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How to know when it's "time"?

(23 Posts)
RockCrushesLizard Wed 05-Jun-19 17:20:24

I have an 18 year old cat who, until about the last year or so, has seemed really well.
He's gradually been loosing weight and condition. He has long hair and has been getting mats, which I trim out.

About 6 weeks ago, he was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid, and started on medication for it. Initial tests looked like it was helping.

However, now that the hyper/starving thyroid related behaviour has stopped, he just seems confused all the time. He's sleeping in the litter tray, and often has dried poo/litter stuck to his fur. He's also still really skinny, (he's 3.4kg, his normal weight was 5.3) and his coat is in terrible condition - dusty etc, I think he's stopped grooming himself.

He also keeps getting beaten up by other local cats when he goes out, but is miserable when made to stay in.

I guess I feel like the quality of life is going, so maybe it would be better to put him to sleep. But on the flip side, I feel he's not ill per se, so I should just try to keep him going for however long we have until nature takes its course. Then I feel like that would be for my benefit rather than his.

I'd really appreciate any advice or experiences.

OP’s posts: |
Toddlerteaplease Wed 05-Jun-19 17:42:56

I suddenly realised that my cats behaviour was different. The light had gone from her eyes and I just knew she'd had enough. She had very bad heart disease, which she was never unwell with. But she then got kidney failure and went downhill very quickly. I just knew it was time.

RockCrushesLizard Wed 05-Jun-19 22:06:27

Thank you for sharing that. I feel like it's not that clear cut for me yet - he's still him, but I don't feel like he's content.

OP’s posts: |
Tavannach Thu 06-Jun-19 03:53:47

2 things the vet said might help -
"Is she having more bad days than good days?"
"Better a week too soon than a day too late."
Everyone tells me I made the right decision, but it is terribly difficult, both before and even more so afterwards.

Toddlerteaplease Thu 06-Jun-19 07:49:10

It was when I kept finding Maia curled up in corners, that I realised she wasn't 'my Maia' anymore. She had a beautiful and peaceful death. Cuddled in my arms.

Vinorosso74 Thu 06-Jun-19 08:17:35

Our old girl just kind of gave up. She was 15 diabetic, had IBD, she'd had various other things wrong over the previous 2 and a half years but we just knew.
I'd already had the conversation with our wonderful vet a few weeks before when she'd been off but she bounced back. I took her in with what seemed another bladder infection but she'd lost more weight (was under 2kg). We tried an antibiotic injection but later that night we knew it was her time as she wasn't able to walk and it was like a light had gone out so I called the vets first thing. It was very peaceful, the vet let me have her on my lap. They gave us time before and after to say our goodbyes.
Our neighbour had a cat who was nearly 19 and she just went peacefully in her sleep but so few do that.
flowers for you as it is difficult but you do just know.

RockCrushesLizard Thu 06-Jun-19 20:20:54

Thank you all. I think it's not quite yet, but I suspect it's soon.

OP’s posts: |
isamonster Thu 06-Jun-19 20:46:14

I went through the same as you. Skinny 18 year old with kidney disease mostly under control and then thyroid problems on top. Started not using litter tray, confused and howling at times, mats in his fur. For me, I just knew it was time when one lovely morning he followed me out into the garden and he wobbled. His legs were trembling.

You love him and you don't want him to go but there comes a time when you have to do what's best for him. I know how tough it is. Be kind to yourself. I think you'll know.

madcatladyforever Thu 06-Jun-19 21:25:43

I have an 18 year old cat with hyperthyroidism, she is fairly skinny but now finally she is on the right dose of medication she is skinny but well.
She has been close to being PTS three times but each time she recovered and my nerves are shredded. They will have good days and bad days and when they are sick they are very sick.
At the moment she's grooming, silky, loving (loves to curl up wherever I am with her paw on my arm) and always hungry.
I would get your cats bloods done, it sounds like he isn't on the correct dose of medication to me.

viccat Thu 06-Jun-19 21:29:14

My 17 year old just seemed really unhappy all the time. She had hyperthyroidism and kidney disease, both treated successfully for a few years with medications and diet. But in her final 6 months she lost a lot of weight, went deaf, had dementia symptoms that caused her to yowl a lot especially overnight and then lost interest in food even though she had loved food all her life.

I felt like I could have kept her going for a few more weeks, even months possibly, but she was only going to get worse. It helped me to read euthanasia can be about preventing suffering, not just about ending suffering. I booked the appointment a few days in advance for a quiet time of day and we had lots of cuddles and I gave her all her old favourite treats in her final days. She was always a feisty, independent girl and it felt right to let her go before she was completely miserable all the time (as kidney disease can make them feel really unwell). My vet was very supportive so that helped.

SheSnapsThenSheFarts Thu 06-Jun-19 21:36:44

We made the decision when no medication was working any more. I would have paid whatever for medication to keep my boy healthy but when his hyperthyroidism ran away with him we decided it was the kindest thing.

Tavannach Fri 07-Jun-19 20:21:25


I felt like I could have kept her going for a few more weeks, even months possibly, but she was only going to get worse. It helped me to read euthanasia can be about preventing suffering, not just about ending suffering.

It really helped me to read this. Our situation was very similar. The painkillers didn't always seem to work and so although she was still having good days I reached the decision because I didn't want her to degenerate slowly and with pain. My family and the vet were very supportive, but she was my childhood cat and it was very difficult to reach the decision.

RockCrushesLizard Fri 07-Jun-19 22:46:46

Viccat - that's a really useful insight thank you.
I do feel like I'm balancing how many good times he has left with how much poor quality time he needs to go through for that good time.
The idea of preventing him suffering really resonates with how I'm feeling, so thank you.

OP’s posts: |
sueelleker Mon 10-Jun-19 09:09:34

We lost our 17 1/2 old cat at Easter, She was hyperthyroid, but coping. Then we noticed she was spending all her time curled up in a corner that she never used before. We got an out-of-hours vet in; and while she was being examined started having seizures. We decided it was time. We're looking to rehome another, but haven't had any luck yet.

Ilikesweetpeas Mon 10-Jun-19 09:14:17

I'm looking at my lovely dog and having the same thoughts, she's not herself anymore thanks

Ilikesweetpeas Mon 10-Jun-19 09:14:55

Posted too soon!! thanks for those of you who are going through this, its heart breaking

RockCrushesLizard Sat 15-Jun-19 09:27:16

My boy was PTS yesterday.
He had a bad weekend, needed fluids/antibiotics for an abscess on his jaw, and was being medicated for blood pressure. But when we went to review yesterday, he'd lost 750g in a week, despite being on lots of meds, and it was definitely time.

I wish now that we'd done it last week rather than subjecting him to bloods, X-rays/scans etc. (Nothing invasive as I'd already decided that that wasn't fair). The vets seemed to think he could bounce back and have a good amount of quality time left, so I went with it, and probably that would have been the outcome for some cats, but that wasn't his story.

If I hadn't done the tests/extra week, I'd have been wondering if I'd done it prematurely and he could have had longer, but I wish I'd gone with my gut last week.

OP’s posts: |
Vinorosso74 Sat 15-Jun-19 12:59:05

So sorry he's gone flowers. Don't regret the tests last week; you gave him a chance. I would have likely done the same.

ScreamingValenta Sat 15-Jun-19 13:03:54

I'm sorry for your loss. flowers I had my 18 year old cat PTS last December, and I too struggled to know when it was the right time. We can't see into the future, we can only do our best based on what we can see at the time - as you say, if you hadn't had the tests, you would always have been left wondering if he might have had longer - as it is, you gave him absolutely every chance you could, and the tests meant you could be sure it was his time to go.

HuggedTheRedwoods Sat 15-Jun-19 19:59:52

I'm sorry you had to let him go. Dont be hard on yourself with the 'what ifs', you did what you thought was right for him at the time. flowers

yourelaughing Sat 15-Jun-19 20:09:40

I'm sorry that you had to go through this, it's very difficult and you did what was right for him, he isn't suffering anymore and that is what matters. flowers

RockCrushesLizard Sat 15-Jun-19 22:29:09

Thank you all. You were right too - I did know it was time

OP’s posts: |
Tavannach Sun 16-Jun-19 01:06:39


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