Please don't bother replying if you're against euthanasia, because this thread isn't about that, thanks.
I have three cats. One of them is 15yo and has been unhealthy for several years. First, she's a heartworm survivor. There is no cure for heartworm in cats, so the treatment is to just control the symptoms until the worms complete their life cycle and die. It can take years. She tested negative for heartworm about three years ago, but has residual lung and heart damage from the irritation of the worms.
She has moderate-severe arthritis. She has been unable to jump for a number of years now. She can make it on and off the couch with effort, but it ain't pretty.
So now she's exhibiting symtoms of hyperthyroidism. I noticed her strange behavior a few weeks ago.....took her to the vet yesterday. She was at the vet last fall for her periodic checkup (to get her meds refilled...she's on Prednisone for the lung inflammation and Adequan for the arthritis), and she appeared to be maintaining the status quo at that time.
The vet did take a blood sample to check her thyroid....but during the examination she also noted that kitty's right kidney was very large and her left kidney was smaller than normal. So they did an x-ray. Her left kidney is atrophied, and there appears to be a sizable stone in her ureter. So it's possible the stone blocked urine flow, backed the urine up into her kidney, and caused renal failure on that side. The right kidney is huge and banana-shaped. The doctor's gut tells her it's a lymphoma, for which there is no cure, and even if there was a cure I don't think I'd put a 15yo, sickly cat through it. Bloodwork should let us know if it is, indeed, cancer. I'm still awaiting the results.
Also, her airways showed significant calcification on the x-ray. She has been coughing quite a bit more as of late.
So....this is where I'm torn. Right now her quality of life does not appear to be horrible. She is still pleasant and alert, and does seek out loves and cuddles. She sleeps more than the average elderly cat, but that's not bad in itself. She doesn't appear to be in any pain....she didn't flinch or tense up when the doctor was examining her belly. If the bloodwork shows cancer, do I wait to put her down? Do I let her enjoy her mediocre life a little bit longer? The thing is, I don't want her to be absolutely miserable and decrepit, and cats don't do a very good job of letting you know when they become miserable. I don't want her to suffer, but I don't want to take from her the enjoyment she has left. Am I making sense?