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Unread 09-19-2010   #1 (permalink)
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Default Unanswered: Please help: Is it time? When will it be time?

Hello. I really need advice. I understand this is the hardest question to answer but I figured I'd try to ask, in case anybody has experience.

My cat, Ruby, is very sick. She has heart problems (what we believe is Congested Heart Failure, but we are not 100% sure it's this, because I can't afford an ultrasound for her). She's had this condition for a few years, she's a fighter! But every now and then, she gets flare-ups where she is sicker. She gets episodes of labored breathing.

She's having a flare up right now and I believe this is it, I just have this feeling that she won't get better this time. I'm trying to decide if/when I should put her to sleep.

BUT. She is fine right now. She is still eating, still drinking, using her litterbox fine. She's very social, alert and perky (she's purring on my lap as I write this). We can hear the fluid in her lungs though. She breathes with her mouth open every now and then, and she doesn't have AS MUCH energy as she usually does.

I feel like...Now is not her time. I should not put her to sleep yet. Even though I can tell she's uncomfortable, she's still happy. But I've googled this and I've read about people who have their cats put to sleep at this point so that the cat never truly suffers. My conscience is bothering me now. Am I a monster for not putting her to sleep now? This is my baby though, I don't want to cut her life short.

In my heart I just don't think it's time yet. If she weren't perky, if she weren't eating, if she looked miserable, that would be one thing. But she's still acting totally normal right now. I can tell she's uncomfortable because for one, she's sleeping more. For two, with every breath she takes, we can hear her congestion. It sounds like she has A LOT of fluid in her lungs.

There's nothing more the vet can do unless I shell out the money to do more tests. I'm still poor from our last visit. She became ill a few months ago and the vet trip cost $650. Then my car broke down, which took $400. Then I got sick myself, which cost another $400. I'm so totally broke right now. I know that my only options are to let her be or to put her to sleep, I can't afford to have her looked at again.

Does anybody have any advice? I wish I knew exactly what to do. I wish there would be a moment when I would just now. Or, I wish she would just peacefully go in her sleep without any pain, but we know that won't happen!

Right now, I'm just making her as comfortable and happy as possible. Part of me even feels as though I should never put her so sleep. Death is natural, she is not aware that getting put to sleep is an option. She is anticipating being uncomfortable. This is just what happens. But there are so many people who think that it's inhumane to not put a sick animal to sleep. I just don't know what to do! Plus, she HATES the vet. HATES it. She freaks out. Her last moments would be stressful for her, whereas if she died at home, she would be at peace. I wish there was a vet that made house calls, but around here, there isn't.

I'm sorry for being so long-winded. I just really need advice and I have nowhere to turn to. Any advice will be or words of comfort or understand would be SO MUCH appreciated.
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Unread 09-20-2010   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindsaaayerin View Post
In my heart I just don't think it's time yet. If she weren't perky, if she weren't eating, if she looked miserable, that would be one thing. But she's still acting totally normal right now. I can tell she's uncomfortable because for one, she's sleeping more. For two, with every breath she takes, we can hear her congestion. It sounds like she has A LOT of fluid in her lungs.



Does anybody have any advice? I wish I knew exactly what to do. I wish there would be a moment when I would just now. Or, I wish she would just peacefully go in her sleep without any pain, but we know that won't happen!

Right now, I'm just making her as comfortable and happy as possible. Part of me even feels as though I should never put her so sleep. Death is natural, she is not aware that getting put to sleep is an option. She is anticipating being uncomfortable. This is just what happens. But there are so many people who think that it's inhumane to not put a sick animal to sleep. I just don't know what to do! Plus, she HATES the vet. HATES it. She freaks out. Her last moments would be stressful for her, whereas if she died at home, she would be at peace. I wish there was a vet that made house calls, but around here, there isn't.

I'm sorry for being so long-winded. I just really need advice and I have nowhere to turn to. Any advice will be or words of comfort or understand would be SO MUCH appreciated.

Hello. I am so sorry you are dealing with this with your beloved Ruby.

Ruby will let you know when she's had enough. Your job now is to spend as much time as you can with her, making sure she's comfortable, giving her her favorite foods, cuddling or doing with her what ever her favorite things are.

Talk to her about her illness and tell her you will be listening and when she tells you she's had enough you will hear her.

Quote:
She is anticipating being uncomfortable.
This actually is not true. Cats don't anticipate illness. She doesn't know she's sick. What she knows is some days she doesn't feel so good and just wants to sleep in her favorite bed or sun beam. Some days she feels better and does more of the things she enjoyes, be it looking out the window or cuddling with you, or whatever.

What she does know is that you are there.

Death may be "natural" but we have the power to save our beloved pets the final physical suffering. There is no need for her to suffer. When she gets to that point, when she stops eating, loses interest in everything, or can't catch her breath at all, you will know that you don't want her to suffer any longer, and you will be strong for her, and let her go.

Since vet visits stress her out so much, let her stay home where she is safe and relaxed. Talk to your vet about making a home visit when the time comes and Ruby has had enough.

Sometimes cats do go peacefully in their sleep before life becomes too hard for them. But don't make the mistake of waiting for it. Don't keep her there for yourself. When she's ready she'll let you know.

I am a firm believer in too soon is better than too late. She won't hold it against you if you send her a day early. But you will feel very bad if you wait a day too late.

It doesn't sound to me like she's done here. Stick around and talk to us about Ruby if you like. Moral support from people who understand what you are going through can make a big difference. It doesn't make things hurt less, but it helps all the same.
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Unread 09-20-2010   #3 (permalink)
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acerlt, thank you so, so much for your reply. I'm going to read it repeatedly and really digest it, you gave me so much information. I truly appreciate it.

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and I thought it was time. Ruby was sleeping on me and I could feel her breathing so poorly. If I put my hand over her chest, I could feel her rasping. But then I woke up just now, and she's walking around, asking for attention, eating, drinking. It's most definitely not time yet, the brightness in her eyes tell me.

It's just so difficult because I'm working full time and going to college full time, I don't get to spend as much time with her as I'd like. I do have the day off from both places tomorrow, though.

Thank you again for your advice, you have no idea how much you helped me.

acerlt, thank you so, so much for your reply. I'm going to read it repeatedly and really digest it, you gave me so much information. I truly appreciate it.

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and I thought it was time. Ruby was sleeping on me and I could feel her breathing so poorly. If I put my hand over her chest, I could feel her rasping. But then I woke up just now, and she's walking around, asking for attention, eating, drinking. It's most definitely not time yet, the brightness in her eyes tell me.

It's just so difficult because I'm working full time and going to college full time, I don't get to spend as much time with her as I'd like. I do have the day off from both places tomorrow, though.

Thank you again for your advice, you have no idea how much you helped me.
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