My cat, Gata, is somewhere around 16 years old. I’ve noticed her getting old over that last year or so, starting to realize that she was getting near the end of her life. Fortunately I’ve been around pets all my life, seen them come and go, experienced birth, death and the life cycle at a young age. So I was surprised that when the time came, even though I knew it was the right thing to do, I couldn’t make the decision to euthanize my cat right then and there.
She hadn’t been eating much for a couple of days, so I was planning on bringing her in to the vet anyway, but when I woke up yesterday morning she was walking like she had had a stroke. Kind of sideways, head cocked to one side, not really weaving across the floor, but making her way in a very purposeful manner. So I called the nearest vet and luckily he was willing to cram me in that day. I had to go down knowing that I could be waiting a long time until he had a few extra minutes, he was fully booked, but since he was willing to make the time, I was willing to do the waiting. Luckily it didn’t take that long, I think I wasn’t there for more than an hour and a half all together.
She’s got some serious kidney problems. He didn’t do a scan to see if she also had cancer, which he thought she might. I was really impressed with the way he handled both pet and owner, he never flat out said it was time to put her to sleep, but he did mention it in a way that made it perfectly acceptable. He gave me three options: 1 - Check her into an actual Animal Hospital over the weekend where they would hydrate her, medicate her and see if there was anything else wrong with her, 2 – Give her an injection of steroids and a prescription for antibiotics, send her home for the weekend and then bring her back Tuesday and see if she’s improved, or 3 - “let her go.”
The Animal Hospital option was going to be expensive, and he seemed hesitant to push that option. I think less just because of cost than poorly spent cost. Even without other complications they may find, and considering her age, the prognosis isn’t great. 20% chance of survival, even less of any long-term survival.
I think the second option was mostly for my benefit because, surprisingly to me, I wasn’t ready to make the decision to end her life. She doesn’t seem to be in any pain right now, she’s not meowing and she lays there and purrs when I pet her. If she were obviously suffering I think the decision to euthanize her would have been a lot easier. She’s just tired. She’ll move from one of her favorite sleeping spots to another, snooze for a couple hours, grab a couple sips of water and find another spot.
So that’s been my weekend. Tuesday I’m going to have to make the call. To be honest, part of me hopes she passes away over the weekend, peacefully in her own home, so I don’t have to make that call.