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

Responses: 169

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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.

I'm So Sorry.......For Fred, A Good Dog

I love cats and have five of them. I also love dogs and had four of them. On Monday night one of my dogs, Fred, began to vomit black colored blood. When I got all my pets I was doing well and had plenty of money. Due to illness and loss of my job I eventually ran out. I took him to the vet and was told he had a large hard mass in his intestine. He was in pain and could not even walk. I didn't have $259.00 for xrays much less money for surgery. It was $158.00 for euthenasia and cremation because I would not leave him alone to die with strangers. It was very peaceful and he was not scared. He was a little dog who used to steal food. He was 12 years old and I rescued him when he was 3. I loved him and I can't stop feeling guilty that I could not afford test and all. The vet said it was not a bad decision, that he had a long life at 12, and that the black blood was a very bad sign. Little dogs can live long lives, though and I can't stop hurting that Fred's life was cut short
—Guest Heartbroken

HAVE SICK CAT AND NO MONEY

I may have to consider euthanasia, as I have a sick cat and can't afford to take him to my regular vet. My other cat had similar symptoms last year and it cost me over $300 to have her treated; have been giving the one who's sick now medication from the vet left over from last year but it doesn't seem to be helping. I used to put the charges for veterinary care on a credit card but all of my credit cards were cancelled several months ago when I filed for bankruptcy and I have very limited funds. I love this cat, whom I've had for10 years, and my life will be pretty much over if I have to lose him b/c the cost of veterinary care is so high. I have few friends and no significant other; my cats are my family and constant companions so are very important to me. Don't know where to go for low-cost veterinary care.
—Bjorn006

I surrendered my cat just to be put down

I had 2 , 2 year old cats that were brother and sister. Onyx the brother, started urinating outside the litter box then we started noticing blood in the urine he wasn't eating as much and was hiding a lot. I called a bunch of places to get him help but all they wanted was money, I found some at home natural remedy that seemed to work for. A couple of weeks. Everything was getting better he was coming out more eating more and even playing again. Saturday morning I woke up to blood all over the bathroom from him I called some more places. The animal rescue league told me to surrender him and they will help him. I was heart broken but didn't want him to suffer anymore. I brought him in. Sunday afternoon we called to see how he was doing cause a friend of ours was gonna adopt him back for us after. They informed me that there was nothing they could do to help him and they put him down the same day I dropped him off. I feel so guilty if I would have known that I wouldn't have given up on hi
—Guest nessa

Shannon

I know you are grieving and there is no short cut to forgiving yourself. You did the humane thing and had no other choice. You in fact did the bravest thing in letting your friend go with dignity. No, this will always be an extremely difficult choice. I am also so financially stretched with five cats and three dogs, all rescued. With no hope for new homes (some are old and the others weird) I am depressed with being tied down during probably the last years that I am able to travel, now retired. I had not considered this when I rescued each one. I admire your courage. Good luck.
—Guest redirishundley

I have to agree

I have had to put several cats to sleep. One had a bowel issue. I did pay $500 for an operation and $80 a month for life time medication but a year later, he couldnt go and the Vet said it would cost thousandS for the surgery. I couldnt do it. I paid $500 for a cat with UTI and because the Vets want to take xrays and run every test possible before prescribing anything. Three years later, it happened again and I had to put the cat down because I cant afford for Vets to dick around with my money. Another to sleep because I couldnt afford dental work needed and he was dying. Another because I couldnt afford $300 just to find out what was wrong with her. Another to sleep because of unaffordable diabetes with hypo-thyroid. I have one right now that isnt able to pee. I am holding him and pressing his bladder to empty him. I have a herbal Homopet UTI whatever coming in hopes it heals the issue because I cannot afford $500 for the Vet to dick around about writing me a script for UTI.
—Guest Cherry

heartbroken forever

This morning I noticed one of my litter mate kitty's wasn't feeling well he was sick and he was crying when trying to go to the washroom he could not.. The vet said he would need to be admited for a week and they would do surgery and it would be 1200. As a student I don't have that I begged for a payment plan as my cat is only one born January 2013, no payment plans are offered my only option was to put him down I'm so heart broken my poor tuk I can't believe it, he has a sad brother kitty at home because the vets who are "aniamal lovers" wouldent help my one year old kitty
—Guest guest

Cats hate me!

I try to be nice to my cat. Enough is it? I do not think it is. I pet her, and feed her, nod give her all she wants! Why is she so selfish? That's huts the nature of a feline. I used to be a 'cat girl' , but my pet's attitude changed. I am surprised I still liked the little devils after being ABUSED I say ABUSED by a cat. I was scratched all over as a kid! Cat's minds: "Fed me and get out of hear! No...fed me, then pet me, then groom me, the make me a very comfortable bed so I can snooze (yes snooze...). I mean... I treated my cats like my siblings, they treated me like their servant / scratching post..... So take it from me, cats are born without hearts (for humans). Science studies show. Peace out.........
—Guest masked

Scared of the worst

My 3 1/2 yo tabby was rushed to the emergency vet last night with a blockage. He had done everything in his power to hide the issue until it was almost too late. Going in I knew it was going to be pricey but was floored by the $1400 minimum cost (a required deposit to admit him). My mortgage has been put off a few weeks and I have about $100 to get through the next week but we went ahead with it. I'm a mess now though... if he re-blocks or needs the surgery I know I can't afford to go on with treatment. I know the money spent will just be a loss and I will have to say goodbye. I'm hoping with every fiber of my being that he doesn't re-block after the catheter comes out tomorrow. Even knowing now that he is being treated and doing well, I can't get over the fear or guilt of the knowledge that I can't do more.
—Guest Heartbroken in VA

What happened to good people.

I had a cat die last week cause there aren't any organizations that help indigent animals. Now our other cat is acting the same way the other one did. I wish I could find who is poisoning our animals cause I would make them suffer like our animals are suffering. The sad thing is almost everyday I do electrical, hvac, tile and other work for people alot cheaper than most people work for a day to help people out. Then in a situation like this I can't get help with our animals cause the vets say we have to pay alot for our medicines, tools etc. I pay a crapload of money for all the tools and materials I work with to, but I don't take advantage of people just because I can and most people in my trade do. I try to let God have control of everything but killing my animals that don't bother anyone is about to make me go over the edge and soon as I find the person responsible for poisoning my animals your day is coming.
—Guest Jason

Wracked with guilt

It is not about unwillingness to take your animals to the vet to be properly treated. It's not all about money either, it's about what spending all that money will get you and your pet. In the past, I was thousands of dollars into diagnostic tests / or misdiagnoses before even knowing what was wrong. Then to find out that treatment "may" work, but will basically just prolong the inevitable. I have spent several thousands twice before and ended up losing my babies anyway. This time around, I learned my sweet 11y old Pasquale had a mass under his tongue that kept him from being able to eat. Cancer or not, he would need surgery and a feeding tube. I did the feeding tube on my other cat years ago and it was miserable for him. I decided to let Pasquale go because I didn't want to put him through any more. I agonize over this decision and hope I did right by my baby. I miss him so much.
—Guest Donna

Cost of a vet

My cat is 12 years old and has mammary cancer, i just found a lump on her about a week and a half ago. I paid $525 for her to see the vet the day I took her in. She had an exam, x-ray and 2 cytology tests. They said we could do surgery and it would be about $1700. They would remove the lumps. If they are cancerous, they would do a masectomy. That surgery is about $2,500. I asked the vet about doing a payment plan, said they don't do that. Who has that kind of money just laying around? Do they think everyone is rich or something? I opted out of the surgery, as they said the lumps can and usually come back after 6 months to a year with more force, and I just don't have that kind of $. If I did, I would go for the surgery of course. But we are going to do comfort care for her until its time for her to go. That will probably cost me around $200-$300. Vets DO NOT care, they only see $, it's a sad world we live in. Noone wants to help anymore.
—Guest Heather

u dont

U dont pick ur pet they pick you i never went looking for my cat he came to me. I put him down yesterday the cost was 4000 and up and he would have to fight to stay alive
—Guest ur a bitch

2 losses in 12 months

Glory, an 11 yr old shepherd mix was diagnosed (dx) with early MAST cell cancer (CA). When a 2nd tumor appeared, we had it removed & it was also Mast Cell CA. We were told it was a very slow growing CA and that the dog would die of old age before the CA took her. We couldn't afford radiation & chemo. Glory was euthanized at 13 years of age. My dog Genie was twice the size and lived to 14.5 years. My Ragdoll Q was dx with an aggressive form of jaw CA. We could had the jaw removed; not really an option since we couldn't afford it and viewed it as cruel for a 15.5 yr old. We had to have him euthanized a week after the dx. I realize my furry friends were older than many of you who have posted. My general approach is: can the animal be cured, kept comfortable, with good quality life? Are we prolonging suffering because we don't want to say good-bye? Losing a best friend is always painful & when we can't provide the cure there is always the compounding guilt.
—Guest Ilona Bruno

Saddest Day

I can empathize with everyone's grief when euthanasia is all you can do,the pain is heart breaking, I have had to do this with my beloved pets more than once. It's extremely maddening when you can't even afford to pay for euthanasia and have to watch an animal suffer or worse try to OD it with something your own self and sometimes it fails. My mother had a young mother cat she had me take to a vet she had used for her dogs (they made alot of money treating them) the feline was weaning a litter injured her leg going over a wooden fence, my mom would pay the fee to treat her but couldn't take her in the house to aftercare her and wanted to put her into the backyard with her kitten's after they medically treated the wound. They refused to treat if she couldn't go in the house for after care. I then asked if they could euthanise her, again they refused because she was too young and turned us away, I then asked if they could at least give her something for pain which they did.
—Guest Melanie

Hardest choice

I saved my cat Scotty 4 years ago. He was 2 and had the best personality I have ever come across from a cat. About 1 week ago, I noticed that he was not peeing and that he belly was extended and Extreamly sensative. I brought him in to the vet and was told he need emergency surgery for a bladder blockage. The surgery went well, but he blocked again over night. Then they placed a catheter in him to help unblock the problem. He removed the catheter the next night and became blocked again. They then sedated him and placed the catheter back in. After 2 more days, he looked to be doing well so I was able to take him home. But that evening at home he re-blocked again. I dropped him off at the vet this morning and just got a call saying that he needs another surgery. I have already payed 2,000 for his previous stay and can not afford the addition cost of this sr pund surgery (another 2,000). I have to now put him down tonight. I feel like the worst person in the world today
—Guest Canadian cat lover

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