When to make the decision about putting the cat down

mommytobuck

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My cat is 15 going on 16 and it has been a tough year. Originally I had an appointment to put him down in winter 2020... but I failed to go. Then he got sick this summer and some medication seemed to make things better. But more and more I am having issues with him and I am having trouble deciding.

First, his quality of life doesn't seem great.
- he sleeps about 18 hours a day. I understand this is normal for older cats. But I have this feeling it is due to pain.
- when he isn't sleeping he cries for food. It is almost like a habit. The food seems to make his tummy feel better.
- his eyes are perpetually droopy. And sometimes they water.
- he does throw up more than usual and has hair balls.
- sometimes he has diahhrea.. and has gone outside his box a few times.
- he has terrible arthritis. Sometimes it seems like he pops a leg out, and i see him walking with like a popped out leg.
- he rarely moves around a lot, this year, pretty much being confined to the first floor.
- he doesn't really liked to be touched.
- he was always brutal going to the vet before but now he is so downright miserable I don't see anyway they could examine him without real issues for him.

My gut is saying that I am just living in denial and should man up and end this thing now.

My vet is also, imho, not supportive. She seems to have it in her head that we can get two or three more years out of him... but as it is now he has asthma meds, and I pretty much put *something* in his food every time I feed him. Supplement, medication etc. Everytime I call to make the appointment I find them not helpful. Always saying they will have to examine him to do it... when they know that will just make things worse... but I have found all vets this way now, like they have some new standard of care to do an exam to make sure he is a suitable candidate.

But mostly it is me not being able to man up and do it.

Also, in prior years I was able to make the decision and get it done quickly. Now, when I call, either they put roadblocks in the way or it takes 3 weeks to get an appointment and that usually makes it so I talk myself out of it.

Help? Just something I have to man up and do?
 

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neely

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I'm sorry to hear that your cat and you are going through a difficult time. I thought this Article might be helpful especially since it has a paragraph about the five main criteria for euthanasia: When Is It Time? – Making The Difficult Decision – TheCatSite Articles

I'd also like to add that although your cat would be considered a senior it doesn't necessarily indicate it's time yet. However, that being said, you know him best and only you can make that decision. It's not a question of whether to "man up to it" but rather what is best for your cat. Some of the problems you posted above could be addressed with treatments, e.g. hairballs which Furballsmom Furballsmom suggested or even arthritis. Unfortunately old age whether human or animal comes with health issues and challenges.

I'm sorry you feel your vet is not supportive but I wouldn't put all vets into that category. I see a feline specialist and I have to say she has been overwhelmingly helpful and compassionate since my cat is going through a serious health problem right now. Yes, the pandemic has put a lot of constraints on us and it has been severely stressful for the veterinary community as well.

My heart goes out to you, I not only sympathize with you but feel remorseful for your cat. :hugs: Whatever you decide to do take your time so that you do not have any regrets later. We will be here to support you regardless. Hugs! 🤗
 

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I always say Go with your gut.
Our first instincts are usually the correct ones, but so many ignore.
I would agree with the suggesting of cbd. I've a cat with Cancer, arthritis (she's almost 18), and recently diagnosed with early stages kidney failure. She's been on a small dose of Lazarus's salmon broad spectrum cbd.
This one had no THC (which gives the 'high' feeling), but it's done great things for her. It replaced her daily steroids (for throwing up every day from the Cancer) to where she no longer need the steroid to control get naseau. Also has helped her aches and pains from arthritis & the inflammation in her intestinal tract (where her Cancer is).
Here's a piece I found talking about ways it can benefit.
Whatever your decision, is be getting a new vet. You need one that's on the same page as you are for his health and treatment.
 

stephanietx

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Is he on anything to help with his arthritis? Supplements helped my senior girl tremendously. She wasn't acting like a kitten, but she enjoyed jumping up in the window and getting up on the dresser in her heated bed. A heated pet bed or pad is so helpful for seniors. They like to be warm, but have a hard time regulating their body temperature at times. Has he been checked for hyperthyroid issues? That might explain the constant food desire. Or he may really associate food with a positive interaction with you. Are you loving on him in other ways throughout the day?
 

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Hello,

I'm so sorry you're going through this - I'm sure it's painful and stressful. My advice is no, you're cat is not ready. Quality of life may be diminishing but that does not mean it's time to put him down. CBD is an excellent option. Also, we've put my senior girl on supplements when she shows signs of arthritis and it really helps. We purchased a ramp for her to get to our bed and she adores it. Supplements are essential as well as pet store good foods like tiki cat and wuerva.

My honest opinion - just because your cat is experiencing health issues in old age is a really wrong reason to put him down. Look at more options. My girl got kidney disease 4 years ago and the vets told us she had 6 months. She is thriving now at 4 years later because we changed her diet and give her sub q fluids every other day. Don't give up. You can find solutions to extend life and quality of life.
 
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mommytobuck

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-He is on a Malt like supplement for the hairballs. It helps a little.
- He is not on a supplement for the arthritis. The doctor gave me Melodoxicam but I don't feel it work... and she is very stubborn that it would work if I would just give it more.. but I feel it was the cause of his issues this summer - and he throws up almost every time he has it. Also I don't know that my cat specifically has arthrtis... but he seems to be able to pop out a joint... so when he jumps off something he pops the joint out and can't walk and isn't really able to put it back in without me. Since it isn't an issue they can really see when in the office they can't really do anything for me. I have video taped it but they just don't know what to do.
- I have been home with him for two years and now I have to return to work in January. I am not sure what is going to happen. I am afraid he will pop out the leg while I am not at home and or... he will be crying at 4 AM for food (no big deal when I can just sleep late).
- He sometimes throws up clear liquid when he doesn't get food on time. Doc says it can be gerd.. and I am not sure I will be able to get him food as he needs it when I go back to work.

I suppose every day I go back and forth on it.
Does anyone have any advice on the leg? I am not sure it is "arthritis" - more it is like his joint pops out. I went all summer with it not happening because my cat enjoyed sleeping on the floor. But now that it is cold down there he keeps jumping up and down from the couch (and I purchased stairs for him -- he just won't use them) and poping it out. I am afraid it is going to do damage.

I am giving him Hemp supplements but perhaps I will try what has been suggested here.
 

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-He is on a Malt like supplement for the hairballs. It helps a little.
- He is not on a supplement for the arthritis. The doctor gave me Melodoxicam but I don't feel it work... and she is very stubborn that it would work if I would just give it more.. but I feel it was the cause of his issues this summer - and he throws up almost every time he has it. Also I don't know that my cat specifically has arthrtis... but he seems to be able to pop out a joint... so when he jumps off something he pops the joint out and can't walk and isn't really able to put it back in without me. Since it isn't an issue they can really see when in the office they can't really do anything for me. I have video taped it but they just don't know what to do.
- I have been home with him for two years and now I have to return to work in January. I am not sure what is going to happen. I am afraid he will pop out the leg while I am not at home and or... he will be crying at 4 AM for food (no big deal when I can just sleep late).
- He sometimes throws up clear liquid when he doesn't get food on time. Doc says it can be gerd.. and I am not sure I will be able to get him food as he needs it when I go back to work.

I suppose every day I go back and forth on it.
Does anyone have any advice on the leg? I am not sure it is "arthritis" - more it is like his joint pops out. I went all summer with it not happening because my cat enjoyed sleeping on the floor. But now that it is cold down there he keeps jumping up and down from the couch (and I purchased stairs for him -- he just won't use them) and poping it out. I am afraid it is going to do damage.

I am giving him Hemp supplements but perhaps I will try what has been suggested here.
I am so sorry you and kitty are going through this. I think there are things you can do to make him more comfy, he survived a year after this with no major things apparently.
I would try some of the suggestions and try glucosamine for the leg/ arthritis issues. It sounds like maybe his elbow is popping out, my Sybil had that when she was young, and a dvm tried to con me into doing surgery in both legs saying she would be maimed if I didn’t. The woman I adopted her from said she had a kitty at 6 months who recovered from it on her own and that is what happened with Syb. I don’t know how it would be treated in an older cat but I would go to an internist or dvm who does have some idea what to do. For eating while you are away you can leave food out or get a timer dish maybe.
 
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mommytobuck

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I would try some of the suggestions and try glucosamine for the leg/ arthritis issues
I did try that already. Doesn't work. Makes his Tummy upset. As for the dish, I have looked it up but I don't see dishes that work. The ice pack only lasts 6 hours.. I am away from the house for 12. So far I haven't found one that fills me with confidence it isn't going to make him sick. He is a picky boy so if the food comes out and he doesn't eat it, he is the kind of dummy who will eat spoiled food.

Last night was bizzare. He woke me up at 1 AM crying like death. I didn't know what he wanted so I tried food. I gave him 1/2 a can and he continued to cry. I gave him the entire thing... he went to bed. Not sure how he got off his normal feeding schedule. Or what the problem was. I gave him Melodoxicam yesterday so maybe that irritated his stomach.

I of course got zero sleep. I managed to make some of it up this morning since I am still working at home. Not sure if I will be able to do that in the future. I am starting to feel like a prisoner to him.

But I would be happy to do it if he didn't look miserable all the time. Which he does. I will continue to monitor him.
 

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I did try that already. Doesn't work. Makes his Tummy upset. As for the dish, I have looked it up but I don't see dishes that work. The ice pack only lasts 6 hours.. I am away from the house for 12. So far I haven't found one that fills me with confidence it isn't going to make him sick. He is a picky boy so if the food comes out and he doesn't eat it, he is the kind of dummy who will eat spoiled food.

Last night was bizzare. He woke me up at 1 AM crying like death. I didn't know what he wanted so I tried food. I gave him 1/2 a can and he continued to cry. I gave him the entire thing... he went to bed. Not sure how he got off his normal feeding schedule. Or what the problem was. I gave him Melodoxicam yesterday so maybe that irritated his stomach.

I of course got zero sleep. I managed to make some of it up this morning since I am still working at home. Not sure if I will be able to do that in the future. I am starting to feel like a prisoner to him.

But I would be happy to do it if he didn't look miserable all the time. Which he does. I will continue to monitor him.
I hope you can figure out something to help him. It is a tough situation. Ask dvm for suggestions too. I would not worry about food spoiling, you can leave it out overnight even, if it is not raw, and it will not spoil. So you could set up a few dishes for him. Add some water if needed to stop it drying out. Does he eat dry at all? I think they now have lazer treatments for arthritis too. Maybe gabapentin for the pain and it may settle him a bit more also.
 
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mommytobuck

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Now he is having an issue of his eye watering all the time. Like so bad it drips on the floor. I have to get up and wipe it up. This happened last summer but seemed to go away.. perhaps I just didn't see that his eye was watery (because his fur is black).

I made an appointment for the first Friday in January... I think I am going to have to take him unless Omicron skuttles it.
 
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mommytobuck

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One thing I didn't mention here is that my cat has aggressive behavior problems around being examined at the vet. In fact, a vet gave me permission to put him down 2 years ago because she believed that he would not be able to get examination or treatment without danger to people or the cat. And in fact, the last time he went to the vet he ripped out a nail (not the first time). At one time in my own house he slipped on a stair and got caught in something and he went so wild he was just biting like crazy... and he bit me. Now that he is elderly I do worry about the damage. The vet gave me gabapenten but it has failed each time. He gets completely clear with fear. So gabapenten just makes him sleepy until he is worried. He also escaped the vets at my home so that will not work.

He has been largely sick most of this winter. If his eyes aren't watering he is throwing up fur balls... I can afford to take care of him because I am living at home but I am scheduled to go back to work at the start of March.

I am considering it more and more. I really don't want to do it... but it is starting to be a frequent thought... in my head.

If I do go back to work in March I am considering making an appointment for April.

One of the most annoying things is that every time I have done it before I was able to get an appointment within a few days but with covid it is almost always like 4 weeks out.. just enough time to start to doubt myself.
 

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One thing I didn't mention here is that my cat has aggressive behavior problems around being examined at the vet. In fact, a vet gave me permission to put him down 2 years ago because she believed that he would not be able to get examination or treatment without danger to people or the cat. And in fact, the last time he went to the vet he ripped out a nail (not the first time). At one time in my own house he slipped on a stair and got caught in something and he went so wild he was just biting like crazy... and he bit me. Now that he is elderly I do worry about the damage. The vet gave me gabapenten but it has failed each time. He gets completely clear with fear. So gabapenten just makes him sleepy until he is worried. He also escaped the vets at my home so that will not work.

He has been largely sick most of this winter. If his eyes aren't watering he is throwing up fur balls... I can afford to take care of him because I am living at home but I am scheduled to go back to work at the start of March.

I am considering it more and more. I really don't want to do it... but it is starting to be a frequent thought... in my head.

If I do go back to work in March I am considering making an appointment for April.

One of the most annoying things is that every time I have done it before I was able to get an appointment within a few days but with covid it is almost always like 4 weeks out.. just enough time to start to doubt myself.
It is a very hard decision to make. Only you can decide. Did you try any of the suggestions and did they help at all?

For me I would not be ready to let my cat go from the things that you have described none of them seems really severe and it doesn’t seem like he’s suffering terribly. I would not be able to live with it and tend to keep them with me till it is obvious they are dying. But you have to be the judge of it. And you have to deal with the whole situation.

So for me I would probably try other medications to help with his anxiety / aggression, each medication affects each cat differently so there could be some thing else that may help him.
 

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I totally agree with Meowmee Meowmee .

Ask your vet about trying a small dose of butorphanol instead of gabapentin. It is a sedative that was used with Feeby (17+ yo) before she had her abdomen shaved in preparation for an ultrasound. There are all sorts of similar type meds - it is just a matter of finding one that works well for him.

The same goes for arthritis supplements. What one did you try, and at what dosage? Some of them have added ingredients in them that are not necessary. And many cats do better with a gradual increase in the supplement to help reduce potential side effects, as it gives the cat's system time to adjust.

Whatever happened to the eye medication the vet previously gave your cat for his watery eye? If I recall, you said at the time you thought it worked.

EDIT: I forgot to ask if you checked with your vet about the cost of Solensia (the new FDA approved med for cats with osteoarthritis). I noticed it might also give your cat some help with the aggression as well, especially if it is connected to any sort of pain.
 
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mommytobuck

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I thought I was going to figure this out but he just threw up again... (seems like hairballs) now it is increasing frequency. I have been giving him Cat Lax for that. It did seem to work at first but now I am not sure if he is just throwing up on a rug that I have that is black. So I have no idea. I have heard that older cats have more hairball problems due to lower stomach motility but I would say it is about every 14 days.

The eye medication doesn't reliably work. I am working on a theory about it not being related to his eyes.. but rather congestion from Asthma. At the moment that is looking promising.

I have tried Cosequin but it didn't seem to do anything but make him sick. I tried meloxicam and it didn't seem to do much but make him sick and his eye watering seemed to get worse. I give it to him now when he is limping or something but on an as needed basis. 1x per month. I do feel the arthrtis is the least of this issues.

I actually put him in a carrier on Monday (he willingly went in) to see if could get him used to it (because he wants to go downstairs) but I got him down there and he started crying and scratching to get out.

My biggest concern is the throwing up. I will tell you in March of 2020 I had tummy xrays and all was well. I took him in for throwing up and they told me he has a "sensitive stomach" so... but the throwing up has a lot of brown liquid... and hairballs.
 

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I thought I was going to figure this out but he just threw up again... (seems like hairballs) now it is increasing frequency. I have been giving him Cat Lax for that. It did seem to work at first but now I am not sure if he is just throwing up on a rug that I have that is black. So I have no idea. I have heard that older cats have more hairball problems due to lower stomach motility but I would say it is about every 14 days.

The eye medication doesn't reliably work. I am working on a theory about it not being related to his eyes.. but rather congestion from Asthma. At the moment that is looking promising.

I have tried Cosequin but it didn't seem to do anything but make him sick. I tried meloxicam and it didn't seem to do much but make him sick and his eye watering seemed to get worse. I give it to him now when he is limping or something but on an as needed basis. 1x per month. I do feel the arthrtis is the least of this issues.

I actually put him in a carrier on Monday (he willingly went in) to see if could get him used to it (because he wants to go downstairs) but I got him down there and he started crying and scratching to get out.

My biggest concern is the throwing up. I will tell you in March of 2020 I had tummy xrays and all was well. I took him in for throwing up and they told me he has a "sensitive stomach" so... but the throwing up has a lot of brown liquid... and hairballs.
Have you tried pumpkin in his food and some laxatone? L can help with the hairballs vomiting and motility etc. maybe he is reacting to something in his diet so you could try a home cooked diet and give him smaller meals no dry food or a little dry food and something that is puréed which is easier to digest. I am not sure about the eyes, your theory sound correct so maybe and antihistamine. Cannabis oil is supposed to help arthritis pain etc. in cats and dogs too.
 
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One thing I didn't mention here is that my cat has aggressive behavior problems around being examined at the vet. In fact, a vet gave me permission to put him down 2 years ago because she believed that he would not be able to get examination or treatment without danger to people or the cat. And in fact, the last time he went to the vet he ripped out a nail (not the first time). At one time in my own house he slipped on a stair and got caught in something and he went so wild he was just biting like crazy... and he bit me. Now that he is elderly I do worry about the damage. The vet gave me gabapenten but it has failed each time. He gets completely clear with fear. So gabapenten just makes him sleepy until he is worried. He also escaped the vets at my home so that will not work.

He has been largely sick most of this winter. If his eyes aren't watering he is throwing up fur balls... I can afford to take care of him because I am living at home but I am scheduled to go back to work at the start of March.

I am considering it more and more. I really don't want to do it... but it is starting to be a frequent thought... in my head.

If I do go back to work in March I am considering making an appointment for April.

One of the most annoying things is that every time I have done it before I was able to get an appointment within a few days but with covid it is almost always like 4 weeks out.. just enough time to start to doubt myself.
I had to do that several years ago. Kitty had suffered a Stroke. Divine intervention wasn't available . So euthanasia was the only option.
 
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mommytobuck

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Have you tried pumpkin in his food and some laxatone? L can help with the hairballs vomiting and motility etc. maybe he is reacting to something in his diet so you could try a home cooked diet and give him smaller meals no dry food or a little dry food and something that is puréed which is easier to digest. I am not sure about the eyes, your theory sound correct so maybe and antihistamine. Cannabis oil is supposed to help arthritis pain etc. in cats and dogs too.
I am using a product called Cat Lax. It is supposedly only for vets but I got it at chewy. My cat has been lucky to get smaller portions pretty much when he wants them while I have been home for the pandemic. He gets a full 3 oz can at my waking up. Either a full or half at around 2, and either a full or half at 5 or 6 pm. Then I have an automatic dish release some dry food at 1 am and 3 am. The amount is small just enough to give him a snack.

Maybe someone can tell me should I give the Laxitone (or cat lax) daily? I had though I read on the directions that you should give it daily for 2 weeks and then every other day after that, but I can't find that now. I am concerned that I have been giving it at least every other day and I am still seeing throw ups
 

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I am using a product called Cat Lax. It is supposedly only for vets but I got it at chewy. My cat has been lucky to get smaller portions pretty much when he wants them while I have been home for the pandemic. He gets a full 3 oz can at my waking up. Either a full or half at around 2, and either a full or half at 5 or 6 pm. Then I have an automatic dish release some dry food at 1 am and 3 am. The amount is small just enough to give him a snack.

Maybe someone can tell me should I give the Laxitone (or cat lax) daily? I had though I read on the directions that you should give it daily for 2 weeks and then every other day after that, but I can't find that now. I am concerned that I have been giving it at least every other day and I am still seeing throw ups
I think every other day is good. Try pumpkin too and maybe probiotics. It could be the dry food. It gets harder for them to digest as they age. Maybe slowly switch to a better brand for stomach sensitivity and hairballs.
 
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