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Choosing best option for elderly, ill cat

(34 Posts)
TheSecondOfHerName Fri 23-Oct-15 09:28:43

17 year old cat, we got her from Battersea when she was a few months old.
She was healthy until this year then has gone downhill.
She has developed congestive heart failure. Vet won't prescribe diuretics without blood tests for kidney function, and she won't survive the GA.
She doesn't seem to be in pain, but is no longer active, eating very little, bringing up phlegm once a day, and her tummy is big with fluid (ascites).

PTS, or let her go naturally?

Thank you in advance.

DaftVader36 Fri 23-Oct-15 09:35:30

I lost my 10 year old cat in July. I tried everything to keep her going. Lots of meds, syringe feeding etc. she was pts after 2 weeks, and I'm still devastated.

Vet told me to keep going until she had three bad days in row (she kept seeming to get better).

I do sort of wish I'd done it sooner, and spared her the pain. But I just never gave up hope.

Plus cats hide pain, so it's very hard to tell whether they are in pain or not. So you might think you're moggy isn't in pain, but she might be.

I changed vet during the process, as I wanted a second opinion (I wasn't confident in first vet, who clearly favoured dogs and was a bit noisy and shouty with her). And I would say, as long as you trust your vet, to listen to them but not forget you know your cat best.

Very sorry for you both. It's not nice. And my experience of her being pts was not great. I wish I hadn't had to do that, but there was no way I was leaving her alone.

TheSecondOfHerName Fri 23-Oct-15 10:11:09

She has lost a lot of weight, so is very skinny with just a fluid-filled tummy. She is no longer active, but still purrs when we stroke her and doesn't seem distressed. I just want to do what is best for her.

cozietoesie Fri 23-Oct-15 10:37:00

My Darling Twoago died at about 13 of renal failure and I still wish, after all of these years, that I'd let him go a bit sooner - the decision was eventually made for me but he wasn't a truly happy cat for the last little bit. I guess, at the time, I put my own feelings before his needs which is something I hope not to do again.

It's a very hard call but one that we many of us have to make. Do you think she's still enjoying her life?

fenneltea Fri 23-Oct-15 14:09:36

I made the decision to euthanise my much loved cat for the same reasons not too long ago. I didn't want to get to the point that I'd obviously left it too late, and then have to live with the consequences of that. I think we've got to question honestly whether we are keeping them going for them or for us sometimes, and it is the hardest, but most caring thing that we can do for our animals.

I do think that when you are questioning if 'now' is the time, then it probably is.

My one regret with my old boy is that I took him to the vets, rather than having the vet out to me.

17 is a grand age to have reached, and a 'natural' death isn't always a case of simply slipping away in their sleep sadly.

Nobody knows your cat like you do, and providing you try to keep your attachment and emotions out of the decision making (I know its practically impossible) then I'm sure you'll make the right choice.

cozietoesie Fri 23-Oct-15 14:51:53

I wouldn't be too distressed on that sole count, fennel. I have already decided that when Seniorboy's time comes, I shall, if I have to intervene and it's practical, be taking him to the vet's practice.

Cat's don't have foreknowledge and he's used to going to the vet - thinks little of it now because he gets to go home again afterwards. Whereas he's not that keen on people he doesn't know well coming in to his house and invading his space.

That's us of course and your boy may have been different - I wouldn't think too negatively about it though.

I'm very sorry for your loss.

villainousbroodmare Fri 23-Oct-15 15:08:59

Thesecond, sorry to hear your cat is struggling so.
I'm a vet. Death from congestive heart failure doesn't seem to me to be as peaceful and serene as a well-managed euthanasia. I think that Fenneltea's take on it is likely correct; if you're wondering whether now is the time, then it probably is.
A gentle euthanasia is dependent on achieving intravenous access with minimal upset to the patient. This is often easier to accomplish in the veterinary practice where there is experienced assistance, good lighting, a non-slip table at the right height, and the animal is able to feel at ease. Some animals are much better off at home. Some feel as if their home is being invaded. I recently put a dog to sleep in a forest under her favourite tree but she was most unusual.

cozietoesie Fri 23-Oct-15 15:16:43

Thank you for those insights, villainous.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 23-Oct-15 15:35:16

I am going to disagree with villanous I am as happy and feel it often goes better to perform euthanasia in a pet's own home. At least 60% of mine are at home and often just with the owner. My biggest regret is that on the terrible day with my beautiful girl that I did it in the surgery I wish I had brought her home and had a colleague join me there.
Though I do agree that congestive heart failure is a horrible way to go.
Whilst doing bloods to check for kidney disease is the gold standard, it is not compulsory. I feel if you as an owner understand all the risks of not doing the blood tests then it is possible to prescribe. Though frusemide alone would not be my first choice.

villainousbroodmare Fri 23-Oct-15 16:02:23

I don't think we disagree, Lone, I think it depends very much on the animal and home is definitely preferable in many cases.
It does vary; I went out recently to do a blood glucose at home on a diabetic cat as the owner felt that the elevation we had been seeing in the samples taken in the clinic might have been due to stress. The cat did not warm to the experience, hid when I arrived, was retrieved, bit the owner and fled, all within about one minute. He is very relaxed in the clinic. They are all different. OP will know her own situation best.

TheSecondOfHerName Fri 23-Oct-15 18:13:43

Thank you all for your input, which has been really helpful. She has gone downhill a bit today. Her back legs are weak now, so she can only walk with difficulty, and she is starting to become short of breath. I think we're going to have to be brave and take her for her last visit to the vet. :-(

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 23-Oct-15 18:27:09

It sounds like it is time then, if she's starting to go off her legs. I'm so sorry, it's the worst part of pet ownership.

FiveHoursSleep Fri 23-Oct-15 18:34:13

Poor old puss, some of these cats can go on for ages so euthanasia is probably the best option.
I am a vet who runs a small mobile practice, so do a lot of PTS in the patient's home, without a nurse. I'm sure you know whether your cat likes travelling to the vets or not, but if it's going to distress her then do ask if you can have a home visit.

TheSecondOfHerName Fri 23-Oct-15 18:41:32

Thanks FiveHoursSleep.

All of the children have known for a while that she was coming to the end of her life. They are taking her recent decline in various ways. Two of them have been close to tears and the other two completely pragmatic.

FiveHoursSleep Fri 23-Oct-15 22:17:55

It's can be really hard for the kids too, but good for them to see this part of pet ownership .
When I had to put our old dog down at home we had two and two, as well. The less bothered two seemed to be more upset a week or two after he died which I wasn't expecting.

Tiptops Sat 24-Oct-15 13:29:53

Lonecat Do you mind me asking what you would use as alternative/ in combination with frusemide? (I also have a cat with CHF who is being treated with frusemide)

Thesecond So sorry to hear about your poor cat. My cat went into chronic heart failure and was very poorly. I don't think leaving your cat without diuretics is fair of the vet - my vet described CHF as feeling like drowning. All I can say is that with treatment, my cat now enjoys quality of life and purrs and chirrups. However, we know he is on borrowed time.

No one could fault you for letting her go now, I just think your vet should have been supporting her with treatment.

TheSecondOfHerName Sat 24-Oct-15 17:03:04

Thank you all for your help. We had her put to sleep this afternoon.

TheSecondOfHerName Sat 24-Oct-15 17:06:26

As well as the heart failure, the vet felt an abdominal mass under the ascites which must have been growing quite rapidly and was unlikely to be benign.

villainousbroodmare Sat 24-Oct-15 18:37:58

She's at peace now. Hugs.

cozietoesie Sat 24-Oct-15 19:38:19

I'm so sorry, TheSecond. You did the loving thing though.

yeOldeTrout Sat 24-Oct-15 19:50:43


something2say Sat 24-Oct-15 19:55:17

Bless her little heart X
And bless you guys too x

greenhill Sat 24-Oct-15 19:55:18

You did the right thing flowers I'm so sorry about your cat though.

PinkSparklyPussyCat Sat 24-Oct-15 20:00:19

I'm so sorry flowers

timtam23 Sat 24-Oct-15 21:20:33

You made the best & kindest decision for her but it's never an easy one & I am so sorry flowers

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