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When Should You Put Your Cat Down

The Quality Of Life Scale

When is it time to euthanize my pet?

To make the process easier on pet parents and to reduce the feelings of guilt and confusion, veterinary oncologist Dr. Alice Villalobos created an HHHHHMM Quality of Life scale. HHHHHMM includes:

  • Hurt

  • Mobility

  • More good days than bad

Each factor is scored from 1 to 10 to help you evaluate your pets quality of life. You can go over these criteria with your veterinarian to make an informed decision about whats best for your pet. Dr. Villalobos introduced the Quality of Life scale for dogs, the Quality of Life scale for cats, and the concept of Pawspice to the veterinary field to help provide palliative care to terminally ill pets.

Making The Hard Decision

It can be hard to know when the right time is. Your vet will provide support and guidance and help you make this difficult decision. Dont be afraid to ask any questions beforehand. The vet wants you to be absolutely sure that youre making the right choice for your pet, so they will be happy to address any concerns you may have and will discuss all of the available options.

Although this will be a difficult conversation to have, its important to talk about your pets quality of life and think about how their wellbeing might be affected. You can use our advice, as well as speaking to family and friends, to help you work out if your pets quality of life is getting worse.

You can watch advice from one of our vets below:

Do You Fear Choosing Too Soon

Knowing when to begin discussing endoflife for a pet is just as difficult as making that ultimate decision. Many people find themselves enduring numerous trips to the vet. The pet might endure several painful medical procedures. This is because, as humans, we want to fight for every moment of our pets life.

Many veterinarians report that families often look back and regret waiting to authorize euthanasia for their pet as long as they did. Consider starting the discussion at the beginning of a pets decline instead of the end. This preserves good memories and lessens the potential of the animal suffering.

One colleague of mine whose business is to provide inhome euthanasia services for those who request it once said, Its better to euthanize a pet a month too early than a day too late. No one wants their pet to experience pain and distress, but sometimes you may not be ready to make that final decision.

There is no one perfect moment in time to make a euthanasia decision about your pet. But being able to make an informed choice when the time does come makes it easier on your pet and yourself.

Read Also: Cat Versus Human Years

Can I Have My Cat Put To Sleep At Home

Some vets will euthanase a pet at home, but this is something that you will need to speak to your individual vet about. There are also a number of mobile vets specialising in at-home euthanasia – speak to your vet about this option. If you do go to the vets, be sure to tell the receptionist that you would like to schedule the appointment at a time when the vet is not in a hurry with other appointments or surgery. You might even request that your appointment be the last one of the day or the first one in the morning.

Can Cats Sense Their Own Death

When Should You Put Your Cat Down, Here are 10 things you ...

They are also intuitive in that they often know when they are about to die. I have heard stories where cats hide or run away from home to find a place to pass away peacefully. Therefore, cats are attuned to their bodies and their environment to the point where they can detect signs associated with death.

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Time To Say Goodbye: A Practical Guide To Pet Euthanasia

4) The euthanasia process itself:4a) What euthanasia methods are available to vets for putting down domestic animals? 4b) Euthanasia procedure: how is euthanasia solution given to pets? – this section contains detailed, specificinformation on how humane euthanasia is performed on dogs, cats, mice, rats, gerbils, guinea pigs,rabbits, birds, ferrets, reptiles, fish, horses and livestock animal species.4c) Is euthanasia painful?4d) Is euthanasia instant?4e) What can I expect to see/happen as my pet dies?4f) How can I tell if a pet has died? What are the signs a pet is dead?4g) Are there times when routine pet euthanasia takes longer or is more distressing?4h) Do I need to be in the room with my pet to have it put down? Am I a bad owner if I don’t stay?4i) A step-by-step explanation of a typical euthanasia procedure in a veterinary clinic – thissection provides detailed info on euthanasia logistics .

6d) Leaving the body with the vet – what happens to it?6e) Can I leave the body to science? 6f) Can my pet’s body be of use before he or she dies?6g) What if I can’t decide what to do with the body right now – can my vet hold the body until I decide?

7a) Should I bring my kids to witness the euthanasia of their pet?7b) What can I explain to the kids about death?

8a) Will my other dog grieve? What are the symptoms of grieving?8b) How should I treat the remaining animal/s after this one has died? 8c) Should I let my other pet/s see the dead body?

Can the pet walk

Do My Other Pets Need To Come

Sometimes, people like to bring their other pets to a euthanasia appointment so that they can see their animal companion at the end. Some may feel this gives a sense of closure or prevents their other pets from worrying about what happened to their friend. It can be hard to know what an animal may be going through and to what extent they understand, but many owners feel their pets might benefit from this experience.

If you wish to show another pet the body after they have passed away, its usually best for someone to stay outside the room with your other pet for the procedure and then bring them in afterwards.

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Poor Response To Treatments

Many of the diseases that plague senior cats can be controlled with medications and other treatments for a long time. Over time, your cat may require higher doses of medications or stop responding to treatment. This can be a sign that her body is breaking down and no longer able to utilize medications normally.

Assessing Your Cat’s Physical Condition

Euthanizing My Pet – Ask A Vet
  • 1Consider your cat’s weight and ability to eat. Food is essential to life. If the cat has pain then it may inhibit her from eating because it hurts to get up and do so.XResearch source
  • Another example is the cat that eats but regularly vomits food back up. Either of these scenarios are a cause for worry and will result in the cat losing weight. Weight loss in itself is not an indication for euthanasia but if the cat’s body score falls to around 1.5 / 5 the cat is likely to feel weak, and lacking in energy.
  • If there is no prospect of her gaining weight, you must consider euthanasia. If the body score falls further, to 1/5 then it is time to let her go.
  • 2Determine your cat’s body score. A body score is a simple way of assessing how fat or thin your cat is. It consists of a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being obese and 1 emaciated. An ideal body score is around 3.
  • Score 1: Ribs, spine, and pelvis are visibly sticking out, even at a distance. The cat has no body fat and looks starved and bony.
  • Score 2: Ribs, spine, and pelvis are easily felt. Viewed from above, the cat has a distinct waist, and from the side the belly is tucked up. The cat looks thin.
  • Score 3: Ribs and spine can be felt but not seen. The cat has a slight waist when viewed from above, and a level, but not saggy tummy from the side. Ideal.
  • Score 4: Ribs and spine difficult to locate. Pear-shaped tummy from above and sagging down from the side. Can be described as chunky or stout.
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    More Good Days Than Bad

    Does your dog have more good days than bad? Or, have the bad days begun to outnumber the good? Towards the end, you may look for a few moments throughout the bad days to remind you of the good timesa tail wag for a favorite treat, a brief game of gentle fetch, or the devotion of following you from room to room throughout your home.

    Since making the decision to euthanize your dog is incredibly difficult, weve included a few questionnaires and quality of life scales to help you determine how your pet is feeling:

    Common Illness In Elderly Cats

    As our cats reach their senior years, they may begin to experience illness and overall decline in their health.

    While some cats simply deteriorate in health due to old age, others struggle with chronic illness.

    To help you understand the possible ailments that your senior cat may experience, lets discuss some of the most common health conditions in elderly cats.

    Read Also: What To Feed A 3 Month Old Kitten

    Help Coping With Pet Loss

    In Letting Go of an Animal You Love 75 Ways to Survive Pet Loss, I share wisdom from veterinarians, grief experts, counsellors, and owners who survived their pets death. Their stories and insights may help you cope with the loss of your pet and help you decide its time.

    Animals and the Afterlife: True Stories of Our Best Friends Journey Beyond Death is an interesting book about how some owners experienced their pets after death. It sometimes helps to believe that their souls and spirits are there, waiting to meet us again

    Talk To Your Veterinarian

    Are you unsure about when you should put your cat down ...

    One of the most common questions veterinarians hear is, When should I put my pet down? This is an intensely personal decision, and many veterinarians are reluctant to give a concrete answer, unless its plain the pet is clearly suffering. When asking your veterinarian for advice, she can guide you through this challenging task and help you reach a decision. Your veterinarian will let you know the medical issues your dog is battling, and the prognosis and progression of disease.

    For example, your miniature schnauzer has been struggling with diabetes and glucose regulation for the past two years. Over time, cataracts have developed, rendering her blind, and she was also recently diagnosed with Cushings disease, which makes managing her diabetes even more difficult. Never able to fully adjust to being blind, your dog stumbles her way through life, fearful of bumping into objects and not able to enjoy her previous favorite activities. Now faced with a Cushings diagnosis thats paired with extensive treatment and monitoring, you may have reached your limit. Your veterinarian will help guide you through determining a scale of quality of life issues for both you and your pet to avoid suffering and ruining your bond.

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    More Bad Days Than Good Days

    One simple measure that you can use to help you decide when to put down a dog or cat is to determine whether your pet is having more good days or bad days. If your pet is down but still happy overall, then it’s probably not time. If your pet has lost their zest for life, their appetite or doesn’t enjoy any of the things they used to, then it’s time to either enlist veterinary intervention or discuss end-of-life care.

    If you’re struggling to tell whether it’s the right time or what constitutes a good day or bad day, consider using a quality of life scoring chart like the one from Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice.

    What To Look Out For

    When you visit the vet, you’ll hear them talking about your pet’s ‘quality of life’. This is a term they use to understand how much they are now able to enjoy their lives without pain or suffering.

    Signs that your cat is in pain and may no longer have a good quality of life can include:

    • not eating or drinking
    • not wanting to go outside
    • refusing to come in from the garden
    • change in toilet habits or incontinence

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    Should I Bring My Family Or Children With Me

    Sometimes, other family members may want to join you to say goodbye to your pet. Everyone should make their own decision about whether they want to be there when your pet passes away. You can let the vet know who would like to stay and who would prefer to step out for the procedure.

    For some children, losing a pet may be their first experience of death. They may feel that they have lost their best friend an important member of their family and they may feel very sad and lonely. The way in which children, young people and those around them deal with the loss of a pet may lay the foundation for how they cope with other losses later in their life. Bringing children to the appointment can give them a sense of closure, particularly for older children, but it can also be distressing for some. If they are too young to understand what is going on, they may not understand why you are upset. You know your child best and will be able to consider what is best for them on a case by case basis.

    If you are bringing children or young people to a euthanasia appointment, make sure that they understand what is going to happen beforehand, at a comfortable level for their age. If bringing a vulnerable adult or young person then they will also need support in understanding the procedure so that they are prepared for what will happen.

    Cat Has Mental Changes

    My cat just got put down :'(

    Similar to humans, cats can experience mental changes when they are nearing the end of their life.

    Cats can experience dementia-like symptoms in their old age in general, and some medical conditions can make these symptoms even worse.

    If your cat is no longer mentally coherent, it might be time to think about saying goodbye.

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    What Happens To Your Pets Body After An In

    Prior to the actual appointment, you will have already discussed the details of how your pets body will be handled post-euthanasia.

    Body care options are important to consider in advance. Choices to consider are home burial, burial at a pet cemetery, cremation arranged by the owner, or cremation arranged by the veterinarian. Special arrangements are best made in advance, says Dr. Krier.

    For cremation, Dr. Krier says that he will typically bring a soft-sided, rolling stretcher to help transport your pet to his car. He explains that you can wrap your pet in a special blanket or sheet, and if you would like, you can even include favorite toys or handwritten letters with your pet to be included in their cremation.

    End-of-life decision-making can be extremely difficult. Veterinary hospice and in-home euthanasia services are welcome options for pet parents who want to experience these moments in the privacy of their own home.

    Related Video: When Is the Right Time to Euthanize a Pet?

    What Drugs Are Used How Do They Work

    Euthanasia is typically a two-step process that involves two injections to make it painless and stress-free for your pet.

    The first injection is a sedative that can be administered into the muscle or intravenously, depending on the medicine. Once injected, your pet will become relaxed and will gradually fall asleep. Be aware that they may not close their eyes.

    Once your pet is resting comfortably, a second injection is given into the vein to stop their heart. The second injection typically takes a few seconds to a few minutes to work.

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    Is Putting Your Dog Or Cat Down At Home An Option

    Now, more than ever, pet parents think of their dogs and cats as members of the family. So it comes as no surprise that they are giving a lot of thought and attention to the handling of their pets end-of-life care.

    If your pets quality of life is declining, or you know that your pet is suffering or in pain, you are probably wondering how youll know when its the right time to put your pet down.

    Your local veterinarian has experience with this issue and knows you and your pet well. They are there to support both of you during this difficult time.

    In the past, your only option would have been to take your pet to your veterinarians office or to a shelter for euthanasia procedures. But there have been recent shifts in the veterinary community to accommodate a less stressful method.

    A new branch of veterinary medicine called pet hospice provides concierge end-of-life home services to meet this need, including palliative care and in-home euthanasia. Heres what you need to know about these services and what they offer.

    At Home Or At The Vet’s

    When Should You Put Your Cat Down? â Launch Pad

    In-home euthanasia can be easier if your dog has trouble moving or gets panicky at the vet’s office.

    Plus, if there are other animals at your house, they can see that their friend has passed. This is important for dogs — as pack animals, they may get confused if they see another dog leave the house and not come back. Dogs often cry and search for a deceased animal after it’s gone.

    On the other hand, you may not want to associate your home with a beloved pet’s death. It can be upsetting to children to see it happen, too. Or you may not want to be there when your pet passes.

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