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

Responses: 161

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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

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

Pebbles my sister and my baby

My sister found pebbles and bambam, abanded new borns. We bottle feed and hand raised them. Pebbles had problems right away, he wasn't growing started walking, stopped. At 5 months he got a urinary block, It was bad. We almost lost him, 2 months later and as a result of a prescibed medicine he pushed so hard peeing, he had rectual prolapes, minimal treatment anibiotics, cd diet, lacative. Pebbles would seem better, but never really got better, he suffered urinary incontence. Last week when pooping his colon fell out agine. The thing about him is he never stopped purring, he was purring and happy,even when they put the medicine in and closed his eyes, weran out of money. There treatment and lack of proper diagnosis because money was short. They don't care, they string you along, putting band aids-draining your "petbank account" In more ones then one.
—Guest candice

Very sad day - super hard decision

We had our kitty for almost 11 yrs. He had been having constipation problems for a couple of yrs now & it got to the point that he was dx w/ megacolon in Jan. & it's almost May now. We tried 2 different liquid meds + a pill, changed food, & I gave him fluids every couple of days. He had to be put under anesthesia 2-3x to get "cleaned out" & every couple of wks or even days he needed a warm soapy enema. This time it had been about 3 wks since he had an enema & we thought he was doing better & great but the dr said he was backed up again & a warm soapy enema wouldn't help, he would need to be put under again. That costs about $350. He feels better after that but I knew being put under wasn't always good & he would still need warm soapy enemas every so often + medicine 3x a day. Surgery was an option but we would have to drive about 5 hrs to spend between $2k-$3k. & that surgery could have had so many complications. It was hard but I think we did what was best and he's not hurting anymore
—Guest K

I feel like a murderer, so guilty

Yesterday I put my cat to sleep. We rescued him 5 years ago from a shelter. We starting noticing he had oddly shaped eyes and eyelids but thought he was just inbred. Then the stages of cataracts started and he begin to lose eyesight. Our vet told us he had a herpes infection as a kitten which didn't allow for correct eye growth and caused early onset cataracts. He also sometimes would vomit after eating which I was told by my vet may be due to his enlarged colon. I am now pregnant and we are moving so, I decided to take him to see our vet and get check-up to check his health status. She said he was completely blind, colon was swollen and had a bad ear infection (yeast and chronic). I decided to put him to sleep. I feel so guilty because he was cuddling and playing just that morning and seemed to make his way around the house fine. I decided to because I thought the stress of moving would be too much for him and he also tended to tear up furniture and carpet. I feel horrible.
—Guest Magpie

Sad day

i left the balcony open (second floor) that night... In the morning when i wake up i see my cat outside in the balcony laying helpless bleeding and with severe injuries to the face. I take him to the hospital and they tell me that he was run over by a car and that the surgery to save his life would cost thousands of dollars. i just couldn't afford it. i had to make the extremely painful decision of putting him down :'( now i feel sick inside and guilty. i couldnt save his life because i didnt have enough money. why did this have to happen! :(
—Guest alex

sad news my cat

My male cat had 2 be put 2 rest 3/10/2012 he had a tumor in the jaw! he was in pain. & that it self was destroying my Heart! I'm @ peace now & so is he! But my other cat is very sad it's been 3 days now! But I prayed & I kno God is going 2 turn things around! Joy is coming in the morning!!! R.I.P. MY BELOVED ONE Mommy loves you Nana loves you & Brother loves you, Sb,ran-ran fam.
—Guest Mommy

Sad to say...

Sad to say that in 2012 this is even a topic. I'm 37 single dealing with two cats that are dying in front of me. No vet or animal hospital that I have been to so far has helped. The only thing there is to do is to reach out. If there is anyone with advice or a referral on what to do. I'm lost and on the verge of a major let down from Vets that have only drained my money while providing only doom and gloom on "there is nothing left they can do".
—Guest Thom slack

cat put down today

it was sudden, he was 10 years old and with all the treatments would have costs between 1000 and 2000 dollars. i feel terrible and very guilty, he died on me and i yelled my heart out.
—Guest vexx

My Soulmate

It's almost 4 yrs since I had to have my beloved 12 yr old cat put to sleep. At 10 he was run over and I paid approx £1,500 for his treatment,it used all of my savings but he was worth every penny. Then one night he didnt go outside as usual. Next morning he went for a wee on the bedroom floor. He was much too proud and dignified to ever do that so I knew he wasn't right. I made a vet appointment for an hours time and when there the vet examined him and found a growth in his side. I had options, to pay upwards of £200 for investigations or have him put to sleep. I had no money left for my beloved and special soulmate. I had to choose the horrific alternative. I had to sign away his beautiful life and watch him being euthanised at that same appointment. I wish with all my heart I could've taken him home, even for one last day of loving him and feeling his soft furry body against me. Now I still live with the guilt of that awful day, I'm heartbroken about the decision I made.
—Guest Heartbroken

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