Why should my cat have had to wretch in an attempt to vomit while being put to sleep?

My beautiful 5 1/2 yr old Felix had been hospitalized multiple times from chronic FLUTD. Each time it recurred it was worse than the previous episode. Yesterday, before hospitalizing Felix, the vet discussed his prognosis - he needed surgery: penis removal and re-routing his urethra. Reminded of the additional complication of a heart murmur , I felt the kindest thing for Felix was to let him slip into a peaceful deep sleep. I expected a peaceful experience for my boy but was horrified when the vet pushed on the plunger and Felix began gagging like he wanted to vomit! It was so horrible and I wonder if it was preventable. I opted for euthanasia to prevent suffering and watched my baby suffer in his last moments of life. What went wrong?

Best Answers

  • Valerie DurhamValerie Durham Member Posts: 8,724
    Accepted Answer
    So sorry for your loss. I've never had a cat euthanized before, so I can't say. My Kitty died at 15 from kidney failure. She looked okay on Saturday morning, looked sick on Saturday evening, and went to the vet's on Sunday, by which time she was comatose. She died at midnight on Tuesday. She was comatose and I don't think she was in pain, but right before she died she spewed out a great deal of blood, and then her heart stopped. I suspect--but I'm a vet and can't say for sure--that Felix was out of it when he started gagging. Catsters with euthanasia experience, please advise. And purrs and RIP to Felix. And purrs and prayers to you.
  • Molly StrothkampMolly Strothkamp MesaMember Posts: 1,381
    Accepted Answer
    I'm very sorry about your loss of your sweet kitty. My only experience with euthanasia was when my beloved Sally went into sudden heart failure. While in heart failure, she did some gagging because she had fluid in her lungs from the heart failure. During the euthanasia, she was not gagging but was having trouble breathing. I was holding her in my arms and she did react a bit (she kind of pushed back against me) when the medicine was adminstered. It was a heart-breaking experience and I'm quite emotional right now thinking about it, even though it was almost 2 years ago. My heart goes out to you. Sending my deepest sympathy to you. I'm not sure what happened with Felix but I'm so sorry for your loss and for what happened. Could you talk to the vet who was there? That may or may not help. There are also grief counselors that specialize in loss of companion animals, this may help, especially after such a difficult experience. Take care.
  • Joy WaltersJoy Walters Member Posts: 9,276
    Accepted Answer
    I am so very sorry for your loss of Felix and even sorrier that it was such a traumatizing experience. What Sally says is true. Since you are so upset by this, please call your vet clinic and ask to talk to the vet him or herself. You need to discuss this with your vet and be assured that Felix was not suffering when this happened. Ask for a "layman's" explanation about what this happened and if the vet says anything you do not understand, stop him or her and indicate this. Your vet should have no problem discussing this, comforting you and explaining to you what happened. If they do or if you feel they are not being kind to you, there are veterinary checks and balances organizations you can contact. once again, my deepest sympathies and many cyber-hugs to you.
  • Kellyann CookeKellyann Cooke Member Posts: 373
    Accepted Answer
    I am so sorry for your loss - I had to put my cat Peanut to sleep because he was in renal failure many years ago and just as the vet was administering the shot Peanut gagged - it only lasted a second and I asked the vet why - he said sometimes they can taste the injection. I was confused because it was intravenous but he assured me that it was normal - it could have been a nerve reaction as well. I know these things are not comforting - but as difficult as it was to make the decision to end Peanut's suffering the thought of him suffering through the process was even greater. I found the vet's explanation to be sufficient at the time. Talk to your vet and ask them to explain it to you if you need additional comfort. Rest assured you made the most difficult, but humane, decision and your beloved pet is probably much better off than having suffered through a prolonged death. Prayers and purrs for you and your family.
  • Myndi DavisMyndi Davis LehiMember Posts: 215
    Accepted Answer
    I am so sorry you had this experience! My heart goes out to you. In most cases, they do pass on peacefully, so I am unsure what happened. Sometimes they make a few last attempts to breathe as a reflex, which looks like they are gasping for air, though they are unconcious and feel nothing. I'm not sure if this is what happened in your case. Don't beat yourself up about it though, because it was not your fault. You made the right decision and it must have been hard for you to let go and say goodbye.
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