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Difficult decisions

Posted by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 10:11 AM
  • 9 Replies

Has anyone ever had to make the decision to put a pet down? I've had pets put down throughout my life, and was present when my childhood dog was put down (i was only 10), but I have never had to make the decision myself. Now I do.

I adopted a 6yo cat 4 months ago. Her original owner passed away last year. She went from being a very fat cat to just skin and bones in the past 3 months. She's jaundiced and her liver is failing. She's so weak. It just breaks my heart to watch her. She barely eats or drinks and now her breath is really stinking... probably her teeth are rotting. 

She is the sweetest cat in the world. I hate to have to put her down. She is so young. :(

by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 10:11 AM
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by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 10:14 AM

I haven't had to make the decision myself, but have also been present on a few occasions and helped a friend when she had to make the decision herself. 

I think of it like this - They've been a great companion to you, and you've been a great companion to them - but if they're suffering, and nothing can be done - then it may be the best decision for them. 

My heart is with you - good luck and God bless. 

by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 10:38 AM

yes she is suffering.  you would be doing her a favor..really!  i know it is hard...but you have to let go and give her comfort now!  god bless

by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Yes, we have had to make that decision twice, and it was very hard both times.  Brother and sister cats, both died of the same thing, but seven years apart.  In each case, the cat was suffering tremendously, and we believe it was the right thing to do.  The second case was worse because it was my son's first experience with death, and we talked to him about it a lot afterwards.  He handled it appropriately, but he was very sad.  We all cried a lot that week. 

by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Yes, I have made the decision several times as we have always had multiple pets and our committment to them is for the duration of their life.  I have had to make the decision six times.

I have made the decision only after exhausting all reasonable medical interventions.  For me, reasonable means what I am able to afford given other obligations at the time and what will improve or at least extend quality of life for that specific animal in those specific circumstances. In every case, it is something that I have discussed with my vet at length prior to committing to.  Additionally, only in one case have I euthanized an animal within the same day I made the decision.  Mostly, my vet will recommend that I take at least 24 hours to decide.  I love my vet and this is why he has been my vet for 15 years.

It is a deeply individual and personal decision.  Even when I had to put my mother's dog down after her death (I hated that dog, btw), I gave it much thought and got the honest opnion of my mother's vet prior to having her put to sleep.  I still wonder though, if she could have had a few more good months but she was blind, deaf, 18 years old and pretty nasty.  I don't think she would have been happy in a new house, with someone she wasn't bonded to, with other pets she didn't know....

All this to say, 1.  it stinks to make life or death decisions for a beloved pet and 2. make your decision carefully and thoughfully, maybe with the opinion of another objective party and it will make you feel a lot better about it afterwards. 


P.S..  One of the animals I had to euthanize was a four year old cat I adored.  She had gotten enormous (almost 30 pounds) and went through enormous, bizzare personality changes.  She was miserable and I put her down.  Turned out she had a brain tumor, so I'm glad I made the decision I did.  Still miss her, though....

by Wendy on Mar. 4, 2012 at 11:45 AM

((hugs)) you don't want her to suffer but I know it's really hard. I haven't had to do it myself yet.  But you don't have to have her suffer. I'm thinking of you guys!

by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Yes, I have multiple times.  It was awful but the most humane thing to do.  Especially hard on the kids but we turned it into a teaching moment about life and death of a loved one.  Afterwards, we planted flowers as a memorial and took in new kitties who needed homes.

im sorry

by on Mar. 5, 2012 at 11:59 AM

 ((HUGS))   I have done it with 3 cats now.  Hardest decision of my life.  I was there as they were lovingly sent into God's arms.  BTW, my vet is very religious, and the office is very supportive.  So that helps. The vet even cried.  :)

by on Mar. 6, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Well, I have an appointment today with the vet. I'm going to find out the cost of fluid therapy, and if it's too prohibitive, I'm going to have her put down. Nothing will cure her at this point, but fluid therapy has the potential to improve her quality of life for a little while, though not very long. I kind of hoped she'd die in her sleep last night so I wouldn't have to make this decision.

by on Mar. 6, 2012 at 1:19 PM

 Katie  -- Hugs and love to you during this tough time.  I wish I had made the decision to put my old schnauzer down but had let myself believe in my head she was getting better.   I ended up finding her passed away one morning.  You are doing the right thing.  Its best for your kitty.

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