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natural death vs euthanasia

Posted in blogging biz, dying and death, my cats, Sequoia, the little tux on January 2nd, 2010 by Patti Waltz
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

When it comes to end-of-life issues with pets we often hear that euthanasia is the more compassionate route.  Natural death almost seems controversial.  And with humans it is obviously the opposite.  My Mother died 10 years ago this month, I certainly never would have considered putting her down.  I took care of my Mother the last few months of her life.  And I was with her when she died.  Words I would use to describe the experience of being there for my Mother from the beginning of her diagnosis, to the end of her life, would be as follows: bonding, empowering, surprisingly joyous, of course sad, loving and compassionate.   I believe there are invaluable life lessons to be learned when helping the dying.

In regards to Sequoia, she is facing her death with grace.  She almost seems to be trance-like.  I love doting over Sequoia, just as I devoted myself to my Mother through her process of dying.  Death can be drawn out and slow, but once we come to terms with the inevitable, caregiving for the dying teaches us about compassion in ways that only death can.  It’s heavy stuff, but there’s no avoiding it.  And besides that, it may help us to confront our own eventual death with a greater understanding.

I have had 9 cats throughout my life.  I’ve had to face the difficult decision of putting my first cat down and eventually my beloved Bubba Boy.  I’ve also had 2 cats disappear, leaving me with the endless and mournful wondering of whatever happened to them.  And now… Sequoia.  If she was in severe pain, I would consider euthanasia, but she doesn’t appear to be.  The only time she cries out is when she is either cold, or wants to sit on my lap.  I’ve given a lot of thought to Sequoia’s death and feel no desire to interfere with her living out her life in her own way, facing her death in her own time.

Not only do I believe euthanasia depends on the circumstances surrounding the cat, but it is a personal decision as well.  And all of our personal decisions and philosophical views of life are based on the collective experiences of our past.  However, euthanasia is so commonplace.  I was in emotional turmoil for 3 days over this decision.  I felt pressure from the veterinarian and from some of my friends.  I tried to find sites on the Internet that discussed natural death and was overwhelmed by sites that encouraged euthanasia.  I began to doubt myself.  Here is a quote from a popular website which seems to be a standard response.  “Keeping your cat alive and suffering because you cannot deal with his death isn’t humane.  When he can’t enjoy even the most basic of life’s pleasures, such as eating, ask yourself: Is it time?”  Am I picking up on a contradiction?  Isn’t it more like, we euthanize our pets because we can’t deal with death?  Does mainstream America turn a blind eye to the process of dying and death?  And if so, maybe we should think about why.

Anyways, maybe I wrote this to reassure those who are making a decision to let their cat die naturally.  Or maybe I just wrote this to reassure myself.  Whatever the reason… it comes down to two things, is your cat comfortable, and your philosophy of life and death.

Patti Waltz

(cat illustrator of Patti’s Paw cat art cards)

  1. Annie Fain Liden Says:

    Hi Patti,
    I met you the other day at the Handmade in America social. You’re right. Your “natural death vs euthanasia” entry really hits home for me in relation to the story about my grandmother that I told you. We’ve all just gotta do what our hearts tell us to right? Right!
    Also, Your website is great! I like how you can read the story on the back of the card.
    It was great meeting you, thanks again for the Banjo Kitty Card. Annie Fain

  2. Pat Says:

    My handsome Wolfgang died Thursday, 3/4/10 at 1:15am. My Wolfie, named after Mozart was a rebellious, crazy kitty in the beginning, but at the end of his 15yrs, he was a loving, warm and very friendly little guy. He died with me holding him, he wasn’t in pain (had he been in pain I would have euthanized him). I held him for 8 hours, almost continuously until I had to put him on a blanket on the floor and I stroked him as his heart stopped. Crying and telling him how wonderful he was and that I was honored to have had him as my kitty. Thanking him for trusting me and allowing me that honor. It was really tough. I have never been through this with an animal only a human being, but my boyfriend knew what was coming and kept me courageous. I miss Wolfgang so much. I have two other kitties and depending on what they need I don’t know if I can do this again. If they have pain, then I will take them to a Vet, otherwise, well I don’t want to think about it.

    Thank you for writing about letting your pet die naturally. I too have been brainwashed and euthanized a kitty thinking it was better. We don’t know how to deal with death in our culture, but other cultures honor it and understand it and don’t deny it, they mourn as I am now. I am glad I found this and I could comment. God Bless.

  3. Melonie P. Morris Says:

    Just this morning, my Scout passed from feline leukemia, the third kitty in a little over 1 year to pass from FeLV. I chose to allow all three to die naturally, watching them closely for any obvious signs of pain or distress, at which time I would have had them euthanized at home by a holistic vet. I did not actually witness the death of the first two, but stayed up all last night with my Scout till she passed at 6:45 a.m. I’ve heard it said that some folks avoid euthanasia because they can’t let go, and that some do it because they don’t want to be bothered. I have dealt with my three on an individual basis, based on their decline. I read some of a book by Rita Reynolds that helped also. I talked with each of them, verbally and mentally, and tried to recognize what each of them wanted me to do. With Scout, I watched her breathing closely because her hematocrit was only 9, so her oxygen level was low. When she entered what I saw as the final phase last night, I made a pallet and stayed up all night with her. I do hope that I did as she wished, by letting her die naturally. It certainly is not pleasant to watch or listen to, but it wasn’t my comfort I was concerned with. I wanted Scout to die on her own terms; however, had she been gasping for air versus resting comfortably during the past week, I would have made a different decision. Now, I know that she is free from any unseen pain and illness, gone on a new adventure, and restored to full health. I have been divinely blessed to have had her in my life for the past 2 years.

  4. Shannon Says:

    My beautiful kitty is dying as I write this. I have struggled with the question of euthanize or wait. I am waiting. He has been lying outside under the eaves of my house for 5 days now. I brought him in the first night but he lay by the door and cried. He has chosen his spot and it is not to be indoors. On several nights I have made my bed right next to him on a blanket in the garden mulch. He still, with much effort sits up to drink from I cup I hold for him once or twice a day. Food is of no interest. He seems peaceful, then struggles to change position and again lies calmly, breathing steadily, softly with his head on his paw. I am watching for any sign of pain. The vet gave me a sedative/pain killer to give him if he is struggling, but so far, he just seems to be waiting. The intelligence that is his hallmark is still in his eyes along with the sadness of leaving all that he loved and the exhaustion of being fully spent and ready to move on. I talk to him. He listens and we wait. I hope it is soon. This is so hard. I love him so much.

  5. Patti Waltz Says:

    I think the important thing is that your cat is comfortable and warm. I’m not an expert at dealing with end of life issues with pets by no means, so I would find out from your vet the cause of the disorder. It may be that it is treatable. If not, what you are up against is a difficult decision, but important to contemplate. Many people cannot deal with the process of dying, not just death, the process of watching someone they love fade away. And I feel, for those that aid their dying loved ones with peace and comfort, gain a deeper wisdom from these challenging life experiences.
    Blessings to your dear companion, I know how difficult it is. And remember to take time for yourself. You are part of that bigger picture, so don’t forget to comfort yourself as well.

    (As an aside, Sequoia was in the process of dying during the cold month of March in North Carolina. And, knowing how much she liked to stay warm, I set her up with a heated cat bed that I placed under my chair in the studio of my apartment. She loved it, and it keep her comfortably warm 24-7.)

  6. Mandy Says:

    I can’t thank you enough for writing this article. My 18 year old cat is declining rapidly and I have been in such turmoil over deciding whether or not to euthanize him. I feel very pressured by my vet, the vet’s staff, and others and keep hearing phrases such as “quality of life”. I, on the other hand, personally believe that a natural death is an important part of a natural life and feel that by allowing my buddy to die a natural death that I am helping him to have “quality of death”. If I felt that he was suffering greatly and in terrible pain I might feel differently. Thank you again so much for sharing your insights, they have been immensely helpful to me today. Namaste.

  7. Susan Says:

    thank you for this. I am typing with my nearly 17 year old cat, Walden, asleep beside me. Over the past 2 weeks he has gone from normal health to not eating or drinking, and is clearly dehydrated and dying but not in any distress; he still purrs when he touch him. My husband is in favor of natural death and I am more uneasy. I really appreciate everyone’s thoughts.

  8. Kim Says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I lost my Macie today. She was a very quiet kitty, liked to hide and lay under my son’s bed. She was diagnosed with renal failure about a month ago and declined rapidly. This morning I felt that she was going downhill fast, and after getting back from taking my boys to school thought that she had only an hour or two left. I did not think she was suffering, she was just laying quietly. I laid beside her and thought I would stroke her as she died. It turned into an ordeal that has me questioning my every decision. An hour turned into two, then three, and nearing four. She got to the point where she was not able to move, could barely lift her head from the floor, she would try to meow but couldn’t. I started to feel as though she may have been suffering so I called the vet. By the time I was putting her in the car she was making these gasping sounds every so often. Once at the vet, she still had a heartbeat when the tech first looked at her, but by the time the vet got in there she had passed.
    Now I am feeling terrible guilt for not taking her sooner, I feel like I let her lay there and suffer for all that time unnecessarily. but then I try to tell myself that if I thought she was truly suffering I would have taken her in. then part of me wishes I would have not taken her at all and let her pass at home so that her last conscious moments wouldn’t have been rushing to the vet. I am feeling intense guilt that I didn’t do the right thing, but I think I would feel that way regardless of what I did. I am so filled with sorrow because the emotion of the day is still raw and I cannot stop crying for her. I was starting to feel very bad reading everything on the web about easing their suffering, and that is what starting me feeling like I just sat there and watched her suffer for no reason. I am being tormented and just want to know that she knew I wasn’t making her suffer for no reason.

  9. Patti Waltz Says:

    Kim ~
    I’m so sorry for your loss. When a pet passes on, I don’t think it is unusual to wonder if we did the right thing. And we are not use to watching our pet companions die, it is sad, and can be tormenting, whichever route we take. I am going through the same thing with my cat Minnie Mouser now, and that is part of the reason why I haven’t replied sooner, because I am feeling preoccupied with her. She is almost 16. She has lost half her body weight over the past year due to hyperthyroidism, and there may be an underlying problem as well. I’ve been battling in my mind that heavy decision of whether to put her down, or let her die on her own. Two weeks ago she was peeing outside of the litter box, and having problems urinating. I was about to have her euthanized. Then found out that she had a urinary tract infection and also needed the dosage of her medications lowered. So I waited. And in the interim, I made the decision to let her die on her own.
    If you let your cat die on it’s own, be prepared to bear witness to the process of death. The process is beyond our control, and can be slow. Three weeks ago Minnie Mouser began to refuse her usual healthy diet. I scrambled around to different pet food suppliers to find her something she would like. She didn’t want any high quality food, she finally settled on Fancy Feast chicken and gravy or shrimp and salmon in gravy, with yogurt as a side dish, and a little vanilla ice cream for dessert. Anything to please her at this point. Two days ago, she stopped eating completely. She is only drinking water. She likes it cold, and fresh from the refrigerator tap several times a day. So that’s what she gets. She is getting weaker. She prefers to sleep peacefully, in the dark, nestled within her cat bed, under my bed. She probably will pass within the week. I expect that on her final day she will not want to move from her bed. I will be there for her, at the same time, giving her space, if that is what she wants, so that she can pass away peacefully.
    Kim, all we can do, is do our best. You were listening to your feelings, and lovingly responding to your cats situation as you saw fit at the time. Don’t badger yourself for the decision you made. We all have a tendency to do that. And there is always the opportunity to do things differently in the future. I have had to make the decision to euthanize some of my beloved cats in the past. My first cat, Pork Chop, had kidney failure at the age of 13 years, and she was euthanized. It was a rushed decision, and unfortunately, I was not even in the room to comfort her when she was passed. It was horrible, but I learned from that. My cat Bubba Boy was put down 7/7/1999. For him, I had the vet come out to my property and had him put down in a beautiful place outdoors. I had him surrounded with candles and symbolic objects that represented my life with him. I recited a prayer to him at the moment he was being euthanized. My veterinarian was someone whom I felt comfortable with and I knew that she would understand the ceremony that she was chosen to be part of. My veterinarian was the one that cried, after it was all over, and told me through her tears that it was “a good death”. If you are thinking of having a pet euthanized, having it take place in the pets familiar home environment is honorable way to go without stressing out the cat.
    Whether we decide to have a cat put down, or to die naturally, is a personal decision and it depends on the condition of the cat. Whichever decision you choose, I would keep the surroundings calm. Whatever happens, happens, and know that you made the decision in the name of love. That is all we can do. You made the best decision that you could at the time. Watching someone we love die is difficult, no matter which route we chose for our beloved companions. Be kind to yourself for the decision you made.

  10. Warren Says:

    I am right now going through this with my 18 year old companion, Sam I Am. He stopped eating completely 5 or 6 days ago. He is quiet and appears comfortably resting on his blanket in a little nook under the bed. He purrs weakly when I stroke him. I don’t know how long this will take and therein lies my pain. Am I doing the right thing waiting for him to die naturally or should I have the vet come and help him along?

  11. Joan Says:

    Samantha Whiskers lies next to me as I read these entries. She is 16 years, 44 days. She is the daughter of a feral cat, Samantha, adopted by my teenage daughter. Whiskers was born in a closet in my home and we knew immediately that we had to keep her.
    The stories on this website sound so much like ours; we do not have a diagnosis. We knew that we would not go to extraordinary means to prolong her life at this sunset age. When she was 5, she had a seizure on a very hot summer day. Her pupils grew huge, her rear quarter was paralyzed, and she ran in frantic circles. She was blind, partially paralyzed, and not eating. We were sure she would not live the night. We decided that if she lived we would take her to the vet for recovery next day. It was in the 100s that week. When we awoke, she had broken out of the screen , jumped to the ground and was gone. A week later, we heard a meow at the door and there she was, limping, seeing poorly, but alive. Every day since then has been a bonus. Right now, she has lost a lot of weight and eats and drinks erratically. But she’s been “herself”, perking up when I got home from work, following me and getting under my feet as always. This morning she gobbled her first meal, and then ate a second. I came home later and she was nearly immobile and her breathing had changed. A family member was scolding me for allowing her to suffer. He had not seen her for months, and yes, it is shocking. She is frail and was falling down for the last 2 days. I called 3 vets but it’s the week end so nobody would see us. I was sure she will die within 24 hours. When I went to see her after making the calls, she had raised herself up and was walking around. I was sure she had heard me planning her death. So, now, she is mostly sleeping, breathing rhythmically but with a wheeze, and still responsive to my every move next to her. But I am giving her space and hope that she will drift off easily. I do not know what I will do if this continues for days; I may give in and euthanize her. But for now, I will sleep in the room with her and pray for courage to stay with her. It is amazing how unacceptable death has become. I lost a child due to natural causes, and I became so aware of how unacceptable death is in our culture.
    I am so grateful to the author of this website and to the contributors. I feel that a natural death is a viable alternative, unless I see suffering or pain. We have had 5 adopted or rescued feral cats over my lifetime. Usually they go off to die. This is the first one to stay close. She has brought us much joy, warming us after work on a winter’s day by lying on our laps, giving us equal time. She always had to touch; but lately, she prefers her space….I will miss that most of all…sleep peacefully, dear Whiskers, and dream sweetly. And God, give me the strength and wisdom to do the right thing and help others to understand my choice.

  12. candie Says:

    my vet pressured me to have my dear cat pts when i was in a very emotional state and then i found out she had a stroke from which she might have recovered. i feel tormented with guilt

  13. BJR70 Says:

    I’m struggling with this right now. Gracie, my beloved 19-year-old cat has a respiratory infection and is not getting any better. I am struggling with the idea of putting her down vs letting her go naturally. She is on medication but is not responding.

    Gracie does not appear to be in any pain, but is not improving. :( Thank you for writing this. I don’t want her last moments full of fear or stress, but if possible I want her to be with me and in her home where she feels safe.

    This has been impossibly hard but it’s nice to know that others have struggled with the idea of allowing things to take their course. Thankfully my vet has not pressured me one way or another, saying instead that they were here to support my decision.

    It’s in God’s hands now. I just hope I can keep her pain-free and let things take their course.

  14. Kristi Says:

    Dear Patti,
    Thank you so much for these moving and touching posts. I’m writing this response as we were helped not only by your sweet posts but also the responses of the others who took time to write in and add their experiences to it.

    My husband and I were helped so much yesterday by this page that we thank you with all our hearts, for your love & compassion in writing it. We had been watching our dear cat Spooky (at 16 years of age) have the same problems as your dear Minnie Mouser (and our cat Spooky coincidentally looked a lot like her!) and toward the end, he too only wanted the fancy feast food with gravy. He mostly licked the gravy off. He also had the hyperthyroidism and had lost a lot of weight in the past year. We were able to get his thyroid pills down him in those handy little cat food “pill pockets” and so he got a little better for awhile.

    But then this past Monday he woke up unable to walk steadily and had become very weak in his back legs. He had been to the vet the week before (as we were worried about him, as he was eating 5 times a day but was still losing weight) and his tests had come back okay for his age, except for the thyroid one- and another one that started with a p, I think, that was very high. The vet wasn’t clear as to what that particular test meant as it was a different one than the typical “failing-kidneys” blood test (which that test seemed to be reading okay for him.) So we thought/hoped we would have more time with him by adjusting his thyroid medication again. But alas it was not to be. I cried when I saw his unsteady walking (back legs collapsing under him) on Monday morning as I knew that was a sign of the end coming. We called the vet again and asked what we could do, if anything, to make him more comfortable. They were wonderful at returning our phone calls and consulting with us over the phone so we didn’t have to stress him further by taking him back in again. They told us some things that we might expect as he was dying (as they agreed that he was) and were patient with our questions.

    So I stayed close by his side from Monday on and tried to be brave for him as I watched him decline more and more. Tuesday he could only walk short distances before he had to lie down and was no longer eating or drinking much. By Wednesday he was asking to be put in his favorite chair and any other place he wanted to go- we would carry him. So we were very surprised when we couldn’t find him in our fenced backyard on Wed. In five years here he had never gotten out- so we had a hard time believing he hadn’t come back in the house and was just somewhere we hadn’t found yet but we looked everywhere and he wasn’t in the house. Turns out he had used the last of his walking energy to visit our next door neighbors much lusher :) green lawn and make himself a napping spot in the shade of a pine tree on the grass. He was happy to see me but couldn’t get up and so I carried him home and sat with him in his favorite spot in our backyard for the rest of the day. (I’m a self-employed artist as so thankfully was able to do that.)

    He didn’t seem as if he was in pain and so my husband and I wanted him to die surrounded by lots of love as he had always given us so much and wanted him to die at home with us, if possible. (I am very sensitive to the suffering of animals and so I would have had the vet come to the house to give him a shot if he was in obvious distress or pain.) But he was so sweet and even though very weak, he would still show us glimpses of his fun personality. Even so, I was in a little bit of doubt as to what to do for his sake, as I didn’t know how long this process would take (in our case it ended up being four days)… and mostly wanted reassurance that what I was choosing for all of us was okay and so I got on-line and there you were! This popped up first and I’m so glad as after reading it.. I didn’t want/need to read anything else.

    Your compassion toward others in making their decisions is wonderful. Your comments were very helpful and we also appreciated the comments from others on this page- Mandy’s comment about “quality of death” also stayed with me and helped me be brave in watching Spooky this week. Of course, I cried and cried and tried not to around Spooky but being so sensitive to animals, I couldn’t help it sometimes when he was being so sweet. We’re so glad that we could wait with him and have this special time with him even thought it was very very hard because we loved him so much. It was also hard because of course I didn’t want him to die. “Natural” or not, death cheats us of more time with those we love and so of course, I don’t like it. I chose to spend the time thanking him for all the wonderful years of love he’d given us instead of kicking at death for taking him away from us.

    Even though he’d become deaf in the last couple of years, I talked to him anyway- somehow hoping that he could sense the vibrations through my chest when I was holding him or read my body language when I wasn’t. I petted him off & on.. sometimes giving him space and then reassuring (or distracting him) with petting when on the last day he seemed to be getting uncomfortable on occasion. We both stayed with him all day Thursday as his breathing became slower and we would help him sit up when he wanted to for a minute, or help him change sides when it seemed that he wanted to lie on the other side for awhile. He liked soft blankets sometimes and the plain floor at other times this week but toward the end he liked having his head supported a little higher than the rest of his body by the towel/blanket cradling his head and his back. He seemed to like pushing his paws against things and so my husband would put his hand out for him to push against or if he was holding him, his legs & paws would push against my husband’s (his favorite human’s) tummy. He was a Havana Brown breed of cat and they love to communicate with their paws so we would also hold and pet his paws as well as his head.

    I appreciated your comment about the cold water from the fridge, as I tried that after reading your post and he really liked that. He even managed to drink a bit of it after playing in it with his paws (he loved playing with water all his life so much- that even in his weak state- he still wanted to try.)

    It was very touching to us that he took his last breath last night while cradled in my husband’s arms while they were together in their favorite chair.

    After a while,we laid him gently on a towel on the floor and let the other two cats we have, see him. We had read that advice and it made sense to us- so that they wouldn’t wonder where he had just “disappeared to” and it seems to have worked. They have not called for him today and seem to be sticking close to us but are at peace.

    While I had been waiting with him this week, I had made a beaded necklace whose different colored beads and charms represented all the places we had lived and adventures we had had with him. I put that on him and then we lovingly buried him in his favorite spot and that made us feel better too. I know that’s not always possible for people to do, but in this instance it was and for that I’m very grateful. I’m so thankful to God that we were blessed to know Spooky in this life and I look forward to seeing him again in heaven. I know he has plenty of company there to play with till we get there. :)

    Thank you for letting me share the experiences I had this week with you. My husband and I feel “right” about the choice we made to let him go naturally here at home, making him as comfortable as we could. So I’m at peace but my heart is sad because I miss him so much today, as he was such a presence in our lives and there is a hole in my life (and my kitchen :) now,) where his fuzzy little face used to be. But I am allowing myself to feel the grief and walk through it.

    I know time will hopefully help ease the sadness I’m feeling.

    Thank you again for your gift of warm wisdom on these pages.

  15. Kristi Says:

    Hi.. Kristi here from the previous post.. just wanted to correct a mistake I made. Spooky walked to the neighbor’s front yard on Tuesday. He was also too weak on Wednesday to have gone anywhere, so I had also spent the whole day with him Wednesday helping him be where he wanted to be. Wednesday evening we carried him out to lay on the lawn by my husband (while he did yard work) and a beautiful rainbow came out over the two of them while they were out there. It was so touching to see the two of them together with that rainbow overhead. I’ll never forget it.

  16. Sarah Says:

    Good to read all the comments on here. My cat Sam died a natural death in March of this year but I too remember struggling because of the lack of info. The vet had said that due to renal failure he probably wouldnt last too long but shouldnt be in any pain. As we had some leave we decided to look after him and only consider euthanasia if he seemed in pain. Before any owner considers this route it is important to know what to expect during the dying phase. From what I had read I expected Sam to get sleepier and for death to be quicker. In total it took four days, sleepless nights. He was calm and not showing pain so I was not concerned from that perspective. Just kept him warm and sat with him. The day before he died he had some small fits and there was some ‘head wobbling’, a rigid coma followed which he stayed in for the next few hours. His breathing was normal sounding but more shallow, no gasping. He was also incontinent of urine at this time. All through this I looked for signs of pain and as far as I could tell there were none. I had doubts, especially at 4am in the morning. Was i doing the right thing? This is taking too long? Is he suffering but can’t express that he is? About an hour before he died the rigid coma left him and he was the soft floppy cat he had always been. The family were around him gently talking when he took his final breaths and felt honoured to do so, we were glad he didnt have to go through the trauma of going to the vets aven though we had the trauma of witnessing the dying process. It has to be the right decision for you, your family and your circumstances. (if we hadnt have been on leave we couldnt have devoted the time dying needs so he would have been euthanased). The natural route can be more painful due to the biological process, please equip yourself for that. I work in a care home and have seen ‘natural death’ many times so that helped for me. xx

  17. Jeannette Says:

    Dear Patti,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for creating this blog. My dear Baby girl died just a couple of days back, at home. She started to get sick back in the summer (we recall that it came after eating a bird). After antibiotics she appeared to be recovering again although was drinking quite a lot of water. But then she went down with a runny nose, this subsided but she then had a runny eyes and nose which again went away after after a few days of salt water washes. Then quite suddenly we noticed a tumor evident inside her nose. After this her breathing became difficult and she was constantly knocking the thing off which would bleed, heal and block her nose again. She’d always been more of a biscuit cat than a meat eater but she could no longer feed herself. I did take her to the vet a couple of times; the emergency vet broke my bank and left me struggling to pay them before I could take her back to my own vet. He mumbled chemotherapy, small chance, £2,000 plus….what could I do? :( I took her home and watched over her, fed her daily by spoon and pippet. She was up and down until about a week or so ago she suddenly looked really well, shiney coat,loved the mackerel I was liquidising for her and would ask me to feed her; she still couldn’t feed herself and didn’t drink but started coming back to sit with me or my son and had started talking again. We felt blessed and I hardly dared hope she was on the mend…my son on the other hand was convinced she was getting well. Then on Monday night I walked in the door at around 7.00 and as she rose to meet me she just fell over weak; she didn’t recover but after seemingly walking into the corner with no idea of where she was she let us put her in her bed. My son and I sat with her for the next few hours, talking to her, stroking her and after a couple of small fits she went stiff as tho in a coma. She would make little moves as we mentioned her name but eventually it was clear she was no longer lucid. I put her beside me at 1.00 am and stroked her until around 2.00 but must have fallen asleep. At around 3.00 something woke me. I reached down and realised she was still slightly warm but she was gone. My son said something also woke him at around the same time.

    I realise some pets are just that, pets. And some pets take on a character of their own, they eke into your family and become one with you. this was she, smart, sweet, never asking for food but always wanting cuddles…so she got the lot! My other two cats are also adored but it was she who would stand on her back legs with her paws out to be picked up like a ‘baby’ and she who would knock at the letterbox to let the three of them in.

    I heard from a friend who had a bad exerience with euthanasia. For me, on this occasion, the time was right, the natural way was right. she went in her own time, she chose. I know she had a couple of fits but then I watched my husband and my father do the same and was assured they felt nothing. I don’t think she suffered, I hope she didn’t but I am glad for her and for all of us that we didn’t listen to the vet and we had some 2 months more than he would have given her. She came out to the garden with us, sat with us and slept beside us. when it was her time she went peacefully, I believ it was right. #thank you so much Patti, after reading the letters you started here I am convinced it was right this time. xx

  18. Melissa Says:

    Thank you sooo much for this. My story is alot like many of the others. My Roni died yesterday at the age of 14-15 yrs. He was a beautiful Blonde Maine Coon. B He died in the comfort of his own home with his family around him and our other cat, who had been his partner for the past 8 years. It was soo hard to do, but I am convinced I did the right thing. I couldn’t bear to have to take him to a cold, smelly vet clinic and choose the time for him to die. We dont do that to our dying family members, so why do it to our beloved pets (unless of course they are suffering) he went from old but normal in 10 days to his death, a rapid decline, but again not suffering. He got to lay in my bed and eat his fave food for his last few small meals, drank water until he could no longer get up to use the bathroom or drink, which was only the last 36 hrs or so. he died pretty peacefully, a little twitching and gasping for a few minutes before the end came, but he responded to me until seconds before he passed. I got to hold him and tell him how much i loved him all that time, and talked to him endlessly about the wonderful 15 years we had together. I love him and miss him, but I definitely believe a natural death is the best thing. We all live and die. Thank you Patti.

  19. Kathy Geary Says:

    It’s hard to do this with my cat Vladimir. He would be 20 yrs old this may, but 2 months ago he started to lose weight and now it is his last days. He stopped eating three days ago and now only drinks. He’s calm, not meowing. I’m sleeping with him on the couch since I’m afraid he’ll try to jump down from the bed and hurt himself. I’ve never been with an animal when they pass. I’m scared and trying to be strong so he won’t sense my anxiety. He’s taking little sips of water. I’ve considering taking him to the Vet but after reading so many posts about this I’ve decided to spend this last time with him at home, where he wants to be, with me at his side as he as been unquestioningly at my side all this life. This is one of the hardest things I have had to do. But it’s a gift to share this with him as he leaves. I read about going stiff like in a coma before the end for a few hours. I’m so afraid to witness this struggle, but he is the one who is facing that transition and I am the one who will learn from him how it is done. Thank God my friend Kevin is here with me or I would not be able to face this without his support. It gives me a chance to give my boycat all the love I can, unto the end.

  20. Kathy Geary Says:

    And I also wanted to thank you Patti for having this blog, it’s very comforting to read everyone’s stories.

  21. jennifer Says:

    I am struggling with this issue with my sweet 19 year old cat. She is in end stage of renal disease. She’s down to 6 pounds and eats just a few bites a day. I am giving her sub-q treatments each evening, which seems to help a bit. Until Sunday, she still wanted to sleep with me, but now she spends all of her time in her carrier in the kitchen. Once the quintessential lap cat, she no longer wants to be held Since Sunday, she’s been unable to jump on her favorite resting spots. She doesn’t seem to be in pain, though she clearly feels rotten. The vet (and other family members) are urging me to euthanize. I’ve done it before with two other cats and believed at the time it was the right decision. But, for some reason, with this cat, I can’t seem to bring myself to do it. I so desperately don’t want her to suffer, though. Am struggling with whether we owe it to our cats to make that hard decision to spare them more pain.

  22. Lisa Says:

    Thank you.

    We are doing the “death watch” on Rosco, our sweet beloved mackerel tabby.

    16 months of hyperthyroidism, cardiomyopathy, and pilling him twice a day. And since the end of November, a lung tumor that makes him sneeze. But for most of that time he seemed like an active healthy cat to anyone that did not know he was on 5 medications.

    He had lost a lot of weight, about 4 pounds since November, and was not eating well because of the sneezing. We changed medication about 10 days ago, dropped the diuretic, upped the steroid. He stopped eating (we were force feeding him last 10 days to get his weight up also). In his prime, the Jehovia Wittnesses would stop by and ask when he was going to have his kittens. Top weight was 20 lbs, long story involving a Siamese in kidney failure.

    He gave me that look yesterday, after a Vet visit to check his condition and blood levels. Now I find he is in kidney failure (diuretic, steroid?), last week and a half. The Vet was so stressful, meowed and howled all the way home.

    So we are done. No more pills, no force feeding. No more Vets, unless I think he is in distress. I think he is in a coma now. I will keep him warm and clean, and keep him close. We will call a Vet to come to the house if this goes downhill. He had a great 14 months or so after we first thought we were going to lose him, very playful with the other cat, kitty dust wallows, and the garden and huge catnip plants. He lived long enough to move back into a new house on the property he grew up on (11 months). About an acre and a half, with a field and a barn, and giant fir trees. He had a very good 15 years. I know he loved us, and knows we loved him very much. Every cat that lives dies, and I hope he goes peacefully. He had a great summer, and I feel blessed to have had that bonus time with him. There is nothing more we can do to give him extra time at this point.

    Of the four things that could kill him, I think it is the tumor that is doing him in. I also told him that if he comes back, make sure he does not go to China.

    He just started making bad noises, not sure if we will decide to call the Vet in or not. Wish him luck. He has had enough of Vets, and he is so tierd. I just do not want him to suffer any more than he has to. This could be over tonight, or it could last a week. I hope I have the strength to do right by him. Death is never good, but some deaths are worse than others.

    Rosco will be missed.

    -He is gone, and I am on this damn computer, but he is at peace.

  23. Micheal Says:

    My Mishka died at home early this morning as a result of complications due to hyperthyroidism. He held on as long as he could, without the appearance of any suffering. A few hours before he passed I gave him his last meal of butter on a spoon, and got an uncharacteristic epic purrr in return.

    I knew right away when he went from resting, to the shutting down process towards death. I think he was a little bit afraid of what he was feeling, so I gave him very small doses of buprenorphine as things progressed. I think this helped with any fear he may have had, and did a lot in my mind to help ensure any suffering was minimized or removed completely. I held him closely until the end.

    Your posting, and the comments helped me to decide to let my cat die in a natural way, on his own time, and at home with his family. It was a raw, and difficult process (for the humans), yet genuine and dignified.

    RIP Mishka
    07/27/1998 – 02/28/2012

  24. Marcie Says:

    Thank you all for these posts. I am allowing an older cat to die naturally now, and, as many of you have experienced, have drawn criticism which is why I’m online seeking support for what so few people see as a good decision. I worked at a vet clinic years ago and I’ve seen good euthanasias and bad ones. They aren’t all easy and good. People put too much into that “Putting to sleep” euphemism.
    I think you have to make the call, hard though it is, of what the CAT would want- home or vet clinic? Euthanasia or natural?
    My very spicy tempered cat, who has had to be anesthetized in order to be examined her whole life, would rather die than go to the vet clinic again (sorry- bad humour but very true). I think I am doing what she would want and she is not in apparent pain as she sinks. I put her through a lot to keep her healthy during her life. Now as her life draws to a close I am letting her stay in her own bed to end it.
    Another cat I allowed to die naturally at home was very frightened of strangers and the vet office. Her final days at home were peaceful and, except for a few convulsed breaths at her final moments, all was okay. In fact, her death was almost identical to my mother’s death which made me think and to allow this second cat to also have the natural option.
    I wish people didn’t look at me as though I were a monster when I tell them I’m letting another kitty die at home. When I tell them my mother died at home they act like I’m strange trying to draw a comparison. But, I’ve been there, I’ve seen it. And trust me, it is the same. It’s death through old age and organ failure. The only thing that is different is how people treat you.
    I’m not against euthanasia.I have euthanized animals. I just want the option to make the choice for my pet as I think they want it and I want it as comfortable for them as I can make it.

  25. Kristin Says:

    Wow! I just want to say ‘thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this! I’m going through a similar situation and have decided to let my cat die naturally, at home (he doesn’t appear to be in pain) and it’s reaffirming to find someone who feels as I do!

  26. David Says:

    I had my sweet 15 year old Makena euthanized three days ago, and now I have deep regret that I did not honor her life by allowing her to stay home and die a natural death. She had been going downhill for a couple of months (after drinking excess water due to kidney failure for 9 months), and had lost almost half her body weight. Her normal weight was just 7.5 lbs, so she was reduced to fur over bones.

    Her hind legs were going lame, and for some strange reason she decamped to the bathroom vanity and commode top (both hard surfaces) as her safe resting places. [The bathroom was closer than the bedroom to her food bowls and litter box, and if I carried her back in the bedroom where she spent most of her life, she would quickly gallop right back to the bathroom.]

    She was not sleeping and would have occasional tremors, and had enormous difficulty getting into a comfortable position. At times she would nod off and fall over into the bathtub! She no longer used the litter box, so my partner and I decide to euthanize her, rather than watch her go downhill even further.

    The trip to the vet was terrifying for her, and I will never forget the haunting last look of fear on her face when I walked away from her. I did not witness her euthanization, so I will never know if she went easy or was in great distress.

    I am retired, so I could have easily watched over her and made her comfortable in her final days. I only wish I could roll back the clock three days, and do this over the right way.

  27. Lauren Says:

    Others have already said it, but I just want to thank you so much for this site and all the previous posters with their stories.

    Our fourteen year old kitty Simba, was diagnosed with kidney failure six weeks ago and we discussed at length what to do when the time comes for his passing. It amazed me how few and far between the resources are for those who do not wish to have their pets “put to sleep.” We decided that we would rather have Simba pass naturally, which of course to many translates to “suffering unnecessarily.” What many fail to understand is just how difficult it is to arrive at such a decision. I have had Simba since I was seven years old and we’ve been through a lot. I want him to know what’s happening, rather than take him to the vet (a place he hates), stress him more in his final hours, and be euthanized while unaware of what is happening. Just as we want all living creatures to have a good quality of life, we must also bear the responsibility of a quality of death.

    I would never judge someone for “putting their animal to sleep” and I would hope that no one would judge me for my choice for a natural death for Simba. Shouldn’t we all just love each other in these difficult moments? No decision here is an easy decision, certainly.

    Love to all of you who have lost or are in the process of losing a loved one.

  28. Devoted Pet Owner Says:

    Thank you so much for your site. I could barely find any information on the internet about letting your pet die naturally but neverending sites about euthanizing pets. I have had pet’s before growing up and euthanizing is usually how their lives ended. I have been struggling with the decision after recently being given an at home euthanization referral by my pet’s oncologist who also told me my pet was not in pain from the cancer. I had an emergency er visit that following day for a blood transfusion, my pet is severely anemic because of chemo treatments, and was told by the onstaff ER vet it would be inhumane to let my pet die naturally and if i couldn’t afford the transfusion then maybe I should euthanize my pet. Then given all these papers to fill out and asked to leave a large deposit. My oncologist never had me fill out papers or leave a deposit. I was also told by the vet the reason her estimate for the transfusion was higher than average was because my pet was half dead. I thought the vet’s behavior toward me was inhumane.

    At this point I began to really question was I wrong for considering natural death. I wondered if I was struggling because I wasn’t ready to let go, but I have been there when family members have passed naturally in hospitals and at home so I am no stranger to death. I consider my pet of 16 years to be family. I do not want to put my pet through the misery of anymore vet or ER visits. My pet HATES going to the vet and will use every last bit of energy to let the vet know.

    Everyone has to make their own decisions. Most people who struggle with this decision genuinely have great love for their pets and should be able to decide without judgement.
    It’s not easy to watch my pet grow weaker each day. I fear I will come home and find my pet dead or worry if I am making the right thing. Then I stop to remind myself it is not about me and what “I” want. My pet has a fiesty fighter independent spirit but loves to cuddle, be petted, and held like a baby. I read all the euthanization articles about, “quality of life,” I can assure you after watching family members die their quality of life was no better than my pets. Two of them were in comas for 1-3 weeks, none of them could walk, or wanted to eat. I am not sure when my pet’s passing will happen and I am not going to try to control when it happens but I hope to be here when it happens.

  29. T Says:

    THANK YOU for this blog. I am once again toiling with this. This is long as it is a way for me to get this out and off my chest. There is so conclusion here–sorry–just thoughts. Thanks in advance for reading it! I went through an awful ordeal when my first cat reached the age of 21 and was euthanized. She had a brain tumor and had terrible attacks. I was home from college that summer and she longed to sit with me and that is what we did all summer long. One day I made the decision after watching a violent attack and smelling a very disgusting odor in her drool for weeks, that we should take her in to the vet to be “put to sleep.” Like many readers have mentioned, the euthanization was a violent death as they could not find a vein and she screamed through the whole process…this is a memory that has haunted me for some 25 years and turns my stomach even as I write–dusty did not want to go, why was I so dumb as to not hear her wish? FF–Three years ago, our dear cat Ambrose at the age of 11, became sick–not one vet could diagnose what he had. The pet ER suggested euthanization. The minute I repeated the word back to the vet, Ambrose looked at me and gave me the “get me out of here” look I wish I would have read when Dusty expressed it so many years before. The ER tech was terse with me when I refused and warned that I had at best a few days with him…we took him home and we had six more months together as a happy human and 2-cat family. Even in sickness, he gave his younger housemate a game of “try and catch my tail” from time to time. After some agonizing times throughout those months, I remember thinking “why does he not die?” In tears one night over his weakness , I squeeked this phrase out to my husband and again, Amby looked at me as if to say “hey, I know what you are talking about, I will go when it is time!” I felt like crap about my insensitivity. One day when I was out visiting with my own sick father, Ambrose passed at home in my husband’s arms–Amby loved my husband. My husband said Amby cried and dropped off his bed and my hub picked him up and sat with him on his chest for an hour and then he passed. We curled him up in his bed so his housemate could see he had passed. I was devastated for a good year, but I had peace. I could not have asked for a better end and I really prayed for that end after the “euthanasia” experience of my youth. So why write again–well my little girl of three has lymphoma —her eye bulges from a tumor behind her eye. Her three housemates adore her (needless to say we do too, but she was real rescue and has never been a cuddler with us, so she is hard to read–she loves our one fluffy male.) She still enjoys sitting in the sun, getting washed by her favorite beau and watching the birds and squirrels from her perch. She is losing weight, but eating, and two tumors are making her rather knobly looking. My new vet is working with me, but no lie, the eye looks terrible and I imagine she is thinking that I am cruel. Again, the pet ER got her set for the big E during one panicked visit over the eye one weekend and I said “no! I am taking her home!” Again, I got that old ” we understand your pain, but you really should think as she has at best a few days” speech–I have since learned that is Pet Er speak. I take her to the vet every 5 to 14 days to check the eye and to get pain meds for when she needs them ( so far she has not, but he does get a prednisone shot.). She has enough vigor to refuse eye drops and to run for an hour throughout the house as I try to catch her for the vet visit, but again I wonder, am I being selfish? We both feel we are not after our collective pet Euthanasia experiences, but it is disheartening when an outsider comments “oh, she is so tiny and thin” as if to say “you are just keeping her going for yourself–put her to sleep lah di dah no biggy–be grown-up–it is time to let go!” I support any of you out there in this position. If you told me your story or we met and I saw your sick pet for the first time, I would respect your efforts to let your pets live out their days at home with palliative care. Once again, we are waiting to see what happens next with our little girl. She is going to die and I accept that, but I have learned now to just treat each day with a sick pet as it comes–do not make plans–every day is a blessing with them and they will hopefully relay in the best way they can as to how they want to go. Tonight, as I watch my little girl sit in the window, happy that I am home telling her how pretty she is, I cannot help but think about what the vet will say to me tomorrow during our visit regarding making a decision and it being time to “let go”–is that what death is about? My “letting go” with a sick parent does not mean I am deciding to put him or her to “sleep” at a certain time. No, it means for me to “make them comfortable” and to make peace with the fact they are going to die with or without final days of pain. Am I wrong to believe that my pet deserves the same dignity in death, and like a person, the time of death will be decided by a power greater than all of us? If this comes up tomorrow, I will say “you are right, I need to let go, in fact, I have already let go, so has she, and therefore, right now, I am taking her home so she can hopefully pass in her favorite spot or by her favorite housemate or maybe it will be all alone when we are at work, hopefully not in agony, but at least she and I will know she was in the comfort of her own home where she is loved very much and it was the ending planned by her Maker!”

  30. Jhari Says:

    I am so glad to be able to read these entries. Right now my 15-yr.-old, Bruce is dying. I took him to the vet a week ago, diagnosis, heart failure. His abdomen was filled with fluid. I gave him lasix which the vet gave me, but now he is refusing to eat or drink. He lies on the porch all day and usually all night (it’s an enclosed porch) and sleeps, sometimes changing position. I do not want to have him put to sleep. He does not seem to be in any pain. I just pray that he goes to sleep. I rescued him when he was a young cat from an abusive home, he has been a wonderful cat. I am getting pressured from all sides to have him put down, but I will not do it unless he is in pain. This is so hard.

  31. Linda C Says:

    What a wonderful experience…I’ve had reading all these posts and the main thing I feel is the love that everyone has felt for their pets. I too am experiencing the death of my beloved 17 year old little lady. My son and I have both decided to let her die at peace at home. She has stopped eating and drinks very little. She falls down all the time, but does not seem to be in any pain, just weak. I still remember the night she came into our lives as a kitten, picked up by a rescue group because her owner wanted her put down for having ear mites! She was really not a very pretty little girl, but full of spit and vinegar. She grew into a beautiful cat with the most lovely face and sweet personality. She was raised with a couple of dogs and several other cats. She outlived all but one (another cat)whom I am sure will miss her dearly. She has had a wonderful life and is spoiled rotten by my son. I know we both will be with her when she draws her last breath and I feel it will be a privilege to give her love and comfort in her last hours on earth. If she was in pain, I would have had her euthanized by the vet, but I know that the experience is much worse and terrifying for cats. She probably would die from the trauma before the vet could even see her. We will all miss her terribly but we were so fortunate to have her in our lives for as long as we did. Thank you again for all your wonderful posts.

  32. amy Says:

    I am grateful to all of you who have shared your stories – they have helped me a lot. Yesterday morning our beloved Kora passed away at home. She had been battling kidney failure for months and developed what appeared to be a sinus infection a couple of weeks ago. I had been giving her sub-cut. fluids every day and she had to have a few perfusions at the vet a while back. The fluids I was giving her seemed to help – her kidney numbers were better at the last vet visit a couple of weeks ago – but her sinus infection didn’t go away after doing the inhalations suggested by the vet. So a couple of days ago I got antibiotics from the vet and gave started giving them to her the day before she died. I am wondering if I would have given them to her earlier, she might be with us still. But she started vomiting again that day and night. I was up with her a couple of times during the night, cleaning her up and spending time with her. Finally, I saw she was so weak, I took her to the sofa and stayed next to her for a few hours as the sun rose. She seemed uncomfortable a few times, wanting to get up and move around but being too weak, so I helped her change positions. Then she went stiff and her tongue stuck out for a few seconds. Soon after we took her out in the garden and she laid on me while we petted and held her. Her breaths became more spread apart until they finally stopped. She didn’t appear to be in any pain, but can we really tell? We did call the vet but she couldn’t come because she had a surgery that morning. I hope she didn’t suffer and I was happy we were with her in the end. We will miss her so much!

  33. BB Says:

    Thanks for this reflection. You are quite right that there is little written on this, and yet the points you make are quite accurate. The comparison with human beings (and for many of us, there is, as we say, no comparison) but also the habit we get into of handing over to professionals the things we ourselves should encounter. Mitford’s The American Way of Death points to that from an era before the present era when the oddness of hospitals and hospices and the generic professionalization of life was still patent and could be seen. Now, we don’t see it with human beings at all, and we certainly don’t see it with cats. I know, because I did the wrong thing in my own case with my own cat. So my grief is doubled. Once again, thank you.

  34. Susan Says:

    Chloe is dying as I type. One of 3 sister cats, age 17. She would choose a natural and home death, of that I am certain. When the time comes for her sisters, I may choose differently. She has been a very shy indoor cat and always hides if anyone else is visiting. She appears pain-free, but do I know? Very quiet all day, and only still breathing. I have put down 4 other pets due to health failure- all dogs, each 18 yrs. Not even a choice for Chloe. But boy, this is hard– it has been a very long day. Bless you my sweet Chloe and this website.

  35. Deon Says:

    I’ve had the same cats getting old together over the years. 3 have passed in the last few years, and like you I was not at peace with this wandering off that cats do… wanting to know their space to die was safe and undisturbed, unthreatened… and having wanted them to feel the familiar love as they go. My last old cat is at my feet right now. He hasn’t eaten for a few days or taken any water. He’s in a zone, moves now and then, barely /softly breathing. He knows I’m here. It’s hard to see him go but he’s been such a darn good and super loving cat to us for so long nothing else would be right.

  36. Belinda Says:

    I thank you too for this. There is very little information or support for those of use who choose to let our kitties go about the sad and messy business of death. We were about to put our guy down when the vet called to say she needed to come early. I couldn’t do it, and I’m glad. We had almost a week more of purring, quiet kitty, and now he’s moving slower, and sleeping more and looking scraggly, and I would say he’s just waiting. He hasn’t eaten for two weeks, I had no idea how long death would last. It’s not easy for us, but I think he’s just fine. It would have been so much easier to euthanize him, but we are all learning an amazing lesson from him and appreciating every extra loving minute we’ve had.

  37. Carey Says:

    Our cat, Meowser, passed away two days ago. He was my second natural death and both times were practically the same. My entire life I have been uncomfortable with euthanasia. Meowser was a fighter and the toughest cat I have ever known. I had pressure to put him down due to several different health issues. He had used every one of his nine lives, but he had an intense will to live. I knew he was not ready to go. So instead, I dutifully took care of him every day for almost two years. In that two years I got extra experiences and bonding that I would not trade for anything. His very last day, he spent the day outside. He could barely walk, but he kept relaxing in the sun, sniffing the air and finding the puffiest spots of grass. After coming back inside and settling back into his favorite sleeping spot (an area set up with a heater, heating pad, fluffy mattress cover and fleece blankie, he cozied up and stayed until the end the next afternoon. My husband and I were both with him and it took maybe 20 minutes. His body would stretch out and twitch. His feet would curl up and then relax back out. Every minute or so, he would take a deep breath. Not a gasp, just a deep, jagged breath. The very last breath he opened his jaw wide and stretched out all of his legs and then he was gone. We were able to talk with him the entire time and I told him over and over what a good cat he had been. I miss my buddy. But I am so glad I could give him the gift of staying home, calm, relaxed and doing all of his favorite things up until the very end.

  38. Cheryl Says:

    I just found out my dear Jazzy’s kidney’s are failing. I’ve never let my cats die naturally. I ‘ve had three of them put down and it is so awful. Cats are not pets for me or any of the other people who have commented here, they are family. We love our cats with our heart and our soul and when they leave us we grieve and feel such a void without them. I don’t know what I will do with Jazzy when she declines further. I don’t want her to suffer. I just watched my mom suffer for nine weeks until she died and I have to say there were many times as I held her hand and tried to comfort her through painful moments that I wished I could end her suffering through death. But we don’t do that with humans. There were times over that nine weeks that I wished we did. Not for me, but for my mom. Everything has a life cycle. Jazzy is my dear sweet 17 year old tortoise shell persian. I won’t let her suffer, but I won’t end her life unnaturally either. She can lead the way, unlike my mother, who had to suffer, because with humans our choices are limited.

  39. Susan Says:

    Thanks to all of you for sharing. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to each of you as you lose your precious pet. We are in the final days of losing our beloved kitty. I have been agonizing on whether to take him to the vet to end it quickly or keep him at home. It is so very hard to see him wasting away and now barely able to walk. Occassionally he will prop himself up enough to drink but he is no longer willing to lick the baby food chicken from my finger. I didn’t realize he could last up to two weeks without food. I hope he is not feeling any pain. If I knew he were in agony I would take him to be “put to sleep”, but he hates the vets office and would be so stressed out from the procedure that I will do that only as a last resort. After reading all your posts (for which I am profoundly thankful) I feel more confident of my choice to keep him home. We plan to bury him in the back yard in the corner of the garden. He loved being outside. Wishing you all peace during this letting go.

  40. Billie Says:

    Marmalade, our darling orange tabby that we rescued at the Animal Shelter 8 years ago after her previous owner abandoned her and her 2 kittens, our sweet lady has terminal kidney disease. A few months ago she was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and kidney disease, and we decided to opt for the radioiodine cure for hyperthyroidism. It truly is a cure and her thyroid is now “great” according to the Vet, but the extent of her kidney disease has been unmasked, and we now battle high phosphorus levels that make a kitty feel really bad. We have decided to do this battle with her as long as she is willing, and she now receives daily meds to restore the thyroid gland left behind after the one with the tumor was shut down from the radioiodine. She also is receiving daily doses of aluminum hydroxide, a phosphorus binder to bring that down, since like so many kitties, she would starve rather than eat one of the feline prescription diets. I know, though, that our days together are numbered, and I count every moment until her death as a precious moment. I also know that I have to decide how to let her die, and after reading these comments, I believe the answer will be to give her the respect and dignity of dying naturally, at home with us, where she is comfortable and loved. When we next visit the Vet to have her phosphorus level checked and to see if there is anything else we can do to make her remaining days better for her, I will talk to the Vet and tell her our plans to let Marmalade die at home. I just hope I have the strength to face those final hours with her, tho’ they may not come for many months, maybe a year or two. I want, above all, for sweet Marmalade to know that she is loved more than she could ever imagine.

  41. SadMomma Says:

    My poor old cat that came into our lives nearly 13 years ago is in his final stages of life. He seems to be comfortable, but I really can’t tell. I try to hold him, but all he wants to do is go in our walk in closet and crawl into the farthest corner. I’ve spent the last two days holding him. I’m crying as I type this. The bond with these animals is so very strong.

    Last year I went through this with my husbands cat he had for over 16 years. I known him only 12, but watching him pass was difficult. I’m finding myself going through this same process right now.

    I keep thinking to myself that I should bring my current cat into the vet to be put down. However, I can’t. I can’t put him down since he doesn’t seem to be in pain. He is still eating and drinking, but in very limited amounts and we went out to get him canned cat food. His favorite is milk and he will only take small sips. My heart is aching. I’ve turned a completely feral cat into a super loving lap cat. He always had a little feral behavior in him and that made him really special.

    Another cat of my husbands turned into my buddy. He went where I went and never left my side. He did not like people much including my husband, but he loved me. He fell sick at the short age of 8 years. The vet was encouraging us strongly to put him down. I could not do it. I kept him comfortable after spending $1000 on several tests, IV fluids and antibiotics. I fed him mothers milk for kittens every 2 hours. He lived another 7 fulfilling years to the age of 15 spending every moment with me not leaving my side. I never did get over his death. It’s been 5 years since his passing and I think of him and my husbands cat frequently.

    I honestly think the best way for a pet to die is in the home unless they are in pain or suffering. Even if you know your pet is on its way to pass that rainbow bridge.

    I’m devastated I’m losing another pal. I wonder why I let them in my life in the first place. Losing them is so hard. Right before my current boy fell ill, we brought another precious feline rescue into our lives. This small little kitten of roughly 4-5 months old is already a lap cat. Some idiot abandoned him and his litter mates. The new kitten was the last to go at the humane society.

    In a few years when my children are grown I will be a foster to momma cats and her kittens or momma less kittens. I will be willing to do whatever it takes to bring them back to health and go into good homes.

  42. Doe Says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. My 17 year old cat is dying and I was 99% sure I would take him to be euthanized and decided to do a google search. I am glad I did. He is the last of three of his family. His mother died a few years ago. She had lung failure and was suddenly gasping and I took her to the vet and upon x-ray and confirmation that one lung collapsed, I had her euthanized. His sister had tumors in her large intestine and I had all sorts of medications and then finally surgery. Not 15 minutes after the surgery, she passed away. Now it’s his time. He’s not himself, but he’s not in pain like his mother was. With her, she was literally suffocating on one lung and terrified. He is quiet. He ate this morning but refused dinner. I hadn’t considered before reading all of your words that it is a measure of respect to allow them to go through the process in their own time. I felt guilt for not taking him to the vet, but dreaded having to take him in the car and waiting, and I didn’t know that they might have a hard time finding a vein as one of you wrote. I do pray that he passes in his sleep. It is so hard. Deciding which is the selfless and respectful thing to do. I wish we could tell them that we have a choice to euthanize and ask them if they would prefer it or not. But without being able to tell them, it would be a traumatic last hour or two on Earth to take them in to the vet. I want him to go peacefully. Thank you again for posting your words and love and strength to everyone going through this.

  43. Gail Says:

    My beloved Bacio (Italian for ‘kiss’ as he is a very friendly and loving cat) who is 14.5 years old was very traumatised by a forced house move end of March 2012. My landlady said she ‘needed to sell the house’. Turns out she only wanted to increase the rent by 50% and knew I could not afford it.

    He spent 2 weeks hiding under my duvet. His immune system collapsed and he developed inflammarory bowel disease. He has gone down from 5.5 kg to 2.1kg.

    I am so angry with the woman – he loved where we lived. Now we are in a house under the flight path to Heathrow with continual noise and pollution.

    I don’t know how to tell if he is in pain. He goes up and down each day and it is hard.

    Pleae advise me.

  44. Karina Says:

    My 17-year-old Leonardo is dying now, and I am currently trying to figure out what to do. While he is not in pain, he, unlike many of the stories here, does have a diagnosis: inflammatory bowel, pancreatitis, kidney failure.
    He isn’t that interested in eating, but he still does use his box. He also climbs stairs OK, but he doesn’t land well if he tries to jump down. It saddens me because he still tries to jump!
    I do not want to euthanize him, preferring to let him go naturally and at home.

  45. Joy Says:

    My boy was born in our spare room. His mother was a frightened stray who we fed and made a nest outside in a shed for her to have her kittens in. She decided to have them in our house, she had 5 but left one to die! Anyway, we called them Eeny, meany, miney & Mo. We kept mum and Mo and Meany, who became Lady, Brandy and Tigger. Tigger has epilepsy and hypothyroidism. 4 yrs ago he was diagnosed with a heart murmur. Brandy died at 15 yrs, went suddenly his kidneys and was ‘put to sleep’ at vets. Lady had a stroke and went blind but managed very well for about 5 years until another stroke and fit left her walking, walking, walking, bumping into walls and furniture, not recognising voices, not feeding or drinking. Baby was one of the kittens, she was in her 19th year last August and like her mum, had a stroke and went blind, she didn’t cope as well as her mother but managed another couple of years of quality life, before passing peacefully at home with the family.
    Tigger has been on and off his food and now he’s not eaten for last 24 hrs. He is just lying around, totally worn out. He won’t eat, I am trying him with all sorts and spoon feeding him tsp at a time but, he doesn’t want it. He’s drinking and using his litter tray. family have called in today and he is responsive to voices, last night his pupils looked ‘blown’. I thought he’d had a stroke but he is a little more responsive this morning. I slept on the floor next to him…sorry lay on the floor next to him, I couldn’t sleep. I will do the same tonight and any other night if he needs me to. He was born under a bed in that same room. I tell him all the time how much I love him. I miss when he was well, him climbing on the bed at night, sitting above my head and planting ‘kisses’ on my nose. He’s always put me to bed at night and tucked me in.
    He’s nearly 20yrs. Vet says that’s over 100 in human terms.
    He was, is and always will be, My Handsome, My Darling, My Sweethert, Knight in shining armour, My Mr. Wonderful, My Bodyguard…If there is such a thing as a soul mate, he is mine….Love him so very very deeply, yes and madly too…What will I do , how will I cope? he fills my days with Love, he is my Baby, Love him to bits… always have, always will.. God Bless my Tigger. XXX

  46. Jennifer Says:

    I am so comforted by your stories. My kitty, Nena, a sweet, yellow tabby, whom I took in as a stray 5 years ago, was attacked by a raccoon last Thursday evening. I have struggled over the whole vet thing and decided to let her die naturally at home. The toughest issue is that I know I could take her to the vet to save her…only to have this happen again as I am surrounded by woods. I have decided not to risk that again for her sake (she loves to be outdoors…). I have been petting her, singing songs to her about what a good kitty she has been, and just saying my goodbyes with many tears and prayers. That may sound silly, but it has been deeply healing to me in letting her go.

    I have to say although this is very painful, it is like many of you have shared, very meaningful to care for her at home as her body shuts down. She doesn’t appear to be in any pain and simply turns herself around when she feels the need. She also is not eating or drinking. I tried to give her water through a dropper but she fought it and I just couldn’t keep creating more stress for her in that manner.

    I am amazed she is still with me and I am grateful for her resilient spirit that is giving me the gift of time to say my goodbyes, but for her sake I keep telling her she can let go and rest. I will miss her greatly, she has been the sweetest kitty I have had the gift of knowing.

  47. Gillian Cowley McPhee Says:

    Thank you so much for this post. My elderly cat is dying and hasn’t eaten or drunk for a week now. She purrs and sits with us; and doesn’t appear to be in any pain – just shutting down. I felt very pressured by websites who claimed how cruel I was being. However, I agree that euthanasia is often a way for us to avoid witnessing the dying process – and I’m very heartened to have read that. I have no problem with my cat dying naturally at home and feel it’s where she’d prefer to be. The vet option is, of course, still available if things get too difficult for her – but thank you for helping me with what is a very difficult decision.

  48. Catherine Hockridge Says:

    This blog is so encouraging. Our sweet 22 year old Patches is in the process of death. We have not taken her to a vet for many years, as she became an inside cat for those years. She had been healthy and happy and turned 22 this past April 2013.
    I am so honored to watch her spirit as she transitions from life to death. A bittersweet thing to witness, but one that has given me more respect for my little girl. What a trooper.
    She is having much trouble walking, which breaks my heart, but she insists on trying. She has not eaten for 6 days now and still tries to get up to drink a little water. I tried moving her water closer to her, but nope, she insists it has to be in the usual place. I caught her sitting in the usual place, so I moved her water back to honor her choice. Also, I raised her dish up so that she does not need to bend down to drink (where her balance and strength is waning). Now she just has to lower her head a little – that has made it better for her.
    I have noticed her paws are cooler, so I know the process is nearing the end. She has lost a lot of weight and that is tough to see, but it is the process. She is so loved and still purrs ever so slightly when I hold her. Often times I just lay next to her on the floor and place my hand on her, trying not to disturb her, but to let her know she is not alone.

    My husband and I are okay with her passing, she has lived a long life for a cat. We will miss her and are thankful to have known her.

    We are honoring our Patches and helping her with her passage.
    Thank you for having this blog, I am encouraged.

  49. Barbara Says:

    I was very thankful and encouraged to read all the previous posts and to know that there are many other compassionate pet owners devoted to their beloved pets. We are losing our senior cat, Sam, and it is heartbreaking for sure. Also struggling with whether to euthanize or let him go naturally at home. He is approximately 21 years old and in final stages of kidney failure. We adopted him 10&1/2 yrs ago, when he was already about 10&1/2 years old! He was the neighbor’s barn cat, and they left him behind when they moved away. . . he was very sick when we found him, and starving. I nursed him back to health and then a year later he got diabetes. So gave him daily insulin shots and a LOT of TLC. He is the sweetest, friendliest and most faithful cat I have ever known. Snuggles in my lap every evening when I am reading or watching a movie, and loves people – even total strangers. He has been our “nurse kitty” if anyone in the family is not feeling well and lying down on the couch. He was there for me when my Dad died 9 yrs ago, and was my faithful “nurse” when I had a bad case of shingles about a year ago. He is a real trooper and survived many close calls, including a mysterious severe tooth infection. Then about 3 yrs ago he was diagnosed with kidney and heart disease, and the vet painted a dire picture of quick failure and loss of quality of life. Well, I learned how to give the sub-cutaneous fluids by needle and he kept on going, living a good life with us and giving much joy! His diabetes even went into remission and I didn’t have to give him insulin anymore. He is our miracle cat! But now, sadly, he has come to the end of his road and I have run out of options to prolong his life. He has lost half his body weight, now only just over 6 lbs. He’s so thin that I can’t get the sub-cut. fluids in him anymore . . . this is breaking my heart and so hard to watch him failing. I actually had an appointment with the vet today to have him put to sleep, but he suddenly and mysteriously rallied and took us all on a walk outside with him, as if to prove that he isn’t ready yet. As we discussed whether or not to make another appointment, he looked at us and got up and walked like normal for a little while. So now it’s just waiting with him, and taking it an hour at a time. I slept on the couch near him last night in case he got distressed, and will probably do the same tonight. I also have Bupronorphine – a pain med – that I can give him to ease the discomfort. I can’t bear the thought of life without him, and yet I don’t know how I could bear watching him like this for days. Just praying that God will take him in his sleep, and that it will be a gentle passing. Wa had to put all 4 of my dogs to sleep, and it wasn’t a nice way to go — traumatizing for them and for us, and dealt with guilt afterwards. . . . Sam is truly special and we want to do what’s best for him. It’s never easy, either way. But all life comes to an end at some point, and I have to remind myself that he is never going to be better than he is right now. My heart goes out to all of you who are also going through this difficult time.

  50. linda craig Says:

    This is the first time that I have seen this site and I am so very grateful. I have chosen to let my kitty, Lucky die at home. She was diagnosed with feline herpes nearly 2 and a 1/2 years ago and I believe that cats do have 9 lives……… as this little lady has had numerous sick times that I can hardly believe that she survived and came back around. This time she is basically fur on bones and up till yesterday morning was eating and drinking water. That has since stopped. I have learned so much for having read every story that has been submitted to this site and it is such a relief to know that I am not alone with my decision to keep her at home. She does not appear to be in pain and should that present it self I for certain will not let her suffer. Thanks to you all and I in closing would like to say that I deliver a Grief Recovery program that I was trained to do. As far as major losses that we grieve the loss of our pets is our 3rd major loss. I was enlightened to learn this as over the years we heard it is only a dog or cat and don’t we know differently? They are part of our family and their lives are way to short and the love that we have for them goes beyond words. I will spend the rest of the hours or days or whatever it takes to be with my little buddy as she goes through her process and keep letting her know what a special kitty that she is. She was a snow bank litter and was brought to a vet clinic with her mates and I am so glad that she has been a part of my life She absolutely loves cages as that was her home that she came to when being brought to the clinic and I am readying her cage shortly here as that is something she absolutely loves and is peaceful in. Thank you all for sharing, it sure helps.

  51. Tracy Says:

    Thank you for writing this. My 13-year-old cat was diagnosed with lymphoma five weeks ago when we finally realized her weight loss was beyond normal. I just don’t feel like I can make the decision to kill her, though the deterioration is steady if slow (she had incontinence yesterday for the first time). But you are right, everyone seems to be of the attitude “are you crazy? why don’t you just have her ‘put to sleep’ and out of her misery?” I spent eight months with a parent dying of intestinal cancer and some of the same issues – including wasting – and would not have traded any of those moments, up to the last hour I spent with her, two hours before she died, reading to her (she was unconscious by then). I might change my mind but I am glad to know I am not the only person who might go against the grain.

  52. Tracy Says:

    … and three days after I wrote that, our cat died this afternoon, at home, in her own time, on her own terms. She was still walking around, albeit slowly, this morning. Then while we were out for a while this afternoon, she crawled under the couch, stretched out behind it – someplace she had NOT been hiding or resting – and died. Still warm when we found her.

  53. Kelly Says:

    So grateful for this site today. My husband’s kindness and strength and the stories of love here on this site got me through the last few hours of PrettyKitty’s life. She died peacefully in my husbands arms with loads of love to help her transition to better things beyond. Just as she took her last few breaths it started pouring rain and shortly thereafter the sun came out again. Signs that life is everchanging.
    Thanks again, all your stories were so helpful.

  54. Mary Ann Says:

    Bless this site! My 16 year old best friend, my heart and soul Lucy is dying. I am filled with so much grief…. I have had to euthanize other pets, and those decisions were the best ones due to the pain my pets were experiencing. I respect Lucy’s life too much to euthanize her. She is not in pain, just things are slowing shutting down…I have been watching her decline over the past 5 days, not eating much at all, drinking some water, but still purring, walking to the grass to pee, lifting her head when I pet her and comfort her. I want her to go out on her terms..not my terms. This is her life and her heartbreaking as it is for me, it has been joyous to be here for her, as she knows how much I love her, and will miss her terribly. Her favorite place is under the magnolia tree, where she can hear the crickets, cicadas, and my fountain gently soothe her soul. That is where she is now. I am so blessed to have her in my life, thankful she had another summer of wonderful sounds, warm sun on her body, and honored me with her sweet, wonderful self. I know now the compassion, and love for her final days is the right thing- the humane way to let her go..going through this has changed my life forever..these 5 days ( and possibly more) have me living in the moment, grateful for each moment I have with her. I will see my friend in heaven again, and we can both sit under the magnolia, listen to the crickets, and cicadas sing their joyous songs together! In the meantime, I am comforting her, telling her stories about our 16 years of life together, like when I would drive up the lane and yell ” LUCY I’M HOME” like Ricky Ricardo did. Lucy would run a crossed the lawn and greet me. So many funny stories to tell..Right now she is purring gently as she knows she is loved, and will always be loved.. I love my Lucy! Thank you for these thoughtful, wonderful posts- it is hard..I share my grief, and my love for my Lucy. I am grateful to read Lucy and I are not alone.

  55. Paige Says:

    My cat George is 11 years old–a beautiful, green eyed tuxedo. He was healthy and thriving untill recently–last several weeks or so he’s been eating voraciously, yet losing weight (worm?). About 10 days ago, he tilted his head and could hardly walk (Ataxia)–to me classic feline stroke symptoms. I took him to the and they kept him for 2 1/2 days with IV fluids and Antibiotics. They ran numerous tests–FIV, Feline Leukemia, fungal infections, etc–all negative. I brought him home and is appetite returned–his vet (not at the animal hospital) suggested I have him euthanized. He made progress, was eating, drinking water, using the litter box–doing great for about a week. Now he’s refusing to eat, drinks only water and is very thin–was 11 pounds now down to 7.4 pounds. George has had respiratory illness/pna?, one kidney is much larger than the other, and they kept saying he presents as gravely ill, although his tests don’t reflect it. They think cancer might be a cause, however, I didn’t want to have the MRI and put him through chemo and surgery. I feed him syringes with pureed food, and he hates me doing this. Perhaps he wants to let go. I’m scared he’s dying on my watch. Should I put an e-tube in/feeding tube? Is his body shutting down and he’s trying to tell me it’s his time?

    I think the idea of our pets (really fur people) dying at home naturally is the ideal. I don’t think he’s suffering or in pain–I just keep monitoring to see if this changes. He enjoys chasing lizards, yet he’s so frail and thin. He enjoys his home and is happiest here. Having a community like this to offer support and input is wonderful. I’m not sure what to do. To have the etube put in or keep giving the syringes with food–or is that forcing food on him?

  56. Caryn Says:

    My beloved 14-year-old cat Dusty has been hiding for 2 days, unlike him at all. His brother Tuxedo died last year at age 13 of kidney failure. Dusty has always been pretty healthy until early this spring when he developed a URI. My husband and I nursed him back to health, have been giving in Pet-tinic vitamins, and he has experienced one of his 9 lives. He has seemed well until 2 days ago, when I couldn’t find him in the morning when I got up for work. He would usually meet me in the bathroom, for me to turn on the faucet so he could take a drink of water. He had started to hide in weird places, like the back of our entertainment center, a back shelf in the pantry in our basement. He had fallen off our bathroom sink 3 days ago, couldn’t lift himself onto his cat tree which he was always able to do, wobble a little as he walked. My observations were becoming reality. Our little guy was failing. When he had the URI, his doctor performed an x-ray, found a swollen spleeen and his liver enzyme readings were high; he was anemic, and she said he could have hemangiosarcoma, a cancer of the blood vessels. She said she’s been wrong before. Because I couldn’t afford to do all the tests to confirm any of this, we took the vitamins and hoped for the best. The vitamins helped, he seemed back to his frisky self over the last several months. Now the hiding and the change in behavior. I’ve done a lot of reading about cats who are dying and he has the classic symptoms. I am inclined to let him die at home, to go through the process with him. We adopted him and his brother 13 years ago together, siblings from the same litter. I put my Tuxedo to sleep last year. We were lucky to have Dusty a year-and-a-half longer. I don’t know for sure if Dusty is ready to die but I feel it in my soul. I don’t want to just take him to the vet to put him to sleep; he is still eating and drinking a little and still using the litter box; he can still walk around and use the stairs. However, he is lying on a shelf in our basement in the pantry alone and he turns he head when I go down to talk to him. He doesn’t even know me anymore. I imagine the end is near. It is very hard to watch, and to know that this could go on for days, even weeks.

  57. Karen Says:

    Sukkah came to live with my grandson and me over seven years ago at the age of 11. She turned 18 on August 26. She has been in very good health, has eaten well and always drank plenty of water though not to excess. About three months ago, she stopped sleeping in her bed on a chair in the kitchen and moved to a spot between the couch and wall. I know cats tend to look for close spaces when something is wrong, so I called the vet who came to the house to check her. She found nothing wrong with Sukkah. She noticed the a/c vent was blowing on the chair which held the bed and suggested maybe she was just looking for a warmer spot. She also suggested that perhaps Sukkah had some arthritis which prevented her from jumping into the chair, but no sooner had she said that Sukkah jumped into the chair, settled down and gave the vet a dirty look. She soon stopped eating her usual food but happily accepted another (very pricey of course!) and continued drinking water and chicken broth as a treat occasionally. Last Thursday she stopped eating and drinking; nothing appealed to her, yet she came to me expectantly every time I walked into the kitchen. Water with ice enticed her to drink until this morning. I came to the internet looking for an answer as to whether or not I should have her put down. Thanks to this website, I found what I was searching for. She has taken up residence in my bedroom vanity area and seems very content — not her usual location. At this point, she can do whatever she wants and I’ll follow her lead. She does not appear to be in any pain, purrs when I pet her and looks at me with those big eyes as if to say “it’s OK”. It won’t be long and I pray she will not suffer at the end and I will regret not taking her to the vet. I believe she doesn’t need that stress on the last day of her life whenever it comes. Natural death it is.

  58. Mary Says:

    My lovely Tibby (18) went into acute renal failure 4 days ago. Vet recommended immediate euthanaise. 2 days on drip to re-hydrade & no hope. Took her home last night to say goodbye, and booked appointment to put to sleep this evening.
    She improved slightly during the day today, and I began to have serious doubts. Went to appointment to have her put to sleep – couldn’t do it. Even Vet was surprised to see the improvement. Still sick yes, but so much better than Tuesday, and Vet thinks it can’t really be attributed to re-hyrate as it is now over 24 hours.
    Will watch & wait. Think for her, I’ve done the correct thing against all logic.

  59. Ang Says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. My sweet kitty is in the dying process right now and I feel like having her pass at home is the right thing for her right now. She seems to be at peace. Trying to research how to best care for her through this process has just made me feel guilty as everything I read makes me feel horrible for not euthanizing her. If she were in pain, I would consider that route. We lost her sister kitty several years back and we had her euthanized as that felt like the right thing to do for her. Thanks for the support. Bless you.

  60. Janet Says:

    Like everyone else who has posted here, I thank you Patti for your posts about Sequoia (a beautiful cat). I read all of the posts last night while sitting with my 19 yr old who is getting weaker every day (hyperthyroidism, which has been controlled for several years, and now failing kidneys). He is not the first feline I have had to say goodbye to, but the first I am choosing to stay home for the goodbye, hopefully, in my arms, ultimately, when he chooses. Reading the other posts, I’m assuming this is still several days away, so I am able to spend as much time as possible with him. Thanks to all of you who have posted. It is good to know what lies ahead. You have encouraged me to try to be as brave as my handsome brave black knight. Bless you and your furry loved ones.

  61. Sarah Says:

    I just want to say thank you for writing this.

  62. Patti Waltz Says:

    As the author of this website, I want those of you who are reading this to know that I am not too active on this site, and if I do not respond, my apologies and please take no offense. I leave this site up because I feel it is important for people to express themselves on this issue. My heart goes out to all of you who have a beloved cat that is in the process of passing, or has already passed.
    Since Sequoia’s death, I have had two other cats die. Two years ago, my Minnie Mouser died at home. When she took a turn for the worse, I took her to the vet and they informed me that she was on her way out, and there was nothing that could be done. Euthanasia was an option, but I decided, as I did with Sequoia, to let her die at home. Being a freelance artist, I was home all of the time and could easily monitor her, and cater to her every need. Minnie Mouser died peacefully at the age of 16 years. She was a true beauty. This past year, Tobe, a stray cat that I took in and cared for, died while he was being boarded and treated at the animal hospital. We didn’t know if he was going to get better or worse. He was boarded there for a week, and I visited him twice a day. And sadly, he died in his cage before I got there one morning. Looking back at that situation, and if I had a crystal ball and knew his future, I would have had no hesitation in having him euthanized. Every case is different.
    An important thing I would like to say is, if your cat is sick, please seek veterinary help as soon as possible. At least find out what is going on, because there maybe a solution to the problem. Sequoia had hyperthyroidism at the end of her life and was treated with Metronidazole for 3 or 4 years before she died at the age of 19 years. If she wasn’t treated with that medication, I wouldn’t have had the joy of her companionship as long as I did.
    Thank you for all of your comments and stories. My dearest sympathies to those of you who have suffered the loss of a beloved feline friend, and may we all be mindful of what is best for our cats that are still with us today.
    By the way, I currently have 3 tuxedo cats that constantly entertain me around the house…Neko, Smudge, and Boyboy. And they get lots of love and squeezes daily! ^ .. ^ ^ .. ^ ^ .. ^

    All the best to all of you.

  63. Carey Says:

    Thank you. Your stories have been a comfort to me. Bug, my best friend of 21 years, passed away in his sleep shortly before I arrived home from work last Monday. I found him on his favorite chair with his blanket. He was a rescue kitty who ate, played and cuddled right up to the day he passed. He struggled with finding his litter box for the last two years of his life on and off. He was very old, frail and didn’t care for his coat anymore. Many people said to put him to sleep. I couldn’t do that, I felt he would know and would not want that. In the end, I am glad I let things go naturally. Happy that I stuck it out with him and trust that it was what he wanted me to do. One thing to remember is that you don’t always know ahead of time when they will go. So, make everyday special as if it is their last. (love my Bug)

  64. Kathleen Says:

    My 11 1/2 year old cat, Josey, is laying quietly in a bed I just made her. Josey was named after Josey Wales the Outlaw as she growls and yowls if you touch her anywhere else but her head and does the same if I try to pick her up. So, she’s not been my cuddle cat but she’s been with me through lots of things these last 11 years.

  65. Kathleen Says:

    Her antics have been a source of many stories as she is who she is and you can take it or leave it! I always said that when her time came, I would let her die naturally at home (if not suffering). Every night I read until I am sleepy and Josey always lay on the bed … at a distance. Last week she wanted to lay right next to me, even creeping close to my face. I accepted it as her choice and enjoyed a little closeness with her. Then 3 days ago she lay next to me all night and didn’t appear to move. Since then she has been very lethargic and is now no longer interested in food or water. She is very unsteady and today can barely walk. Her weight is dropping rapidly and she appears dazed … but still lifts her head up when I speak or touch her head. I’ve been able to pick her up and hold her but she growled the first time. Today she isn’t saying anything but she will lift her head and as I know her I’m thinking that’s the only way now that she can show me it’s not what she wants. Her bed is next to mine and I keep her covered with a fleece blanket. I have the radio on and the room is peaceful. She is where I know she’s comfortable. I’ve been especially sad today as I was so sure that she wouldn’t make it through the night and when I got up her bed was empty. She had been able to get under the bed & was laying there. Today I’ve been checking on her a lot, giving her a couple of strokes on her head, then leaving her to rest or sleep. I started thinking that I was not doing the right thing and that’s when I got online & did a search “should I let my cat die naturally?” This blog came up and I’m so glad I saw it. This is probably harder on me than it is on Josey but it’s so distressing to watch her slowly die that I thought it would be more “humane” to help her. After reading the posts I’ve decided not to call the vet and just keep a close eye on her. Thank you.

  66. Chris Says:

    Everyone writing on this site helps me so much. I am already experiencing this at a deeper, more emotional level. I am one with my cat, who seems to know a lot more about this than I do.

    I have to say I am really stupid, though, in that I have been doing all these classic interventions, subcutaneous fluids injections (which I found creates holy terror and horrible pain, so we nixed that right on the spot), B12 injections, glucosamine, etc. but he CaoCao has already let me know he doesn’t want that stuff, or anything else in his food. why change the routine at such a latte hour?

    I am the dumb one, the helpless one, probably trying to treat myself but I know now what to do, and that is to trust him and let him go. He knows more about this than I could and I have already told him he can go. I know that much about the process, but that was probably unnecessary.

    You’re so right, we won’t euthanize ourselves but we cover the pain, and don’t think the same way for our animals, like we’re acting from some veterinary script on TV.

    I think death should be seen as a beautiful experience, a physical release and spiritual event of great significance. I want to be with him when it happens……….thanks for that insight and

    Thank you so much for your informative and gutsy website! I plan to go to sleep now with my cat…
    by the way, if you haven’t done this, make sure to put your head and ear on your cat’s side and listen to them purr…it is the most amazing sound in the known universe, I think, near the cycles of an idling diesel engine but puts them to shame for depth, quality and the circling of sound. I’m not kidding.

  67. Christina Says:

    Thank you, all of you….. my cat Mama became suddenly ill, and tonight is her final night, I think. I have spent the last 10 hours with her, trying to make her exit from this world the most peaceful it can be. I am floored that so many of us in so many varying stages of grief have posted to this blog over the years. Knowing we are here for each other and support each other and our wonderful furry best friends…. it warms my aching heart. I know Mama would rather be at home than hauled off to a vets office to be euthanized. She can go on her own time, here with me and my fiancé, who love her. I’ve been able to tell her so, to pet her and comfort her…. a vet, having no emotional attachment to your pet, performs euthanasia on many animals, day after day. I know that Mama’s transition from this life to her next one needs to take place where she is adored and honored and cared for. Vets mean well… they do… but they are not your pet’s family. They are not the ones who have meant the most. They are a stranger in an unfamiliar time, encroaching on a natural process…… I know that Mama will pass peacefully at home with me nearby her. :( I will miss her but I know that she and I feel a mutual comfort by letting this take place in the home she has lived for years. Thank you all again for sharing your stories….. bless you all.

  68. Donna Says:

    I lost my beautiful boy Furball also known as my little cuddle boy 4 days ago.

    He had been suffering with diarreha for a little while and it had gotten particularly painful and I took him to the vet thinking it was something simple that would resolve.

    He had always been a lightweight in the family but had lost some weight recently. The vet clinic I attend ran a few tests and ruled out various things until finally we performed and ultrasound and I was given the diagnosis as ‘it looks like cancer’. They never really talked about the various treatments directly, hinting at some but proceeded with an initial treatment with a ‘we will see how he goes with this’.

    I of course started googling to look at options etc and was determined he would be given every opportunity to live as long as ‘humanely’ reasonable then I would have to take him in to end his suffering.

    Most who heard about his diagnosis questioned why I would pursue further treatment as surely it would be kinder to let him go before he suffered.

    I too had this discussion with myself a few times in the short weeks that have followed. He was taken back to the vet for IV fluids twice (the 2nd time was after he showed sudden signs of distress and pain and I feared that I had said my last goodbye that day).

    He returned home to me on the Tues and passed at home in the early hours of Sunday morning.

    Through that short time he was still eating (although much less than usual on each visit to the food bowl) and I never really saw him drink (though he may have used one of the outdoor water bowl)

    I had not really considered allowing him to pass naturally at home believing that I would at some point need to take him to the vet to end his suffering.

    He was very placid on the vet visits only ever objecting when the vet wanted to take his temperature. Even on the trip he would just sit quietly in the cat carrier so I kept in my mind that the final visit would not necessarily start out with a stressful car ride at least.

    Furby as always seemed to have other ideas. We had been to the vet Sat morning and they were pleased with his progress.

    We returned home and he ate and I gave him some water via syringe just to ensure he had some hydration and we settled down on the sofa and cuddled for a while.

    I had to head out to visit my mother who was also in hospital at this time and left him quietly sleeping on the sofa.

    I returned home just 2hrs later and noticed he seemed to be out of sorts. Still on the sofa but hunched on the edge and just ‘not right’. I decided that I was going to give him my undivided attention during the evening and set about tending to the various household tasks so that I could.

    By the time all was done and I sat down to spend time with him he was looking even more ‘not right’ than before.

    I popped him down to the food bowl and he ate a few bites, gave him his medication and another lot of water via syringe and let him climb onto me and get comfortable and we stayed like that for a fair few hours.

    As time went on I started to sense that he was waining. Nothing had changed as far as his breathing rate or heart rate he had just become listless yet was still fully responsive.

    I decided to move us both into the bedroom where we could get more comfortable and he could lay on my chest under the covers while I gave him his favourite head and cheek rubs.

    I noticed more and more that he seemed to be ebbing rapidly and was decidely colder than usual and very limp.

    Most of the time throughout this period he lay in a way that I couldn’t see his eyes and I would move him occassionally so we could make eye contact. He was alert and would follow my hand as I moved to pat his head then look back at me and I could see the sadness growing.

    After a while I lay him down on the bed so I could look into his eyes whilst comforting him and telling him how much he was loved, and that he was safe and how I knew he was tired and understood if he needed to sleep.

    I lay as close to him as possible so he could hear my heartbeat and breathing as he would always insist on resting his head just so normally.

    Having never really thought to look into ‘natural’ death options I was starting to wonder how I would get him to the vet (as it was after midnight and out of hours).

    I then decided that I would overide the vets instructions and give him a dose of his pain meds as perhaps he might be feeling poorly as we had just alternated from daily medication to every 2nd day and he had just passed the 24hr without medication mark.

    I headed back out to lounge and popped him on the sofa and was getting his medication (and also moved the cat carrier in readiness, and as I look back now I realise he was letting me know in his own way – no vet) he suddenly got up, took some food and repositioned himself to his normal sleeping spot as if to say to me look he was ok, stop worrying.

    Heartened by this activity I decided that I would wait a little longer to see if the medication would help and we settled back onto the bed where I cuddled up to him once again.

    I ended up drifting off to sleep somehow and when I awoke I knew he was gone. He has passed somewhere in the 4hr period that I had slept.

    In the 4 days that have passed since I have run the gammit of emotions from being
    comforted knowing I had spent quality time with him in his final hours, letting him know he was loved and safe,
    consoled that he was in his home with everyone he loved (including his parents, brother/sister & neice/nephew – I have 3 generations)
    feeling guilt that I fell asleep,
    anguish that he may have suffered at the end and I wasn’t awake and comforting him.

    I also have found myself feeling like I need to convince people that he died peacefully and perhaps justify why I didn’t get him to a vet straight away.

    Tonight whilst I lay there despairing about what he may have gone through while I slept, I decided to try and find some answers, and as many others have, found this site during my search.

    I have read every post here and am just so thankful firstly to have found it and to see so many stories from others who have gone through similar experiences and emotions.

    Whilst I know that Furball’s last few moments (perhaps even hours) would have been difficult, I am very much comforted that he was able to spend his final hours in his home where he always found love and safety.

    I know now that as each of my remaining fur kids come to their final days that I will most certainly consider natural passing at home if possible.

  69. Soori Says:

    My 15 year Jack Russell is in the trance like state and almost seems like an infant at this point, she has recognition when i pick her up and cuddle her and wags her tail ever so slightly, Eats very little. Our other two dogs check on her once in a while but leave her alone most of the time. Sometimes they will sit a few feet away and just watch her intensely. Do they know? She sleeps right next to us , and i stroke her when she stirs in her sleep, she settles down right away . I went through immense guilt and heartache when i euthanized my previous dog, after she had multople seizures.I am facing immense preassure from friends to have this one put to sleep and end her suffering. She is not suffering! She is just old, I will let her die naturally as long as she does not show signs of pain. We do not go around with a syringe and euthanize wild animals that are old, why do it to our pets?

  70. Nancy Renner Says:

    My Kosmo was 16, healthy and always such a delight. He loved on everyone. You could find him sun bathing on our boat down at the dock or teasing on a mouse that he caught behind a bush. Eventually he would bring his catch to our back door to impress us with. He loved to play in the yard and sunbath. However, Kosmo always came when I called him in whether it be because of an impending storm or bedtime. Kosmo was in every night to eat, get loving and bedtime. At 16 -1/2 Kosmo went blind in one eye due to cateracts. That did not stop him from having fun. At 17-1/2 He went totally blind. The vet said he was too old for surgery. Kosmo still wanted to go outside but he would get disoriented and end up in places that could have caused him harm. He could no longer go near the water nor explore the yard. He was now prey to wild animals that he could have otherwise ran from or avoided. Kosmo turned 18 and was now a permanent indoor cat. Kosmo still loved to jump on my lap and get his petting and loving. He was content with his situation. I know this because he always found his way around to the food/water dish and litter box and still purr like a champ. Three month’s shy of turning 19 Kosmo stopped eating and drinking. Kosmo started to lose weight and walk in circles. Within a week of this happening Kosmo began to lose his breath when walking and his heart started to beat rapidly. I knew he was having difficulty so I called the vet and they said they would stay open until my husband and I arrived. I picked Kosmo up and he sensed we were going to the vet and panicked. I called the vet back and told them he was slipping fast and would never make it. Kosmo wanted down so I let him down. He went to his favorite spot and laid there panting. He was dying and all I could do was pet him while telling him how much I loved him. I prayed to God to comfort my baby and guide him to the place all God’s creatures go when passing. Of course, I was crying like a baby the whole time. Kosmo died at 6pm on 6/23/2014 in his own home where he was fed and loved. We laid his body to rest next to his favorite tree and shaded spot. Dying at home around loved ones is a choice we made, actually Kosmo made that choice because of his response when we called the vet. Kosmo will always have a place in my heart.

  71. Sharon Says:

    Thank God I stumbled upon this page. I was close to calling a vet to euthanize my 16 yr. old calico but didn’t feel right about. I knew I could care for her but felt guilty because every other website suggested letting her die a natural death was cruel. For a week I spoon fed her tuna and cream when she would take it. Brought water to her constantly, changed the blankets on her pillow when she had an accident and held and pet her while she purred and looked at me. I knew a couple days ago was her last. I warmed a blanket in the dryer for her and put it on her pillow. I pet her while she purred, she looked peaceful and comfortable. When I woke up she was gone. I’m so glad I didn’t end her life early. I would have if she appear in distress or pain, but she didn’t. Thank-you so much for posting this page!

  72. dragonfly Says:

    not only do we euthanize pets because we don’t understand and generally fear the natural process of ‘dying/death’, but we also opt for euthanasia because we can then time the death for convenience with our own schedules so we are assured of being there at the moment of transition… to let a pet transition naturally risks them jumping ship alone, when you may not be there at that to be holding them – as comforting to both of you as that may be…

    if you choose to let them go naturally and you want to be there for them at their moment of transition, you must be willing to completely dedicate and focus exclusively on your pet for an unknown length of time – and most pet owners simply aren’t willing (or able) to invest that amount of time and energy of totally being with their pet for an unknown amount of time… it’s so much easier and cleaner to simply pay a vet to speed up the process to fit your schedule with an injection – no muss no fuss…

    not unlike an obstetrician performing a C-Section so the infant arrives on the doctor’s schedule – so he doesn’t miss his tee time at the golf course…

    and knowing of cases where a pet went into convulsions/seizures, vomiting, emptying bladder and bowels uncontrollably, not recognizing the lifelong caretaker – we have been taught to react with horror to such a passing, but it is quite possible the animal is in shock, despite how bad it looks, and is actually feeling no pain or suffering…

    there is a wonderful book about the natural process of dying called The Grace in Dying by Kathleen Dowling Singh – highly recommended…

  73. dragonfly Says:

    Noodles, our dear cat, finally passed over this morning at 6:48 – all on his own… although he’s been very sick for the last month, last night we knew it was getting close when he would not eat or drink, and couldn’t get up to go to the litter box – which he always at least tried to do, even if he didn’t always make it all the way there… he was / is my Hero – having taught me so much about life, and then at the end, how to leave so gracefully… it was not pleasant to watch him slowly withdraw, and the sounds and motions of his body as it began shutting down can be gut-wrenching… i couldn’t have done it alone – i am blessed to have a partner, Kathy, who was a beacon of strength and compassion the whole time talking to him… i’m 64 and have never done it this way before – always going to the vet and having the shot administered… it was / is the most profound experience of my life – watching his consciousness slowly withdraw from his body… it really made me feel my own mortality… i’m lost without his presence here…

  74. Nikki Says:

    My Sophia passed away early Monday morning. She had health problems (hyperthyroid, uti, weight loss, ear infections) for about 2 years now and her little body just couldn’t recover from this last bout. She was so skinny and her body wasn’t fighting off infection anymore. She’d been on antibiotics for about 4 weeks and she stopped eating on Friday, but I was so silly and must have been in denial because I thought her special medicine food had gone stale, so I spent $50 to buy her some new stuff. She had fought off illness so many times before and always freaked me out that she was dying or near death that I think I thought this time was no different. As a matter of fact, her passing away Monday was the last thing I thought was going to happen.

    I would always go out and check on her before I went to bed, just to see where she was sleeping at night. I walked into the kitchen around 12:30am and she meowed very quietly but very urgently at me. When I ran over to her she was having trouble breathing. I picked her up and immediately knew that it was time.

    We contemplated taking her to the emergency vet, but because our town is so small, the local vet uses the emergency vet after hours, which is 40 miles away. I just laid down on the couch in the living room with her on my chest, right by my heart. It only took about 20-30 minutes, but it felt like forever, which was actually okay because I got to calm down and talk to her a lot. I was just petting her and telling her how much I loved her, what a good cat she was, and how I was so thankful to have her in my life for so long.

    Her breathing came in gasps with no inhalation in between. Over the course of the 20 minutes it became longer and longer between the gasps. Until finally she took one last gasp, closed her eyes and passed away right on my chest. I’m glad it didn’t last longer because I didn’t want her to go through that all night. I didn’t even have time to decide on euthanasia, although I was never crazy about it, but during those 20 minutes, I understood why it is done. It was very, very hard to hear and see her like that, but it is what it is and everything just happened so quickly and after hours.

    My boyfriend Jeff (who she loved to pieces) was there and did the really hard stuff like get a box and towels and put her in it after she passed. He was so awesome the whole time, helping me and being there because I couldn’t get up and do it. We both actually had our hands on her the moment she passed. I think it helped him process death too, as his grandmother just passed away 2 weeks ago. He is amazing–so patient and funny and kind. I think Sophia knew it was okay to go because I have him in my life now.

    It was hard, but it was time. I’ve never experienced the death of anything that close (even a person) and to tell you the honest truth, it was peaceful and . . . beautiful. I really could not have imagined it going any better. You know, if she had trouble breathing like that during the day, I would have rushed her to the vet and it would’ve been a different experience. It was just so strange and happened very fast . . . but somehow perfectly.

    Jeff and I drove to my parent’s house yesterday and buried her there under a beautiful Spanish olive tree in the front yard. It was very nice. My parents loved her very much too. She would often come with me or stay with them when I was going on an extended trip. She was very much a part of our family.

    I am doing good too. I’m getting to the point where I can smile when I think of her instead of crying. We had so many wonderful memories, as she was with me for over 13 years. I still have no idea how old she was when I got her, maybe 2? The vet thinks she was older than that, so she was maybe 16 or 17 when she passed away. I still have moments when I miss her, especially when I am at the house alone, but I know that it will get better and that she is healthy now and sleeping in some sunny spot with shiny, fluffy fur.

    I don’t know which way of dying is better. Dying is hard and it hurts so much. It’s probably the worst hurt out there, but I find it easier when I think of it like this: I was her Momma, just like I have a Momma. Now, if I was a cat and I passed away and was looking down on my Momma, I would not be focusing on how I died. I would want her to be okay and for her to know that I am okay. I would want her to be happy and to remember the good times we shared, and how well she took care of me, and that death was going to happen, no matter how . . . and that I love her.

  75. Kristen Says:

    My 15 year old cat seems to be at the end of life. She is neither eating or drinking and won’t leave the corner of our basement. I put her favorite blanket near her and she has snuggled up onto it. She is crying a little but does not seem to be in great pain or distress. I feel like bringing her to the vet will cause great anxiety and to me that seems more cruel than letting her die here in her own home. She is still purring when I pet her and seems to appreciate the company. My husband seems to think we need to have her put down. I’m not so sure.

  76. Stacie Says:

    I just want to say “thank you”. Our cat Rebel died yesterday after 12 great years. He was the greatest cat. He was always affectionate and friendly. Anytime anyone came over, Rebel was there to greet them. Rebel was diagnosed with kidney failure almost 2 years ago. We have him fluids everyday along with Pepcid. He never seemed to be in any pain. A week or so ago, he quit eating and his weight dropped dramatically, but he was still happy. Then 2 days ago, he was incredibly lethargic and couldn’t really walk. Later that afternoon, I tried giving him his Pepcid and he struggled to get away. He tried jumping down onto the floor but he fell and just laid on his side. I thought for sure he was gone. I’m not sure if that was just his first of many small comas but he didn’t seem bothered by it. He just laid on the floor or wherever we would move him to, content, and relaxed. Finally when it was time for bed, I took him to our room and laid him on my pillow which was one of his favorite spots. But, he hobbled down under our covers and curled up on my belly. Throughout the night, I would awake and verify that he was still with us. Eventually, I noticed his breathing started picking up going faster and faster. I figured the time was coming. At almost 6 a.m., I woke up to him struggling to move. I helped him back up on my pillow. He kept twitching and struggling to get up. My husband and I just kept petting him, telling him that it was ok. He cried out a few times and had what may have been a seizure and then he was gone. I’ve been crying over not only his loss but also my guilt for the past 2 days. I feel like I read so many negative comments about letting an animal die at home that I’ve convinced myself I’m this horrible person who put her cat through so much pain. My husband keeps reassuring me that’s it’s what our Rebel wanted, but it’s hard to convince myself. So, I thank you for this article because now I do feel better about choosing natural death. It was definitely hard to watch, but he was here, with us, in one of his favorite places.

  77. michelle Says:

    recently lost our 18 yr old terrier mix, he became unwell and having trouble peeing not eating like he used to we though maybe time to say goodbye he was given convenia as he had urine infection a few months back and it worked for him then ,from moment this time he got quite drowsey his heart was already high but breathing became harder and heart rate wouldn’t go down and raspy mouth open like gasping or drowning , i rang emergency vet and they said give meloxicam it will help with any distress he never recovered and died overnight , he also lived with dementia last few yrs as well ,this comes to my reason for writing to you,in his condition at the time of dying with drowsiness of convenia injection and meloxicam would he have been in any pain  or a distressing experience or would meds have helped  for him i suspect at his age was 18 he would also have some form of congestive heart disease as he passed out about a week before he died, but he came out if it,. This is not a witch hunt or a way find blame i just need to know please if he may have suffered in Pain if he suffocated  or was it dementia also shutting him down on top would he have lost unconsciousness before that happened and went or was it without too much discomfort with his fast breathing would appreciate anytime you could send a reply as it took hours for him to pass and vet told us it was just the process of dying  high heart rate gasping  for breath  like a lung infection distressing for us  once he went downhill . As we couldn’t get back to vets early hours to end things for him Thankyou  ,appreciate any reply you could give us to help with closure,did ee help hi. Or cause him more diststress

  78. Janet Says:

    I am really glad I found this site! All of your stories have helped me and made me cry. I thought I’d share my story because it might help someone, too.

    We lost our sweet Samantha yesterday at 7 a.m., the day after Christmas. Samantha was a rescue cat, part of a package deal with her buddy, Pepper. I was going through a painful divorce at the time that my two kids and I adopted Pepper and Samantha. We need someone to love and they sure needed us, too. We were perfect for each other. I’m not sure what Samantha had gone through before but it was something because she was so very agitated and ornery. Maybe she was just so traumatized by being in the shelter for as long as they were (almost 9 months). When we got her home, I let her out in my bedroom, and she immediately crawled under the bed and didn’t come out for a month. I had food and water and a litter box in the room for her and I would hear her come out at 2 a.m. She would drink and drink and drink and then burp from gulping her water. Gradually, she learned to trust everyone and we got to know what a sweet girl she was. When I remarried a few years later, Samantha just fell in love with my new husband. His lap was the only place she wanted to be every night.

    About two years ago, Samantha started vomiting 2-3 times a day. We took her in and were told that she had pancreatitis. We took her home and tried treating her, but things weren’t improving and I was fed up with that vet, so I took her to see a new vet. He was so compassionate. He examined the blood work that the other vet had run and told me honestly that he wasn’t equipped to really determine what was going on and referred me to a specialty veterinary practice. He didn’t even charge me for the office visit. We took her in to see the specialist and he suspected she had IBS or some kind of small cell cancer. The only way to determine which it was was to do some biopsies which meant surgery. I wasn’t willing to put her through a surgery. She’d been through so much already and was 14 years old at the time. He prescribed prednisone and we took her home and started treating her. Boy, did things turn around! Her appetite came back and no more vomiting. We gradually weaned her off after a few months.

    She did okay for another two years and then she began to decline in health again. The vomiting had started again and I took her back into the vet. New blood work was taken and the results that came back were very depressing. Her ALT liver count was over 1000 and her BUN was over 100. Kidney and liver failure. Nothing could really be done at that point. We knew she wouldn’t survive this, so we took her home to live out the rest of her days, however many she had left. His advice was that as long as she was still drinking and eating, we were okay to keep her at home. That was in October.

    I really struggled the last couple of months with the decision of whether or not to euthanize her. Something always stopped me whether it was Samantha having a good day or me just doubting that it was time.

    Samantha had started peeing just outside of the litter box, so we started putting puppy pads all around the box. I won’t lie…the workload of taking care of her the last 2.5 months was much like taking care of a newborn baby. There were days when I was frustrated and at my wit’s end. I’d go from cleaning up vomit to cleaning up a mess in the bathroom. But I just wouldn’t and couldn’t give up on her.

    Samantha stopped going to her food and water bowls on Tuesday, so I brought them to her and with my help she did eat and drink. Late on Wednesday which was the night before Christmas, she was trying to make it to the litter box and stumbled and fell. I helped her to her box and she did her business ad I carried her back to her bed and she was content the rest of the night.

    On Christmas morning, I found Samantha completely unable to walk halfway between the bathroom and her bed and meowing for someone to help her. I picked her up and carried her to her bed. She wouldn’t eat or drink at all. I just knew that this was going to be her last day. I was distraught and so afraid that she might be suffering or in pain, but literally everywhere was closed for the holiday. The best we could do was keep her comfortable. She just lai peacefully in her bed all day and every so often, I would pick her up to help her change which side she was laying on. I used an eye dropper to keep her mouth moist since she wasn’t drinking at all.

    I moved her bed underneath the Christmas tree where she liked to lay and she seemed very content. About 10 p.m., though, she started meowing every so often. I begged her to try to sleep, but she wouldn’t. I laid down next the her and petted her and talked very softly to help sooth her all night. Her breathing was very shallow and I could tell her organs were shutting down. Her breath had that ammonia-like smell to it. I thought for sure she wouldn’t last until midnight.

    I dozed off around 4 a.m. and woke up around 6 a.m. Remarkably, she was still with me. I kept telling her how much I loved her and how I understood that it was her time for her to leave us. I begged her to let go. I just sobbed next to her praying that she wasn’t in pain and for God to take her sweet soul. At 6:45 a.m., she had a little seizure. It was like she was struggling to get up, so I held her and then laid her down on her other side. She was panting and swallowing, so I knew her lungs and heart were probably stopping. I don’t know why animals do this just before they take their last breath, but she began moving her paws and legs like she was running. My guinea pig had done the same thing when she died. I knew from that experience that the end was just moments away. She took her last breath at 7 a.m. and I just lost it. My husband heard me sobbing and came downstairs. I arranged Samantha’s now limp body into the position she used to sleep in, all curled up, with her head on her paw.

    You know what I thought was amazing…she never slept at all from the time we got up Christmas morning to the time when she passed away. I do think she was scared at times, especially when she was meowing. I wish I would have thought of putting a blanket into the dryer to cover her up with before she died because her paws were so cold.

    I am very thankful that I was there for her every moment and like many of you, I pray to God she didn’t suffer of feel pain. Death is a natural process and it’s a very difficult thing to watch happen. But there is beauty in it, too, especially when you are able to be of comfort to them. If it wouldn’t have been Christmas day, I believe I would have made the drive to the vet’s office to speed up the process for her. But I am so very glad she was able to stay in the comfort of her home with her family during her last day on Earth because she absolutely hated the vet. I guess this is the way it was meant to be for her.

    My prayers to anyone going through the illness or death of their furry friend. God bless!

  79. Noemi Says:

    Thank you so much and God bless you all. My princess just passed away an our ago…..i was beside her the entire time and i am glad i got to be with her at her last hours. I knew today was going to be the day since she couldnt walk and stopped eating 3 days ago. Ive had her since first grade and now I am a recent college graduate…..she was and will always be my best friend. Seeing her go slowly was the most painful thing i have ever been through but i know she was happy that she was at home in a warm place with me by her side. I didnt want to stress her out by going to get her put down. Ive cried so much that my I cannot physically cry anymore….but God bless you all for sharing your stories….you guys were able to comfort me during this hard time…I will never get over this loss but I will be strong for my little Whitey. I love you Whitey…thank you for being a blessing in my life.

  80. Zen Says:

    We lost our Zen last night. Thought I would write and leave our story here as maybe it will help others, as this site helped us. Out 19 year old Zen was declining for the past month. He stopped eating and when taken to the vet, the vet thought he had a tooth infection, and otherwise was “the healthiest 19 year old ever seen”. As such, we went through with the dentistry. After which we were told, not an infection, but tooth was pulled as it was likely being pushed out by a tumour – squamous cell carcinoma ( more tests could conform). We decided not to proceed with the confirmatory tests as there was not much that could be done anyways. We brought him home, with meloxicam prescribed as a pain med, and he was a bit rejuvenated for a few days but then started declining again. We had to hand feed him ( tried the syringe once and it was horrible). Finally, two days ago he shut down- couldn’t move. We struggled with the natural vs euthanasia route – thinking natural was the way to go. Until we found his head in the water bowl as he fell and couldn’t get up. His breathing was slow and heavy- although he would still purr quietly when rubbed ( this is what I think gave us the sense of hope ..). A few times he would start gasping for air and we thought that was it ( hoped). But he was a persistent bugger. We decided it was enough and didn’t want him to suffer unnecessarily for longer. As such, we called a vet for a house call. This too unfortunately was not a pleasant experience. He actually became alert for a few seconds to recognize there was a stranger in the house and it was time. He seemed scared. He was given a sedative first that made him nauseous- it was horrifying- he spent minutes for what seemed to be gasping for air ( but apparently it was him trying to throw up). This basically knocked him out. Then finally, the euthanasia, and peace.
    Now that it’s over we are happy he is at peace. I try not to think about all the “what ifs” ( for example- his mouth looked perfect, did he need the sedative, his last few minutes, etc) and just focus on the fact that he was in pain and dying. He was the best cat around and we will miss him.

  81. Busta's, mum Says:

    I’m so thankful that I’ve found this web page, full of other mums n dads who love their furry friends as much as I love my Busta, who is 20, was the runt of the litter, has survived all his brothers n sisters, I guess it comes down to luck, although, it cant have hurt that he has been thoroughly spoilt/loved, and fed lovely scrumptious grub, a blessed and comfortable secure life.

    Sadly, over a period of 6-12months, he has lost so much weight, despite drinking loads of (water on the rocks) and eats like a horse, the vet says he wants to take blood to check his thyroid etc, although, I already know his time is limited, so don’t need the vet to tell me that, or to stress him out with tests, but as a loving responsible mum, I know I have to, because it could be something that can be treated. I will update, as I know.

    Thank you all for your posts, I’ve gained a lot from them and cried at some too…Tigger was one!

    Happy New Year…to furry chops around the globe and all their loving families.

  82. Nancy Says:

    I’m so grateful to you all for your stories. I found this site about a week ago when I was beginning to second guess my decision to let my sweet Daisy die naturally at home. When she came to live with me and improve my life by a million percent, she was about 8 and her life had been hellish. She had broken ribs which had healed badly, her tail had been broken and never developed properly and she was terrified by everything and despised other cats. I promised her she would be an only kitty. That was 7.5 years ago and Daisy turned into a very dignified princess. Her previous name had been Skippy but I changed it to Daisy and it evolved to Daisy Edith Kittenbottom, Cameo Empress of India. Our life together was wonderful. I made up songs about her which I sang while I gave her tummy rubs when we settled down for the night. She didn’t know how to purr when we met, but within six months you could hear her purring from across the room. Her favourite thing on summer nights was to sit in the bedroom window looking down through the screen at whatever critters were in the yard, purring to the world. Daisy and I adored each other and she was my soul mate kitty.

    The last few weeks it became clear that she was nearing the end of her life. I thought about how horrible it would be for her to, first of all, be taken out into -20C Canadian winter, to go to the vet where there would be dogs and cats and noises and smells – and I forgot to mention that Daisy despised, absolutely despised, being picked up. I wasn’t allowed to, let alone anyone else. So, the idea of putting my girl through all that made me cry.

    As the time grew closer, I had moments when I reexamined that decision, but I thought about the elderly people I’ve known who have died at home. My Great Aunt Annie lived with us when I was little, and one night she died in her bed across the hall from the sleeping seven-year-old me. That was 55 years ago when death was more accepted as the final part of life than it is now.

    So I thought about all that and fortunately I had found this site a week or so ago and your stories really helped me put it all into perspective.

    As it turned out, I was at work when Daisy passed. As soon as I found her, I called my friend Cassandra who is the best cat-sitter ever. She came right over and, having grown up on a farm, advised that she could tell by Daisy’s position and facial expression that she had died peacefully. That was consoling and made me feel better about not being with Daisy when she died.

    Thank you all so much for sharing your experiences. I feel that you helped Daisy have a much more calm and comfortable death, here in her familiar surroundings.

  83. Cherie Says:

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve lived in Japan for many years and wanted to share that it is not the norm to put your pet down here. Same as with people, as you pointed out. The vet offered when one of my dogs had cancer, but even she went peacefully. I think it’s whatever we humans are aligned with doing, and how much discomfort our pets seem to be in.

  84. Marla Says:

    Thank you for providing this wonderful place to share experiences. I have had three cats die in the past two years; each experience very different.

    The first cat to go was 17 years old and had chronic renal failure but was coping by drinking vast quantities of water. The vet did blood work and monitored her health but recommended no treatment was necessary. One day she was paralysed from the waist down, dragging her back legs; still eating and drinking but had lost control of her bladder and bowels. We took her to the vet and had her euthanised. It was an easy decision.

    A few months later, another cat started losing weight and then stopped eating entirely. She was 18 years old and had been healthy until then. We took her to the vet and he said it was renal failure and put her on IV fluids overnight, followed up with daily sub-cutaneous fluids and medication. After spending $1000 with little improvement we decided to stop treatment and let nature take its course. We felt the fluids were just prolonging her life, not returning her to health. She slowly declined but never seemed to be in distress and passed away peacefully six weeks later. It was very time consuming but in no way seemed inhumane or cruel. When she got too weak to walk I carried her to the litter box. She never had an accident. The last couple of days she stopped eating and drank very little, so the litter box was no longer required. We put an old bath mat under her blanket so she could still sleep with us in bed, without worries about accidents. We loved her very much and were glad we had the time to devote to letting her die a natural death.

    Then a year later her sister suddenly stopped eating her crumbles. She was 19 years old. We decided that we didn’t want to take her to the vet for fluid treatment. We experimented and found a canned food that she would eat small amounts of. This had been going on for about six weeks when she disappeared one day. Up until then she had been eating (lightly), drinking, using the litter box, weak but still able to jump up on the couch unaided and jump up on the bed with a stool. She went outside every day to enjoy laying in the sun on the deck and listening to the birds in the yard. She would still roam around our yard, but go slowly. We thought she still had quality of life and was not in distress, so there was no reason to euthanize her.

    She wandered into a neighbors yard to watch the fish in a fish pond and play in the water fountain. The neighbor chased her off with a broom. She ran further away from home. Another neighbor found her laying in their driveway and took her to the SPCA. The SPCA sent her to their vet, who had her euthanized within 24 hours. They said she was emaciated and dehydrated and in “critcal distress”. She was tattoed, but the SPCA never tried to contact us.

    Now the SPCA won’t let us adopt any pets since they have us red-flagged in their system. They say we were the subject of a cruelty investigation, but they never interviewed us or our vet.

    I watched my Dad pass away from old age in a nursing home and it wasn’t much different than watching my cats decline and pass away. I have attended a workshop on “Dying with Dignity”. I do believe in euthanisia to relieve painful suffering, for people and for pets. But there is also natural decline from old age that can be respected and allowed to progress at it’s own rate. If people were euthanized following the same standards for “quality of life” that most vets use, there would be no need for nursing homes, all the old people would be dead. I spend a lot of time in nursing homes visiting my Aunt and my Mom, and I think that a vet would deem most of the people there to be dehydrated and emaciated, that’s what very old people look like!

    Sorry, I have been very traumatized by what happened to our last cat. We loved her dearly and would never have let her suffer. Now we feel that the SPCA is slandering us and we have no recourse or platform to defend ourselves.

  85. Shelley Says:

    Thank you all for the help
    God Bless you’s

  86. Davina Rhine Says:

    Thank you very much for your blog and the quality of death discussion. Unfortunately it is too late for me to change what happened to my cat Dib now at the vet’s (euthanasia went horribly and violently … for an amazing, young, but terminally ill baby cat Dib. ) If I could do it all over it would be so different. I am sharing your blog and your readers stories with others including my vet who is and has generally always been awesome and great with all of our rescues (saving my dog Lola too!) I just think many vets treat euthanasia as a procedure simply and there should be much more discussion with pet parents about our babies and their patients such as advantages of a natural death at home with love, support, and frequent care and any meds that can make it easier, more comfortable for the mini family member/pet, a spiritual process for euthanasia in situations of acute pain such as a sedative followed by a 20 -30 min calming process, iv tube so you can hold your baby if small enough, or possibly arrange for it to happen at home. Some vets I read have a ‘passing room’ that is comforting to family and the pet … but many don’t. I also learned our practices here are not common in other first world nations … in some countries euthanizing without a sedative and relaxation period would not occur or on a metal table vs. a soft blanket etc. Its a lot when you find yourself in this situation and if you never have been you trust your DRs fully, and ‘put to sleep’ is a bit of a misnomer it implies a peaceful transition … if euthanasia is done slowly and with love and steps in mind to achieve that peace ,it can and will likely be a violent passing. We went from taking loans to save our baby Dib and getting him a transfusion and trying to find help financially to continue his treatments if he improved and bone marrow started regenerating red blood cells. He was diagnosed with feline leukemia via his DNA/bone marrow (not detectable in blood all tests were negative so diagnosis made on blood components and symptoms by three diff DRs inc internal medicine specialist and infectious disease specialist). Since he had no interaction with outdoor cats and we had him since week 4 (approx. age of rescue in parking lot with his siblings) it was medically concluded likely he was born with it from feral mom in urban city. By the third night after the transfusion his health declined rapidly again and were in severe pain looking at the state he was in which was clearly miserable and felt the best thing we could do was give him a loving and quick passing and all the doctors but my reg doctor had recommended euthanasia even before trying to give him a fighting chance. We made the mistake assuming it would be peaceful and better than dying naturally. The needle didn’t quite land right and I don’t think he was fully sedate and scream out in terror and they rushed him to be masked to end his intense suffering. my intention was an act of love, and it became a grotesque act of violence because it all happened so wrongly. I had I known what I know now I would have explored the natural death at home option with comfort medication and love/support, and/or a slow planned euthanasia with incremental relaxation for him while the sedative kicked in and then place the IV tube, then relax and hold more and finally caress him into eternity. He got slammed into it- it was awful. I know our DR did not intend fo things to unfold the way they did and did advise us if the injection failed we would have to mask him … but it all happened so fast. I wish my vet had explored all the options above with me or did a time out with me… since I was ignorant in this situation. I am sharing how I feel and my concerns with our DR tomorrow so hopefully there can be new practices implemented to achieve the peaceful and loving passing be it at home or there in the clinic. I know that would be our DRs desire I think may experience may be the worst it can be when it does wrong or no one has ever asked or indicated for a need for it be different.

    You can see Dib’s fundraising videos and meet his awesome spirit on my youtube channel … and at

    I had recorded them for his fundraiser and will now be using them as a support tool to help others learn more about feline leukemia and the medical process we went through. I will also share Dib’s story and passing to try to lobby the vet industry/regulatory body to create a patient’s bill of rights addressing that all end of life options be discussed including home care/passing, and euthanasia with delayed steps to ensure a tranquil passing.

    Much love to all and thank you Patti for this discussion.
    Davina Rhine

  87. Sharon Says:

    Thank you all so very much for sharing your experiences. I have a dog who is 15+ and has numerous issues, but she’s been trooping right along until a month ago, when she started to stop eating. Pretty much since her decline in appetite started (she now hasn’t eaten in 5 days) I have been struggling with “knowing” I am going to have to take her in and have her put to sleep. I am crazy stupid about this dog, and to be honest, I think she’s kinda crazy stupid about me, and while it seems obvious that she has to be in distress, she seems as happy as her waning energy will allow, anyway, to be in constant snuggle with yours truly. She is starting to have congestion in her lungs, and if that gets out of control I will take her in because I don’t want her to be in distress, but I want to thank you all for giving me the support I need right now to let her die here at home. I too keep thinking about that ride to the vet’s, yet I know that the pro-euthanasia crowd can’t even imagine that discomfort as a valid consideration, and of course the fact that she hasn’t eaten means I am just “letting her starve to death”, which I also kinda feel I am doing, and I thank all of you who have mentioned how long your furry life partner has been without food and/or water (not much water today for us), and for expressing that yes, you see weight dropping, you see weakness and falling down (Daisy can’t get around at all if I don’t support her, not sure if she can even stand on her own today). I keep asking me if it is possible to see these things and still say I love My Doodles, and it helps me a lot to know there are other people experiencing these same things but still cannot feel their furry friends asking “to be put out of their suffering.” I am fairly positive that thoseeking in my immediate surroundings think I am heartless and cruel; thank you for giving me the sight to trust my own feelings 9n that.

  88. Sharon Says:

    PS – that was on, not 9n, but I accidentally posted while trying to correct (oh well to any other typos!) and thank you all too for sharing your feelings of grief; I had 3 dogs that just came into my life, this is my last one, and I am realizing I am going to be devastated to have them all gone. Knowing there are others that find this to be seriously seriously painful is going to help me too.

  89. Edwina Says:

    Thank you for being here. We have a 15 y/o diva, Kitterbud “Kit”. We were offered her by a friend who found her as a little baby 15 years ago literally paws sealed into burning black top during a very hot summer. My daughter was 7 at the time and had just asked, “mommy I want a red tabby” and poof, God delivered this little 1 lb bundle to us. She had to be taught to lap milk, taught to eat, Vet told us she would not make it through 24/48 hours, my 7 y/o at the time stepped up her attentions and started to sing to her, and 15 years later, this now 22 y/o young woman is lying next to a comforting cage, with her head next to Kit’s, singing to her and dabbing a wet cloth across her lips to keep her tongue wet, there is nothing left of her. It started when I walked in the door last thursday and Kit crashed and crashed fast. I could give you story upon story of how this cat has affected so many people, my f/b wall is lit up with condolences, Kit is just a very cool and wonderful cat, and all because she was raised by a loving and wonderful little girl, my kid, they grew up together, best buds, and quite a team. Kit is languishing at the foot of the bridge I believe because she is afraid to leave my daughter, I know Kit is feeling “who will dry her tears with big fluffy paws, my other two sisters are too dumb and not as smart as me” . . . I know this to the core of my soul that she is taking her time because my daughter gives such good love . . . the cage is huge, she is comfortably lying on one of my daughters pillows that is covered in a towel that my kid just recently dried here hair with so her scent is right there, and when she seems uncomfortable and is wiggling, I slide the tray out, one of us scoops her up as she is limp as can be, and just rocks her until we readjust the crate interior, she is just a limp wash rag at this point, but she knows what’s happening, she reaches for my daughters hand and wraps her front paws around it just like she would usually do, and the faintest purr then comes. No opening of the eyes, her tongue is peeking out of her clenched jaw, sometimes she is coma stiff, other times I can tell she is just sleeping, it was my daughter’s decision to not euthanize, her words “we didn’t euthanize grandmom, why would I euthanize Kit?” . . . She also unfortunately mentioned to me “I brought her back to life 15 years ago when the odds were stacked against her, miracles do happen” . . . me and Kit know differently, and upon review of her condition this morning my daughter was satisfied while saying “she is passing nicely” . . . my guilt was growing as now it is 3 days of passing, but as I see and was validated here, there is no time limit to this process, just as there wasn’t with my Mom, Kit will cross over the bridge to the land of unlimited milk and shrimps only when the scent of those shrimps becomes stronger then the scent of my daughters hair towel . . . this is her time, and from reading all I have read, I no longer feel guilty about the languishing, you put it in perspective on many levels . . . Kit will leave her when Kit knows that my daughter will not sob, she will leave when she knows my daughter is ready, and not a minute sooner. Unlimited shrimps or not. Thank you so very much. I am weeping in relief that I found all of you. Much love xo

  90. Andrea Dun Says:

    My gorgeous little boy, Chong, has just passed and my pain feels insurmountable. I just didn’t know what to do for the best (for him) but having read many others in a similar situation, felt I had to put myself in his place. I therefore took the unbearable decision to euthanize.
    He is (was) 20 years old and I could not have asked for a better, truer friend. He only ever wanted me and showed me that in so many ways over the years. He was always there in my hours of need and such a loyal, strong and loving companion. My gorgeous baby boy.
    He guarded me like I was his precious queen, how special does that make me feel! He nudged away my tears and trusted me unquestionably. He woke me up in the middle of the night to feed his sister, Cheech, who is still going relatively strongly I am pleased to say.
    Even though towards the end I had thought euthanasia would be the kindest thing, when it actually came to it, I believed and hoped he could pass naturally as long as he wasn’t suffering unduly. But the fact was, I didn’t know how long he would last and kidney failure was diagnosed at the very end. He was very weak and looked so unhappy, although not really in pain as such.
    But I came to the conclusion that it was not right to allow the situation to deteriorate even further to the stage where he was in excruciating pain. And for the very first time he reached out and put his paw into my hand as if to say ‘come on, it’s time, let’s be strong and get it done’. After that, he sort of switched off. He made me feel like it was a joint decision.
    I know you can read into things but it is also so important to trust your own judgment. I think I was lucky in that Chong gave me a last little helping paw when the chips were down.
    At the moment I feel I made the right decision but it was just a few hours ago and, like I said, I knew that ultimately there would be an inevitable choice to be made.
    That said, my heart is breaking and I would give anything to have him back with me. His love was unconditional and at this moment I cannot see any future contentment or happiness without him.
    I won’t ever completely get over losing him and nor do I want too, he is irreplaceable, and I will hold him in my heart forever.
    My darling Chong, thank you for all you have given me. I didn’t deserve you, I love you always.
    For anyone in a similar position I would like to give some clarity, if that’s possible, my boy had health issues in that six weeks prior to this, he caught a virus or bug or something that almost finished him.
    Firstly he had dhiorriah and was off his food for a short while and became dehydrated. We admitted him to the hospital and he was on a drip for two days before we collected him. He had a sniffle which then led to a cold/blocked nose. To cut a long story short, several diagnoses was given and eventually no conclusion was arrived at.
    But over a two week period he was very sick, possible pneumonia/heart problem/cancer was all a possibility.
    He came home and although he was so much better, almost miraculously so, never really achieved his former glory, but his blood tests all indicated a healthy cat, i.e. kidney, liver, heart etc., all came back fantastically good.
    Then this last week he began to lose his appetite slightly and we were in the position to think about where we go from here.
    He hates the vets and this has caused him so much stress in the past when going there, and bearing in mind his age we knew that he would wish to be cared for at home now that the end was coming.
    Very suddenly in the early hours of Saturday morning, he violently vomited and collapsed, the vet was called out and he was administer an injection of anti-biotic and anti-sickness, the vet said in her opinion he was now in renal failure.
    A shock to me of course but it was clear to see none the less.
    Over the intervening hours during the course of the night he ate only one more meal, but continued to ask for water, by looking at me and his water bowl.
    By the morning (Sunday) I felt compelled to rethink my idea of letting him pass over naturally and that’s when I called a called a lovely caring (euthanasia) vet, who confirmed it would be the most loving thing to do in the circumstances, in other words to take action.
    She arrived a few hours later, in which time me and my baby had said our goodbyes and, I am so lucky here, my Chong held my hand and in his way told me it was the right thing to do.
    Well also it seemed to be the only thing to do, as this is what I would chose for anyone in the same situation, be it animal or human.
    I hope this can offer some help, even though everyone will experience a different immensely sad experience.
    I can just reiterate previous contributions, in that you can only go with you heart and knowledge, that only you have for your baby.
    I have written this to try to help myself through this unbearable grief; I hope it helps someone else.
    Today is Monday, the day after and my world feels a lonely and desolate place, I love you my gorgeous Chong.

  91. margie Says:

    my little boy tiger who i watched grow up from a kitten .he stopped eating and drinking.i know he is dying.but he isnt in pain .he wants me to hold him he is purring.he looks up at me as if he knows he is dying .he is like a child more then pet i couldnt uthenize a child because he was dying i would do what i am doing i am holding him making him feel loved being there for him . until he takes his final breath,my heart is so broke rite now.he lays down by me in the bed gets under the cover gets close to me i just put my arm around him stroking him slowly telling him i love him and he is going to go to a beautiful place for animals that die.i do believe animals go to heaven .to me to uthenize him is to kill him .i choose to let him have a natural death be with me .so he is comforted when he passe’s away.i have done this with all my pets that have growed old and passed away..when my boy tiger passes i will be with he isnt alone in some horrible room scared and a dr putting a needle into him to kill him .he deserves to be with those who love him .

  92. Donna Says:

    Thank you for writing this! I’ve struggled with this issue for three weeks and watched my 18 year old cat, Harrison, slowly wither away.As I write this he is still with us, but what appears to be just barely. For three days I’ve thought he won’t be here in the morning, but he is. I’ve watched myself go through so many stages, but the main thing I worry about is, ‘is he suffering?’ I talk to and tell him thank you for picking me to be his human, because he did, and encourage him to please go when he is ready.

  93. Jane Says:

    My Grace is dying. Thank you for this site, reading your thoughts and feelings about letting our loved kitties die at home has made me feel better about my decision to let nature and God work their ways. I will miss my little girl so much. I didn’t want to have someone euthanize her, even tho this is so hard to watch and wait, and cry. I check on her every little while and she seems peaceful but may be afraid so i talk to her and let her know she’s going to be alright and that she’s safe.

  94. Nan Says:

    My kitty died 3 weeks ago. I was so very grateful to find this thread. She was nearly 19, had been frail, but enjoying life for her last year. I have been with people when they died. I think with Mo I was unsure of what was best for her. She lost her purr when touched. She went under a shed (her hang when she wanted to be alone). I thought she was dead, my husband saw her breathing and she came when we called. So weak, split on her ear…she wasn’t drinking or eating. I held water and she drank, then struggled toward our room. I put her on a chest where she always enjoyed her window view. My husband and I, and the little dog who was her champion in life, sat with her. She began panting, a story on here mentioned the fear breathing difficulty brings. I put my hand on her very lightly and talked about our love for her. Her breathing slowed, her legs stiffened and she died. I curled her into her sleeping posture ( rigor is fast…thank u to the post here that thought me that). My pup blew my mind sitting by her. Thank u all. No suffering, just sad.

  95. Amelia Says:

    I found this site after a Google search and I have mixed feelings about it. So many people saying their cat isn’t in pain, when the fact is, cats will go out of their way to hide their pain. So just because it looks like they are fine, doesn’t mean they are. It’s a tough choice, and I just struggled with my cat over what to do. She still had life in her, but then one day she gave up. Had trouble breathing, and showed signs of pain. (Squint eyes. Slow movements) She was in end stage liver failure and had cancer. Though she did not make a sound, I knew fluid was building in her lungs. Letting her die naturally would be extremely painful for her. So I had her put to sleep.

    Please teach yourselves about whatever illness your pets are having. Cats mask pain and dying slowly and naturally isn’t always peaceful. It’s painful, stressful, and scary. Kidney failure IS painful and had my once quiet cat, screaming in pain one day. He was taken to the vet and put down. Talk to your vets and make sure you have options. They can give you pain meds to help ease the pain of death if you want to allow your pet to pass at home. Some vets will even come to your house and help.

    I am not trying to shame anyone here. As we all love our kitties. But I would hate to think some cats are being left to die painfully because their owners aren’t clear on how much pain cats will hide from their owners. Learn about the end stages of death before you let your loved animals die. The ability to put animals to sleep is there for a reason. Death can be painful and scary. And we all deserve peace at the end. I would rather go quickly the have my death drawn out over days. Struggling to breathe. Having each breath be painful. I’d rather slip off in my sleep.

    Thank about this before you think of letting an animal die naturally.

  96. Oliva Says:

    There has been a point made that we don’t put humans to sleep, so why are we doing it to our animals? Actually, there is a movement going around fighting for terminally ill people to be allowed to end their life with dignity, then suffer weeks or months of slowly wasting away. Death With Dignity is what It’s called. Why sit there and force creatures a long, drawn out death, when you can choose a more peaceful, less painful way to pass on?

    Reading some comments, I became bothered by some of the things being sad. Like people putting their animal down for time conveyance rather then for their pet. Another said something about the animal dying alone at the vet with some strangers. Both comments are wrong. People put their pets to sleep because they don’t want to see their pet suffer. Pet owners do not make this choice lightly, and definitely won’t do it so that the sick cat can stop filling up all their time. At the vet, you are there. Holding your pet while they slip away very peacefully. They arent all alone unless the owners dump them there and leave right away.

    I know a bit about cat behavior, and I just lost one of my kitties couple days ago. Every day I could see her pain getting worse. Then one day, I could tell the pain had taken over, and that was all she could focus on. Mean while, a friend of mine who wasn’t as keen to cat behavior was puzzled and kept saying she didn’t seem like she was in pain. You have no idea how easy it is for cats to hide their pain to the point where people really think they aren’t in any. I struggled for a week about when it I should put my cat down. She still was finding moments she enjoyed. Then one day she no longer enjoyed anything. Not food, and only a little water. She was no longer alive, she was just…existing. Hardly had her eyes fully open because of pain.

    I had a friends cat almost die naturally at my home, but I found her in time and rushed her to the vet. She had tried to find a place to hide and die, but collapsed on the floor and couldn’t get back up. When I found her, she was crying in pain. End stagekidney failure. Then my male cat started to suffer from the same illness. And he two started to cry out in pain. Dying from an illness won’t be a pleasant way to go. Even reading here that some cats has seizures and moaned out in pain right before they passed away, seemed way more stressful then slipping off peacefully in your sleep.

    If the trip to the vet is your worry, find a vet that will come to your house. Natural death isn’t always pretty. It can be drawn out and takes hours. Filled with lots of pain that your animal is trying to hide away from you.

  97. Patti Waltz Says:

    As the author of this site I would like to respond to the two comments above. I completely agree that if your pet is showing signs of pain, do not hesitate in taking your cat to the vet to be euthanized. I leave is blog up for the sake of discussion and I choose not to edit people’s experiences. Work with your vet to understand what is going on with you cat, closely monitor your pet, and simply be mindful. All the best to all of you and your cats.

  98. Pauline Says:

    Thank you all so very much. My 21 year old cat Wookie is passing. As many above have mentioned he is resting peacefully. He tries to drink a little now and then. He just asked to go outside and is under the deck, a favorite place. I am sad that I can’t get under there with him but this is what I hoped for, that he would pass peacefully in a happy place. I needed the reassurance I’ve has here. We cancelled a vet appointment to put him down for today. It just seemed so lacking in dignity and he HATES the vet. To die in fear sounds so terrible. He is weak but not in any obvious pain. He has decided. Again thank you.

  99. Nan Says:

    I didn’t need information regarding euthanasia when I found this site. The two comments regarding the advantages of euthanasia, below Mo’s story were sad and misplaced. There are so many places to find validation for that choice. Please realize that we who chose home as our pet’s best option are not doing so out of ignorance, but rather informed compassion.
    Most people in my family have chosen death at home. Some were in pain, others were not. Surely my kitty deserved the same. Support and information from people who had let their cats die peacefully at home is what I found here. Our 15 year old kitty, Lucy, struggled 4 days in a cage with blood tests, treatments, strangers and her daily visits from us. She was exhausted when the vet gave up and said time to ‘put her down’. Lucy died in my arms -kidney disease.
    Mo needed six -8 small meals daily during her last year to avoid throwing up. She let us know at crack of dawn a meal was due. She was on prescription food for renal disease. She was skinny her but had a good quality of life until the last week of her life. Her vet had let me know she could have some good years before she died and she did. Her story is related above.

  100. Deb Says:

    Thank you everyone for your posts. Right now my kitty is dying. She is a 15 year old feral cat who lived on our property. She had been losing weight lately. Vet care is spotty where we are. After tempting her with tuna and home cooked food she finally stopped eatting altogether. She went missing one day but i found her and decided to move her to an indoor porch where she could die peacefully and in safety. She has been there 4 days. Not eatting but still drinking water occassionally. She is now very weak and not moving much. I have been with her all day, stroking her and just being present, which she seemed to like. I have decided to give her a little space tonight, in hopes that she will let go. She does not appear in pain. I could have driven her in a crate 2 hours to the vet, however, she has always been a semi feral, outdoors only cat. Never saw a vet except to be spayed. I think a vet visit would have been extremely stressful, which is why I chose to let her die on her terms. Am just doing my best to make her comfortable and loved her last days. It is certainly an emotionally draining experience, but our animals are worth it.

  101. Kathy Adams Says:

    Dearest Patti,
    Thank you isn’t sufficient. As my baby lays in her bed (a precious 16 year old Schnauzer-Shi-tzu) I’ve been encouraged by so many to “put her down” and “have her put to sleep”. My heart has no peace about that decision and I believe God speaks to me through the Holy Spirit via my heart. Your message was one of 4 confirmations today that I am making the right choice. As with so many of the responses you’ve received… she has no pain… just weak, minimal food, and little water. She is a kidney patient since March and I believe God has given 5 months to prepare. Compassion… I love your thoughts on this issue. I continue to praise and thank God for the blessing of being with her during her darkest days. And I remind her that she will be licking the face of our Savior soon! Blessings to all who read this… and may God begin healing your heart today.

  102. Christine Says:


    I would also like to thank you for creating this page. My Mini Pearl is currently loosing her strength more and more every day. In April she was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, since then she has lost an interest in eating, and drinking. She is about 16 years old, she has always been in doors, but occasionally enjoyed being outside and laying in the sun. This past week has been the hardest for me. Over the weekend she lays in the sun and naps, but she has started to get very skinny. My family and friends tell me to take her in to be put down, however, I don’t want to be responsible for taking her life because I don’t want to see her suffering anymore. I would like to let her go naturally and by reading your blog and everyone’s comments, I have made the decision to let her stay at home and keep her as comfortable as possible. Her eyes have been tearing up and have a mucus film around them, it makes me feel that she is rapidly declining. Everyday I sit with her outside and bring her inside to wipe her eyes and clean her. This morning she was having trouble walking and would just lay anywhere inside the house. I have come to the understanding her time is near, I’ve never dealt with the pain I am going through before, my heart is heavy, I would like to thank you and everyone as I feel that we have all made an impact on each other, and I wish the best for everyone in their decisions. <3

  103. Deborah Says:

    Dear Patti
    I was glad to find your web site and to read all the stories. My baby Alleyxander, who i found and his eyes weren’t open and very sick. He is now 14 yrs old and has hyperthyroidism. He was on meds for it but to get him to take it became to stressful for him. He isn’t eating well and getting skinny. He does drink water and he is my boyfriends buddy. I tryed to force feed him and that was no good. Your stories have helped me decided to let him pass at home as long as he is not in pain.
    I had my Cody who was 21 when he passed, but he was in pain and i had to take him to the vet and that broke my heart. I am just hoping my Alleyxander will pass at home, where he is comfortable and around the ones who love him!! Thank you again!!!

  104. Mike S Says:

    My cat Morgie (Morris) has cancer. A fiberous cancer that spreads rapidly. A month ago I was told he had about two weeks. Since then I had his edema (fluid build up) drained and had him rehydrated a few times. It’s now just over 4 weeks and he is failing fast. He just stopped eating, except food that has a strong odor. My last several cats were the same. I couldn’t get them to eat anything unless is was like strong tuna or mackrel, etc. So buy that to buy you some time if you can.

    Tonight he is a little disoriented at times and not stable all of the time. He is occasionally resting on a towel next to the window, but it’s apparent he’s not totally comfortable.

    I’m using the “is he having more good times than bad times” as my decision to take him in tomorrow for euthanasia. I will let him decide each morning as to how he faces the world. How he behaves etc. I am the only person that knows the norm for him, so I must judge.

    I had a few cats that died at home and a few rabbits. Let me tell you that seeing the last hours is brutal. There are gasps, lunges, motions that you can’t seem to control and so on in mine. I’m sure some pass peacefully but not any of mine including the rabbits. So, I will not let that happen to Morgie tomorrow or the next days.

    I read something that stuck with me like nothing else I’ve ever read. It is something that helps me decide as the days go on. I hope it helps you to. It was from a veterinarian who was giving advice on how to know when. It came down to this simple sentence for me:

    It’s better to make this decision a week early than an hour too late.

    It’s the most true thing I have ever heard and I have witnessed both natural and assisted deaths.

    One other thing that I know is this and I’m far from a religious person:

    Energy can not be created or destroyed (conservation of energy law) and something happens when we die. I have no clue as to what, but we all go somewhere as something. And… we all will die. It doesn’t make it any easier, but it raises a little hope that our lives and the lives that matter to us, like my Morgie, truly matter.

  105. Mike S Says:

    Yesterday morning I thought that I would wait until I finished work to take Morgie in. In the shower I went over knowing that he is terminal and there is no chance of a recovery. I also thought about how he has to maneuver just to sit down. He can no longer lay on his side, so he has to sleep upright. I thought that this will only get worse and time is measured in days now.

    So, I took him and I was present during the euthanasia. I always am the one who injects the fluid as I believe that it validates my decision. In about 10 seconds he was gone.

    It was sad yesterday and also tonight, but I was not an hour too late. I was early this time and at or close to the right moment.

    Hope this helps any of you.

    - Mike

  106. Brandy Says:

    Thank you for this site. It brought me so much comfort to read the stories while I spent near 48 hrs with my dying cat of 18 years. I was agonizing over natural vs euthanasia. Constant back and fourth in my mind. Is she suffering? Am I waiting for my own selfishness? What made the decision was allowing Tinky to tell me when it was time. I thought it was time long before she was ready. On the last day she was very weak from cancer, not able to walk, not able to sit without falling over, not able to support herself. Not eating, not drinking. She could still meow and her awareness was fully intact. She could move her head and reposition very slightly. It was hard to make the decision because she was still aware. As the hours passed the blank stare grew worse in her eyes. She was not blinking. She would still respond to my voice with a silent meow and track me and my husband with her eyes. It was not time just yet. About an hour and half before we euthanized her she started wimpering which I knew had to take all her strength. She was totally unable to move and the blank stare was much worse. Not tracking us with her eyes any longer but still aware of our voices. We knew she was probably suffering too much so called for an in home vet to come. I was so scared because I thought no way would they get a vein- she was so dehydrated. Well I was wrong. It was a fast and peaceful exit. The vet first gave a morphine shot, we let 5 minutes pass while I said goodbyes, then the vet injected into her kidney and seconds later she was gone. She did not wince, wimper, move or respond at all to either needle sticks. She didn’t make any gasping sounds, no gurgling. I didn’t even realize she was dead. Her eyes remained opened and took a few minutes to dialate. I still petted her. The vet put her in a basket with a blanket and took her for cremation. It was really very peaceful and I know she did not suffer from the euthanasia. I waited as long as I felt she was still aware and conscious, not suffering. I asked the vet how long she could have gone like that if we didn’t euthanize and was told another day or so. There is no way on this earth that I would have allowed her to continue in that state. I made the right choice. I hope this helps you as you sit next to your fur baby to make the decision for your pet and not for you when to euthanize or not.

  107. Barb Says:

    Thank you to everyone for your post. I was looking for answers and was convinced that a natural death was best for my little Bear cat because he was terrified of the vet. Was prepared to stay with him until the end until he cried out in pain. It was a quick 5 minutes to the vet and they gave him something to calm him. They gave me 30 minutes to tell him I loved him and console him. I sat on a stool next to the table and he curled up close to me with his head against by upper arm and his paw on my lower arm as if to say “it’s ok mom”. I so wanted him to have a peaceful natural death in his own home with me my his side, but when it became apparent he was in pain I had to go with euthanasia. I understand that every situation is different and wish he could have died a natural death at home, but that wasn’t the case for my little Bear. Thank you for your post.

  108. Bev Says:

    I found this blog two days after losing my precious furry-friend of 15 years, Shadow Kitty on October 12, 2015 at 11:20 pm. He had been very healthly all of his life right up to the last few weeks. It started as a gum infection and went rapidly downhill from there. Antibiotics finally cleared up that infection, but by then his interal system had been compromised and his organs started shutting down. He stopped eating and drinking, so I hand fed him water, infant formula (lactose free) and liquified chicken baby food through a dropper, a few tiny swallows at a time. I also tried supplementing that with Nurtical gel which was hard for him to swallow so I mixed it with the formula. He started to gain a little weight back at first, but ultimately that was not enough to sustain him and he declined rapidly. He did not seem to be in any pain, was still lucid and aware, walking ok and using his litter box. I clung to hope he would get better with my hospice care daily, and start eating again on his own, but it was not to be. He lost a lot of weight very quickly. I had already made the decision for a natural death at home for my beloved friend, due to the fact that he was so terrified of going to the Vet or any Vet coming near him with needles. I considered at-home euthanasia at one point briefly, but after reading blog posts about that going horribly wrong too, decided not to allow that unless my cat really exhibited pain or extreme distress, which he did not. I thought he was getting better, actually, until the day before he passed. He then started refusing even my hand-fed droppers of food and water, and I could not force him when it was clear he just could not do it and it was not going to help him any longer anyway. I resolved to make my cat’s final days/hours at home as peaceful for him as possible. On his final day on earth, he awoke in the morning to visit his litter box but couldn’t “go”. He visited his food and water dish and just stared, He then very weakly/wobbly spent time in each of his favorite spots in our house, one by one, resting a while in each place. He even found his way into my home-office when I had to be on the computer for work/business, and wanted to be picked up and held and stroked, which I did. I then shut down the computer and spend the remainder of that day and night cradling him, rocking him gently, talking softly to him, and stroking him. I told him how much I loved him, what a good kitty he was, and that it was ok if he just needed to rest and let go. He looked up at my face and into my eyes with a look as if he seemed to be saying to me “it’s ok mommy, thank you for being with me, I love you so much too”. Finally as he grew weaker, I knew he wanted to be laid in his bed to lay quietly at peace. I placed him in his bed on the softest padded chair in the house, his favorite rocker-recliner. I sat next to him on a stool and rarely left his side for the next several hours, continuing to gently stoke him every so often and talk to him very quetly. He raised his little head a couple of times to again look me in the eyes and give me that grateful expression, with a silent meow. I know he felt my deep love for him in those final moments. Finally he seemed to drift off into a sort of semi-sleep, though his eyes were open. I turned off the tv and lights and just sat next to him in the darkened room quiet room, still gently letting him know I was still nearby. By then it was around 10pm. He did not make another move or sound for the next hour and 20 minutes, as his breathing became more and more shallow and slower. Finally he raised his little head in what seemed to be a sudden seizure, took a few last labored gasps, and drifted off in a matter of moments. I do not think he was fully concious by that point or aware of what was happening, though it was horrifying for me as I was not prepared to see that happen. Now, after reading this blog and others, I realize that is fairly common during a cat’s final moments. Seeing the life drift from his body as his soul departed was a very difficult experience, but I am coming to terms with what I feel was the best choice for my pet, to allow him to spend his final days and hours at home in peace with the natural process of life and death. I had previously endured a very horrible experience with euthanasia of my beloved childhoodcat during my teen years, the cat was treated horribly but that monster-vet who stabbed him in the heart with the deadly needle with no benefit of a tranquilzer first, while the poor terrified cat clawed and fought to try to get away from that monstrous pain so needlessly inflicted upon him. After that horrible traumatic experience for both my poor at and myself, I vowed to never ever have a pet of mine endure so-called “euthanasia” again. I know that in-home euthanasia is a very popular alternative these days, but once again have read enough horror stories posted by heartbroken pet owners to know that does not always go as planned either. So ultimately, though it was stressful for me to watch my cat die a natual death, he was not suffering at the end and we had out chances to say long loving goodbyes to each other, with no rush and no needles…and no vets to terrify my already dying cat. I am grieving and so very sad and devastated that he is gone, but and coming to terms with the loss and self-doubts over whether or not I did the right thing. I hope the answer is yes. I did the best I could do for my little buddy (who was like a child to me, a definite family member and dearly beloved), and cared for him with as much tender love as I could muster to that final breathe. I hope he realized that, and I think he did. He had been by my side to comfort me through so many of life’s challenges during his 15 years; I felt I owed him no less and he slipped away. Rest in peace over that Rainbow Bridge, little kitty, you were the best friend I could have ever asked for. I love you and always will.

  109. diane Says:

    I am trying to aid a dying feral cat that I have fed for a few years. He and his siblings were born on my back deck in an empty window planter. He was the runt.
    I managed to trap his four siblings and the mom.
    He wasn’t having any part of being trapped. He was smartest of bunch. Now, ever since he killed a bluejay and ate the head he has steadily started wasting away. I read it might be toxoplasmosis.
    Now, for the last few weeks he started coming close to me and I bought some treats that he actually took from my hand.
    He is dying on his feet. He can’t go on much longer as he is so skinny and sick. I don’t have any money for the $61 to put him to sleep but watching his last days struggling to survive is awful. I can actually touch him and I had to pick him up when he couldn’t jump onto his favorite chair and fell.
    So, what do I do? I keep buying chicken and sardines and salmon and everything I can find that he will lick up just to keep him going as long as he is eating and drinking.
    I want to put him out of his misery, not only so I don’t have to worry about him all day and night long, but for humanity’s sake. It is just cruel to see this. Where is any god? What god would allow suffering so intense in humans and animals can’t be benevolent.

  110. August Saarikallio Says:

    Thank you all very much,English is not my native language.I have seen many of my pets die,it depends on the situation if euthanasia is needed or not natural death should be preferred because it’s the natural way and how the universe works.Dying is a process and you should avoid to interrupt it,it’s not only a physical process it’s mostly a mental process for your pet.Don’t put any additional stress for your dying pet if not necessary give him love as much as you can so he feels secure and comfortable .I have studied death and beyond transitions the last 30 years with pets and all sort of beings.Death is not the end it’s a beginning of a new existense,here you see a copy of a reading of a dying cat Pikki ,Pikki was euthanized because of a large tumor and was in pain.Look at dates of the transition,the reading was made by me and by another who is one of the best mental readers.
    Pikki’s transition began on 13.6 when the heart stopped the first reading was done 5 hour’s later.

    Br: I get a positive feeling from Pikki as I am sure you do.
    I do not think the vet had much of a choice as her vitality was very low at the time

    Physical 4%
    Mental 55%
    Emotional 0%
    Spiritual 0%

    I find that the timing was good and you need to have no guilt. She will go forward to her next life with little difficulty. You could say that the ‘life battery’ had run down. You could also say that there was little else for her to do this time around.

    No direct message so far.

    22.46 13.6.13

    Just checking the energies of Pikki now

    Physical not relevant
    Mental 55%
    Emotional 48%
    Spiritual 20%

    OK this has been a time of re-charge and reconsitution for Pikki. First the emotional side, now the spiritual side which is entering into a new period of learning. This is very exciting. You now do not need to support her and can give thanks.

    18:24 15.6.13


    and checking again

    Physical not relevant
    Mental 54%
    Emotional no reading
    Spiritual no reading

    Pikki is a very capable being amy help been able again to move onwards and upwards.

    I think you can give thanks and move on in your own life now.

    A message from Pikki “thanks for all your assistance. We had a good measure of taking and giving. I enjoyed myself. You would sometimes not allow me to share your pain. You are a good human being. I am at peace in a new place.”

    15:42 16.6.13

    Dying and awakening is a ongoing fundamental natural process in the universe wich is based in the law of no loss of information

  111. Paula Says:

    I just wanted to say what a comfort this thread has been for me. I so didn’t want to take my lovely Lady Blaze to a vet and have her final hours in panic and fear . It felt the right thing to have her here at home surrounded by love as she peacefully slipped into a coma. I had felt pressured to follow convention but the experiences on here gave me the courage to follow my instinct. Her last moments were a few deep gasps and then gone with me beside her giving her as much love as she had always given me. Thank you .

  112. Margie Says:

    I just want to say what a blessing this site has been for me today. I just lost my Bella.First she lost the use of her hind legs and then started to have seizures. I had her in diapers as she also stopped using the liter box. I used wipes to clean her and changed her diaper often. Then one day she stopped eating and stopped moving her bowels& I knew the end was near. She had lost so much weight. I was feeding her Ensure & also some water by dropper . I let her pass naturally at home and was wondering if I did the right thing. I know now I did.She did not seem to be in any pain. I held her for over 4 hours and she just stared at me while I talked to her. I gave her an occasional sip of water,which she seemed to want. kept her close to me and kept her warm, as she seemed so cold Bella stopped eating for several days, this was my first clue she was going. Bella is missed greatly, Oh how we grieve our babies!

  113. Lynn Smith Says:

    Yesterday my beloved Tiege passed away at home. I am so thankful that I did not put her through the stress of going to a vet. Also saving her the pain of trying to find a vein. I had been forcing food and fluids for about a week. She finally could not walk and would vomit up whatever I fed her. She would sort of scream before vomiting. It must have been so uncomfortable for her to have the food in her stomach when her body was trying to shut down for the dying process. The last couple days I would hold her up in the litter box but she would not go. Why didn’t I realize sooner!! I feel so guilty! Luckily, I read up on the dying process. Going off food and water is normal in the dying process. That allows the body’s systems to shut down as they are no longer needed. Forcing food and fluids only delays the process and makes the animal uncomfortable. Animals enter a euphoric state when dehydrated. This seems comfort given by God to a dying creature. God knew what He was doing and is far wiser and merciful than us.
    The only time I believe in euthanization is for a severly injured animal or one in so much pain that pain meds will not alleviate it. Nor do I believe in doing blood tests and exploratory surgery on an aged animal. Too many greedy vets are taking advantage of the love of an owner wanting more time with a pet. Those type if vets tell the owner to force feed, meanwhile doing tests and surgery. Then after a sizeable bill has been tallied, the vet says there is nothing to be done except euthanizing their pet. This happens a too often.
    Poor pet goes through all that misery. It just delays the inevitable. Animals know what they are doing when they quit eating and drinking. God gave them the instinct to do that. We need to respect the normal dying process. When I quit forcing food and liquid–just giving a tad bit of liquid Tiege died later that day. I talked soothingly to her and petted her gently. I wuit petting her towards the end as she would try to scratch with her hind leg ad if it itched. I felt it may be uncomfortable so I just talked soothingly and she passed away quite peacefully. I am so relieved that I did not continue to forc food and fluid and just let her go.

  114. zoe Says:

    My Josiah Samuel is at the end of his road. He hasn’t eaten for five days. He is still drinking water, He stays curled up on his bed next to a heat register. He seems very cozy. Every time we walk by him we sit down and talk to him and give him a love. He does not seem to be in any pain. The idea of euthanasia just does not seem right for this beloved member of our family. As long as he seems comfortable we are choosing to let death come as it naturally does for all of us. It feels right.

  115. Sally Dannels Says:

    I am lying here next to my Husband and cat Wallace…trying to decide what to do…..Its so hard. When he is sleeping, it seems as if the Natural death is completely the right thing to do.
    Hes 18, and always been so vocal. When we first heard his voice we were stunned. So loud. We couldn’t stop laughing, and he continued to bring us an unbelievable amount of joy over the years.
    Hes been sick for a while, hes not able to make red blood cells anymore, and his liver and speen where inlarged…hes a cancer survivor and we knew he was going to die, just like everyone has mentioned, hes not eating or drinking. Hes just resting and stairing into space…he has stopped purring when I touch him. Over the last half day, he has started to cry and or voice his unhappiness…..but I can’t really tell to be honest. Then when I touch him and talk to him he slowly stops. Its heartbreaking. Now he is quietly sleeping again, no struggle, just his deep sleep.
    Im thankful for everyone who has written about not wanting to put their animals to sleep. I did that to my last cat and it was not a smooth process. It shook up both my husband and I. I always felt I had done the wrong thing, I had betrayed my cat, brought in a stranger and caused his last minutes to be in fear.
    I am besides myself with confusion over how to care for Wallace right now……..

  116. Lynn Says:

    My cat Morty died two hours ago. Reading through this site earlier today, sitting on the couch next to my little boy, helped more than I can say

  117. Aura Says:

    As the others have said before me, thank you for your blog post Patti. I am sitting with my beautiful kitty Violet who is sleeping peaceful, dying of cancer. She hasn’t eaten in over a week, but still wants affection & love. All of the online resources say that her quality of life is poor and she should be euthanized. But it’s been causing me so much heartache. If she is not in pain, why is her life not quality? Her sister Pinky had lung cancer and was struggling to breath – it was an easy decision to end her suffering. But Violet is peacefully, slowly dying. And because of your post, I feel so much better letting her live her life to completion. Thank you.

  118. Diana Says:

    I want to thank not only Patty, but those who have had the courage to post their own stories, even though I imagine many were typing through teary eyes, as I am. I, too, am struggling with a decision on whether to euthanize or wait. When we moved into a new house that had been empty for over a year, we were surprised to see a beautiful calico cat living on the property. She was SO feral, that even seeing us from afar would make her run around the first corner and out of site. Because she was so skittish and afraid, we began to call her Skitty. We soon were able to see that she was pregnant, so we kept watch for when she had her babies. When the kittens were old enough, we caught all we could find and adopted them out to good homes. Next, we used a wild animal trap to catch Skitty so she could be spayed and we released her again thinking she’d probably take off for good, but she didn’t. She still wouldn’t let us near her, but we fed her treats and soft food once a day, and she was always there. After a few years, she would go as far as laying at our feet when we sat outside, purring and rolling and watching us. Around that time, a big monster of a boy cat showed up and they became best of friends.

  119. Diana Says:

    (Continued post above) Skitty was infatuated with him. They slept together, ate together, climbed the trees together and boy, she would just rub her whole body all over him until he’d get irritated and would hold his paw up as a warning that he needed her to chill. It was adorable. We had hoped that if she saw us petting and loving this tomcat, she might get curious, but nope. She just didn’t trust us. Then, one awful morning, we found him passed away in the middle of our driveway, as if it was a sudden heart attack or stroke. Skitty wouldn’t leave that spot, even after we had moved him. I was so sad that her best friend was gone. After watching her lie there, I couldn’t take it and found a spot in the grass about five feet away from her and just mourned with her. I talked, she watched me and listened. She hadn’t moved by the next morning, so I did it again. For hours upon hours until she finally stood up and walked towards me. I was stunned. She let me stroke her twice, then just sat back and stared into my eyes for what seemed like forever. It had been EIGHT years since we moved in. Eight years with no contact. Two days later, she wanted to be by my side every minute she could be. And she wanted to be petted ALL the time! Like constantly! She’d lay on our laps on the porch swing and just beg to be petted from head to toe. She would roll and rub in ecstasy like she was making up for lost time. Now… well, Skitty is really sick. I know it’s her time, and I’m already grieving. The hubby and I are the only people she will tolerate. Taking her to the vet would be absolutely terrifying for her. We can pick her up for the first time this week only because she’s so weak and can’t fight us. Now I’m wondering if it’s selfish to want her to stay with me til her final breath, being in the only place she’s called home, or if a terrifying trip to the vet is better. I’m watching for signs of pain, but she is SO tough that I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s hiding pain. Reading people’s stories has calmed me some but I still feel lost. I hope this story has a happy ending. We shall see.

  120. Karin Says:

    … thank you all so much for all your stories, they helped us a lot with the decision to let our Becks die naturally after we had to euthanize our Diavolo just 2 month ago. We had no choice with Diavolo, he developed an aortic thrombosis and suffered according to the vets. He wasn’t eating properly for half a year, lost a lot of weight but the vets never found out what was wrong (the ultrasound and his blood were okey). After I read a lot (which is not always a good thing) I think it was probably his heart eventhough the vet couldn’t ‘hear’ anything even in his last moments. We let the vet come to our home and he died on his favorite place on my shoulder.

    Becks who was the half brother of Diavolo did fine after his death but stopped eating after about a month, we thought he might have a depression because he missed Diavolo but the ultrasound showed a big liver tumor with metastases :o ( According to three vets he was fortunately not in pain and we decided, also because of your stories, to let him die naturally. I stopped feeding him ReConvales on Friday as he was already very weak and had trouble to walk especially with his hindpaws but he didn’t seemed to suffer. We helped him to go where ever he wanted to go or be. He didn’t had the strength to go to the litter box anymore and I cleaned him ones in a while what he enjoyed a lot. He purred one last time after I cleaned him on Saturday.

    Yesterday morning (Sunday) he seemed to wait till I got up and took his last breath, it was more than just sad for us but he didn’t really struggle and it all happend very fast. We are heartbroken, losing both of our babys, who enlightened our lifes for 13 years, is devastating but we are greatful that both of them had a peaceful death and hope they enjoy eatch other again on the other side of the rainbow bridge.

  121. Kimberly Says:

    Thank you. Everyone. I am so disappointed in how many people just regurgitate the lines about how you have to end the animal’s suffering etc etc etc. I suffer unreasonable pain every single month, and many other times, and I still want to live, even when I’ve been sad and suicidal, I’ve still had happiness and peace. Why should I decide that my pet feels differently? Plus the lack of sharing information and instead repeating “GO TO THE VET”. Yes, we know to go to the vet, but can’t we also learn about our pet’s health and well-being!? I am exhausted on these thoughts so I won’t write as much as I have been thinking in the past few days (way too much, I always write too much, still will), but I want to write something.

    My 16 year old cat showed signs of kidney failure for quite a while, and I was doing what I could to help her. Water sources of all types, all over the house, good quality canned food, warmed raw meats (I remember her extreme joy the first time I gave her chicken organs!) I noticed suddenly there was no pee in the litter box, she had been bugging me a lot lately. I have thought and wrote and read about this so much, I’m trying not to go into so much detail to save myself the energy, but it’s hard. I want to share everything too. But to skip ahead, she soon would no longer eat or drink. I cleaned her teeth, inspected, tried to find what could be wrong, but I think I knew this was her time and that she was not likely to snap back, she had been losing weight recently and had already been skin & bones her whole life.

    What scared me the most was that I wondered if I should be assist giving her food and water, she wanted water SO badly but wouldn’t lick or swallow, just recoil or walk away before trying. By the time I found a syringe, all that attempt did was bother her. I believed her digestion had already shut down, was I wrong? I won’t ever know. She only ever opened up to me, an anxious cat for life, I wasn’t going to take her to the Incredibly Frightening vet.

    She fell into a coma last evening, it was my first time seeing an animal in this state. Right before that, I had found her favorite little soldier toy, the only thing that was with her her whole life from the home I adopted her from. The last movements I saw her make were sticking her paws out towards it, she may have just been stretching or trying to move elsewhere, but it still helped me feel better. Since she had been doing the try-to-go-to-private-place thing I didn’t want to remain bothering her, so after leaving the toy next to her I left her alone for a while before checking again, to find her comatose. Eyes and mouth left open. The spot she chose was a hard wood floor, I brought blankets and my pillow and slept next to her.

    Throughout the night, I checked up on her, petted her gently, whispered many things. The moment I closed my eyes next to her I realized I felt peaceful, I had been up for 3 days sleepless without an appetite trying to help her, researching, crying, and finally in that moment I think I really realized I was doing everything I could do, and I didn’t NEED to know EVERYTHING. I had been obsessing over things like, how many days will coma last, what will her death be like, has she had seizures while I wasn’t looking? But I finally in that moment was able to just go with the flow. I knew what was going on, and I was there for her, regrets happen but they can’t squeeze your heart forever. You keep going. And I was happy to know that I was here, with her, watching over her gently in a quiet room, rather than having surrendered our control to someone else in a foreign environment.

    As the night went on, her breathing became harder and harder to observe. Eventually I could only tell she was still alive through touch. I had another worry to deal with – how do I know for sure when she is dead, what if I bury her alive? That would be beyond horrible. But through this experience, I realize that it is not as complicated as your imagination makes it. Rigor mortis, softened dilated-looking eyes, cold tongue, no pulse anywhere. She had passed. I do not know exactly when, whether I was awake or asleep, but it seemed her breathing and heartbeat simply got lighter and lighter until they were no more, she did not rise again and there was no sign of panic or struggle. I knew that might not have been the case, but I had also known for a while that I was going to face it with her no matter what.

    She is buried in our yard now, in a lovely spot that smells faintly of pine. I wrapped her in one of our soft blankets we’ve had for a long time, along with her little soldier. I’m so sad, every time I go down the hallway I expect to peek in her room and see her peeking back. I can’t believe she’s gone, I had stopped thinking about her eventual death, but now it’s happened. My heart is with all of you who are also feeling these feelings, and the stress and worry about what to do and how to help.

    The week before her death, my kitty, Shiori, did something she’d never done before, she climbed into bed with me while I was asleep. She did this not once, but twice. I rouse very easily and don’t stay asleep long, yet somehow she managed this. She used to lay on top of me every night before I slept, but not during, and we hadn’t done this lately since I changed the room I slept in. I love having the comfort of one next to me as I sleep very much, I can’t help feeling that this was her way of saying goodbye to me and that she knew she was dying. We startled eachother each time this happened, since it was so unexpected for me, I knocked right into her! Well, it can’t be helped… Just wanted to share another memory with you all. She was such a reclusive cat that I worried she wasn’t as happy as a social cat, I found myself comparing when I read stories, but then I remember these times we spent comforting eachother. She was just like me, and the quiet one on one time was just like us.

  122. acb Says:

    I’ve been watching my dear kitty waste away for several months. A few days ago, she stopped eating and drinking.
    I’ve been committed to letting her die naturally at home. Until now, she hasn’t been suffering – she went on a successful mousing expedition just last week! She has been very affectionate for several weeks, but now is beginning to hide for much of the day.
    It is breaking my heart to watch her slip away, and I’m beginning to second guess my decision. I’m afraid that the end will be painful, or that I’ll miss it somehow. And I am fearful of the judgement of people who don’t understand my choice.
    Thank you for writing on this important subject. Your compassionate words are helpful to me in a very hard time.

  123. Anne Says:

    I am also struggling this right now. My 11 year old cat Takkun has not had a good year. In February, the vet found an arrhythmia during his yearly checkup and referred us to a cat cardiologist. The cardiologist performed an echo and found no visible signs of damage to his heart (yay!). He prescribed him Solotol and told us to come back in 6 months for a follow up. Two months later, my poor Takkun had a blood clot in his front right leg. I brought him to the ER and after discussing options with the ER vet, I decided to give him pain medicine at home and see how he does. The ER vet told me that within 3 days I should know if he will make it or not, but it was unlikely he would regain use of his leg. After three days of hand feeding, he made a miraculous recovery! On day 4, he had full use of his leg and was running around like nothing ever happened. Two months later however, I found a mass on his left hind leg. The vet wanted to do surgery to remove the mass, but recommended he go back to the cardiologist for a follow up beforehand. Well, the cardiologist on follow up found that his heart has enlarged significantly since his last visit and he has two more masses in his lungs. He says the blod clot could have been caused by the masses in his lungs, rather than his heart. We have decided to stop treatment, so I’ve been spoiling him and trying to keep him comfortable at home for the last three weeks. He only eats when being coaxed and he is starting to have mobility issue. This is my first pet so I think I will probably have him euthanized soon. My biggest fear with allowing a natural death is that he will have another blood clot. Those are extremely painful! … It feels good just to type this and share it with the black hole that is the internet. Good luck everyone!

  124. Emilia Ramirez Says:

    this is so helpful
    so helpful
    so helpful

    my cat is very very very very very sick – he’s on CBD oil so he keeps moving and eating and purring :) but he’s dying.

    yesterday the vet did the ‘quality of life’ conversation which i get … but on the phone today with my mom i said, ‘the spiritual component of death is a crucial variable to the equation and science does not make room for it at the table”

    and so i’m left to my own sense of right and wrong …

    i do not want to deliberately take my cats life. I told him two nights ago, “our story is better than that” I want him to pass away in my arms … purring … knowing how much he was loved.

    so thank you for this gorgeous thread of heartache and heartfelt words that exist here ; ) such a respite for me and a validation.

    Thank you.

    Emilia and Crusty Crustacean

  125. Diane Says:

    I am so glad I found this site. My 14 year old Kiki passed last night. My sweet little girl who licked the unending stream of tears off my face when my father died.

    I knew she was dying and had been going back and forth in my mind whether to take her to be euthanized or to let her pass naturally. Everything I found in my searches recommend euthanasia. Because Kiki did not appear to be in pain I found I couldn’t make the decision to have her euthanized.

    She lingered for two weeks. At first she stopped eating. The vet gave me some food that was supposed to stimulate her appetite but she wasn’t even interested in that. They told me to feed her a gruel mixture of the food and warm water through a plastic plunger/syringe type thing but she simply did not want it and it seemed cruel to me to force feed her.

    Kiki found me when she was about 4 weeks old. She was under a shrub outside my kitchen window, crying. I heard her while doing dishes one evening. I don’t know if she was abandoned by a human or if she was part of a feral cat family. I took her to the vet because she was so sick. I was told she probably would not make it through the night because her body temperature was so low. I wrapped her in a soft towel and kept her on my chest to share my body warmth all night. My partner was disgusted because Kiki was also having diarrhea. I kept her clean and changed towels but I was not going to put her down. The next morning, she was hungry. I knew she had made it and would be ok.

    For the next 14 years she never left my BR of her own will. Friends referred to her as my imaginary cat. When I did pick her up to take her to the vet, I would wrap her in a towel to keep from being clawed. She only felt safe in my BR. That is a big part of the reason I found it difficult to take her to a vet to be euthanized.

    Over the last week, she was unable to make it to the litter box. I put down plastic backed absorbent sheets and then soft towels triple layered for her comfort and their absorbency. I checked on her often so I could change the towel if she urinated.

    She was still refusing food but drinking a lot of water. I tried putting honey in the water after reading that it could be nourishing. I also gave her the juice out of a can of water packed albacore and she actually ate that.

    When I was with her and petting her, she was purring and never ever showed any sign of pain. I did wonder if I was making a mistake giving her nourishment since that could only prolong the inevitable but she seemed to truly enjoy the albacore liquid although only a small amount at a time. After 2 days she wasn’t interested in that, either.

    Last night, I had just gone to her to check her towels and give her water and stroke and comfort her and she looked up at me and cried. That was the first time she had shown any sign of distress. I was immediately hit with feelings of guilt. I was thinking I should have taken her to be euthanized- she was in pain. What I was watching, I now realize, was death. A natural death. It is not for the faint of heart. It was heart wrenching. During the time she cried, I lost control of my emotions, but I was able to comfort her by stroking her and talking to her. I was also able to go over in my mind the process of death. Is it cruel to allow a beloved pet to pass through a natural death? I came to the conclusion that it was the kindest, most honorable thing I could do for her. I think many of the decisions we make in regards to others have more to do with ourselves than with the others. We believe we are acting in the best interest of others but are actually taking the path that is best for us. It is painful to watch a loved one die. For those looking for information, as I was, I am going to describe the physical process. Please skip ahead if you don’t want to read death described: she cried a few times and looked to me. I did my best to comfort her through my tears. Her breathing became very weak and she didn’t seem to be lucid – perhaps her spirit was leaving when she cried to me. Her eyes were vacant. Her body was shutting down. I was lying with her maybe 20 minutes when she coughed and choked and seemed to vomit. A small amount of foul smelling brownish colored stuff. Her breath was rattling – “death rattles” – then became irregular and then simply stopped. At that point, her body arced – as if she were stretching. I choose to believe her spirit left when she cried. The remainder was the physical body shutting down.

    When I die, I hope I have someone who loves my by my side to the end and I hope I am able to die a natural death – painful as it may seem to others. It is a natural part of life that we as a society try not to think about.

    Every person has to make their own decision and most pet owners do what they believe with all their hearts is best for their pet. We choose different courses but we all make our decisions out of love.

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  128. Brudget Says:

    Thank you for this article Patti. Our 19 year old cat has not eaten since Friday, he has also stopped drinking. He has been sleeping on our bed and lying on his cushion in the living room. We know he is dying and getting ready to cross the Rainbow Bridge but we don’t think he is in pain so we have decided to let him pass over naturally. I am crying as I write this because our Ezzie is loved so mych; if we

  129. Brudget Says:

    Thank you for this article Patti. Our 19 year old cat has not eaten since Friday, he has also stopped drinking. He has been sleeping on our bed and lying on his cushion in the living room. We know he is dying and getting ready to cross the Rainbow Bridge but we don’t think he is in pain so we have decided to let him pass over naturally. I am crying as I write this because our Ezzie is loved so much; if we thought he was in any pain at all then we would take him to our vet . We have been talking to him about all the other sentient beings he will meet once he crosses, his brother Isaac who we did have euthanised and our dog Nellie who also died naturally at home. We will miss him terribly but we know his time has come.
    Thank you again Patti xx

  130. Heather Says:

    Dear Patti,
    Thank you for your original blog post and for keeping the reply open for everyone.
    A few weeks ago, I came across this post and made the decision to let my Kitty die a natural death. She had developed heart problems after a few years of dealing with hyper-thyroidism. Even with treatment, the prognosis wasn’t good and I was faced with the decision we all struggle with. While I was struggling and wondering about natural death, I found your post and read every single comment.
    Like many others, my Kitty absolutely hated the vet, even if they came to our home. That fact, along with everyone’s stories helped me make my decision and I’m glad I did.
    From all the information, I was ready for the possible emergency as well as the final moments which do involve some noises and movements we culturally aren’t prepared for when our pets pass.
    So last night I knew Kitty was done when I tried to brush her. She has had life in her eyes and was happy to keep trying for the past few weeks, but I finally saw that ‘look’ and I knew she was tired and ready to rest for good. I told her I loved her and that I was sorry but I would have to call the vet in the morning (for euthanasia).
    Maybe she understood me , because my Kitty passed away this morning at 6:01 AM, after blessing me with her feisty calico love for 19 years and 9 months.
    Her death took just a few minutes in which she awoke at 5:55 AM and couldn’t seem to get comfortable again. She got up, circled the room and gasped a few times, then went back to her spot. She laid down again, let out two odd groans and passed away on her favorite comfy chair.
    It was hard to watch, but so much better than the vets ‘peaceful death room’ where thousands of pets have died on a strange rug covering the concrete floor.
    I am glad she died in her home, in her favorite chair.
    Thank you Patti and thank you all for sharing your stories.
    Rest in Peace Kitty
    7/4/1997 – 4/19/2017

  131. Robert Hall Says:

    I read this blog about 3 years ago when my cat “Kit-Kat” who I had for 11 years,and looked to be maybe 10 already when I got him,was diagnosed with diabetes and the prognosis was not good..

    Long story short,I’m disabled and living on SSI,and my mom who I cared for in her home since 2000 when she became deathly ill with COPD ,passed away in late June of 2013 after being admitted to a life care facility for 3 months..
    I also had cared for my father who had Parkinsons disease and stomach ulcers which took 2/3rds of his stomach in 1976,he was forced to retire at age 59 and he died in April 2000,just shy of his 75th birthday..watching both my parents failing for so long before dying took a lot out of me,I was mourning their deaths long before they actually passed..

    My mom loved cats,we always had at least one “indoor” cat all my life–and at one time we had no less than 15-20 feral strays living on our property,after she started feeding ONE..–they got to be a issue with neighbors and the MSPCA got involved,they had a volunteer come trap them one by one and had them neutered,their ears notched,and brought back to us–there is only 3 or 4 left now,that are likely either offspring of the “originals” or perhaps new arrivals someone dumped off here..

    Kit Kat was a very good kitty…he had quite a personality and he used to “tap” me on the arm when he wanted something,a habit my mothers cat Puff-Puff learned to copy…he was pretty healthy right up until his diabetes diagnosis..sadly,we were unable to afford the meds or be able to inject him daily,so his poor life was cut short,which broke my heart..

    At the end ,he was just flopping down “anywhere”,he was weak,and one day I found him lying IN the litter box…I tried everything to get him to drink or eat,he simply refused..after 2 days of this it became clear there was no hope of recovery,even if we had money for a vet..

    It was a Saturday morning when I found him nearly comatose near his cat bed–feeling guilty,I called several vets in my local area–all 3 said “Has he been a patient here before ?–we aren’t accepting new patients–and “we’re booked up solid until Monday–call us then!”..
    One place even said “we do not euthanize pets unless he can determine if they can be saved or not”..

    Though it would have been a burden to scrape up or borrow money to have him put down–NO vet was willing to do it”now”,and prices ranged from 50 to 90 dollars (to kill your cat!)…poor Kit-Kat laid next to me in his bed and passed away around 3 pm that afternoon,without a whimper ,and I had to use a pickaxe and shovel to dig him a grave in my back yard,it was December 14th and snowing,20 degrees..
    I never cried so much in my life–I had just lost my mom in late June,only 5 months earlier..

    After my mom died,Puff-Puff became “my” cat,even though I used to care for and play with her since we got her–she stuck to “mom” like glue,it took awhile for her to really bond with me,but we soon became inseperable..she carried on the “tap-tap” tradition Kit-Kat taught her,and though she never was a “lap cat”.she always wasn’t far away from me when I sat to watch TV..

    Puff had several “scares” during her life–around 2011 she became ill,refused to eat,and the only vet open at that time of night was an “emergency animal hospital” in a town 12 miles away…I had to borrow my mom’s credit card and I raced to the place,and they demanded 150 dollars “up front” before they would even look at the cat–after I relented and gave them the credit card,a vet came out,spent maybe 3 minutes examining her,and says “your cat has several badly infected teeth–they must be removed NOW,or she’ll probably die from the infection”.

    I was then told this will cost 800 dollars–when I said we hardly were able to afford the 150 dollars already charged,the vet became belligerant,and says “So,you want to take it home and let it DIE ?–or I can put her down right now,for 55 dollars”…
    He then said “I shouldn’t even give the cat back to you ,if your just going to let it die”..
    I told him to give me my cat right now,or I’d call the police,after I punch him in the face!–he then has an assistant bring Puff out to me,and bluntly says loudly “People who cant afford to care properly for a pet,shouldn’t HAVE pets”…everyone in the waiting room stared at me as I walked out..
    I flipped him off,and said “I will NEVER set foot in this place again”…and told the folks sitting in the waiting room “I’d go somewhere else if I were you”!..

    This wasn’t the first sour experience I’d had there,and after talking to many other people I know,they related similar stories with that place too..

    Puff-Puff soon recovered on her own and was FINE for at least 5 years–when she got sick again in 2014,I though sure this was “it” for her..I brought her to a “Cats only” hospital a few miles away,the vet there looked her over and said “well-if she had any bad teeth–they are gone now!–her mouth looks ok to me–I think she’s having kidney issues,and she has a heart murmur”..

    A few weeks of antibiotic treatment and some Flori-Fauna food appetite stimulant got her eating again,and she soon was her old self again..

    In August of last year,she took a turn for the worse–I had to go to a “new” vet as the cat hospital was doing surgery that day–the vet told me she was probably in the “end stages” of kidney and liver failure–all he could do was either give her some fluids and send her home,or have her put down…I opted to have him give her an IV of antibiotic,steroids,and whatever else they felt might help her..the vet said “I realize your not financially able to do a lot of tests,etc,and at this stage,it probably will be a waste of money–if she takes a turn for the worse,bring her in and I’ll put her to sleep at no cost”..
    I only had 120 dollars on me then,he wanted 150 for the treatment,but took what I had,and “wrote off” the rest..

    I brought Puff home and she dashed behind the couch and laid there panting for 2 days,I couldn’t coax her out,and thought sure she was a gonner…but the third day,she snuck out while I was watching TV and drank some water,then cried for some food–she ate a full bowl in minutes,and I had bought baby food for her,the vet said that might be the only thing besides tuna or fish she’d eat (which isn’t really good for her the vet said,but better than starving)..

    She has eaten over 150 jars of baby food since,and did well up until lately..I still gave her regular wet cat food too,but she doesn’t seem to like it like she used too “Fancy Feast” classic or pate is all she’d eat,she loves the foods with gravy,but she’d just lap up the gravy and leave the rest–then vomit 10 minutes later,so I stopped buying that for her..

    Well,the inevitable has come–she started using her litter box only to pee in,after August,and she started pooping on the floor “wherever”,so I had to resort to laying down newspapers in the places she “went” most often…

    Then she started hiding under the bed in “her” room more and more–I knew this was not good,cats do that when they are ill…

    Back in February I started to hear her “yowl” just before vomiting up some white foam or food,not often,or every day,but enough to concern me..

    Last few weeks she started refusing to eat ,and she would shake her head as if to say “no”,like she had a bad tooth ,and she’d drop food when chewing–I figured I’d better take her to the vet,and see if anything could be done…
    So,yesterday my neighbor was kind enough to take me to the vet in her truck,and the vet I had this time wasn’t the guy I had that owns the clinic,it was a younger woman…they told me “your cat only weighs 3.5 lbs,and is probably already too far gone to save,but she does seem to want to live–if you want,we can give her the same thing as last time,but she’s probably not going to pull through”..

    I told them to go took maybe 5 minutes..
    When I went to the “checkout” desk,the woman says “$204 dollars even please”…
    I was shocked–I told her I’m not rich,and the last time it would have been $150 and I only had $120 on me,and they accepted that..good thing I had brought over $200 with me–I swear they scan my wallet when I walk in there…they told me an “office visit” was $65 ,and whatever else is done gets added to that..

    Wel,Puff-Puff is back home,frail and weak,and looks “stoned”,but she has eaten some since we got back,and the vet did call this morning to see if she improved any–I said yes,but she’s SO thin,just skin & bones,and I had been letting her drink water from the kitchen sink,she likes that,and probably wouldn’t drink from her bowl..

    Once again the vet gives me the “lecture” about how cats may not appear to be suffering,but are,and I really should think about her “quality of life”…well,the poor cat gets so traumatized every time I take it to a vet,it probably takes years off her life span…
    I do nit look forward to watching poor Puff Puff get worse and die,after having done so with my parents,my other cat,and several friends in recent years..
    I am praying she’ll recover at least some,and be able to live awhile longer,she has to be on her 9th life this time though..
    I dont even know how old she is,at least 17 years I think–I remember my dad asking me to get her off his bed and shut the door,and he died in 2000,I’m thinking it was 1998 or 1999 we got Puff…
    She has been by my side through all my worst days,and the thought of losing her rips my heart out..

    But I will add this–since I cannot afford vet bills,and after being treated poorly by several vets here who put money over helping animals,charge outrageous fees ,I have vowed to never again own a pet…it is not fair to the animal,or myself,and I will not put myself through this emotional trauma again…it is bad enough I have my siblings to worry about getting ill or dying,I don’t need a pet to worry about..Also I’ll be able to go away for a few days without having to worry about who’ll feed the cat,etc..

    I may still feed a few “outdoor ferals”,but no more pets for me–this is hard for me because I DO love animals..and I live alone,it’ll be tough to adjust to losing Puff-Puff after having her be part of my life so long..she is my last “connection” to my mom too..

    Puff has been jumping up in my lap the past several days and purring,despite her frail condition..I think she is telling me “goodbye”,and I cant stop the tears from flowing…I just hope she’ll pass in her sleep peacefully like Kit-Kat did–otherwise I will have to pay more to have her “put to sleep”…

    After the experience my best friend had when he had to put his cat down a month ago,he told me it was “horrible”,the vet couldn’t find a vein,the cat screamed and fought,and the “main vet” had to come out and take over for the intern,after they finally injected enough in it,he said the look on the cat’s face was like “you murdered me”…he said never again,he would rather have one shot with a gun than go thru that again..

    My prayers go out to everyone who may read this who has to go through this very heartbreaking time of pet ownership..

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