Sunday, August 31, 2014

When To Euthanize a Mature Cat

When it is time to put euthanize your cat it is not easy to know the signs because a cat tends to hide sickness, pain and suffering from their people.  However if you have socialized feral cats in your home then these cats will hide from you when they are ill; in the closet, under the sofa, under the bed or other furniture.   People who have a close relationship with their cats usually know when something not quite right, but sometimes the cat will dodge their owners and keep their illness a secret.

An example my 18 year old rescue cat Gracie never changed her routine; she ate, drank, used scratching post and littler box, entertained me by being playful but I suspected that something was not right because she would stare at the wall as if she was in a trance. 

I made an appointment with the veterinarian for a wellness checkup and blood screen.  I suspected maybe a cat stroke or thyroid.  I did not expect the veterinarian to say it was time to euthanize my cat.  It never dawned on me that my cat would not be going home with me. 

The veterinarian told me that my cat was legally blind, that her vision was like looking through wax paper and that she had a mass in her abdomen , that was cancer. I could not believe what I was hearing because this cat did not act blind, we had no idea.  Cancer in her abdomen, Gracie was always fussy about us touching her there, we rescued her when she was nine year old and respected her wished to brush her fur but to not touch her there. 

There were other signs of illness that I should have been aware; Gracie lying in the metal sink; the coolness of the metal relaxed her.  We did not expect illness,  we thought she was just being adorable.  But our veternarian said the cool metal on her belly comforted her and eased her pain

Looks can be deceiving, as cats hide illness from their people my cat
Gracie photo taken nine months before she was eutanized.

When it comes to caring for a mature cat I would recommend that you take them to the veterinarian every six months for a preventative checkup. Gracie had yearly checkups, but the signs of illness were not observed  because her cancer and hypertension came on quickly.  

Gracie hid her illness from me and the veterinarian said she was suffering.   Learn more about my cat Gracie here: Rescued Cat Comforted me Before Euthanasia  


Deborah Aldridge said...

My 13 yr old cat ran away, and I think she went off to die. She had been having serious problems with constipation and had been letting me pick her up and hold her on her back and scratch her tummy, which she normally hated. When we moved here, she didn't eat for two days. She got out the second night we were here, and she hasn't been seen since. I've had other cats go off to die, but I wish she hadn't. I was about to take her to the vet. I really miss her.

S Golis said...

Deborah Aldridge you must be sick with worry about your cat. Cats when they are mature and know it is time for them to pass they will try to get out of the house to hide outdoors. It is in their nature to do this. I sure hope you are able to find your cat. Age 13 is not too old in cat years and maybe the Veterinarian can help her. If you moved, check your old residence and out out the word for everyone to watch for her. It takes 6 weeks for a cat to get used to new home. Keep me posted, hope you find her.

Deborah Aldridge said...

I've been here a month now. I know she's dead. I just wish she hadn't run away, because I would have liked to have buried her. She was sick for so long. I tried to help her, but I could not cure the constipation, so I think she was on her way out anyway. Even if I had taken her to the vet and found out she was dying, at least I could have buried her at home. Thinking of her under some house somewhere, dying in pain makes me cry.

S Golis said...

Oh that is so sad, but do know that cats do hide when they are sick or dying...My cat who had cancer wanted to go outside constantly, but I would not let her off. We closed off the kitty door and the pocket door blocked her from sneaking out the door when it was opened in our mud room. Cats put on a good front, but when time is near they will hid in the back of the closet or try to get outside. Did any of your neighbors say that they saw your cat?