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When is the time right for an oldie?

(18 Posts)
ifonly4 Mon 16-Apr-18 15:06:59

Has anyone put an old cat to sleep due to old age? How did you know it was the right time? Or if anyone has any comments on the following;

Lottie has hyperthyroidism and we've recently switched her over to liquid form as she wasn't swallowing tablets and spitting them out later or making her neck very stiff so I couldn't administer.

A month after starting new medication she started scratching around her face, particularly her one ear. She had lots of wax (she no longer washes), so vet cleaned and gave her a steroid to reduce irritation. Took her back again, ears cleaned out again. Been ok until last week when she started clawing at her mouth on same side. Her ears weren't too dirty this time, vet is sure she doesn't have mites, she had a dental last year and her teeth/gums are brilliant for an oldie. As it's unexplained, the vet is wondering if it's her medication, so has suggested she comes off it for a few days.

She's becoming increasingly more senile. The vet confirmed last week she has no/little eyesight. She doesn't hear very well either. She's still going outside (although finds it hard to find the catflap to return) and wanting food although I'm having to tap her bowl now as she can't find it, and sometimes steps in it. Half the time she's standing not knowing what do with herself or pacing. However, blood pressure within normal range, blood test last month pretty good, heart good and mouth brilliant (she had a dental last year) and she senses if I return home.

The vet said we do have to start thinking about quality of life. Also, she can't rule out a tumour developing/inflammation in her head with the loss of sight/dementia symptoms. If irritation isn't caused by her medicine then perhaps something isn't feeling right to her somewhere we can't see.

If she needs to go back to tablet medication, that'll tip the balance and make a decision. Also, if on the small chance she had a tumour/inflammaton, that'll dictate sooner rather than later. Sometimes it's just so hard to watch her, then other times I know she still has her basic instincts.

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Allergictoironing Mon 16-Apr-18 15:22:58

The saying is, better a week too soon than a day too late. It's a matter of whether you (and the vet) think she is still enjoying life or just enduring it.

QueenOfAccidentalDeathStares Mon 16-Apr-18 15:57:32

Hi,
I haven't made the decision, but Grumpy will be 20 this year, so it is always on my mind. almost daily assessing him.

I believe Grumpy has quality of life despite being blind (say 90% blind) and deaf. He finds his food and water still, uses litter tray without a problem. His nose can smell chicken at 100 paces ! Still very clear with his demands to be let out, wants food, wants water, wants lap etc... you may have your own ways of judging your cats quality of life.

i have no experience with cat dementia. you have to judge whether she has quality of life. it is a huge responsibility to make the judgement for them. the one thing i have learnt from grumpy is that give her a chance. He has scared me so many times. He suddenly loses weight, stops eating ...... we tweak the drugs and happy cat again.

if stopping the drugs doesn't help, then my only advice is to think how much tests you want to do for her.

Wolfiefan Mon 16-Apr-18 16:05:23

It is really hard. We lost old girl at 19. Had to pts. She had a thyroid issue and awful arthritis. She was fine on medication. And then she wasn't.
I always thought of having to pts to prevent pain and suffering. But the vet said it was also about dignity. She didn't have any. She wasn't doing what made her happy anymore. That was the decision made for me.
I cried buckets afterwards but it was a calm and dignified end to a long and happy/spoilt life. We suffered. She didn't.

ifonly4 Mon 16-Apr-18 16:48:36

Thanks for your replies. What isn't helping is that my boy saw the vet on the same day last year and she started talking about quality of life, so we're very much on the same time frame. I had him another 15 days, and it was so obvious when he'd had enough. It's harder with Lottie as the changes take place slowly overtime.

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viccat Mon 16-Apr-18 17:59:16

It's a difficult one, and I would be guided by the vet's and your gut instinct as you know your cat better than anyone.

I did want to say please don't let her out on her own, it is not safe for her if she can't hear or see properly. It would be awful if she came to danger outdoors now.

QueenOfAccidentalDeathStares Tue 17-Apr-18 09:59:54

I let grumpy out into an enclosed yard. He can't get out of it, but can explore and drink rain water. It is getting balance right. It really is hard. I do have to check the neighbours cat isn't about though.

ifonly4 Tue 17-Apr-18 11:18:47

Thanks for your replies viccat and Queen. Since moving to our house 4 years ago she's never left the back garden. Physically I don't think she could squeeze under a small area under our gate, but I've taken the precaution of putting the bins one side and some thick hedge cuttings the other.

I've now come to the conclusion it's not her medication causing the irritation. It should be out of her system now, and I've realised she only does it after eating, also over the last 24 hours also she's had times of eating on that side with her head slightly tilted, overly licking around her mouth afterwards and one bit of dribble.

I'm so close to letting her go. DH doesn't think it's time, so I guess I'm taking her to the vet later for follow up I have booked. She's not seeing her usual vet, so perhaps a different perspective might help on this side of things. Her existing vet has shown me her mouth twice and I agree, there's nothing obvious. If vet can't see anything wrong with mouth, I'll ask for ABs in case there's an unseen infection.

I guess we'll just have to see how she is then. Half the time she just walks past me, but I was upset earlier and she came to find me so again that makes me see there's still some senses working.

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QueenOfAccidentalDeathStares Wed 18-Apr-18 13:13:03

is she still clawing at her mouth?

Grumpy did this when he had a bad tooth. ... and the drowling too. ABs seem a very good idea.

Would she prefer pates or very soft food which might be easier for her to eat?

ifonly4 Wed 18-Apr-18 15:19:58

She saw a different vet who agrees her mouth looks good. She put gentle pressure on her jaw and around her face and she didn't flinch. Also checked her ears again.

She's had a long lasting infection. She hasn't clawed at it since last night, but for some reason she's more likely to do it in the afternoon/evening.

Luckily she's only eaten Felix pouches, Gourmet pates and the odd Sheba pate for months now. She hasn't lost weight since last week but I don't think she's eating quite so much - luckily half a Webbox yogurt thing on top attracts her!

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StillMedusa Wed 18-Apr-18 17:26:37

Facing the same issues here today.
Portia is 18, and while the vet feels she is in slow kidney failure, she has been doing reasonably ok... just thin, hard to get her to eat. But then the senile yowling started a few months ago which frankly drives us nuts. Yesterday she stumbled, walking and today there was blood in her wee (on the floor, she is getting hit and miss with bothering to use the litter trays).
I think this is probably the time to say goodbye , but I can't face it tonight so I am taking her to the vets tomorrow to see what they say. She will not take pills, being picked up terrifies her , but some days she looks perky and then I think 'not yet'

It's so hard... DS1 is away with his class (he's a TA ) on residential til friday and he would be gutted if he didn't get to say goodbye , but I held on too long to Morph and never want to do that again.

twofingerstoEverything Wed 18-Apr-18 22:00:36

I could have written that post, Medusa. My boy is 17. We love him to bits, but he freaks out badly if you pick him up (always been like this), tears you to shreds when applying flea drops, etc., so vets visits are really traumatic. He has now decided to crap anywhere in the general vicinity of the litter tray (up to a metre away), which is horrible because we don't always see it in time and quite often have to go on a poo hunt by following the smell. He can't retract his claws, so gets them stuck in things and panics because he can't move, but won't let us clip them. It's all a bit much to deal with on a daily basis, but sometimes he looks really perky and I can't bring myself to have him PTS. The toilet thing is a major issue though, especially as we rely on income from a lodger. It's one thing the family tolerating things, but quite another inflicting it on someone who is paying to live in our home. I really don't know what to do. Putting a pet to sleep for financial reasons seems so wrong, but I really don't know how much he's enjoying life these days.

ifonly4 Wed 18-Apr-18 22:32:20

Still and two, so sorry to hear about your loved cats. We were going through this with Lottie's brother exactly the same time last year. He had fast progressing kidney disease, but still lived life to the full despite deteriorating each day. Making the decision was the worst part for me. Once I'd mad it, I knew it was the right thing for him. Wish I felt like that now!

We've had a good and bad day. Lottie seemed to be walking into things earlier and urinated in the house for the first time today (she refuses to use a litter tray). On the good side, she's refused to eat chicken for a few months, but she's been demanding what was left on the side earlier - it's all gone now and I'm being summoned into the kitchen still. She's even purred for the first time in ages and seems quite perky. Hoping the ABs are what she needed and it's not that last lease of life.

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QueenOfAccidentalDeathStares Thu 19-Apr-18 12:56:44

@ifonly4 being demanding is a good sign, i hope the ABs do the trick.

@StillMedusa Grumpy frequently (ok 3 times in last 6 months) gets blood in pee. Assuming there is not a blockage (vet can feel for this, or rather if she is peeing freely then probably not), then 9/10 this is probably cystitis. Grumpy has amlodip, which are capsules that you can cut in have and mix the powder into lik-y-lix.

it might also be a source of infection in which cases AB could help.
i hope it goes well at the vet today.

isadorable Thu 19-Apr-18 14:30:13

I pts my much loved 18 year-old boy in August. I just knew it was time as there were too many things going wrong for him. My vet said she'd expected me much sooner so I felt happy he'd had excellent care. Blood in the pee can be a sign that their kidneys are failing/leaking. Not cystitis according to my lovely vet. He lived with it for more than a year but it is something to bear in mind.

maddiemookins16mum Sat 21-Apr-18 20:53:26

I had to put our lovely Fluffballmookins to sleep on Thursday. A little bit of my heart has broken.
She was 16 years, 3 weeks and 2 days old.
She'd gone downhill over a few weeks and on Wednesday eve she was very wobbly, not eating, and not drinking. I looked at her and knew.
I really miss that fluffy, snoring, butter licking, face prodding, lovely, funny cat.

QueenOfAccidentalDeathStares Sun 22-Apr-18 15:13:21

so sorry @maddiemookins16mum

they each have such great individual personalities

ifonly4 Mon 23-Apr-18 15:18:45

maddie, so sorry to hear about Fluffballmookins. Is so hard to watch them go downhill and make that decision. They are all such lovely individual characters.

Just an update. Wed-Fri Lottie wasn't that great, scratching had reduced, but she couldn't find her food even with our help, was walking into think and stood facing the wall/kitchen units a few times and I saw her stumble four times on Friday. We made the decision if we could get her through the weekend, we'd let her go today and I think she heard us as she picked up on Saturday. She's flicking her head occasionally and has been sick four times (which is unusual) so not out of the woods, but so much better.

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