to wonder what to do about our ancient cat(32 Posts)
Not so much an AIBU as a WWYD. Our cat is 20 and suffering from dementia. She gets very disoriented and wanders from room to room, emitting ear-splitting yowls. Only having her on our laps and stroking her stops the racket (presumably because she knows where she is and feels safe).
This is irritating during the day but is becoming torture at night. Last night she yowled non-stop from about 3 a.m.
My partner, who has to be up early for work, has started muttering darkly about trips to the vet. But she's been my cat for 20 years and we've been through a lot together. I don't feel I can just bump her off when she becomes inconvenient. On the other hand, we need our sleep, as does our 2-year-old DD.
We've taken her to the vet twice to check nothing else is wrong and that she's not in pain, but it really does seem to be just confusion.
She is clearly distressed and suffering otherwise why would she be yowling. I'm afraid I agree with your husband and think it's time to say goodbye to the cat.
My jrt had dementia.
He woke up howling, would wander around in a state of confusion, stare at walls and eventually started to mutiliate himself.
We rang the vets who gently told me it was time to let him go. We agreed even though it broke out hearts and the appoitment was made for tea next day.
That night I let him eat some chocolate buttons and roast chicken and everything a dog shouldn't.
Took him in and discovered that he was worse than we thought. His kidneys was swollen and he had actually lost alot of weight but the swelling was disguising it. He had some lumps the vets thought was possibly cancer.
Honestly letting him go was the right thing to do.
I also have a 20 year old cat, with thyroid problems and deafness. So the right time to euthanise and stop her suffering is on my mind, and I think I've made my peace with it. Also discussed with vet. My cat yowls very loudly for us when she can't see us, but it's only in the morning.
For me, signs would be:
Wetting or ailing frequently in inappropriate places
like your cat, being so distressed as to be yowling a lot.
I am so sorry - I would call the vet first to discuss. IME they are willing to discuss this sensitively
I am sorry your partner is being umsymathetic
Thanks, all. I'll give the vet a call tomorrow and discuss whether yowling = distress.
To be fair to my partner, he's not unsympathetic - he's tiptoeing around the subject, because he knows that to me she's still the little flea-covered kitten who was my wing-kitty 20 years ago. But we're both pretty useless when sleep-deprived.
I know what you mean. I call my cat 'my baby' .
The last time I went to the vet with mine, she (the cat) had weed on me a couple of times. No urine infection. We talked about whether the cat doing something to inconvenience us is justification for having them put down, and TBH, the vet said that the cat does not want to be doing those things and it can be a sign of distress, confusion and/or pain.
So I do know what you mean about worrying about being 'selfish', but I don't believe that it is selfish.
The other thing the vet says is that cats rarely just die suddenly. very often we have to make the decision
Did the vet say anything about PTS when you took her in?
I don't think so, but it was my DP who took her both times. I'll ask him.
I didn't know that about cats not often just dying suddenly. Interesting. I suppose I'd been hoping she'd just go in her sleep one of these days.
Yes to discussing with the vet PTS, in the meantime would she settle on the bed so she is near to you ?
Unfortunately not. I tried that a couple of times but she just did that cat thing of wanting to go out immediately.
My cat has also been diagnosed with dementia. He doesn't vocalise, but his behaviour is very odd. He doesn't like being in the house, and when he is indoors has started to go on the worktops. He is poo'ing on the grass. Before Christmas he started to scratch his face and had two huge raw patches, and also a lick wound on his leg. It goes on and on... The vet gave him a supplement, which has helped a bit, his face has cleared up. She said he could have an anti-depressant which might calm him down. I feel at my wits end with him, and but the vet says that apart from this he a healthy cat. We don't know how old ours is as he just turned up one day. Good luck
My cat was 19.5 years when we said goodbye and it was so hard to do but it was my final act of kindness towards her. She had kidney failure and went downhill in a couple of days - she was tough as old boots - so when we took her in and they diagnosed kidney failure I was devastated. I asked to take her home and let her go naturally but the vet said that was actually cruel as she'd die a painful, horrible death. So the next morning we said goodbye. I too fed her everything she liked.
It isn't nice saying goodbye but when its the kindest decision and one they cannot make for themselves it's the right thing.
Best wishes OP.
As a little aside we got our cat's ashes returned to us and buried them underneath a plant we were bought to remember her by. We kept it in a pot for ages so the ashes and box literally rotted down to grow 'into' the plant. It's her plant and I can talk to her when I garden which brings me comfort as I still miss her five years on!
Sympathies, laidup. Have you tried him on the ADs?
I'm very wary of letting things go on too long. My other cat had cancer and I made the mistake of believing the vet who told me that with the right treatment he could live comfortably for another year. He spent a week in vet hospital having chemo and then had to be PTS because a tumour had ruptured. I still feel guilty about how he spent his last days.
I love the idea of planting a tree over the ashes.
Vets are, for obvious reasons, cautious about directly advising you to have your pet pts. Instead, ask the vet what she would do if this were her cat. This might elicit more useful and unambiguous guidance.
I always plant something nice on pets' graves, just so there is something of them still alive I suppose.
It is very hard to know with degenerative illnesses, just when to call it a day, but I'd say if the thought is in your mind then the day is not very far away. Cats are very good at hiding pain and discomfort, there may be more going on with your cat than you think.
My sympathies to you OP, you are facing a hard choice but you obviously love your cat and want to do right by her and I applaud you for that.
I haven't given him the AD as the face scratching has stopped, thank goodness. He has one Aktivait capsule mixed in with some M&S tuna pate every day (the only way I can get it down him)! My husband thinks the cat was brain damaged when he had 13 teeth extracted last year, as this started around the same time.
When my old cat died we buried his ashes in his favourite spot of the garden and planted orange tulips there (he was ginger). I still think about him every day
I felt the same with my 21 yr old senior mog. The vet nurse was fab and said 'better a week too early than an hour too late' and reassured me that it was the proper time. Best wishes.
That isn't just inconvenient, it's seriously damaging your quality of life.
Unless you can find a way to make things better...
20yo cats want to be asleep 20 hrs a day, not yowling. So I'd take it as distress, sorry.
It isn't about it being the cat being an 'inconvenience.' The cat has had a long and presumably happy life, but is now seemingly in distress and moving toward the very end of her life. I think you need to talk to the vet about this and whether she has any quality of life left any more. Without wishing to be blunt: your cat is 20, her life is nearly done. Is eeking it out for a few months of distress and confusion in her best interests? I would speak to the vet and seek his or her advice.
If you are not ready to let her go yet, you could try getting her a cosy igloo bed and line it with some worm t-shirts. Hopefully she'll smell them and feel comforted, believing you are there with her.
But I do think you need to prepare yourself for the final trip to the vets.
It's wonderful your cat has had a lovely long life. Although no-one wants their beloved pet's life to end, you've had her for 20 years which is a good long time for a cat.
Sorry you're going through this, it's tough. Maybe post in 'the litter tray' too? There's one or two vets who read and post in there along with people with a lot of experience of older cats.
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