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Readers Respond: Have you had to consider economic euthanasia for your cat?

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In a deepening recession, with no foreseeable end, more and more veterinarians have to euthanize cats and dogs because their owners do not have the money to pay the high veterinary costs incurred with emergencies or escalating chronic disease. This trend has been called "economic euthanasia"

If you have been faced with this kind of decision, please share your story and how you arrived at your final decision.

Note: This form is not for asking questions or replying to another user. Think of it instead as your own mini-article on the About.com Cat site.

Share your decision

missing you always and your love

For about a year this long haired beautifull black cat with amazing green eyes hung around my back yard and would always look at me from the back door of my house. I found out he was living in my garage so I left the door ajar so he can go in there for shelter. We have really cold winters, I named him Francine thinking he was a girl. My neighbour's cat who isn't too friendly liked him a lot and would invite him in for food and a place to stay sometimes. I tried feeding him and approach him but he always ran away. When my neighbour mentioned he was always at their place I went visit and fell in love. Right away he rolled on his back and wanted attention. I adopted him instantly and took him to my vet. Turns out "he" is not even two years old. So patient and kind he waited for his vaccines and then a haircut since he was badly matted and must have been in pain. He had a cold last week and rushed him to emergency. On I.V and antibiotics, blood test f.i.v and felv. Positive.
—Guest hrant

my baby boy

Ive had my cat for 2years now. Hes been with me through thick and thin and now im left with tje decision to put him to sleep or pay almost $600.for a surgery that may not help him. I feel so bad because he is my baby since i cant have kids. I feel like its all my fault and dont want.to do it but i cant afford the surgery and i dont want him in pain anymore.
—Guest Luna

Broken

My three yr old girl was tragically hit by a car last month and passed away. Less than a month later my 14 mth old boy disappeared and I was devistated. He was missing for 10 days and u was sure he was gone forever. Then tonight I heard a cry at the door and it was him. He'd made it home after 10 days. I couldn't believe my baby was back! He was in a terrible state. He was so thin and had several wounds and he appeared to have some major damage to his back end. Rushed him off to animal emerg and thought he would be ok. We got the call to say he had broken both hips and pelvis may have been damaged also. X-Ray showed extensive damaged with approx cost of surgery to be in excess of $6000 and he would need cage rest for several months and good chance he would have incontinence issues continuously. Hardest thing to let him go but we believe this was the kindest as we couldn't have put him through all that pain. We stayed with him while he passed. Together again now with his sister. Xxxx
—Guest Angel blu

Very Ill cat.

I have a cat that we have had for 17 years we are senior citizens on a very fixed income and was wandering costs to have him put down.
—Guest helen burke

it sucks

I had to put my cat down yesterday..he was.the best cat I've ever had..all of sudden he.couldn't stand and was.lathargic..I rushed him to the animal ER and his liver was failing..I have to either pay 2 grand to try to.save him or pay $475 to cremate him..it was the hardest decision I've ever had to make..I had my best friend and my dad there with me..I couldn't have done it without him..its not fair..there was a 50%/50% chance he could live or die and I chose to put him down..I am devastated..he was 9 years old..R.I.P. meow 2005-2014
—Guest Kelsey

Simba the Lion King

I recently had to make this horrible decision with our 17yr old cat. He was a very lovey cat who thought he owned the neighborhood, loved everyone & visited everyone. Vet said he had diabetes after I nursed him back to health once. My daughter had this cat when she was little & took him with her when she moved out. Then came a dog...then came a baby, & poor Simba got ignored & not taken care of, so when she moved & said she couldn't take him with her, I took him in took him to the vet & we nursed him back to health. But it was short lived, he got sick again & when the vet said he had diabetes, I took him back home & gave him the best cat canned food you could buy. He was doing well, always hungry & thirsty, but we were still keeping him pretty well. Then one day he just hung his head & stuck it in the couch & I knew I had to do the unthinkable. I couldn't afford anymore vet bills & I couldn't watch him suffer another minute. I loved him so much & feel he lived a good long life.
—Guest Me

Very difficult!!

I have recently had my 13 year old cat put to sleep. My vet called her the 'miracle cat'. She was diagnosed with diabetes when she was a few months old. I gave her 2 shots daily for 13 years. We have had our ups and downs, but we managed to keep her alive and happy. Over the past week or so her appetite was awful. I gave her everything from her regular food to baby food, tried her with salmon and chicken, everything, but she was not interested. I would find her sitting under my bed, I would get her out, only for her to go underneath another bed. I had to take he to her vets as not eating and diabetes is not a good mixture. We found she had a UTI and high levels of calcium in her blood. She was miserable, and ate only after having an appetite stimulant. I went to visit her, she looked so unhappy. I got her to eat one day, and the next day, even after the appetite stimulant, she would not eat. She wasn't drinking. I had to make the decision to put her to sleep, was I right? I miss her!
—AliciaFN

Yesterday I put my best friend down.

This all started 10 months ago when my cat had triaditis. Which is inflammation of the pancreas, liver and stomach. We spent $1200 treating him and he was doing well however, I felt that something wasn't right. Yesterday morning a woke up to him puking and I noticed he was lethargic and very sick. I immediately made an appoitment to see our vet that day. She sent us to the vet hospital. They took his blood and he was in liver failure and all of his organs were inflamed. To keep him overnight was $1200 and he would have needed about 3 days of pain killers, IV fluids and antibiotics. They wanted to Ultrasound him for $500. So just to get him to a point where we could make an informed decision it would be $1700 minimum. I knew an Ultrasound either meant surgery or a chronic problem. I also felt that he wouldn't survive surgery without his lab work being under control. He looked in so much pain that we decided to say goodbye. I couldn't see him having any quality of life.
—Guest Kay

gut-wrenching

I put my beloved cat, Boots, to sleep yesterday. I took him to the vet because he was having some troubling symptoms, (lethargy, draining all the water in his dish and begging for more, meowing like he was in pain.) I found out that he had diabetes that would require twice daily injections of insulin, weekly blood work at the vet until his blood sugar stabilized. He also had some kidney failure issues, and needed surgery. The best outcome that the vet could give me was that I'd be injecting my cat twice a day for the rest of his life and that might have kept him going for a few more months or a few years. The insulin, surgery, and weekly bloodwork would have cost thousands that I don't have, due to my crappy economic situation. It was absolutely heart-breaking, but after weighing the horrible options, I made the decision for euthanasia. I held my cat as he was dying, my friend and companion for over a decade, and I'm absolutely heart-broken that it ended this way.
—Guest Caleigho

He wasn't ready to go yet.

I noticed a few weeks ago that I seemed top be scooping considerably more litter than usual, but I wasn't confident, and at the time both cats appeared to be healthy and in good spirits, so I didn't act. Yesterday we came home and heard a distressed moan and went to investigate. He was severely dehydrated and very limp and weak. We took him to a clinic immediately and they told us he had diabetes and needed an emergency treatment of a fast acting insulin and round the clock care. 3k was way too much for just one night, and that was only the initial cost just to save his life. There were still many more visits, injections, and meds after that. And one night in emerge may not have been enough to save him. The doctor told us that most of the time the cause of death in these situations is an inability or unwillingness to pay the costs. I feel so guilty. There was still life in his eyes, he called out to us last night because he wanted to live. I miss him so much!
—Guest Kivy

My best friend OREO

My sweet Oreo had severe blockage. He was a male. I didn't know the signs. I came home to find him in severe pain. I rushed him to the vet who did emergency surgery. Had I waited another hour he would of died. I believe his kidneys never fully recovered as he was in the litter box every minute. He then started to bleed and urinate everywhere. Had it not been so expensive I would of done anything to keep him alive. But there was no guarantee. I didn't want him to keep suffering. I am in such a deep depression over the loss of my baby. My son is devestated. I kept wishing I'd hit the lottery where money wouldn't be an issue. RIP my baby. Can't wait to love you again.
—Guest Linda

Uncompromising vets

Well, I am going to take a different tact here. I believe too many vets and pet clinics are uncompromising when it comes to customers incurring high costs for pet care. Pets are members of families and, as such, payment plans should be allowed with minimal interest. It is a paradox (and an unfair one) when vets and pet clinics advertise to offer "the best" and tender care for your sick or ill pet, then demand payment up front for all services. And, as a previous poster noted, more and more pet owners are encountering economic difficulties with day-to-day living expenses. If your pet care incurs costs in the hundreds of dollar or even more, I would recommend calling around and finding out the most accommodating veterinarians when it comes to payments. It's sad that just as pets become more important and precious in our society and their benefits become ever more well-known, vets demand instant life-or-death decisions based on your bank account.
—lethebypw

My Sweet Tiger

My sweet Tiger was the best cat ever. He was sweet and mellow and loved by all. A few weeks ago I noticed that he was having difficulty urinating. I brought him to the vet and they said he had a blockage. They inserted a catheter to drain his bladder and put him on IV fluids. I had to transport him to another emergency vet in the evenings so he could be monitored 24/7. He came home on the 6th day. I spent $1,800. Two days later I brought him back because he was still having difficulty urinating. The vet said that she wanted to try again with another 4 days of catheter and IV fluids. And if that didn't work she recommended surgery to re-route the urinary track. That surgery would cost $2,500 alone. And there would be extensive post surgery care. I opted to put my sweet baby down. I am so sad and depressed over this. I loved him so much. I hate that money was the deciding factor.
—gerry1234

So very sad

My little buddy Sid was put to sleep yesterday. He had a urinary block and 3 days in the hospital, catheter, xrays, labs, etc. was going to cost $2500 with a medium chance of reoccurrence. He was only 5 years old, and was sweet, gentle, silly, and was so patient with my 14 month old daughter. While I could have put it all on credit card and slowly paid it off over 1 or 2 years, I just couldn't rationalize that decision. I am feeling so guilty about it and so sad, we miss him so much. I am not sure I would have done the same thing if I had the chance to do it over. I kept thinking that the same motion, hand the card, sign the paper, would have also led him to be alive, but instead I chose to have him euthanized. I know that we will heal, that the guilt will subside, and I am thankful for the time I had with him. But I can only think of cold rational reason why this was a 'good' choice and he was so loving I really regret my decision. He deserved better. I am sorry, buddy.
—Guest Greg

Hardest choice

We had a lovely male cat who was around 5. He followed my hubby home one day and never left. He loved having cuddles with us and cuddling upto his brother, our dog. Over Xmas he started sneezing and it turned into coughing. 2 weeks ago we took him to the vets and were told he had cat flu, to give him some tablets and be back 2 weeks later. However less than a week and half later I was back at the vets and told he had a lump, possibly a tumour. He was in pain and struggling to breath. So I had to have him put to sleep. It was the hardest decision I have had to make. But now he is no longer in pain. I have cried everyday since. Today we buried him and again we cried. We still have his things dotted around the house. We can not bring ourselves to put them away. It is very hard but I would do it again if it meant he was out of constant pain that we could not cure. He will always be in our hearts as he was our little boy. And he chose us. Rip little one. Only a short life but you are soooo
—Guest Issy

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