When to Say Goodbye to Family Pet

Updated on December 21, 2012
M.T. asks from Eatontown, NJ
12 answers

My cat is about 10 years old and I adopted him from the wild when he was just a six week old kitten. He has been my companion for many years. Now I am married with two children. My husband is not a fan of cats but knew how much they mean to me so he has been dealing with them. I am SAHM so when my cats need care it is hard for me to ask my husband to pay to have them fix. If any onf you have brought your pet to the vet you know that one visit can cost up to $500 after test and treatment. Well just a year ago I brought my cat in thinking I would have to put him down but was told that he was not eating due to very rotten teeth. My husband and I talked about it and agreed to have the work done. $1500 later we were in serious debt trying to pay it off. Now we are going through it again. He is drinking water like it is going out of style, he urinates very large amounts three to four times a day, is VERY inactive and does not eat well. He has gotten VERY messy and I find clumps of litter mixed with urine all over my house because he steps in it and then tracks it all over the house. His pack paws are full of stuck on litter. I try to keep up with the litter as much as possible by cleaning it at least three times a day. I have been forced to vaccuum my house at least once a day if not more so my kids to touch the dirty litter. I had to throw away a rug a had by the front door because it was saterated in Urine.
I think when he had his dental work done they tested is blood sugar level and said it was normal. I just don't like the idea of playing God and I hate to put down a family pet over not having money to pay for a treatment. This is killing me and I just don't know what the right decision is. If it was just me I would treat him and just put up with the cleaning but I have two very young and active children and they ALWAYS come first. Any ideas of what this might be and if it is time to call if quits or try a treatment plan? Anyone ever have this happen to their cat? WHat was the treatment and how much did you pay? Really hate that this is happening so close to Christmas and I have NO idea how to talk to my older daughter about it. She is so close to our cats and she is only three so I don't know the best way to handle it if I do have to put him down.

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all the advise. Now that I think about it I think the last blood work he had done last year I think they mentioned that his thyroid was on the high side but they were not concerned with it at that time. It is a good chance that this could be the problem. I am going to change litters as well. I try it once but now that I know which is a good one to use I will look into it. Thank you.

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answers from Baton Rouge on

Find out what's wrong before making a decision. It could be a meatbolic issue that is treatable with diet.

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answers from San Antonio on

When it was time to put my dog down, I used the following scale, given to me by my vet who said it was my decision. I was unable to pay for hip surgery for the 12 yr old dog, and a surgery would have just postponed the inevitable anyway. So yes, talk to your vet, but also evaluate the cat's quality of life using the HHHHHMM scale http://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/vet-practice-news-c...

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answers from Philadelphia on

I think the first step would be to take him to the vet and get a blood test. You don't need to do any further steps until you learn the reason for polyuria and polydipsia. It could be diabetes, kidney disease, kidney failure, or just plain dehydration. If the cat gets dehydrated and drinks like crazy, they have to pee like crazy and sometimes you get a little cycle going on until it straightens itself out. Either way, a blood test will tell you. And it should only cost the vet visit plus lab panel, which typically costs me about $100 for my cats.

Wait to make the choice of putting down a pet until you have a little more information, if you can. A friend of mine wanted her cat to be put down at the age of 9 because of excessive urination all over the house, and it turned out she just had a urinary tract infection. $15 later she was fine. Kidney disease caused by infection could be cured for that same cost.

There is of course the possibility that what you find out may cost thousands to fix. Once you know that, you can make your decision on what you can afford or are willing to spend.

I love all my cats and have a very strong bond with them, but I know it would be a very, very difficult decision if I couldn't afford treatment for something they needed. I would want enough information before making that decision, because symptoms alone can be hard to discern. Cats hide pain and often react in ways we don't expect.

Good luck, and I wish you all the best during this difficult time.

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answers from New York on

sorry that this happening- i think the cat has kidney problems would take to vet for bloodwork and see results before making decision

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answers from Detroit on

I would at least go for the diagnostics (bloodwork, urinalysis) and then see what you are actually dealing with. With the signs you are describing (any weight loss or appetite changes?) he could be diabetic now, or have a thyroid problem, or it could be his kidneys. Some things are more manageable than others - hyperthyroid disease usually involves daily medication and regular rechecks and follow-ups at the vet to make sure the medication is doing it's job. Diabetes can be more of a challenge and potentially more expensive. Kidney disease - just depends, usually the goal is to keep them hydrated and comfortable. Do the diagnostics first, then make a decision from there. Good luck!

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answers from Corpus Christi on

Sometimes treatment doesn't ensure a high or even decent quality of life - and much like humans, I believe any animal is entitled to that. When you don't have quality of life, you don't have anything. I don't see a point in a treatment that will prolong life but leave you miserable or without that quality of life. And god, whether I was an animal or a human, I wish someone would be kind enough at that point to put me out of my misery.

Our doberman pinscher (sorry, not much of a cat person) had wide-spread cancer in her bones, organs - pretty much everywhere. We could have spent thousands and thousands - and its not that we didn't love her to death - but they told us she would always be in pain for the rest of her life, and would require continued treatment for a long time.

Also, not trying to be mean, but cat or dog - I wouldn't have litter, urine, feces, anything like that around my kids, especially small ones like you have. If you want an honest opinion, its painful, but that would be when my breaking point is - yes, it's different when its just you, but not when you have kids and things to worry about - that's not healthy.



answers from Rochester on

Get a new vet. I worked in one of the most expensive cat vet offices in my area and the most we would charge is $500 including tests and pain meds.

As far as should you continue with any treatment...that's a personal choice....one that I am struggling with with my own cat who has a bump on her nose and has trouble breathing. She has no interest I being around my kids so she's outside...but I can't keep her out there all winter. She's 11.

Good luck. Ask people on your Facebook or Craigslist for vet recommendations.



answers from Washington DC on

First of all, find a new vet. $1500 for dental work? That is insane. I had a vet practice that charged an outrageous amount of money. One day my cat had bloody urine and I called and they made me bring him in as an "emergency" because they said they couldn't fit him in the schedule for another week. Their emergency rate was twice as high. I paid over $300 for a visit and an Xray that said he had stones. The vet wanted to charge me $6000 for the surgery to remove the stones. I love my cat dearly, but can't pay $6000 for his surgery. I called another local vet practice. They started laughing on the phone when I told them how much this vet was charging. My cat had all of the pre-op work and surgery done for under $200.

It is very likely that your cat has a urinary tract infection. My cat had this (right after I had a baby and she was peeing everywhere). We got it treated with a relatively cheap antibiotic and then she continued to pee. Cheap treatment -prozac once a day--seems to have worked. I would also investigate a different type of litter that doesn't track everywhere. When you take a pet, you make a commitment to try to see them through the problems if it is possible. Not put them down because hubby is cheap.

I have had to put 2 of my cats down. My one cat at age 10 lost half her body weight in a month. Took her to the vet and they diagnosed lymphoma. We gave her some medicine to make her comfortable so we could have some time with her, but she went down hill fast. The other cat, who was the sweetest cat around, at age 12 turned crazy. He started biting and attacking people. We put him on pain medicine and he stopped doing that, but then he would follow me everywhere and get under foot. He would get himself stuck in things. He would pee everywhere, right in front of you. I would bathe him and 2 minutes later he would be covered in pee. He would walk in circles meowing for no reason. The vet suspects he had a brain tumor and that there really was nothing that could be done.

So find a new vet first and get another opinion if this is a cheap fix. Animals get old and with that comes more treatment. That is just the way it is.


answers from Columbia on

Talk to your vet.

It sounds like your kitty is having the same problems as mine did last year: It hurts to pee because he's getting struvite crystals in his bladder and urethra. He avoids the litter box because he associates it with pain. I didn't know that older male kitties are prone to urinary issues until AFTER the $300 vet bill to have him catheterized (which I assisted with at 10:30pm one Saturday night). Poor kitty. He was sooooo miserable. When I went to pick him up after 3 days in the kitty hospital (we weren't sure he would make it), he looked at me and purred for the first time in weeks, and let out a few Siamese meows.

Take him to the vet for an exam, because of course it COULD be something else, but if it is urinary crystals, a change in diet will change your kitty's life. A simple fix is to put him on low magnesium food. My kitties eat Royal Canin SD, which is prescribed by the vet. Don't do the Iams type...the cats hated it and won't eat it. Also, no more foods or treats with fish in them, since fish is high in magnesium. A much cheaper kibble, which isn't prescribed by the vet, but works just fine is Purina One for Urinary Tract Health.

Also, change his litter...and put it in a different spot if you can. Perhaps the garage or laundry room. We use Feline Pine and LOVE it. There's nothing out there that doesn't track at all, but this is easy to vacuum up, and the icky ammonia smell is non-existent, even after 2 weeks. One bag is enough for two litter boxes, and it's cheaper than the clay or silica stuff (which is bad for the environment, and not great for your kitty).

I'd check into the things I've mentioned above before putting your kitty down. Allieviating that urinary misery might be just what he needs.

Hopefully DVMMOM will post her professional opinion...



answers from Raleigh on

Sounds a lot like hyperthyroidism, and can be treated usually with pills. Just know the cat will have to treated for life. Without treatment, though, the cat will likely die. I would suggest just getting one more thyroid test done and make your decision then. If you can or cannot afford the meds, then you cross that bridge when you get to it.



answers from Denver on

I'm so sorry you are going through this, never an easy thing. I would go for one more vet visit, and be up front- that you are limited on funds, and need some guidance from them. Don't just agree to tests, talk to them first. What do they suspect it is? And if it turns out to be A or B, what is the treatment and prognosis/quality of life? If they say treatment is super expensive and drawn out with little improvement in quality of life, you may decide to not even do the tests. Ask what the vet would do in your shoes? They are trained to do the tests to be sure of the diagnosis. But if you have a good vet, they should be happy to talk to you first and understand your circumstances, and help you come to some decisions.

My cat did what you describe and it turned out to be diabetes. In her case, we ended up having to do insulin shots for the rest of her life (2-3 more years) but she still had quality of life so it was worth it.

My heart breaks for you. Animals are such a blessing, and it's so hard that they can't tell us what's wrong or how they feel. I know you'll do the right thing, and you gave or are giving this cat a very good life- he's lucky to have you.



answers from Washington DC on

I would personally ask the vet for a payment plan and get the diagnostics. Find out if it's a UTI or if there's something like diabetes. And then decide accordingly.

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