Stray Magnet Blog

Tough Decisions: When to put your cat to sleep?

Warning: This may make you cry and talks about euthanization.

My personal experience with our cat Addison, April 12,2014

addison goodbye 2Addison, our beloved 15 year old cat, had been diagnosed with renal failure two years ago and it was progressing very slowly. We were able to manage it well with food until last month when her health seem to decline rather rapidly.

Signs That It Was Time

I kept struggling with the “when will you know it’s time” and what is the best for the cat/most humane-to be put to sleep or to die on her own although painfully. I prayed for wisdom and discernment. For a week she had been grinding her teeth whenever she ate which meant she had acid in her stomach so I also started giving her Pepcid in addition to her blood pressure medicine and her SUB-Q fluids. She started to miss the liter box. She would still purr for me but wouldn’t move much-mainly just to the liter box or the water bowl. She was slowly slipping away-just not herself. Then she wouldn’t eat-I tried it all chicken, turkey tuna. I started to prepare myself again-how many times do I have to cry thinking about her dying and she’s still with us.

Friday I told my husband we needed to talk about what to do. I was hoping she would make it to Easter (a week away) but she wasn’t eating and wasn’t getting any better.

She hadn’t eaten in three days was clearly dehydrated and wobbly on her feet. I wasn’t sure she would make it to Monday and the vet was open on Saturday if that was the humane decision. My sister in law (a vet) said she would make it til Monday but that she obviously wasn’t feeling well. She stopped purring when I patted her Friday which made me sad and I started thinking am I keeping her alive for me or for her and how hard it was to continually grieve the anticipation of her loss. I slept downstairs with her Friday night but she went to another room, a sign to me that she was slipping away.

addison outsideDecisions

Saturday morning she wasn’t any better and it seemed like the right thing to let her peacefully go to heaven and stop holding on. My husband called the vet to make the appointment-the last of the day. I cried all morning. The kids said their goodbyes and seemed fine. As we went to get in the car I decided to let her enjoy the outdoors which she had been denied most of her life. She perked up and purred feeling the fresh air and hearing the birds. I wish I had let her play outside all morning.

She was my cat, my 15 year old friend so I knew I would stay with her til the end regardless of how hard it would be.

The Process

The vet tech’s name was Angel, how fitting as I know she is an angel right now. Dr. Given was great-very professional and considerate. They explained the process-two injections. First, she would be given a muscle relaxer to calm her and help her rest then after a few minutes they would administer the fatal medicine. It’s the only time I held her in my arms at the vet, normally she would have been so nervous she would have wanted to be in the crate.

They gave her the muscle relaxer and she immediately seemed to almost fall asleep. They gave us a few minutes while we told her how amazing she had been, thanked her, loved on her, told her we would miss her and prayed for and over her. When they returned to administer the medicine it seemed as if she were already gone. Then strangely, as she lay there I just worried she would wake back up. It didn’t seem real that she was gone. Her spirit was although her body lay still before me and I got to say goodbye one more time.

Goodbye Friend, You Were The Best

Addison, you were the most loyal loving cat I could have ever asked for. You blessed my life in so many ways and I will forever be grateful. I know you are in a better place and you are loving being outside in God’s wondrous heaven where all things are good. We miss you everyday but know you are looking down on us. We look forward to seeing you again one day. *Thank you for the pregnant mom you brought into our lives. It’s not what we expected but we know you have given us your blessing and want us to care for this young cat in her time of need. We love you. Always.

*Monday, I received a call about a pregnant stray cat that needed help. Read more about her and God’s providential timing.

Other Articles on Addison

Addison’s initial diagnosis
Overcoming Fear of Needles, treating a cat with Su-Q fluids at home
Saying Goodbye to a Family Pet
Diagnosed with Cat Allergies