17.5 Year Old Senile Cat - Is it time to Euthanize?
My Cat is now 17.5 years old and for the past 3 years she has been showing signs of senility. Signs and problems we/she is having:
She barely weights 2kg last vet visit and doesn't seem to gain any weight, no matter how much I feed her. I feel her backbone clearly when I pat her and her hip bones and everything, she is very delicate to hold. Vet tests revealed no underlying problem.
For quite a few years now I have been battling with over-grooming causing hairballs and occasional sickness after eating. The hairballs still occur regularly, although she does not appear to be over-grooming herself anymore. I feed her a mixture of senior and hairball formula dry food, and satchels of fish of a night and sometimes extra meals to try to fatten her up. The wet food has made her stools sloppier, but the fish seems better than the meat satchels. I haven't modified her diet in ages, yet her stools are increasingly becoming more diaretic and pale.
For the past 2 years she has been meowing loudly in the early morning hours and late at night, and sometimes even during the day. 3 years ago we moved house and she is not permitted upstairs, at first I thought it was separation anxiety making her demanding of attention, but as time went on I came to the conclusion that she was likely disoriented.
Whilst her eyes and ears have checked out with the vet, no deep investigations done, but no obvious visual signs of degeneration, I believe she is partially deaf and blind, hence the meowing behavior already mentioned and her susceptibility to being startled. She bit me once when I patted her whilst she slept because she was startled. I can call her, talk to her, even clap my hands and not get her attention, yet other times she seems to hear me fine. Same goes for the sight, she stares at nothing for ages and when I see her meowing, she is usually staring at nothing when doing so.
There are a couple cats that hang around the last year, but they are outside and she is inside. She has attacked the door a couple times, because the wandering cat has approached and scented around the door.
She has started defecating on the concrete within 1.5 meters of her litter tray for about 2 weeks now, even when the tray is clean, during day and night. So far her urination is still in the litter tray.
My husband has declared that it is time to put her down, and I am starting to agree, but am finding it difficult to commit to
Euthanize a cat which does not appear to be sick or in pain. I feel disloyal and cruel even considering it.
Other advice here indicates confining cats who are middening , but I am concerned that if her "stress" is separation anxiety/loneliness, then that could make it worse and be cruel to her. I do have a dog cage which could fit her litter tray and bed with a little room between both, would that be too small? Its about 600x1200 estimate.
Answer by Kate
well it does sound like your cat is suffering from symptoms of old age, the meowing, weight loss and digestive problems all suggest that she is an old cat. However saying that I have always felt that unless a cat was in pain or was no longer eating or able to get around that euthanasia was not called for.
However only you can judge whether or not you feel your cat is in distress due to her situation. It is very difficult to say from a strangers point of view. Last year we had to put our 17 year old cat down because she broke her leg which would mean that she would have to have it amputated. She was very thin due to a thyroid problem which although being treated did not seem to be getting any better, she also had a heart murmur. She was eating fine and was generally herself and so if it had not been for the fact that she broke her leg we would not have had her put down.
Often mother nature will make the decision for you all of a sudden, where by you have a clear choice. If your vet has not found any medical conditions which could be blamed for her weight loss then this must simply be put down to age. and so must her other problems.
As for the middening well this may be caused by anxiety due to other cats in the area or it may be due to the fact that she does not feel herself and is a little distressed about this. the confinement method simply give a cat time out from worrying about a large area and so give them time to calm down again. Of course during this time they need to be visited lots of times during the day as this is also a comfort for them. I would say a room is better than a dog cage as that is a little too confining.
I know and understand that it is a difficult decision for you, its never easy but only you know your cat and can decide if it is kinder to let her go or not.
best wishes Kate