How do you know when it's time to let them go?

(35 Posts)
ThatIsNachoCheese Wed 29-Jun-16 15:45:12

Hello all, I'd really appreciate some advice about my old cat (16 or 17 years old) he has arthritis which is being treated with gabapentin and vetergesic, the vet has said he can't have anything stronger.
He has now also been diagnosed with heart failure and was treated for fluid on the lungs last week, this treatment worked well and he's breathing alot better now, although it is still quite laboured sometimes.
He is in so much pain, he can't jump up on to the bed or sofa anymore, he looks so sad, he isn't eating very much and doesn't seem to be pooing the last few days.
I haven't had this discussion with my vet, they haven't mentioned it to me, and I'm kind of scared to bring it up, but how do you know when it's time, when it's fairer to them to let them go?
He's been with us for 14 years, I'm so sad that he's so poorly but I want to make sure I do the right thing for him.
Also, do you know if any vets will visit at home to put them to sleep? He's always loathed the vet and I would hate for him to have to be somewhere he hates when he goes.
Thank you in advance for any advice.

Vinorosso74 Wed 29-Jun-16 16:38:56

My heart goes out to you. I would make a big fuss of him and have a conversation with your vet and if he's in that much pain perhaps it is time to let him go.
Some vets do home visits, others not. I know ours don't. I think there may be some who basically are mobile vets so would come to your home.

ThatIsNachoCheese Wed 29-Jun-16 17:43:52

Thank you Vino, I'm making a huge fuss of him, I'm off work after an op at the moment and am bed bound so its me and him snuggling in bed every day, I'm so thankful that I'm here for him at the moment.
I know I need to have the conversation with my vet, I've just been putting it off sad

Vinorosso74 Wed 29-Jun-16 18:45:49

Oh no awful timing. Cats are such good company at times like those.
Look after yourself too.

IthinkIamsinking Thu 30-Jun-16 06:35:04

My cat had heart failure. He used to have the fluid removed and it would be ok for a short while but would build up again. I feel for you. It is the hardest decision to have to make. I think you probably know the answer but be guided by your vet. I had one of my cats PTS at home. It will cost more but for me it was the best thing for my cat (and for me) as he used to get stressed going to the vets and I wanted his last moments to be as stress free as possible. flowers

user1465823522 Thu 30-Jun-16 06:55:47

it's awful when having to make that choice about pets and so my heart goes out to you. we lost one of ours last year and it broke my heart completely.

But if he's not happy, not eating and not comfortable then it;s time. Let him with the dignity he deserves.

cozietoesie Thu 30-Jun-16 09:51:24

My current vets specifically say that they'll come out for any sort of problems if it's technically OK. (Their website points out that some matters are best dealt with in surgery facilities.) My last main vet didn't specifically say that but offered to in 'circumstances'.

Speak to your vet about his situation. They'll likely be kind as kind. And really listen to what they say - vets often put things in a roundabout way because they can't actually tell you what to do.

ThatIsNachoCheese Thu 30-Jun-16 13:16:13

Thank you flowers he's currently sat beside me and seems comfortable today, although he's still not eating. I will speak to the vet and get some advice from them. I don't mind paying more for them to come out, I just want him to be as calm and comfortable as possible when it's time.
Thanks to you all for your help flowers

cozietoesie Thu 30-Jun-16 13:50:48

Take care.

lljkk Thu 30-Jun-16 14:14:52

In lots of pain & not eating... I don't think I could stand to watch that. If I couldn't make it better then I would want to do the kindest thing.

ThatIsNachoCheese Thu 30-Jun-16 14:16:26

It is really awful to see. Sometimes he still seems happy and content though

cozietoesie Thu 30-Jun-16 14:19:21

Cats can 'grit it out' if they're not feeling great inside - and he's stopped eating.

Have a chat with the vet.

Viewofhedges Thu 30-Jun-16 14:28:21

I posted the same question at the end of May when it was clearly time for my lovely little cat to go. Everyone came back with the same response - better a few days too early than a day too late - and I found that really helped. When she was no longer eating and could no longer get comfortable, we knew it was time.

For your comfort, when it happened, it was so, so peaceful and quick. We were sure we had done the right thing. It's a loving thing to do. It will be sad for you, but it'll be a real kindness for your cat if you can spare him suffering. Talk to your vet, and take this as a big handhold from all of us!

ThatIsNachoCheese Thu 30-Jun-16 15:08:55

Thank you View, I'm so sorry you had to say goodbye, your post has had me in tears. I will call the vet this afternoon.
Thank you all so much for the support, I will let you know how he gets on

MrsJayy Thu 30-Jun-16 15:14:50

When she stopped eating i took my cat she was 18 had athritis renal failure and fluid round her heart i had a notion she would drift of in her sleep but time came that we had to take her its heart breaking

timelytess Thu 30-Jun-16 15:25:04

Don't know about cats. Had four rabbits, all born June 2007. One died in April this year. The others had all slowed up and had ailments, two were blind. The three were put to sleep on Tuesday this week. I stayed with them until they were gone, and cried a lot. They went to sleep peacefully. The two who were litter-mates had snuggled up together before their injections, and just stayed there, cuddled close. No fuss or upset. I watched them, and stroked them, and wished it could be like that for everyone - cosy, peaceful, with someone you love.

Years ago, when we were all young and strong, I decided that as soon as they began to be ill, I'd let them go. The hard part was going through with it. But the alternative was to let them get worse, see them struggle on, take them for repeated procedures... for what? Not for them but just so I could keep them with me for longer. No. I let them go.

Hope your cat has the beautiful and peaceful end that my three bunnies did.

anoldiebutagoody Thu 30-Jun-16 16:07:51

Had to have our old boy PTS last December, he was 18 and we'd had him since he was a kitten, I cried for weeks. Like your boy he had arthritis and stopped eating.
When I look back at the photos I took of him during the last few months of his life you can see how sad and tired he looks, even though I didn't notice it at the time. He kept it well hidden acting normally and purring, only showed his illness during the last 10days.

MrsJayy Thu 30-Jun-16 16:23:46

My cat was getting treatment and our vet was very kind and said you know when the time comes and i think vet was right

Viewofhedges Fri 01-Jul-16 15:05:18

Hope you are OK Nacho.

ThatIsNachoCheese Fri 01-Jul-16 19:38:46

He's eaten a little today, and spent three hours asleep in my arms like a baby. That has made me realise that it is time to have the conversation with the vet, my boy would never have done that before, so I know he's really poorly.
I will spend the weekend comforting him (thank goodness I'm on bed rest! ) and will call the vet on Monday.
Thank you all for the advice and handholding. flowers

Liz09 Mon 04-Jul-16 03:48:35

Cats are difficult, because they're much less transparent than, say, dogs. We put our 20-year-old cat down in May, and it was bloody difficult to know when the right time was. We still question whether it was the "right time". But what sealed it for us was that we moved house and she simply wasn't coping anymore. She used to be an indoors-outdoors cat, but refused to go outside, she was blind in both eyes and was finding navigating the new house difficult etc. And we new she was in late-stage kidney failure. So we took her to the vet, had a last consultation to calm our nerves (we'd been twice previously wondering if it was the right time, but they medicated her for various things), they then took her away and sedated her, wrapped her in a blanket, and we got to say our last goodbyes while she was totally sedated. Then, we gave the go ahead and they injected the anaesthetic. It was extremely quick (couple of seconds maximum), and very peaceful.

The fact of it is that very few animals pass peacefully at home, unfortunately. It sucks because it's what you hope that they will do. But you ultimately have to decide whether their quality of life is good enough to justify keeping them alive. It's a hard decision to make. We felt that our cat wasn't as happy as she one was, and we didn't want to prolong things.

Sorry that you're in this position, OP. sad Hugs to you.

wallywobbles Mon 04-Jul-16 04:16:02

My old dog was pts at home and it was perfect. It stopped my tears and I've not cried since. I cried like a waterfall for the two weeks before while I did the research.

cozietoesie Mon 04-Jul-16 10:12:49

All the best for today.

PinkSparklyPussyCat Mon 04-Jul-16 13:14:53

Thinking of you and your boy today

ThatIsNachoCheese Wed 06-Jul-16 19:43:41

I spoke with the vet today and she has given him some special food and rehydration sachet as he stopped eating. He gobbled the food up which is good but he won't take his tablets and if he doesn't perk up and start eating normally afterwards then we are going to let him go. He's in so much pain, it just isn't fair to leave him like this
Thanks for all the supportive posts, much appreciated

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