when is it time to let go?

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    I have a 14+ year old female tabby who was diagnosed about 4 years ago with kidney disease. At this time we had added a new dog and one of our other cats turned on her becasue she had a hard time adjusting to the dog. She spent several years in our bedroom seperated from the male cat. She has done great with an occasional vomitting. She is on a special kidney diet. We recently have moved and put to sleep the mean cat. She has been running around the house like a new cat and rarely vomits.Excited for guests to pet her again. Over the past several weeks I have noticed she has lost a lot of weight. Her back end is boney. She also has decreased her eating and her last BM’s was 3 days ago. She is still very alert but I feel like her days are quickly coming to an end. She still comes down to the kitchen like she wants to eat but really isn;t interested once you give it to her. I know that it is easy to say to one who is unsure when it is time that once your pet loses interested in the things they love, it is time. I still can’t say that I am sure she is ready to go yet. I am just afraid I will wait to long. All I do when I see her is wonder if it is time instead of really enjoying what time we have. Could someone please provide me some thoughts as to what I am watching for or are the signs in front of me and I need to face reality?

    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    [quote=gail]Could someone please provide me some thoughts as to what I am watching for or are the signs in front of me and I need to face reality?[/quote]

    Hi Gail-

    Welcome!! It’s nice to see you posting here though I’m sorry that you are contemplating putting your cat to sleep.

    Has recent blood work ruled out the presence of other correctable causes of weight loss like hyperthyroidism? Have you tried feeding a fresh food diet (pieces of real chicken, beef, fish, etc.), and if so does that make any difference in the appetite?

    There are A LOT of holistic changes that can help in this situation once you have determined that nothing else is going on. I know you’re going to tell me that your cat is elderly so why do further testing? Everything you wrote though sounds like she has a good quality of life so why should her age matter. My own 18 year old cat developed liver disease due to a tumor. After it was removed she had another 3 years of excellent life.

    I realize that this is not what you’re asking, but it is important to realize that age is only a part of the equation. She’s still interactive, playful and happy so why think that her death is imminent?

    The links below will help you make a decision about what to do. One is an excellent article on evaluating quality of life (written by a cancer specialist), and the other is a general overview of euthanasia, making the decision, etc.

    Definitely keep us informed about what you decide and let us know if you need any other help.




    Thank you for your helpful advice. I took my girl to the Dr. today to rule any other possibilities but found the cause to be her kidneys. Her levels are through the roof. Though they lighlty suggested dyalisis, I want her last few days to be pleasant and at home. They gave her some fluids and I am going to spend the weekend loving her and we will make our final trip together on Monday night. I am okay with putting her to sleep, I just want to be sure I can do it before she is in pain. We found her as a stray and She has had a fabulous life and 4 more years since being diagnosed with kidney disease. This will be my final gift to her. Again, I thank you for your help. I wish there was a better diagnosis. All great things must come to an end…Sadie will live on, on the other side of rainbow bridge.

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