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Unread 04-23-2011   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy URGENT HELP - How do I let my cat go?

Hi everyone,

I have an almost 18 year old cat who I love dearly.
He's always been a playful, vibrant cat who always loved to cuddle.. until now..
The last couple of days he has stopped eating, drinking or moving at all.
I know he's dying and I'm so distressed about.

I'm certain he has no illness, I'm sure it's just his age.
So my question is.. How should I let him go?

Is it cruel to let it happen naturally, meaning leaving him in his bed doing nothing but sleep? Or should I take him to the vet to put him out of his misery?

I'm sorry if this subject, in any way, offends anyone - but I'm just so sad I need someone elses opinion. I've called our vet and she's said that it's completely my family's choice. He doesn't seem to be in any pain at all (I pray he's not in any pain) but it doesn't seem right to just leave him there..waiting.. On the other hand, I don't know if it's right to take his life away from him earlier than we have to...

I say this is urgent as I would like to do what's best for him asap.

Please help, I feel so lost.
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Unread 04-23-2011   #2 (permalink)
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Hello and welcome to the forum. I'm sorry your senior kitty is not doing well. How can you be "certain" your beloved kitty has no illness?

Cats don't die of "old age" They die from diseases that come with age. Your kitty may have a treatable condition. He may be in kidney failure, which if caught in time, is maintainable with good quality life for a long time, sometimes. My Ootay lived three more happy years after her kidney failure diagnosis.

He may have dental disease and his mouth hurts and that's why he won't eat. A dental cleaning, maybe an extraction or two, may put a whole new life into him.

He may have hyperthyroid or diabetes, both treatable conditions.

However, regardless, please take him to the vet. Your vet can examine him and determine his level of suffering. My opinion is "Too soon is better than too late". I believe we owe our beloved pets a peaceful dignified passing, not leaving them to suffer because we can't bring ourselves to let them go.

Did you know that cats hide illness and pain instinctively? By the time they begin to show signs of illness such as not eating, they usually have been sick for much longer than you realize.

Bring your kitty to the vet right away. If his condition is treatable, you will be glad you did. If he is dying and suffering, you will want to say good bye and let him go in a peaceful easy way, and you will have no regrets.

You do not want to spend the rest of your life regretting that you waited too long. It's clear you love your kitty very much.

The best thing to do for him is take him to the vet.
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Unread 04-23-2011   #3 (permalink)
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Hi there.. Thank you so much for your prompt reply.

I guess that when I spoke to the vet earlier today, I just became "certain" because she didn't mention any of that being possible. She has known my cat for years and at his last checkup only a few months ago, she did tell me he was 'getting on' but he was ok - he just needed a little teeth cleaning.. The vet is currently away for the long weekend here in Sydney and of course, told me she would gladly check him when she returns in a week's time.
But I can't wait that long. She did suggest that I see another vet if I was really worried that he was suffering but she seemed to think this was normal for a cat his age so I guess that's why I'm sure.

That's why I'm here on a forum now because as it is a public holiday weekend here, all vets are closed for the next few days - there is only the emergency hospital which i've always thought was only for extreme cases. But you've just helped me in making the decision to take him there asap to get that checkup.. And if need be, yes of course I'll let him go - you are completely right about a "peaceful dignified passing" - he deserves no less than that.

Thank you for all your advice and compassion.
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Unread 04-23-2011   #4 (permalink)
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You're welcome. It's always so difficult when they start to age and fail.

Did your boy (Moopsy?) have blood work at his check up? The only way to know if a senior cat is healthy is to do blood work. Kidney disease does not show symptoms until 75% of kidney function is gone. That is why senior blood work is so important.

Dental issues can cause a ton of problems for a cat. It can cause kidney failure and heart disease and mouth pain so badly kitty won't eat. Cats hide pain instinctively so by the time they stop eating, if it's because of mouth pain then you know the pain is very bad indeed.

I am not a vet but have cared for four senior cats so far in my life. I make a point of knowing as much as I can about all aspects of cat health care, and seniors especially. I also have dealt with severe dental problems in my Tolly.

If Moopsy were my kitty I would take him to the ER vet today if that is all that's available. You don't want him to suffer.

If you don't want to make a snap decision on letting him go today, they can at least give him some fluids, and something for pain, to hold him over until Monday. If you like that idea, write it down, along with any other questions you may have, for when you go. This way you will be able to think things through better, and have a better understanding of your options.

Please keep us posted, I'll say a prayer for your Moopsy.
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Unread 04-23-2011   #5 (permalink)
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So sorry to hear that your kitty is sick. I think Gail (Acerlt) gave you the right advice. She knows way more than I do about cats' health and various diseases, and she has walked me through the process of what to do when MY senior cat, Emerald, was sick a couple of months ago. She could not take more than one or two steps without falling down. She ate, but I had to hold her up when she ate. I did not know that she was severly dehydrated. I knew her fur and skin looked strange, like it was just "hanging" on her, but I never had a dehydrated cat before so I did not know what the symptoms were, She just stayed curled up in her bed ALL DAY and wouldn't even use the litter box unless I carried her and placed her in the box. Even so, she mostly just fell over into the litter box without going to the bathroom. I thought she was going to die, and she would have if I had not gotten her to the vet right away. They gave her subqutaneous fluids and antibiotics and took blood and x-rays and gave her a complete exam. She is a rescue that is about 13 years old. I adopted her along with her brother, Topaz in December 2010. Aside from being dehydrated, her heart, liver, lungs, etc., all are fine, and her bloodwork was all fine. The only thing that showed up was that she had very bad arthritis in her hips, and for that I am giving er Cosequan.
The reason I am explaining all this to you is because Emerald was just laying in bed, not moving and is a senior cat, and the vet was able to bring her back to health, and I'm hoping that YOUR vet will be ale to help your kitty, too. Plese let us know what hapens
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Unread 04-28-2011   #6 (permalink)
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Please bring us up to date on Moopsy....((((((
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Unread 05-02-2011   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you all so much for checking in.. Unfortunately I had to let my beautiful kitty go that very same night. It was so hard even making the decision to go to the ER for fear of what they'd tell me but watching him curled up in bed with practically no life left in him, I couldn't bare the thought of letting it go on a night longer. I went to the closest ER and the vet saw him straight away - i can't remember exactly what he said now cause after his first sentence I was already crying.. he told me in his opinion it was time. He mentioned kidney failure and his arthritis (kitty had 3 legs due to a car accident when he was a kitten) and basically told me that it was my choice, we could try to save him but it didn't look like he would live a very happy life for much longer. He'd told me if anything he would live another few months even with the necessary tests/surgery and money spent. What killed me was when he said that because I loved him so much, he knew I’d make the right decision. I was devastated. I held kitty as it happened, he didn't even flinch. I cried for the next week (I guess that's why I haven't had a chance to get back to you all, sorry). But looking back on it now it was definitely the right choice. If the vet says it's time then it's time.. he WAS 18 years old. I think it was just so saddening as I'd had him for more than half my life But now I feel ok as I know kitty's in peace and we have millions of memories!) I don't feel bad going to sleep now as when he was sick I'd worry about what he would do or need during the night. Now I know he's ok...
Thank you again to you all for your wonderful advice.. but unfortunately he wasn't treatable. My normal vet called me just yesterday and I'd told her the news she comforted me by telling me it WAS the right choice.
My one regret is that I didn't take him to the vet in the first 2 days he was sick. I guess I just saw him slowing down and pinned it down to his age and didn't think anything of it till that last night.. and by then he had already suffered more than he had to. The thought makes me really sad and guilty, I can't believe I let him suffer for so long - who knows how long he'd been suffering for before that. I can't stand thinking about it.
So instead I'll tell you all about how I took him home and buried him in my parents backyard (which is where he grew up). We've since planted a mango tree where he lies... I'll miss him xo

Sorry to ramble on but it feels nice sharing it. Thanks again for all your warm messages.. I really really appreciate all of it.

PS. His name was Cooper.. The most beautiful ginger tabby I’ve ever known! ( I have another 2 cats called Moby and Gypsy )
I will definitely be back on this to share some of their stories with you all!!
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Unread 05-02-2011   #8 (permalink)
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I'm so sorry for your loss of your beloved Cooper. You did well by him right up to the end, letting him go, freeing him from suffering. 18 years is a good long life and a testament to your excellent loving care.

I'm so sorry. The other cats may grieve for him too, if he was bonded to them.
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Unread 05-02-2011   #9 (permalink)
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Oh no, I'm so upset to hear about Cooper. It tares me apart when I hear these stories. Please don't you feel guilty or blame yourself for not bringing him to the vet a few days sooner. You were hoping he would perk up, I would too.


Find comfort in knowing he's at peace and you did everthing you could to help him. Thank you so much for bringing us up to date (it bothers me when we're left up in the air).



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Unread 05-02-2011   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for the update, even if it is such a sad one.
I am sitting here crying because I know how hard it can be to say good bye. If only there was a clear line between quality life and suffering, but there isn't. The best you can do is to care and ask questions, both of which you did! Have you read the Rainbow Bridge yet, it is wonderful! You will see Cooper again, and he will be so happy to see the person who gave him a wonderful life!
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