My 11 yo cat was put down this morning.
He had a problem with his spine which meant he couldn't empty his bladder properly all his life. He was also constipated with blood coming out too. He couldn't walk properly this morning as a result so I whisked him off to the vet.
The vet said I had two options. Either put him down or have him catheterised to empty his bladder properly. She then went on to say that due to his age, he would need this done at least every year. Then she said she suspected kidney problems as he was so thin. Poor lad.
I knew our insurance wouldn't pay for any treatment as his spine was damaged (tail trapped in car door apparently) from before we got him. I also knew we can't afford the minimum £600 for catheterising every so often. So, I decided to have him put down.
The vet then told me animals are a responsibility and a commitment and that she never thought when she was training that she would have to negotiate over money to treat animals. I felt absolutely terrible as if I'd really failed my cat. He died quickly and peacefully at least so he didn't suffer. But I thought I'd always taken care of my animals and now I feel like I'd let him down.
Did I? I don't think I'll get anymore pets now because I can't afford to get them treated when things go wrong. Insurance will only cover so much.
Winky, at 11 years of age and with a chronic condition such as this I think you've done all that can be expected of you for this poor cat. It is never the wrong thing to do to save an animal from further suffering or the prospect of deterioration and depleted quality of life.
Sometimes situations arise when we make a decision like this based on financial grounds, and it is horribly sad, but only a small percentage of pet-owners have £600 sitting in their back pocket. To prevent suffering sometimes the inevitable choice has to be made a bit sooner. There's nothing wrong with that.
I don't know whether your vet was speaking out of turn (or is possibly an idealistic new grad) or whether there has been a communication error but personally (as a vet) I think your choice was totally reasonable and right (for you and your cat) and I'm sorry that you have been left feeling this way. I don't think you have any need to feel guilty.
I am sorry you have lost your cat and that you couldn't afford to have regular treatment.
Don't be put off getting another pet but do get insurance in the future.
Thanks for that FM.
I was really wondering that perhaps I should only have a pet if I'm wealthy.
I got quite cross with the vet and told her that commitment wasn't a problem as we'd spend a lot of money on getting his tail properly amputated so there was less pressure on his poor spine and treating various wounds he'd acquired from fights over the years.
Because he was older and evidently really unwell - she couldn't squeeze any urine from his very full bladder - I thought it was the right decision.
Perhaps having pets is liking having children - there's always guilt involved whatever the decision.
I do have insurance for the cats but this condition was pre-existing so the insurance wouldn't cover treatment.
I would have done the same thing. Dont let it stop you having more pets.
It is entirely possible that with a kidney problem as a likelihood too that your cat wouldn't have been happy and that inevitably you would have lost the poor mite anyway. Sometimes you just have to be a big person and do the kindest thing and in this case I think you have hun.
I am a fervent animal rights believer and a volunteer for a no kill dog rescue - I don't work with any rescues which aren't. Even so, I know as they do that there are times when you have to say goodbye and prevent suffering. This was the case with you too, I am sure.
Please don't be hard on yourself. You were responsible in taking out insurance, kind and caring in taking on a cat with an injury and in most other circumstances your insurance would cover illness and injury, don't let this put you off.
The vet was being very niaive in saying that she never thought she would be negotiating over money to treat animals - it happens all the time and so often an ill animal might not even get as far as her surgery or the owner may not even consider or ask about treatment but just demand that the animal is PTS... and yes, too many vets will do so unnecessarily.
You don't fall into this category, ignore the stupid woman and try not to beat yourself up.
Perhaps in time fostering a cat or cats from someone such as Cats Protection might be something you could consider. As a fosterer you would have the support, financial and emotional, which would help.
I think there comes a point when you have to call a stop to treatment. We lost two cats to kidney problems, they were brothers. The first time we tried everything, money no object, but eventually ended up having him put to sleep (he was only 6 so we thought it was worth having a go at saving him).
3 years later his brother had the same symptoms and we said to the vet that once they had tested to see what the problem was, if the dianosis was the same,then we would put him down as there was no chance for him. The vet was all for treatment - and in fact we tried a couple of thing because we were convinced by the vet that it might help, but the end result was the same - he had to be pts. As well as the usual sadness and grief I felt devastated that we had let him suffer for another 24 hours, on the vets say so.
I said to the surgery that I wasn't happy and felt that they were only after more money (bit harsh maybe, but that's how it felt) and have made a point of not using that particular vet if at all possible. Still use the surgery, because in general they are good - I just ask for the senior partners!
I do feel that sometimes with the younger, less experienced vets that they are more money orientated - may be they feel they have to earn more to make an impression, I don't know. Must add that two of the vets there are our friends so I don't have a thing about vets, I just feel that we were let down on that occasion.
Having said all that, I think that some owners do go overboard in trying to save their animals when perhaps it might be better for the animal to have it put down and it must be difficult for a vet to work round that problem.
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