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

Responses: 263


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

Sorry, but I dont understand

To say that you dont understand is an understatement. You clearly don't understand economics and reality, and the difference between humans and animals. As much as most pet owners love and sacrifice for their pets, most of us know that there is a difference between human life and animals. The fact that there is euthanasia is great. To end the life of a beloved pet on a high note without pain and suffering is an act of love. Don't you realize the debate on euthanasia and how many humans wish they could legally and painlessly end the suffering of a terminally ill loved one or themselves?


You clearly love your pets but are very delusional and confused by equating pets on equal ground with humans. I have loved many pets over the years, dogs, cats birds. I have had to make the difficult decision to put a cat and dog down that were very ill and had no quality of life left to look foward to. Are you telling me I should have depleted my bank account to keep them alive? Pet ownsership is doing whats right by your pet and having their best interest at heart. Please do not fool yourself or tell anyone that its the same as keeping a child or loved one alive. Because it is NOT.

It makes me sick

No pet owner who truly loves their pet, puts them down without greaat angst and self doubt. Face reality, most people dont have thousands of dollars to spend on treatment. Most people barely get by today. Dont judge the difficulty and angst putting a pet down causes. Dont tell working people who have very few luxuries they should give up cable tv and cell phones so 1 day they can spend it on treatment for our pet. Most of us love our pets and putting them down is the final act of love, but reality is finance is a part of many decisions we make in our lives.

The Right Thing

We had our cotton for nearly 11 yrs. He had been diagnosed with diabetes and was doing well. We gave him insulin shots 2xs a day. The vial lasted 3 plus months so the expense was not too bad. The n about 1 month after our other cat Rocky reappeared after a 6 week adventure we noticed Cotton was drooling and had some blood coming from his mouth. We now recognize that his sudden drinking from the faucet when we used the sink was due to his inability to lap up water with his tongue. Eating was also becoming an issue. Upon examination it was discovered that he had squamous cell carcinoma, very common in cats and most dont survive a year due to the complete loss to eat and drink. The vet suggested the only thing we could try was chemo and removal of his tongue. This was out of the question both financially and not wanting to put him through the ordeal. We put him down 1 week later because we loved him and didnt want him to suffer.
—Guest jb

Chose to euthanize...feeling sad

My sweet 4 yr. old male cat, Mittens was losing weight, hiding, obviously not feeling well. I took him to the vet expecting he would be treated and come home with me. Mittens was diagnosed with diabetes and also had ketoacidosis which is a severe complication requiring immediate hospitalization. He could have gone to the Emergency Hospital for several days to receive around the clock care. If they were able to stabilize him, then he would require frequent vet visits for a couple of months to monitor his blood sugar and adjust his insulin dose. I weighed my options, thinking of Mittens quality of life and the rest of our family (husband, 3 cats and 3 dogs). I made the difficult decision to have Mittens put to sleep. I held him to the end and then brought him home for burial. I feel there was no right or wrong choice, just what I felt was best for my beloved cat.

Care for animals

I'm just sick that animals become victims from the person who is economically challenged, to spend the time to care and love the animal only to be turned away because you can't afford the treatment, wow, it makes one wonder, "please donate, we need funds", and you tell me to bad, what are we saving?
—Guest Terrynt

Miss my buddy

I am glad I found this forum. I found my guy in a tree at an abandoned beach, when it was sleeting. I took him in and he and my chihuahua were the best playmates. Yesterday, I put my year and a half old buddy down. He had blockage. I had been treating it for two weeks, but then on Thursday, we had to go to the ER, which as pet owners know, is very expensive just to walk in the door.. He was flushed out but in the morning was completely blocked again. Expensive surgery plus costly treatment was an option but a not guaranteed one. Someone else wrote that they pictured themselves handing over the credit card and doing it all differently. That's what I keep seeing, too. I have a lot of guilt...what if I had been feeding him different food? What if I had taken him into the shelter in the first place then maybe he'd be alive somewhere right now? Yesterday, at the end, he was suffering so. I wish I could have done better by him.
—Guest KM

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


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!

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

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