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When is the right time to put your cat to sleep?

(13 Posts)
msrisotto Sun 23-Feb-14 21:51:43

My lovely childhood pet is over 20 years old now. He's looking so scraggy, can't clean himself so has matted fur, is off his food so is very skinny, is deaf, probably can't see too well, plods a long very slowly. Every time I visit him at my parents house, I'm shocked to see him and often wonder how he's still going!

He's a farm cat and lives in the garage where he has a heated blanket and lots of soft furnishings! He comes inside to sit on the hot pipes too. Going to the vets would possibly kill him...the only time he's ever been he literally ate his way out of the cardboard carrier box!

Dilemma because I don't know if he is hurting, we can't get the matting out and feel like we can't put him down just because he's old...any advice please? We all love him so dearly.

thecatneuterer Sun 23-Feb-14 21:57:56

I think you have to take him to the vet and you need to be guided by the vet. And NEVER, NEVER, NEVER use cardboard carrier boxes. They just can't contain a feisty cat and should the cat have a piss then the box will go soggy and the bottom will fall out.

So buy a proper carrier and take him to the vet. It might just be a case of a dental and a bit of a shave and he'll be fine for another few years or so, or there might be something serious going on. Only the vet will be able to advise you.

msrisotto Sun 23-Feb-14 22:00:48

Yeah we never used cardboard after that lol.

Ok, so my parents would never take him to the vet. I could and would if necessary but I am genuinely worried about taking him. He used to be a big feisty bruiser who really gave the vet what for and he's so frail and fragile now.

thecatneuterer Sun 23-Feb-14 22:02:47

Well for his sake he needs to go. It may upset him for a few hours, but not nearly as much as being possibly ill and in pain. And the vets are used to dealing with difficult cats.

cozietoesie Sun 23-Feb-14 22:22:07

He has to go, msrisotto. It may be that the vet can identify a condition which can be treated - such as arthritis - and give him a better sunset time. Equally, if he's ill and in pain, the vet should establish any problems and advise you. Grit your teeth, get a proper carrier and do it.

RandomMess Sun 23-Feb-14 22:23:20

Better a day to early than a day too late sad

wellmoisturised Mon 24-Feb-14 10:19:30

Echoing what everyone else has said but yes he definitely needs to see the vet. I had my beautiful tabby boy put to sleep last November and even though I knew it was the right decision, it was all made that much easier by the guidance from my vet. I also had the same fears as you in that my boy hadn't been to the vets in years, not since he was a young cat and had his front paw stung by a bee, and to be neutered, so when he became Ill I had massive anxieties about taking him to the vet, but he coped marvellously well, he even had an overnight stay for fluids and an ultrasound, he was ridiculously pleased to see me when I picked him up but seemed unscathed by his experience, he was looked after very well at the vets.
I hope all goes well for your old cat, you will also feel better once he has been seen.

msrisotto Mon 24-Feb-14 11:11:38

I spoke to the vet on the phone today and they said that he'd have to go under general anaesthetic to have the matted fur shaved and that he is too old for that. She basically said bring him in and he'll be put down.

I'd sooner call the vet out to do that than have him suffer the trauma of being taken in.

wellmoisturised Mon 24-Feb-14 16:52:57

Sorry to hear that op, I think it is his time now, purely because he is not eating to well and cannot clean himself properly, you know how fastidious cats are with their grooming.
I took my boy into the surgery, but it was on a Sunday and the practice closed at 11 so I was able to go in then, so there wasn't any other people/pets there.if it had been a week day me and my husband had agreed that we would have the vet come and do it at home.

msrisotto Tue 25-Feb-14 17:28:54

He's eaten two sachets of wet food today. Sorry, I know you've all said to get him to the vet which most likely = put down but I just can't when he's eating again and plodding along like this.

cozietoesie Tue 25-Feb-14 17:34:09

Goodness, no need to be sorry - you're in a very very difficult situation. Is there any way you could cut some of the matts off without causing him distress?

What is your parents' view on his physical condition?

thecatneuterer Tue 25-Feb-14 17:39:09

What I personally would do in this situation is have the anaesthetic and get him sorted out. Yes there is a big risk, but he might well make it (and vets can do a lot to make anaesthetics safer these days). If he doesn't make it well really there's nothing lost and if he does then he might have many more happy years.

I'm absolutely not saying that this is what you should do, but it would be my personal choice. And one I have made before and all but one of the cats did in fact survive the anaesthesia.

Although if it really is just a case of matted fur, and not a tooth/mouth or other problem, then I might be tempted to leave it, but the only way to know that would be to take him to the vet.

cozietoesie Tue 25-Feb-14 17:43:33

For myself, I'd agree TCN - but my own vet is very active for older cats and would try her darnedest to make their life better in the event of a problem. It's just that matting can really cause them distress - even if just in the sense of having the mats pull on old skin and cause troubles.

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