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
Surgery/Amputation Can Be the Answer
- I've read some responses on here and they are shocking. Putting down your cat because you didn't want to remove a limb and reduce it's "quality of life?" This is nuts! I had a cat that was 4 years old who suffered an accident to her front leg. We tried saving her leg but she caught a gangrene infection that would have ultimately killed her if it spread. We had to decide to either put her down or amputate her leg to stop the spreading. We amputated her leg. She lived until 20 and was the same normal cat she was before, if not more affectionate. Her quality of life did not suffer! I urge ANYONE with the same decision to try and go with amputation instead of putting them down, animals are mighty resilient! It was rather expensive, the whole process costing $1000 but we also had our cat another 16 years. WORTH IT.
- —Guest RightMeow
Always choose life...
- I am of the belief that if you bring an animal into your life, you should do everything possible to give it a chance at life. Putting it down when treatments are available kind of appall me. There is always a way: credit cards, start a funding site (gofundme.com for example), sell your stuff, or get pet insurance from the get go. There is a point where putting the pet down is the logical thing: terminal cancer, old age, too late in the game, etc. But at least give your pet a chance. You wouldn't put down your other family members cuz they needed surgery. Why would you do this to your pet? If you can't afford one, DON'T OWN A PET.
- —Guest Permanent Kitten
- Today my husband and I came to the decision that we have to euthanize our cat of 13 years as she has lost so much weight, has be regurgitating food, having loose black stools and is quite stiff in the hindquarters. She still is walking and able to jump up to bay window yet with some difficulty. My 10 yr old is heartbroken and so are we. Financially at this time we are not in the position to go through extensive testing for her and knowing that she will most likeley need medication to maintain her as my husband is out of work. We are going to call our vet and check out humane society about fees but we want to bring her home and bury her. Prayers for all who are saying goodbye to their furry family members.
- —Guest FreewaysFamily
Feline Saddle Thrombus (ATE) death
- My poor boy Max was the finest cat ever, more humanlike than cat and truely my best buddy. He had a clot break off from his heart and lodge in the rear where the blood goes to rear legs. Crying and howling unable to move his legs and in excruciating pain it took way too long for the trip to emergency vet and the hour they took to end his suffering. The saddle thrombus is nearly incurable and usually impossible to prevent. Hitting the cats at 4 years or older its not anything but genetic. He saved my life many times during my disability comforting me and enjoying drinks and yogurt in my lap. I only wish I had a shot handy to end the pain he endured instead of the sloooow moving and insensitive vet. He was cremated and sits on the shelf with a portrait. I am still in so much grief over the loss of this precious shelter kitty Max. Do the right thing by your kitty and do not prolong suffering just to delay your grief. They will cross the rainbow bridge and be waiting for you on your passing.
- —Guest madbricky
- Two months ago,my 15 yr old cat Garfield was diagnoses with a brain tumor.Not cancer , but a tumor. Non operatable. We have him at home. I dont have the money for radiation which MIGHT help help.So he will be with us until he either passes away here or he will need help in passing. He has his ups and downs. On bad days, I cry that there I can do for him. But he is eating and getting around slowly . His personality is still there. But the guilt of not having the funds to go that extra mile for him will last forever.
Love them, no matter what!
- Our cat was recently diagnosed with cancer. The first vet we took him to told us to put him down immediately. We rejected that option and found a vet who offered cancer treatment. We will do everything I can for him, even if it costs a few thousand dollars—and, believe me, we don’t have a lot of money. But he’s as close to a child as we could ever have, and we couldn’t love him more. People who treat cats like disposable objects need to realize that they give as much love and comfort as you give them. Our cat isn't stupid. My husband and I always talk to him and he has been the light of our lives. Now it’s our turn to take care of him. If anyone reading this board has a child who is dying of cancer, how would you respond if I said to you, “Hey, why don’t you just put the kid down? She’s in so much pain, and treating her will break the bank. She’s just going to be a burden to you. Now, take her to the hospital and have her put to sleep!” Tell me: HOW would you respond to THAT suggestion
- —Guest Heartsick
- I'm crying because I loved my Maddie soooo. she was 15 or so and stopped eating, lost weight and getting boney. I tried everything I could, exhausting, I'm 78. Surrendered her and they said they would give her tests and maybe she would be adopted My heart is breaking, my daughter gave her to me years ago and my daughter died a suicide in 2011'. I go to Grief Share and it helps. No mre pets for me, I have all to do to tke are of myself now. $40 for the Exam so I'm grateful for that much. I miss my Baby Maddie, I hope they take good care of my Sweetie Pie.
- —Guest Pauline
Could Not Afford to Put Cat to Sleep
- My cat started holling last Thursday night, after normal veterniary hours. I was very fearful an emergency vet would charge very high costs to first attempt to treat him then put him to sleep. I waited over 7 hours listening to his pain until I felt forced to drive him to an emergency vet place and put him to 3:00 a.m. in the morning. Now I am saddled with guilt. The day I had to put him to sleep was the same day I learned my appeal to get unemployment had failed and I felt economically strapped. Now I wish I had just pawned some jewelry and helped my cat. We can afford the war in Iraq, a senseless invasion so U.S. oil companies could illegally control Iraqui oil, nationalized by the Iraqui government in 1979. But we can not afford extended unemployment benefits so people can take care of their pets. We need another American Revolution!!!!
- —Guest Shannon
We need a charity!
- Is there a charity to help people in this situation? It's as much a human problem as an animal one (not that I see one as more important), but losing a pet is a horrible loss. Losing one unnecessarily because of money just exposes what's wrong with our economic system. There are enough resources for ALL OF US, if we share. Let's share!
- —Guest Elizabeth
Better than heartstick or dumping
- Times are tough.Sometimes people can no longer afford pet care.When rehoming fails then euthanasia is a good choice.Far better than dumping them.Sadly many vets refuse to do economic euthanasia.
- —Guest Jessie
- As much as I like pets going into debt,or using food/bill money on pets is not an option for me. If the pets can not be rehomed then they will be euthanised.
- —Guest Jessie
Animals are for life....
- Today my cat Dougies came on the house and I noticed his right eye popping out, it was traumatic. I took him to out of hours vets and they confirmed the worst, he has to have it removed tomorrow. The vet said he most likely had a fight as his pupil us torn and bulging out. Im from the UK and It's going to cost anywhere from £400 - £1000 ($800 - $2000) We have 5 cats and no pet insurance. Putting him to sleep is not an option, I could not bring myself to do that. I feel so guilty.
- —Guest Hazy
- Just hours ago my husband and I put down our 15 year old baby. He was an outdoor cat, couldn't be told otherwise, and never had any issues, never needed to go to the vet. Find him in the morning along our patio unresponsive and a massive swollen face, so bad his eyes were almost closed shut. Rushed him into the vet and after an exam were told surgery blood tests and mess would be between 600 to 1000 dollars, but because of his old age and fast decline, he may not survive past the anesthesia. So with the vets recommendation, we chose to end his suffering. But I'm heartbroken wondering if I had just done the surgery, it would have been 50/50, at least we would have tried!
- —Guest Kreekree
in loving memory amber
- i had to put my baby to sleep this morning at 9:45,she was in my arms,she was only 17 weeks old,she had 2 seizures, she could move her feet and had feeling in them, but couldn't stand up,after all tests ,x-rays,a vertebra out of a lineament born with it.the bigger she got the more, pushing or already damaged nerves? they don't know which,she won't eat even for me,i take a piece of chicken she licked on it then took her paw a pushed it away,her front half looks like there is electricity running though her shocking her every 2secs, they tell me shes to weak to have the surgery,but can't live without it,she can't go to the bathroom on her on,the 1st place said she would die ,the 2nd place said they would do it but cost 5,000 to 7,000, half up front and the rest after surgery even if she dies,if she would have eat i would have took her home try to build her strength up ,but she had give up, and i didn't have 7,000 ,but 20/20 have pet insurance now.but still guilt hurt about amber forever.
Hardest decision ever
- My beautiful boy came into my life 6 yrs ago as a rescue. I've incurred many vet bills WILLINGLY over the years - from scraps with a raccoon to regular dental work. I didn't know about pet insurance until 3 yrs in and the sweet little guy developed digestive issues. He was throwing up constantly and entirely miserable. After multiple diagnostics - blood work, x-rays, ultra-sound and emergency care for dehydration, I went into debt close to $10,000. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Considered pet insurance, but figured he had a pre-existing condition now and questioned how much they wouldn't cover. Then he developed diabetes - more tests, diagnostics now on-going insulin. And again, I scraped together the funds to cover it. Now after $2000 of diagnostics and no resolution, my vet now feels he has a neuro problem and wants MRI ($1200). I'm tapped out financially & it's breaking my heart. Its awful when ppl say 'pets cost $ so suck it up'-sadly there's a point when you just...can't
- —Guest heart wrenching