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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.

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


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


<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.

ElectricalBanana Mon 22-Apr-13 21:46:18

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

ElectricalBanana Mon 22-Apr-13 21:48:12

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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