Author Topic: Pet owners - how many bad days is ok for decent quality of life?  (Read 525 times)

Sibley

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Title is the question.

My nearly 20 year old cat, Sibley, is basically terminal (blind, deaf, arthritic, heart problem, kidneys). She's having a rough time right now, and while I'd love to have her forever, that's not possible. Last week, she spend Wed - Friday unable to walk due to the heart issue. Then she was constipated, and that started getting better last night. This morning, she's having trouble walking again (heart issue).

She's not in a ton of pain, but when she's having trouble walking/unable to walk that starts crossing off most items on the QOL list. Yes, I have a written list.

So, how many bad days is ok?

Kris

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Re: Pet owners - how many bad days is ok for decent quality of life?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2019, 08:21:22 AM »
This is one of the hardest thing about being a pet owner.

Honestly, in my experience, no matter what decision I have made, I still have lingering grief about it.

To me, it is really about the pain/comfort continuum. Is Sibley able to have a good part of her day in relative comfort? When she's relaxing/sleeping, does she seem okay? Does she still eat relatively normally? Does she respond to pets and affection with happiness?

Not eating, not wanting to do things like get up or walk because of pain, vocalizations that indicate suffering, hiding/avoiding contact -- all those things indicate to me that it's time to make some decisions. (Note to other readers: of course I'm talking about an animal nearing end of life here, where the pet has already been to doctors, conditions diagnosed, and one knows the issue is a terminal condition or just old age.)


Polaria

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Re: Pet owners - how many bad days is ok for decent quality of life?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2019, 08:25:05 AM »
It's better to let go a tad too early than a tad too late. We all have that hope they will go in their sleep sadly it is rarely the case.
I commiserate.

Kris

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Re: Pet owners - how many bad days is ok for decent quality of life?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2019, 08:28:29 AM »
It's better to let go a tad too early than a tad too late.

I definitely agree with this.

LifeHappens

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Re: Pet owners - how many bad days is ok for decent quality of life?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2019, 08:32:49 AM »
So sorry for both you and your kitty. Cats are great stoics, so you can never really know how much pain they are in. What I would watch for are refusing even favorite foods and treats and self-isolation. In the wild cats wander off to die alone. If you see signs of that type of behavior then unfortunately the end is near.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Pet owners - how many bad days is ok for decent quality of life?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2019, 09:25:41 AM »
So sorry for both you and your kitty. Cats are great stoics, so you can never really know how much pain they are in. What I would watch for are refusing even favorite foods and treats and self-isolation. In the wild cats wander off to die alone. If you see signs of that type of behavior then unfortunately the end is near.

This.   

She has had a good life. The last gift we can give our pets is being ushered out of life painlessly and lovingly when the bad times are just too much.

It is hard for us - I've had to make that decision 6 times now (3 cats, 3 dogs) and it is never easy.  Jedi hugs if you want them.

Dave1442397

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Re: Pet owners - how many bad days is ok for decent quality of life?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2019, 09:33:23 AM »
It's better to let go a tad too early than a tad too late. We all have that hope they will go in their sleep sadly it is rarely the case.
I commiserate.

I agree. We had a similar situation with our cat - she was probably around 16 years old at the time (rescue cat, so not sure), and had been losing weight steadily for months. She also had diarrhea and stopped using the litter box (she did use a section of the basement as her toilet area, so I would cover it in fresh newspaper every day). At her last vet visit, they said her quality of life was going down fast, and it wouldn't be fair to keep her in that condition. We scheduled an appointment and said goodbye.


Sibley

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Re: Pet owners - how many bad days is ok for decent quality of life?
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2019, 10:18:46 AM »
This is one of the hardest thing about being a pet owner.

Honestly, in my experience, no matter what decision I have made, I still have lingering grief about it.

To me, it is really about the pain/comfort continuum. Is Sibley able to have a good part of her day in relative comfort? When she's relaxing/sleeping, does she seem okay? Does she still eat relatively normally? Does she respond to pets and affection with happiness?

Not eating, not wanting to do things like get up or walk because of pain, vocalizations that indicate suffering, hiding/avoiding contact -- all those things indicate to me that it's time to make some decisions. (Note to other readers: of course I'm talking about an animal nearing end of life here, where the pet has already been to doctors, conditions diagnosed, and one knows the issue is a terminal condition or just old age.)

That's what makes this weird. She's really not in that much pain, and we're controlling the arthritis pain decently. The main problem is that her blood pressure is dropping, which makes her legs not work well. It's not that she's unwilling to eat, she literally can't get to the food. Same with litterbox - can't get in/out. Basically, she's partially paralyzed while this is happening.

She's very happy to be petted and be cuddled. She'll be in a comfy bed and be perfectly happy to sleep there all day (this is normal), but because she lacks mobility it takes away the choice to just sleep in that bed all day. She's on some meds that in theory should help, but realistically they don't seem to be doing so.

Vet wanted to see her Saturday for a recheck. I'll discuss and decide then.

iris lily

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Re: Pet owners - how many bad days is ok for decent quality of life?
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2019, 11:37:24 AM »
It's better to let go a tad too early than a tad too late.

I definitely agree with this.
Yes.

All of the regrets I have about pet euthanasia are about waiting too long. Once you start asking the question you ask, you are well into the the continuum of “time to send cat to Kitty jeaven. “ and cats are so good about hiding disability.


fuzzy math

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Re: Pet owners - how many bad days is ok for decent quality of life?
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2019, 02:28:51 PM »
This is one of the hardest thing about being a pet owner.

Honestly, in my experience, no matter what decision I have made, I still have lingering grief about it.

To me, it is really about the pain/comfort continuum. Is Sibley able to have a good part of her day in relative comfort? When she's relaxing/sleeping, does she seem okay? Does she still eat relatively normally? Does she respond to pets and affection with happiness?

Not eating, not wanting to do things like get up or walk because of pain, vocalizations that indicate suffering, hiding/avoiding contact -- all those things indicate to me that it's time to make some decisions. (Note to other readers: of course I'm talking about an animal nearing end of life here, where the pet has already been to doctors, conditions diagnosed, and one knows the issue is a terminal condition or just old age.)

Is it syncope (passing out)? I had a cat with heart problems and if she got stressed out she'd pass out and lay on her side panting and unable to get up. we put her on meds for a couple months, but she was showing other signs she was unhappy and we put her down.
If it is syncope she's at risk of sudden death. It's not a great way to go laying there panting panicked and unable to move. I'd say it's time. Your kitty has had a great run and you can spare her from the worst of the days to come.
That's what makes this weird. She's really not in that much pain, and we're controlling the arthritis pain decently. The main problem is that her blood pressure is dropping, which makes her legs not work well. It's not that she's unwilling to eat, she literally can't get to the food. Same with litterbox - can't get in/out. Basically, she's partially paralyzed while this is happening.

She's very happy to be petted and be cuddled. She'll be in a comfy bed and be perfectly happy to sleep there all day (this is normal), but because she lacks mobility it takes away the choice to just sleep in that bed all day. She's on some meds that in theory should help, but realistically they don't seem to be doing so.

Vet wanted to see her Saturday for a recheck. I'll discuss and decide then.

MasterStache

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It's better to let go a tad too early than a tad too late.

I definitely agree with this.
Yes.

All of the regrets I have about pet euthanasia are about waiting too long. Once you start asking the question you ask, you are well into the the continuum of “time to send cat to Kitty jeaven. “ and cats are so good about hiding disability.

Agree as well. We currently have an almost 14 year old cat who has been in liver failure for 3 years now. Hard to believe. The cat takes daily medication and has to be administered an appetite stimulant once or twice per week or he will literally starve himself to death. But other than that his quality of life seems good. He doesn't get sick very often, is active etc. WE keep a close eye on him and keep up regular vet visits ot monitor his levels. As soon as we see any signs of quality of life degradation we know it will be time. The cat just keeps fighting though. He has lived a good life.   

Sibley

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Well, decision is made. Sibley's last vet trip is on Saturday. She appears to agree, considering that she's not eating well. She's comfortable, and I'm spending as much time as possible with her (she's happiest with me).

Someone asked if it's syncope - no. She's fully conscious, just doesn't have full control over her legs and they're quite weak. It comes and goes, but at this point it's just how severe the lack is, it hasn't subsided completely since Monday. We never did extensive testing to determine what the problem is, but I'm guessing some form of progressive heart failure or disease, given we've gone from first noting a minor problem to this in less than 6 months.

On a lighter note, you might want to buy stock in whoever makes kleenix, because I'm going through a lot.

partgypsy

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This is a really hard thing. I have the same situation. My cat will be 20 this summer. The past 2 years she has been in decline, in the sense she keeps losing weight, sleeps more. She also has some renal insufficiency, has lost all but one tooth. She has bouts of not doing as well including having accidents, but then getting better. So she got out of one bout was doing decent for a few months, but now is back in another one. But she's still eating and getting around, and purrs when I pick her up. The whole, "you will just know when it's time", is bunk, at least for me.   
 

Seems like you have come to a decision, but from what you have said, I agree it is time. I'm sorry. Give 'em good cuddles till the end!
« Last Edit: Today at 08:20:27 PM by partgypsy »