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Put to sleep or allow to die naturally?

  
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Tambolina

No...the magic- is still- here...!!!
 
 
Purred: Sat Feb 7, '09 8:45am PST 
This also is an offshoot of another thread but very interesting.........

I will put my two penn'th in later.....I want to see what other people think first........

I THINK it is a cultural thing, but I'm not sure.......

look forward to hearing from you all........
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Gracie

I'm the baby,- gotta love me!
 
 
Purred: Sat Feb 7, '09 10:30am PST 
It depends on the kind of pain the animal is in, and what the alternatives are.

I've not had many pets, so I have never had to deal with making the decision. I do remember that my MIL had to put my husband's childhood dog to sleep shortly after we got married. When she told us, this is how she explained her decision.

The dog had had 14 wonderful years, but all of a sudden she started having seizures while walking, which would result in her losing control of her bodily functions. My MIL took the dog to the vet, but after doing all sorts of standard tests, they couldn't determine the cause of the seizures. But they were happening more frequently. My MIL was faced with the prospect of running most tests under the sun to figure out what was wrong, and meanwhile the doggy would probably have to suffer through them, or she could make the rough decision of putting her to sleep, which would ensure she'd go peacefully, instead of during a seizure.

Well, she had a really tough time, but while she was taking time deciding, the doggy had another episode, and came back out of it not quite herself. She'd whimper at everything when she was stoic before, and her appetite was declining. Also, she considered the fact that one of my husband's aunts had a dog who she nursed through several life threatening illnesses, not to mention deafness and blindness. By the end of this other dog's life, she (the dog) was a shadow of her former self. My MIL did not want that for her own dog. So a couple of days after the last attack, she decided to send the doggy to the bridge.

It wasn't a decision taken lightly, and it was hard for my MIL to talk about it after the fact. She waited a couple of weeks before she told her children, because she just couldn't bear to give them the news, and she still won't go through the details of her doggy's last day on earth, and it's been years. frown

Edited by author Sat Feb 7, '09 10:42am PST

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Delyte, Dark- Angel, at- Bridge

Me and my- person, together- against all
 
 
Purred: Sat Feb 7, '09 10:37am PST 
This is Delyte. Are you thinking about poor old Grandfather Conrad? So sad--we will all miss him and hate to think of him going to the Bridge.

In answer to your question, it depends on what the condition of the cat is. If the cat is in terrible pain, cannot move, cannot eat or empty itself, and the cause cannot be fixed, then putting him to sleep is the only humane thing. Most of the diseases that our cats have had caused pain or terrible discomfort at the end and the actual death itself would have been agonizing, so we had no choice. Some kinds of heart disease mean that the cat is living comfortably until the heart attack that takes him, which is fast and takes them before you could even make it to the vet. There are some cats who just seem to sleep a lot and then one day won't wake up, but cats are so good at hiding pain that you don't know if he suffered or not.

In general I would say that if the cat is in increasing pain which cannot be fixed, can't eat or drink or go to the pan, then you should have him put to sleep.

Saddest purrs for anyone who has to make this decision...
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Tambolina

No...the magic- is still- here...!!!
 
 
Purred: Sat Feb 7, '09 11:37am PST 
No, No.....it is not Grandad Conrad.....he is still soldiering on......!!!

No it was something Harvey (or one of his siblings) said in another thread.....that generally in Japan they don't put cats to sleep........I was wondering what they do in America...........

Jan
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Lola

Proud mother of- the Fab Four!
 
 
Purred: Sat Feb 7, '09 3:43pm PST 
Then there are people like my mother, who was a lovely, lovely person but had a hard side to her personality, who put Freckles to sleep when my brother was born, because once she found Freckles sleeping next to my brother in his crib (to be fair, the door was closed, but Freckles somehow managed to jump from the porch roof through the second floor window). This was in the days when people often thought that cats would suffocate babies. For years, my mother would talk about Freckles, and then just sadly shake her head and say, "She ran away." It was only a few years before my mother's own death that she admitted that she'd put Freckles to sleep, rather than trying to rehome her or keep her in a cage or in the cellar. However, there are more people out there who choose to euthanize their animals when the pet becomes inconvenient than you might think.
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Delyte, Dark- Angel, at- Bridge

Me and my- person, together- against all
 
 
Purred: Sat Feb 7, '09 3:55pm PST 
This is Delyte. So glad it is not Grandfather C!!

My person once rehomed a cat to a family who both had Ph.Ds. A year later, the man called us and said since the woman was pregnant they had to get rid of the cat and wanted to know if we could take her back, otherwise she would go to the shelter. Our person tried everything to convince them that this cat--by now nearly 14 years old--would not do anything to a baby, but the man refused to listen. We did find out that they had rehomed the cat to some elderly people so it worked out, but why an educated person thought you had to get rid of a cat when you had a baby, we will never know. Some people are stupid no matter how much education they get.

I would say in America it is far more common to have cats put to sleep, sometimes at the first sign of a serious illness. Where our person lived, the vet would always try to get you to have the cat put to sleep and then give you one or more kittens to take home at the same time. I guess they thought it saved money and stray kittens at the same time. My person does not approve of that, and thinks you should be allowed to grieve.
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Pete- Fountain

So happy to have- a safe and- loving home!
 
 
Purred: Sat Feb 7, '09 4:33pm PST 
Well, I had to make this very hard decision twice with cats. The first time it was with a cat who had showed up at our house and decided to stay. She was a very sweet tabby I named Fudge Ripple, because her coat looked like melted Fudge Ripple Ice Cream. When she first showed up she was very dirty and had lots of fleas. I took her to the vet and they gave her a bath, flea dip, etc.....and the tech told me she was a pleasure to deal with. She sat right down in the bath and purred and purred, she was so glad to be clean. I took her back home and she lived in the workshop my father had built in our back yard. After she had been with us for about three years, I noticed she seemed to be losing weight. I took her to the vet, and there was a growth in the roof of her mouth. It was cancer, and the only treatment would have been chemotherapy. And since this affects cats as it does humans, I did not have the heart to put her through this. Because of the location of the tumor the vet said I was doing the right thing, as it would make it even more difficult for her to eat. The vet gave Fudgie a shot, and she simply slipped away to the Rainbow Bridge. After that, the vet took me to a small room with a sofa and chairs, and asked me to wait. In a few minutes she opened the door and said "Ernie, Whiskers, this lady just lost her kitty, and she needs some Kitty Cuddles." Both of the cats jumped up on the sofa and cuddled with me....they were the "Grief Counselor Cats" and certainly helped me. I hated to put Fudgie down, but could not stand the thought of her being in pain.

In 2002 I had to again make this difficult decision. My beloved Cream Puff had reached the age of 19. However, she had begun to loose control of her back legs, and then could not get into the litter box. The arthritis in her back legs was very painful, and when she got up and tried to walk she would cry. Next she lost control of her bowels and bladder and could not hold food down. This convinced me I should release her from her suffering, as she had given all of my family 19 years of love and companionship. I went back to our family vet, and again, sent a furbaby to the Rainbow Bridge.

I cannot say if this is more common in the U.S. than in other countries. Certainly it is an individual owner's decision. Personally when an animal is in obivous pain, cannot control its bodily functions nor eat, the most kind thing is to let it go. It always hurts, but a caring vet and staff can make it much easier to deal with. I cringe when I read about a pet the owner says "Well, I have to carry him/her everywhere, and clean up after them, and feed them with a syringe, but can't bear to let them go." I think we owe it to our faithful, furry family members to show them our love even when it hurts us to let them go.

Pete Fountain (who sends whisker kisses to the lovely Miss Tambolina), Emma Barrett, Louis Armstrong, Benny Grunch and Charmaine Neville

P.S. Even as I type, Louis and several other cats from our neighborhood are loading up his C-130 with another supply of fresh, frozen mice for Grandad Conrad's Famous Mouse Pies. So......."Watch the Skies"..... Oh, and Lady Emma is delighted that Grandad Conrad now offers "Minature Mouse Pies", so suitable for lady cats delicate paws.

Edited by author Sat Feb 7, '09 4:35pm PST

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♥- Suey- ♥

Loved
 
 
Purred: Sat Feb 7, '09 7:13pm PST 
It is standard practice in Australia for vets to suggest euthanasia for a cat with no prospects for recovery, or who would have to go through a lot of pain, sickness or trauma to beat the disease or injury they may have. I think if we have the ability to save a kitty from pain, fear and a loss of dignity, then it's something that should at least be considered.

We do get a number of kitties at the shelter who people complain that the vet wouldn't put them to sleep for convenience. I can't begin to tell you what I think of those people.
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Gracie

I'm the baby,- gotta love me!
 
 
Purred: Sat Feb 7, '09 11:39pm PST 
Pete,

I was intrigued by your vet's idea of grief counseling cats. I'd think it'd make a meowmy feel better to tell another cat how special a beloved kitty was after their passing.
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Harvey

Has been COTD!
 
 
Purred: Sun Feb 8, '09 1:20am PST 
Pete--had I been in your position, I would have chosen euthanasia, too. I don't know the details about my childhood cat with diabetes, but I do think that my brother/sister duo died with dignity and very little pain. I'm not sure about the sister--she went into a coma so quickly--but the brother certainly knew that his time was coming. Yet it seemed meaningful to him to live out those last moments and express his thanks for 18 years with me.

However, my situation was completely different from yours, and I repeat that I would have made the same choice you did. I am just happy that--so far--I haven't had to tell the doctor to put any of my cats to sleep.

As I've written on these Forums before--and Pete/Emma and Co. have answered very kindly--my mother had incurable lung cancer (too old for an operation), and while she seemed to be at ease with her impending death, the single thing she feared was pain. This was a woman who had spent the second half of her life crippled by rheumatoid arthritis, meaning that she was in pain for the last forty years of her life. Her single wish as she faced death was that she would not be in pain. However, the cancer had spread to her bones and other organs, and although she was being treated with transdermal fentanyl patches, they could never get the dosage quite right (she was a tiny little thing)--too much, and she hallucinated; too little, and she was lucid and in pain. Practically her last words were "But they PROMISED me that I wouldn't be in pain..." I'm not into human euthanasia any more than I'm a big fan of animal euthanasia, but, being the perverse creature I am, I wonder why we are so eager to spare our beloved animals unnecessary pain (well, I understand THAT), but make our beloved humans suffer until the bitter end. There's no simple answer to that one--it has to do with all kinds of religious and ethical concerns--but to put it bluntly, my mother would most definitely have preferred to have been helped, gently and with love, over the Rainbow Bridge. There are no simple answers here; I just have a tendency to ask unanswerable questions.
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