M.J. asks from Saint Paul, MN on May 17, 2010
Need Advice on an Issue with My cat..time to Put Her Down??
I need advice regarding an issue we have been dealing with our cat. I have a 14 year old cat named Dandy. Almost 2 years ago she was diagnosed with renal failure. At that time I was told that some cats can live for many years even after being diagnosed. From that day on I have taken my cat into the vet every 6 months to get her weight and blood checked. So far there was only one time were she dropped two pounds otherwise her weight has been steady and she hasn't been dehydrated. Her blood levels have remained the same - not good but not really any worse. Since she is an older cat she does sleep most of the day and doesn't seem to get up the stairs very often anymore. At that time of her diagnosis she had started peeing outside the litter box and hasn't stopped since. We have a pan that we place right outside one of the litter boxes and she will go on the pan and pee. After several years of picking up the pee I have started to begin to wonder how her quality of life is...I talked to the vet a few weeks ago and she still was a good weight and hadn't lost any and seemed to even perk up after that date..Recently she has started to pee outside the litter box and outside the pan..it is not anywhere near the carpet but enough that it is all over the linoleum floor. I have a 3 year old daughter and am 5 months pregnant and since my husband travels for work it is often I who is picking the pee up and I literally am so sick of doing it. I LOVE my cat but is it time to put her down? Any advice??
FYI: Cat pee is fine for pregnant women to be around according to our vet and my OB AND I do not clean the litter boxes I just empty the cat pee pan into the tub and use bleach which I have been advised is fine if I do and the baby is as healthy as can be. My cat is NOT peeing outside on the carpet but rather it is still contained in the litter box area just now it is outside on the pee pan or outside the pan.
J.B. answers from Atlanta on May 17, 2010
It's so hard! I'm sorry! I had to put my 18 y old love down a week before my first son was born due to organ failure. He had renal disease that was "held in check" for years, but he also developed this liver disease issue that lead to his ultimate demise. Personally I wouldn't do it now if she's just like she's always been and not "failing" health-wise. It's just up to you though. Cat's are very interesting -especially in their bathroom habits. She may quit next week, or unfortunately she may start going somewhere else in the house. If I were you, I would probably have to ask myself -am I cleaning up once or twice a day -or is it ALL the time? That would make a difference to me.
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L.D. answers from Albany on May 17, 2010
Almost 7 years ago we had our cat put down after being diabetic for 2 years. The poor thing peed so much that he literally burnt up 2 of those automatic litter maids. It was sad how often he was peeing, how much, and often could barely get to the box in time. We had to give him shots every day and take him for tests every 3 months. He held steady enough but he definitely was different personality wise. We began to question what his quality of life was like as well but the final decision was made for us when my husband got a job transfer. When trying to decide how to move our cat to our new home, I couldn't fathom it. The poor thing peed constantly! I couldn't imagine how he would survive a plane trip OR a car trip when both meant hours of traveling. I took him with my mom and felt like the vet was judging me for putting him down. The move really was my biggest concern for him plus we were going to have to stay at a hotel for several days which my husband's company was paying for. I couldn't imagine if he had his accidents there too. :-| Anyhow, my only regret is that I couldn't hold it together to be in the room with him. I was hysterical when it happened. :( In the end, I still think it was the best thing for him. He couldn't have been comfortable and it was like he knew because the night before, he literally spent alone time with me and then my husband where he cuddled on our laps like he used to. It was the first time he had done it in months and almost seemed like he knew what was happening and wanted to say his good byes. :'(
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R.C. answers from Boston on May 17, 2010
Hi, I feel your pain in this decision. It's always tough to let go of a treasured pet...they become part of the family. If she is still eating and drinking ok, thats a good sign. Sometimes they "go" outside the litter box because they are trying to tell you they are sickand to take care of them.(which you already are). Maybe a different litter could be used? Change it more frequently? although pregnant women are not supposed to handle cat feces, if you wear a mask to protect you from the dust, it should be ok.
If your kitty should stop eating and drinking, then you know that something more is wrong, and her condition might be deteriorating. I recently had to put my 15 year old cat down because he stopped eating and drinking. I would pray that he would have passed while I was at work because I didn't want to make the decision to have to put him down. I think cats know when it's their time to go. Nothing I did could get him to eat. It's a heartbreaking decision, but in the end you need to remember that these animals rely on us to take care of them, and trust us to make good decisions for them. It sounds like you are doing all the right things and the issue now is she is peeing outside the box and pan. This could be the beginning of the decline of her health in which case, you wouldn't want to prolong any suffering she may have. My suggestion would be to keep monitoring her health with the vet, and if she shows more signs of declining health, like not eating, drinking, vomiting her food, if her pee shows signs of blood, etc,. then seriously consider doing the humane thing and let her go. Best of luck.
A.W. answers from Kalamazoo on May 17, 2010
I had to put down my 15 year old cat a couple of months ago. She was still eating, but not very much and she was starting to lose weight. She had arthritis pretty bad and sometimes when she would sit down, it looked so painful. The last straw was the peeing. She started peeing in different places in the house, it was hard to find and clean up, so the house started to just smell like cat pee all the time. If she would lay on a blanket or the couch, it would smell like pee when she got up, like she was leaking or something. I felt horrible putting her down, but I couldn't expect my husband and kids to live in a house covered in cat urine. I knew I had given her a great life and her quality of life had drastically went downhill. I cried for days and still feel a little guilty at times, but sometimes when you have pets, you have to make hard decisions, that's just part of taking care of another life. I wish she wouldn't have started peeing and she could still be with us, but if I had to make the decision over again I would still do it. They gave her a shot and she feel asleep in my arms. Make sure you don't take your daughter with you - get someone to watch her. Start telling your daughter now, that kitty is very old and she might not be around much longer. Then if you decide to proceed with putting her down, just tell your daughter that kitty was very old, you took her to the vet but they couldn't help her anymore and she passed away. Good luck, these decisions are never easy.
K.M. answers from Detroit on May 17, 2010
I have had to put two cats down and it was very hard. They had lived a very comfortable life but both had lost a lot of weight and they were sick all the time. They were put down about a year apart it is very hard to make the decision to do it but you do need to think about the health of your family as well. I am concerned that you are cleaning the litter box and the other messes the cat is leaving and you are pregant, they say that pregnant women should NOT clean or even go near them. Since your husband is gone a lot it sounds like it might be the best thing so you and your unborn baby can stay healthy. I feel for you it will be hard but later on you will know that you did the right thing and your cat isn't suffering anymore. Good Luck.
D.K. answers from State College on May 17, 2010
Sounds like a rough patch, glad she has done so well for so long with renal failure. If it is a sudden change there be something else going on too, where it is worth it to check her urine and blood values early just to see. Is she on any medication or fluids for renal failure? Is she going full volumes outside the box, because she has a hard time moving and getting to the box or is it small amounts more frequently? I would think about her quality of life overall- eating, drinking, does she seem happy, getting around normally, does she still want the same amount of attention or is she hiding more? Some will say as long as she is eating and drinking she is fine, but as you know that isn't always true.
It sounds like you have a good relationship with your vet, so maybe talk to them again discuss quality of life and signs to watch for if she is in any pain. Also if she is arthritic at all getting into a litter box can be very hard on her, which may be part of the reason she is going outside the box and pan. If you haven't had blood work checked recently I would have that rechecked, maybe a full panel, and her urine checked with an exam to make sure nothing else is going on too. I have know cats that used buprenex for pain and it made a big difference in very low doses. Metacam is probably not an option for her since it can really effect kidney funtion. Cosequin in a glucosamine supplement that can help if there is arthritic pain too. Fluids under the skin that you can do at home can help sometimes as well as other medications if she isn't already on something.
So I guess talk to your vet again and see what options are available. In the end only you can make the decision and I know it is a very hard one to make. Good luck to you and your kitty and I know you love her and that is why you are really thinking about what to do.
C.C. answers from Tampa on May 17, 2010
Here is a quality of life check list:
It's very similar to the one that we give clients where I work and may help you make a decision.
M.C. answers from Washington DC on May 17, 2010
Personally, I would put her down.
I just had to put my 12y old dog. He had a growth on his leg, of unknown cause. The only option was amputation of the front leg. I chose to put him down rather than put him through that extreme proceedure.