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Should I put 15 year old moggy to sleep?

(61 Posts)
MrsKilminster Wed 15-Nov-17 13:00:40

She sustained a horrible injury to her front paw on Friday - broken toes and sliced right through the paw. The vet stitched her up and did loads of investigations and £800 later she came home. The wound has now become infected and she's back at the vets. She's not insured and I'm not well-off and will have to draw the line with regards to how much more I can spend on her. Worst case scenario would be a leg amputation which I can't afford and as she's an old outdoor cat, I think this would impact on her quality of life. Best case scenario is that they try to treat the infection, she's in a crate and wearing a cone for weeks if not months and I have to keep going back to the vet and spending more money.

Again this would affect her quality of life and she's an old cat. I love her to bits but I need to do what's best for her and for my bank balance. The vet is trying to talk me out of euthanasia but I've lost faith in them anyway because they weren't transparent about costs in the first place (didn't consult me before they did anything). I'm so torn about what to do - she might get better but it could be a long haul. On the other hand, taking sole responsibility for putting her to sleep is very hard. What should I do?

Wolfiefan Wed 15-Nov-17 13:02:38

If they can treat the infection I would have to try.
I couldn't put my animal to sleep because of the cost. How about a 0% credit card or vet payment plan?

randomsabreuse Wed 15-Nov-17 13:08:52

You're right to consider quality of life if it comes to amputation - front legs are much harder to cope without than hinds. Also extra strain on remaining leg in front can worsen arthritis etc.

If it's ABs, AIs and rest that shouldn't cost too much all at once - assume they have swabbed to find what ABs should work.

Possibly 2nd opinion if you can get a recommendation.

Maryann1975 Wed 15-Nov-17 13:11:29

Honestly, if I’d have been told about an £800 bill for a 15 year old cat before the work was done, I would have had to say we would put her to sleep. It would have broken my heart to do so, but logically, we couldn’t afford that amount of money (plus now all the extras) when she may only have a few months left anyway. My mum spent over £1500 on exploratory tests on her last cat to find out why she kept being sick, nothing was conclusive and she died anyway, having been prodded and poked through her last months.
I know some people will say 15 isn’t old for a cat, but for the cats in my family that would be about average for them to go.
For a younger cat, I would probably pay, but for one so old already, I couldn’t make the budget stretch. Sorry.

Wolfiefan Wed 15-Nov-17 13:12:19

You won't pay just because she's old?
Don't get any more pets.

Branleuse Wed 15-Nov-17 13:17:01

We have a very elderly dog and have said that we will pay what we can from now on, up to may be a few hundred, but there is definitely a limit at this age. We wouldnt spend thousands when it might only buy her a month or two, but it would depend on your own circumstances. I dont think its particularly kind to an animal to keep treating them when theyre very old and falling apart.

whiskyowl Wed 15-Nov-17 13:23:18

It sounds like you have no real financial option but to put her down. But please consider not getting another pet since you clearly simply can't afford to.

Massive vets bills towards the end are part and parcel of the care that's due to them, and it is increasingly an expensive business. I say this as the owner of a sprightly 18 year old cat, who has cost a fortune over the years, but is showing mercifully few signs of slowing down! I am not blaming you for not being able to pay- reversals in life can happen between getting a pet and the end of that pet's life, and if you've become poorer or sicker, that isn't your fault. But it would be wrong to get another pet in those circumstances.

Do see if the blue cross or local charities can help, too.

Dumbledoresgirl Wed 15-Nov-17 13:24:11

Hmm, I don't know really. Normally, I would agree that a 15 year old cat may not have long left and if they are beginning to deteriorate and there is the prospect of multiple vet bills running into the hundreds of pounds, the more sensible thing would be to pts.

But this cat is not falling apart or deteriorating. She sustained an injury, a one off thing, not particularly related to her age at all. I don't know about amputation - I would take the vet's advice on what that would mean for her quality of life - but if you are only looking at treatment of the infection, then yes, I would definitely carry on paying for that. She may still make a full recovery.

DownTheChimney Wed 15-Nov-17 13:27:52

Money shouldn't be the reason to put a cat to sleep. She is 15 but could go on till 20+. Can you set up a crowd funding page or similar?

Lokisglowstickofdestiny Wed 15-Nov-17 13:29:53

I think you are right to consider her quality of life. How much would it upset her to be crated for weeks? I have an old lady cat and I know that she would hate being imprisoned for weeks on end as she has always been a very outdoor cat so regardless of the costs I would have to consider very carefully what the best course of action would be. Just because a condition can be treated doesn't mean that it should be.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 15-Nov-17 13:33:15

I had insurance and my cat got cancer in his foot just like you describe. Vet suggested amputation of the toe.

2 weeks later it had spread to his other toes, suggested amputation even further.

Like an idiot I agreed. The whole 6 weeks of his remaining life was miserable, it bought him no further time. He was on constant painkillers, crated, coned.

Never again. I should have had him put down immediately and wouldn’t hesitate again.

The operations and investigations cost nearly 4000. All under insurance.

My vet was ‘reluctant’ and I think with hindsight he was very wrong. I adored my cat and I think I did the wrong thing.

Wolfiefan Wed 15-Nov-17 13:37:09

This isn't cancer though. It's an injury.
I'm not sure about the wisdom of putting an elderly cat through an amputation.
Our girl was about 14 when they found a mass in her stomach. He opted to operate. It wasn't cancer. She lived for another 5 years.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 15-Nov-17 13:42:49

It looked just like an injury Wolfie - bloody, damaged, weeping tissue in the foot

It was just too much for a 15 year old cat

LaurieFairyCake Wed 15-Nov-17 13:43:46

Sorry, my vet was reluctant to put to sleep

LaurieFairyCake Wed 15-Nov-17 13:45:43

One thing I would do is keep treating the infection - it cost me £50 I think for an injected antibiotic. What’s expensive is further swabs and keeping them at the vets.

Wolfiefan Wed 15-Nov-17 13:46:21

OP clearly said the cat sustained an injury.
I think there's a fine line between what we can do for our pets and what we should. Sometimes the suffering of the treatment is worse than them being pts.
Laurie I understand your concerns. Boy cat had cancer in his gut. It wasn't something that could be cured. We opted for steroids and low dose chemo to try and give him some good weeks. He rallied. Then got hit by a car. I think it spread. I worry he suffered and we should have pts.
But our decision wasn't about money. It wasn't about trying to keep him alive at all costs. It was about what was best for him.

MrsKilminster Wed 15-Nov-17 13:54:16

Thank you all for your comments and all of them are valid. The vet has since called and is treating the infection (letting pus drain from the wound and more antibiotics) and keeping her in overnight. Will reassess in the morning. I've asked him to be crystal clear about how much everything's costing from now on. I think I'll take the advice about treating the infection and take it from there....

Maybe I should have kept up insurance for her but stopped when she was about 12 (just got too expensive and a lot of companies won't insure over a certain age). I have a dog who is insured though and will continue to do so.

randomsabreuse Wed 15-Nov-17 13:54:28

Ignoring money what are the options?

No amount of money makes the cat instantly better... hence the question.

There are plenty of instances in veterinary medicine where throwing money at the problem does not have the best outcome for the animal and simply prolongs the pain and suffering.

hotcuppaplease Wed 15-Nov-17 14:05:16

Elderly pets do cost a lot of money and it will only get worse.
I would get her put down. Palliative care for pets, it's just a money making for vets.

Wolfiefan Wed 15-Nov-17 14:12:46

This isn't palliative care FFS. This is treatment of an injury. confused

MrsKilminster Wed 15-Nov-17 14:46:49

Yes random what would be the options ignoring money? Life on 3 legs and at her age I'd probably want to keep her indoors which she'd hate as she's always been an outdoor cat. Best case scenario she makes a good recovery and keeps her foot/leg but whilst she makes said recovery, is cooped up in a cage with a cone for an indeterminate length of time.

It's a waiting game I suppose and reassess at each stage.

PinkSparklyPussyCat Wed 15-Nov-17 15:43:56

hotcuppa, have you actually read the thread? The OP’s cat has an injury. I disagree with what you say about palliative care. Shouldn’t we treat the cat with kidney disease or diabetes just so the vet doesn’t make money? Providing the animal has a quality of life then it’s worth treating.

OP, I’m sorry to hear about your cat. I think you’re doing the right thing by treating the infection and assessing at each stage. All cats are different and you know yours.

cherrycola2004 Wed 15-Nov-17 15:46:42

I’d take her to another vet. The vet should not be telling you what to do with regards to her being PTS.

Having spent so much I’d pay the rest and have the infection sorted. If it is just that.

lizzieoak Wed 15-Nov-17 16:28:54

Where I live there are charities that will help with the (horrendous) cost of vet bills. Do you have anything similar where you are?

I wouldn’t have thought an infection should be terribly hard to treat, nor that she’d be in a cone for months?

Wolfiefan Wed 15-Nov-17 16:32:13

I agree in this situation you have to reassess at each point. Treating the infection shouldn't be disgustingly expensive and may well prove successful.
Amputation isn't the same. If the cat has arthritis in other limbs or won't cope on three legs for some reason then it may not be fair on the cat.
It's hard.

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