How Do You Say Goodbye? by da-AL

The good vet kept my little friend warm, wrapped in a special heating pad…

This week I’ve been looking after a friend’s two elderly cats. While one shows her age only by her lack of teeth, the one in this photo was thin and slow.

A couple of nights ago, this little guy was listless. My husband and I massaged him, got him to drink some broth, turned up the room’s thermostat, and made sure he was comfy on his pillow throughout the night.

The next morning he was back to looking awful.

A couple of months earlier he’d appeared to be on the brink of death, yet pulled through. Now, given how he’d perked up somewhat the night before, I took him to the vet optimistic that some intravenous fluids might perk him up.

Unfortunately, the vet affirmed that there was remote hope that the kitty had any more good days allotted to him, probably not a single day left without constant pain and nausea.

Of the few pets I’ve had, I’ve never had to decide whether to euthanize them.

In the case of this sweet boy, my friend decided. I did, however, decide whether to be with the kitty when the final injection was administered. The vet’s caveat was that the cat wouldn’t care either way. Given that, he suggested that if I stayed, I might always remember the cat at his worst.

After considerable deliberation, I opted not to be there.

Have you had to make such a decision? If so, how and what did you choose?

Do’s and don’ts for if your friend has lost a pet.

Here and here are professional links about pet euthanasia.

78 thoughts on “How Do You Say Goodbye? by da-AL”

  1. Its the toughest part of being a pet owner. It’s probably the most important part in my opinion. I tried to be there at the end because I think its reassuring to the animal but on two occasions I could not because I had to go to work and my husband went on his own (poor chap) and I know that my mother has been unable to face being there with a couple of her cats. So long as they are with kind and gentle people at the end it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that they are not suffering.

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  2. It is always a terrible decision to make it.I had to do it ,over the years with 2 cats and a dog.The trigger to decide for me was when they were obviously suffering .I tried to see it as an act of mercy.When life is not life anymore and it is more surviving through pain it is time.It was painful all the time ,took me a while to recover but I took comfort on the fact that their suffering was over.I have always been there with them,during the procedure and my dog I brought it home and buried him under a rose plant.

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  3. Yes I have. It’s hard. I still get emotional. Prince was the dog I had before Scout. He was a wolf hybrid. He got lose and in an act of rebellion ran out in front of a car. I just couldn’t sentence him to spend the rest of his life in pain and suffering. We took him to the vet and I held him until he drew his last breath. It’s why my little buddy Scout ( border Beagle) is strictly an inside dog.

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  4. Daal, I’m so sorry the cat was so ill, and I understand your feelings about not wanting to be there when he died. We had a dog we loved very much and she lived to be 15 years old. She had a tumor but she still loved to be with us and to walk every day. I knew she’d let me know when she’d had enough, and the day she refused to walk, I took her to the vet. Our older son came with me, our younger son declined. I didn’t question either decision. The two of us held her in our arms the whole time, and we all thought of her every day for years after. Suffering in pain is not a gift for anyone, but an animal can’t understand why we don’t remove her pain. My heart goes out to you. You made the decision you can live with and that’s important.

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  5. Your cat would definitely have known you were there. I had a hamster who was dying and when I picked him up in my hands, he opened his eyes and looked at me, and then died. In your situation, it must have been very difficult to decide to put your pet to sleep but there was no choice.

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