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Dr. Scarlett
Dr. Scarlett, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 4110
Experience:  I am a practicing small animal veterinarian with 18 years experience.
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I have a rescue cat that is approx 14/15 years old. She has

Customer Question

I have a rescue cat that is approx 14/15 years old. She has the most wonderful temperament but I am worried that I should consider putting her to sleep. She was obese when I adopted her and has a minor heart condition. I have tried unsuccessfully to help her lose weight but she has such bad arthritis in her hips that she hardly moves. She enjoys eating but can't always digest her food and she clearly has real difficulty walking. She can't really play and no longer grooms herself so her long fur tends to become matted and dirty easily. I know that her arthritis is compounded by her weight and vice versa but it's a vicious circle. She is such a dear thing. I have given her pain meds which the vet has said she will need for life, they seem to help a bit. She stays in her bed virtually all day now as she cannot bear the cold but she is still so affectionate and adores fuss. I'm wondering if it's time?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Scarlett replied 2 years ago.

Dr. Scarlett :

Hi,

Dr. Scarlett :

Sorry to hear Fluffy has such problems! What pain medication is she taking? What food are you feeding her? Any change in her appetite or drinking? Is she using the litterbox ok?

Dr. Scarlett :

Sorry, I see she is on Metacam for her pain. That is good.

Dr. Scarlett :

When contemplating humane euthanasia, quality of life is the main thing to consider. I look at things like appetite, hygiene issues (grooming, using the litter box, etc), interaction with owners, and general personality (does she act like "Fluffy"?)

JACUSTOMER-s7s4xqg4- : She is quiet and sleeping more than usual but she is much quieter during the winter months. Sometimes she seems confused and can be excessively vocal, howling at nothing etc.
JACUSTOMER-s7s4xqg4- : She is on calorie controlled food that's for urinary tract problems in cats. Sometimes she misses the litter box but it's possible she doesn't notice (she is exceptionally furry). So
JACUSTOMER-s7s4xqg4- : Sometimes she stays in the litter tray for hours though.
Dr. Scarlett :

Here is a good website with more info on determining quality of life:http://www.VeterinaryPartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=1523.

Dr. Scarlett :

It sounds like Fluffy doesn't always have the best days. I think it can be helpful to have 2 cups--one labeled "good days" and one labeled "bad days." Put a penny in the appropriate cup each day and when the bad days outnumber the good, then it is probably time to let her go.

Dr. Scarlett :

A "good day" would be one where she is up moving around (and 15 year old cats do sleep a lot, so not necessarily a good indicator), eating and drinking normally, using the litter box, and interacting with you/happy to see you. A "bad day" is one where she missed the litter box, seems to not care if you are around, doesn't want to move around.

Dr. Scarlett :

A few things to consider: the vocalizing can be due to hyperthyroidism. This disease is fairly common in older cats and is an overproduction of thyroid hormone. Generally these cats are hungry and losing weight, but if she is really obese, you may not notice weight loss for awhile. They also tend to vocalize more. So having her blood tested for an increased T4 level, as well as checking out her other organs, would be a good idea.

Dr. Scarlett :

It might be worthwhile to have her shaved down and get rid of the matted fur. This will make her feel better overall, without mats pulling on her skin and make it easier for her (and you) to keep herself clean.

Dr. Scarlett :

Not sure if you would be interested, but acupuncture might be something else to consider. It can be very helpful for pets with arthritis.

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