Thursday, March 22, 2007

Euthanasia

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.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me, as long as the cat is not able to do basic things like eating and grooming, it means that the cat may be in pain & there is no longer a quality of life. I will put it down.

Sometimes, people prolong the cat's life, just so that they do not feel so guilty. But I feel that this is a very selfish act because the cat may be suffering so much that it would be less painful for it to go.

Just my 2-cents' worth.

22/3/07 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we all love the cats we care for, whether they are our pets or in our community, but we have to be able to draw the distinction between giving them the best care possible for their sake and keeping them alive because we can't bear to lose them. if a cat is in a situation where it can't function normally and the prognosis for improvement is poor and if it is in constant discomfort, then i think it is time to let it go.

another consideration is if this cat is a community cat, whether it could infect other cats in the neighbourhood.

22/3/07 3:35 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

The caregiver said the cat is still purring (though I did tell her they sometimes purr in pain) and otherwise looking okay.

22/3/07 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what little experience i have with cat in pain, i think they would stay in one position and try not to move and yet unable to sleep. If a cat could sleep or lick itself, it is improving.
I have learnt never to complain about cat pee/poo; but worry if there is a lack of it. The former may be an inconvenience; but the latter could be heart-breaking.

22/3/07 4:54 PM  
Anonymous belle said...

i had my cat with chronic kidney disease put down in october last year. She was unable to eat, and seemed in pain by hiding & sitting in one position all day long ... the vet said prognosis was poor & her blood toxins were very high ... she was 11 years old and had been with us since she was a kitten ...

although i was sad, i'm glad that she's no longer suffering ...

and like dawn said, the cat's temperament also matters - that cat of mine was a prissy princess who didnt like to be poked & prodded or put on a drip ... we had her sedated first, she looked peaceful, and then gave the lethal jab ...

im glad i have many photos of her...

think of it this way - everybody has to 'go' someday, and animals/pets are lucky that they can have euthanasia (which means 'good death') whereas humans are not allowed this - yet.

23/3/07 10:46 AM  

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