I have always said “I don’t believe in euthanasia, it is playing God.” and “I could never give the order to kill my cat” but at the same time I recognized the need to not allow you baby to suffer. They seem mutually exclusive, well yes and no.
Our first cat Snickerdoodle when down fast (just 18 hrs). All her systems shut down and we’re not quite sure why; she was 11.5 yrs old. The only forwarning I had was she loved going for walks on her harness; the month prior to her death she would BEG me to take her for a walk, then one day she quit asking. I should have been suspicious but what was I going to say? “I’m bringing her to the vet because she doesn’t want to go for a walk?” Odd.
I am forever grateful that she died peacefully without help at the animal hospital. The vet called that morning and said “I think we need to help her so she doesn’t suffer”. Just as I was going in to my montra about how I didn’t believe in it, she passed away. I didn’t have to say the word, or give permission, she did it on her own. My only regret is I wish I had been there telling her I loved her. (but I digress)
Now with the end of Momo’s life on the horizon we again are faced with the fact that we will probably have to use euthanasia to end his suffering. I still don’t believe in it and I feel like we are playing God, but he has cancer in his nose. We did all we could but we didn’t catch it soon enough and while we made a good effort, the chemo only knocked it back for a time before the cancer came roaring back with a vengence.
We were getting 3 weeks of no symptoms. When it was down to 2, my husband said we need to stop the chemo, it’s getting expensive. I thought ‘If we get another 2 weeks symptom free I will fight for Mo to get at least 1 more dose of Chemo and when we aren’t getting 2 weeks anymore then it will be time to stop.’ I didn’t get my chance, in a 1.5 weeks the symptoms came roaring back.
He did pretty well for a while; he was pretty loud when he breathed but besides that he was (for the most part) his usually demanding self; until yesterday.
When I got up in the morning he seemed to be ok, I had been hand feeding him because he wasn’t eating willingly on his own.
Our Homeowners Association was having elections that day and I volunteered to sit at the ballot box and help hand out ballots. I was able to get a break around 1pm and came home to get some lunch and do some other things around the house.
To my shock Mo was stumbling around like a severe drunk, he couldn’t stand up for very long and fell over when he tried to walk; (we think he has a stroke) I knew in my heart this was it.
So I guess it boiles down to quality of life, or at least for me it does.
When he was just a heavy, loud breather and at the same time was still his usual bratty self, he had quality of life. When he still enjoyed sleeping with dad, screaming loudly that he found his toys, then refused to give them up; he still had quality of life. He didn’t seem to be in pain, it was just more difficult to breathe.
But now with him stumbling around, refusing to eat or drink (even when being hand fed), not able to enjoy any of his favorite things, and is not himself, it is time.
I told him several times ‘When you’re ready to go, when you’re tired and don’t have any more fight in you, let us know and we will honor that.’
It is time.