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Not sure I'll know when it's time to let her go

(24 Posts)
NotYoda Tue 07-Jun-16 16:47:09

20 year old cat

She has hyperthyroidism (about 3 years) - pretty well-controlled on Vidalta, is totally deaf, stiff in the hips, and now has signs of kidney failure - just started on Renal diet. No kidney infection

About a month ago had a bad turn - listless, not eating/drinking. Given steroid tablet and subcutaneous rehydration. At that point I had been ready to let her go but wanted to take her home to say goodbye to the kids. Amazingly, she rallied.

She's eating and sociable, but has in the last couple of weeks stopped going upstairs.

Also (and this is the main thing), we've had 3 occasions when she has peed on my lap, and when we came home from holiday, she'd peed repeatedly on a leather chair, and peed and pooed on a side table. I think this is partly because she didn't make it upstairs to where cat litter tray is, so I've moved that downstairs. It may also be that she was missing us and a bit confused.

I've also kept her in one room while we are out. She sleeps a lot of the time but comes and says hello and sits on laps.

I always said I would not want to take heroic measures to "save" her at this stage of her life, and I don't want her to be in pain.

My question is - how will I know when she's had enough, and would her peeing in inconvenient places be enough evidence that its time to have her PTS? I feel horrible for asking that!

Thanks for reading. Wise words appreciated.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 07-Jun-16 19:29:48

Horrible situation but yes it sounds pretty near now.

You'll regret it if you keep her alive too long though, what does your vet think?.

NotYoda Tue 07-Jun-16 19:35:45

Thanks fluffy

Vet has said that cats almost never just pass away and we have to decide.

When she had her "turn" a month ago, vet said it was worth seeing of she'd rally, and she would tell me if she felt I should have her PTS there and then.

A while back, when I told her about the first time she weed on me, she looked concerned and said that cats don't want to be doing that, so that she would never chide someone for deciding to put a cat to sleep for that reason.

After I posted this, the cat has not come in to see us in the lounge as she normally would.

I sense it might be soon too sad

I say she's my first baby really. It's a long relationship we've all had with her, and a happy one

TheoriginalLEM Tue 07-Jun-16 19:44:20

it's so very difficult.

i work in avets and the best things ive heard are - listen to your gut. Your head tries to rationalise "she rallied negore" and your heart can't let go. That feeling in the pit of your stomach isvery telling.


"better month too early, than a day too late"

If she is still enjoying her food and enjoying cuddles she still has quality of life. A cat that hides away has had enough.


TheoriginalLEM Tue 07-Jun-16 19:44:41


RustyPaperclip Tue 07-Jun-16 19:55:24

I am so sorry for the situation you are going though and I think LEM has given good advice. I have years of experience of having to make that agonising decision, and also occasionally of having pets taking off to die peacefully on their own. You will know when the time comes, be brave and take comfort in the lovely life you gave her.

Parker231 Tue 07-Jun-16 20:03:49

We faced the same situation 4 years ago with our old cat - 19 years old and we'd had her since she was 8 weeks. She went slowly downhill but throughout the last 6 months agreed that it wasn't time yet to make the decision. Then she started getting confused - couldn't find her food or the litter tray and could only get upstairs onto our bed if we carried her. For us that was enough and after making the decision we sat up with her most of the night - she didn't seem able to get comfortable unless we held her. We took her to the vets the following morning. They were wonderful - took us straight through to one of the consulting rooms and left us with her afterwards to say our final goodbyes. It was horrible but I know we did the right thing. Unfortunately it looks like we may have to make the difficult decision soon about our remaining lovely old cat.
I'm sure you will make the right decision at the right time.

NotYoda Tue 07-Jun-16 20:15:09

Thanks all

I just picked her up and took her through to the lounge and she has sat purring on my lap for a while. She got up and went through to the kitchen for a drink.

On the plus side she's still eating and drinking and not hiding away like she did when she had her turn.

The seeing thing really threw me.

We'll have to just see.

NotYoda Tue 07-Jun-16 20:15:28

weeing thing

TheGirlOnTheLanding Tue 07-Jun-16 22:50:47

Oh Yoda, it's hard. You know, though. Our old boy went downhill very suddenly over a couple of weeks: still wanted a lap or to be near us but ended up just sleeping most of the time and seeming quite listless. He'd always been a chatty chap and he got quiet and tired. Everything just started to shut down and we knew he'd had enough. Hardest thing I've ever had to do, but the right thing for him. You'll choose the right time for your old lady and you'll know you let her go with dignity. Thinking if you.

unlucky83 Tue 07-Jun-16 23:24:04

It was quite an easy decision for my old girl.
She was getting very thin and frail - I had an appointment with the vet later in the week.
A couple of days before I discovered the kitten next door had sneaked in and was eating her food - so realised it was likely doing that more often she probably wasn't eating as much as I thought she was.
Also it reinforced she had lost her fight -in her younger days she wouldn't have put up with that (she saw it and just turned round and walked away) And I'd noticed a number of other similar things, she seemed to have lost interest in life.
Then she had a 'turn' was obviously very weak but not seemingly in pain. I managed to get an earlier vet appt and she spent the last few hours waiting for it lying in the sun with me stroking her - she was quite content.
At the vets I was given the option - medication and regular blood tests that would give her perhaps another few months or PTS.
She hated going in the car/to the vets - got really distressed, sometimes soiled herself. (She was a rescue cat - very timid, think had been abused so don't know if that was anything to do with it)
Years before she'd had an overactive thyroid (had it partially removed) that was discovered because she hyperventilated in the car (really scary for both of us) after that I had valium to give her before taking her any distance.
On her last journey she seemed calm but I think she was just too weak - if she got stronger she would suffer for every check up.
I couldn't put her through that - regular vets visits for a few more months of life.
Also I watched my grandmother die slowly in agony - and if I could have pressed a button to stop her suffering I wouldn't have hesitated. I thought we wouldn't let an animal suffer like this.
So I stayed with her - and it was very peaceful - I did ever so often wonder if I was too hasty - but in my heart of hearts I know I did the very best for her. Keeping her going any longer would have been for me not her.
I think you will know too - you might have moments of doubt afterwards but when the time comes you will know you did the best.
It is so hard that you have to make that decision. flowers

NotYoda Wed 08-Jun-16 07:16:23

Thankyou again, everyone. It's lovely of you to share your stories. I am emotional here.

I know I'll be distraught when she goes

And I do so agree about echoes of watching family members suffer

She seems a bit better today - meowed when I came down, eating her breakfast

Thankyou for the reassurance that I'll know for sure. I am feeling a bit more confident

NotYoda Wed 24-Aug-16 16:51:30

Bumping my own thread, having just read Lancelottie's about her old girl

Mine now has a lump on her leg which vet strongly suspects is a tumour

We are going away for a week on Friday, and (never done this before) I've booked paid cat sitter to come twice a day.
The vet thinks it might be time and has booked for me to bring her in last thing tomorrow, if we decide to have her PTS. Vet says that she thinks this week is time, even of we weren't going away

She's basically flaked out, not wanting to sit on us, but she's still eating and getting to the litter tray- that has muddied the waters for me.

But basically, I don't want her to die or deteriorate while we are away. I want to be with her when she goes

But I feel guilty. As if it's for our convenience. I am waiting for a sign, a crisis, but that's not really fair, is it? I am thinking myself in circles.
I think I know the answer, don't I?

cozietoesie Wed 24-Aug-16 16:57:45

Yes. I think you probably do. Hard though it is.

winchesterfan Wed 24-Aug-16 17:02:05

I'm in the same situation. My cat is 13 and she had a bad start in life, we had her from a rescue but they didn't know her background.
Last January she was very ill and almost had to have her pts, but she rallied and seemed much better.
In June this year she had a bad 2 days then rallied again & again today she gone downhill, but I don't know if it's the heat or what!
She still wants to eat and drink and will go In the litter tray, but she's curled up next to me looking so frail....I'm stuck not knowing what to do to!

tireddotcom72 Wed 24-Aug-16 17:16:08

We are in same situation. My 21 year old has been with me since she was 9 months old - a rescued feral cat that turned into the most loving cuddly girl. Her sister was put to sleep a couple of years ago - easier decision as kidney failure sent her blind overnight due to some haemorrhage. She moped around for months and has definitely been a lot sadder since - her and the younger cat tolerate each other but will never be friends. Over last few months she has got wobbly on her legs and very bedraggled looking. She isn't pooping in the litter tray but on puppy mats next to it but will go outside when she has access to garden. She still loves her food and will loudly demand it if she hasn't been fed by 7am. But I am questioning her quality of her life as all she does is sleep and eat. She still likes to sit on knees - as soon as you sit down she is there but doesn't sleep on my bed any more which I really miss. At the moment she is loving the warm weather and wants to spend her day's sleeping in the garden as long as she has a human out there with her. So for now we are letting her enjoy summer before having the horrible chat with the vet. I keep crying thinking about the inevitable.

NotYoda Wed 24-Aug-16 17:39:24

Thanks for your replies

Yes, it's weighing up quality of life, but that's up and down. About 3 weeks ago I caught her stalking a pigeon! I was so surprised. She's never been the best hunter (brought in long-dead things and tried to kid us it was her handiwork).

She will not come and sit on us anymore - that's a biggie. She was such a nervous cat when we got her (age 2 or 3) but in the last decade or so she's just been so soppy with us. Until the last couple of weeks.

tired - it sounds like yours isn't there quite yet. I would watch and wait a bit longer, but this holiday is bringing it to a head. I don't want her to die when we are not here

winchester - what does the vet say? Is she on any medications? We kept mine going happily on thyroid med for about 3 years

cozietoesie Wed 24-Aug-16 18:15:07

Yes. It sounds as if she's withdrawing into herself, doesn't it?

winchesterfan Wed 24-Aug-16 18:55:21

No, she doesn't have medication. To be honest there's no medication needed for her, her body basically shut down last year after she went into shock due to fireworks. She ended up with a form of hepatitis which the vets have assured me she has recovered from, but it's just left her weak and as she is elderly I don't think she's strong enough to return to her old self.
She's still a handful though, stealing from from the kitchen side and drinking everyone's left over cups of tea!

NotYoda Wed 24-Aug-16 19:02:49

Oh what a horrible thing to happen winchester

cozie yes

something2say Thu 25-Aug-16 21:49:35

Hello everyone I'm in the same boat. Got an old British blue shorthair with the most gorgeous face. Has been losing weight for yonks, very wobbly, on special food for his kidneys.

Last week tho, he almost hit me which he doesn't do. He tries to curl up on the floor next to me and it takes him ages to get down. He gets so far but then his hips trouble him and then he goes flump! And he's down. Well I couldn't bear watching him struggle and I reached out a hand to him and touched his body and he went for me. AND more worryingly, he didn't try to make up which he would always do if we had a fight eg over me cutting his nails. That said ,ore than anything.

So I was terribly worried. Obv we know this is going to happen some day but I wasn't prepared.

Anyway he was fine the next day, day to his cuddly self. But he's 16 so I it to come just like all of you.

How are yours doing?

NotYoda Wed 31-Aug-16 19:04:05


We decided to have her PTS last week. I was waiting for that "sign" and it wasn't quite what I'd expected, in that I picked her up and sat her on me and she lay there for about 30 mins with me stroking her. This is the first time in weeks she'd been happy to do that, and I just thought that we owed it to her to let her go peacefully and not risk her being in more pain. We talked about all the things she used to do and couldn't do anymore. And s the fact she wasn't comfortable.

I was not 100% sure though and struggled with some guilt afterwards. She did go peacefully though, with me, my DH and one of our DCs there. I took a picture of her with my son, when he was a baby, to go with her. I just really miss her. I wish I could feel at peace with it but I don't yet.

We went on holiday and found a stone on the beach which we will etch with her name and put under the bush where will scatter her ashes. I am crying as a type this. She was my baby really. Such a good cat.

Thankyou to you all.

cozietoesie Wed 31-Aug-16 19:12:33

I'm very sorry, Not.

Peace will come. If it helps at all, the cat that I didn't intervene with - Twoago - is the one that I feel worst about. It's a hard thing that you did but it was the right and loving thing.

NotYoda Wed 31-Aug-16 19:41:40

Thankyou cozie

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