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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


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


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.

lurkedtoolong Wed 03-Apr-13 15:43:35

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]

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 03-Apr-13 15:45:02

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


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.

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