Putting a Dog or Cat Down: When is the Right Time?
The fact of the matter is that putting down a pet is one of the most painful decisions a pet parent can face. When does it become necessary to put your dog or cat to sleep? As you can probably imagine, there isn’t a single entirely correct or incorrect response. Your pet’s quality of life, your own quality of life, and whether or not your pet is suffering from a specific health condition or sickness will all influence when the appropriate moment has reached.
When to Put a Dog or Cat Down: Things to Consider
Even though it is always a difficult decision, euthanizing a pet might be the most compassionate option in specific circumstances, according to the ASPCA. Don’t forget to consult with your veterinarian for experienced, non-judgmental guidance. If you are faced with the decision of whether to put down a dog or when it is appropriate to put down a cat, visit your veterinarian. When faced with this tough dilemma, the following are just a few things to keep in mind.
One of the most apparent reasons to contemplate compassionate euthanasia is when a pet is suffering from a fatal illness, such as heart failure, cancer, or another incurable ailment, such as diabetes. It’s critical to discuss the condition with your veterinarian, since a specialist may be required in some circumstances. Don’t be afraid to confront your veterinarian with difficult concerns, such as whether or not the disease’s care impairs your pet’s quality of life, even if it does lengthen it.
Uncontrolled Pain or Loss of Mobility
Many pets, particularly large dogs, are susceptible to osteoarthritis, which is a gradual and painful degradation of their joints that occurs over time. Walking, running, getting up and down, jumping, and climbing stairs can all be difficult and painful when you have this illness. This condition can be particularly troubling for owners because dogs suffering from osteoarthritis might otherwise be in good physical and mental health. Pet parents may hesitate to put their pets to sleep in these situations since it is difficult to determine how much pain their dogs are experiencing on their own.
There could be alternative solutions available, or it might be time to talk about end-of-life care options.
Untreatable Aggression or Behavioral Disease
Osteoarthritis is a gradual, painful deterioration of the joints that may affect many pets, particularly big dogs. Walking, running, getting up and down, jumping, and climbing stairs might be difficult and painful when you have this illness. Due to the fact that dogs suffering from osteoarthritis might be otherwise healthy in body and mind, this condition can be particularly unpleasant for their families. Pet parents may hesitate to put their dogs to sleep in these situations since it is difficult to determine how much suffering their pets are experiencing on a personal level.
Consult your veterinarian if your pet is experiencing discomfort or loss of movement that is not responding to treatment. Alternatively, it may be necessary to discuss end-of-life care alternatives with the patient.
More Bad Days Than Good Days
One easy metric you may use to assist you decide when to put down a dog or cat is to keep track of how many good days and how many bad days your pet is having. If your pet is depressed but otherwise content, it is most likely not the right moment. If your pet has lost their passion for life, their appetite, or doesn’t seem to be interested in any of the activities they used to like, it’s time to seek medical assistance or discuss end-of-life care options with your veterinarian. You can use a quality of life score system, such as the one provided by Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice, if you’re having trouble determining the appropriate time or determining what makes a good or terrible day for your pet.
When Not to Put a Pet Down
Despite the fact that it is becoming less typical these days, some individuals have killed dogs and cats because they no longer fit into their plans or because they have to relocate and are unable to bring their pets with them. It is not a good cause to terminate a life unless your pet’s quality of life will be adversely harmed or your pet has health conditions that make them a poor choice for adoption — such as terminal cancer or end-stage osteoarthritis — but it is a valid justification in some circumstances.
- You may want to explore finding an alternative to euthanasia if you believe that you are no longer able to offer the finest care for your aged pet.
- See if anybody knows of anyone who would be interested in caring for your pet by reaching out to social organizations or asking your veterinarian for referrals.
- Plan ahead of time, believe in yourself, and understand that there is no “correct” option, but it is your responsibility to determine what is best for your pet.
- It may be difficult to let go, but if your pet’s quality of life has declined and he or she is suffering, this should be a major consideration in your choice.
Dr. Sarah Wooten is a medical doctor. Dr. Sarah Wooten is a physician that lives and works in the state of Colorado. She graduated from the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine in 2002 and has more than 16 years of experience in private practice.
Ask Elizabeth: Is it Time to Say Good-Bye?
Q:going It’s to be difficult for me to write this letter, and I’m going to cry while I do. Cats live to be nineteen years old, and I should claim that she has owned me for all of those years. We’ve been through many crises together, and many times I would have given up if it hadn’t been for her head-rubbing, heavy purring, and lap-sitting, which always helped me get through it. However, her health has deteriorated significantly, and I am aware that I am about to make a life-altering decision.
What is the best way to find out?
It’s natural that you want to do what’s best for her, and that you don’t want to put off the choice to euthanize her for any reason other than her own good.
As you may have guessed, there are no precise restrictions; rather, the choice is typically made in collaboration with the cat’s carer and the veterinarian, as is customary.
Her caregiver can measure the quality of her life by looking at how she interacts with her family and other members at home. The importance of communicating this information to your veterinarian cannot be overstated. The following are examples of questions she or he could ask:
- Is she eating
- Does she respond to you and her environment
- Does she appear to be in pain? Does she shed a lot of tears? What exactly is she doing while she sobs
- Is she still in her usual surroundings or has she relocated? What happened to her
- Where has she gone? Using her litterbox or soiling the area where she is sleeping?
It is the veterinarian’s job to identify which conditions may cause discomfort, to establish the long- and shortterm outlook for each ailment, both with and without therapy, and then to advise you of the therapeutic choices that are available. Euthanasia choices must be decided on an individual case-by-case basis; nevertheless, in my professional capacity as a veterinarian, I will evaluate a variety of considerations. I’ll take the clinical facts into consideration (for example, the results of diagnostic tests and physical examination).
- What are the anticipated outcomes of the treatment?
- Is the caregiver capable of providing proper homecare?
- Is it possible to give pain relief while also improving the overall quality of life?
- A cat suffering from renal failure may react extremely well to fluid treatment either in-hospital or at home; this may make her considerably more comfortable and, in some cases, may even extend her life.
- You may be certain that you and your veterinarian did everything possible to prevent your cat from suffering if euthanasia is the only option you and your physician have chosen.
How to Know when to Euthanize Your Cat
Article in PDF format Article in PDF format It is possibly the most hardest choice any cat owner has to make: whether or not it is time to say goodbye to a cherished pet after many years. There is a great deal of emotion around the subject, and yet, if the pet’s best interests are to be served, the choice must be made based on facts and evidence. It is important to evaluate your cat’s physical and mental health, as well as their overall quality of life, before considering if euthanasia is the best decision for them.
- Article in PDF Format Article in PDF Format Perhaps the most difficult choice any cat owner has to make is whether or not it is time to put a beloved pet down for the final time. Even if there is a great deal of emotion around the subject, if the best interests of the pet are to be served, the choice must be made logically. It is important to evaluate your cat’s physical and mental health, as well as their overall quality of life, when determining whether euthanasia is the best decision for them.
- As another illustration, consider the cat who eats but constantly vomits the food back up. Either of these circumstances is a source of concern, and the cat will lose weight as a result. When a cat’s body score falls below 1.5 / 5, she is likely to feel weak and depleted of energy
- If there is no hope of her gaining weight, you must consider euthanasia, even if the cat is not suffering from a medical condition like diabetes. The body score should be reduced even more, to 1/5, at which point it is time to release her.
- 2 Calculate your cat’s overall body score. A cat’s body score is a straightforward method of determining how fat or skinny your cat is. It comprises of a scale ranging from 1 to 5, with 5 representing obesity and 1 representing emaciation. The optimum body score is something in the neighborhood of 3.
- 2 Calculate the body score of your cat. It’s easy to determine how fat or skinny your cat is by calculating its body score. In this scale, 1 is obese, 5 is severely underweight, and 1 is extremely underweight. A body score of approximately 3 is considered optimal.
- 3 Check to see if the cat is able to walk to her water bowl on her own. Cats who are older and less fit require more water than cats who are younger and more fit. This is due to the fact that their renal function is frequently reliant on drinking to eliminate toxins from the system. To be able to get up and move to the water bowl, the cat must be mobile enough to do so with minimal discomfort.
- Cats who are in agony will not get up until it is absolutely necessary. They are more likely to drink more frequently and to get dehydrated, which puts a strain on their kidneys and increases their likelihood of feeling sick and poorly as a result of the build-up of toxins in their bodies. Obviously, you may relocate the water bowl closer to the cat’s reach, but the concept remains that the cat must be mobile enough to go a short distance without becoming distressed in order to survive. Otherwise, the quality of the pet’s life should be examined, and euthanasia should be considered if this is not the case.
- Unless absolutely necessary, cats in agony will not get up. They are more likely to drink more frequently and to get dehydrated, which puts a strain on their kidneys and increases their likelihood of feeling sick and poorly as a result of the accumulation of toxins in their bodies. Obviously, you may relocate the water bowl closer to the cat’s reach, but the premise remains that the cat must be mobile enough to go a short distance without becoming distressed in order to drink. Otherwise, the quality of the pet’s life should be examined, and euthanasia should be considered if this is not the case
- A single or infrequent accident is not a reason to act, but if the cat suffers from persistent diarrhea that takes her off surprise, or if she loses bladder control to the point that her coat begins to smell, this can cause her great suffering. In addition, it is concerning when a cat that was previously house trained begins to soil in the home
- But, before you decide she must be terminated, consult with your veterinarian about if pain treatment is suitable, or consider switching her litter box to one with lower sides. Cats suffering from arthritis may find it difficult to leap into steep-sided boxes and may choose to use the ground instead
- Likewise, stiff and aching joints may make the cat less likely to move to another room in order to use the litter tray. It’s possible that a short trial with pain relievers will be all that’s needed to kick this unsavory habit.
- Five, take into consideration your cat’s capacity to groom herself. Lack of grooming might be a symptom of a stiff back, or it could indicate that your cat is sleeping more and not investing the necessary time and effort to maintaining its coat. In the event that this is your cat’s lone peculiarity, don’t be alarmed
- The chances are that she will be OK for some time yet.
- You may, of course, look at things from the other direction as well. When a cat has a shiny, well-kept coat, it indicates that she still takes pleasure in her appearance and is healthy enough to do something about it. Unless this is the case with your cat, it’s probable that she isn’t quite ready to leave just yet. For obvious reasons, if your cat is having difficulties grooming herself, this is one area in which you may make a significant impact. It is possible to make an aged, untidy cat feel considerably better about herself by giving her a comb and brush over.
- 6 Check to see if your cat is able to relax comfortably without discomfort. This is a significant development. It is a fundamental requirement for the cat to be able to sleep and rest without being disturbed by pain. In addition to being restless, a cat that is in discomfort can often exhibit tell-tale signals such as swishing her tail or resting with her ears pulled back.
- Pain also produces muscular tension, and the cat is more likely to seem hunched over and “tight” rather than resting on her side with her legs extended when she is in pain. It is also common for cats under pain to become short-tempered and depressed. So keep an eye out for changes in personality, such as going from sweet-tempered to hissy and spitty. Pain, of course, occurs in a variety of intensities, and individual cats have varying pain thresholds. It is important to consider if the pain she is experiencing is causing her to spend more time feeling sick than she is enjoying the pleasures of life when determining whether it is appropriate to euthanize her.
- 1 Consult with your veterinarian about the situation. Don’t forget that your veterinarian is there to provide guidance. Your cat is in the best possible condition if she has been seeing the same veterinarian for years since she has followed the cat throughout her life and is familiar with her regular appearance and mannerisms.
- The veterinarian will also be familiar with you, which makes it simpler to have a thorough and honest talk about what is best for your pet’s health.
- When you notice any signs of distress, call your veterinarian. If your cat is on regular medication and the veterinarian is familiar with him, you should call and ask to talk with the veterinarian as soon as you see something wrong.
- A visit to the veterinarian’s office may be recommended, as well as a change in medicine or a new dosage. The veterinarian will make every effort to find a solution to your pet’s problems before ever bringing up the subject of putting the cat down. Consulting with a specialist at the time of your initial worry does not obligate you to have your pet terminated
- Rather, it provides your pet the best opportunity of finding a medical solution.
- 3 Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to have your cat evaluated physically. You should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if your pet has not seen a veterinarian in a long period of time and you are becoming worried about their physical state.
- Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to get your cat checked out. You should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if your pet has not seen a doctor in a while and you are becoming worried about their medical state.
- 4 Understand the indicators that the veterinarian is looking for when deciding whether or not to euthanize a patient. Making a choice on euthanasia requires consideration of two factors. The first is on the physical level, while the second is on the cerebral level
- The veterinarian’s responsibility is to examine the animal for indicators of illness or discomfort that indicate that the animal is suffering or is soon to suffer, and to advise you on the best course of action. It is unfortunate that euthanasia is sometimes seen as a suitable “therapy” when it is not possible or viable to ease the cat’s suffering through medicine or other ways. During the health check, the veterinarian will examine the cat’s hydration levels, overall body condition, and indicators of discomfort, among other things. She will also look for signs of illness such as anemia or cancer that can suggest that the cat is unlikely to respond to medical treatment. She will examine the cat’s overall movement as well as its mental condition.
- This includes checking for symptoms of illness or discomfort that indicate that the animal is suffering, or is soon to suffer, as well as advising you on the best course of action. It is unfortunate that euthanasia is often viewed as a suitable “therapy” when it is not possible or viable to ease the cat’s suffering through drugs or other ways. As part of the health check, the veterinarian will examine the cat’s hydration levels, overall body condition, and any indications of suffering. She will also look for illnesses such as anemia or cancer that would suggest that the cat is unlikely to respond to therapy. During the examination, she will examine the cat’s overall movement and mental health.
- Be aware that this can happen (and that veterinarians are aware of it), so be forthright with the doctor and describe how the cat behaves in your house. She will appreciate your candor and will assist you in making the right decision. Always remember that some issues, such as senility, are frequently better assessed by the pet’s owner, who lives with the animal, rather than the veterinarian during a ten-minute visit
- 1When you are calm, make a list of everything you want to do. Write down a list of things that you would find undesirable if your cat started or stopped doing them while he is still healthy. Things on the list might include things like not grooming herself anymore, not eating anymore, and soiling floors and furniture on a daily basis. Having this list will make it easier for you to determine if your cat is engaging in any of the behaviors listed above
- 2 Find the tipping moment that will change everything. Life is a delicate juggling act. Occasionally, things will go well, and occasionally, they will go horribly
- But, everything should work out in the end. Your cat’s life is something similar to this
- An aged or ailing cat will have good days and bad days, but as long as the overall balance is favorable and the “bad” is never severe discomfort, it is appropriate to keep the cat alive. Inevitably, the negative exceeds the positive
- For example, if your cat stops responding to pain treatments or if you see a decline in house training, you have reached the tipping point and should seek help. The point at which the quality of life becomes unbearable for a cat varies from cat to cat, although it is typically reached eventually
- It is possible that euthanasia will be the most compassionate option for your cat once this critical moment has been reached.
- 3Make an effort to strike a balance between all of the variables. It is inherent in the nature of difficult judgments that they are not straightforward. If we continue with the scales example, it is possible that it is not one huge event (such as the cat suffering a stroke) but a combination of minor events (such as the cat no longer grooming, soiling herself, and losing weight) that tip the balance. 4Take into consideration your cat’s overall quality of life. When it comes to euthanasia of animals, the phrases “quality of life” and “sustainability of life” are sometimes used interchangeably. Quality of life, in addition to physical issues like as discomfort, may be a quite abstract concept that covers aspects such as the cat’s pleasure of life, among other things. You will be better able to decide what is moral and compassionate if you take the cat’s quality of life into consideration. 5 Prioritize the quality of life over the amount of one’s existence. To bear in mind, “quality of life, not quantity of life” is a valuable thought to have in the back of your mind. If you decide to keep your cat alive, it is critical that you guarantee that her existence is one that is worthwhile to her. In the event that she is in continual agony, it would be more humane to euthanize her because her quality of life is nonexistent. Put your trust in your intuition. If you’re considering euthanasia, it’s best to go with your gut impulses. You are familiar with your pet, and odds are that if you believe she is hurting, she most likely is. Even though no cat owner wants to say goodbye, it’s important to remember that the cat’s best interests come first, and your personal unwillingness to let go comes second. You might just be able to tell when it’s time
- 7 Don’t feel bad about yourself for choosing the proper choice. Keep in mind that by electing to euthanize your cat, you are not murdering her or acting as if you are playing God. These suggestions are not beneficial. In reality, what you are doing is making a positive decision to save the cat from unneeded pain, suffering, and anxiety
- This is a good thing.
- The second thing to remember is that it is preferable to let the cat die sooner rather than later rather than doing nothing and seeing the cat deteriorate. Euthanasia is not something that owners take lightly, and it is extremely probable that if the notion of euthanizing your cat has crossed your mind, your cat is on the verge of, or already in, physical or psychological pain. Last but not least, always remember that cats offer you love and compassion throughout their lives
- Thus, it is an unselfish decision on your side to say goodbye and put their life to a dignified conclusion when their quality of life declines.
Create a new question
- Question: What are the signs and symptoms of a cat’s death? A veterinarian with over 30 years of expertise in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice, Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS, is a member of the British Veterinary Medical Association. Veterinary medicine and surgery were among the subjects she studied when she graduated with honors from the University of Glasgow in 1987. She has been employed at the same animal clinic in her hometown for more than two decades now. An Answer from a Veterinarian When a cat senses that death is approaching, he or she will separate themselves. They instinctively seek to conceal themselves because they recognize that they are weak and vulnerable
- Question What is the best way to tell whether your cat is in pain? A veterinarian with over 30 years of expertise in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice, Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS, is a member of the British Veterinary Medical Association. Veterinary medicine and surgery were among the subjects she studied when she graduated with honors from the University of Glasgow in 1987. She has been employed at the same animal clinic in her hometown for more than two decades now. An Answer from a Veterinarian Keep an eye out for changes in behavior, such as a calm cat that suddenly turns aggressive. Additionally, because the cat is not moving around much and is resting in a slumped position, their body posture changes. Question Is it possible for cats with diabetes to be in pain? A veterinarian with over 30 years of expertise in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice, Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS, is a member of the British Veterinary Medical Association. Veterinary medicine and surgery were among the subjects she studied when she graduated with honors from the University of Glasgow in 1987. She has been employed at the same animal clinic in her hometown for more than two decades now. An Answer from a Veterinarian Diabetes is not a painful condition, contrary to popular belief. The diabetes, if left untreated, can cause the cat to feel unwell and miserable, similar to having the flu, although they will not be in pain.
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- When a cat is losing weight, soiling herself, or no longer enjoys human companionship, occasional glimpses of her usual self are not a valid cause to postpone death.
About This Article
Summary of the ArticleXIf you are unsure whether to euthanize your cat, consider if it is ethical to keep your pet alive if it is in agony and thirsty while attempting to walk to the water dish. Additionally, evaluate other aspects of your cat’s existence, such as whether or not it is able to groom itself or whether it is soiling itself. Alternatively, calculate its body score on a scale ranging from 1 to 5, with 1 representing emaciation and 5 representing obesity. If your cat has a body score of 1 out of 5 and has been losing weight, euthanasia will be the only option available to you.
Continue reading for advice on how to approach your veterinarian about the situation and how to determine whether or not your cat is in discomfort when resting. Did you find this overview to be helpful? The writers of this page have together authored a page that has been read 350,695 times.
Did this article help you?
In the event that you are unsure about whether to euthanize your cat, consider if it is ethical to keep your pet alive if it is in agony and dehydrated as a result of its struggle to get to the water dish. Additional considerations include elements such as whether or not your cat is capable of grooming itself and whether or not it is soiling itself. Alternative methods include calculating its body score on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being underweight and 5 representing overweight and obese. If your cat has a body score of 1 out of 5 and has been losing weight, euthanasia will be the only choice available for you.
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How Will I Know It’s Time
Untold numbers of pet owners have told us that the death of their pet was more difficult to bear than the death of their own parents. This may seem blasphemous to some, but it is the cold, hard reality for many others. Making the decision to euthanize a pet may be a heartbreaking, murderous, and unethical experience. Oftentimes, pet owners feel that they have let their best friend down or that they have contributed to their best friend’s death. Most people forget that euthanasia is a gift that, when utilized responsibly and at the appropriate time, may save future physical pain for the pet as well as emotional agony for the entire family.
- As veterinarians, it is our responsibility to assist a family in making this tough decision.
- As opposed to this, there is a subjective time period during which euthanasia is a reasonable option.
- Pets may be refused euthanasia before to this period since their quality of life remains high; nevertheless, once this period has elapsed, we may urge for euthanasia because their continuous suffering has become clear.
- Some pet owners want additional time to come to grips with their pet’s deterioration, while others wish to avoid any unnecessary pain on their pet’s part.
- After all, you are the one who is most familiar with your pet—including your veterinarian.
- You can’t just say, “when he stops eating,” or “when you just know,” and expect to be right.
We hope you find them useful. Print out these PDFs, place them somewhere visible, and encourage several members in the family to utilize them on a daily or monthly basis.
Quality of life
In chats with your family veterinarian or other individuals close to you, you have most likely heard the word “quality of life” spoken. It is difficult to assess your pet’s quality of life since it is subjective and heavily dependant on the illness process that your dog or cat is experiencing, their personality, and your own opinions. Every pet, just like every human, will experience and respond to changes in their body in a unique way. A significant part of the procedure is having in-depth talks with your normal veterinarian about the illness process that is currently affecting your pet.
Alternatively, an elderly Labrador retriever with arthritis can be cared for at home for a lengthy period of time with sufficient pain medication.
The articles on common diseases in the education part of our website provide detailed information about the precise changes you might anticipate to experience as a result of various medical problems.
Watch this video from Dr.
Pain and anxiety
In veterinary hospice care, one of the most critical subjects we cover is pain management. Cats and dogs, for example, are believed by many specialists to not only “conceal” their discomfort, but are also not as concerned by it as people are. This is in stark contrast to prey species such as rabbits and guinea pigs, which must conceal their discomfort in order to avoid being attacked by predators. In addition, unlike humans, animals do not associate their suffering with any emotion. Fluffy’s cancer diagnosis has a different effect on us than it does on her.
- You may discover more about dogs’ pain and suffering by reading chapter five of Temple Grandin’s book Animals in Translation, which is available for purchase on Amazon.
- To be honest, worry may be more painful to animals than physical pain.
- Was it an unpleasant experience?
- Was he apprehensive in the examination room?
- My dog is far more distressed when she is nervous than she is when she is in pain, which is also characteristic of pets that are towards the end of their lives.
- However, these signs are caused by anxiety, which is frequently secondary to pain.
- These anxiety symptoms typically develop at night, possibly as a result of hormone shifts and other circumstances.
He has been demoted, and if he does not get up and go, he will be eaten by someone else. Anti-anxiety drugs can occasionally be helpful, although the end is frequently approaching for pets at this point in their lives.
Waiting too long
When we first started our hospice practice, we noticed an unusual tendency that we didn’t expect to see so frequently. The more the number of times a family experiences the death of a pet, the sooner they come to the decision to euthanize. For the most part, pet owners who are experiencing their pet’s decline or fatal disease for the first time will wait until the very end to make the tough decision of euthanasia. They are afraid of euthanizing their pet too soon or of giving up without a strong fight, which is understandable.
They look back on the previous days, weeks, or months and feel terrible for subjecting their pet to a plethora of veterinarian visits and unpleasant medical procedures that did little to improve the quality of their pet’s life.
What about a natural death?
As with people, some pets will calmly fall asleep and die away on their own. However, as with humans, such a peaceful death is unusual in pets. Many pet owners are concerned about their pet dying alone, while others are not. It happens now and then that we are called to assist families with their pet through the natural dying process. These families are opposed to euthanasia for a variety of different reasons. We give them every explanation we can think of, including what a natural death would look like, how long it might take, and what their pet might go through, yet virtually every family regrets their decision to have their pet die naturally.
The majority of individuals find it easier to see the suffering of a human family member than their pet.
Families struggle with this sense of guilt, and we do everything we can to not just propose euthanasia when it is appropriate, but also to prepare them for the worst-case situation if they choose to wait.
Weigh your options carefully
As with people, some pets will calmly fall asleep and die away on their own. However, as with humans, such a peaceful death is uncommon in pets. Many pet owners are concerned about their pet passing away alone, while others are not concerned at all about it. It happens every now and then that we are called to assist families with their pet’s natural death. This group of families is opposed to euthanasia for a variety of different reasons. Every detail of a natural death is explained to them, including how it would appear, how long it might take, and what their pet might go through, however virtually all families ultimately regret their decision to go with the natural death option.
Human family members in agony are more difficult for most people to witness than their pet in distress.
The burden of guilt falls on families, and we do everything we can to help them not just accept euthanasia when it is appropriate, but also to prepare them for the worst-case situation if they decide to wait.
Death, of all, is nothing to be feared, and your pet’s passing on their own is certainly not a negative thing—it occurs all the time in nature, after all.
When Is It The Right Time To Euthanize A Cat?
Do you know when it’s OK to put your cat to sleep? Determining the appropriate time to put a beloved cat down is arguably the most painful choice a cat owner will have to make. To suggest that the decision to end one’s life is emotionally charged, riddled with uncertainty, and difficult to make logically is an underestimate of the truth.
Factors To Consider When Deciding When To Euthanize A Cat
Numerous things must be taken into consideration, and you may already be too emotionally involved in the issue to think logically. Let’s take a look at the most crucial topics to think about when you begin this decision-making process and break them down. Most of the time, people who do not thoughtfully explore the subject of euthanasia in advance end up waiting far too long, keeping their loved one far longer than they should because they are unable to handle the thought of losing their companion.
- Individuals who have caused their buddy to suffer frequently sense intense regret and grief as a result of their actions.
- Perhaps you feel that a natural death is better to euthanasia in certain circumstances.
- When it is possible, it is always preferable to put an end to our dogs’ needless suffering rather than prolonging it for selfish motives or out of ignorance.
- However, while working in cooperation with a veterinarian you can trust is the ideal method to make end-of-life decisions for your cat, there are numerous quality-of-life considerations that you may consider to help you determine when it is time to say goodbye to your cat.
Signs That It Might Be The Right Time For Euthanasia
Many signs indicate that it is time to begin thinking about euthanasia, including loss of hunger, inability to walk without discomfort, extreme weight loss, and inability to manage one’s own excretion (urinating or defecating uncontrollably).
Loss Of Appetite
Patient’s desire and capacity to eat are regarded essential factors in determining the patient’s overall quality of life in a human hospice setting. Despite the fact that some cats will never lose their need for food, many aged, weak, or sick cats, as well as cats suffering from terminal sickness or discomfort, may cease to eat. Occasionally, a cat’s refusal to eat can be an indication that it is time to consider euthanasia. This is especially true when the cat is suffering from a terminal illness, if appetite stimulants have been tried and failed to help, if multiple types of food have been offered, and/or if the cat is becoming underweight.
Ability To Move Without Pain
Arthritis is highly frequent in cats over the age of ten. Things like hesitating to jump on a counter or go up and down stairs are examples of signs of arthritis-related discomfort. Arthritis symptoms in cats can manifest themselves in ways that appear unrelated to joint pain, such as a lack of grooming, increased aggression when painful areas are touched, or inappropriate urinating and/or defecating in areas other than the litterbox because the cat is too painful to enter and exit the box. Aside from arthritis, cats can endure discomfort from a variety of other medical issues.
Bladder inflammation brought on by stress, stomach pain, and tooth pain are all typical causes of discomfort.
Most of these disorders are treatable and react well to pain medication; but, if you have tried pain medication and other therapies without success, or if your cat’s condition is severe or fatal, it may be time to put your cat to sleep.
Inability To Control Elimination
Urinary incontinence is defined as the inability to control one’s urination after passing urine. This can occur as a result of weakening urethral sphincter muscles, or as a result of other illnesses such as diabetes or renal disease, among others. Fecal incontinence is caused by the inability to control one’s intestines, which is a symptom of bowel incontinence. Both situations are unsightly, inconvenient, and unclean, and they have a negative impact on the health of everyone in the family. Furthermore, incontinence can result in bedsores and worse in cats that lie in urine or feces because they are unable to or refuse to move due to their inability or unwillingness to move.
Uncontrolled And Severe Weight Loss
In the event that your cat is losing weight in a drastic and uncontrollable manner, this may indicate that it is time to contemplate euthanasia. Weight loss can be caused by a variety of illnesses, including cancer, renal disease, hormone abnormalities, and gastrointestinal issues. Severe weight loss in the face of a terminal illness is a red flag that you may need to start thinking about euthanasia sooner than later. If your cat is happy, engaging with you, and eating, it is probable that your cat has a decent quality of life.
Uncontrolled Vomiting Or Diarrhea
Vaporizability in cats is a widespread problem; it is so prevalent that some cat caretakers believe it is normal for a cat to vomit on a regular basis. Let’s get one thing straight: your cat’s everyday vomiting indicates that he or she is unwell, and should never be regarded as “normal.” It is possible to have persistent vomiting and diarrhea due to illnesses such as inflammation of the bowels, intestinal cancer, and hormonal abnormalities such as hyperthyroidism. If your cat is suffering from persistent vomiting and diarrhea that is not responding to therapy, it may be time to consult with your veterinarian about euthanasia options.
End-Stage Kidney Failure
Kidney disease is a prevalent condition in cats over the age of ten. While many cats with kidney illness react well to therapy and can live happily for years after being diagnosed, other cats get severely ill as a result of the condition. There are several warning signs of severe renal illness such as excessive drinking, frequent urination (or no urination at all) and vomiting. Other signs include blindness from retinal detachment caused by high blood pressure, mental depression, and hiding. Continue reading:Kidney Failure in Cats: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment Continue reading If you have a cat with advanced renal disease who has ceased responding to therapy, does not appear to be happy, has lost a significant amount of weight, or is not eating, it is time to consult with your veterinarian about end-of-life care options.
Cats can show indications of heart failure that are subtle, such as sleeping more, hiding, losing appetite, having untidy fur, breathing through their mouths, having pale or white gums, and, in rare cases, coughing. Cats suffering from heart failure are more likely to develop fluid accumulation in their lungs. This causes a cat to have difficulties breathing, which can result in significant suffering. If your cat is suffering from worsening heart disease that has not responded to therapy, then compassionate euthanasia is most likely the best option to relieve his misery and end his suffering.
When it comes to cats, the indicators of heart failure might be subtle. They include sleeping in more, hiding more, losing appetite, having untidy fur, breathing through the lips with their mouth open, having pale or white gums, and, on rare occasions, coughing.. Fluid buildup in the lungs of cats is a common complication of cardiac failure. A cat’s breathing becomes difficult as a result, and he or she may experience significant suffering. It is likely that compassionate euthanasia will be necessary to relieve your cat’s suffering if he has worsening heart disease that has not responded to therapy.
Critical Care Decisions
Accidents and catastrophes can occur at any moment, leaving you with little time to think about or make decisions concerning your cat’s future. Because they are so unexpected, these might be the most difficult to deal with. Having your cat admitted to an emergency clinic due to a urinary obstruction in a male cat or getting hit by a car are just a few of the numerous reasons why you and your cat might wind up in an emergency clinic. Sometimes, your cat’s prognosis is dire, whether or not treatment is administered, and you may not be able to afford to cover the cost of an unexpected emergency vet bill.
However, you are still making the best decision for your cat that you can at the time, and it is vital not to punish yourself for your decision.
In general, when a pet has more bad days than good days, then it is time to think about saying goodbye.
Keeping track of your cat’s good and bad days is the most effective technique to assess whether or not it is time to contemplate euthanasia for your pet. It is possible to use a paper calendar and put a cheerful face on good days and a sad face on bad days in a different color to help you keep track of the days. If you are considering using Lap of Love, a mobile veterinarian service that specializes in end-of-life care, their website contains numerous useful quality-of-life evaluation questionnaires that you may download and print for use.
If you’re not sure, your best bet is to consult with a veterinarian.
There are numerous choices available to assist you purchase a valuable, pain-free amount of time with your beloved pet.
At the end of the day, the choice to end a cat’s life is a very personal one that can only be made by you. You are the only one who knows your cat better than anyone else, so trust your instincts, seek support, and know that in the end, you have provided your cat with a painless and peaceful death.
Frequently Asked Questions
It differs from pet to pet and is a matter of personal preference. What does a typical day look like for your pet when he or she is doing well? What does your pet like to eat? What are your thoughts? What does a poor day look like for your pet as well as for you personally? In general, if your pet is experiencing more terrible days than good days, it may be time to consult with your veterinarian about euthanasia or other measures to alleviate his or her suffering.
Do cats suffer when they are put to sleep?
In general, euthanasia is a fairly calm and pain-free procedure to undergo. It is possible that your cat will feel a tiny poke when pain medicine and sedatives are provided using a syringe, but after the pain is managed, your cat will die away quite quietly and pain-free in most cases.
Is it better to let a cat die naturally?
When someone dies naturally, they may experience a great deal of unneeded anguish and pain. If your cat is dying or suffering and there are no therapies available, opting for compassionate euthanasia is a noble approach to prevent your pet from suffering any longer than absolutely necessary.
When It Is Time to Say Goodbye: How to Know When to Put Your Dog or Cat Down
Pet euthanasia (also known as “putting a pet to sleep” or “putting a dog or cat to sleep”) is a humane technique to put an end to a pet’s suffering and let them to pass away in peace. In order to provide the best care possible, veterinarians and their staff are taught to do it in a compassionate and kind manner wherever feasible. Euthanasia allows your pet to pass away before their pain becomes too unbearable for them to bear. Nevertheless, how can you, as their owner, know when it is the appropriate moment to do so?
They don’t appear to be affected by despair and mental anguish in the same way that humans are when coping with a chronic or severe sickness, which is surprising.
It makes no difference to them; they will continue to fight until their bodies eventually give out.
Unbelievably, pets will attempt to walk on a broken leg, consume food while having stomach problems, and purr despite having infections from bite wounds.
The following are some typical methods for determining whether or not it is time to say goodbye to your beloved pet.
When it comes to sickness and suffering, veterinarians are educated to recognize numerous indications and symptoms that you may be unable to discover on your own.
This list does not include all of the indicators, and you should keep in mind the general health of your pet as you go through it.
Be warned that with many pets, a single indication does not necessarily indicate that it is time to euthanize them — they frequently exhibit many signals at the same time, such as:
- When a pet loses a substantial amount of weight, it is frequently because the pet is waging a losing battle with a condition like cancer or organ failure. However, even if they continue to eat relatively regularly, wag their tail, purr, or show signs of wanting to play, losing a significant amount of weight indicates that the time to say goodbye may be approaching quickly
- Pets with a poor appetite are not as frequent as most owners might believe, but a pet who is regularly refusing to eat should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as is reasonably practicable. This is frequently another clear indication that it is time to euthanize the animal. Keep in mind that many pets may attempt to eat even if they are in great discomfort or suffering from a severe sickness. Often, when people quit eating, it indicates that they are unable to eat or that they have abandoned their lives. Just because your pet is still eating does not imply that it is not yet time to put them to sleep — allowing them to pass away before this occurs means you have kept part of their dignity and avoided them from suffering to such an awful degree. Unwillingness to move about or engage in recreational activities: In the event that your ordinarily exuberant pet is no longer interested in playing, or if he or she is difficult to cajole into eating or going to the potty, it may be time to put your pet to sleep. It is common for people who do not want to move to do so because they are either suffering too much to move, in a great deal of agony, or in the process of giving up. Pet’s personality change: If your pet has lately had a significant personality shift, such as changing from sweet to snappy, or from gregarious to preferring to be alone, you may need to consider euthanasia with your veterinarian. It is possible that a person’s mood or personality changes indicate that they are not feeling well enough to participate regularly with their family, or that they are enduring too much discomfort to interact with loved ones. Symptoms of the condition get more severe: In the case of a chronic sickness such as cancer or renal failure in which the symptoms are difficult to treat or the condition worsens, it is likely time to contemplate euthanasia for your companion animal. Because to euthanasia, pets no longer have to endure until their bodies give way. We can let them go before their agony becomes unbearable, allowing them to pass away gently in their sleep. Being aware that they are suffering from an illness that is not likely to improve might actually make the choice a little simpler since you can keep an eye out for the signs of the sickness. As soon as they are no longer able to be kept comfortable, it should be time to put them down.
Always keep in mind that your veterinarian is there to assist you in making this life-altering choice. He or she is familiar with how your pet’s body should respond to pain and sickness under normal circumstances. Therefore, your veterinarian will be able to examine the changes you are observing in your pet at home through thorough physical examinations and tests performed by him or her. He or she will be able to tell you whether or not there is anything further that can be done, or whether or not it is time to say goodbye.