be more supportive or is he being unreasonable about the money side of it?

Has anyone ever been in this situation and not been able to afford the pet treatment they require, forced to take the alternative route?

PinkSparklyPussyCat Tue 10-May-16 14:17:41

First of all I'm so sorry that your cat is still poorly, it's such a worry when they are ill or injured.

I have to say I'm with your DH on this, I would do anything I could to find the money if my cat needed treatment. I do appreciate that it's not always possible but I would have to know I'd done everything I could.

You say it would be better to put the cat to sleep 'for lots of reasons' - does he have any other health problems that mean it would be kinder?

If he is otherwise healthy would it be possible to surrender him to a rescue who may be able to give him the treatment he needs and then rehome him?

MEgirl Tue 10-May-16 14:38:29

Would the vet agree to paying the bill in instalments?

ShmooBooMoo Tue 10-May-16 14:41:18

What MEgirl said, or yes, I would borrow the money but probably seek an opinion from another vet (see if anyone can rec a good one in your area).

officebairn Tue 10-May-16 14:45:29

I have a feeling deep down that is really telling me it would be the wrong thing to do to just give up and let him go. After all, half a year of shitty living to pay off debt compared to another possible 10 years with our beloved family pet.. It's the right thing to do, isn't it?

We asked that MEgirl when first told the bad news but the problem lies with the type of operation our cat needs, apparently it's a heavily studied problem in vetinary health and debatable that it can ever fully heal or not.

If it does get to a point where we're hundreds of pounds in debt and the cat isn't getting any better then I think we could morally call it a day but without even trying, I think i've got to suck it up and find my marital empathy on this one.

Campbell2016 Tue 10-May-16 14:57:30

I'd seek a second opinion from another vet as prices vary hugely, but ultimately would go ahead and get the cat operated on.

MEgirl Tue 10-May-16 15:01:24

Sorry that you find yourself in such a difficult situation.

Goingtobeawesome Tue 10-May-16 15:21:58

£800 sounds excessive.

I'm with your DH. No way would I PTS. Bad enough when you really have no choice..

TimeIhadaNameChange Tue 10-May-16 16:07:05

I'm with your DH as well.

kitty555 Tue 10-May-16 17:35:20

Sorry to hear your cat is so poorly!

I have to say I'm with your DH all the way - we were in a similar situation end of last year when we took our lovely cat to the vets - he was poorly and we weren't sure what it was. The vets and we were fighting for his life - he had surgery, took steroids and all sorts of other medicine and we went back and forth to the vets for all in all about 7 weeks. Final bill after we sadly had to put him to sleep was £850. I would have given anything to get him better but it turned out he's had FIP so he unfortunately didn't have a chance to start with. Today would have been his first birthday sad

LineyReborn Tue 10-May-16 20:52:21

Definitely get a second opinion.

Your cat is on antibiotics now, yes?

lljkk Tue 10-May-16 21:06:28

How many months ago did cat return?
I could imagine going either way. I want to know what prospects are. I wouldn't go into debt if prospects for cat aren't good anyway.

officebairn Wed 11-May-16 10:30:47

Yes Liney the infection is clearing, he's been given two shots and a course of antibiotics (at £69!)

He's actually really well in himself, not limpin or crying, eating and drinking and excreting all fine.

This is why it's hard to imagine putting him down. But the way the Vet has explained this type of wound and healing time (10 weeks+ after each op) it sounds like we could be going round in circles for ever. Every time he stitches it back up, because it's in the cat's armpit it's always moving and could just as easily tear. sad

Thank you for all the advice, we'll have to save up and pay for another consultation. There's so much other stuff that our money is needed on right now it's frustrating that it's going to Vets bills angry

lottielou7 Wed 11-May-16 11:52:23

I think you must try to save him - he's only 5 and that's no age at all.

In the future maybe think about getting insurance?

LineyReborn Wed 11-May-16 11:53:44

OP, it took me a while to find the right vet to treat my younger cat who has eye and skin problems. I just went through the paperwork and it was the fourth vet I consulted who finally diagnosed and treated her properly, and saved me money in the long run.

Although yesterday she set me back another £150 for a steroid injection, antibiotics, and some other stuff, due to a flare-up. It's an expensive business.

But, a consultation on its own with another vet should be £30 or so.

If you are able to post where you are, MNers might have some recommendations?

Having said that, and this is something my family was talking about yesterday, at what point does treatment become stressfully invasive for a cat, and unfair to it? It's very difficult.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 11-May-16 13:02:51

These armpit collar injuries are very tricky to treat and heal and can often take many years to properly heal even with repeated surgeries to gradually close the wound. I now offer amputation of the forelimb as a possible part of the treatment plan due to such poor healing. The ones I have successfully treated have taken between 18 months and three years to heal.

LineyReborn Wed 11-May-16 15:37:31

I think that's too much to put a cat through, personally. Such an awful dilemma.

lljkk Wed 11-May-16 15:55:08

Cat would resent you for it, but I wonder if you could cage him for a spell (week?) if the wound would finally heal up by limiting his mobility. For cat's own good, because any general anaesthetic is a risk, and I'm really not clear on what the operation can do that stitching hasn't done so far.

FenellaMaxwell Wed 11-May-16 16:02:50

Please don't PTS. 5 is still young. If you haven't the money, please band the cat in to Battersea where they can treat it and find it a new home.

officebairn Wed 11-May-16 16:28:09

Oh god, that's what I feared Lonecatwithkitten

I just don't think it's worth all that, he's not a well cat since he went missing anyway, very anxious, wary of people/noises/certain foods. Putting him through this would probably drive him away again or cause him to 'sulk' and become even more withdrawn.
We've got the kids to think about, we already have to stop them touching him as he's so unfriendly. It's like he had a personality transplant when he came home.

We're in Solihull but honestly my husband has researched the hell out of the area and other possibilities and this is how we've ended up trying to decide what to do... sad

PinkSparklyPussyCat Wed 11-May-16 16:37:28

I would speak to your vet about amputation and seriously consider it. Cats can live happily with three legs and you may find his temperament improves - he could be like this because he's in pain or discomfort.

I'm not saying it's definitely the right decision for him but I think it's definitely one worth considering.

WhirlwindHugs Thu 12-May-16 07:27:48

Amputation is not cheap either unfortunately, but cats recover really well from them so long term may be cheaper - we have a 3 legger.

I sympathise with how you feel our cats have got expensive long term problems and we are struggling with the cost too.

MsMims Fri 13-May-16 15:56:21

I wouldn't have such a young cat PTS without attempting treatment. The option of amputation that lonecat mentions sounds interesting. If you really won't go ahead I would offer him to a rescue to give him a chance. Off the top of my head, fur and feather animal sanctuary, Wythall animal sanctuary and cats protection could be worth a call.

Also, if you're in Solihull have you tried Your Vets in Wythall on the Alcester Road? They are very reasonable with prices.

lottielou7 Fri 13-May-16 17:12:40

Yes please don't have him PTS.

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