When is it time?

mommytobuck

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I am sure you get this question a lot but I am wondering about my 15 year old boy.

First, congratulations to me and Bucky, this is the first cat I have ever had last 15 years. I worked hard to keep him alive. He has asthma and is overweight. But to my knowledge has nothing else wrong with him.

Lately however, he seems to be different. He sleeps all day (perhaps up for 2 hours a day) and only wants to eat. He doesn't want me to pick him up or pet him really and really isn't interested in much. He seems to have issues walking but, still can go up and down the stairs. It just seems like his legs are weak. He is using the litter box alright but going more piddle than usual. He used to sleep in my second bedroom (upstairs) but now only sleeps on the first floor. It isn't that he can't go up there, just just seems to do it less and less. Every time he wakes up he has this mounds of goo coming out of his eye. He doesn't keep himself that clean anymore. I kind of have to do it. But I better BE careful if I hit the wrong place I will be in trouble. And in the last few years he has become a danger to me. It was an accident but he slipped on the stairs a few years back and got caught in something and in his blind hysteria bit my hand hard... had go to the doctor.

The real kicker is that I cannot take him to the vet. Prior to him becoming older he was a nightmare at the vet but now it is just an impossible situation. Last time I took him he hurt himself. And the vet gave me permission to put him down then due to the danger to the cat and to the vet staff. I don't think he has gotten more friendly in the intervening year -- more grumpy. Don't ask about the in home vet because that is the same thing they cannot examine him.

In addition as he has gotten older he is deathly afraid of thunderstorms. Last year he cried for hours during a long storm and nothing could console him- I don't look forward to that again this summer.

I also worry that he will get sick when I cannot get him help. We never know what the next day will bring. February last year I had an appointment for him to be put down but changed my mind, who knew that in 3 weeks that option would be taken away from me.

More and more I have been thinking bout it. Like just picking a date in April getting it set up and doing it.

I have put 1 cat down before but he had a massive tumor that they said they couldn't fix. I hated doing it but felt it was for the best given the tumor. But with this cat.. I don't know of anything that is a "ah ha" thing... it just have this sinking feeling every time I look at him.
 

FeebysOwner

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Sounds to me like his condition(s) could be very well be treated, but you can't know that if you can't have him checked out by a vet. The extra crankiness could be from pain - maybe arthritis, maybe old age, maybe something else. Eye drainage is probably related to a bacterial infection - also treatable.

I'd still look for an in-home vet and discuss the situation with them. I am sure more than one of them have had to deal with similar cases. It might as simple as the administration of a small dose of gabapentin - or other light sedative. Many in-home vets have the equipment to draw blood and take urine samples, which are probably things he could use right now, just so you can make an assessment of his overall health.

Of course, the decision is yours and yours alone to make. But, if I had a cat that I had no idea whether or not their condition(s) could be treated, I would want to know that before I elected to euthanize them.

My cat, Feeby is 16+ yo, she has arthritis, hyperthyroidism, and is going through changes similar to what you describe with Buddy - and some worse (weight loss, lack of appetite to name a couple). So, I know most of what is going on with her - enough to say, she is not done with living just yet.

There are ways to deal with thunderstorms, but that can be discussed later if you choose to keep him around a while longer.
 
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mommytobuck

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My cat, Feeby is 16+ yo, she has arthritis, hyperthyroidism, and is going through changes similar to what you describe with Buddy - and some worse (weight loss, lack of appetite to name a couple). So, I know most of what is going on with her - enough to say, she is not done with living just yet.
See also, his weight hasn't changed at all. I weigh him at home.

I have tried Gabapentin. It failed. At home vet an everything. He was out light a light -- UNTIL -- the vet walked in and then, not only did he run, he JUMPED over a large gate and got under the bed. It appear that his fear can override drugs.
 

fionasmom

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I have to agree that your cat may well be treatable if he could be examined. He frankly does not sound as if he is at death's door yet. There are other sedatives aside from gabapentin and the vet should be able to try another one. Some sedatives work better than others for certain patients.
 
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mommytobuck

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I have to agree that your cat may well be treatable if he could be examined. He frankly does not sound as if he is at death's door yet. There are other sedatives aside from gabapentin and the vet should be able to try another one. Some sedatives work better than others for certain patients.
My vet says no. He says that it is too dangerous to try other sedatives at this age and not knowing what result they could have. Now I know your saying, so it is better to put him down? I think yes, I think the vet doesn't want the headache of me reporting him to the board for killing my cat. So those are my options.
 

FeebysOwner

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Have you ever considered getting additional opinions? Perhaps, even ask your current vet if they are willing to consult with a veterinary university for ideas about how to safely calm your cat for an exam. It is highly possible another vet or a vet university is more up to date on potential options than your vet is.
 

fionasmom

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I do sympathize with you. However, if your vet discussed dangers with you and your cat passed on because of a medication you would have a hard time making a report about him to the medical board.....unless possibly you are talking about some off the wall treatment not approved for cats.
 
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mommytobuck

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Have you ever considered getting additional opinions? Perhaps, even ask your current vet if they are willing to consult with a veterinary university for ideas about how to safely calm your cat for an exam. It is highly possible another vet or a vet university is more up to date on potential options than your vet is.
1. My current vet believes I have done all I can and gave my cat a good life. So she is not disposed to go the extra mile for a cat that has bitten me, her staff, and is 15 years old. The cat has also hurt HIMSELF in these tussles so it simply is not a good idea to even try any longer given his age and propensity to lash out in a way that ends up hurting him.
2. Other vets expect to be paid if you are going to have them out to your house. If they come out to my house and they are not able to examine the cat... they will want to be paid. I am not a billionaire. And respectfully, IMHO, they rarely try. If the cat is not easy to examine they just give up. However, due to emergency vets and moving in my cat's life I have had about 4 vets and not one of them has found a reasonable remedy to examine the cat. The only option that has worked is a knock down fight to sedate him and the last 3 times that was done the cat hurt himself so the vets have suggested that he is too old to be having these knock down fights.
3. I have been round and round on this issue before and I think it is just so rude for people not to listen. I have exhausted every remedy for my cat to be examined. No one here ever gives me an option that will work or I would try it... just a "have you tried" -- yes I have tried it all. There is no option that has not been completely examined.

My vet wanted to put him down last year but I decided that my cat was seemingly in too good a shape.

I have never had a cat live this long before so I am not 100% when it is time to put him down. If you want to help you should focus on guiding me as to what factors should I look for and what factors are not an issue so I can have my cat as long as possible but not too long.

1. My cat snores now when he sleeps. He kind of seems to have sleep apnea.
2. When he wakes up sometimes he has this horribly runny eyes. It is both eyes. But he has asthma so I believe it is congestion from that - that backs up in his eyes. I don't believe it is an infection as it comes and goes.
3. He seems to have issues walking but, at the same time he seems perfectly able to jump up on the couch and or to go up the stairs or down them.
4. He does seem to sleep 22 hours a day.
5. He has been doing more piddle than usual but, he gets more wet food lately (due to the pandemic) and last February during his last examination his kidneys were perfect. I do not see him drinking more than he usually does.
6. Definitely rather a grump lately.
7. His weight is monitored and he is exactly the same. 16.4 lbs.

I did have in my head to try to make it to 16 years old but I do not want my cat to suffer needlessly and if he is starting to struggle I have heard that animals don't feel pain the way we do but they do feel anxiety. So I don't want him to suffer feeling anxiety if it is difficult for him to walk etc. I have looked at the "breakdowns" of quality of life and I don't see a lot of the issues. He still eats well. He still uses the box well. He still seems relatively happy. He has a stable weight.
 

FeebysOwner

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Based on your list, he has no factors that I would consider as reason enough to euthanize my cat.

Not eating, not drinking, not using the litter box, inability to get around, throwing up all the time - these would be some of the things I would be worried about. But, again, if any of those were happening, I am at least in a position to be able to take Feeby to the vet to see if she could be treated.

It isn't really that people aren't listening to you. It is just natural instinct for most of us to want to seek out a vet, their expertise, and their tools to help our cats in anyway we can. I think that is why you've gotten the replies that you have. It would be very, very hard for me to decide Feeby needed to be euthanized without at least having the vet run applicable tests to determine what might be behind whatever ailment she would be experiencing.

So, I feel for you from the standpoint that is apparently not an option for you. In your case, other factors, that it appears you've already researched, would have to arise for you to become worried as to whether or not his time has come. I hope you don't have to do that for a very long time!
 
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