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Very upset after euthanasia of our cat - any vets about? (Upsetting.)

(34 Posts)
SweetpeaToadfoot Wed 23-Mar-16 21:10:19

Our beloved family cat died today after 13 years of being our devoted companion. We are bereft. I am posting here because DH and I found the euthanasia even more upsetting due to some sort of reaction our cat had to it. I wonder if anyone has heard of this before and if they can explain it to me?

Our cat was on morphine already and so she was very sleepy and tired. However, when we arrived at the vet's she raised her head, gave a little miaow and started purring while we stroked her and spoke to her. The vet said she was going to give her a strong anesthetic first of all and that our cat would fall into a very deep sleep but her eyes would remain open. Then she would administer the second injection which would stop her heart. We wanted to be with our cat for all of this. We were still stroking our cat at this point and she was purring and calm.

When the first injection was administered (via a catheter she already had in place in her leg), however, our cat seemed to become distressed and it was awful. She stretched out her front legs, lifted her head and gave a 'miaow' that sounded distressed. We called the vet over and the vet said it was normal and a muscular reaction to the anesthetic. She then listened for a heart beat and our lovely little cat had already died so the second injection was not needed.

I can't stop thinking about her reaction to the anesthetic and whether she may have been in excruciating pain even for those very few seconds (it was probably 4-5 seconds all in all until she became still again). I have tried to research on google but all I can find is references to muscular reactions like dogs/cats' legs straightening and raising their heads - but not actually making a pained sound like our cat did.

I know there is nothing I can do now and we did our best for her. But along with the grief I have this horrible, nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that maybe she suffered in those last few seconds and it makes me feel even more wretched. Thank you if you have read this far.

lavenderdoilly Wed 23-Mar-16 21:26:59

Not a vet. So sorry that your old friend has died. flowers

Fugghetaboutit Wed 23-Mar-16 21:28:33

I'm thinking it was a reflex reaction by what you've said. Poor you hope you're ok

SweetpeaToadfoot Wed 23-Mar-16 21:33:54

Thank you for replying. I really, really hope it was a reflex and not a cry of great pain. Maybe I will never know. Can a muscular reflex cause the voice box to emit a sound??
I'm feeling utterly crap. DCs were extremely upset when we told them after school…they adored our little cat and she was here well before they were even born. She was a huge, huge part of our family, every day, for such a long time. I don't know what to do with myself sad

LittleRedSparke Wed 23-Mar-16 21:37:20

My cat died a couple of weeks ago and we are all still finding it hard, similar situation, he was 17 and 2 dcs that he was here before. The first week was the hardest, with lots of tears from all of us.

try not to dwell on the last bit, it was most likely a reflex - and from what you say in your op, i think she was loved by you and your family and thats the important thing


Longtalljosie Wed 23-Mar-16 21:39:42

You poor thing...

Was it a very odd, loud, haunting meow? My cat did that twice after having a nasty reaction to anaesthetic after having an abcess removed. He was home from his operation and sniffing around the kitchen and suddenly made that noise and fell over. I was told by the vet that it's a noise they make when their heart slows down.

I'm so sorry. But remember she had a lovely life, she was as lucky to have you as you were to have her x

Vinorosso74 Wed 23-Mar-16 21:41:08

I'm so sorry for the loss of your furry friend. You loved and cared for her all those years so she had a happy life. Sending flowers.

SilentSpring Wed 23-Mar-16 21:46:25

When my grandpa was dying and had been administered morphine (pain due to terminal cancer) he immediately curled up in the foetal position, started shaking/trembling all over and then tried to lift up his head and let out a big groan and died. I don't think this sort of thing is that uncommon in animals or humans on their deathbeds.

Sorry about your cat flowers

SilentSpring Wed 23-Mar-16 21:47:27

To answer your question, it was probably a reflex

SweetpeaToadfoot Wed 23-Mar-16 22:12:34

Thank you all.
LittleRedSparkle I am sorry you lost your cat too. We have cried so much today. I had to be at work in the afternoon (our cat died at 10am) and it was incredibly hard not to just crumble.
Longtalljosie yes it was quite loud, I guess, relatively, coming from quite a small and very sedated cat (she had been purring in the minutes before the anesthetic was given).
SilentSpring that sounds similar. I was with my Dad when he died and he appeared distressed for a few moments just before he actually died…that haunted me too for a long time, but I was assured by the hospice nurses that he himself would have been unaware of it. I'm sorry about your grandpa.
Maybe these upsetting things just happen sometimes at the moment of death. Hopefully the dying person/animal is unaware of them and they are only upsetting to the loved ones that are present. And yes, I need to concentrate on the 13 happy, happy years she had with us rather than those last few seconds. thanks

cozietoesie Wed 23-Mar-16 22:19:06

In the last little while, she would have been aware of nothing but being surrounded by love, Sweetpea. You did your best by her, as you said, and need have no nagging feeling.

The loss of her is something else for you of course. It will likely be a raw and dark night - but dawn will come.

Take care.

caravanista Wed 23-Mar-16 22:23:27

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

SweetpeaToadfoot Wed 23-Mar-16 22:28:13

I have never reported anyone before on MN but I have reported your completely unnecessary and trollish comment, caravan. Why open this thread - its title is pretty clear.
so - why don't you get stuffed?

ChubbyPolecat Wed 23-Mar-16 22:29:26

There are some right cunts on mn just lately

Sorry about your cat op flowers

Milzilla Wed 23-Mar-16 22:30:28

I'm sorry OP. You gave your cat a lovely life and a dignified/quick passing.

Let's none of us pay heed to the troll...

Thattimeofyearagain Wed 23-Mar-16 22:32:35


neonrainbow Wed 23-Mar-16 22:35:08

Fuck off caravanista what a fucking nasty thing to post.

Im so sorry for your loss op. Im sure it was just a reflex action from your little cat. It's never easy to lose a pet. At least she's not in pain any more.

flanjabelle Wed 23-Mar-16 22:35:26

Ignoring the cunt on the thread....

So sorry for your loss op. How sad for all of you. I think it probably was just a reflex, and seeing as she was so sedated anyway the chances of her being upset like that are really slim. It must just have been a reflex that she wouldn't even have been aware of.

Please just try to hold on to the fact that you gave her a lovely life and did right by her right until the end. That's the feline dream surely? To be loved and cared for and a true part of the family. flowers

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 23-Mar-16 22:37:19

Sweatpea from what you describe your beautiful cat went through the excitement phase of anaesthesia there is a stretching of limbs, sometimes they can paddle and sometimes they vocalise. They are not in pain or distress it is a reflex phase.
I'm sorry you felt so upset, but what I do know is that pets are always more relaxed when their owners are with them for the final moment. You did a very brave and special thing today thanks.

SweetpeaToadfoot Wed 23-Mar-16 22:41:03

Thank you. I see that post has been deleted already - very speedy MNHQ - maybe that poster is known to them?! Anyway, I hope he or she sorts out their issues, which they clearly have.

I'm off to bed now. Thank you so much for the replies and the advice. And thanks to all of you who have lost much-loved pets and of course much-loved people.

shggg245 Wed 23-Mar-16 22:42:36

I'm putting off making this decision for my 20 year old cat. Think of the happy times, you're clearly a kind person who gave this cat a lovely life. I echo pp who say it was a reflex action but totally understand that this would've been distressing for you to witness. In a way in glad you've posted this, as I will know what to

Finally - ignore the pathetic nasties, first time report to HQ from me also.

SweetpeaToadfoot Wed 23-Mar-16 22:45:43

Just seen your post, lone cat - thank you so much. That is exactly what I was hoping for - that it is a known reaction, including a vocalization.
We are glad that we were with her. It meant a lot that she managed to raise her head and greet us and that she started purring. She definitely knew we were there, at least for a few minutes.
On Sunday evening she was with us all on the sofa while we watched a film. That seems like eons ago although it was so recent. She went downhill so quickly but our vets were brilliant and I am grateful to them.
Thank you again to you all.

SweetpeaToadfoot Wed 23-Mar-16 22:53:22

shggg I wish you the best with your dear old friend. I have had the adage 'better a week too early than an hour too late' in my mind a lot in the last few days. In the end our cat really made the decision by herself as she just gave up, which is when the vet called us. Our cat was 13 which is not too old really but she was ill.
I hope you know when the times comes to help your dear cat on his or her last journey. It's the last thing we can do for them sad thanks 20 years old is awesome smile

Papergirl1968 Wed 23-Mar-16 22:54:55

Really sorry for your loss. I'm glad you were with her because my parents were able to see our cat when he was desperately ill at the vets but then had to wait outside while he was PTS. This was 20 years ago though so maybe things have changed.
Might be worth asking for a quick chat with the vet or one of the nurses who can reassure you to completely out your mind at rest.
Echo what others have said re thinking of the 13 wonderful years rather than the last couple of moments. The pain never completely goes but it does ease.
Look after yourselves.

EleanorAbernathy Wed 23-Mar-16 22:57:18

So sorry you've lost your lovely little friend. flowers

I had to make the decision for my beautiful 15 year old girl last year - and at some point she managed to swipe the vet and draw blood! It might sound weird but it makes me smile a little bit now - we say she died doing what she loved! (She never liked vets much, and I was proud of her deadly accuracy!)

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