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How do you know when it's time?

(17 Posts)
5000candlesinthewind Thu 05-Jan-17 10:06:57

I've never had to make that call before and could do with some advice.
My cat is nearly 18. He went very skinny a year ago but the vet couldn't find anything wrong with him, he still eats an ok amount. His legs are hurting a lot though and he is getting stiffer by the day. He just doesn't seem happy any more sad

Is this reason enough to put him to rest? I don't want to drag out his time here but also don't want to say goodbye to him when he could have longer.

PenguindreamsofDraco Thu 05-Jan-17 10:14:33

Quality over quantity. Could have longer, but for what? A longer life of being unhappy is not, for a cat, better (in my view anyway).

Oh it sucks though. Words are very easy, but when you're looking at this little bundle of fur and bones and imagining not having them any more it is hard hard hard. I'm sorry sad

Wolfiefan Thu 05-Jan-17 10:18:22

Does he have arthritis? Is he on any pain meds? Our girl was 19 when she suddenly went downhill but before that she was happy on tramadol for arthritis pain and a heated whelping pad for cold evenings.
Has vet checked for thyroid issues?

comehomemax Thu 05-Jan-17 10:21:30

Sorry OP, it's really hard. I've done it twice - the first time I waited too long. My lovely old girl was struggling but I kept waiting as, like you, I didn't want o lose her if we had more time left. Sadly, cats go downhill very quickly and tend to hide discomfort so by the time it's visible, it's already a struggle for them. I wish I'd made the decision a couple of weeks earlier. I can honestly say, I felt her relief when we finally allowed her to go.

With my second cat, I decided to let her go when she was deteriorating but her quality of life had finished beyond the things she enjoyed. She was struggling with her breathing and just couldn't get around. Our kind vet told me we could keep treating her with injections and manage/prolong but we knew that would be stressful for her. So we let her go peacefully while she still wasn't in pain. You may be "too soon" by weeks/months only but it's better than being too late.

I'm sorry OP, you must be so close. 18 is an amazing age! Only you can decide, knowing the cats personality if they are still getting enough quality of life, but please don't worry that you will be acting too quickly - that a never the case in reality.

5000candlesinthewind Thu 05-Jan-17 10:26:38

Ive had him over half my life, can't remember a time without him. He's been an annoying little thing but I love him so much, I'm the only one he's ever completely trusted.

So do I just tell the vet I want him put to sleep or do they have to decide? There are more meds he could have but it would be a struggle to afford them and I'm not sure how much quality he would actually get out of life.

Hassled Thu 05-Jan-17 10:32:00

It is incredibly hard - I went through it with a 17 year old cat who'd been by my side during some hideous times. It was awful - I really sympathise.
With us we slowly realised he just had no quality of life - he was miserable most of the time. One day I rang the vet and said I thought he should probably be PTS, they said bring him in now and I could tell they agreed with me. They were lovely, and the process itself was very caringly done - the cat was on my lap having a cuddle when he had the injection. It was sad, but not traumatic. I'm sorry you're going through this.

Wolfiefan Thu 05-Jan-17 10:35:55

I wouldn't put an animal to sleep instead of medicating it. I would put an animal to sleep if the treatment would be traumatic or wouldn't relieve suffering. I think not giving medication a go would be unfair. Is he not insured?

5000candlesinthewind Thu 05-Jan-17 10:56:28

He was, but then things became very hard financially and we had to cut back. He's only ever needed his boosters but hates going. It stresses him out so much.
I'm going to make an appointment and see what they say

Littlemissindependent Thu 05-Jan-17 12:12:08

No advice but I'm in a similar position. My old lady is 19, her back legs aren't the greatest and she doesn't seem to do much other than sleep and eat. Reluctant to Pts while she seems content but also don't want to wait too long to make the decision. It's hard.

darumafan Thu 05-Jan-17 15:48:25

I had to make this decision yesterday. My lovely old girl was nearly 18, she went downhill very fast. We took her to the vet who confirmed what we already knew, I held her in my arms and my OH and son stroked her head. It was unbelievably sad but it was the best thing for her, one final act of love. We found her as a tiny kitten and told her that we would look after her, that is exactly what we did last night.
The house feels odd today, our other cats seem discombobulated. They have looked for her in all her normal hidey holes.
The vet was fantastic, very gentle and calm with her. She didn't even seem put off at the sight of my 6 foot, rugby playing son sobbing over a little tabby cat.
We made the right decision by Mallory cat, I think that you really will just know.

mistermagpie Thu 05-Jan-17 15:56:27

I think you just know. With my boy it was when I realised that he was unhappy more than he was happy and his favourite things (food, mainly...) brought him no pleasure anymore. It is heartbreaking, I had had him since I was a teenager and still miss him but sometimes the kindest thing is to say goodbye.

Don't be scared of the end. When I went to have him PTS they gave him an anaesthetic first so he would feel nothing at all, and just seeing his body relax made me realise how tense and uncomfortable he must have been. It was very peaceful and the vets were so kind and let me have plenty of time with him. It's so sad, but it wasn't scary or unpleasant and and I am proud to have loved him from day one, right to the very last day.

5000candlesinthewind Thu 05-Jan-17 16:24:31

Thanks everyone. We're booked in for tomorrow so I'll see what they say.
How do they do it? Is it injection? He goes mental at his boosters, they can barely get it in to him. I'm worried his last moments will be terrifying for him sad

Hassled Thu 05-Jan-17 17:47:46

It is an injection - but you'll be holding him and making a fuss - you can make sure he doesn't see the injection coming. It'll be OK.

TrustySnail Thu 05-Jan-17 17:56:03

So sorry to hear this, 5000candlesinthewind.

If it does turn out to be the right time to say goodbye, the vets will do all they can to make the last moments tranquil, if . My cat, who always reacted angrily to needles, was given sedation before the final injection, so she was able to fall asleep peacefully on DH's lap.

TheMysteriousJackelope Thu 05-Jan-17 18:04:16

I could tell when both my cats needed to leave. They both pretty much lay down for nearly all the time, hardly ate or drank, and lost a lot of weight very quickly. They let the other cats take food out from under them and couldn't make much effort to eat.

One had arthritis and he had tramadol for quite a while which did help until he contracted his final illness.

For both our cats the vet brought in a heated bed for them to lie in. I was able to hold and stroke them first, then stroke them as they were sedated. They then had an injection which stopped their hearts while they were asleep. The oldest cat died the instant he was sedated as he was so weak. Both cats were cremated and I have their ashes in my home office as I couldn't bear to bury them out in the wet, cold, mud of our garden.

My remaining cat is elderly and disabled. I asked the vet when it would be her time and he said as long as she was able to eat, drink, use the litter tray and clean herself (I have to brush her fur several times a day) and wasn't in obvious pain she was getting a reasonable quality of life.

timtam23 Fri 06-Jan-17 22:09:49

Sorry to hear this. I had to make the decision for both of my elderly cats (they were both 18). With the first one I left it just a bit too late, we had to make a mercy dash to the vet in a big hurry and it was very sad to see her decline so much. My other cat we had put to sleep before we reached crisis point and it was much more peaceful and less upsetting for me. It was very quick for both cats so I think they were both very ready to go, to be honest. Vets were great and very understanding both times & allowed me to clip some fur/whiskers etc

kalinkafoxtrot45 Sat 21-Jan-17 06:45:04

We are in this situation now. Our boy is only 15 but has never had great health and now no longer wants to eat or drink. He has got so skinnny and listless. DP doesn't want to give up, but I think it may be time.

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