Euthanasia Decisions

In today’s society cats are seen as a member of the family and are embraced with love and respect.  Due to the advances in veterinary medicine and the migration of cats to becoming well looked after pets, rather than barnyard cats catching mice, they are living longer and in closer relationships with humans. The longer the relationship, the tighter the bond. This tight bond often makes it very difficult to consider the end of a cat’s life. Although it is upsetting to think about the fact that our cats’ lives are generally shorter than our own, thinking about a cat’s eventual possible need for euthanasia and making a plan ahead of time will relieve much of the stress associated with decisions that need to be made when the end of life is near.

How will I know when euthanasia is the most appropriate and humane option for my cat?

Unfortunately, most cats at some point will develop a life-limiting disease. As soon as a diagnosis is made, it’s time to begin measuring the cat’s quality of life. Your vet will help you identify the right time for euthanasia if you keep him or her informed about the day-to-day details of your cat’s life at home. Discussion with your vet will clarify any specific medical implications of your cat’s disease that can serve as benchmarks to suggest that euthanasia should be considered.

Where will euthanasia happen?

Most commonly, euthanasia is provided at the vet practice.  Veterinary professionals can help you, your family, and your cat to be quite comfortable at this upsetting and challenging time.

After my cat passes away, what should I consider or plan?

There are a number of questions that you may like to ask your vet in preparation for the approaching death of your beloved cat. Some examples include:

  1. How will my cat’s body be handled after death?
  2. Do I want my cat to be cremated or buried?
  3. Do I want to keep a memorial, such as a lock of hair or my cat’s footprint in clay?
  4. How will my cat’s body be transported after death?

By having this detailed plan in place ahead of time, you may feel a little comforted so you can then focus on the remaining time you and your cat will share.

It is important to communicate your wishes clearly to your vet so that they can be honored appropriately. A bit of planning can make this challenging event a little bit easier to deal with, and will avoid this conversation at the most distressing time – just after the sad event has taken place .

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