Euthanize vrs. naturally passing away at home?

I am at that difficult point where I don't know if its Jack's time or not. I don't want him to suffer, but I don't want to play God and euthanize him before his time either. Jack has a severe heart defect and we were told he would be lucky to live past 6 months. He will be turning 4 yrs, so I suppose I should be grateful for all our time together, but I am so depressed and don't want him to lose him. Jack hasn't been doing well the past few months and I really don't think he will make it to the end of the year. His medication is at its maximum dose so there is nothing more we can do. I can tell he is experiencing some discomfort from his condition and its side effects, but there is no way to know how much pain he may be feeling. I don't know if I should just let him pass away at home in his own time, or realize he has had a good life and euthanize him to end his discomfort. Prayers are greatly appreciated and welcomed.

Best Answers

  • Valerie DurhamValerie Durham Member Posts: 8,724
    Accepted Answer
    I was going to write "Poor Jack!", but after reading your page, I thought how lucky he's been to find you and have a good life and been loved, for much longer than was predicted. Your decision is a difficult one. The standard answer is that when an animal's quality of life goes down, or the animal is obviously suffering, they should be euthanized. But I live in a country where euthanization is not as common as in the U.S.--both of my former cats died at home, fortunately without showing any overt suffering or loss of quality of life (except the usual effects of growing old). Many Catsters would automatically tell you that euthanasia is the most humane choice, but if Jack could talk, he might tell you he'd prefer to continue to receive your love even if he's in discomfort. It's a difficult decision, and I dread the day when I may have to make it myself. You know Jack best; follow your heart. I can't make your decision for you, but my prayers are with you and Jack.
  • Lisa DaversLisa Davers SacramentoMember Posts: 3,642
    Accepted Answer
    Leila is right. I think the only thing you can do is make sure that Jack seems to be doing OK (not hiding, purring, not in obvious severe pain etc). I've had 3 elderly cats die in the past few years. 1 died at home and 2 were euthanised at the vet. The 2 who were euthanised had been ill (kidney disease and cancer) but were doing OK. In the last day they really went downhill fast and it became obvious it was there time. Hopefully you'll have the same with Jack. I wouldn't worry too much about it being "too soon" as you know him best so trust your instincts when you think it is time. The only other thing I can recommend is to make sure that you have a vet lined up if anything happens outside or regular hours and he's in distress. I was lucky that I could go to my regular vets but I had emergency vets identified if I needed it.
  • Joy WaltersJoy Walters Member Posts: 9,276
    Accepted Answer
    I am at that sad and nerve-wracking point with my Golden Retriever, Izzie's sister Mollie. She has a digestive abnormality that causes her to regurgitate 90% of what she eats. She does not appear to be in any pain, but is losing weight rapidly. The decision to euthanize is one of the most difficult we will ever have to make. I'd like to let Mollie pass away naturally, but by that time she will most likely be skin and bones. Of course you don't want to lose Jack any more than I want to lose Mollie. It hurts and it takes a long time to recover from. But if you know your animal, you will know when their quality of life has degraded to the point where it's "time". That's what's keeping me going in regards to my dog. I've already promised her "no heroic measure" like feeding tubes, etc. Vets will suggest these (they have to) but at that point we have to let them go with dignity. Your best bet is to have a difficult but necessary discussion with Jack's vet. We send many cyber hugs your way.
  • BambergcatBambergcat Member Posts: 838 ✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer
    About seven years ago, I had my Maine Coon, Ben, who had cancer on top of diabetes, He had Fus special care food, and had been treated for hyperthyroidism. With all of his difficulties, it was cancer that gave its toll. As for time, when Ben no longer wanted to eat even if coaxed, I brought him to the vet. The vet felt a very large growth of cancer. She told me that he was about at death's door. I didn't want him to suffer so I gave him his wings. It was so quick and painless. I patted him and comforted him to the last. It was important that he wasn't alone and felt no pain. You have to be the judge of Jack's condition and feeling. For Ben, it was the best. ( He was 16 years.) Jack is one lucky cat to have found you. I read your page. What an amazing story. Cats do have their pain so when you see it. They are feeling it. For Ben, he was free of pain. My vet gave him his wings to go anywhere..... Jack will tell you as my Ben told me...... Bamcat....
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