How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Rebecca Your Own Question
Rebecca
Rebecca, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 15583
Experience:  Veterinarian for more than 30 years
11877925
Type Your Cat Question Here...
Rebecca is online now

My 20 year old cat decided he did not want to eat or drink

Customer Question

My 20 year old cat decided he did not want to eat or drink and refused to get out of his bed. I just assumed he had come to the end of the line and did my best to make him comfortable and fussed him a lot and he slept. His breathing has been very shallow and I have literally been waiting for him to die. This morning he held his head up as I entered the room. I offered him milk (his favourite) but he just turned his head away. I offered him Tuna (also a favourite) and he took a couple of mouthfulls then went back to sleep. When I let my dogs out a while ago, he struggled to get up and obviously wanted to follow them out, but he is very week and his back legs do not seem to be working. However, shortly afterwards he, without any prompting drank half a dish full of water (always on offer). I now don't know what to do, I honestly thought he was just dying of old age and now I wonder. If I take him to the vet will they suggest euthanasia. I could not stand that and would rather he went in the comfort of his own home and familiar surroundings if he had to go. He last ate a proper meal on Thusday.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Rebecca replied 3 years ago.

Rebecca :

Hello,

Rebecca :

I am sorry to hear about Charlie.

Rebecca :

My name is Rebecca. I am a veterinarian, and will do my best to help.

Rebecca :

If you take him to a vet, they will first do an exam of him and possibly give him some supplemental fluids in case he is dehydrated.

Rebecca :

If something is found, such as a tumor, or other serious problem, euthanasia may be suggested.

Rebecca :

Since he is so old, it is likely that whatever is wrong with him is serious, or fatal. But that can't be determined for certain until he is examined.

Rebecca :

Another alternative would be to have a veterinarian make a housecall. Most areas have house call veterinarians.

JACUSTOMER-nqj9wbzl- :

He does not appear to be in pain, although he doesn't move about easily. Would I be cruel in refusing euthanasia Because I feel he is old and going to go in the not too distant future anyway and I would rather he went in his own bed than on a table with a needle.

Rebecca :

No, you would not be cruel. I respect everyone's wishes in these situation.s

JACUSTOMER-nqj9wbzl- :

Also, although he has had a drink this morning, how long can he be expected to live without sustanance?

Rebecca :

Cats are amazingly tough. I have seen them go a week or even more without eating. If he stops drinking, it may be shorter.

Rebecca :

I have often been brought cats for euthanasia where the owner just could not stand watching them any longer. They come in so dehydrated at that point it is amazing they are still alive.

JACUSTOMER-nqj9wbzl- :

I have never had an animal 'put to sleep' (I have had cats that died in RTA's) I wou

Rebecca :

It is entirely your choice how to proceed.

Rebecca :

I do not know what RTA's are.

Rebecca :

I completely respect others' wishes when it comes to the final days of a cat's life.

JACUSTOMER-nqj9wbzl- :

I thought he had just thought it was 'time o go'. Do cats do this when they are very old? (Sorry Road Traffic Accicents).

JACUSTOMER-nqj9wbzl- :

Accidents ( bad typing)

Rebecca :

You never really die just because you are old. Something fails, like the kidneys or the heart.

Rebecca :

We call them HBC's, hit by cars.

Rebecca :

If it is a failing organ, and he stops eating, he will die, but you should be prepared for it to take many days or even longer.

JACUSTOMER-nqj9wbzl- :

I was kinda hoping for a reply as to the right thing to do, but I guess it is just down to my decision. I shall have to speak to my own vet. I hope she respects my wishes as you say you do. Thank you anyway.

Rebecca :

If you want to know what I would do, I would do euthanasia rather than prolong his suffering. Dying of not eating and dehydration is not an easy or quick death. But, I completely honor everyone

Rebecca :

Everyone's wishes at this time.

Rebecca :

It is your cat, and your decision. I can only tell you that I would "put him to sleep", but what I would do is not what you have to do.

Rebecca :

It does have to be your decision.

Rebecca :

No veterinarian should tell you that you "have" to put him down.

Rebecca :

Is there anything else I can help with, or answer?

Rebecca :

I am here to answer questions, until you close the chat by rating my answer.

Expert:  Rebecca replied 3 years ago.
Please let me know what else I can help with, if anything. I am so sorry about Charlie. I know you will do what is best for him.

Rebecca