Despite our best efforts sometimes we have to make tough decisions about a cat’s future. We are privileged to be able to end the suffering of animals who are in untreatable pain or have an illness that prevents them from enjoying life. Euthanasia allows a pet to die in peace, with dignity and without further suffering.
Sometimes a discussion with your vet helps clarify all the issues surrounding a pet’s illness. You may find other diagnostic or therapeutic options that you haven’t followed up. Sometimes palliative care is available that makes a pet’s life comfortable and worth going on with.
If you decide that your cat is not enjoying life and/or that you are not enjoying your cat’s company any more then euthanasia is the best option. Pets rarely die “in their sleep” or only after much suffering and discomfort.
We euthanase pets with an injection of a strong anaesthetic into a vein. They relax into unconsciousness within a few seconds and the heart stops soon afterward. Sometimes we give a sedative to calm nervous animals before the lethal injection.
Families may stay with their pet or leave the room while the injection is given. Many pets die in their owner’s arms or as they are soothed to sleep in a nurse’s arms. You may stay with your cat for as long after the injection as you need.
We understand that you will feel very sad when your pet dies. Most cats have been part of their families for a very long time and been through the rough and the smooth with you. Don’t be afraid to show your feelings in front of the vet and nurse. We have been there too.
Accept that it usually takes some time to get over any loss. It often helps to talk about your cat’s death. Try not to feel guilty or blame yourself or others for your pet’s death. Remember that you cared for your cat and did all you could when they were ill. Treasure your memories and photographs. Remember the good times and what you loved most about your cat.
The death of a pet is often a child’s first experience of death. Tell them the truth. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and tell them how you feel. Help them to understand that they are not to blame. Talk to them about your pet and concentrate on the good times. Don’t get a new pet too soon. You all need time to get over the death of the first one.