Euthanasia advice needed for my kitty - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 08-16-2011, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've never posted here before, but I find myself in a very unpleasant place.  Kitty is 17 years old.  She's had a thought-to-be benign tumor on her abdomen for a long time.  This past winter it started to grow, but it still didn't seem to be bothering her, and the vet said not to worry about it unless it did.  Then around April, she started to lick it.  It got raw, red, and nasty.  I tried ointments, and home remedies to help her out, but nothing worked.  It recently got to a point where it was bleeding and oozing pus, so I took her to the vet again.  While there, the vet discovered another lump just a little higher up.  He took an asperite for testing, to see if it was cancerous. He also took a peek under the microscope and said he could see a lot of round cells, which are often indicative of cancer.  He wasn't optimistic and seemed pretty certain that Kitty has cancer which is starting to spread rapidly.

 

Over the past year, I've noticed that her appetite has decreased.  She still seems to enjoy all of the kitty activities she did previously, but she is also old and mostly just sleeps.  She has never chewed her food, so she has some dental problems and we were planning on having her dental work done at the same time as the surgery to have the tumors removed.

 

The biggest problem, and I feel horrible about this, is money.  The surgery plus dental work will cost at least $1000, an we spent $400 at the vet yesterday for all of the labs, etc.  We've had a bad run of financial luck lately (plumbing work, car repairs, hospital bills), and the logical part of me says that spending $1400 on a cat that is 17 and has cancer is ridiculous.  But I just lost twins to miscarriage not even a month ago, and losing the kitty I've had since I was 12 would be awful.

 

We could let her stay in the Elizabethan collar so she doesn't lick her tumor anymore and it can heal on the outside, but she is miserable in that thing.  She doesn't walk around much, she gets stuck on furniture and carpet when she does, and I feel it has a huge negative impact on the quality of her life.  

 

I just don't know what to do.


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#2 of 6 Old 08-16-2011, 08:20 AM
 
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First of all, I am so sorry to hear about your kitty.  We went through a similar situation last year with our 16+ yo female.

 

Some quick thoughts -

 

Have you had a conversation with your vet about euthanasia?  In our situation, my DH was in complete and total denial about C's declining health.  We were running to the vet almost weekly, spending an unreasonable amount of money (more on that later) to maintain a not-so-great quality of life for C.  One day I was there alone and the vet brought up the subject with me and told me I needed to start thinking about it.  She gave me a great booklet that had 20+ topics/questions to consider when evaluating the next steps.  Much of it dealt with evaluating kitties quality of life, does he/she still seem to enjoy life?  Are they eating?  cleaning themselves? interacting with their people? It was so helpful to me.  Unfortunately, DH freaked out and threw it away.  Ask you vet if they have a similar hand out.

 

It sounds like you already can see her quality of life is declining.  I say this with all gentleness but dental work and surgery on a 17 yo cat sounds like it would be very hard on her.

 

Don't beat yourself up about the money.  That is a lot of money for an elderly cat that is already in poor health.  (I don't mean to knock your vet but I am surprised he would be suggesting invasive treatment for an elderly cat).  The money was a issue with us.  My DH would have had us sleeping in a box if it meant we could keep C. alive another month but there come a time when we needed to let go.  I could not justify spending a couple of hundred dollars every week to keep her alive when her quality of life was declining before our eyes.  Basically, in our case, the money was only prolonging her misery.

 

Something you might want talk to your vet about is meds to calm the licking.  Our female had a licking problem and we gave her a mild anti-anxiety drug that was VERY reasonable, like $3 for a month's worth of meds.  Maybe something like this could calm her nerves and improve her situation.

 


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#3 of 6 Old 08-17-2011, 08:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Caneel - thanks for your honest reply.  I spent much of yesterday thinking about Kitty and her quality of life.  I'm embarrassed to say I didn't really see the decline until it was pointed out to me.  But I thought about how she used to greet us at the door, she would climb the tree in the backyard when we let her outside, she'd chase her tail and play with her toys, she would rub all over me as I was pulling weeds or gardening, and she was ALWAYS sitting in the windows when they were open.  Now...  She's still very affectionate.  She loves to be petted and scratched, and she still seeks me out.  But not as much.  She spends most of her time sleeping, and she doesn't come downstairs much except to potty and eat.  I've seen her in the window once in the past week (they've been open the whole time).  She doesn't scratch, she's not keeping up with her grooming, and she occasionally misses the litterbox.  And she hates the vet, and I know the surgery would have been hell for her.  I decided to skip the surgery and have her put to sleep sometime soon, maybe in the next week or so.

 

And then the vet called this morning.  She has an aggressive cancer as well as kidney failure.  Her white blood cell count is up, and she is anemic.  I made an appointment for her to be euthanized this afternoon.

 

While I am sad, I feel better about the decision knowing that she really is sick.  I don't feel so much like it is a choice as a necessity.  I don't want to watch her waste away through anemia or kidney failure.  I don't doubt that it is time.  Kitty knows too.  A few nights ago, she came into bed with me, and she hasn't done that in ages.  She's also been hanging around the laptop while I putz on the internet in the morning, which is unusual for her now.  We've had a nice, long time together, and now I'm giving her the last gift I can.


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#4 of 6 Old 08-17-2011, 10:19 AM
 
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Oh my, I am sorry to hear about this afternoon.  I remember that day.

 

Looking back on it, we waited too long, about 3 months too long.  I didn't recognize the decline either.  Not long ago, I was looking at pictures and I was shocked how bad she looked and I felt so bad that she suffered as long as she did.


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#5 of 6 Old 08-17-2011, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Today was probably Kitty's best day in a long time.  I took her out in the backyard for a while, and we just sat in the shade.  I took a few photos.  I brushed her and rubbed her ears and under her jaw, and she just purred and purred.  She scratched on a couple of trees, ate a bit of grass, and just enjoyed being out.  Then I wrapped her in her favorite blanket and took her to the vet.  She is not at all friendly and cooperative when we go there, so she was sedated first.  She went to sleep on my lap.  Then the vet came in and gave her the euthanasia.  It was very quick, and I'm certain the only pain was from the initial sedation injection.  

 

The vet tech made impressions of her paws in clay for me to keep, and I'll put them in our bookshelf with other cherished mementos.  I'm sad, but it was definitely the right decision.


Married to my loving hubby, proud mama to Ethan thumbsuck.gif (9/09) and Rowyn (7/12)slinggirl.gif  and aspiring homesteader chicken3.gif

Missing my twins, Owen and Sophia, born too soon, July 2011 angel2.gifangel3.gif

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#6 of 6 Old 08-19-2011, 08:32 AM
 
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Im so sorry for your loss, sounds like kitty was loved and spoiled right up to the end

RIP kitty :(


Aspiring Midwife applying to University for fall 2011!
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