Assessing Quality Of Life
Illness in your cat isn’t the only form of suffering. If your cat is elderly, you might want to monitor your cat in case there are any signs that their quality of life is being compromised. This includes if they are unable to stand or move normally, or if they’re unable to eat or drink. While choosing to have your cat euthanased is one of the most difficult decisions you’ll face, it is often kinder to allow your pet to die in peace and with dignity.
Keep The Space Quiet And Calm
Try to keep the house quiet and calm so that your furry friend can peacefully rest. If you could, try minimizing unfamiliar visitors and see if you could keep the commotion to a minimum at your place. If you have planned some activities or family gatherings, try having them outdoors or in another room.
Also, you may like to play soothing music for providing extra comfort and blocking out other noises. Birds chirping, classical music, or the rainfall sounds can help soothe and relax your cat.
Dont Be Afraid To Ask For Help
If your pet is undergoing treatment towards the end of their life, or you are attending your vet to talk about the next steps for an elderly or ill pet, its a good idea to ask a friend or family member to attend veterinary appointments. Your grief and emotions may very well cloud what your vet recommends having a friend with you that can take notes during the appointment with a clear head will help you make decisions. If these decisions do not need to be made immediately , take the time to discuss your options with those around you.
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Before Euthanasia You May Want To Consider The Following:
Try not overly worry or overreact to how your pet is doing every day. Enjoy the time you have now as you never know when you need to say goodbye.
Spend time with your pet doing activities and rituals that have meaning to you and your pet. This may be something as simple as allowing your pet to sit on your lap as you watch TV or allowing your pet to bask in the sun in a favourite place.;
It is essential children are not sheltered from this important decision-making process and time. Many studies have shown that excluding children or making up stories such as the pet ran away can cause psychological damage to children in the long run.;;
You may wish to take photos, clip hair, make paw imprints as a lasting memorial.
You may find it easier to discuss body care before euthanasia.
Should I Get A New Cat
Its almost inevitable that well-meaning people will ask when youre going to get a new cat. Honestly, there is no one right time.
Some will find that welcoming a new kitten or cat into their home immediately is best because it helps to have someone else to focus on, and the new pet can help ease the pain.
Research has shown that cats can have a therapeutic effect on their humans both physically and emotionally.
It IS your decision though, and only you will know if and when the time is right.
If youre not ready to adopt a new feline friend right away, go with your instincts.
Everyone grieves differently and for some, it will take more time to welcome a pet into the family.
While opening your home to a new pet doesnt mean youre replacing the precious pet youre grieving, to many people, it feels that way.
Listen to your heart and take the time you need to make the best decision for you and your family.
Because there is no one way of dealing with the loss of a beloved pet, forge your own path and allow yourself to fully celebrate your kittys life and your sorrow at his loss.
We grieve with you and hope that we have given you some resources to help you on your journey to healing.
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Aging In Cats What Happens As They Get Older
Just like humans, cats bodies change as they get older. Their routines and habits may start to change as a result. As your cat ages, they are more vulnerable to chronic injuries and illnesses. Their joints start to wear out, so you might see signs of arthritis such as reluctance to jump.;Their immune systems also weaken naturally over time, which means they are more susceptible to illnesses.
A common saying amongst vets is age is not a disease. Cats that are old can still be sprightly, and theres no way of telling how many years your cat has left. Most vets will have met a cat as old as 25 years, so just because your cat is old, doesnt mean its ok for them to get ill.
Its really important that you contact your vet if you notice signs that your cat is unwell, as many diseases are treatable or manageable. Even if your vet cant do anything for your cat, theyll be able to get them some pain relief so that you know theyre comfortable.
Be Prepared To Say Goodbye
When your pet no longer acts in a way that justifies extending its life, it may be time to say goodbye. Your vet will walk you through the decision to put your animal to sleep. It’s never an easy choice but is the most selfless thing you can do to a pet that is suffering from an incurable disease.
When I found out my cat Bishop was very sick, he was well into renal failure. I kept him comfortable, administered IV fluids at home, and put him on a special diet. He gave me 4 months of more joy before I decided to put him down. Organ failure can be extremely painful, and there were days where he’d have a soft growl if I even touched him. He would wet the bed , I could no longer justify keeping him because of how much it hurt me to say goodbye.
In the end, you will always wonder and question if you did the right thing, could you have done more, but unfortunately our beloved animals just don’t live as long as we do. I was thankful to know that I could end his pain and suffering even though I will always remember the endless joy and love he brought to my life. If you have ever had to put an animal down, you know that it is a very painful, heart-wrenching decision. But you MUST consider the quality of life for your friend. And give yourself time and self-care as you mourn your loss. But take comfort in knowing your pet is no longer suffering.
Bishop enjoying a sun bath in his final days, and how I will always remember him. Happy.
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Low Respiration And Heart Rate
The respiration and heart rate of your cat may slow as their body starts to slowly shut down. The resting heart rate for healthy cats ranges between 150 and 200 beats a minute and they take around 20-30 breaths a minute. If you examine the heart rate of lethargic cats and find it slow, these are warning signs of a cat dying.
Finding Help When You Need It
You’re not alone in losing a pet, and many resources are out there to help you cope with your emotions during a difficult time. Some veterinary schools offer pet-loss support lines staffed by volunteer veterinary students, and the PetHobbyist.com offers a pet-loss chat every night of the year staffed with volunteer moderators and attended by other pet lovers.
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Changes In Smell And Appearance
Cats like to devote time grooming themselves. However, when they come closer to their end, they do not have the energy left for grooming and start to appear unkempt and messy. Also, they will develop an obvious odor because of the toxic build-up as different organs stop functioning. This smell gets worse with time as they do not have a solution to get rid of the toxins.
Grief Counseling Resources For Cat Loss
Whether the loss was gradual and expected or sudden and unexpected, dealing with the transition can be eased by talking to your veterinary health care team members, your family and friends, or a support group that brings people together to share their feelings. Support groups may meet in person or a counselor may be available by telephone. If you think you are having serious difficulties moving past the loss or grieving is interfering with your life, it is important to consider a visit to your physician for referral to a professional because sometimes this type of support can help one reach closure when other strategies fail.
Please note the pet loss support resources at the end of the article. They may help you cope with the trauma of losing a beloved companion.
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What Happens To My Pets Body Afterwards
Speak to your vet before you leave about any keepsakes youd like, such as a clipping of their fur or a paw print. You may want to take you pets collar, harness or carry box home with you, or you may prefer to leave it just let your vet know.
Once youve said your goodbyes, your pets body will be treated with respect.
There are several options for what can happen afterwards and there is no right answer its a very personal decision. Its most common to choose cremation arranged by the vet but this is by no means the only option.
Aging Cats And Saying Goodbye
Time passes very quickly when we own cats. All too soon it will be time to say goodbye. Please know that you are supposed to outlive your cat. Saying goodbye is the most difficult thing of all about being a cat owner.
Cats live to be about fifteen to twenty years old, and we keep hearing about cats that are even older than that. Aging brings on problems in cats that are similar to those of aging people, such as stiff joints and failing eyesight and hearing.
Signs of aging include reduced mobility, diminished appetite and corresponding weight loss, and occasional incontinence. When you first notice one of these symptoms, ask the veterinarian to give your cat a physical and a blood test.
As your cat ages and has trouble getting around, there are several things you can do:
Cats Are Like People
When we get old, everything we do is more of a challenge.
- Brush and massage your senior cat often. Elderly cats arent able to groom themselves as they once used to, and they will appreciate a tender, loving touch.
- Have a night-light so your cat can find her litter box more easily at night.
- Put a warm, draft-free bed at floor level so she doesnt have to climb or jump to take her nap.
- Gently massage, or simply hold, her frail body whenever you have the time.
A Cats Final Days
When your cats appetite and bladder control are completely gone, her breathing is difficult, or she drinks constantly, she may be near the end. Check with the veterinarian.
Handling the Grief
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Begin Preparing To Mourn Your Pet
Many people are surprised at the powerful emotions that erupt after a pet’s death, and they can be embarrassed by their grief. Often, we don’t realize we’re grieving not only for the pet we loved, but also for the special time the animal represented and the ties to other people in our lives. The death of a cat who was a gift as a kitten from a friend who has died, for example, may trigger bittersweet memories of another love lost.
Taking care of yourself is important when dealing with pet loss. Some people the “It’s just a pet” crowd won’t understand the loss and may shrug off grief over a pet’s death as foolish. I find that the company of other animal lovers is very important. Seek them out to share your feelings, and don’t be shy about getting professional help to get you through a difficult time.
Choosing to end a pet’s suffering is a final act of love and nothing less. Knowing that your decisions are guided by that love is what helps us all through the sad and lonely time of losing a cherished animal companion.
About Dr Sarah Wooten Dvm Cvj
A 2002 graduate of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Sarah Wooten is a well known international speaker in the veterinary and animal health care spaces. She has 10 years experience in public speaking and media work, and writes for a large number of online and printanimal health publications. Dr. Wooten is also a certified veterinary journalist, a member of the AVMA, and has 16 years experience insmall animal veterinary practice. To learn more, visit drsarahwooten.com.
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Arriving At The Decision To Euthanase Your Cat
Talk it over with your vet and your family and friends. Questions to think about include:
- Can your cat still eat, drink, sleep and move around reasonably comfortably?
- Does he or she respond to your presence and greet you?
- Does feeding time attract interest?
Persistent and incurable inability to eat, vomiting, signs of pain, distress or discomfort, or difficulty in breathing are all indications that euthanasia should be considered. You and your family know your cat better than anyone else, so try to make a reasoned judgement on quality of life. Your vet will help you with this, and will often make a recommendation. If you are hoping for an improvement in your cats condition, setting a time limit may be a sensible option. Sadly, few cats die peacefully in their sleep at home. Most reach a point when their quality of life is unsatisfactory and a decision for euthanasia has to be made.
Living with a chronically ill cat can be emotionally draining. Often there is a substantial time commitment involved in care. Not every owner is able to cope and, if there is no chance of a recovery and you are unable to give your cat the degree of care needed for a comfortable life, it may be better to opt for euthanasia. With some invalid cats there is the possibility of a sudden and unpredictable deterioration. If you are unable to make arrangements for your cat to receive emergency care euthanasia may be a better option.
Do Pets Grieve And What Should I Do
Families that live together form close attachments. When a companion animal dies, surviving pets may cling to their human family members, be more reactive to stimuli, appear anxious or depressed, and demonstrate a loss of interest in playing, sleeping or eating. These behavioural and emotional changes are often temporary and usually due to a distress response from owners or a distress response to changes in their usual routine as a result of the death.;
If you think your pet is grieving or showing signs of separating anxiety, you can try pheromones which may help reduce your pets anxiety or try to keep your routine as close what it was like before the death. It is also important to discuss your concerns with your veterinarian in case there is an underlying medical problem. If an underlying medical problem is ruled out, it might be a good idea to consult with a specialist behaviourist.;
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Pet Bereavement Support Service
Sometimes it helps to share your feelings with someone who knows from personal experience how distressing the loss of a cat can be, and who will listen with compassion and without judgement.
The Pet Bereavement Support Service is a telephone helpline and email service that offers such support to bereaved pet owners, through a national network of trained volunteer befrienders.
Can I Let My Cat Die At Home
If your cat is pain-free and peaceful then allowing them to die at home may be the best option. Unfortunately, many cats reach a point where pain and illness are making their days miserable. A vet will be able to help you ascertain how much quality of life your senior cat has in those final weeks and months.
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How Do You Comfort A Dying Cat Senior Cat Wellnes
Our sassy black cat lives outside and catches lots of mice, moles, and baby rabbits. A Prayer for a Dying Pet. There may come a time when we have to say goodbye. It might break our hearts Caring for your dying cat is hard, perhaps more on the emotional level than actually providing for her daily needs. In her last weeks, she might experience good days and bad ones. When the latter outweigh the former, it’s time to say goodbye. You love her dearly, and she doesn’t have much longer. Caring for your dying cat is hard, perhaps more. So use these final goodbye quotes to say farewell to someone you loved with all your heart and sadly lost all too soon. Short Goodbye Quotes. These sad goodbye quotes are short and straight to the point. They quickly sum up the feelings of saying goodbye and how hard it can be When death separates a closely bonded animal from a loved one, whether a person or another pet, the pet may exhibit classical stages of grieving – becoming less active, eating less, sleeping fitfully, and generally appearing depressed. Whether allowing pets to see a body for a last goodbye lessens the grief is not known