I had a call from a caregiver today. She was bringing in a FIV/FELV cat to the vet. The cat was not eating. She had brought it to the vet when it was ill before, and it got better but now it was becoming very sick again. She called for advice but I think more to just speak with someone about it.
First off, I told her that this was a very, very difficult decision and one that is different for everyone. Secondly, I suggested the best person to speak to was her vet. The vet is always the person who can give you the best expert opinion, and since you are the person who knows the cat best, the two of you are the best people to come to a decision, both from a medical point of view - and from that of the cat's temperament.
The vet had advised her to put the cat down because it might get better - but that it was a matter of time before it got worse again. According to her, the vet said the prognosis was not good.
The vet also said that they could just do the basics but the cat was likely to get ill once again. She suggested really going all out - but of course that's costly.
It's a really tough decision - the most important thing is quality of life of course. Is the cat in pain? As the caregiver mentioned, it's not fun to be proded and poked every day at the vet either to draw blood. One other thing I mentioned to her is that sometimes when it does drag on, the cat can be in a significant amount of pain by the time the decision is made to euthanise it.
One other factor of course is also cost - she has a colony of cats and this could be very draining financially.
I feel really bad for the caregiver to have to make that decision - and it's a tough one that I am sure most of you have grappled with at some point or other already. It's never easy.