Making the most difficult decision


TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Hi Amy,

I hope I haven't missed you already. I haven't had much time at all to write in the past 2 weeks while you've been here.

Here is my inquiry:

We have a 17 year old cat, Kitty, who we love dearly. She currently has been diagnosed with CRF and we are giving her fluids on a regular basis. She's been on K/D Food for the past several years, but is progressively getting worse. When we pick her up she makes this pitiful sound like it's hurting her (she's also on cosequin, by the way). She can't groom herself like she used to and has difficulty getting around. I know you cannot tell me if we have to make the decision to put her to rest, but are there telltale signs to know when she's had enough? She is still eating and using her litterbox, but seems somewhat disinterested in other activities. She snaps at all of us, human, feline or canine - but on the same token, the next day she might seem okay. She isn't interested in any type of play or anything anymore either. I just don't want her to be silently suffering (as so many cats are known to do).

Any information or advice on what to watch for would be greatly appreciated.

amy shojai

TCS Member
Young Cat
Hi Sandi,

Well bless you and Kitty. CRF is a devastating progressive illness, and owners who go the extra mile to home-treat these cats are wonderful.

Your question is probably the hardest of all, because there's no single answer that applies to every situation. I talked a bit about this in my answer about LoveyLou.

How do you know it's time? Some cats tell you, in no uncertain terms, that they've had enough. Others are much more vague and it becomes much more of a guessing game.

Some measures to consider:

Is Kitty still able/willing eat?
Does she seem to feel good?
Can Kitty groom herself? lack of grooming could be due to 1) pain that prevents reaching adequately or 2)just feeling bad
Is she able to use the litter box without assistance?
Will she still indulge in her "favorite" activities (being petted, playing, interaction with people/other pets?)

Probably the biggest thing to consider--If today is a "bad" day, can you reasonably expect tomorrow to be the same? better? worse? Do the "good" days still outnumber the "bad" days?

Sandi, there's no easy equation to use to make the determination. It's more of an intuitive thing. And if you're asking the question, you already know that the end is drawing near and are preparing yourself for this final, awful, but most glorious gift. Whether the date is tomorrow, next week, or 6 months from now, please please always know that Kitty loves and trusts you to make this decision for her. As long as you love her and make choices out of that love, your decisions CANNOT be wrong.



krazy kat2

TCS Member
Top Cat
I had to put down a kitty with Fleuk last year. I knew he had it, and that he was geting some symptoms, but I had no idea that he was as sick as he was until I found him laying in the shower in his own waste. It haunts me that he was probably in pain for weeks. He had been eating, though a little less, and he was always a picky eater. He pretty much acted normal, except that I could see he had lost a little weight, and was slowing down a little. He was always kind of a lazy cat, and would lie on his back to play with toys, so I couldn't see any difference in that respect. I wish I would have discussed it with my vet. Maybe that is a option for you. He could to tell you more about you baby's condition. Maybe that would help with this very difficult decision.


TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Thank you so much Amy and Krazy Kat2. I think the bad days outnumber the good days at this point. Now today is a good day and she enjoyed being petted, but most days she just wants to be left alone. I swear sometimes I see it in her eyes that she's attempting to "tell me she's ready to go". I guess my husband and I just don't want to keep her going out of selfishness for ourselves. We've loved her for so long - we know it will be excrutiatingly painful to lose her, but know realistically the time is drawing near.

We will be taking Kitty to the vet next month (unless she declines and things get dramatically worse before that time) and we will be talking frankly with our vet on his views on Kitty.

Again, thank you for your thoughts and caring responses. Krazy Kat2 - I am terribly sorry about your loss. It sounds like you did all you could and things just escalated faster than you could imagine. I'm very sorry for your loss and wish you hadn't had to go through that. My thoughts are with you.

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