Dying Cat – Symptoms & Behaviour of a Cat Dying


Do cats know they are dying?   Physical signs   Behavioural signs   Palliative care   How to comfort a dying cat   When is the right time to have my cat euthanised?   When is the right time to get another cat after losing one?

Dying cat signs and behaviour

At a glance

Each cat’s experience of dying is unique, it can be long and drawn out, or the cat may go into sudden decline. Your role is to provide comfort and care while your cat is in the process of dying.

The body begins to shut down in the dying cat; common signs include the following: 

Physical symptoms:

  • Noisy or laboured breathing
  • Unkempt coat
  • Loss of appetite and thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Seizures
  • Sleeping more, some cats may have restless sleep patterns due to discomfort
  • A decrease in urination and bowel movements
  • Incontinence
  • Odour
  • Drop in body temperature

Behavioural changes:

  • Hiding
  • Changes in cognitive function such as confusion
  • Social withdrawal or clinginess
  • Loss of interest in surroundings
  • Crying

Signs that a cat has died: 

  • No pulse
  • No heartbeat
  • Coldness
  • Fixed eyes
  • Enlarged pupils which don’t respond to light
  • Eyelids slightly open
  • Relaxed jaw
  • Release of bladder and bowels

Related articles: Hospice Care   Dying Behaviour of Cats  Cat Loss & Grief


Do cats know they are dying?

Desmond Morris, in his book, Cat World states that cats don’t understand death or know they are dying. Pet owners assume cats must know they are dying because many hide in the days or hours before death. But hiding is typical behaviour in sick animals. A sick animal wants to make himself as inconspicuous as he can to avoid becoming a target to other animals which may see him as an easy target. Predatory animals pick out the young, the old and the weak. So from a self-preservation angle, it makes sense that a sick cat wants to hide.

As most of us know, when we feel sick, we feel miserable. We are weak, tired and feel unwell, the best thing to do is bunker down somewhere dark and try to rest, and cats do this also.

Why do cats go away to die?

Not all dying cats will hide,  a cat who is outside and becomes seriously ill (through trauma or disease) will not always have the strength to return home and will find a quiet hiding spot such as a shed or under a house.

There’s a difference between a cat slowly losing his health to progressive diseases such as kidney failure and cancer, which can take months to the very end stage to a sudden trauma such as being hit by a vehicle or dog attack where the cat may die at the scene or crawl away and die shortly afterwards.

Physical signs a cat is dying









Death is a unique experience for every cat, and symptoms can vary depending on the underlying health issue.

No longer eating or drinking:

A very sick cat loses his appetite, which may be due to feeling extremely ill,  too tired to eat, have less need for food or due to inactivity. He may remain thirsty, and some will even drink a little. By this time dehydration is usually severe. The day before my cat died from chronic kidney disease would hang over his water bowl, but he was too sick to drink.

Urinary and fecal incontinence:

Many gravely ill cats will urinate and defecate accidentally, and it is common for them to have developed diarrhea by this stage. Towards the end, urine and fecal output can cease altogether. 

Please don’t be upset if this happens and make sure you keep your cat’s bed clean so he can remain as comfortable as possible.

Difficult or laboured breathing (dyspnea):

Normal respiration is 20-30 breaths per minute.

Breathing may be rapid, slow, noisy, or even be pauses between breaths (apnea) in the dying cat.  Right before death breathing can change to rasping and jerky as the respiratory system starts to shut down.

Many cats in pain will also pant.

Decreased heart rate:

As the body prepares to shut down, the heart rate decreases. 

Drop in body temperature:

Average body temperature is 100 – 102.5°F (37.7 – 39.1°C). 

Ears and the paw pads feel cooler to the touch. Close to death, the temperature may drop below 100°C (37.7°F).


Most cats in the final hours or days of life will move about very little, if they do try to move around, they are usually fragile, particularly in the hind legs.

Keep the cat’s food and water bowls as well as litter trays close to where he sleeps so he doesn’t have far to go.


As the organs begin to fail, toxins can build up in the cat’s body which will cause an odour from the body as well as the breath.

Changes in appearance:

As health deteriorates, physical appearance can also change. While not necessarily a sign of imminent death, it is a clue that your cat’s health has declined. The most apparent changes are dramatic weight loss and an unkempt appearance as the cat spends less time grooming.

Do cats purr before they are about to die?

Cats can and do purr when they are in pain, so it is possible a cat could purr when they are dying.

Behavioural signs your cat is dying


Some cats will hide; others can become quite clingy and want to be with their human or animal companion.

Loss of interest in everything/social withdrawal:

Close to the end, most cats no longer have an interest in their surroundings and spend most of their time asleep, often restlessly. Usual behaviours such as greeting you at the door, asking you for food on a morning or watching birds in the garden have all stopped.

Many carers say that their cat became clingy in the lead up to death. It is essential to let the cat decide what they want. If they prefer to be alone, we must respect that, even if we want to offer them comfort. If they want companionship, then we must give them that. 

Sleeping more:

The cat will spend his final day(s) sleeping as much as he can. Even if he is awake, he will usually not move very far. Some terminal cats will be restless due to pain and discomfort.

Changes in cognitive function:

Some cats will become confused and disoriented in their final days or hours due to a build-up of toxins in the body which impair normal brain function. Seizures can also develop, particularly if the liver or kidneys are failing, other symptoms can include vocalisation, pacing, confusion.

Palliative care for a dying cat

As a cat reaches the terminal stage of a disease, you will need to give him extra love, care, and attention. Treatment depends on the condition; many cats remain somewhat independent right up until the end. Make allowances if necessary.

The goal of palliative care is to provide end of life care and comfort for the cat. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss an end of life plan, at which time you can discuss how to manage your cat’s symptoms such as pain and hydration. Cats with advanced kidney disease are chronically dehydrated, and it can be a great help if the caregiver can administer subcutaneous fluids to help.

Pain relief:

Cats are extremely good at hiding pain, which makes it hard for their human caregiver to determine how much the cat is suffering. Many end of life diseases can be painful, and your veterinarian will be able to prescribe medication to ease pain and discomfort.

Cats can’t tell their caregiver they are in pain. Subtle signs of pain include hiding, loss of appetite, drooling, neglecting to groom, sitting hunched over, restlessness, and loss of interest in surroundings.

Only give painkillers which have been prescribed by your veterinarian, cats aren’t small humans are unable to metabolise many common painkillers.

Make adaptations:

Place litter trays and food bowls in an easy to access area close to the cat. It is not helpful for the terminal cat to climb a flight of stairs to reach the litter tray or food bowls. Raise food and water bowls so that your cat doesn’t have to bend over. Senior cats and cats in pain can find it difficult stepping into a litter tray; it can help to provide one with low sides.

Offer food by hand:

In late-stage disease, cats can lose their appetite. Try to offer small amounts of food; at this stage, hand feeding will be necessary. BBQ chicken slightly warmed up, or some canned tuna may entice your cat to eat, but at the very end, even this will often be refused.

Maintain warmth:

Very sick cats, especially senior cats are often not as good at maintaining body temperature. Make sure your cat has a warm and comfortable place to rest. The area should be easy to clean as very sick animals often have elimination problems.


Give your cat the option of where to sleep. The cat may prefer to sleep in the lounge room close to their human companions, or they may prefer to sleep in a quiet spot elsewhere in the house. Let your cat be the guide. Now is not the time to be fussy about where your cat sleeps, not in the final days or weeks.

Maintain routine:

Keep your cat’s home life as simple and familiar as possible. Avoid any major changes. Keep visitors to a minimum.

Groom and clean the cat:

It may be necessary for the caregiver to help groom and keep your cat clean, especially cats who are in pain. Clean the cat if he has soiled himself and change his bedding.

How to comfort a dying cat

Meet your cat’s basic needs, hydration, nutrition, pain management, warmth and comfort. If these basic needs cannot be met, it is time to speak to your veterinarian about euthanasia. Ending a cat’s suffering is far kinder than letting nature take its course and waiting for the cat to die naturally.

Ensure the cat is in a comfortable place, and meet their emotional needs.

Some cats prefer relative isolation when they are dying, which means they choose to hide in a quiet spot. Where practical, respect that. Other cats want the comfort of their human or pet family, and that is okay too. Follow your cat’s lead.

  • A dying cat needs quiet and calm. Keep household noise to a minimum and if practical move the cat to a quieter part of the house away from the everyday hustle and bustle such as their favourite human’s bedroom. 
  • Stay with the cat as they are dying, your presence will calm them.
  • Talk quietly and calmly to the cat.
  • Dim the lights, and turn televisions or radios down.
  • If the cat has a canine or feline companion, allow them to be with the cat, if that is what the dying cat wants, unless the cat has a highly infectious disease.
  • An immobile cat can develop pressure sores, ensure they have a cozy and well-cushioned bed.
  • Keep fresh water available and close to the cat’s bed. Offer food on your finger.
  • If euthanasia has been scheduled at the veterinary surgery, bring along the cat’s favourite blankets. Where possible, book the first or last appointment when it is quieter. Stay with the cat before and during the process. Talk calmly, gently stroke him and tell him you love him. 

When is the right time to have my cat euthanised?

It is such a hard and gut-wrenching decision to make. Cats can’t tell us how they are feeling; we can only go on how they look and behave. The best thing you can do for your cat as he nears death is to offer him a peaceful exit.

A common theme among the comments is guilt over waiting too long or euthanising too early. None of us has a crystal ball, and our cats can’t tell us when they’ve had enough. We have to make the best decision we can, but with the added complication of wanting to fight for our cats, clinging to hope and not wanting to let go, it becomes a very complex and difficult decision.

Questions to ask:

  • Am I keeping them alive for me, or them?
  • Think of two or three things your cat enjoys (chasing flies, playing with crunched up paper balls, lazing in the sun, jumping on the dog’s tail, greeting you at the door after work) are they still getting pleasure from them? 
  • Do you want to keep the cat alive because they are still enjoying life or because you can’t bear the thought of them not being around anymore? 
  • What will the cat miss if he or she is not here tomorrow? 
  • Is the cat having more bad days than good? 

These questions can help to give clarity during such a difficult and emotional time when we are dealing with denial, bargaining, grief, fear, and uncertainty.

Dr Alice Villalobos, a veterinary oncologist, created a quality of life scale which can help caregivers and veterinarians determine when the cat’s quality of life is such that euthanasia must be considered.


If possible, schedule the appointment ahead of time so that the veterinarian can perform the euthanasia during a quiet time.  Either at the beginning or the end of the day is best. Some veterinarians offer the option to come to your home and euthanise which I recommend where possible. 

Many veterinarians will recommend sedation before euthanasia, which helps to relax the cat, here is a compelling argument for sedation written from a veterinarian’s perspective. I also highly recommend another great article ‘Five Things I Wish You Knew Before‘, written by a veterinary technician, who has made a list of five things she would like pet owners to know before/during euthanasia. If you can, please try to read it before you say goodbye.

When is the right time to adopt another cat after losing one?


The choice to adopt another cat after a cat has passed away is a personal one. I have covered it in more detail on this page.

Our story:

We lost our beautiful Singapura cat, Levi, at the weekend. It is the first time I’ve been strong enough to be there for the euthanasia. We owed it to him to all be there with him; he had given our family so much joy and happiness. We stroked him, we talked to him, and we kissed him.

Levi was already hospitalised, he had gone downhill very quickly. We were able to spend 30 minutes alone with him to say goodbye.

It was the most painful experience of my life, but I am so glad we were there for him at the end.  Hug your cats, love your cats, and if you feel strong enough, be with them. It is painful, but it is comforting to know that he died surrounded by his family who loved him so much.

Tonkinese cats
Norman and Calvin

After Levi passed away, I told the children that we would know when the time was right to get another cat. A few weeks later, two Tonkinese cats needed a home having been surrendered at a local shelter. We knew the time was right and adopted them the following day. Both cats have a completely different personality to Levi, Calvin is a quiet and shy cat who loves my daughter, Norman, well he’s just Norman, an independent boy who lives by his own rules. We still love and miss Levi, but the two boys helped to heal our broken hearts.

The loss of a pet is devastating; I still cry when I think about Levi. But, we had 11 beautiful years with him, and I don’t want his death to overshadow his life. Remember the good times you shared. For more information, please read our article on grief after losing a pet. 

I have enabled comments on this article, I cannot give medical advice but if you ever want to talk about your cats, or how you are feeling, please feel free to comment. Sometimes it may take me a few days to respond, but I will always try to get back to you.

Memorial cat gallery:

I have created a gallery of cats who have passed on. Please email me if you would like to submit a photo of your cat in our memorial gallery.

There is a cycle of love & death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through or walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given.

~ Suzanne Clothier~

Related content: Physical signs a cat is dying     Behavioural signs a cat is dying     End of life hospice care for a dying cat   Coping with the grief of losing a cat


  1. I have a indoor cat I adopted 4 years ago. She had become very thin. Huge lump on side of her face. Now today open big sore. Today she is hiding but eating fine. I have a vet coming tomorrow. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Laura,
      I’m sorry to hear about your cat. I’m glad she is still eating. It could be an abscess or a cuterebra, but really impossible to know without a diagnosis from a veterinarian. Good luck with the vet, let me know how you go.

    • My cat is very ill, he is an indoor and an outdoor cat. She has been urinating uncontrollable and refuses to eat or drink. He’s only three tears old but 4 in June of 2018. He has been constantly sleeping and refuses to move. There are many wounds on his sides. I believe he got in a cat fight. Earlier today I found him laying on the ground with him throwing up on him self. At the moment we don’t have enough money to put him down but I believe it’s the most humane thing to do. Suggestions?

      • Has your kitty been tested for Feline Leukemia and Immunodeficiency Virus? My cat is currently dying from leukemia which is transmitted easily, especially in outdoor cats 🙁 I can’t imagine what else could be making him so ill, I’d have your cat tested

        • My cat is also dying from feline leukemia and she developed lymphoma. She’s only 2, 3 in August. I’m so distraught

      • I hope your cat has received help by now. Many vets will euthanize knowing they will receive no or delayed payment, not wanting the pet to suffer. I always stop for animals that have been struck by cars. I explain to the vet what has happened, and that I can’t pay the bill, but that I can foster the injured pet until the owner is found. No vet has turned me down. Please ask a vet, or several, for help. Check back here, maybe we can think of something.

      • Have you had his wounds looked at by your vet? If he was in a fight, the germs from another cat could have caused abscesses. They would smell. Very treatable. I recommend bringing him to your vet to make sure a bought of antibiotics may cure him

      • I’m so sorry your cat is ill/ hurt. From personal experience and in taking to vets and rescue people let me implore you, if you get another cat, PLEASE keep it exclusively INDOORS. They are healthier and live longer, you don’t have to worry about fights, injuries, disappearing getting hit by a car… i’ve had indoor outdoor cats, and learned the hard way. Cats really do need to be kept inside. My heart goes out to you, I hope your baby will be ok.

      • I just noticed your issue with affording euthanasia. You can apply for Care Credit, usually right at the vet. There’s no interest and you can use it for any medical or veterinary care. If you can’t qualify, start a go fund me on face book. It’s only around $150 or so, I think. You should be able to raise it quickly. I would donate.

        • Hi,
          I just check Care Credit and there’s an average 14% interest. How to qulify the 0 interest rate? I think my cat is dying (age 9). He is indoor but has open sore that doesn’t heal; could be skin cancer. I couldn’t catch him to go to the vet. He won’t let me get close to him. He was a feral kitten when I adopted him and is a very skittish cat. For a week he’s been hiding in a corner, not moving and looking weak. I enclosed the area with food/water/litter box. Today he started rally, which I fear is end of life rally.

  2. Hi I have a senior cat called booster who is ill atm he cant walk on his back legs properly and hes been like that for 6 years now, took him to the vets before and they told me he had Arthritis in his back legs and nearly prescribed me something my cat did not need as he was diagnosed with nerve damage which has affected his back legs, Booster is my baby and i watched him grow like he did me he is 18 years old only yesterday i saw he didnt eat much when he loves his food and is quite a greedy cat but was wondering if you could tell me if you think my cats on his last legs as im very very concerned now 🙁 thanks

    • Hi Keshia, I’m sorry to hear about Booster. It’s impossible to say as nobody can assess a cat without seeing them. All I can recommend is that Booster see a veterinarian as a cat who is not eating is in danger of hepatic lipidosis.

      Good luck and please let us know how Booster goes. I hope he is feeling better soon.

  3. Hi, So I recently took in a 10 year old cat called Kerby about 2 months ago, but I think his previous owners may have lied about his age as he seems much older.

    In the past few weeks Kerby has been sleeping a lot more and barely moving about. At first I thought it was because he was staying up all night, but now I have to wake him up to tell him its dinner time-and Kerby LOVES his food. He is a pig when it comes to it.- or check if he is still breathing. Kerby doesn’t even get upset at my dogs anymore when they go near him to lick his face or when our other cats try to steal his food. I think Kerby is slowly passing away as he no longer takes care of himself at all and I now brush his furr regularly. He used to hate being brushed.

    I was wondering if you could give me advice on this. Kerby is not in any physical pain and I have been told I can still put him down if I wish to. I don’t know if I should let him live out his rest of his days with barely any energy at all or put him down so he can go to a better place. I want the best for Kerby and I don’t want him to suffer in anyway.

    • Hi Holly,

      I’m so sorry to hear about Kirby. I would suggest taking him to the veterinarian and asking for a check up as well as baseline tests to start with, such as complete blood count, urinalysis and biochemical profile which may give them an indication of how he’s travelling health wise, and then take it from there. Any change such as loss of appetite, lethargy, even behavioural changes warrant further investigation.

      Good luck.

    • I feel your pain. And God bless you for taking a senior cat and making his later years happy ones. We have 7 cats and a dog. It was 8, but one passed away yesterday after only being obviously ill for 24 hours. We spent $500 on treatment plus meds to bring home with her and tests on Friday, got her home at 8:30 PM that night, and by 3pm Sat she passed away. A few years ago we spent $3000 trying to save our 5 year old cat from kidney failure. He was very sick and weak and we had the vet come over and euthanize him a couple of days after they sent us home with meds and stuff to give him subcutaneous fluids. 5 years ago I spent hundreds of dollars for tests and meds for my sick 13 year old dog and came home with $100 of meds. Next night had to euthanize him. I said all that to say this. I think most of the time we know in our heart of hearts when it’s best to let our babies go. I’ve already decided, with 7 remaining cats, some over 9 years old, that as each of them get older and get sick, (I don’t mean obvious, treatable stuff), i’m not going to try to make myself feel better spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to add a week or a month to their lives. I will let them go painlessly and peacefully. I am very thankful that our vet will come to our home for euthanasia. He sits with us and lets us talk about our baby, how we got them, what they’re like, special memories. As long as we need, too. Then he takes care of what he came for peacefully and calmly and compassionately. We bury our cats at home, but if we were cremating he would take them for us. If you can find a vet that will come to your home it is so worth it. God bless you for being a loving, caring fur baby parent.

      • Hi,
        I just check Care Credit and there’s an average 14% interest. How to qulify the 0 interest rate? I think my cat is dying (age 9). He is indoor but has open sore that doesn’t heal; could be skin cancer. I couldn’t catch him to go to the vet. He won’t let me get close to him. He was a feral kitten when I adopted him and is a very skittish cat. For a week he’s been hiding in a corner, not moving and looking weak. I enclosed the area with food/water/litter box. Today he started rally, which I fear is end of life rally.

  4. I’m reading the last part of this article crying my eyes out. My beautiful 18 year old girl has come to the end of her life and we are planning to say goodbye this week. I imagine it to be one of the hardest things we have done.
    I’m glad to have read this to know that it’s the right time. Thank you.

    • Hi Natasha,

      Thank you for your post. I am so sorry you are going through this right now. It is such a hard thing to do, to say goodbye to a family member who has been with us for such a long time.

      I wish you all the best, give your girl a gentle hug from me and make the most of your days. She knows you love her. xxx

    • I really feel for you, we said a very peaceful goodbye to our gorgeous 18 year old boy last Tuesday – he went downhill so quickly and it was the kindest, and hardest thing to do ❤️?

    • Right now my husbands 15 year old cat is laying next to me. Quietly slipping away. It happened quickly. Were waiting for our daughter to come home from school before we go to the vet. Shes only 6 but would be devastated if she came home to find him gone. I’ve been there at the very end for other pets and it’s the hardest thing to endure. But this is our responsibility as pet owners. We gave them great lives. And so much love.

      • I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s cat, Colleen. I agree with you about your daughter. When I was ten our Siamese cat was put to sleep. I knew he was sick, I knew he was going to the vet. So walking home from school I asked mum how he’d gone and she said she’d tell me at home. I pushed until she told me he’d been put to sleep. They knew it was going to happen, but had kept it from me to protect me. I don’t blame them for what they did, they thought it was the right thing to do, but I felt robbed of the chance to say goodbye to him.

      • Oh my. I am so sorry. My cat just passed away this morning while laying beside me. She was 18. The passing was very scarey at times for both Yorkies, my husband, and I. We made it through and I held her paw and tried to keep her warm with little blankets while petting her little face like she usually likes. I cannot stop crying currently. I have to take a personal day off from work tomorrow. I dont think i can hold it together.

      • My lady friend gifted with a b/w cat named Gus Gus lat February. A week later my lady friend passed suddenly. Never having read these informational things above I’m surprised that I naturally followed most of the offerings; a step up to the littler box, feeding him nearer to the litter box and his sleeping place. I moved furniture to windows so he could watch the birds I feed in the back yard. We go out together from time to time for back yard walks. He had obviously had a rough life at the hands of rough owners, lived beneath a trailer and competed with other cats and raccoons.
        Our short few weeks of living together after both of us being mostly alone was an excellent time. There was all manner of good changes in his life and I felt less alone. Thanks for describing the characteristics of the last stages. The fit my observations well. Two Vets, meds, tests, all sorts of good foods, fresh water, at the very end I tried mouth to mouth, kissed him and held him gently often during our few weeks. I tried to prepare but failed the no tears test terribly – my fail. I needed to read about these EOL indicators. I thought about but did not try feeding small finger amounts and raising his water. My neighbor from Hell enters my home regularly and fed him a lot of treats one day which made him quite sick. I watch, unknowing, as these things you describe continued until the end. I love Mr. Gus Gus.
        Thank You.

    • My heart is with you. If you can, see if you can find a vet that will come to your home to perform the euthanasia. It is so much easier on your fur baby to cross the rainbow bridge in the familiarity of their own comfortable home, and you are free to cry and grieve privately. Having experienced it both at a vet’s office and at home, I HIGHLY recommend at home if you are able. God bless you in this difficult time.

      • I feel your pain. And God bless you for taking a senior cat and making his later years happy ones. We have 7 cats and a dog. It was 8, but one passed away yesterday after only being obviously ill for 24 hours. We spent $500 on treatment plus meds to bring home with her and tests on Friday, got her home at 8:30 PM that night, and by 3pm Sat she passed away. A few years ago we spent $3000 trying to save our 5 year old cat from kidney failure. He was very sick and weak and we had the vet come over and euthanize him a couple of days after they sent us home with meds and stuff to give him subcutaneous fluids. 5 years ago I spent hundreds of dollars for tests and meds for my sick 13 year old dog and came home with $100 of meds. Next night had to euthanize him. I said all that to say this. I think most of the time we know in our heart of hearts when it’s best to let our babies go. I’ve already decided, with 7 remaining cats, some over 9 years old, that as each of them get older and get sick, (I don’t mean obvious, treatable stuff), i’m not going to try to make myself feel better spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to add a week or a month to their lives. I will let them go painlessly and peacefully. I am very thankful that our vet will come to our home for euthanasia. He sits with us and lets us talk about our baby, how we got them, what they’re like, special memories. As long as we need, too. Then he takes care of what he came for peacefully and calmly and compassionately. We bury our cats at home, but if we were cremating he would take them for us. If you can find a vet that will come to your home it is so worth it. God bless you for being a loving, caring fur baby parent.

    • I have a 17 year old bi color Persian and he is stage 4 kidney failure…he is getting bad now…I’m so heart broken, knowing that I’m losing my baby, I will be so lost…please pray for me. I’m taking him this week to say goodbye 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

  5. Hi, we have had Hopkins for almost 19 years. He has been suffering of chronic Kidney disease for the last 3 years. Now he is close to the end. Very weak, little appetite , weight loss, he can hardly use his hind legs, he feels dizzy, etc. Vet says it is time. He still eats a little and on Tuesday my wife and I have to leave out of town for work. Two choices; euthanasia tomorrow, or to be left with our lively aupair who is willing to come twice a day and my wife’s parents from Friday if he is still here. What would you do?

    • Hi Dimitri, I honestly couldn’t answer that without seeing the cat. We had one cat who in hindsight probably kept alive a little longer than we should and if I had my time again, I would rather let her go a week too early than a week too late.

      If your veterinarian suggests it’s time, maybe it is. I have found with my own veterinarians, they’ve let us ultimately decide, and we opted for sooner rather than later because in every case, the cat was terminal and it was the kindest thing to do.

  6. Hi, for the pass few days my cat who will be 18 next month has been possibly showing signs of dying. Fuzzy my sweet girl has loss of appetite and is sleeping in the closet. My heart is so heavy but it’s time for me to schedule an appointment to have a thorough check up and make a decision on what’s best for Fuzzy. Thanks for all the information and guidance.

    • Hi Natalie,

      I’m so sorry to hear about Fuzzy. It’s such a painful time preparing to say goodbye. Give her gentle hugs, she knows you’re there.

      As hard as it is right now, when she is gone, remember the 18 amazing years you had with her. Every time I think of cats who I have lost, I feel a pang of sadness, it’s impossible not to, but also remember how much happiness we had too.

      Take care of yourself too.

      • I feel your pain. And God bless you for taking a senior cat and making his later years happy ones. We have 7 cats and a dog. It was 8, but one passed away yesterday after only being obviously ill for 24 hours. We spent $500 on treatment plus meds to bring home with her and tests on Friday, got her home at 8:30 PM that night, and by 3pm Sat she passed away. A few years ago we spent $3000 trying to save our 5 year old cat from kidney failure. He was very sick and weak and we had the vet come over and euthanize him a couple of days after they sent us home with meds and stuff to give him subcutaneous fluids. 5 years ago I spent hundreds of dollars for tests and meds for my sick 13 year old dog and came home with $100 of meds. Next night had to euthanize him. I said all that to say this. I think most of the time we know in our heart of hearts when it’s best to let our babies go. I’ve already decided, with 7 remaining cats, some over 9 years old, that as each of them get older and get sick, (I don’t mean obvious, treatable stuff), i’m not going to try to make myself feel better spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to add a week or a month to their lives. I will let them go painlessly and peacefully. I am very thankful that our vet will come to our home for euthanasia. He sits with us and lets us talk about our baby, how we got them, what they’re like, special memories. As long as we need, too. Then he takes care of what he came for peacefully and calmly and compassionately. We bury our cats at home, but if we were cremating he would take them for us. If you can find a vet that will come to your home it is so worth it. God bless you for being a loving, caring fur baby parent.

  7. Hi-
    Franklin is only 6 years old and has recently got 2 teeth removed. He had a resorption lesion and had trouble eating and drinking for 2 weeks previous to the tooth removal. Now it’s been a week and still no eating or drinking. He finally eat a bit of tuna yesterday but now nothing again. He is showing all signs and symptoms of a dying cat…we took him back to the vet and they gave him fluids and a prescription to take home for pain and to spark his appetite. I don’t know what to do any more. My wife and I are so worried and frustrated..hes not been himself and has lost about 5 pounds. He doesn’t seem to have an interest in anything any more…any suggestions?

    • Hi Lee,

      Apologies for the late response. I’m sorry to hear about Franklin. If he’s in pain, he won’t want to eat, hopefully the pain medication and appetite stimulants will start to kick in soon. I’d certainly give it a day to see if the medications kick in and if they don’t, I’d speak to the veterinarian again. If he’s not eating, they might want to hospitalise him and give him a feeding tube.

      At six, he’s still a young cat, I would hope that he has many more years in him.

    • This actually just happened to my cat who is 11. Her labs and everything before her dental extraction were perfect. Went back and they found a lump in her tummy. And I’m waiting to hear back about the needle biopsy. My poor baby has lost 3 lbs in like 3 weeks… She’s literally skin and bones. I feel so terrible that she’s going through this. Im just praying she can make it until they determine what the mass is.

  8. Thank goodness for this site today. Today we are mourning my sister who took her life two years ago. Two hours ago, her cat , Priscilla, started to howl. She is 18 . I’m afraid to move her.. she has fouled herself and has curled up under my bed.. refusing all except my voice.. I want her to be in peace..

  9. I have a kitten about 2 years old. He is now acting very strange and I had just got him to eat with his other siblings. He is very weak and falls almost every step he takes. I was just thinking he was just hungry or tired but I don’t really know. Hopefully he will make it until this weekend or at least till tomorrow. Wish him luck.

    • I feel your pain. And God bless you for taking a senior cat and making his later years happy ones. We have 7 cats and a dog. It was 8, but one passed away yesterday after only being obviously ill for 24 hours. We spent $500 on treatment plus meds to bring home with her and tests on Friday, got her home at 8:30 PM that night, and by 3pm Sat she passed away. A few years ago we spent $3000 trying to save our 5 year old cat from kidney failure. He was very sick and weak and we had the vet come over and euthanize him a couple of days after they sent us home with meds and stuff to give him subcutaneous fluids. 5 years ago I spent hundreds of dollars for tests and meds for my sick 13 year old dog and came home with $100 of meds. Next night had to euthanize him. I said all that to say this. I think most of the time we know in our heart of hearts when it’s best to let our babies go. I’ve already decided, with 7 remaining cats, some over 9 years old, that as each of them get older and get sick, (I don’t mean obvious, treatable stuff), i’m not going to try to make myself feel better spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to add a week or a month to their lives. I will let them go painlessly and peacefully. I am very thankful that our vet will come to our home for euthanasia. He sits with us and lets us talk about our baby, how we got them, what they’re like, special memories. As long as we need, too. Then he takes care of what he came for peacefully and calmly and compassionately. We bury our cats at home, but if we were cremating he would take them for us. If you can find a vet that will come to your home it is so worth it. God bless you for being a loving, caring fur baby parent.

    • Julia, I just found your site looking for comfort for my sister who lives with us. Her cat of 9 years sickened and died within 24 hours, yesterday. Just want to thank you for what you do. We have, at the moment, 7 rescued cats and 1 dog. My daughter works tirelessly doing TNR and kitten fostering on Oahu where there are hundreds of thousands of feral cats. I always appreciate people like you and just wanted to tell you that you are one. Thank you again, God bless you!

  10. I have a 12+ year old tortoiseshell named Pua. I just noticed last night she was having difficulty jumping up onto the couch. Her breathing seemed a little labored and she was lethargic. I’ve been giving her water with a syringe all through the day today. She hasn’t eaten today, her paws are cool and then warm up, been keeping a blanket on her. She does have energy to do or go where /when she wants but tires easily. She’s more alert today than last night. I’m praying she’ll hang in for a vet appointment tomorrow. It’s sad, even though all total I have 7 cats, all ferals, they’re your family. My guess she’s has heart, kidney or an infection of sorts? Hoping for the best but it’s worrisome and emotionally exhausting when one isn’t feeling well. The suddenness was also shovking. 2 days ago, she was fine.

  11. This is a very good article. We have many rescued pets (up until awhile ago we had 3 dogs and 23 cats). We have lost 5 in the past few months. Most were elderly, some had cancer or kidney disease. We have 3 others who are seriously ill. Our white shepherd (14) is losing the use of her back legs and our one cat (15) has possible lymphoma. It is never easy to lose them, but you know it is inevitable. You never imagine when you take on so many that a lot will age at the same rate, thus dying around the same time. They have given us so much love and companionship, more than was ever imaginable. It’s good to see others caring as much. Thank you for your writing – it is greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Debbie,

      Thank you for your comments I’m so sorry for the loss of your cats, you’re right, when they’re all the same age there will be more losses over a short period of time. It’s so hard, but I try not to let their death overshadow their life.

      Just this week I fostered a 6 year old tuxedo boy who was about to be put to sleep. The reason I took in this cat is he reminded me of my beloved tuxedo cat Eliot, who sadly died of cancer in 2003. It makes me happy that 14 years after her death, she has helped save the life of another cat.

      • Julia, I just found your site looking for comfort for my sister who lives with us. Her cat of 9 years sickened and died within 24 hours, yesterday. Just want to thank you for what you do. We have, at the moment, 7 rescued cats and 1 dog. My daughter works tirelessly doing TNR and kitten fostering on Oahu where there are hundreds of thousands of feral cats. I always appreciate people like you and just wanted to tell you that you are one. Thank you again, God bless you!

  12. I just wrote a huge post. I’m in dire need of help. I answered the math problem at the end and it said I did it wrong and erased everything I wrote!! I know 11 + 4 = 15 so why did this happen?

  13. We’re at the point where it could be any day now. We don’t think she’s in pain so haven’t planned on having her put to sleep, but she doesn’t eat hardly anything, and when she does, she throws it up. I doubt she even weighs six pounds now, so skinny. She’ll be 15 in October, have had her since she was a six month old kitten.

  14. Trying again. I’m trying to assess where my boy Marley is at. He has congestive heart failure and is just 8 years old. We discovered it a couple of months ago when he was open mouthed breathing. He has asthma so I thought it was just that. In the hospital, they gave him a 50/50 chance of survival. We were overjoyed to bring him home and he’s been himself for the last couple of months except for a medication regimen that he hates. It’s very stressful for him. This past Monday, his labored breathing became more severe and we brought him to his regular vet. She drew fluids from his chest wall and she said they were mixed with blood which was a bad sign. She also said he was anemic. She said we should make a decision about having him go through another round at the hospital and maybe get another couple of months out of his good quality of life or not. But when we brought him home, he stopped eating, became weak and could barely walk without lying down. He’s refused his favorite snacks and won’t stay with me on my bed or in my arms. He’s staying mostly in my bedroom closet. But now just today he started eating again, some salmon a couple of hours ago and he just had some sardines. He’s drinking a lot because of the Lasix and he still uses the litter box. I thought he was going downhill quickly but he’s made this one turn. He is still not himself and giving him his meds scares me because he gets so stressed out. He’s not supposed to be agitated or exercise too much because his heart is weak. So I’m wondering what to expect next although both the hospital and my vet seem to shrug. This is apparently a very unpredictable condition. I’ve considered stopping his meds because he’s not currently struggling for breathe but now he’s started eating again. One of his meds makes him froth at the mouth terribly. I got a different flavor from the pharmacy that they said would be better but the frothing has gotten worse, maybe because he wasn’t eating? Anyway, do you have anything to offer about his current condition and his meds? I’m so confused. I’m not sure what to do but I do try to follow his lead.

    • Hi Rebecca,

      I’m sorry to hear about your boy. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on his medical situation, other than to recommend a second opinion for your boy if you feel your veterinarian isn’t as much help (to you and/your boy). I certainly wouldn’t take a cat off medication unless instructed to do so by the vet.

      Cats tend to froth when a medication is bitter. Have you tried a compounding pharmacy who can make the medication more palatable for your cat?

      • Yes, we had to abandon pills early on because he had so many meds and couldn’t take the pills. He got smart to pill pockets quickly. So we got all of his meds compounded into liquid fish flavor. He still hates the process. One particular med makes him froth terribly. So I called the pharmacy when I refilled the prescription and they made me a mixture with marshmallow in it which sounded like it would work. But he’s had the same reaction. Yesterday he started eating again. It’s very confusing. I thought he was close to the end. He still stays mostly in the closet and can’t groom himself. He looks sad and listless. He’s just eating quite a bit.

  15. Thank you for writing this. My sweet 6 year old was just diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney disease 2 weeks ago. Prior to that week I took her to the vet because she lost weight and seemed a bit lethargic she was a happy active cat. Follows me around and greets me at the door when I get home. I have decided to put her to sleep tomorrow as she is not doing well at all. She went to the vet and get an IV and seemed better to really bad in a short time. I have not stopped crying. I just rescued her 2 1/2 years ago and was hoping to have her for 10 more years. My heart has been torn out.

    • I’m so sorry, I can relate. It’s such a shock knowing their time is so close. My heart is with you at this awful time. They leave such a huge hole in our lives.

      I will be thinking of you tomorrow. Take care.

  16. Thank you for this page, which I found almost by accident. Our female cat, Libby, was harassed by a prowling tom – which has been around before – normally Libby has come inside. We have another cat, male, Oscar, who is totally oblivious to the needs of Libby and does chase her. Both our cats are desexed.
    Libby stayed out all Friday night up until Saturday evening, when she heard me nearby and came out of the stormwater drain where she had been hiding. I took her inside, but she didn’t like to be picked up (quite normal for her) and was giving off little growls. She didn’t want to stay inside, so rather than upset her further, we let her out again.
    Here we are on Sunday and she hasn’t eaten. I’ve talked to the general area of where she was, asking if she wants dinner, or play with her ball (she recognises “ball”), but we haven’t seen her today.
    Can trauma really upset cats so much that they don’t want to live any more? We feel we have let her down, but what else can we do?

    • I’m not aware that trauma can cause a cat to lose the will to live. It sounds to me like she is very very scared by the incident. Are you able to get her back inside?

      • My husband managed to talk to her this morning, but she still won’t come inside. I think it’s just a matter of taking it very slowly with her. Hopefully she’ll get so hungry she will at least come for food. She does seem a little calmer, so with any luck she’ll talk to us a little more and eventually stay home.

        • I will keep everything crossed for you. Please let me know how it goes. I hope she returns to you soon. Try leaving some food, water, a litter tray and a cat carrier or bed with a soft blanket for her to use.

          • Think we have our cat back – still some recovery to do, but has been eating, drinking and sleeping inside.
            Took her to the vet and a small abscess had been draining itself, so no operation for her. A couple of jabs – antibiotics and anti-inflammatory and keep our fingers crossed.
            What a relief!

        • Hi Margaret, sorry it won’t let me reply to your latest update. I just wanted to say I’m so happy you got her back. The abscess would have made her feel pretty lousy so now that is treated, hopefully she will be back to herself some time soon.

          I’m so glad to hear your update. Give her a gentle pat from me.

  17. Hi,

    This post has been very helpful, thank you for sharing!

    I have an 8-year-old lovely cat, Mikka, a cream shorthair tabby. On the beginning of March, she started feeling bad, throwing up every day, so we took her to the vet and after an ultrasound they found out that my baby had cancer, it started growing in her intestines and spreading aggressively in her stomach. My husband and I decided to keep her with us until she feels really sick. Now, she is very sick, she hasn’t eating by herself, so I have to feed her, and sleeps most of time in random places, she doesn’t like her bed anymore and she was only drinking water, but now she is drinking less. We took the decision to put her down, the painful and hardest decision we ever made, we think it is the best but to be honest, I feel devastated. My heart is broken but I know she will be better, I can’t continue seeing her like that anymore. Tomorrow is the day. We are going to be with her until her final moment.

    • Hi Patricia, I’m so sorry to hear about Mikka. I lost my first cat to cancer at nine years of age and totally understand what you are going through.

      I know it’s hard, but you are making the right decision. Gentle hugs to Mikka, and take care. I really am sorry for you.

  18. I am terribly sad as my kitty of 13 years has FIP and he is slowly dying (hasn’t eaten on his own in about 26 days). He refuses to even be fed by me for the last two days. My veterinarian refuses to give me anything for his pain or anxiety except bringing him in for a “long-acting” pain shot. He will not give me any at home pain or anxiety meds for him. I am so lost. I don’t know what to do and I do not want him to suffer.

    • Hi Steff,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your kitty. 26 days is a very long time. What does your veterinarian think? It’s always hard to know when the time is right.

  19. We just found out that our beloved Boomer has kidney failure and is going downhill very quickly. Our vet ok’d is feeding all of our cats y/d thyroid prescription diet and said it would be safe for all of our cats to eat along with our cat that has hyperthyroidism. She said it would be safe unless our other cats had any kidney disease without having them tested. I am now beside myself forbnot asking for them to test our other girls and now my Boomer is dying because of this food.

    • Hi Angela, I’m so sorry to hear about Boomer. What has the vet said about his condition? Have they indicated he can’t be helped? Is he receiving any treatment? I hope by stopping the food Boomer can recover.

      Has Boomer been tested for hyperthyroidism? The disease can help to protect cats with kidney disease. My hyperthyroid cat was found to have kidney disease, so we treated him with medications, sadly once the hyperthyroidism improved, his kidney disease hit hard.

  20. Thank you for this post. Our Bootsie is in the final stages of kidney failure. We were very lucky to have him this long. He was first diagnoised a year and a half ago. His kidneys were only working at 20% then, and was very close to death. With IV’s for dehydration and renal food he got better and has lived a full life for over a year. It was nice to read how to make him more comfortable until we can get him to the vet again.

  21. I rescued a kitten on Easter weekend from in a dogs mouth. He had no puncture wounds so I did not think anything of it. Last week on 4/18 he wouldn’t eat and started open mouth breathing. We rushed him to the animal hospital and was told he may not make it. We did everything that we could to keep him alive and get him better. Monday, 4/23, I got a call that he was going down hill and had a collapsed lung that would not reinflate and they would have to do surgery. The vet said since he was only 4 weeks old that there was a small chance of survival through the surgery. Instead of putting him through that pain and not coming out of it, I had to make a hard decision to put him down. This is the hardest decision I have had to make and I miss him dearly. I would like to email you a picture for a memorial if you can provide me your email. His name was Whiskers and he was very dear to us.

    • HI Chelsea, I’m so sorry to hear that Whiskers didn’t make it. What a wonderful person you are to have rescued him and fought so hard for him. The outcome was sad, but he died with somebody who loved and cared about him. Thank you so much for sharing.

  22. Thank you for a wonderfully compassionate and very informative post.
    I am sitting with my beloved Lucy, a rescue cat who has been with me for only 23 months.
    The symptoms I noticed 3 weeks ago really frightened me and sadly the Vet confirmed it was pancreatic cancer.
    So now all that can be done has been done. I’m staying with her to the end to give her all the love and comfort I can.
    She has given me so much joy and we have shared so many fun times.
    Thank you again for your blog and I wish everyone who has lost their beloved pet blessings and peace.


    • Hi Sasha, I am so sorry to hear about Lucy and her pancreatic cancer but am happy to hear that she has somebody who is so caring and loving to be with her at the end. Take good care of her, and yourself. It is such a difficult thing to watch a much loved family member live with cancer. Gentle hugs to both of you.

  23. Lost my 14 year old orange Maine coon “ALWEE” to kidney disease.I understood all what needed to be done from watching his responses.I knew when the time would be near.He meowed three times in pain in 3 minutes before he passed .He went into a cat like fit ,I knew this was it.i picked him up carried him from my bed to get some air on the patio.His heart was beating so fast & Strong as I was carrying him.We made it to the kitchen entrance as his heart stopped.i laid him on the kitchen floor and his lungs exhausted and orange smelly urine came puddling out.I knew to take pictures & Videos early on as soon as I knew! DO THAT! You will appreciate those afterwards! I did have talks with him as he always seemed more Human and no where near a Cat! He liked TV, Classical Music & Cold black coffee! Which the vet jump me about seven years early! Speeds up their heart rate! He had Attitude & Temper but most of the time very Loving ! He had seven beds of his own! I have a Huge Victorian home and he loved it! He never once bothered the Lace curtains but had his own chair that he would nudge you out of! Almost 14 years of joy! He was born may 2004 I got him 3rd week of August 2004 he died April 25th 2018 in my arms.

    • Hi Tim, I’m so sorry for your loss. What a lovely story, thank you for sharing. I love the name ALWEE, how unique.
      I completely agree with you about photos and video, I asked my daughter to take one last photo of me and Levi, which still haunts me to this day, but I’m so glad I have it too. It is very precious to me.

      ALWEE sounded like an amazing cat, you must miss him dearly 🙁

  24. Hello,
    I am going through a lot of emotions. My cat, Ifa, who is 9 years old,is very sick and she won’t live very long. We have opted for euthanasia as we can’t bare to her suffer.
    She is suffering from multiple complications and cancer. Her liver and pancreas is inflamed, her kidney is not functioning well and she is also diabetic. I’m not sure what to expect as today, 7 May 2018, is her euthanasia.
    I’m just wondering how you went through the emotions, Ifa has 3 children who doesn’t know that their mother is dying. Her children are all 7 years old. I just hope we, as a family, can go through this.

    Thank you for sharing your story and I hope I can be as strong as you when the time comes.

    • Hi Hafiz,
      I’m so sorry you are going through this, I know what a terrible time it is.

      Before we felt desperation and panic, and eventually accepted that the kindest thing to do was euthanasia. Afterwards we felt numb, empty and lost but in most cases, also relief knowing that our cat was no longer suffering. The hardest one was the last, Levi, as his death was so sudden (rushed to the vet on Thursday and put to sleep on Sunday).

      Some cats will grieve when a pet passes away, it really depends on the bond they had. When our Burmese cat died, his sister cried for a long time, she didn’t understand he was gone and would look for him. But with my other cats, the other cats seemed to be fine. They lived well together, but none were especially bonded.

      You will get through this, it will be hard, and you will feel sad, but over the coming weeks and months, it will be easier. I feel a pang of sadness for all the cats I’ve lost, it never leaves you, but it gets smaller.

      One artist drew her grief, and it really explains what people go through. I’ll try to link to it, I hope it works. If not, search for ‘grief in drawings, huffington post’.


  25. Hi Julia
    Thank you SO much for your ‘gentle hugs’,
    Just letting you know that Lucy is going to the Rainbow Bridge when the vet comes to our house about 6.45 pm.
    My heartache of losing Lucy must NOT stop me from saving her from any further suffering.
    I told her that my Bubbles is waiting to meet her and will take great care of her.

    ‘There is a new star shining in the sky tonight’. Anon.

  26. Hey there, thank you so much for the post. My precious cat is dying as he doesn’t want to eat nor drink for the last one month and a half. He can’t even walk properly and recently he is hiding under our wardrobe, doesn’t want to come out. I tried finger feed him but he doesn’t want to eat. He is just turned 2 years old. I guess I still want him to spend another 10 to 15 years with me.

    • Hi Athirah, I’m sorry to hear about your cat. Have you seen a veterinarian? Two is very young, hopefully it is something that is treatable.

  27. I write this with a heavy heart. My Spencer of 8 years has hip dysplasia and is scheduled for surgery on Friday morning. He’s not wanting to eat other than maybe with a little bit of tuna juice and I haven’t seen him drink anything since 1 p.m. and we are now 8 hours later. He’s tucked away in his safe spot in the closet and I have tried and tried for 3 hours to get him to come out and he won’t. I did manage to give him some water through a syringe and I gave him some pain medicine. I am hoping that he hangs on till Friday but it looks awful tired and his eyes look awful week and I just don’t know what to do.

    • Hi Melissa,

      Are you able to get Spencer to a veterinarian? If he’s in pain, he will be reluctant to eat, which can cause hepatic lipidisos. The veterinarian should be able to help by offering pain relief, appetite stimulants or a feeding tube.

  28. My 10 year old cat Molly had a bowel blockage at the end of March. The vet did surgery to fix it as had to remove a piece of the small intestine and a piece of lymph node. The biopsy reveled she has lymphoma and it was found in lymph node. I came across this page tonight while I was looking for signs that she is nearing the end. We have been on a roller coaster since the end of March. She has good days and bad days. Some days she plays some and climbed and jumps and others she goes off by herself. Her eating has not been the best. I don’t know if I need to let her continue this course or try medications and syringe feeding. This is truly heartbreaking. Sometimes I’m ok and other times (like now) I fall to pieces. I love her so much and we have such a special relationship. I feel blessed to have had her in my life but so cheated that I will lose her so young. Thank you for creating this page.

    • Hi Marcie, what a sad situation. I know what it’s like to watch a cat’s health decline. I think for me, I noticed in the last day or so they were unsettled, they would try to sleep but weren’t looking restful as a cat usually does. Those were the three cats whose health declined over weeks or months, I lost three cats quite suddenly too. But when they are home, and you are caring for them, it’s hard to know when the right time is.

      Let your cat guide you, and let your veterinarian guide you. If there’s one thing I would do differently with the first cat I lost, it would be to have let her go sooner. I think a week or two too early is better than a week or two too late.

      All the best, I know it’s a really hard time.

  29. I have had my cat Angel for over half my life. She has been with me through so many tough life events/changes. I had to take her to the vet today for continued vomiting and weight loss with the dr mentioning possible lymphoma but no definitive way to tell without surgery. As I sit here typing this she is at the vet getting IV fluids and anti nausea medicine. They told me she will have to be alone tonight cause no one works overnight there. It was the hardest decision to leave her there. And as a nurse I am all too familiar with death and dying. I have had such an easier time coping with this in my profession than I am in my personal life. I surprised myself with how hysterical I became today. I thought I was coping better with her getting older but to actually be at this point and not know exactly how much time we have left together…I am devastated. I can’t imagine life without her and I don’t know how to get through this. I will never forgive myself if anything happens to her at the vet tonight. I could not live with myself if she passed all alone. I just hope she makes it through tonight and we get a little more time together. I’m so lost right now

    • Hi Elizabeth, I am so sorry to hear about Angel, I totally understand how you are feeling. I hope the fluids help her to get better.

      When do you find out if it’s lymphoma? Fingers crossed it is something which can be treated.

      Hang in there, I will be thinking about Angel and wishing her a speedy recovery.

  30. this was very helpful thank you so much. I have a domestic shorthair 9 month old baby girl I adopted her about 3 months ago from petsmart. She’s a healthy spoiled little girl but since yesterday morning she’s been so clumsy and doesn’t really do anything usually she likes to climb tables and knock down stuff also she loves to jump on top of our fridge and chill up there but she somehow can’t manage to get up there at the moment. She is still eating and doing her duties in her litter box. Her paws aren’t cold but her ears kinda are… My parents think she has a cold because she has been sneezing I don’t know what to do all vets are closed at the moment and i’m scared my sweet girl won’t make it till tomorrow morning? thoughts?

    • Hi Yomira,

      Sorry for the late reply. That is a worry indeed. I’ve seen cats with a cold, but they’ve never been wobbly, more symptoms similar to a human cold, with lots of nasal discharge, and generally feeling off.

      I honestly couldn’t guess what it might be. Have you been able to take her to the veterinarian? I hope it is something they can easily treat.

  31. This was a great read. My buddy Ebenezer is 16 and his best friend Thor is 15. Thor is huge and doing well, but Ebenezer is in fair health. We started him on thyroid medication which seemed to help at first, but he is on the decline again. He is manic about food yet only skin and bones. His breathing seems labored and sleeps with his eyes open so I’m always checking on him. I will continue to evaluate his quality of life and plan to be there when the time comes. After all the joy he’s brought me, I owe it to him. I have never experienced to loss of a pet so i know it will be hard. Thank you again.

  32. My 9 year old cat just recently passed away. Acute kidney failire. She did exactly what this article said she would do.. hanging out by the water bowl,but too sick to drink, hiding under the couch in my living room.. And she meowed pretty heartbreakingly for about 20 seconds, so my mom picked her up. She held her, and I put my hand on her back an told her it was alright. Once she knew it was alright, she took her last breath. This is such a heartbreaking thing to have happen to your cat..

    • Hi Elizabeth, I am so sorry to hear about your cat. It is a terrible and traumatic thing to witness. I’m so glad she was comforted by you in her final moments though. That must have been very reassuring being surrounded by your love.

      Take care of yourself.

  33. Hi , thank you for writing this article . I am typing this message completely and utterly heartbroken . Last night , my beloved , best friend “ Jessie “ was put to sleep. She was 18 years old and had been diagnosed on my way back Thursday ( 2 days ago ) with Acute Kidney Failure . Long story but ….. my Vet Recommemded 48 hours of IV fluids and 2 days admittance . To not waffle on too much , it turns out that My wonderful Jessie has Been completely let down by the Vet ( the people I am paying to take care of her ) they left her in her small carrier for 10 hours unable to move / eat / toilet . She was given large amounts of painkillers and drugged up to the eyes , when I went to collect her and
    Take her to the emergency veterinarian Hospital last night ( as I had done the night before ) to continue with her IV care overnight . I asked the Vet at the Hospital to examine her as she has not eaten and looked so so poorly , she couldn’t stand and smelt quite toxic, I was devastated . The Vet told me that she has a large heart murmur and Should never have been given IV fluids in the first place . This was causing Jessie to basically drown to death as her heart and kidneys could not take / cope with the fluid . I was advised that they would carry out a further blood test at 10 pm and call me with her results I left Jessie for the evening at 8 pm and cried all the way home . At 9 pm they called to say Jessie’s breathing was laboured and I needed
    To get back to the Hospital . When I arrived Jessie was laying in an oxygen Tent and
    Looked extremely sad and frightened . The Vet confirmed that there was nothing more he could do for Jessie and if she wasn’t put to sleep there and then She would die within hours a lot
    More unpleasantly and in pain , Jesssie died in my Arms at 9.22 pm . This is the worst day of my life and I am in physical pain over it . Jessie only went to the Vet 2 days earlier with a bag leg , she had now passed away and I’ve lost
    My beautiful girl . What makes this so
    Much more tragic is knowing her death may have been prevented and Jessie’s last 48 hours were terrible and she was treated so cruelly . My heart is breaking , I whispered to her when she was in my arms to “ dream big “ sleep tight Jessie x ?

    • Hi Vanessa, I’m so sorry to hear about Jessie, what an awful situation 🙁 It is heart breaking to lose a cat, I understand when you say it is physically painful.

      Take good care of yourself at this difficult time.

  34. My cat, Frankie, has suddenly changed. He acts like he is peeing on the furniture but does not. He is now growling and hissing at us when we get him. He is eating fine, drinking fine but my husband thinks he is dying. I’m heartbroken. Frankie has been with us for 9 years.

  35. Today we discovered that our 4 year old Bengal girl, Cass (Cassiopeia) has developed a significant heart murmur. I’m completely devastated, and even though she is still doing well for now, I’m so scared of what’s to come. I would really struggle to cope with losing her. But, your article was lovely and, in a way, comforting, so thank you. She’s curled up next to me and sleeping happily and it’s a real blessing. Hopefully we will get to have many more nights like this before her time comes.

    • Hi Gremoli, I’m so sorry to hear about Cass’s diagnosis, I had a Bengal many years ago who also had a heart problem too.

      What did the veterinarian say her prognosis was?

      Losing a pet is devastating, I hope she stays happy and well for me.

      Thank you for sharing your story, gentle hugs to Cass from Australia.

      • Thanks Julia, you are lovely. The vet said that ultimately it would result in heart failure, but it could be months or we could get lucky and it could be years. Here’s hoping for the latter. Next step is to get a scan to see exactly what we’re dealing with and then get her on medication to try and manage it as best we can.

        We have three bengals, and they’re the absolute heart and soul of our family. Best wishes from our family to yours.

  36. Hi all
    I rehomed a mother and daughter cat last year but only recently the mum doesnt seem to be her usual self e.g i was downstairs making something to eat which took me 15 minutes and in that time the mum went in and out of the cat tray 10-15 times but hardley went to the toilet, its taking her 3 days to eat one lot of her food and she seems to just be laying in one spot all day could she possibly be coming to the end?

    • Hi Chelsea, I’m sorry for the late reply. That could possibly be a urinary tract infection, urinary blockage or constipation. A urinary blockage is life-threatening. Can you get her to a veterinarian? All three of the above are treatable. If she can’t go to the toilet, she will feel pretty lousy.

  37. Thank you for this. I am sitting with Hannah, who was an adult when I adopted her in September of 2000. She has known every day of her life since then that she is the most beautiful and most beloved of all cats. She has been failing this past week: loss of appetite, loss of vision, loss of mobility, now weakness in her hind legs. I have been giving her little sips of chicken broth, lots of water, and thin pieces of venison. I have been petting and brushing her, and she purrs every now and then. She does not seem to be uncomfortable or in pain, just increasingly weak. I hope she passes gently, in the spot on the sofa we have fought over for the past 12 years. Today, finally, I let her win 🙂

    • Hi Linda, I’m sorry for the late reply.

      Wow, eighteen years is amazing. Congratulations to you and Hanna. I’m so sorry to hear she’s not doing well.

      Has she seen a veterinarian? They will be able to offer some suggestions and hopefully make her more comfortable.

  38. My baby girl Sophie 10 years old had slowly stopped being her usual bouncy little self and I knew something was wrong when she stopped eating much because she loves her food as soon as she hears the fridge open she would come racing inside but she just wanted to be outside and I noticed she was incontinent but wasn’t as worried about that as she has a history of IBD. But then she couldn’t hold her bladder either. She wasn’t dehydrated but her gums were pale which reminded me that she had caught and ate a few mice a few days earlier and it suddenly popped into my head that she may be actually suffering from second hand poisoning by eating rodents that had eaten rat bait. I took her too the vet 3 days ago and she was still eating a little and drinking a little vet thought it was probably diabetes and maybe her thyroid. I have both diabetes and problems with my thyroid so I knew that was something I understood so I wanted to make sure it was that and told the vet about my concerns about the poisoning. So I got them to run a full blood count and check for everything they could. They said the results would be back friday but they called me early today. She is suffering from poisoning and as her health has not always been the best it has hit her hard and her Liver and Pancreas are failing she has stopped eating completely now. They wanted to admit her to hospital but they were very honest with me about the chances of her surviving and her quality of life were not good. So I decided to not proceed with that after talking with my mum. Sophie would be so stressed if she had to be away from me and her home and would be utterly miserable and it would cruel to put her through that so the vet is coming in 10 hours to euthanize her. She is laying next me holding my hand around her paw knowing I love he. Its breaking my heart I am glad I am getting the chance to spend the last 24 hours with her. Every now again I look at her and she is so still that my heart skips a beat. I don’t want to leave the room because I don’t want her dying on her own. We have always had a very strong bond how am I gong to live without her? I know I will but the pain is so hard to bare again.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      I’m sorry for the late reply and to hear about Sophie. I think you made the right decision, which is always a hard one for a pet parent to make. As I have said in the article, a week too early is better than a day too late.

      It is so painful to lose a pet, I completely understand. You had ten wonderful years with Sophie, and she was lucky to have you, who cared so much about her. It does get easier, it takes time. Gentle hugs.

  39. Not to be morbid, but one of my favorite poems is For a Dead Kitten.I had it inscribed on Pumpkins marker, the only upside to his passing being he lived to a ripe old age of 22 and was healthy almost to the end. Just so much you can ask of our fur babies.Anyway, it seemed appropriate.

    Put the rubber mouse away
    Pick the spool up from the floor
    What was velvet shod and gay
    Will not want them any more.
    What was warm, is now so cold
    Whence dissolved that little breath?
    How could this small body hold
    So immense a thing as death?

  40. My girlfriend and myself just had to bury our cat Tennessee, she died last night, presumably from her cancer. We had a cancerous tumor removed from her abdomen about 8 months ago, and she had been fine ever since. Then all of a sudden her health suddenly declined again a couple days ago.

    We thought we’d defeated the cancer, and since she had had a couple upper respiratory infections before with similar symptoms, we took her to the vet and got some antibiotics, thinking everything would be okay.

    Now that she’s out in the garden, with a gardenia shrub over her, I can’t help but feel stupid, and like I failed her because I didn’t want to believe that the cancer was back. She could have passed quietly, but instead she was afraid and in pain, and it was my fault. At least I was there with her, I held her until she stopped breathing.

    We miss her so much, and it’s only made worse by the fact that it felt like it came out of nowhere. I will be better, and I will never let another one of my babies suffer. I just wish I didn’t have to learn this lesson like this.

    If you’re reading this, please learn from our mistakes. If your pet becomes ill, assume the worst every time since they can’t tell you what’s wrong.

    • Hi Vincent, I’m so sorry for your loss of Tennessee, please don’t beat yourself up about it. Cats are exceptional at hiding symptoms, we lost our cat Levi the same way. It was very sudden and a huge shock.

      Thank you for your reply, be gentle on yourself.

  41. Thanks for this very helpful post. My little kitty cat is dying of kidney disease and I’m devastated 🙁

    • Oh Susan, I am so sorry to hear about your kitty. I lost a cat to kidney disease a few years ago, it was hard to watch him. Take care and please give your lovely kitty a hug from me 🙂

  42. My beautiful and loving cat of eighteen years got sick and couldn’t make it to his litter box. I had him euthanised, but I think I waited too long. It is breaking my heart that I let him suffer!

    • HI David,

      I’m so sorry for your loss, hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it? At the time, it’s not black and white, and sometimes we don’t always make the best decision. I’ve been there with my beautiful cat Eliot, I feel we kept her alive for too long, but even the veterinarian said it wasn’t quite her time yet, but looking back, I genuinely feel we should have put her to sleep two weeks earlier (when the vet said it wasn’t her time), which is why I finished the article by saying a week or two too early is better than a day too late. But, when you’re in the thick of it, it’s not always that easy. Please don’t be hard on yourself, eighteen years is a wonderful age, you must have been doing something right.

  43. My moms friends had a pregnant cat that lived in their yard. She had given birth to 3 kittens they were so cute. They got older and they could run and play. I had my eye on this one kitten, he was so beautiful and so sweet, I knew he’d be mine. As the kittens for older they allowed us to watch them. (The mother cat was friendly and we had a special bond) my moms friends neighbor has a TNR job and so she decided to get the mother cat fixed. My friend and I (my moms friends daughter) waiter for the neighbor to her back. She came back, she was crying, I couldn’t see the cat. I asked, as I started to cry, she told me that the vet had found kitty leukemia in the cat and that she was in pain. The neighbor told the vet that the mother has kittens, they told her they most likely had it because the mother had it while nursing the kittens. My moms friend wouldn’t let the neighbor get the kittens tested, it was too late when I had found out. About 2 weeks later my mom woke me up in the morning with a surprise, it was the kitten I had my eye on. I was so happy and exited I almost cried. I took care of him every day, I named him Goose. If I had a bad day he’d make it better, he was my best friend. I remember he’d always climb up on my chest and look me in the eyes and he’d fall asleep, he’d purr so loud it was my favorite noise. I had, had him for almost a year when I found out his sister had died of kitty lukiema and a week and a half after that his brother died. My cat had lived another 3 months untill he died. The only reason for that was because I actually took care of him and lived him. One morning I woke up and I had breakfast (it was Saturday) I went and got my cats bowl and filled it up with food, I went to find him and I looked outside, I saw him. I thought he was sleeping. He was curled up next to the door. I said his name and he didn’t answer. I went to pet him and cried instantly. He was stiff and cold. I woke everyone up, but I didn’t care. I knew I probably woke the neighbors with my wailing. It didn’t seem like my parents were very upset, the first thing they did was grab a box. My dad shoved him in it and even bent his tail just to make him fit. I still hate him. I feel like my dad killed my cat, he always hated him, but then again the only logical answer is kitty leukemia. If I would’ve known ( I should’ve, I wish I did) that he was in pain, I would’ve taken him in. But he didn’t show signs of dying.

  44. My baby luna was diagnosed with dry fip 2 weeks ago, she must of got it when she was a kitten the vet said it laid dormant till now she just had her first birthday on the 23rd the vet said our other car would not catch it
    cause its a virus and the other cat would of shown signs by now if she was not immune and she also suggested it was to soon to put her down but now i’m not so sure she was right about that. over the past 2 weeks we (me and my partner) have seen her slowly get worse. She started out by lack of grooming and noticeably eating less. She then started only eating treats and real food (so we spoiled her with real meat cooked right and tuna) after a while even chicken would get overlooked I figured her throat must feel dry so I found some kitty broth meals (pretty much just veggies vitamins and meat broth) and now thats basically all she will eat but even then its only some of it and maybe one treat. She has no desire for water anymore and only drinks when i bring her attention to it. I think tomorrow will be at the point where I will need to help squeeze some down with a eye dropper. She can not even support herself well at all to go to the bathroom or move around the house. I spent a good 6-7 hours with her today just taking her to different spots around the house to spend time and read and cuddle with her mostly outside. She is an inside cat but over the past 2 weeks we have been taking her out onto our porch and she loves everything about that. Today is the first day where she is no longer able to move freely around without getting dizzy or tipping. I am going to have the conversation about helping her pass into her next phase of experience. with my partner tonight. I do not think this world has anything left to give my precious soul luna but I kind of want someone else to tell me that it is time. Thank you for reading this and have a wonderful day.
    One love, Derek

  45. I’ve lost 2 cats to cars and one to undetermined causes( it might have been a car) and another that wasn’t even really my cat that I had to take to be euthanized.
    The first one was found by my parents in the alley around noon, but it seemed she had been hit sometime around 3 am. From what my parents told me she had peed on herself and maybe she was trying to get home. RIP Ikki.
    The other car I saw him get hit and I picked him up from the street. RIP Kyo.
    The third one my cousin found in our yard with blood on her mouth. She came back to die at home. RIP KIBA
    Then there was a start mom fed. He went MIA for a few moths and when he came back he had a bad case of scabies. I tried taking him to a humane society but nobody would take him so I decided to take him to the vet myself. They tested him and he was FIV positive. He went missing for a month after that, but when he came back he wasn’t eating or drinking and he’d begun sneezing blood too.
    As so in as the vet saw him he agreed it was his time to go. RIP Cabezon

  46. Thank you for this post. My FeLV positive kitty is actively dying and has begun to exhibit end stage signs. He already had an appointment scheduled this coming Tuesday, (earliest they could get us in)but he has deteriorated rapidly after declining food and now water, and I’m afraid of how he will do until then. I tried everything from making home made high protein food up to assist feeding, and I stopped that as it seemed it was stressing him more, which I did not want to do. It is a holiday weekend and we have a tropical storm heading for us so I’ve been trying to keep him as comfortable as possible. We’ve had him for only 4 years and the vet warned us after we rescued him that FeLV cats usually don’t have a long life span, but he has been an amazing cat, and my heart is breaking. I know this was long but thank you for letting me stress vent, this post has helped me feel somewhat better. We may lose our beautiful cat, but I also know that when the time is right we will want to adopt again in the future.

    • Hi Nicole,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your kitty. Did you manage to get him to eat? Have you tried warming up his food? That can sometimes work.

  47. I would greatly appreciate any advice. I have a 4 year old indoor only cat named Simba who has never had any medical issues before. Last Saturday he started throwing up several times. He pretty much stopped eating and drinking. On Wednesday we took him to the vet, even though we really didn’t have the extra money for it(I’m a divorced mom of 2 kids who has been out of work for almost 2 months due to injuries sustained in a car accident). The vet wanted to do X-rays for $290 and blood work for $310. I didn’t have that much money and I got turned down for that care credit loan. So the vet gave him a saline injection and medicine to make him stop throwing up ($230)land to keep an eye on his abdomen bc it seemed sore. But Simba is urinating do that’s a good sign. He said that should help buy me some time to figure out my finances. Simba did stop throwing up and he even looked a little better. But he still refuses to eat or drink. The vet said perhaps he ate something that has him backed up, or maybe it’s a haurball. So we started giving him hair ball digestive pills.

    I’m so terrified that my precious kitty is dying. His breath stinks, he won’t eat or drink, he’s lost weight and he’s very lethargic. I’m tearing myself up with guilt bc I can’t afford the vets help. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Hi Lisa,

      I’m so sorry to hear about Simba. I really don’t know what I can suggest, without diagnostics it’s impossible to say. Has he passed a stool during this time?

      • No, although tonight he seemed to be trying to pass a stool but nothing came out so I’m hopeful that the hairball pills are beginning to work. He had zero interest in food still. The only thing we’ve managed to get in him is some pedialyte and a tiny bit of spray cheese we put on his mouth for him to lick off

  48. Julia,
    I want to thank you for this article. I’ve been trying to decide if the time is right to take my cat for one last visit to the vet. She has oral cancer, and I just can’t see putting her through surgery when it will only result in a lower quality of life and not extend it any. The vet offered herbal medicines as well, but I doubt I’d be able to get it into her.

    She only has two of the signs you’ve mentioned. Drooling (like crazy!) and hiding. But she’s also lost almost half her body weight over the last 5 months, is only slightly less active and the mass is so large it’s covering her teeth and making her bleed when she bits down. She’s 10 though, so some of it is expected due to age. The smell from her mouth/drool is very unpleasant and she doesn’t always groom herself well. I assume because of the mass.

    I feel aweful not just because I have to make this decision, which in itself is extremely hard, but also because I may be considering doing it early just so I don’t have to watch her decline, which is a selfish reason to do anything like this.
    I know you understand when I say … I wish it was easier to know when to let go.

    • Hi Tara,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your cat. It’s a really hard decision. In hindsight, we feel we kept our cat Eliot alive for too long. Two weeks prior she had seen a veterinarian who said it wasn’t time for euthanasia yet, but looking back, we feel she should have been put to sleep then, not later, when she had declined further. That is why I finish the article the way I did, a week or two too early is better than late. But I advise you speak to your veterinarian and let them guide you too.

      It’s gutwrenching to have to do it, I truly feel for you and wish you all the best in making this very difficult decision. Take care.

  49. Hi

    I think my cat is dying. He is 19 years old. He was diagnosed with kidney disease a few years back. Also recently they found that his liver is a weird and large shape along with part of his intestine quite thick.
    Before the scan they only gave him a tablet to make him sleepy but it took him two days to recover. In fact since then he hardly eats or drinks, i have to hand feed him. He also sleeps a lot and doesn’t really engage.
    He does greet me sometimes and purrs when I stroke him.
    Recently, he got diagnosed with a eye ulcer too. Still healing.

    He is currently on treatment for a overacting thyroid, a tablet to stop vomiting and recently steroids as they believe he may have cancer.
    He always gets stressed when I take him out and I can tell he is fed up with the tablets.

    I’m taking him to the vet today, although it hurts I think I need to put him to sleep. The idea makes me cry but I think it’s the right thing to do. His name is Leo & he is a white Manx

      • Hi Julia.

        Unfortunately it was only for a while. I took Leo to the vet to be put to rest on Thursday.

        Told him I loved him while he was in my arms. The vet then gave the injection. Although it was difficult I wanted to be with him right until the end, as his dad it was also my duty.

        Leo (1999 – 2018). Hope to see you again. Blessed

  50. Update:

    Took my cat to the vet and have booked him in for tomorrow to be put to sleep. However, he was given this tablet to help with his appetite and he is a different cat! Much more awake and engaging and talkative!
    I’m gonna see how he goes as he seems much better. I’ll still take him tomorrow for a check up but he might still have some life in him yet! ?

  51. Thank you for writing this very helpful and compassionate story and giving me a place to talk about how I’m feeling watching my beautiful, best friend as she transitions her journey onward. I have experienced the loss of many of my beautiful cat children, but my current kitty, Madeline, is especially heart felt. I never had human children and Madeline is like the baby I never had to privilege of having. It’s like she knows my happiness and sadness and all emotions in between. I’m keeping her as comfortable as possibly, but know that I must be strong for her now as she is going through these difficult days. She is down to 3.5 pounds, we give her subQ fluids, she eats, but doesn’t keep the food in, has chewed fur off most paws. She still cuddles and purrs and has the sweetest disposition regardless of her circumstances. I try to keep my focus on enjoying each moment I have with her, although sometimes I just cry.
    We have been under the loving compassionate care of Dr. Mary at All Creatures Animal Hospital, but of course, Madeline is not fond of getting in her carrier to go there. So we maximize those trips to reduce her discomfort.
    Thank you for letting me share! Madeline and I needed to know that there are so many others experiencing the same emotions.

    • Hi Debra, I’m so sorry to hear about Madeline, I completely understand when you say she is your baby. Sometimes a pet really does become your soulmate.

      Wishing Madeline and yourself all the best. So many of us here know what you’re going through, you’re not alone.

  52. So glad I came upon this article. Today we have a vet coming to the house to evaluate our sweetheart, Nickel. She is 21 years old, and has many of the symptoms you outline, except she has not stopped eating or drinking. She is skin and bones, and has gone downhill for the past month or so. I will let the vet tell us her true condition. But I don’t want to wait until she is in obvious distress. Your comment about being 2 weeks too early rings true. I will miss her terribly, but don’t want her to suffer one whit.

  53. I have a cat that lives near my porch and is wild and won’t come in.I have been feeding her for 16 years and she has now stopped eating.She has started looking real unkempt and I think her time is up.She will never let me take her to the vet.She still brings”presents” to me but has stopped all that in the last week and is now not eating or drinking.What do I do since I can’t take her to a vet?

    • Hi Dyan,

      I’m sorry to hear about the cat. Do you think you could trap her or would a trip to the veterinarian be too stressful?

      If you can’t get her treatment, I’d just try to keep her comfortable. Provide her with a warm box to sleep in and keep putting food out.

  54. So today the cat who grew up wirh me was put down. She was 19 and a half, and when though she lived with my dad I cared deeply about her. I went to check on her today and she was in bad shape. Thank you for the article, I was feeling guilty I might have ended things too soon. The hardest thing Ive done in my life so far. She purred the whole way through though, surrounded by love, being pet by 8 hands.

    • Hi Enna,

      I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your cat. 19 years is an amazing age, she was obviously very well looked after and loved by you and your dad.

      Please don’t feel guilty, you said yourself she was in a bad way. Honestly, a week or two too soon is better than a day too late.

  55. Puccikat was a stray and I adopted her 8years ago. She probabbly was about 2-4yrs old on adoption. For the past almost 3months she has been beathing heavily. It was a coincidental find when brought to the vet after a seizure attack (first time).chest x’rays showed cloudy lungs.
    Been on antibiotics, steriods, bromhexine, theophyline with little improvement at first but now its getting worst. Just started on freusemide as crackles heard.
    Only a 25% improvemt noticed in her alertness. Aftee exertions like using the littre box, using her scratching pole she breathes with her mouth open. Collapses on the floor from tiredness with the heavy breathing and after a period of time no open mouth breathing but still heavy.
    Two days ago from a afteenoon vet trip back, she vomitted and began breathing extremely heavy with her mouth open and little sound at the end of each inhaled breath. I felt so helpless. She was ‘down and sleeping’ the whole day.
    Vet said high possibility she has fibrosis in her lungs and underying heart problem which explains slight improvment with fruesemide. Fibrosis cant be treated and its progressive.
    I dont want her to suffer yet she is still eating and trying her best to be active. When should I let her go?

    • Hi Alison,

      I’m sorry to hear about your cat, it’s a hard decision to make. Did you look at the quality of life chart linked in the article? Maybe that can be of help.

      I think you will know when it’s time, good luck and gentle hugs to your girl.

      • Hi Julia,

        Yes i did the chart. But its ‘very grey’. Got a score of 43. Hope I am doing it right.
        It seems much worst especially when the open mouth breathing happens more often now, even with just walking a short distance. Watching her being so restless when that hsppens and not sure to sit or lie down aches/pains in my heart.

  56. Hey. My cat stopped eating 2 days ago. Although he wasnt eating anything yet he vomitted after every 2,3 hour. We gave him antiemetics, he vomitted. The meds didnt effect him. The vet gave some antibiotics and they didnt work either. He died the next day. He was drooling and it had a foul smell. The very next day other cat had the same symptoms and he died too. We have lost 4 kittens due to this the last week. And now another one is sick today. What is going on with them ? Please help us understand.

  57. My cat is growling and meowing while frequently sleeping (The cat is a Korat). Everytime I take off the covers, she is angry. She keeps wanting to always run to my covers specifically. I can’t tell if she is cold since I put my hand over her forehead and ears which are really warm. Currently, my cat is sleeping. Also, she has a foul smell.
    Do you think there is anything wrong with her?

  58. My cat is about 3 months old. She’s an outside cat but we take care of her very well. Lately, she’s been getting very bad discharge and she’s been hacking and sneezing. The other day we came outside to feed her and she had two bald spots on each side of her “hole”. She’s been eating fine but not as much as she used to. She used to like being petted but is now became very feral and usually doesn’t like it when you touch her.

  59. My 4year old male cat Ely I’v had since kittenhood. He’s my baby boy. 10 days ago he had a little vomit & just didn’t seem right so I rushed him to ER. He had a fever of 102.7 & they just gave him some antibiotics & sent him home. He threw up 2hrs later so back we went. Gave him fluids sent him home. Since then he stopped eating & drinking. Been to the vet 3 more times. $1500 later all we know is blood panel shows he’s fighting some kind of infection & his spleen is enlarged. To further diagnose he needs an $1100 ultrasound, perhaps a biopsy. He’s on appetite stimulants nausea pain antibiotics & fluids 1x a day but still refuses to eat or drink. He lays by the water dish & just stares blankly. I am syringe feeding him which he is resistant to so Im not sure hes getting much. I’m devastated & am not ready to say goodbye. I am out of money to further test & not sure it would matter anyway. Thank you for your article and allowing others to share our grief. It’s so painful being so helpless & watching ones you love struggle.

    • Hi Beachbabi,

      I’m so sorry to hear about little Eli, those vet bills add up fast, I sympathise completely.

      I’m in the process of writing an article on nutritional support for sick animals (should be finished tonight or tomorrow), and am wondering why the veterinarian hasn’t suggested tube feeding Eli? Has this been discussed at all?

      I am really hoping Eli pulls through.

  60. Hi Julia,
    I’m really worried about my cat. I have had him for 13 years and I am scared he is dying. He stopped eating like normal so i gave him wet food to eat because he never turns that down. He sniffed it and went back to bed. He is a very social and easy going cat so it confused me that he has been sleeping in my bed and closet and not really going downstairs and sitting in the windowsill like he usually does. I talked to my mom about it and she thought i was being over dramatic, but his ears are colder, and his breathing is not as steady and seems struggled. I hate to bother you, but I am genuinely concerned for my cat. I am very worried reading this article and realizing my cat has a lot of problems.

    • Hi Nova,

      Are you able to get your cat to a veterinarian? It sounds like he needs some help. A loss of appetite can happen for a number of reasons and needs to be addressed. Good luck, please let me know how you go.

      PS: You are not being over-dramatic at all. Kudos to you for being aware.

  61. I lost my baby girl today. She had been treated successfully for GI lymphoma for three years and was in remission. Then this past December she had a tumor in her bladder removed, and after that the lymphoma returned. She wasted away to skin and bones even though she ate a ton of food. Then this morning, she woke me up at 4:30am getting up onto the bed next to me. I looked over and she didn’t seem to be able to move her hind legs because they were so weak. So I took her to the ER. On the way there, I knew it was probably the end. She wasn’t meowing in her carrier – like she always did, and was just resting her head in my hand. The vet said she was in organ failure. Her temperature and heart rate were low and in the few minutes we were there, she had a seizure – which I’m glad I did not witness. They brought her out and I held her when they gave her the medicine. I’m dreading coming home from work tonight because she won’t be there. I know she had a good life for 15 years, but it doesn’t make it less painful.

  62. Julia, I love the valuable information you’ve given on this website and the kind words you’ve written for pet parents around the world. I wish I would’ve found it sooner. Monday night, I had a vet put down my feline I’ve shared a life with for 21+ years. It was excruciatingly painful watching my baby agonize until the end. She was diagnosed with kidney failure 15 months ago and was declining steadily. But last month, she got an antibiotic shot and seemed to be making a comeback. It was baffling how mobile, happy, energetic and hungry she suddenly was again. Unfortunately, she resumed her symptomatic decline late last week. She stopped eating, drank very little and could barely control her hind legs in the 72 hours before she passed. She was found after work laying flat on the ground, almost paralyzed. She may have been that way for many hours. The speed and ferocity of the disease at the end caught me by surprise and has left me stunned and devastated. I know she has lived a long, pampered life. But I feel I failed her when she needed me most.

    • Hi John,

      Thank you for your kind words, especially at this terrible time for you. I am so sorry for your loss, 21 years is amazing. You obviously loved her very much.

      Kidney disease can progress very fast, I too have lost a cat to the disease and have seen how fast they can go downhill.

      Please don’t beat yourself up about it, you did the very best you could for your girl, it is not your fault, I know you are hurting right now, but try to remember the 21 amazing years you shared together. The end is really hard because it is so easy to feel guilt for letting them go too soon, or waiting too long, but we are all human, and we do the very best we can for our cats. Please remember that.

  63. My 14 year old Birman has had bad diarrhea for quite sometime now. His appetite has decreased and I’m sure he’s got arthritis as he is walking slower and slower. We’ve tried antibiotics, Cerenea, etc. His blood work came back just fine. My mom and I are wondering if it’s just his bodies way of shutting down. He’s been through a lot of stuff the past few years with moving to/from 4 different houses and a new state. That means a new vet. Like most of you, I’m not blaming the vet, current and especially not previous of 20+ years. I feel
    Like it’s time but it’s so hard to make that call. In looking at signs of dying, without disease, he is showing a lot of them. I guess I’ve got a very difficult decision to make soon. ?? any advice is appreciated.

    • Hi Jenny, sorry for the delay in responding to you.

      That’s a really hard call, when you don’t have a diagnosis. I honestly don’t know what I would do. At 14, there is a good chance arthritis is there. Has the veterinarian run any tests to look for arthritis? What kind of tests have they run so far?

  64. Hi, My 8 year old male kitty, Mocha is having problems pooping which made him throw up all the time. He will only eat one type of food and refuses to eat anything else. He loves water, but he’s not drinking enough to pass it. So they had to manually extract his feces. I’ve had him on a stool softner as well as meds to help his colon. He has continued to throw up so his vet gave me anti nausea meds. They have helped him, but he continues to lose weight and won’t eat much at all. He’s lost about 2 lbs in two weeks. His vet says there’s nothing else to do for him and that some cats colons just give out and stop working. He hides most days and comes out for a few minutes when I come home from work and sometimes will come say good morning when my alarm goes off. He doesn’t seem to be in pain, but How long do I go when he’s losing about 1 lb a week and he’s eating very little. I’m having a hard time making the decision to let him go…please advise.

    • Hi Kelli,

      I’m sorry to hear about your cat, that sounds very distressing for both Mocha and you?

      What kind of food is he eating?

      I really don’t know what to recommend other than maybe seeking a second opinion from a cat specialist veterinarian. Do you have any in your area, or any teaching hospitals? They would be better able to help you than myself in this case as it sounds very complicated.

  65. Thanks for this article, it helped some. My baby girl of 14 years seems to be going down hill slowly. Her fur looks different, she’s a bit slower, she’s lost a lot of weight. First the weight loss from my mom only feeding her and her sister since my dad fed them a lot more but now it seems to be from more than just less food daily. So hopefully if she passes on in the next year or so it’s not with so much pain. I’ll defintely cry a ton but st least I can make her last year one filled with love.

  66. Thank you for this article. My precious Nikki is 16 and coming to the end. I knew before reading this, now I’m sure. I’m waiting on lab tests but I have a feeling I will be saying good bye to her in a few days. I will be putting her to sleep as she has suffered so much already in her life. I’m crying as I type this, however, I know it is what’s best.
    Thank you again for the article.

  67. Just lost my Gracie girl. 14 years was not enough. She was fine and then one day I noticed she wasn’t eating. Brought her immediately to the vet and she had a fever. They could not bring it down with medicine. 3 more visits and 5 days later and she was gone. The most traumatic and awful experience of my life.

    • Hi Jen,

      I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of Gracie. It sounds like it was an extremely traumatic time during and now, afterwards.

      It is hard, you are not alone, many of us know the pain of losing a cat. Please take care of yourself.

  68. Starting to wonder if his time is near: Growing up we had indoor/outdoor cats. One of them ran off at 15 and never came home. The other I found under my bed with glossed over eyes at 15 as well. Now, fast forward 20 yrs, my first kitty in adult life just turned 15 this month. He’s always been indoors. He’s always been the cat who ate and threw up, but it was undigested food. Now he’s not eating, but he’s still throwing up. He is hydrating. He still jumps up into the window for sunbathing and fresh air. He can still jump onto the bed. I’m noticing weight loss though!! I gave him a full “pet down” and didn’t feel any masses or see any signs of discomfort to my touch. He’s already been confined to my daughters bedroom after behavioral urinating began. Vet gave him the A-Okay at that time. Turns out he doesn’t like his dog-siblings and prefers being separated from them. He’s stopped the behavioral urinating now that his litter/food/bed/space are all shut off from the dogs.

    The vet says well bring him in for a blood test….I’m struggling with paying the $200.00 that would cost…My ONLY concern is that my sweet boy isn’t in pain. Any feedback on end of life and things I should look for? This is my first go-round losing a pet.

    • Hi Ashley,

      Sorry to hear your kitty isn’t feeling well. It’s really impossible to know without a diagnosis. Is there a way to borrow the $200 or ask the vet if you can pay it in installments?

  69. I am crying as I read this and look at my sweet kitty whose days are numbered. She has Cancer . I don’t know when I will see it is time to let Her go but it is soon . She came along , a rescue , about 5 years ago . We Both needed a new lease on life at the time . She helped Me and I hope I helped Her . Thank You for the article

  70. Hello Julia
    I found you blog very interesting and comforting. My dear old cat is nearly 17 years old. We have had a wonderful life together but his poor old body is starting to break down. Incontinence and diahorrea. I found by reading your article I am prepared to make that heartbreaking decision now when the right time is to have him euthanised.
    I have been feeling so guilty to even think about it and hoping he will just die naturally but sometimes as you say you have to make that decision for them. It is not about how we feel it’s about them and their quality of life.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Jane,

      I’m sorry to hear about your cat. It’s just as hard when they are old, even if we know logically that they have had a good and long life. It’s not easy to say goodbye to them, but you are 100% correct when you say it’s about their quality of life. We owe it to them to let go, even though it is so hard to do.

      I wish you both all the best, take care and than you for your comments.

  71. Thank you for this article and I am so sorry for the loss you experienced. I need to be strong when my time comes . Sushi has kidney disease – he was born with deformed kidneys. Whoever had him, just dumped him behind an apartment building. Their loss is my gain. I have loved him now for 2 years and he greatly improved upon my care after learning the foods to feed him and the daily hydration and stomach pills I give him at home. He has put on a great deal of weight and is happy and very playful. I am grateful for everyday I see him enjoying his life and want to be there for him until the end. I cry now, and he is still good. God Bless.

    • HI Joyce,

      Thanks for your kind comments. I agree with what you say about their loss, I feel the same way about my dog who was dumped in a pound, he’s the best dog ever 🙂 Kidney disease is certainly a condition which requires a huge amount of work from the carer, so kudos to you for what you have done. Good luck and keep it up.

  72. I lost my beautiful mainecoon, Rocket, yesterday. He was 15 and had a sinus/facial tumor. My twins and myself made the difficult decision to put him down. I’ve been struggling ever since. He was an amazing boy, more doglike than catlike. He loved to be around and on people. He was the most loving cat I’ve ever seen and everyone loved him. I came across this post and I just wanted you to know it helped alleviate some of the pain. Thank you.

    • Hi Dawn, I’m so sorry for your loss, how devastating for you. It is devastating to say goodbye to a pet, but remember that you had 15 wonderful years with Rocket and it is an unspoken contract that at the end, we must be strong and ease their suffering. It’s those left behind who have to grieve, but Rocket had a great life and a loving family, try to remember that 🙂

  73. Mama adopted us 13 years ago. The last week she has been stretched out on the couch sleeping more than usual. Labored breathing, She can’t drink water, although I can tell she wants to. She is very thin. I wiped her coat down this morning with a damp washcloth. She has been laying in one spot for the past several days. She is not eating. She can barely meow. Is it time?

    • Hi Tara,

      I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you. It sounds to me that Mama needs to see a veterinarian for some help. Please let me know how you go.

  74. Thanks for this information! I have a 17.5 year old cat. She has been passed around in my family from my nieces to my mom and, for the last 7 years, to me. This is my first experience with a dying cat. I strive to keep her as comfortable as possible. This article reinforced some things I have already been doing and gave me some other helpful ideas to assist her during this time. I can’t thank you enough. Along with a recent vet visit, this information has eased my mind immensely.

    • Hi Carol,

      Thanks so much for your comments. I’m glad the article has been helpful. You sound like a wonderful carer. That’s all our cats can ask for.

  75. I have a 16 year old male tabby. For the past two years he is constantly getting constipated and throws up. We have had many vet visits and he is on grain free wet food with a tsp of Miralax in his food, but every couple of weeks still gets constipated. He also wanders around the house starting around 4:30am howling very loud. The vet has prescribed a tranquilizer but the cat throws it up. He’s old so is this cat dementia?

  76. My sweet baby boy Maddigan is 4 years old. He got sick out of the blue. Was chylothorax. They put him on a diuretic and the fluid was gone At his 5 day checkup. I was so relieved. Then the next day he stopped eating, but was still drinking. It’s been 3 days now. I syringe feed him baby food twice a day, but I dont know when I should just let go. He still has perky moments…he still does thi gs he used to, but mostly he sleeps. What do I do??? I’ve had him since the moment he was born. I was there. He is my bff. I am a disabled veteran with PTSD and anxiety…he is my therapy pet. This is so hard.

    • Hi Crystal, I’m so sorry to hear about your boy. What does the vet think? I hope they can guide you and he pulls through. Please keep me updated.

  77. I had to put to sleep Precious,a cat I had for 11 and a half years. We had many memories we shared together, good and bad. She was my world wihout end.and she was such a sweetheart every day of her life. She would listen to soft music while laying right next to me and would she begin to quietly purr. I miss her deeply but not anymore suffering from her painful dental disease as I couldn’t afford $1000 – $2000 to have all her teeth removed. Till I recently she was fine and eating canned cat food. I came
    home from being away and Precious’s mouth was all bloody and so was her front PAWS and on the floor, too! Took her to the vet and he said it again about her teeth. I decided it was time to release her from pain and put her to sleep…..No pain anymore Precious! I gently squeezed her with tears in my eyes….”I love you forever my kitty baby!”

    • Hi Karen,

      I’m so sorry for your the loss of Precious. I can tell by your post that you loved her dearly. We all understand here how hard it is to say goodbye. Please take comfort that Precious had 11.5 happy years being loved by you.

  78. Lazt night we had to take a stray to be put to sleep. She was a cat that we have been feeding for a few years now and grew to love. I am having a hard time with it and can not figure out why. We found her on the back porch just laying there and her eyes had tears in them. We found a wound near her tail that was very deep & had maggots in it. I have been questioning weather or not she could have lived if we had been able to do more. We couldn’t afford a vet & finally found one that agreed to put her to sleep without payment. There was odor coming from the wound and she looked so bad but what if is all i keep thinking. I didn’t get to stay with her & worry about if she was scared because she was calm with us and she was a little jumpy when we got to the vet. I can’t seem to get it off my mind and don’t know why

    • Hi Kristen,

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I don’t think it matters if you’ve cared for a cat for 1 day or 15 years, it is still painful. You did the very best you could for her, please remember that.

  79. I have had the privilege of being with 2 of my cats when they were euthanized, I was lucky that the vet knew me and allowed me to go into the back of the clinic…some vets think it better to take your cat from you. I was able to hold them and make them feel safe and loved whilst receiving the final injection. It wasn’t easy, but I am glad that their final moments were in my arms…thank you for writing this, To be with them at the end is emotional, but should be viewed as a gift of love to them for all they have us.

    • Hi Andrea,

      Thanks for your response. I’ve only been with one of my cats, and I almost said no. It’s usually my husband and teenage daughter who do that. But this last time I knew I had to do it. It was so hard, but we owed it to him to be there. I will never miss another euthanasia again, they give us so much during their life, and it’s nice to be able to be with them at the end, if we can do it.

  80. I’ve had my little bear (Snowball) since she was 5 weeks old. She’s 11 years old now and I still talk to her like she’s a baby. She is my shadow. Follows me everywhere she can and she is very talkative and playful and loves to cuddle. She plays fetch and loves her squeaky mice. She always sleeps in bed with me on my left side. If there’s not room on the left, she lightly meows and patiently waits for me to make a space for her. Then she goes to her spot and lays down right against me. She’s the first to greet me when I come home. My buddy started becoming lethargic and less talkative last week and stopped eating. We took her into the vet and found she was in severe kidney failure and had some stones as well. The vet tried diuresing her, have anti nausea meds so she could eat, pain medicine, and Gabapentin to help keep her calm. Sadly, the diuresis isn’t working so we will discuss end of life care to keep my fluffy baby as comfy as possible until the end. I am willing to euthanize if she appears too withdrawn and restless and not eating, etc. I don’t want her to be in pain. She’s such a good girl and has been my constant, loving, and loyal companion for over a decade. I say she’s my puppy because she has the mannerisms of a dog. Snowball is her own entity, has her own little sassy personality, and there won’t be another kitty like her. I will miss her so incredibly much and my husband and I will feel her void in our house everyday. I have to do right by my best little buddy. Thanks for this post. It’s helping me decided how to prepare my home and how to talk with my vet about how to care for my sweet bear at the end. Thank you.

    • Thank you for your kind words Celeste. I understand what you mean about puppy, I’ve had two cats like that and they were very special. I wish you and Snowball all the best 🙂

  81. I’m bawling my eyes out as I read this article. It says everything that my head already knows, but my heart just doesn’t want to let go of our precious 14 1/2 year old snowshoe, Louie. He has had good and bad days over the past year or so. Blood tests awhile back showed that SOME kind of cancer is active, but we have not tested further, as we don’t want to put him through more tests and chemo if that’s the case. He suddenly stopped eating Thursday, and retreated to hide in our bedroom closet. Usually he is out with the family and his feline companions. He stopped sleeping with us, and is just not eating…at least not that I’m seeing. Even his favorite treats which would have him running are of no interest to him. This is so, so hard…. but I’m sure that the next few days will be the last. Thanks for being here. It’s so, so hard and the tears won’t stop. How in the world are they going to stop so I can be with him at the end?

    • Hi Sharon,

      I’m so sorry to hear your cat is so sick. Please don’t worry about tears, we all cry when we have to say goodbye. It is totally okay. Good luck, I will be thinking about you both. Take care.

  82. Hello 🙂 i adopted my cat when she was a kitten about a year ago. She gave birth to 4 kittens 2 months ago. These few weeks she was not eating and had no energy. Her fur was turning yellow. The first few days, she was vomiting and it eventually stopped when the vet gave us vitamins for her. Since she has lost a lot of weight, my mom decided to feed her cat milk. She is still not feeling well now. My family says she will die over time but i do not believe them…
    I sometimes cant prevent the tears when i look at her but i hope someday she will be fine and healthy. I will not lose hope :’ )

  83. Thank you for this post. As I read my 19 year old cat, Sylvester, is on my lap wrapped in a blanket and I believe possibly in his last hours. He’s been the most amazing resilient pet we’ve ever had. Last spring we had to euthanize our black lab, Sadie. She was 8 years old with a brain tumor. I still cry over her we have 2 other dog and Sylvester liked Sadie best, this is breaking my heart to see him so thin and weak these past months. Today he took a turn for the worst. I’ve sobbed over him and pray that he would pass peacefully tonight otherwise I will have to take him in tomorrow and with all my heart, i don’t want to…but I know its best for him. I pet him and feel his tiny tummy rise and fall but he’s so disoriented and falls over, walks into walls and no interest in foo so I know I need to just let him be on my lap for however long he wants…

  84. I have a older female tabby cat who recently got outside by accident. Before we adopted her she was a outdoor stray so she does know how to take care of herself. My son let her out last year as well and she was absolutely fine in terms of acting the same upon return. However this time she seems to be declining in her health. She won’t eat, drinks a ton and pees, doesn’t seem interested in cuddling with me ( she use to always come to me and want to be snuggled) now starting to limp. She is a petite cat as it but now seems like she is skin and bones literally. She is around 14 years old. Could this be time for her to be euthanized? I’m just not sure if she is in pain or not she is able to jump up onto this chair we have in the basement and to drink from the toilet. Any suggestions? We don’t really want to be spending a fortune on vet expenses as money is tight. But don’t want to see her suffer either

    • Hi Meaghan,

      Three common disorders in senior cats are diabetes, hyperthyroidism and kidney disease. All of them can be managed, early intervention is better. Your vet can do bloodwork to determine the health status of your cat. Hyperthyroidism and kidney disease can be managed with diet.

  85. Hi thank you for this article. I am concerned about our cat. She was a stray that we’ve had for around 7 years. We’ve never taken her to the vet. She has been in good health and everything until the past year. She was always an inside/outside cat, and had a litter box but stopped using it and started peeing and pooping in the house. My husband decided she would have to be an outside cat after this started happening. Well, most recently she’s lost weight and her hair is falling out. She’s balding on her back. It happened quickly. There’s been clumps of hair on our front porch. She’s been more verbal with us lately too and my daughter doesn’t think she’s eating as much. We can not afford to treat whatever is wrong with her. I plan to take her to a vet for some initial advice. Do you have any thoughts or ideas for me?

    • Hi Jill,

      I’m sorry to hear about your cat. The most common diseases in older cats which cause weight loss are hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, diabetes and cancer. The first three can be managed with diet. Your vet should be able to do baseline blood work to evaluate for kidney disease and diabetes. Hyperthyroidism needs a T3 & T4 test (blood test), and cancer usually requires imaging. But the baseline tests may give your vet a clue.

      Good luck, I hope it’s something that can be managed.

  86. We take these precious creatures into our lives and they become family. We love them and they love us. They are a gift. I am a survivor of Domestic Violence and if it were not for my cats I don’t think I would have the strength to endure. I looked into their eyes and they told me “you have to do it for us and you” I have been away from my abuser three years now.
    I have witnessed my cats passing. It is not for the faint of heart. I chose to have my cat pass at home, She was terminal. She was given pain relief. She slept for 2 days prior to her passing. During the last 2 hours of her life she went into seizures and began yowling and all the time was looking into my eyes. I held her and kept her comfortable. I kept telling her I was there and it was OK for her to go. It was the most heart wrenching experience I ever had, but in the same sense I felt good about it because I was there for her. She took a few last breaths and she became peaceful. I cried for 2 days. By no means am I recommending this to a family that has children or can not handle watching the death of an animal. But if the animal is given pain relief and is an alternative to having to go to a vet to be euthanized, so that they can pass in a natural way at home I do think they should. I still miss my “Bean”, and I have her offspring living with me. 2 females and 3 males. One has just been diagnosed with the same thing Bean passed from. 🙁 I will do it again for my friend.

  87. So I just took in an 18 year old cat and I think he is dieing. His breathing is very slow and raspy he still eats chicken but refuses to eat normal food he’s also extremely skinny and keeps leaning. He doesn’t appear to be in pain though and is still trotting around outside . Should I get him euthanased or let him live out his last days?

  88. Such compassionate yet sensible advice as I think about Miss Tilly, whose skin cancer appears to be returning, I noticed as I stroked her tonight. Thank you.

  89. Hi there, what a well written post, I have had many cats over the last 50 years but none quite like my darling Ashley who I had to get euthanised last week,it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, I honestly thought she was going to make 20 because as most people said for an 18 year old cat she looked so good, her decline was rapid and it was a very aggressive form of intestinal cancer, she rallied a bit on antibiotics as she often did with the odd bladder infection but this time there was something lurking under her beautiful fur coat (she still looked so good), I decided to agree to an ultrasound which I kind of regret now because that in itself took a lot out of her and I had no idea they would shave her entire belly and some of her sides, plus the sedation took its toll but from that we did know it was terminal and I made sure she did not suffer anymore than she had to. It is very difficult to work out just when is the right time as you said and to balance out what to put them through before making that decision. What I will say though is the 24 hours before I had Ashley euthanised I made sure she got heaps of love, warmth and gentle strokes, the love of a pet is the best but boy it’s hard when we have to say goodbye 🙁

    • Hi Steph,

      I’m so sorry for your loss. Sometimes we have an extra special relationship with one cat. I’m so glad that you were able to give Ashley an extra special last day, that must have meant a lot to both of you.

      Take care, I do understand how you are feeling.

  90. I just lost my sweet girl Irezumi on Friday Jul 27, 2018. She was just over a month shy of 17.5 years old. She was MY first cat. I had had many cats as a kid but she my first as an adult. I got her when I was about 22 & I am almost 40 now. She was truly my special girl. She went everywhere with me, to my beach house on Lake Huron, my husband’s family farm, friends homes & more. She walked on a leash & everyone that met her loved her dearly. In her final days she had many loving comments of people that knew her & many came to my house to say their goodbyes to her. The night before she passed she was in her bed & we were laying on the couch together. I lay with my head rested next to her & stroked her fur. She purred & purred, it was the first time in a couple weeks I heard her purr. The next morning she told me it was time (we had that kind of a bond). I took her outside laid her in the grass, stroked her fur & told her how much I loved her & what a great kitty she was. I run a cat rescue & have many of my own personal cats, I miss her so much & my house doesn’t feel the same without her. ?

    • Hi Suzy, I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of sweet Irezumi. What a beautiful bond you two had. I know you miss her dearly, but try to remember the amazing 17.5 years you had with her. You are obviously a very kind person running a cat rescue and helping those less fortunate. Take care and thank you for your comments.

  91. I found a cat that is dehydrated, skin and bones. I got her to eat a little soft cat food along with half a teaspoon Of tuna. Then she threw it up. I am currently giving her water threw a syringe. What else can I do?

  92. Hello, thank you so much for making this post! Today I took my cat Niko to the vet after he had been missing for 5 days. The vet said that he had burned his whole mouth on an electrical wire or he got into some chemicals. Niko is not eating or drinking and has not eaten or drank in 5 days! I can tell he wants to. The vet gave him pain killers and antibiotics. They also said that if he didn’t eat or drink he would obviously go down hill very fast! Getting a feeding tube is incredibly expensive and unaffordable for me! I need help! Please keep in mind he is only an outdoor cat.

    • Gosh Madeleine, that is a difficult situation, I am so sorry to hear about Niko. Are you able to hand feed him soft food such as baby food (without onion or garlic in the ingredients)?

  93. Hi there,
    My 18 year old cat Tigger meows non stop on a daily. He still eats and drinks like he always has but he also sleeps constantly. I usually wouldn’t take to the internet for this kind of thing, but do you have any advice on what to do? I’ve been told it’s time to put him down, but is it really time?

  94. Today is not a good day. I just lost Casper, my friend, and companion of 16 1/2 wonder years. He’ was very healthy and playful up until yesterday. He went very quickly, I knew this morning that today was the last time I would see his yellow eyes watching me, with muscular white fur body ready to pounces on my blue jeans once my legs were resting on the coffee table, with his playfulness cat attitude. Which by the way, was Casper favorite spot, we had a close bond. I couldn’t and wouldn’t take him to our vet. I knew, and he knew, he was dying it was strange, can’t explain it, but I knew his place was here to pass on to the other side, which was his home that was full of love and memories. Casper knew I would respect his wishes to be here. It’s beautiful and quiet at home, not at some vet place. I had my last cup of coffee with him this morning just looking at him, and saying it okay, and I love you… and I know you love me.
    He was loved from the first time I laid eyes on him. He’s from Mama Kitty she was a stray from who knows where, but we took her in and let her bed down in the garage, with food, water, and shelter, she had two litters, and Casper came from the second litter. He was the wild one of the bunch, the day he was born I had my eye on him, and about the seventh week or so! He came up to me, and crawled up into my lap and started kneading me with those sharp little claws through my blue jeans, I knew he an I were meant for each other, at that moment he was given the name Casper. He has been on planes, driven across the United State’s with me, been through a Divorce, and several girlfriends. He’s had this thing about mayonnaise, and it had to be Best foods real mayonnaise. In the morning, he would hear me go into the kitchen and grab the bread. From that sound, he knew it was time for his mayonnaise, so I would go through our thing of him just sitting there watching me open the refrigerator door and grab the Best Foods, I would have to show him the jar, then he would meow, then I have to open the drawer and show him the butter knife, then he would meow again. I would reach the butter knife into the jar, by that time his little tongue would be going crazy, while he would meowing, and I again at dinner time, After everytime I would say: you feel better, that you got your mayonnaise fix on Casper? He would meow and walk away, little shit! Casper had to have two cups of water at the other side of the sofa on the end table. Even though, he had a water bowl by is food. He would lay down on my side of the end table with the light on, for the warmth. But his favorite spot was on my legs, while in my blue jeans, resting on the coffee table. I will miss him jumping on the bed at night, and him pawing at my face every night before I go to sleep, he would stay there until I rolled over, then he jumps off, and do whatever he did. Casper was always there when I rolled over to turn off the alarm. Casper will be missed

  95. I have a cat that is 13 years old. For the last 6 months or so, his breathing has gotten more labored. It sounds like his lungs are full of fluids and he’s drowning. Every day he vomits. He’s gotten so thin. Does anyone know what the cause of these symptoms might be? I’m sure he’s suffering and as much as I hate to, I think the time has come to put him to sleep. I’m on disability so money is hard to come by. Will vets normally either let you pay based on your income or let you make payments?

  96. My 25 year old kitty, CoCo may be coming to the end of his life. All he seems to do now is sleep, and it doesn’t look like he’s interested in food or water. I hand fed him a little grass, thinking that is usually something he’d eat if he was sick. He loves to lie on my lap or chest when I’m lounging on the couch, but he doesn’t even want to do that. I’ve noticed that he has several mats in his fur and he’s been pulling plugs of his fur out trying to remove them. He’s aloof and doesn’t immediately respond when I call him, which is very rare. I want to take him to the vet, but this is a particularly bad financial week for me, and I also don’t want to stress him by placing him in his carrier. This is a very difficult situation and I pray that he either bounces back or doesn’t suffer. I know he’s up in age, but all of his changes in behavior have just started in the past two days. I’ve been stroking his head and back and giving him lots of love so if he is dying, he knows I love him and am here for him.

  97. Hi Julia, my 1 1/2 year old kitty Praowy got diagnosed last month for coronavirus but not FIP. According to the vet, the only thing they’re certain of, is she has coronavirus (but not what type). I reside in Philippines where there is no support group, and unfortunately, no treatment for FIP. The vet says she needs to be tested in 3 months (October 2018) to find out if it has turned into FIP. Praow is eating less wet food. I’ve had to to puree her food and add warm water so she can just lick it up. She does eat dry food.

    Some days I think I see symptoms, llike fluid in the tummy but it also looks like she gained weight. I realise maybe I’m also in denial.

    Do FIP symptoms take a painfully long while to appear?
    I’m in suspense everyday and I cherish every cuddle because I don’t know if it’ll be her last. She does seeem totally normal except for the loss of appetite.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      I’m sorry to hear about your cat. I must admit, FIP is one disease that I really know so little about because it is so confusing. I am assuming your cat has a high titre?

      This is my experience, and not medical advice. Many many years ago I had a cat who I had planned to breed with. I had her tested for coronavirus titre and the results came back extremely high. In fact, the lab thought that she must have had full blown FIP with those results. In a panic, I contacted a leading feline veterinarian who said something to the effect of ‘a healthy cat is a healthy cat’, which basically she was. She had absolutely no symptoms. Se lived for another 10 years without incidence.

      I would follow your vet’s advice and re-test in 3 months. Keep her stress free and hope that symptoms don’t develop.

      • Dear Julia, my vet didnt give me the details, so I don’t know if Praowie has a high titre. But I will call vet and find out and I will follow your advice and have her re tested this october. That is strange, that the cat you spoke about showed positive for coronavirus and yet lived a healthy life. This is encouraging news. I hope Praowie is as lucky. Thank you so much for your advice! I really appreciate it. 🙂

        • I’ll see if I can find the email the vet sent me all those years ago, I’m pretty sure I printed it out and kept it. FIP is such a mysterious and frustrating disease. I hope Praowie stays well.

  98. (Sorry I am not sure how to introduce myself)

    My cat has recently been hiding in a bush outside for 3 days now. I just found her and she looked weak and not herself. A lot of these symptoms apply to her, (drooling, loss of appetite and water, messy coat, and restless sleepi all the time.)
    I am unsure if she is in her final days, but I am getting clues that she might be.

    Since I had just found her today I am unsure if I should schedule a vet appointment, or just leave her peace. I am going to bring her inside to let her rest peacefully for as long as she has.( I have mats for if she does have bladder issues.)

    I just need some advise or anything that might be useful to do to help her at all.
    Please let me know.. (she is 14 years
    old too)


    • Hi Kaylen,

      I”m sorry to hear about your cat. Definitely schedule a veterinary appointment. They will be able to determine what is wrong with her, and help make her comfortable.

      Good luck and please let me know how she goes. 14 is senior, but many cats can live beyond that age.

      • I will try to get an appointment after I find her again…. I went to go get things for her to make her comfortable, but she disappeared again when it started storming.

        I guess my best thing is to find her in the morning and see how she is from there.

        Thank you so much.

  99. Our cat was recently diagnosed with anemia, hyperthyroidism, renal failure, and a heart condition after getting blood work back. He has gone from 8 to 5 lbs, has anyone had experience with these conditions all at once and trying to treat it. He just sits hunched over by his water dish at this point. We have decided to have him euthanasied to end his suffering we think he is going through. Is this the best thing to do given the symptoms and his current functioning? He is 10 years old, but they said they could prolong things, don’t want to feel like we gave up on him, but a lifetime of medications doesn’t seem like a good quality of life. Any comments would be appreciated.

    • I haven’t dealt with all of them, but had a cat with hyperthyroidism + kidney disease. Hyperthyroidism is treatable but it can exacerbate the kidney disease so it is a balancing act. It does sound like he is dealing with a lot of medical issues. I hope your veterinarian can help to make him comfortable.

  100. My beautiful cat buddy died this morning. He had hyperthyroidism but the vet said he was fine on Saturday. He was crying this morning so I decided to take him to the vet but he died on the way there. He was 13.5

  101. Hi um my cat Tiffany has been ill for quite a while she hasn’t eaten or drank and it seems she can’t breathe properly.

    Me and my mum had a look and we think it is some sort of cancer like the lungs and we’re not really sure how to help her .

    We have thought about the vets but we have a very bad money issue so it would just be around £100 to get them to look at her and all the tests they would do would be too much money.

    We just don’t know what to do I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if she is in bad pain and she just isn’t comfortable when she puts her head down she can’t breathe. I have tried feeding her and many other things but she doesn’t want any.

    I’m just terrified for the day we come down and she’s ran away to die or we come down and she’s just dead in her bed. I just don’t know what to do

  102. Hello. My 13 year old cat Vali has gotten really thin. She has been recently diagnosed with diabetes. We got her levels under control but she also has kidney disease. We have been force feeding her but she is getting weaker and weaker and even though she tries to eat she is dehydrated. At what point am I being selfish and should just take her to be put down? It feels like if I do I am giving up an murdering her. I dont have much as far as money. After 3 trips to the vet and $400 it seems she isnt going to get better. Is the euthanasia traumatic for the cat? Is it a gentle passing or do they gasp for breath? I’m terrified and pained to even ask these questions and consider this as an option.

    • Hi Kiela,

      I’m so sorry to hear that Vali is so unwell. I completely understand you feeling so torn as to feeling you’re giving up on her but not wanting her to suffer. I generally follow the feedback from my veterinarian but also the cats seem to let me know when it’s time. Loss of interest in surroundings, loss of appetite, sleeping all the time or even trying to sleep but unable to due to pain.

      As for euthanasia, it is gentle, and you can request sedation for the cat prior to the injection. I’ve only been at one euthanasia, and it was very peaceful. Our cat was already heavily sedated, he passed away quickly and quietly. He didn’t gasp for breath.

      Take care, I know it’s a hard decision to make.

  103. Thank you for the Article. My little Rosie, a Ragdoll, was diagnosed with Kidney Disease last February and we have been giving SQ fluids faithfully since. We have enjoyed 7 more months with her and treasuring her everyday. 2 days ago she stopped eating and I have tried all the tricks that have worked in the past. It’s Labor Day weekend so my Vet is not available. I’m thankful to read your article now in advance.

  104. My cat Mykee is 19 yrs old and just so sick. I’ve known this for a very long time and thot he could make it a bit longer. He has respiratory problems, sneezes a lot, chokes, cant keep food down, skin disorders, clumps of hair fall out, has fleas. I am preparing to take him to be euthanized this week. It is just so damn hard but know in my heart the time has come to do this. I will miss him deeply…its so hard to let go.

  105. Tonight, my best friend of 11 years passed away… I wish I caught the signs and took him to the vet. Reading through this helped put my mind at ease a bit. Thank you

  106. Hi, I have an 8 year old beautiful white kitty. he is just such a big part of my heart. . He started having issues a year ago… I took him to the vet where they told me he had blockage from crystals in his urine. They did a Catheter but every time they took or out it would get clogged again from “fluff off ” off his bladder . His urethra was very thin is what we were told. He needed surgery. So we did the surgery to re attach his urethra to a new hole… when we brought him home it was very difficult to take care for his needs but we did the best we could. He started to seem to feel better then he wasnt… again couldn’t go to the the bathroom. Took him back .the vet said the scar tissue was blocking it. When you looked at it, to me it looked like the skin had grown over the hole.. we did this 3 times…. the last time the vet did the surgery and it didnt work he told us we needed to go to a specialist. I did… I was told that the opening had been Sutured too tight. I could of gotten another operation that would be over $5000. I asked how long he had and they told me about 2 weeks. That was at the beginning of March 2018. It’s now September 2018. Things seem to be progressing slowly and he seems to not be doing well for a while ,and then he’s fine for a while.its the part of the time that he seems ok that I’m holding on to. He has at times not been able to control his bladder and when this happens it’s almost like hes howling or deep low sound and seems to be in contraction and not be able to release his muscles. There’s definitely blood in his urine. I just don’t know how long I should wait. do I keep holding on to those moments where he seems OK and happy and loving or do I need to let him go because of how he seems to be in quite a bit of pain when his not OK. It’s just so hard to figure out. I put a dog down about 8 years ago and it absolutely devastated me. The vet Didn’t give him enough of the shot at first. so he struggled to breathe for what seemed like an eternity but was probably just a few minutes while I was in the room with him and they left me with him. And I questioned it for a very long time on whether or not I made the right choice. But now I’m wondering if I’m holding on too long with my Kitty. I just love him so much and want to have as much time with him as I can. I give him CBD oil and it seems to help for a while but I’m having to up his dose more frequently. Thank you for your time and I hope everyone can find some peace with their animals, one way or another.

    • Gosh Katrina, you and your boy have been through so much together. What an amazing cat lover you are. It’s always hard to know when the right time is. For me, once they go off their food, groom less and sleep more I know it’s time. But it’s a very difficult decision to make. I wish you all the luck in the world.

  107. In a few hours my sweet little Emma will be crossing the rainbow bridge. She was diagnosed with cancer about 8 months ago.I have had her since the day she was born on December 24, 2006. She will be with her full blood sister and adopted little brother along with her human family. Thank you for writing this article, it means the world to me.

  108. Responds to everyone but me thanks. Put luna down that day and got a rescue cat this time from a bad home. Not like you care to read my post though. One love

    • Hi Derek,

      I’m so sorry, I genuinely try to respond to all comments on this page, but sometimes approve them at a stupid time in the morning on my phone and then forget to respond when I’m on the laptop. It certainly was not deliberate. I’m really sorry for your loss of Luna. What happened to the rescue cat you adopted? Is everything okay?

  109. I have My Mom 20 yr old Cat for 3 weeks now. I guess the new move traumatized her. Took her to vet cause she wasn’t eating and she started peeing everywhere. She has uti but I’m afraid it’s something more because the vet gave a pill to stimulate her eating and she still won’t eat or drink although I’ve been giving her today kitty milk from syringe. I’m afraid she’s in her final stages. She can’t stand haven’t poop or urinated. I’ve never been through this before and it’s painful to watch. Euthanasia is 465.00 and I only have half the money. I’m taking her back to vet hopefully she makes it till morning. I’m so sad and scared. I’ve made a comfortable bed for her and is right by her side. Still holding on to hope.

    • Oh Trish, I’m so sorry to hear about your cat. What have you tried feeding her? Can you get a high calorie product called Nutrigel where you are?

      I’m shocked that euthanasia is $465, I think we pay around $60-80 in Australia. I really hope that your cat pulls through. Good luck to you both.

  110. I took my moms cat cat in after she passed, and used a flea treatment she had bought on him which turned out to be for dogs, he almost died and I gave been told it cut his lifespan in a half, for about a year and a half he had seizures and tremors but they stopped til recently, he was poisoned almost five years ago he is now 10 years old, he is now showing signs of tremors and seizures again and a disease that causes severe nervousness, you also need to know he is a silver Siamese and is not very friendly, he hides his appetite is half what it was and he has scratched chunks from himself and he stays bloody from scratching, is this a sign that he is dying?

    • Hi Melanie,

      It sounds to me like something is seriously bothering him if he’s scratching that much. It could also explain why he is not friendly. Have you spoken to your veterinarian about as to what may be causing it? We have a dog who was constantly scratching and it’s been narrowed down to food allergies. She is a different dog now she is no longer itchy all the time.
      Good luck.

  111. My cat is not eating or drinking a lot he has also become inactive he went from running in circles to sleeping all day he has a poopy butt and it seems that when I am gone for longer periods of times he will pee on the carpet. I took his temperature last night and it was 99.9 which isn’t that low from normal. He is only a little over a year old what should I do?

  112. I’m reading this article and my beloved cat Frankie is curled up on my lap as she has done since she picked me to be her mom almost 13 years ago. This will be one of my many happy memories I will have of my babykitty as she is declining very quickly and I am trying to prepare myself for the inevitable. I know that she will not be in pain anymore and that no one could have loved her more, but losing her will be devastating. I don’t know if I can bring myself to love any other cat as I have Frankie, she is so loving, sweet and affectionate I can’t imagine another one like her.

  113. Today marks the fourth anniversary of my Ted’s death. I still love him and miss him, but I can tell you the pain does get better. It still hurts, but in a less sharp and constant way. My cat, Kitty, died in 1991. Looking back, I can see I waited one or two weeks too long to have her euthanized. So when Ted was approaching death, I wanted to make sure I didn’t wait too long. Maybe I took him to be euthanized too soon, there is no way to ever know. But I do know I didn’t wait too long. Like the author said, it’s better to act a week too soon than wait a day too late.

    • Thank you for your comments Connie, I agree that the pain does get better over time. I still feel sad when I think about any of the cats I’ve lost, but it’s not raw like it is in the early days.

  114. Can you advise me? Our sweet Houston (as in, “Houston, we have a problem” because of his clever antics used to get attention when he was a kitten) is only 13 years old. We have had two other kitties, both lived to 17. A bit over a year ago Houston started throwing up, we thought hairballs. We tried different methods of dealing with it but nothing completely cleared it up. We have had 4 sets of blood tests done (at $250 a test) and the barium/xray to check for blockages (another $500), absolutely nothing abnormal showed up. In December my daughter, two dogs, Houston, and I had to move to Georgia. The trip here was very hard on him. Since we have been here his throwing up became more consistent and his appetite decreased (he was never a big eater and always was fit/trim on his own). The vet here (who did two of the blood tests) thought it might be food allergy so put Houston on canned science zd which helped for a while, even to the point he would try to eat the dogs’ food. That only lasted a few weeks, though. One time he threw up white foam, which I learned could be a sign he wasn’t producing enough enzymes so I added enzymes to his food and again, he regained some appetite, but only for a few days. As of today, he hasn’t eaten in a day and a half, he is so thin now. This vet has suggested an ultrasound ($300+) which will either show (again) nothing wrong or that Houston needs surgery to remove a blockage – neither of which I can afford. I have an appointment for him for tomorrow to see if there is another food we can try or at least make him more comfortable, though he doesn’t seem to be in pain. I truly cannot afford anymore procedures, especially to be told nothing showed up. I am afraid the vet will push me to do procedures or euthanize – I don’t want to do either, I want to make my sweet boy as comfortable as I can in his home until his time comes. How long can he go without food (he drinks some water still)? Is that painful? What do you suggest? Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.

    • Hi Patricia, I’m so sorry to hear about Houston, I totally understand how all the vet bills can add up. I honestly can’t advise on the medical aspect as I just don’t know. Can I ask why you stopped the Hills zd?

  115. I just don’t know howyou know if the right decision was made in euthanasia. I just had my cat kisses put dib down this morning. On Monday shewas diagnosed with renal failure. We did 3 days of iv fluid and then her levels got better. Still high but better. She wasn’t eating much. Less than1/4 cup a day. I did meds and subq fluid at home. Yesterday she didn’t eat or drink at all and hardly moved unless i made her. She was drooling and didn’t go to the bathroom either. I was going to take her to the vet right when they opened. 30 mins before i went to check on her and she was laying in a dark corner in the closet breathing fast 100-120x a min. I took her to the vet and my vet recomended euthanasia. She thinks maybe her heart was shutting down and thought that any tests or treatment i likely did was futile. Her body temp was97.1. I’ve read so many stories of cats with ckd that were on deaths door and pulled through. How do i know this was right? I love her more than anything in the world.

    • You did the right thing. Sometimes CKD can take them very quickly. I lost a cat within two weeks of a CKD diagnosis.

      I’m really sorry for your loss, I can see you loved her very much. You did the right thing, no matter how hard it was.

  116. I have a 13-14 year old cat name Magic. I rescued her so am not 100% on the exact number of years. I am going to say 14. I have had her since her estimated age of 9 months. She is solid black with beautiful gold eyes. She is the MOST laid back, well-behaved cat I have ever seen. She has NEVER been on my counters and is just very nonchalant.

    About a month ago I started to notice that her daily habits were changing. She didn’t greet me at the door or cozy up with me to watch TV in the evening. She has now lost a ton of weight and does nothing but lie around and sleep. It used to be quite the event for her on weekends to come to the kitchen while I made my coffee and cry for her weekend treats. Yesterday she didn’t even do that. For a bit I wondered if it was from her food. Without my knowledge my husband had changed her food so I went out and purchased the food she has been eating for years; however, there has been no change. I am taking her to the vet tomorrow but I cry as I write this knowing that it most likely will not be a good diagnosis. I too am unsure of at what point to consider euthinesia but I do not for one minute want her to suffer. At the same time I wonder if she would have a couple months, three months. Then again, she really doesn’t want to be bothered much. I tried getting her to hang with us over the weekend and I loved on her as much as she would let me. She did come to me a couple of times. She does act like it’s painful for me to pet her, either that or it’s just her way of withdrawing.

    I greatly appreciate the information and ideas during the euthanasia. I am hoping the vet will do a home visit when it’s time. Although, regardless of where it’s done, I am not sure how I will get through it. Having a furry friend for 13 years and becoming so accustomed to their habits, loving them and their little personalities. I am so so very sad!

    Thanks again for all the advice.

    • I am going through this same thing with my furry handsome boy of 12, and it is breaking my heart because I was away for six months. A day after my return, I took him to the vet who found a lot of fluids in his lungs, likely due to congestive heart failure. After a battery of expensive tests and having the fluids drained from his lungs, he is now resting quietly at the clinic. I did not hesitate one moment when the vet told me what the options were. We all know the time will come to say goodbye, but we are never ready. Whatever the cost, I need him a bit longer in my life and say thank you and goodbye, because those extra moments will be priceless.

      • Thank you for your kind words and shared story. I hope your furry lil guy is doing better.

        We lost Magic yesterday. We were actually waiting for further test results; however, the vet had told us last Thursday that she didn’t appear to be in any pain. She had been hanging out downstairs, where she has spent a lot of time since becoming sick, and just quietly passed yesterday. We went to check on her last night and she was gone. I am very sad but also very grateful that is was peaceful. I will miss her greatly and today has been a lot of crying and sadness. There will never be another cat like her.

        Thanks again for reaching out.

    • Hi Connie,

      I’m so sorry to hear about Magic. I think most of us don’t think of the end when we open our homes to pets, so when the time draws near, it’s hard to accept we are losing them, and we must do what they need, despite the terrible pain to us.

      I fought long and hard for my first cat Eliot, and in hindsight, we kept her alive for too long. As I say in the article, I would rather too early than too late. I don’t think any of us would euthanise a month or two too early, and none of us have a crystal ball to know if a cat will rally or not (sometimes they do). It’s an awful decision to make, but must be based on veterinary advice, your own gut (as to how the cat is coping) and will further treatment prolong their suffering or really make an improvement to their quality of life? The last question we must ask is are we doing what is best for our cats or for us? I know that sounds harsh, and I genuinely don’t mean it in that way, but I think asking that question can sometimes give some clarity.

      • Thank you for your kind words and shared story. I hope your furry lil guy is doing better.

        We lost Magic yesterday. We were actually waiting for further test results; however, the vet had told us last Thursday that she didn’t appear to be in any pain. She had been hanging out downstairs, where she has spent a lot of time since becoming sick, and just quietly passed yesterday. We went to check on her last night and she was gone. I am very sad but also very grateful that is was peaceful. I will miss her greatly and today has been a lot of crying and sadness. There will never be another cat like her.

        Thanks again for reaching out.

  117. My 12-year old boy Speedo has been ill for a week, with all the signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure. A lively and active boy, he stopped eating, became lethargic, and had a heavy and rapid breathing. We took him to the vet and the emergency clinic today where they found fluids in his lungs. The prognostic is not good but after draining the fluids, he is now stable and is resting at the hospital. Blood work is normal, but we haven’t received the results of the fluids analysis. Euthanasia was an option presented by the vet, but I dismissed it in a heartbeat as soon as I saw his handsome and relaxed face. The other option, at the cost of $4000+, was the only one that made sense to me. He’s been my faithful companion through good times, but most importantly bad times. He’s been our travel mate in our winter-long camping trips through Canada, the USA and Mexico, and I am not ready to let him go without a fight. Of course this will be a financial drain on me, especially that I was planning to retire this year, but I honestly do not regret my decision. In the end, we may only have him for another month, or a year. I know that in due time, the inevitable will come and we will need to say goodbye. Your thoughtful article has given me the strength to face what is coming pur way.

  118. My cat triggers is 17. Last month he had twitches in his paws for about 5 mins then stopped I fed him when I got home from work and he ran into the living room extremely fast fell on his side and had a fit. He is now on my lap, his paws are cold, he is jumping at every noise and putting loudly. He looks scared hasn’t eaten. And he keeps making loud swallows. He also sat in the kitchen for 10 mins on own in the dark after it happened so I picked him up and put him on my lap. Do you think that because of his age he is starting to deteriorate due to age. I cannot afford vets. Tammie

    • Hi Tammie, I’m so sorry to hear about Triggers. With all honesty, I couldn’t tell you, only a physical examination and diagnostics would help. It could be due to a number of things.

  119. Hi
    I am so grateful I found this page. It has helped me immensely through the grieving process.

    My beautiful tuxedo kitty, Jules, was with us for 15 years before we had to put her down on September 29/18. Jules was showing signs of decline just two weeks prior to her passing. Just to backtrack a bit, about four years ago, Jules had went through a stage where she had been vomiting and had lost a lot of weight. It turned out she had a sensitive stomach and we change her food. All was well again. Two weeks ago she started to show these same symptoms (vomiting/weight loss) so we changed her food to wet food and waited to see an improvement thinking she was having the same issue. She ate the wet food and got plenty of water but continued to vomit and lose weight. There were no other signs of distress and she was still playful.

    Another thing that stands out to me in hindsight was when I opened the back door to let her out, she would leave the backyard. Not typical of her. Before she would leave she would look back at me and then at the fence. As soon as she left, I would call her and she would return. Looking back, I think maybe she was planning to leave and find a quiet place to pass. On Thursday, September 28, her hind legs gave out for a moment and it scared me. She steadied herself and was fine again. I heard her vomit that night and in the morning her hind legs gave out again. I knew something was seriously wrong. I took her to see the vet and was told Jules is very ill and needs intravenous and blood test and X-rays done. Jules would need to stay in the animal hospital for two days. The vet told me she would call me in the morning with the test results and we could plan from there.

    I went home feeling numb. I hoped she wasn’t feeling abandoned, after all I wasn’t there to nurture her. The next morning we got a call from the vet and we were told they had found two masses and we would have to come in so she could show us. I packed a blanket knowing Jules would be spending another night in the hospital. When we arrived, the veterinarian showed us the X-ray which clearing illustrated two massive tumours. The vet was surprised she had been able to still eat and drink water. I asked if there was anything that could be done for Jules (I would have paid anything), and was told no she was dying. I asked how long she had left, and I was told she was in a lot of pain and could not go home. She would have to be put down today. I couldn’t believe it, I cried and cried. They brought Jules into the examination room for us to spend her final moments with her. She was agitated. I laid the blanket I had brought from home out on the examination table and I could tell she appreciated it. We spent an hour with her – hugging her kissing her and telling her we loved her and how sorry we were that we couldn’t do more for her. It was heart wrenching. When the time came, I cradled her head in one hand and stroked her with my other. My son stroked her side. The most difficult part was watching the needle go into the intravenous port knowing this was her final seconds of life. It happened so quick and I felt her slip away.

    We returned home trying to make sense out of what just happened in under a 24 hour period. My head was spinning and I was completely numb for a few days. We had her cremated and I picked up her ashes today. I miss her dearly and my heart yearns for her.

    I discovered this page the day before Jules was put down. It was full of information and somewhat prepared me to do the unthinkable. Reading the comments posted on this site has been cathartic. Being able to relate to these stories and the grief of losing a fur baby has brought some peace to my heart. Thank you so much for sharing and I hope my story helps others going through the grieving process. Today, I’m thinking of 15 years of joy she brought into our lives and I have absolute gratitude for the love we shared.


  120. My cat Gypsy has sores in her mouth and is very congested and has stopped eating. I am currently treating her with antibiotics and two other meds the vet gave me but she does not seem to be improving. The problem is I won’t be here next week to continue her meds. My family and I are going on a mission trip for a week. My mother in law will come check on the pets while we’re gone but I know she won’t be able to give Gypsy her meds. And if she dies while we’re gone, I’m afraid I will resent her for not being able to “properly care” for my sick cat. I know it wouldn’t be her fault so I’m struggling with whether or not I should euthanize her before we leave.

  121. I have 2 cats that have been with each other for 10 years. One day is 15 the other is 10. The 15 yo is dying. My question is, should I get another cat to replace the one after he dies? I think the cat will be very lonely by himself. He is a male cat, should I get another male? A older cat or kitten? It’s all very sad to think about but I feel sad for my remaining cat. Thank you.

    • Hi Dave,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your 15 year old cat. That is very sad. As for getting another one, it’s really hard to answer as each cat is different. If you do decide to adopt another cat, I would recommend an adult cat who will be less boisterous than a kitten. You could also try fostering with a view of adopting depending on how the cat responds. Good luck.

  122. Hi Julia,

    I wanted to say thank you for this article. I cried when reading it, especially towards the end, but it gave me strength when I needed it most. Everything you said was on point.

    After reading this article, I summed up the courage to schedule an in-house euthanasia appointment for my cat Minou. He was not doing so well in the last week of his life and was getting worst by the day. He was a 16.5 years old tuxedo cat. I owed him the most peaceful exit possible. He passed away in my arms on October 3, 2018.

    My best advice to any pet owner is to HOLD THEM IN YOUR ARMS during those last moments. I thought Minou would pass away laying down in his favorite chair where he spent most of his time sleeping. In the end, I picked him up to calm him down so that the vet could administer the drug. It was a really hard to let him go but looking back it was truly a blessing that he died in my arms. I would never trade it for anything.

    RIP Minou

  123. Hello – I am so pleased to find your site. Thank you for all the information and all the comments. I am finding it all so helpful as completely distraught and can’t stop crying.
    Our beautiful coco who is 10 is going to be euthanised today/ tomorrow. I can’t understand how we have come to this as she is so young. And what a gorgeous loving caring beautiful clever girl she has been. Purring at a glance or a word. Dropping every second for a tummy rub. If she could she would cuddle and chat all day long. And follow us everywhere. I think it all started to go very wrong a year ago. We went for our first long holiday away for 3 weeks. We swopped the looking after cats with friends closeby. On our return we found coco screaming hysterically in garden. She was unrecognisable. She walked with her head on the floor. We have never seen anything like it. And with no collar to get in. The ‘friend’ said she had not eaten a thing. But had not seen her collar was on the ground by the cat flap. I think this terrible time for her of starvation, terror, hopleness helpnesses, grief, heartbreak. She was a total love cat. She lives for being with us. etc etc was the start for her. She lost her meow which vets couldn’t figure. Then the pattern so many have described above. Breathlessness lack of eating set in. Vets both on surgery and mobile haven’t worked it out. Some investigations we haven’t followed due to faulty vet equipment and now only using a mobile vet. Antibiotics steroids diuretics have kept her going now on and off for last few months – but all failing now and booster injections too. She’s had periods of non eating/ drinking weight loss. But managed to battle back – less and less so. Now on 6 day of not eating/ drinking again and I know rep told trying to put a little in her mouth I am trying to to book vet again to come here. Coco now can’t walk, she tries to purr but it chokes her. Her fur has changed and she can’t curl up to sleep. I am so glad my daughters are both away. As I couldn’t beat this for them. I am sitting here crying my eyes out not comprehending how this can happen at 10. MY childhood cats all lived till 18. The vet says there’s must be an ecoplatic mass. I really think the trauma set it all off. But thank you for all these comments here. Trying to be brave for our beauty. And yes planning for a cuddle on my lap to say goodbye. ???????

    • Hi Jill, I’m so sorry to read about Coco. It sounds like a terrible situation with her, does the vet not have a clue other than a guess? I’ve not heard of anything like that before.

      Am thinking of you at this hard time, please let us know how you go and take care.

  124. My cat was stressed because I had left for a year, she was finally getting better, but she suddenly started throwing up blood and not eating for about a week, then, 4 days ago we let her outside and she hasn’t come back yet. What should I do? Is she dead.?

  125. Hello – I have been rescuing feral cats in my neighborhood since 2012 – I have woods and a lake in my backyard and the cat population kept growing. I caught 9 and had them all spayed and neutered and I believe that has taken care of the problem. I also had them all dewormed, treated for ear-mites, vaccinated for rabies and FVCRP, etc. I put a doggie door in my back door and taught one how to use it and he taught the rest so they all come and go as they please. Now the sad part.. My boy, Riley, became very friendly, always greeting me with a meow when he came inside or when I let him on my deck, where he liked to spend most of his time, sunning. When I watch TV (rarely – The Walking Dead Premiere 14 October was the last show I watched) Riley would always lay on my feet, as he did during TWD Premiere October 14, 2018. When I had him neutered and gave him all his shots, etc, 3.5 years ago, the vet estimated his age at 1.5 so he would now be about 5. Last month he decided to stay in the finished basement one night and he didn’t come up to eat – I brought food and water down to him and left it there for him – We have 1 feral cat who is a bully so I thought maybe he was avoiding him. Anyway, after 1 day, he was back to normal, coming back upstairs and eating with the rest of the group but I noticed that his meow was kind of weak and raspy though he was continuing to eat well and behave normally – Until yesterday, Monday 2018-10-22. I let him in from the deck and he did not meow his normal hello – I tried talking to him but he still wouldn’t “meow” which I thought was strange but he just went and ate and I went and worked in my office. When dinnertime came, I called the cats and they all showed up except Riley. Throughout the night, I went out on the deck and called his name and I went out in my backyard and called him and looked around at other usual spots where he would like to lay in my backyard but he wasn’t there – I did this until 3:30 this morning. No Riley. This morning I went downstairs and the food was still there, which is unheard of as Riley usually ate as if he thought he would not be eating again. I called and looked for him again but no sign of him. I went to work in my office and one of my other cats, Murphy, came in my office with me. I’m a Crazy Cat Person, I guess, because I asked Murphy “Murphy, where is Riley? Do you know where Riley is?” Of course he just stared at me, lol. However, about 15 minutes later, Murphy got up and he went under my desk where Riley used to like to lie when I was working and he started sniffing around Riley’s sleep spot. I asked Murphy again where Riley was and then I got up and went downstairs to get some water and Murphy followed me. Murphy went and stood at the door leading to the deck, wanting to go out, so I let him out. I poured some ice water and looked on my deck and saw Murphy cautiously peering under my cover lounge chair like something was under there. I feed raccoons every night so I assumed that he was just checking for a raccoon but it was daylight so I went outside and took a look. I found my poor boy Riley laying there, under the covered lounge chair, dead. He had no outward signs of trauma – His eyes were wide open and they still were glistening and his tail still was movable though the rest of his body was fairly stiff. I picked him up and his claws were out so he scratched me. I just don’t know what could have happened to my boy. I took him to a lab for a necropsy which they said would take 2 to 4 weeks. Even though my house is full of cats, none of them spoke to me like Riley – I feel like I let him down by not taking him to the vet when his meow got raspy and he stayed downstairs that one night last month, I just don’t know. Murphy had blood in his stool once and I took him to the vet and it ended up being nothing except a $600 vet bill. Riley was only 5 – and I can’t feel any worse than I do right now. The silence in my house by Riley’s absence is deafening. I’d give anything if I could go back and take him to the vet last month when he stayed downstairs that one night. Anyway, Thank You for whoever took the time to read my scribe. I’m sorry Riley – I’m going to miss you, boy.

    • Oh gosh, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. That is so sad. Please don’t think you let him down, you didn’t at all. None of us have a crystal ball. You sound like a very loving and caring person and Riley was lucky to have shared his life with you.

      • Hello Julia,
        Thank you for the Kind and Uplifting Words. I received a Preliminary Report and they are currently attributing Riley’s passing to ‘necrotizing pleuropnemonia’ – The Case Dr. believes that Riley contracted a bacterial infection in the past few days which led to an abundance of reddish-brown, opaque foul smelling fluid build-up in his thoracic cavity. They are awaiting the results of the bacteriology cultures to confirm this. They also found that Riley had a grossly-thickened left-ventricle which is often associated with cardiomyopathy but are performing a microscopic evaluation to confirm since this finding can represent a postmortem or cutting artifact. A lot of issues for what outwardly appeared to be a happy, healthy 5-year old boy…

        • Hi Paul, thank you so much for getting back to me with the report. Did they say how they think he caught the infection? Please let me know if you hear anything else.

          Again, I am really sorry for your loss. You sound like a wonderful and caring cat lover, we need more people like you in this world.

          • Hi Julia,
            First, Thank You So Much for maintaining this site. When Riley Died so suddenly last month, I had to make snap decisions and react accordingly and when I finally had time to sit down and collect my thoughts and cognizant questions, I had nowhere to turn really except for the Internet which brought me here. The experience was really raw but it was somewhat therapeutic for me to convey it here that night. Anyway, I received the Final Report on my boy, Riley. Here is what the Case Dr. concluded: “The cause of this cat’s demise can be attributed to the changes observed in the thoracic cavity. The microscopic evaluation and bacteriology cultures confirm my suspicion of bacterial pleuritis and pneumonia. Bacteriology cultures revealed moderate growth of Pasteurella multocida in the lung and thoracic cavity. Pasteurella multocida is part of the normal oral flora in cats but can cause opportunistic infections, including pyothorax, pleuritis, and pneumonia. An initiating cause for the bacterial infection is unknown.” In speaking with the Case Doctor, she believes that Riley was infected by a Cat Bite within 3 days of his passing. I know that Riley was “a scrapper” but I brushed him and the others every night and did not find any coagulated blood. Life is so fragile. Peace.

  126. I needs some help here. I have an approx 17 year old cat, Pepper. I have always had rescues and lost my first cat Sam to a stroke and lost his ability to stand when he was 17. As he had always been a strong kitty, I knew I had to let him go with his pride intact. He was diabetic but an incredible cat. Luckily, I had Maggie at home to comfort me and she was wonderful. I adopted a friend, Pepper to keep her company. A few years later, I lost Maggie, at 17, to liver issues. I stayed with Sam and with Maggie when the vets did what they had to do. Needless to say, devastated once again, I went home and snuggled with Pepper who was just great. I adopted him a friend, Emily and they get along. Here is where my heart is breaking yet again. Pepper is approx 17 and he is showing signs of slowing down.
    Pepper has a Grade 3 heart murmur so the vet has him on enalapril and advised it is not the worst murmur in the world. He is also now on Thyroid meds (I just switched from the cream to liquid as he hated having the cream rubbed on his skin). He has lost weight and just picks at his food here and there. He can still walk, he uses his litter box, he drinks water, he does like to spend time in his carrier but is now starting to come out more. He can jump up into my chair. He is not the same cat but I am wondering if my worrying and trying to get food into him and fussing him is giving him the sense of something is wrong. I am trying so hard to keep things normal for him but my heart is breaking ahead of time. Any suggestions…I do not want to stress him out and I suspect the number 17 plays into my thoughts.

    • Hi Heather, thanks for your post. It’s hard to say, the fact that he’s still getting around and coming out are good signs. Cats can sometimes withdraw when they are dying. I would recommend you speak to your vet about his appetite, they may be able to help. Good luck.

  127. I don’t know how much tears I will shed when the day really comes. My baby/old boy cat Zhuzhu was diagnosed with cancer today. The vet announced the cancer a few days ago but I hoped he was wrong. So I asked for an ultrasonic exam this morning. My boy has been enjoying the whole exam process since he was surrounded by 3 beautiful ladies with his belly shaved, rubbed, and checked. He is such a gorgeous boy- snow white, fit, tall and handsome. Regardless how much my boy playing his charm, the results of the ultrasonic confirmed that he has about stage4 cancer. I haven’t stopped crying since that moment. I guess he still has 2 – 3 months to live. Thinking of taking him for cancer surgery, if the biopsy comes back with slightest chance of living for more than 3 months.. He is just too adorable to let him go. He has taught me so much in my life. I don’t know if it is for his benefit to have me or my benefit to have him. He hasn’t given me any trouble since I adopted him when he was 6 month old crazy little angel. So poor baby, I know you will suffer and I am suffering with you. Eventually, one day, I will let you go. And I am dreadful of THE DAY. But finding this site and seeing so many loving cat owners having similar experiences help me tremendously. I thank you so much, and Zhuzhu thank you so much as well.

    • HI Wei, I am so sorry to hear of Zhuzhu’s diagnosis, I have lost two cats to cancer and it is such a shock to hear that word. You will have to let him go, but in the meantime, you have him and can give him all the love in the world. It is always devastating when the time comes to say goodbye to them, please free to chat on here if you need a sympathetic ear xxx

      Take care,

      • Thank you Julia. He passed away at home last night, and I was with him and prayed for him and told him how much I loved him and I know he loved me. He suffered a bit but not for long. Now I understand what other say that would rather doing it 2 week earlier than later. If I had the courage to do it all over again, I would put him in peace 1 week ago. I talked with him a few times when he was well about the options we had- pass away home, at home euthanasia or surgery, and timing. I told him whatever he chose I would do it and just gave me a sign. On Thursday morning he was weak but ok. I think this was the sign so I plan to have a final discussion with vet then schedule an at home euthanasia. When I got back home after work, I fed him medicine. He was fine for an hour or two. then thing turned horribly bad. He vomited all medicine, then got extremely exhausted. He managed to cruise around home, but his legs barely supports his tiny skinny body. I was paralyzed!. Finally he collapsed in the bathroom tile floor where we had play a lot there. He cried a little bit, then I laid down with him and tell him my love is with him forever. Then he passed away around 8pm. I didn’t cry a lot since I ran out of my tears. I wiped him clean and started to follow the instruction I wrote down days ago- yes I prepared myself for him and The Day. Zhuzhu will be in a super duper amazing place!

  128. I think im gonna lose my 7 year old cat this evening, im so guilty i only had this morning to research about his condition, all i thought was he has urination problem and soon itll go away. Had i known it earlier i’d given him proper attention, but its too late, he has lost so much weight and can barely move a body part even his eyes i suppose these are the signs, he can only respond whenever i pet and call him which is touching. Now, cant sleep im really worried about him, i hope he’ll get through this process easier..

  129. We have a 14 yrs. old female “calico” cat that we “rescued” when she was about two years old. Whoever had her before us had her front claws surgically removed. She’s having problems breathing (rattles, labored at times), has a lack of appetite, loudly cries at the wee hours of the morning, hides under our bed, has little desire to play anymore with our two dogs anymore and though I could go on I’ll just say that most recently she’s been sneezing and discharging copious amounts of phlegm and/or foam from her mouth/nose. She used to be a very independent cuss but now she’s more “glommy” on me than she’s ever been when she’s feeling well. This morning I was awakened by her very loud, seemingly painful “meowing” and when I tried to find her she hid and wouldn’t let anyone near her.

    Any ideas?

  130. I just lost my 16 year old boy Frody. This article reassured me that we did all we could for him and that we completely honoured him in his death.

  131. I was surprised to read that hiding and loss of appetite are signs of a dying cat. My cat, Alford, has most of those symptoms. I will be so distraught if he dies. He has been with me through everything! I am going to find an emergency vet to bring him to. They will know what to do in this situation.

  132. It was 18 years ago about the same time of the year that a stray cat I was asked to feed by my wife’s sister as she was moving away and couldn’t take her, walked into my home one night and instead of rubbing against me and getting pet before leaving back to the outdoors like usual. Instead she curled up under the coffee table and refused her normal routine. Tired and a bit cold I shut the door grabbed a blanket and turned the TV on. I woke early the next morning with a chill as I realized somehow I had lost my blanket. I sat up to look only to find her balled up under he coffee table where the cat had laid down the night before. At first I thought you——— cat, you stole my blanket. Then I looked through the glass top a little closer as I cleared my eyes and started to actually wake up. It was clear something wastn’t right and as I peered closer she had stolen my blanket and formed a small nest of sorts. She needed it as she had given birth to 4 kittens and had 2 more coming before it was done. 5 boys and 1 female. To say I was surprised would be an understatement as no one could have even told she was pregnant.
    Also to my amazement she had no fear of me touching her newborns and helping as much as I could. Thankfully everything went well and there I was the proud stepdad of 6 little ones that seemed to fall in love with me before they even were able to open thier eyes!
    Sadly I couldn’t keep all of them but somehow managed to talk my wife into keeping 3 of them and finding good homes for the rest.
    Still not sure why as I had never been a cat person but do have an affection for almost all animals to some degree but as most who know me would say I,m a big Dog kind of guy.
    Anyway these cats became my buddies and slept with me, cuddled with me, waited at the door for me when I was coming home from work. They knew my hours and would wake me almost perfectly one min before the alarm went off, on days off they would cuddle with me and keep me company when ever I was awake. We played, they played and grew so fast is was amazing. In the end we ended up with 3 mancoon cats that were just simply put 3 loveable teddy bears. Not once in the last 18 years has any one of the ever showed me one sign of aggression no matter the situation.
    One (my favorite) Pooh Bear was so gental that the few times he had to get a bath the only way to do it was to hold him on my lap and take a bath with a 20lbs cat with all his claws and yet not once did he scratch me.
    My wife and I could spend hours telling stories about how entertaining and crazy each of thier special personalities were and how sweet hearted they were. Sadly I’m not here for that but rather to try and let my sadness go as I just got finished putting the last of my Little Babies to rest less than an hour ago.
    The past 3 years have been tough as we lost them each right around the same time of the year one each year.
    It refreshing however to see this site with the experience of others and how well things are spelled out for the final days and when to let them go. This has been a traumatic ride for us since we treated them for diabeeties for years and had to watch carefully for the signs when thier turns came as other illness became more serious in thier already fragile state. We made some mistakes and the hurt never really becomes less but the pain of realizing you let them suffer, or the surgery you paid for was a futile effort and you only made them suffer longer.
    Thank you fo the guidance this time around. Last night I was out of wits with it again and then found this site, after reading it simply helped me to stay on track right up till tonight as I started to fill the grave.
    Anyway sorry for the long post but somehow I needed to say thanks!

    • Hi Paul, sorry for the very late response to your post. That is so hard losing them in quick succession like that.

      Thank you for your kind words, I hope this article has been of help to you. I always appreciate hearing from people who have found this article helpful.

  133. Hi, my kitten is less than a year old but he is slowly dying. he has low levels of red blood cells. he is urinating uncontrollably, doesn’t eat much, sleeps all the time and is very weak. I really want to put him down because I can tell he is suffering a lot. I’m only 16 so it’s not my decision and my parents are quite against it, so i just have to sit and watch him get worse. Please give me any suggestions on how to help him through this tough time????

  134. My cat is almost 20.She has been extremely healthy her whole life but things are going downhill quickly.She is hardly eating,throws up quite a bit and is very thin.She sits with me every evening and loves her pats.
    We know it is getting close.My husband says now but I am hesitating?Any thoughts

  135. Hi my cat, Walt, started wheezing through the nose and the vet said he could have a piece of grass or a thorn in his nostril or it could be an infection. He gave an antibiotic shot and sent him home with some lysine bite treats. Several weeks later still wheezing he has a bloody discharge and we decided to irrigate his nose while under anesthesia. Nothing other than mucus and little blood cane out. The vet put him on oral azithromycin. No improvement was seen and Walt stopped eating so I went to another vet with an X-ray machine. X-ray was inconclusive. A second irrigation of the nose revealed that the saline was coming through the top front incisors and he pulled them out Stiched them and changed his antibiotics. That cost $745. After four days no changes and still won’t eat. The vet saw him and told us he thinks Walt has a tumor in his nose as one side didn’t have any flow. He will drink some but I know he is a sick cat. He still wants to go outside and still purrs a lot. I have tried canned tuna, cat food, baby food, scrambled eggs and bacon, and he will not eat. He is loosing weight. We are so sad and want to give him every opportunity to get better but we realize that is probably not going to happen. Anyone have any suggestions?

      • Update: Walt has started to eat again! After six days I have used a baby nose aspirator on his nose and some saline nasal spray over and over and his smell has returned. He caught a wiff of the tuna and started to devour it. This makes us happy and hopeful that he may recover. I hope he continues to improve. Amazing

  136. Update: Walt has started to eat again! After six days I have used a baby nose aspirator on his nose and some saline nasal spray over and over and his smell has returned. He caught a wiff of the tuna and started to devour it. This makes us happy and hopeful that he may recover. I hope he continues to improve.

  137. Thank you so much for this well written article. We have been watching our cat of 14 years decline drastically over the past month or two. Her symptoms got so bad, the vet offered her remaining life to be medicated or a humane euthanasia. We chose to let Elsie go yesterday, Nov 24, 2018. Watching the procedure was gut wrenching. I wanted to scream to stop but I was being selfish. Logically, I know she is in a better place but emotionally, we are devastated, me the worst. I have been experiencing awful guilt and your article put it into a better perspective. Though, I am still grieving, I feel more at peace with my decision. I just couldn’t see her in pain anymore. I decided to honor her with a special, handmade urn and the girls asked for necklaces. She will always be a part of us.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss, Audra. That’s the lesson that I learned, as hard as it is to let them go, we must do so to end their suffering. You absolutely did the right thing. They never truly leave us as they live on in our hearts and memories.

      Take care of yourselves during this difficult time. All of us who have posted here understand the pain of losing a beloved pet.

  138. My cat keeps trying to poop but nothing comes out and seems to have constipation. She also lost her appetite around the same time as this. What could this mean?

  139. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this in-depth article you have written. You answered all my questions and numerous ones I never thought to ask. Our Cupid will turn 18 on February 14th and today was diagnosed with early kidney disease. She had a perfect checkup in September, how quickly things change. I broke down sobbing several times while reading your article, but I now understand how to care for Cupid and us as we transition through this last phase of life. After 18 years, we know our cat well, but you’ve taught me what to watch for and how to care for her needs, as well as our hearts. Cupid will continue to receive excellent care from our vet and us, but like you, I want to be a week too early than a day too late.

    • Hi Raylene, thank you so much for your kind comments, it means a lot. I am sorry to hear of Cupid’s diagnosis, it doesn’t matter the age, the news always makes you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck. Good luck with Cupid’s care, it sounds like it was caught early which is a good thing. Please give her a gentle hug 🙂

  140. Hello, today I am faced with making that awful decision, “Do I or Don’t I?”
    I have looked on line for some guidance and came across this site.
    I have read the wonderful article with a face of tears as I know the decison is the right one.
    Hopefully I can make Alfie’s last hours as comfortable as possible, off to buy him a tin of tuna!!
    I could wait a week and see how he is, but what you said is SO true, it is better to be a little too early than a little too late. He is struggling to stand up today and his back legs are weak. He has been poorly on and off for a year now but this is his worse. He won’t drink either whereas earlier in the week he was drinking loads.
    These words truley are amazing:
    There is a cycle of love & death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through or walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given.

    ~ Suzanne Clothier~
    I can’t thank you enough for your website. Anne and Alfie xxx (He would be 18 next year)

  141. Hi , I’m here because of my 1 year old cat Mia that has fallen off the window , I live in a 4th floor apartement I took her to the vet and she said that she had a fracture in the basin , she’s losing her weight and she doesn’t eat at all and I’m syringe feeding her medicine and she’s drooling and I don’t know if she’s ok or not plz someone help me by suggesting something 🙁 .

    • Moncef…have you taken Mia to the vet? I think this is a very important step in diagnosing what the fall did to her. Because she is loosing weight and isn’t eating are not good signs. Something is definitely wrong, but you need to have her checked out by doctors at your local veterinarian. And if cost is a factor, call them and ask if you could be put on a payment plan. Try to do what is best for Mia, and try to put yourself aside. I just posted a comment about my cat Moe who is dying of cancer. This is devastating for me as Moe is my buddy, but I took him to the vet over a week ago when I saw that something was wrong, and they did blood tests and drained liquid from around his heart which the testing came back that the liquid was cancerous. This cost me $900 to have the tests done, even though it wasn’t a fix for Moe, but I did it for Moe. I could have put Moe thru radiology tests and chemotherapy, but this, even though very costly, may have not been a fix for Moe and would have still been only temporary, so we decided that wasn’t the best thing to do for Moe, so now we are faced with euthanasia, which is having my beloved Moe put to sleep. Hard to even think about having to make that decision, as I cry a lot when I think about loosing Moe. Best of luck with Mia, and I do hope it is something that is treatable for her.

  142. I have a male cat named Moe who was just diagnosed with cancer. The vet found liquid around his heart which was cancerous. Moe is only eating and drinking a little, but not much. He has lost weight as the vet said that he was 11 pounds a month ago, and is now down to 9-1/2 lbs. When I pet him, he is getting more bonier on his back, so I am sure he is still loosing weight. Moe is a house cat, and he is my buddy as he often slept with me. Determing a time when I have to put him down is very difficult, but I want to make sure that I am considering mainly what Moe would want, and am trying to put myself aside. When that time comes, I believe I will have the vet come to the house to perform euthanasia. I already cry a lot when I think about the situation, but I do want to be with him when he leaves. For me, devastating is putting it mildly. I have had pets all of my life, but I guess when you get older ( I am 72) it becomes even MORE difficult to loose a beloved pet. Not that age has a great bearing on this, because loosing a pet at any age can be very, very traumatic, but I only am using my life as an example. Any advice would be much appreciated for Moe and me. I try to sleep with him now, and I pet him often, and always tell him I love him. I also have 2 other cats in the house, and the 1 being Mabel, a female cat, who is going to miss Moe a lot as she always cuddled up to him. Thanks again for allowing me to post this letter.

  143. Moncef….me again, Harold Smith. I missed the part in your comment about that you had taken Mia to the vet and she or he said she had a fracture in the basin. Maybe a return phone call to your vet about what you should do at this point. Have you told them that she isn’t eating and is drooling a lot? I also see that you are giving her medicine by syringe feeding. I would call the vet back to give them an update and seek professional advice with them again. Again, best of luck with Mia.

  144. I feel as if part of me is gone with my Dusty. At 10:15 this evening she passed in my arms. Beyond grief…Will post later as to signs and symptoms to help others. Just mourning the love from my 18 year old friend. She will be buried tomorrow next to her 20 year old previous love of mine. No words can explain my total heart wrenching sorrow and feelings of total lost…

    • HI Ann Marie, I am so very sorry for your loss of Dusty, we all know the awful shock, pain and sheer grief at losing a beloved pet. You sound like a wonderful and compassionate person and Dusty was lucky to have had you in her life.

      Please know that many people reading this page know just how devastating it is to lose a cat. You are not alone in your grief. Take care and please post again if you need to let it out.

  145. Thank you Julia, still have no words to completely encompass how I feel. Thank goodness for my husband of 35 years, Bob. So totally strong, supportive and a real animal lover. Can’t sleep, have brought our Dusty to spend her last night in our room. Rest in peace our baby. Our lives will never be the same.

  146. Today marks 10 years since my sister’s cat died. We found him in his litterbox and we buried him under a rock. I still feel grief for him. He was 12 i think… any idea how to stop feeling sad about him?

    • I’m so sorry you are feeling this way. People under estimate how much we grieve the loss of our pets. For me, it’s always there but you grow around the grief. I still feel immense sadness when I think about a cat I lost 15 years ago but it’s much less than at the time.
      If you are still struggling I would suggest talking to a counsellor. Some specialise in the loss of a pet.

  147. I think it is almost time for my Shana. She is 18? When we found gee in 2004 the vet thought she was three. She was skin and bones. She is back to that. Maybe less. She was a fat cat, ate too fast and vomited everywhere. The black flashlight looks like someone was murdered in my house. I can’t do this again. I just put my dog Flash down a year ago. I still am heartbroken. I don’t think I can bring another animal in. My girl is plastered to my side. My shadow. Now she is a fixture on my lap. Even my husbands lap if I can’t be sitting. She needs the heat. I just am afraid of the heartbreak.

    • You will be heartbroken, that is the reality and I can’t sugarcoat it. It hurts so much to lose a pet. But in time, I ask people to try and focus on the good times, not the end. Because for most of our cats, their decline in health measured months or weeks, however they had many, many happy years.

      Sending you strength and love at this difficult time.

  148. It has been hard to read so many sad accounts of people who have experienced their beloved cat’s passing away. I am sitting with my sooty who has very little time left. I am heartbroken that l will be losing a fantastic friend lhave had for 17 years. The tears have come so l will stop now. I thank everyone for sharing their feelings of love for their wonderful friends.

  149. I am at a cross road. My 18.5 year old baby is dying. I know it. She quit grooming awhile ago. She is a long hair domestic baby. She poops outside her box, she throws up randomly & has become so thin. I feel her spine very pronounced. I am 44. I have had her since 6 weeks and my Hubs got her for me for my 26th Bday. I don’t know how I will exist without her. I lost my long hair white persian (15) in 2017 to the exact same thing….just growing old. I wish she would just pass. I had to take my Persian in because she just stopped moving & we saw the sadness & it was time. I hyperventalated at that appointment & could not get it together. This one though, I have always been her world & her mine. I am okay to let her go. She has had the most amazing, spoiled & loved life. The problem is making that appointment & going. Now my Husband is saying to wait until she cant walk or jump. I am in shock. Its just ripping me apart. He is saying after her, we are done with animals. Mostly because I can’t bear the heartbreak.
    I just dont know what to do. There is no book or person.with the right answers. Its just killing me.

    • Hi Shauna, I’m so sorry to hear about your sweet kitty. I don’t really know what to say. We didn’t always get to make the decision, with a few it was sudden and we had to say goodbye, with others, it was left up to us. When their quality of life is at a point where they are no longer eating, grooming and unable to use a litter tray, it’s time to have a serious think.

      I know how hard it is, we’ve done it many times, and right now, you are feeling shocked and grief stricken and you will do so before, during and after. But I hope over time that raw grief will become happy memories of the 18 wonderful years she had with you. Remember that the lead up to their passing is only a small fraction of their life, and we owe it to us, and to them to remember the good times.

      I’ve said it before, and will say it again, a week or two too early is better than a day too late. I know it’s devastating to do, my heart is with you.

  150. Hello everyone, I thank god I found this place with all your stories of great compassion and love for your beloved beautiful cats. And I am so sorry for all your losses and hope the ones that are holding on make it, or leave in peace and comfort.
    So I have had a lot of cats. And love them so much people used to call me the cat man! Girls would try to have conversations with me and all I would talk about was my cats! Anyways I had a terrible relationship and my ex literally ruined my life and caused me to develope ptsd, and severe depression and anxiety. She cheated, lied and took me for all I got till the very end. I was so devastated. But I she had a cat and she really had no heart. I said I will take care of “Mila”! That’s her name because you don’t care about anyone. But yourself and she just gave her to me saying yeah you should keep her. And I was happy because I loved MIla but devastated that a human could be so cold and evil to me and her pet.
    So I would cry about my situation and my cat would console me and sweatily lick the tears away my cheeks it was so cute and loving. I was so depressed and traumatized that I had to move back home to my parents house. My parents bless there souls took me in with my cat and I worked on trying to sort my life out. Every minute my cat and I would be together. She and I are inseparable. She would be on my lap while I painted be on the bed curled up next to me on the days I couldn’t get out of bed because depression was too sever and she would be that one loving thing that made me feel life was worth living. Me and her have all sorts of great and funny memories. She sleeps with me every night. But this is where the story takes a turn folks. Okay so it’s been 17 years of me having this great love that is my cat in my life and about a month ago I noticed weight loss and her meowing while in the litter box. I kinda shrugged it off because she was still acting the same way and eating the same. Sleeping with me at night.
    Until I noticed her really skinny like I can feel her bones be ribs skinny. It was then the symptoms started to show. Lack of eating, crying out wanting to be along. Meowing excessively most likely in pain and sleeping in other places. I was devastated! Having ptsd. Anxiety and depression it’s very hard for me to take action because I’m running in circles in my head knowing I need to call the vet but not being able to because I’m frozen from trauma anxiety and afraid or don’t want to hear my worst fear come true! But I got the strength yesterday morning to take her in to the vet. And the doctor came in and examined her be told me she is in poor health. He said she feels like she has small kidneys and dehydration and her breath smells of ammonia I think that’s the word he used? But anyway he said he needed to take blood and urine samples and keep her hospitalized to keep her on an i.v. Drip and give her various shots and the estimated total was around a thousand dollars give or take.
    My heart dropped because I could not afford that at all! So I said please is there anything else I can do. And they said you can take her home and we will give you some vitamin and omega containing gel some hospitalized wet food and some syringes so you can force feed water, food and the vitamins to her. I also brought up care credit and they said they accept it and that that would be my best option because it is quick to apply and I have chance of providing all I can for her treatment and just pay monthly payments. So I took her home sad that I couldn’t do everything at that moment but I had at least some help with feeding her and comforting her while I try to get care credit.
    So today she seemed to respond to the vitamins and food and water well. But she still meows a bit wierd and is weak just wanting to sleep. But right now she went in her litter box to sleep! That is scaring me to death! I am writing this because honestly guys I am beginning to think that I’m in denial maybe and that I might have to face the harsh reality of my cat passing away. If these words were able to be smelt and tasted it would be salty tears and the smell of sadness in the air. Guys I am so scared and sad right now! I can’t go to sleep. I just took her out of her litter box and made her a warm comfy bed with water and food nearby just in case. I will find out if my cousin can help me co-sign for care credit so I can find out the truth and give her the help she needs! Please pray for me and my cat. I wanted to say thank you for all your wonderful experiences and making me feel like I’m not along and that I have to be strong and wish for the best and prepare for the worst. Please don’t think I’m a bad person for not being able to help my cat right then and there because that was all I wanted to do was get her help asap! Honestly when I prayed the night before I asked god if he could take some of my years off my life and give it to her. I like most of you really can’t take her not being in my life and me already having depression ptsd and anxiety I know if worst comes to worst it’s gonna be a long hard process of grief and pain.
    If any one else is similar to me and has gone through this. If you have any advice please any advice would be appreciated. Anyways I will update on here about my situation and in the meantime please pray for us. Thanks again and take care everyone. God bless.

  151. While searching the Internet for articles about grief over losing your cat, I found this website and immediately connected with all the commenters. I am suffering so much from guilt and grief over the loss of my 14 year old cat Rocky almost 2 years ago.

    We adopted Rocky and another Tabby (Arthur) in 2003. We still have Arthur, and at almost 16 years he is doing great becoming more sociable and affectionate. I think he likes being the only pet in the house now. We lost Rocky in May 2017. In October 2016 Rocky began to have diarrhea and vomiting. The diagnosis from the blood tests was acute pancreatitis and from the X-ray possible intestinal lymphoma. The vet tried many meds and suggested different diets, but Rocky continued to decline.

    Right up to this illness, Rocky was a ball of energy, very sociable, sweet, and affectionate. He couldn’t get enough attention from me. When I was at home, he was always with me, in my lap, at my computer, leaning against my leg while I cooked. But as the illness progressed, his personality changed. During the last month of his life, he didn’t seek out my attention any longer. He became withdrawn, just restlessly sleeping in the room with us where we made him a comfortable environment.

    I have lost 3 other cats before Rocky. It took me about a year to get past each loss, but nothing to compare with losing Rocky. His illness was so much more intense and extended than their illnesses, and Rocky’s bond with me so much stronger. I guess Rocky was the child I never had.

    Like any other pet parents, I have guilt over what did I miss, should I have
    gotten other vet opinions, did I wait too long to make the final decision.

    But my major guilt is feeling I should have forced my attentions onto him when he withdrew rather than letting him alone to sleep. I tried on 3 occasions to get on the floor and pet and talk to him, but he did not respond in any way—no purring or eye contact. I thought I was doing the right thing by leaving him alone so he could find some comfort and sleep, and I was worried my petting might cause more pain to his bloated stomach. But now I feel so guilty that I didn’t keep trying to pet and comfort him. Before they put him to sleep, cuddled in my arms, he looked up at me for several minutes and then put his head down on my arm in one last moment of bonding.

    In addition to this guilt, my grief is so intense after almost 2 years. I can’t go into any room in the house without being reminded of his absence. I just want to be able to move on and heal, remember him with joy and not sadness. I feel it was so unfair that this sweet little boy should become so sick.

    I am so miserable with no end in sight.

    • I am so sorry for your loss of Rocky, it is easy to see how much you loved him.

      Please don’t feel guilty for not forcing attention on Rocky. Cats do what they want to do, and Rocky needed to be alone. You did the right thing by letting him be during his illness. I think we all need to pay attention to what our cats are telling us and act accordingly. I think you will start to move on when you let go of your guilt. Rocky would want to be remembered for all the happy times you gave him, not for his final months. I promise you, you have done nothing wrong, you respected his need for space.

      Guilt is such a natural emotion, most of us will outlive our cats, and we will second guess everything we did. Why did we not pick up signs of illness sooner, did we say goodbye too early or wait too long. Did we give them enough comfort, did we give them too much comfort. I think most of the people reading this article feel much the same, but we are all here because we loved our cats so dearly.

      From an outsider point of view, you sound like a wonderful and caring cat lover and Rocky was lucky to have you in his life. xxx

      • Julia, thank you so very, very much for your quick reply and words of understanding and comfort. My husband and I are retired, and it is just the two of us left in our family now. He misses Rocky also, but can’t empathize with the depth of my guilt and grief after almost 2 years. He also has many health problems on his mind. I have no one else to talk to you about this. Finding your website and being able to communicate with you is wonderful. Reading about your love for and bond with your cat babies made me confident you would be able to understand my pain.

        I will keep your words in my heart, and try to begin to let go of the guilt and to begin remembering Rocky with joy for the amazing time we had together. I will also email you a picture so others can see my sweet boy on your memorial page.

        Thank you, thank you!!! You have brought me much needed comfort.
        Sincerely, Vicki

  152. My cat of 18 years passed away today. I’ve had her since I was 6 so it was really hard to say goodbye. I watched her take her last breath. She was primarily an outside cat but 2 weeks ago she started waiting at the front door every morning to come inside and just cuddle next to us. She also spent most of her time in the bathtub. She was eating just fine until 2 days ago when she stopped eating and drinking entirely. It only got worse from there. She began shaking when she walked until her hind legs just completely gave in and she could no longer get around without us carrying her. In her final hours she couldn’t even lift her head and the only sound she made was a little cry that broke my heart. I am devastated right now. About 4 years ago we had to put her grandson down for leukemia and now she’s gone. These stories have made me realize I’m not alone

  153. My 18 year old cat is suffering from kidney failure and heart murmur. After 3 days hospitalised on drip and meds, blood test remained negative with readings well outside parameters. The vet sent her home cause staying in hospital was useless and was only making her more miserable. She is avoiding me possibly because of ‘abandoning’ her at the hospital. She continue not eat and drinks very little. She is simply wasting away. I know that the end is not too far away. I am considering euthanizing her to stop her sufferance but the step is so difficult to take. I am praying that I will know when the time is right. I feel like I am betraying her. She was always there for me throughout her life. I am going to miss her terribly and cannot let go. We adopted her as a kitten as a surprise to my son. He named her Toffee as he likened the colour of her fur with toffee. I thought it was a great name for a sweet kitten. Unfortunately two months later my son was diagnosed with cancer. He lost his battle three months later. Toffee used to comfort me during my grieving, patting my face and licking my tears. I am lost. What am I to do?

    • Oh Alexandra, I am so sorry, your message has me in tears. A dear friend lost her son recently and I have seen first-hand the complete and utter grief she is living every day. Knowing that Toffee comforted you when you lost your son just makes her all the more special.

      The way I try to look at it is that when we adopt a cat, we make a commitment to let them go when the time is right. We put their needs ahead of ours…and I say that understanding that when we do say goodbye, we cut ties to not only the cat, but that time in our lives too, which makes it all the much harder.

      Toffee needs you to be strong for her, I know how hard it is, but she needs you more than ever. We kept a cat alive for too long, and 16 years later, I still regret it. I always say that a week too early is better than a day too late. It’s hard to pinpoint that time, but when they stop enjoying life, they are no longer tripping you over on a morning for breakfast, they don’t meet you at the door anymore, they spend all day sleeping and do little else, it’s a sign.

      I don’t know what else to say, I feel so much for what you are going through. Please don’t feel you are alone, post here, talk to a friend, email me if you need a shoulder.

      • Thanks Julia for your words of advice and comfort. From what you say the time is near, too near for my liking … I’ll need to set the appointment and take Toffee to the vet for her last visit. Please pray for her and for me to be strong for her. Thank you again.

      • Thanks Julia for your words of advice and comfort. I decided to wait a couple of days before letting her go. I wanted to gather enough courage and strength, meantime spend some more precious time with her. I set today as the day. Yesterday I noticed that she could not bring herself to drink even though she seemed interested in drinking. Thinking how thirsty she must be, I knew that I could not prolong her sufferance any further. This morning my husband and I woke up at the vet determined to put an end to it. The doctor reconfirmed that there is nothing more we can do and informed us of how she will die slowly, slowly, if we do not put an end to it. I asked if she was in pain. He said she was not suffering physical pain but psychological pain. This confused me. I thought that if my cat was not suffering physical pain I should let nature take its course. As the doctor was preparing to give her the sedative I was on the brink of changing my mind. I asked the doctor how long Toffee has if I let nature take its course, however he would not commit himself. I asked him which was the least selfish act for the cat. He simply picked up the syringe … it was then that I knew that I must proceed. I kissed her goodbye and let him proceed. I stayed with her until the sedative worked, stroking her gently. As I stoked her I told her that I am letting her go because I loved her immensely, that I did not want her to go but at the same time I did not want her to suffer unnecessarily. I thanked her for the 18 years of love and comfort that she had given me. I willed my son Krist to come and meet her and enjoy eternal life side by side, in the hope that one day I may join them and be with them forever. I told Toffee that my eight year old boy will be taking care of her like he did during the very short time they spent together. When it was over we took her home and buried her in a quite spot in the garden and which I could view from my kitchen window. I miss her terribly. I know I did the right thing but I still feel miserable. I hope my pain will ease. Your website helped me take a courageous decision and not feel alone. Thank you for being with me during this terrible moment.

    • Thanks Julia for your words of advice and comfort. I decided to wait a couple of days before letting her go. I wanted to gather enough courage and strength, meantime spend some more precious time with her. I set today as the day. Yesterday I noticed that she could not bring herself to drink even though she seemed interested in drinking. Thinking how thirsty she must be, I knew that I could not prolong her sufferance any further. This morning my husband and I woke up at the vet determined to put an end to it. The doctor reconfirmed that there is nothing more we can do and informed us of how she will die slowly, slowly, if we do not put an end to it. I asked if she was in pain. He said she was not suffering physical pain but psychological pain. This confused me. I thought that if my cat was not suffering physical pain I should let nature take its course. As the doctor was preparing to give her the sedative I was on the brink of changing my mind. I asked the doctor how long Toffee has if I let nature take its course, however he would not commit himself. I asked him which was the least selfish act for the cat. He simply picked up the syringe … it was then that I knew that I must proceed. I kissed her goodbye and let him proceed. I stayed with her until the sedative worked, stroking her gently. As I stoked her I told her that I am letting her go because I loved her immensely, that I did not want her to go but at the same time I did not want her to suffer unnecessarily. I thanked her for the 18 years of love and comfort that she had given me. I willed my son Krist to come and meet her and enjoy eternal life side by side, in the hope that one day I may join them and be with them forever. I told Toffee that my eight year old boy will be taking care of her like he did during the very short time they spent together. When it was over we took her home and buried her in a quite spot in the garden and which I could view from my kitchen window. I miss her terribly. I know I did the right thing but I still feel miserable. I hope my pain will ease. Your website helped me take a courageous decision and not feel alone. Thank you for being with me during this terrible moment.

  154. Thanks Julia for your words of advice and comfort. I decided to wait a couple of days before letting her go. I wanted to gather enough courage and strength, meantime spend some more precious time with her. I set today as the day. Yesterday I noticed that she could not bring herself to drink even though she seemed interested in drinking. Thinking how thirsty she must be, I knew that I could not prolong her sufferance any further. This morning my husband and I woke up at the vet determined to put an end to it. The doctor reconfirmed that there is nothing more we can do and informed us of how she will die slowly, slowly, if we do not put an end to it. I asked if she was in pain. He said she was not suffering physical pain but psychological pain. This confused me. I thought that if my cat was not suffering physical pain I should let nature take its course. As the doctor was preparing to give her the sedative I was on the brink of changing my mind. I asked the doctor how long Toffee has if I let nature take its course, however he would not commit himself. I asked him which was the least selfish act for the cat. He simply picked up the syringe … it was then that I knew that I must proceed. I kissed her goodbye and let him proceed. I stayed with her until the sedative worked, stroking her gently. As I stoked her I told her that I am letting her go because I loved her immensely, that I did not want her to go but at the same time I did not want her to suffer unnecessarily. I thanked her for the 18 years of love and comfort that she had given me. I willed my son Krist to come and meet her and enjoy eternal life side by side, in the hope that one day I may join them and be with them forever. I told Toffee that my eight year old boy will be taking care of her like he did during the very short time they spent together. When it was over we took her home and buried her in a quite spot in the garden and which I could view from my kitchen window. I miss her terribly. I know I did the right thing but I still feel miserable. I hope my pain will ease. Your website helped me take a courageous decision and also not to feel I alone. Thank you for being with me during such terrible moment.

  155. Thanks Julia for your words of advice and comfort. I decided to wait a couple of days before letting her go. I wanted to gather enough courage and strength, meantime spend some more precious time with her. I set today as the day. Yesterday I noticed that she could not bring herself to drink even though she seemed interested in drinking. Thinking how thirsty she must be, I knew that I could not prolong her sufferance any further. This morning my husband and I woke up at the vet determined to put an end to it. The doctor reconfirmed that there is nothing more we can do and informed us of how she will die slowly, slowly, if we do not put an end to it. I asked if she was in pain. He said she was not suffering physical pain but psychological pain. This confused me. I thought that if my cat was not suffering physical pain I should let nature take its course. As the doctor was preparing to give her the sedative I was on the brink of changing my mind. I asked the doctor how long Toffee has if I let nature take its course, however he would not commit himself. I asked him which was the least selfish act for the cat. He simply picked up the syringe … it was then that I knew that I must proceed. I kissed her goodbye and let him proceed. I stayed with her until the sedative worked, stroking her gently. As I stoked her I told her that I am letting her go because I loved her immensely, that I did not want her to go but at the same time I did not want her to suffer unnecessarily. I thanked her for the 18 years of love and comfort that she had given me. I willed my son Krist to come and meet her and enjoy eternal life side by side, in the hope that one day I may join them and be with them forever. I told Toffee that my eight year old boy will be taking care of her like he did during the very short time they spent together. When it was over we took her home and buried her in a quite spot in the garden and which I could view from my kitchen window. I miss her terribly. I know I did the right thing but I still feel miserable. I hope my pain will ease. Your website helped me take a courageous decision and not feel alone. Thank you for being with me during this terrible moment.

  156. My 9 year old cat Pheonix had been off his food 5 weeks ago but then started to eat normally again – he was always fussy with food types. His past history a year ago was only constipation, which caused his appetite to wain a bit but the vet sorted this problem. He was in some kind of cat fight a couple of months ago and had a scratch which healed with not problem. From then on he was always healthy. I have been working away for 3 months, only coming home every 3 weeks, so I was not aware of any changes in himself and my husband only noticed he was off his food for a short period.

    I was back home this weekend and he was his usual happy self. He was eating and seemed great. I went out for dinner but when I returned
    I could not find him and searched the house and garden. I found him eventually tucked under the corner of the bed area, no idea how he got into the space. He looked unable to move and my husband had to lift him out, his paws were cold and he was just looking blankly and his breathing shallow.
    I wrapped him in a blanket and tried to talk to him, which my husband tried to find a vet (it was 1.30 am)..
    While talking to the vet surgery on the phone my cat went from calm breathing, being sick to letting out a couple of shrill crys to being unresponsive. Sorry upsetting, I was helpless. We put him in the car to get to the vets but they confirmed he had passed. I feel so so, guilty and upset, he was jumping around fine
    early that evening before I went out. Is there something I missed. the vet said it probably was heart failure. I cannot sleep I just keep thinking should I have noticed anything

    • I’m so sorry for your loss. You didn’t miss anything, especially with being away.

      Cats are hardwired to hide signs of sickness, and when they do display signs, they’re subtle and very easy to miss 🙁

  157. Thanks for your kind words……I think it was hard has I was holding him and I could not do anything to help him… As my husband was with him daily while I was working away – he feels he should have seen something, but apart from him being finicky with his food and what looked like he had been in a cat fight a few weeks ago he appeared ok. Soooo sad. Wish I could draw back time and not have gone out that night and maybe we could have saved him. My husband found foamy sick on the floor that evening while I was out and I found normal sick on the floor when I got home….that is the only sign before we found him….


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