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Can I ask when you knew it was time to let go?

(44 Posts)
UnbornMortificado Tue 10-Jan-17 21:00:04

I know this could be an emotive subject for any pet owner but my mam is really struggling.

She has two old boys (16) brothers. They were my childhood pets. They are showing signs of decline (kidneys and weigh loss) she wants to let them go peacefully together with the vet they trust.

Can I just ask how you realised it was time? They had an appointment at 5 today but she's put it back till Monday. I think she's struggling to be honest and I could do with some advice for her.

She really isn't a cruel person, she has always done the right thing by her dogs and has always said it's the last kind thing you do for your pets.

I think the big problem she has is that dogs can tell you when their in pain. With the boys she can't tell.

Thank you for reading. Any advice would be really helpful.

I do realise it's an upsetting question and I hope it hasn't upset anyone too much.

cozietoesie Tue 10-Jan-17 21:41:24

It is an emotive topic but don't worry about it upsetting people too much.

Personally, I take comfort from the fact that cats don't have foreknowledge. When their time with us becomes more difficult than pleasurable, I'd intervene these days. As a wise poster has said - 'when the bad days outweigh the good days'. (Or 'hours' even.) I'd rather they just 'stopped' while the sun was still shining for them, at least a little.

cozietoesie Tue 10-Jan-17 21:44:18

That's a hugely personal view of course. It's not an easy thing to contemplate.

LivingInMidnight Tue 10-Jan-17 21:47:46

I think when you start asking this question is probably when you really know it's time. Just takes a little while to sink in. It's bloody horrible, I'm sorry flowers

Autumnchill Tue 10-Jan-17 21:56:46

I just knew. He was in renal failure and right near the end lost weight and showing signs of being unsteady on his feet, he couldn't make it down the stairs properly. Other cat had visible signs of bleeding so much more obvious to know.

Horrible decision but to let them go together is nice and as someone said, they don't know what's happening. flowers

TrustySnail Tue 10-Jan-17 22:00:31

With me, it was when my cat stopped moving about. She had been ill for some time with a liver tumour, and was having monthly injections - she lost a lot of weight then became incontinent, though she was still eating and fairly lively- then she spent more or less a whole weekend just crouching miserably, so I knew it was time for her to go - and we took her for her last journey on the Monday.

MsMims Tue 10-Jan-17 23:19:23

Do you trust the vets opinion? What do they think? I know ours would tell us if he thought the time was right and we trust him enough to be confident in his opinion.

The last cat we had to have PTS I'm afraid we didn't 'just know' as people always tell you that you will. It was a horrible, difficult decision and I still second guess myself. By this point our cat was at a specialist veterinary centre and unfortunately didn't have the same relationship/ faith in that particular vet.

Just to say if your DM does decide to go ahead, the vet can do a home visit. I'd always choose this if it's viable as so much kinder for the animal to be in its own environment rather than at the vets. Hope you can come to a decision you're both at peace with flowers

UnbornMortificado Wed 11-Jan-17 01:38:53

Ms it's her decision, I don't think I've got the experience to advise her. She does trust the vets she's gone through it with her dogs before and has done so on the vets advice.

Thank you for all the reply's which I hope didn't cause anyone pain writing.

They break your heart. I think although she's second guessing herself she does know it's time.

I didn't feel knowledgable enough to give her any advice. I'm just going to show her the thread tomorrow, then at least she has some none-biased advice from experienced posters.

My Dad still works so I have offered to either go with her or be in the house when it happens.

Thank you I'm really grateful (as will she be) for the advice flowers

TheOtherGalen Wed 11-Jan-17 05:11:07

I remember one day thinking through things she enjoyed despite being old and arthritic: lolling in the sun, sitting on my lap, snuggling along my armpit at night, being petted. She had stopped doing all those things, and no longer sought contact or responded with stretchy paws and bliss face when I tried to cuddle or stroke her. There was no dramatic downturn in her health. She just gently got skinnier and and skinnier and slept most of the time. At some point I realized I couldn't remember the last time she'd purred. She was just existing. She wasn't actually enjoying anything anymore.

Most wrenching decision of my life. This was over eleven years ago and damn if I'm not welling up over it again.

The only comfort in any of it -- and it was small comfort at best -- was knowing that I'd upheld the promise I'd made by adopting her: to not only give her a good life, but also to give her a good death. I didn't wait too long. She didn't have to be in blatant, horrifying pain or distress for me to get the message. (The downside is sometimes I wonder if I couldn't have waited just a bit longer, had her for just a bit more time. But I'm willing to live with that question because the alternative -- waiting too long -- is too awful to think about.)

The vet came to the house, and she got to die on my lap, in among her familiar smells and touches and sounds.

The night I ended up deciding ... I'd crawled into bed, crying, and she hobbled her old self up to my face and made a chirp. I said something like, I don't know how to do this, I can't do this, can't you give me some kind of sign if this is what I'm supposed to do? And she nudged herself under the blanket, leaned her knobby spine against my chest, and purred.

My heart goes out to your mum. I'm glad you're going to be there with her. My mom-type was with me, and I was grateful for that, even though my real grief didn't hit until after she'd left, when I was alone. Hopefully your vet will be able to let your mum hug the bodies afterwards for a while if she wants to. That was important to me -- being able to really hug her without feeling like I was hurting her, and also, I really needed to know she was gone.

Shoot, I wrote a book. Sorry!

TheOtherGalen Wed 11-Jan-17 05:12:45

Er, the cat got to die in my lap, not the vet. That would have been awkward.

UnbornMortificado Wed 11-Jan-17 11:01:41

TheOther if it's any small comfort to you I've heard the saying (on here and the dog section) better a week too early then a day too late flowers

My mam has surprised me by hesitating she's very no nonsense. She has a bit of a menagerie, when she loses the boys she will still be left with 2 cats and 4 dogs.

They have lost 3 dogs in the last couple of years (all elderly no suspicious circumstances) and has made the decision for all of them.

Her own advice is that letting them slip away peacefully is the last act of kindness you do for them.

I'm at hers this afternoon so I'm just going to pass the advice (which I really am grateful for) on.

Again sorry if it's upset anyone, it's hard talking about it even years later sometimes flowers

Shriek Wed 11-Jan-17 11:26:46

flowers sorry for this difficult decision. Your boys have had 16 years of wonderful life with each other and human family! A huge gift given by you all and this another gift you can give them to prevent any suffering. I agree that by considering it might be time to part probably means it is. I would try not to angst too much about the actual day whether last week or tomorrow but accepting their time has come as another gift from you with kindness and peacefully.

I say this as one who lost a dear littledcat just a week before xmas when still too young, well under 10 but the decision that it was the right thing was easier because there was no hope of improvement any more.

I think that is my criteria that it will just continue to get worse and is no longer manageable.

It make actually saying its time any easier or less upsetting but I know what you mean about how to best know. Its not a perfect science. Its a sense of your own dcats comforts & happiness and how much they might be hiding.

My heart goes out to you flowers for you and your dmam

Shriek Wed 11-Jan-17 11:29:22

it *doesnt make actually saying ....

cbigs Wed 11-Jan-17 11:32:48

Op this is so hard . I have a 13 yr old dog and he has an x ray tomorrow to see what's causing his repetitive coughing . I was saying to dp the decision to put them down is awful I so want him to go in his sleep ( if he's at thy point) so you don't have to make it . sadand even more selfishly I don't want to bring him home for a last few days knowing it's coming up 😢😢 because it will break my heart .
However as others have said I think you can tell with cats if they aren't enjoying life anymore ( I have four of them too) they hide, they stop eating . I think your mum could ask the vet if they're suffering because knowing they're suffering makes it so much easier to do . You have my sympathies flowers

Botanicbaby Wed 11-Jan-17 16:13:43

Very difficult decision. My beautiful boy was 16 and a half, he'd gone blind a bit before that but managed wonderfully. I used to "supervise" him walking around the perimeter of the house sniffing here & there, he took forever esp when it was cold, I'm sure he knew I was anxiously hovering by.

I never wanted to let him go as had ended up with him since he was a kitten. But he had a stroke the vet said it wasn't going to get any better for him, I was completely unprepared and didn't think I'd be going home with him to bury. If I'd known it was best to take him sooner I would but only you or your mum can know. My heart goes out to you but 16 good years with kindness & love is a great life for themflowers

UnbornMortificado Wed 11-Jan-17 18:04:45

All advice has been gratefully received (if she wasn't opposed to all things Internet I'd consider a nc)

Her preferred vet is back on Monday so she's holding off till then, if either take a bad turn before then she will go earlier.

I think she just needed confirmation she was doing the right think.

cbigs I will keep everything crossed for you and your DDog.

Thank you again for all the advice on a difficult subject.

cozietoesie Wed 11-Jan-17 18:17:15

Might I advise you to advise her to really listen to whatever the vet says? They're unlikely - unless the situation is both dire and immediate - to advise a client simply to let an animal go but often they'll give you a message - either way - by what they say and the way that they say it. It's your Mam's decision, of course, but a vet can be real helpful and objective at such times. As she trusts the vet.

UnbornMortificado Wed 11-Jan-17 19:09:09

Cozie the vet told her she thought it was nearly time. The big problems the kidneys which aren't going to improve, she's wanting to do it before they fail altogether and one or both end up rushed in scared and in pain.

The vets really good she's been there at the end every times it's come to make the decision with my mam's DDogs.

She has kept them going quite awhile with medication. It wasn't till the last visit it was mentioned. One is slightly worse then his brother. If it was me I don't know if I could bear to lose two, they've been together 16 years she doesn't think it's fair leaving one behind.

They are lovely boys, very affectionate and proper characters.

Wolfiefan Wed 11-Jan-17 19:15:57

Bless you and your mum OP. It's so hard. I wished my old girl could talk at the end just so I knew I was doing the right thing. But I was. The vet made that very clear.
The advice I was given was do they enjoy doing what has always given them pleasure? Do they have dignity?
It's not just about whether they are in pain (which cats hide very well.)
Thinking of you, the brothers and your mum. flowers

UnbornMortificado Wed 11-Jan-17 19:35:46

I think she does have a fear of it being two soon. I've always had dogs the two I have said bye too, I felt and still do it was the right time.

Wolfie they've always been quite vocal yesterday one was struggling to meow. The weight loss is really bad and they've pretty much stopped going for walks. One of them used to take himself for a walk with my dad when he took the dogs out, I'm convinced he was confused about what breed he was supposed to be.

The daft buggers, pets can break your heart like nothing else.

Wolfiefan Wed 11-Jan-17 19:39:17

My old girl we got just right. My boy I worry I left too long. He was ill with cancer and ended up being killed in a traffic accident.
I think it sounds like the time has come. One of mine has been known to join us on a dog walk. Kitties are just over a year. When I collected them I told them they had to outlive old girl cat and make 20 please. We have just got a puppy. She's a giant breed and I know they are short lived. She will break my heart. They are part of the family.

UnbornMortificado Wed 11-Jan-17 20:31:59

I've seen baby wolfie's photo's (so's my mam actually) and she is beautiful.

My last boy was a bull breed I lost him at 9. Even 2 years later when his photo came up on FB memories I got teary. I didn't know your breed had a shorter life expectancy.

If you were in that situation would you let them both go together? That's what I'm (probably irrationally) upset over.

cozietoesie Wed 11-Jan-17 20:43:25

Which one would you 'choose' if not? Are they both very ill? And would the loss of a sibling depress the other?

UnbornMortificado Wed 11-Jan-17 21:05:17

Cozie ones deteriorated slightly more. They are both poorly without chance of improvement.

The vet has advised they both need the decision making and the difference would be weeks if that.

Yes they've always been together. It's not "choosing" one just that one seems to be worsening faster iyswim.

It's my mams choice which the vets agreed with. Even if one got at most a few extra weeks, if he's confused and grieving is it worth it.

There is two other cats but both sets stick with their siblings and don't really interact.

cozietoesie Wed 11-Jan-17 21:54:46

The decision is fairly clear then, I fear?

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