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Please help with decision about putting cat to sleep

(10 Posts)
Rosie295 Wed 10-Feb-16 13:40:28

I am really struggling with this decision.

Background: got rescue cat December 2010, had been microchipped (couldn't trace owner), was living rough for at least 6 months prior to capture, had tail missing, our vet thinks had broken pelvis at some stage, limp (left foreleg - arthritis ?broken in past). On metacam for arthritis. Rescue people confidently gave age as 9. Several vets confidently say at least 2-3 years older. SO probably around 16-17 now. I live near main road but they let me have her as they said she was the laziest cat they'd ever had - she did lie on her bed for the first 3 months, only moving for food, water and litter tray! Then she started going outside to lie in a sunny spot. We stopped the metacam (with vet advice) as she seemed fine without it. Was having a lovely life.

A couple of years ago she came in one night, seemed she had fallen in the pond and was limping much more, vet thought soft tissue injury. We penned her in corner of kitchen for a few weeks, leg a bit better but since then has deteriorated and now she moves very awkwardly. Back on metacam! She is also pretty much blind. Last Easter she stopped eating for a few of days, hid away in igloo, totally unresponsive. I thought she'd slip away peacefully in the night but she bounced back! Did the same in June. She is thin but vet thought not horribly so. Weight been stable for 6 months. She loves her food still, normal wee and poo activity, loves a fuss - as soon as she knows you are there she will roll on her back waving her paws, hoping for a tummy rub. I had been thinking about the euthanasia option as I feel she must be in pain - I watch her walk and she doesn't move like a normal cat. I know cats hide pain and she is particularly enigmatic smile Last time at the vets (December) we had a big discussion - testing for hyperthyroidism etc; they decided not to as they probably wouldn't treat because of other issues; the vet thought it wouldn't be unreasonable to go for euthanasia but also not unreasonable to wait and see. So firmly on the fence.

On Sunday we think she had some sort of neurological episode - we found her on the floor, lying in a pool of wee. She tried to walk but kept falling over. So we thought - easy decision. She lay on her bed and seemed very peaceful - she ate a bit and drank, but was a bit out of it. We hoped she might slip away but planned to take her to vets for the injection after the weekend as she wasn't at all distressed. However she was back to her "normal" self the next day - I have just been rubbing her tummy and stroking her while she purred and she is eating and drinking well. Using litter tray normally.

I'd rather let her go too soon than too late but she is sort of content in her own way. I hate having power over life and death. Although I am extremely fond of her I am not overly sentimental but just want to do the best for her. I wish I knew how much pain she was in. Any advice would be gratefully received.

cozietoesie Wed 10-Feb-16 13:51:57

Is she still off the metacam? (Arthritis pain might be eased eg by heat in a sunny spot but it usually doesn't improve with age.)

Rosie295 Wed 10-Feb-16 13:54:57

No, she went back on the metacam a couple of years ago when she had the soft tissue injury. She has a heat pad to lie on which she loves.

cozietoesie Wed 10-Feb-16 14:09:28

It's a difficult one. My own very elderly boy had what I think was a little neurological event a couple of years back and recovered seemingly completely within two or three days. (Cats often do it seems.)

He also has very severe arthritis - he's older than your cat as well - and needs assorted meds for that. But he's happy and still enjoys his life very much.

I think that's the question you need to put to yourself very clearly and objectively. Is she still a happy cat who enjoys her life?

Rosie295 Wed 10-Feb-16 14:34:05

Very good question, one I've been asking myself for a while. She enjoys being fussed and having food in her bowl but I feel she must at least be in discomfort when she moves (not something she does much though!) She yowls when she gets back to her bed before she lies down but that could be because she's dementing or maybe is in pain as she tries to think how to lie down comfortably. But she does spend a large proportion of her life lying down, apparently at peace. The vet hasn't suggested any other meds - we talked about amputation a year ago (elbow more or less knackered) but it was decided not worth the trauma - dodgy heart etc, can't really go out anyway because blind. Does your cat take anything stronger than metacam?

cozietoesie Wed 10-Feb-16 14:55:39

My cat has an experienced and indulgent vet who is fully cognisant of his particular circumstances. (Quiet quiet life, permanent electric blanket, people on tap to attend to every need, strict routine and so on.) Not every vet exercises such considerable professional judgement I think.

He also - despite his very advanced years - seems to have the general constitution of a steamroller!

Your cat doesn't sound too comfortable I must admit.

Rosie295 Wed 10-Feb-16 15:31:16

mm, that's what I think, I can't imagine she isn't uncomfortable but she doesn't give much away - if she didn't love being stroked so much or didn't guzzle her food with apparent enjoyment it would make the decision clearer. Maybe the end should be near but she doesn't seem unhappy, despite the discomfort/pain from arthritis! She does have as good a life as possible (sounds a bit like your cat's) - regular tummy rubs, big comfortable bed with heated pad, giant litter tray with cut down side so it's easy to get in and out, regular frequent meals of wet food she likes, dry food (grain free) on tap if the fancy takes her... (which it often does).

Thanks for your comments, I'll probably dither a little while longer and hope there is a change which clarifies things. At present she looks very relaxed on her cushion with the sun shining through the window.

cozietoesie Wed 10-Feb-16 15:36:34

All the best to her and to you.

GiddyOnZackHunt Wed 10-Feb-16 15:44:22

One of my elderly cats appeared to have no real quality of life to an outsider. But he was actually quite happy despite all his health problems. His last night alive he hopped up on to my lap and led on me purring away for over an hour.
Next morning something had changed and he was very not happy. I had him down the vet's and pts before 9.30am. He would have died slowly and painfully some time in the following 72 hours sad
The point is I've questioned my judgement with all my dcats but when the time arrived, I could see it clearly.

cozietoesie Wed 10-Feb-16 15:55:35

We all know our cats better than outsiders usually. You just have to try to be objective as well as loving and that isn't always easy.

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