Help with Option of Putting Pet to Sleep.

Updated on January 24, 2009
J.G. asks from Villa Park, IL
7 answers

I have two 12 year old cats (brother and sister from same litter). The female cat, Mia, has always had an issue of incontinence throughout her life with off and on urination on a handful of things but always the same things ... no matter if we've completely replaced them (futon, bathroom rugs, basement couches). The bright side is that sometimes it would be months between incidents so it was not constant. We've been the vet many times and to make a long story short there really is nothing wrong with her.
We now moved into a house from a condo in the city and have a son nearing 2 years old. We expected more incidents in the new house ... and we got them but she kept her 'issues' in the basement, mostly on the futon. We've since threw out the futon to remove all traces. She's been good for about 8 months. However, recently she has urinated on my baby's pillow (which is out of character) and back to urinating on the new couches we bought for the basement. (FYI ... we have two litter boxes, cleaned every other day ... we've been through all the behavioral precautions). To top, she has never been a fan of my son. The male cat is tolerant of him, however.
My husband wants to put her down because after 11 years we need to make a choice. My head agrees but my heart does not. I am about to make an appt. with the vet to have her checked out again ... without expectations. I wish they'd tell me there was something medically wrong with her so I could feel better about putting her down. Otherwise I just feel horrible putting her down when she is not 'officialy' sick. But how can one live with a cat urinating all over the place? Has anyone been through this? I worry about my male cat. While they are not necessarily buddy-buddy ... I wonder how losing his sister would affect him. UGHH. My heart aches. Mia is my first baby and I love her. I need reassurance on doing what is right.

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for your sincere and heart-felt responses. I found my self with tears reading each of your stories. Thank you for sharing. This morning was my vet appointment and we are treating for an infection ... even though we feel it is not the issue. But it always did help put the problem at bay for a bit. He did provide me with the feel-away plug in diffuser. We will plan a follow up appt. in 4 weeks upon at which point we can discuss behavior meds. My husband, upon see me struggling with this has let up a bit and is showing more compassion so together we will try to see Mia through this and we are not yet ready to put her down until we exhaust all possibilities. It will be a last resort option ... but, sadly, an option none-the-less that we have to consider. It does help to know that others have been through it and had to make the same choices so I don't feel like such a monster. Thank you to all.

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

Hi J. -

So sorry you're experiencing this. I had a male cat named Spooky who did this as well. He had a corner he really liked, and the area was just soaked with urine. It was terrible, and I could never get him to stop, even though I never caught him in the act. This did not work for me, but I had Spooky on meds once for it - Prozac. The vet said he had jealousy/control issues so we tried it.

In the end, I'm sorry to say that I had to put him to sleep. My mom actually did it while I was out of town, because she knew I'd never be able to do it on my own. I am very pro-animal and pro-rescue, so it was a very hard thing.

I agree with the suggestion of calling shelters, especially one with the incontinence area. But if you do end up having to put the cat to sleep, I think it would be ok.



answers from Chicago on

I have a cat just like yours...I bought these plug ins at the pet store- they have st. johns wart in them...overall they make her feel better and she never has a accident when they are plugged in...just as for the behavior cat plug ins.


answers from Chicago on

I had a cat for seven years with the same problem. Believe me it doesn't get better, it only gets worse. I just loved him so and felt sorry for him, he was my 1st baby too. I put him to sleep right before my baby was born 18 mos. ago. Believe me it's one of the best things I did for the home environment too. It boils down to what is best for the child. I would suggest giving the cat up before your child gets attached or the cat does any more damage. I saw many vets who were not able to help. Now, I am so happy I made that decision and so relieved. It was a great burden.



answers from Chicago on

I can't beliv anyone would ut up with this as long as you already have. Keep the cat in the basement. Don't blame your son. It's the cats fault. The cas just smells something in your sons room and potties there. Aren't you worried about cat hair in the baby crib. They can choke on it let alone the germs when they wipe themselves on the sheet and bed wrungs, etc. The cats keeps doing it because you've tolerated it so long already. I'de et rid of the cat for the health issues with the children. Kids come first.



answers from Chicago on

Hi, I'm having similiar issues with our calico. We've had her since she was 12 weeks old. We didn't start having bathroom issues since we brought our second baby home last year. In March she started pooping in the nursery then it eventually lead into my oldest daughters bedroom. It got more irritating when she decided to go on my daughters bed. And I just recently caught her peeing on her bed, smelled it and saw the stain. I thought she was getting better. The odd thing is that she still uses her litter box. We believe she is jealous and she was in Nattalie's room as her own room before Nattalie moved out of the nursery into that room. I called Naperville Animal Hospital and talked to Dr. Fisher and she said she thinks 8 yrs. old is too young to be put to sleep and they can work with us she said to see if she had an urinary track infection which we're pretty sure she doesn't and that they know of behavorial specialists that can help and there is a product called "Feel Away" which is a hormone defuser that you put into a room and it makes them calm and happier and my mom looked online about it and everyone had good reviews about it. You can get it online or Petsmart has it for $45. It's not suppost to be harmful for kids either only the cats can smell it. Hope this helps. I'm not sure yet what's going to happen to our cat. She left poop in our room last night and it didn't bother me as much until she did it in our room.




answers from Chicago on

What a sad situation. I had the same problem with my 9 year old male cat. He spent two years destroying our floors, and I took him to countless vet appts because there seemed to be nothing to stop him. The vet tried several meds with him, and he was on Buspirone (sp?), an anti-depressant, for awhile which was the only thing that stopped the peeing for awhile. Even so, after a few months, he started again.
We ended up putting him to sleep which was such a difficult decision for me for many of the same reasons that you have. He didn't have a medical problem, just a behavioral one. I tried all the shelters in the area, but they didn't want a cat that was so old because they wouldn't be able to get anyone to take him. I couldn't imagine the idea of letting him sit in a cage in a shelter all by himself anyway.
It was such a heart rending decision, and I still think about it all of the time. Good luck with your kitty. Is there any other medication they can try? All the best....


answers from Chicago on

Hi J.- I know your heart is aching in this situation. I had to put down two of my cats in the past year. One of them was barfing regularly and sometimes urinating, I'd taken him to the doc twice, he'd been on antibiotics twice and frankly, I was just broke, going through fertility treatments and couldn't deal with it anymore, nor could I afford to keep spending money on vet visits. Although it was a very hard decision to make, he was 13. So I said to myself, this is a quality of life issue, I'd given him many good years with a happy home. At age 12 a cat will start declining in health anyway. So I made the difficult decision and I although it was SO hard and sad, I knew that he'd died peacefully, without suffering and that I loved him.

Afterword I went to for people grieving their pets and found that many other people had to put their pets down much younger for various reasons. Wanting to have a clean and healthy home is not wrong. I cried for a while, but then, when I didn't have to come home to urine and barf I felt better. His brother was left behind and he did miss him for a couple weeks, was looking for him, etc. But I just gave him lots of love and attention and he was fine. This year I had to put that cat down because he became diabetic - was 13 - and was urinating around the house. I wasn't going to be giving him shots every day and there was no guarantee it would work anyway. That was also very hard, and I still miss him, but honestly, my stress level has gone down a lot from not having to deal with the peeing on the carpet, the smell, the germiness of it, etc.

I think you should put this cat down. A cat of 12 years old is a senior cat. And you've been wonderful to him, but I would definitely draw the line when I have a toddler and the cat is peeing on his pillow and other places. Don't feel guilty. The pain will subside and you'll just remember what a great pet he was.

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