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How do I know when it's time?

July 13th, 2007, 08:25 AM
My oldest cat Lucky ( 19 years old) isn't doing to good.
He has slowed down alot, goes up and down the stairs very slow, and sometimes looses his balance.
He eats, sleeps and eliminates fine.

How do I know when it's time?

I don't want to keep him alive for selfish reasons, but I don't want to put him down if he's not ready to go.....but how do I know?

This is so hard, and I want to do what's right for him!

July 13th, 2007, 08:33 AM
So sorry you are going through this :(

I don't know what to is a decision that only you can make. We had to make the decision with our dog 4 years ago and it was the hardest thing to do, but deep down it really is the right thing to do. When the time is right, you know that is really is the right time, but that doesn't make it an easy decision to make.

:grouphug: to you:grouphug:

July 13th, 2007, 08:44 AM
19! That's impressive for a cat, not the record, but he must be a fine old fellow (insert slavish request for a picture here :) ). A little bit of creakiness is normal, but you seem to suggest he's having a hard time, not just slowing down.
If he were my cat, I'd take him to the vet for a thorough exam, and ask for a senior's blood panel (where they look for any number of conditions common in older cats). Maybe he has a touch of arthritis (although I've never heard of it in cats) or something else which is causing him pain.
And even if his end is nigh (and I seriously doubt it), there are things you can do to make him more comfortable.
Don't delay.

July 13th, 2007, 08:45 AM
Oh, happycats, I'm so sorry you're faced with this decision! :grouphug: It's never easy...

You have to decide what you feel is most important to Lucky. Is he still enjoying a sunny window or a soft snuggle? Does he still have good times each day? Do the good things outweigh the discomfort he's feeling. If he's eating, drinking, eliminating, sleeping okay, he may prefer to hang around a while longer.

We've had dogs that have told us it's time...they quit eating, they show no joy, they have a look about them. And we've had others who wouldn't have appreciated losing any of the minutes that they'd been allotted--our gutsy macho Priscilla was like that. :o We knew she was uncomfortable--she had an inoperable vascular tumor in her sinuses and was having frequent nose bleeds and was just not herself. But she still enjoyed life immensely. She ended up bleeding out in the back yard under her favorite bushes very peacefully just hours before our appointment with the vet to have her pts. Very traumatic for us, but she always did prefer things on her own terms. :candle:

You know Lucky better than anyone, so you'll know. Your vet might be able to help you put things in perspective, but in the end, Lucky will tell you when it's time to go. :grouphug: Meanwhile, TLC, and lots of cuddles.

We'll be holding you in our thoughts and prayers.

July 13th, 2007, 08:53 AM
I know it is one of the hardest decisions you will make and you will know when it is time, Lucky will tell you. If you are not sure now, it is probably too soon.

Cherish every moment you have with him and give him all the love you can. Spoil him rotten!

July 13th, 2007, 08:59 AM
I am sorry that you are going through this, I do know that IT IS a hard desision to make,
if you look deep inside of yourself you should be able to find the answer, the qulity of life is the key to answer this question, and you and your vet are the only two people who can make this desion.
my thought are with you in your time of need and hopfuly it will give you strenght when you need it the most.
big :grouphug: and kisses from me.

July 13th, 2007, 09:13 AM
oh gosh, im so sorry. we went through this last summer with our 16yo cockers. it was so hard. :(

Betsy couldnt always make it outside to go potty, she couldnt see or hear anymore. Lady had a hard time to keep her food down and couldnt see either.

but those things took a while to set in so i dont think it was really based on that in the end. i think in the end we just knew in our hearts it was the right time.

i think if you are asking, its coming up on it. take your time, really search your heart and you will know. :( i sorry, this was the hardest decision i think ive ever had to make in my life.


July 13th, 2007, 09:28 AM
It is so hard to watch our loved ones deteriorate, especially when they can't talk to us verbally and tell us how they feel. I found this website: very useful in helping to evaluate an animal's quality of life. It uses an HHHHHMM scale for Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Hygiene, Happiness, Mobility, More good days than bad. Each category is rated on a scale of 1-10 and everyone involved in the animal's life is encouraged to give input.

It's true, from my experience with having to put down my cat a couple years ago, that your really do know when it's "time". Something intangible, just this sense in your soul, that you're pet is suffering beyond what they can handle. A little while afterwards, as part of the grieving process, I did start to doubt my decision, but when I came across the above website and read through the HHHHHMM scale, I knew for sure that I'd done the right thing.

Hope this helps somewhat. I feel for you.

July 13th, 2007, 10:44 AM
I'm sorry you are going through this, it really is hard to think one day your friend will not be there. I think you will know when it is time as your cat will tell you. My last dog did and I could not get to her fast enough so the vet could put her down. She was in the hospital for several days, got a bit better, but then one night took a turn for the worse. When I found out what was going on, all I wanted was to get to her so I could say goodbye, and then finally end her suffering. I never regretted the decision, but only wish I had known sooner, so her suffering could have been ended sooner. My regret is that I may have in fact waited too long. Though it is hard when our pets die, believe me that you do not want to see them suffer so much and blame yourself for it. It is a fine line, and one I do not want to make the mistake of going over again.

Sounds like your cat may need to go see a vet, but if eating, drinking and eliminating as normal, probably has some quality time left on this earth and is not ready to go yet. Did this slowing down happen suddenly, or over time? Perhaps a vet can advise whether or not your cat is in pain and suffering. If not and is just getting old, slowing down, then it is not yet time. Could be he will just peacefully die in his sleep sometime, which doesn't seem a bad way to go, really.

July 13th, 2007, 11:22 AM
Lots of people told me I would know (last year for Daisy) well , sometimes , it's not that easy. It was a roller coaster, one day is fine , the next day is not , then it goes back to fine .... It was very hard for me , and I never got that feeling about knowing when it was the right time.

Badger suggested going to the vet for an exam , then you could talk with your vet about what and when to do it. I's so sorry you're going thru this, I know how hard it is. :grouphug:

July 13th, 2007, 11:37 AM
:grouphug: happycats ~ letting the ones we love most in life go is easily the hardest decision we must make, particularly when they cannot speak clearly and decisively for themselves. I like the H-M scale provided by sugarcats and hope that the results of the Vet visit will help ease your mind about having to make a decision soon.

July 13th, 2007, 04:43 PM
Thank you all so much for the kind words and great advise, and sugarcats that's a great website

I had a friend come over with their SIL who is a vet (I begged and begged, because Lucky HATES car rides and vets) and he's okay. pretty good for a 19 year old, a little stiff, but that's to be expected at his age, his teeth are a little rough, but not bad, and it's not recomended that we sedate him at this age to clean them.

So Lucky will be around for a bit longer, my poor old guy. We just give him lots of love and treats so he can enjoy his remaining time here with us!

July 14th, 2007, 05:16 PM
Do they have walkers for cats yet?:)

Glad to hear after reading this thread that for now the prognosis is good and you have more time with your kitty! :goodvibes:

July 14th, 2007, 05:40 PM
So Lucky will be around for a bit longer, my poor old guy. We just give him lots of love and treats so he can enjoy his remaining time here with us!

:thumbs up Glad to hear that.:grouphug:

July 14th, 2007, 09:31 PM
It's so hard to watch them get old and feeble. Two of our cats, Toby and little Max, both died 5 years apart, both 18, both hated cars and the vet. They died at home. We decided to let them die where they felt most comfortable. It was hard on us, both ate right up until the day they died. I hope you have your kitty for a while yet.