View Full Version : Hard decision ahead re: our cat....

03-27-2007, 11:44 PM
Well, my DH and I have to make a hard choice in the next few weeks... we have a 13 year old cat who is diabetic, and handling it pretty well, although we have to keep upping his insulin whenever the symptoms return. (I'm an RN and our vet's given us the green light to keep tabs on Calvin :cat: and adjust his insulin as needed.)

We also think he is getting senile - he occasionally "forgets" to use the litter box (which luckily is in the bsmt, and it's never urine, just #2 - and little ones, at least - sorry...:blush: ) We called the vet about it, and he said it's usually behavioral - i.e., Calvin's mad about something - or else it's senility. Well, for awhile we thought it was just that something was making him mad - but lately, after we feed him, he eats a little and then comes upstairs - and soon after, starts meowing and following us around, just like he does BEFORE we feed him. So once, I coaxed him back down to his dish, showed him that there was still food there - and he was like, "Oh! Yeah! Let's eat!" , like he totally forgot he'd been fed! He's done it quite a bit lately, and now we're wondering - could he possibly BE senile? And if he is, how in the world do you diagnose that in a cat???

Anyway - our dilemma - we are moving in May, and he's never done well with change - and due to his health, and the fact that he's showing at least signs of senility, we're wondering if it would be more humane to put him down before we move. We currently own our home, but will be renting for awhile before we buy again, and although the entire house we're renting is hardwoods, we don't want to have to deal with accidents, should they start happening, or have to keep him in an unfamiliar basement, all alone. (We had to put his brother down last October - he had cancer.)

So - not an easy decision for us at all, esp. since he doesn't really seem sick right now - losing both our "boys" in one year seems really difficult to imagine. We have a dog, too, but I just love my cats - I'd be heartsick without Calvin around - I still miss Kramer. I'm sure we'd end up succumbing and getting a kitten at some point, but that still doesn't make the decision any easier.

Has anyone been through something similar with their cat/cats? Any advice out there? I'll probably take him to the vet in April and see what he thinks... just wondering if other cat owners out there have seen this behavior in an older cat??

:thanks: thanks everyone....

03-28-2007, 06:16 AM
Hi Blythe,

We just lost our cat last year - he had been diabetic for almost 5 years, so I know a little. However, I know a GREAT site with message boards and lots of people who know a lot about feline diabetes. (I'm going to PM that to you.)

It's great that you're an RN - it must have been much less intimidtating for you to give that first shot!! Do you home-test Calvin? How much insulin is he up to? It sounds like it might be rebound (you say you have to keep uping the insulin and it's so easy to go right on by the best dose). Home-testing is really the best way to find out. I'm no expert, but it seems like 13 would be a little young to start showing any signs of senility.

Well, I'm going to PM you that site. Tons of information and lots of people with LOTS of experience.

Denise :mickey:

03-28-2007, 08:36 AM
I don't have any experience with a diabetic or senile cat, but I believe you should listen to your inner voice. It is such a hard decision to put an ailing animal down. They are such a big, sweet, loving part of our lives. I know cats do not like change, so a move would most likely be hard on him. Only you and your husband know when the quality of Calvin's life gets to the point that it is kinder to let him go peacefully. I think it is the most loving thing that you can do for a pet that has given you years of love and companionship. My heart goes out to you. I am sure this is especially tought since you lost his brother so recently. Good luck to you all. :hug:

03-28-2007, 08:48 AM
Oh Blythe, what a hard decision! At 13, he's still a relatively young cat but if he's acting the way he is, you do have to wonder what's best for him. Some of this may be that he still misses his brother - maybe a kitten would help. Some of this is probably due to the diabetes and hopefully once you find his appropriate insulin dose and get him regulated, his symptoms will stop and he'll be okay. Perhaps too, some of this is that he senses that something is going on and things are about to change - you said he doesn't deal well with change. Definately take him to the vet and ask tons of questions - with all of the new advanced in pet medicine, maybe there is something out there that can help! With you being an RN, it helps significantly in your understanding of both diseases but they are so different in pets than people. I would be tempted to try the move with him and see how it goes - I can't bear the thought of losing my cats either. Once you've moved, he may settle down and act normal again. And if things get worse, you can make the decision to let go then but I think it's worth a shot to see how he handles moving. Let us know how everything goes and what you decide. Good luck to you and Calvin!

03-28-2007, 08:58 AM
Blythe, I know that you will do what is right by Calvin. I worked for a vet for years, and saw many people face what you're facing now. I also have faced the same tough decisions as a pet owner.

I know that once you prayerfully examine his quality of life, his physical condition, and his overall happiness, your decision will become clear.

03-28-2007, 09:03 AM
I have heard about senility in cats; I know there is a medication out there called Anipryl that is approved to treat senility in cats and dogs, and is relatively free of bad side effects. Even if not senile, senior citizen cats generally tend to develop problems with their elimination habits. We had an old cat (lived to be almost 20 years old) that used the litter box, but would "go" over the edge of the litter box onto the floor--I have no idea why. We also ended up moving cross-country towards the end of his life. I have no regrets--he handled the move okay and had some good quality time before he got ill and had to be euthanized. I think you have to follow your heart--whether your gut instinct tells you Calvin won't handle the move well at all, or whether you might want to give it a try and see how he does. I know it's a hard thing to think about.

Just to reassure you that if you need to confine your cat more to reduce the number of "accidents" around the house--don't feel bad about it. Most cats as they age actually seem to feel safer in a smaller environment, as long as they are still allowed to interact with their humans on a regular basis.

Donald A
03-28-2007, 12:02 PM
In July of 2005, I moved from Ohio to Indy and my wife had a feline leukemia positive cat she brought into our marriage. It was a stressful move and Pumpkin's disease was brought out by this stress. Therefore, he got really sick and just laid around and stopped eating. A couple weeks after our move he "gave-up" on life passing away in our living room. God decided for us so by his grace we did not have to make that decision.

I do not think there is a right or wrong answer as long as the decision to euthanize a pet is done out of love and compassion for the pet.

My personal take on the situation on putting a pet down is I reserve it for suffering by the pet. For example, Pumpkin, died in our living room but that morning enjoyed the sunroom in our new house. I still take great comfort in that quality of life just hours before God took him from us. The next day we adopted Cadbury in Pumpkin's honor and what a joy Cadbury has been to us. I truly believe my Lord does "make all things new."

I would say in your situation to just see what the move does to your cat. You can always make the decision to put a pet down on short notice. I would not want to wonder if I made the wrong decision doing it too quickly. I do not think your vet is going to make it for you either.

03-28-2007, 12:16 PM
Blythe, I am so sorry. I would also say that I would move and see how he does. I have two cats myself. He may surprise you. I guess I wouldn't want to do anything until I knew for sure. It's hard either way and I know you don't want to cause him any undue suffering. Good luck.:(

03-28-2007, 12:58 PM
We too have a 13 year old diabetic kitty! Tigger was diagnosed in May 2006 and we have been giving him insulin since then (I should say, DH has...what a guy!). We have had his curve done regularly and the insulin units have remained the same, however, he now has a "new" issue. All the fur on his back is becoming seriously matted and we cannot get the mats out. He is also loosing numerous amounts of fur around the house. He seems to be acting "normal" but DH says the fur issue is because he is getting old and not taking care of it. He only goes outside on our deck. We are going to bring him to be shaved (which will look horrible) and cost us about $75. I just cannot see us putting him down because other than these issues, he appears to be fine. We also lost a kitty (Minnie went outside and never came back) the same time Tiggs was diagnosed, the kids have never really gotten over that.

I know I am not much help in your decision making, but sometimes it is comforting to know that there are others out there going through the same thing. It is very difficult to be a pet owner. We love our cats/dogs and don't want them to suffer, but we don't want to part with them, either! Best of luck to you and if you need to chat, feel free to PM me!

03-29-2007, 06:32 AM
We have an 18 year old cat named Jazzy who exhibits the exact behaviour you describe. She drives us mad with her meowing half an hour after shes been fed as though shes forgotton shes just had tea. Lately she has been leaving suprises for me to find at various locations around the house. She just reminds me of an old grandma. That being said she is happy, enjoying life, relativley active for her age. I too wonder how much longer before the 'decision' needs to be made but upon a visit to our vet, he asked was she happy, spritely and eating well. I was able to answer yes to all three. He advised us just to take her home let her enjoy life until the answer to those questions change. So despite having alot medically wrong with her, at present she has quality of life and thats whats most important. I'd probably take her on the move with you and see what happens. Good Luck

03-29-2007, 04:01 PM
I'm so sorry about the decision you're faced with. It's very hard and there's no right or wrong. We've had to do it to some of our animals in the past and it's so hard.

I'd venture to say if he's still pretty "spry" take him to the new home maybe keep him confined to a small area of the house (when you're not there) for a few days so he can adjust to the smells and sounds. Often cats are curious creatures and he just may enjoy checking out new territory to explore.

My T.C. is about 16...she's not diabetic but she does do the thing with the food. I have discovered she's not senile but she IS spoiled. I feed her and she'll nibble a bit then come to me complaining as if she hasn't been fed. The TRUTH of the matter is her "Highness" is not pleased with WHAT she was fed and she wants something different. After showing her the bowl a couple of times and telling her to quit complaining she'll finally relent and eat what's given to her.

I haven't moved but friends of mine who have...their cats "sensed" the pending change and "scented" their domain, occasionally leaving "tootsie rolls".