Should I let my 20 year old cat go?

Hi there
I'm really struggling with the issue of whether to put my cat down or not.
She's nearly 20 years old, and is a real trooper. However she seems a bit frail. She sways when she sits, and she sleeps almost continually. Her eating and drinking are ok. She seems to have arthritis however, her back legs move very stiffly.
I'm moving house, and my family think she won't make it due to stress and mental anguish, and think we should put her to sleep. She is already very stressed out due to packing. I keep finding her hiding amongst boxes, and outside, trembling in the bushes. She hasn't been outside in years.
She also yowls - she's always been vocal but sometimes the sounds a bit painful, really loud and harsh. I love her dearly, I've had her nearly my whole life and as much as I want to keep her I don't want to force her life to go on if she is going to be in pain, but I also don't want to end the life of a beautiful cat who may be perfectly healthy.

Asked by Member 1030043 on Apr 10th 2011 Tagged old, stress, movinghouse, puttosleep in Health & Wellness
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I just had to put my 18+ year old cat down a few weeks ago. He was perfectly healthy until last month. He has been frail for some time, ate and drank well, but got thinner. A few weeks ago he stopped eating and having bowel movements. I took him to the vet and they gave him an appetite stimulant, but it didn't work. He became very week and within four days of being at the vet's office I made the painful decision to put him down. I knew the time had come when he got in his litter box and literally collapsed. It took all his energy to make it to the box. He climbed out and lay on the floor within two feet. I called the vet the next morning and we were the last appointment that night. The vet determined that she thought my cat had cancer because he had fluid in his chest and abdominal cavity. I knew I had done the right thing, but I am grieving. Your cat may not be ready to go yet. You will know when the time comes. Don't just put her down because she's "old"! Best of luck!

Member 185886 answered on 4/10/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Moving is a stressful event for any pet, especially cats who are very territorial; it's normal for her to be a little upset. You may want to take her to the vet and see about getting her on some glucosamine supplements for her arthritis and explore anti-anxiety options for the actual move, and then wait and see how she is doing a few weeks after you've settled in to the new place. As long as she is eating, drinking, and getting to the litterbox okay and still enjoys gentle petting her quality of life should be just fine to warrant letting her live out her golden years. As in the case of Guest 688091's old man senior cats often take dramatic turns for the worse and when that happens you'll know and putting her down will be the compassionate choice. But if she's going strong and steady some lucky cats live well into their 20's as healthy as most cats in their teens.

Rambo answered on 4/10/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


I agree with Guest. She's not quite ready to go yet, and you'll know when she is. Not being able to make it to the toilet is one sign that the end is near. I've had one cat who simply faded away, and, knowing that he was dying, crawled over to me and lay by me while he died very peacefully. Try to make the moving process as stress-free as possible for your kitty.

Spike answered on 4/10/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Im Loving Memory of BooBoo

I lived to be 22 years.. I went blind.. I was still ok.. But when I started to lose my abilty to use the litter box.. My quality of life was then gone..This wasn't easy.. But it was time. I moved I was 20.. I was ok with the move because I wasn't left behind..
I even lived in a hotel with my family for 2 weeks before we got into the new house.. i just wanted to be with my family..
You will know when It's time.. Good luck.

Im Loving Memory of BooBoo answered on 5/9/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer