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
- Look, if you're hurting financially, it's not worth owning a pet. It's not fair to you or the animal. Veterinary costs can be astronomical these days. Pet ownership is simply not as inexpensive as it used to be. Times have changed.
- —Guest Rarified Beef
had to end the suffering
- My 6 year old cat, Tatum passed away on October 26th. He was fine the previous day but did not come to eat in the morning. He wouldn't come when called. Which was very strange. I found him, under my bed crying. He was in visible pain. Unable to get comfortable and was licking himself. I put him in the litter box and my fears were confirmed. He was unable to urinate. Of course, it was a Saturday and we had to bring him to the e-vet. Total urethra blockage. The cheapest treatment was $600 and no guarantee. We are a one income family, since I am a student. We had to let him go. I was not going to bring him home and let him die from kidney failure. I couldn't spend our entire house payment on a vet bill. It broke our hearts but we had to do what was best for him. I feel extremely guilty but deep down I know that was the best option for us. It's not that we couldn't afford our pet, we just couldn't afford this treatment. Without insurance, many humans wouldn't be able to afford 99% off thei
- —Guest Lindsay
My beloved cat
- 2 yrs ago, I took my beloved black kitty to the vet because he had been acting "off". He had hid for a couple of weeks, then he was fine for a year, then it happened again. Thinking it might be diabetes or even leukemia, I took him to the vet to find out. They did a blood test and came back to tell me he was in kidney failure and the best thing to do would be to put him to sleep. I was devastated! He was going to be 7 in 3 months and I loved him so very much! I agonized over this for half an hour, but my husband and my daughter (who were both with me) kept telling me that was the best thing to do for him, so he wouldn't suffer. I never quite saw him as suffering, tho, and even after finally submitting to the recommendation, I kept second-guessing my decision. I just couldn't believe it. Even to this day, I still wonder if that was really the right decision, and if he was really in distress or if he would have been fine. It's a hard decision, and I miss him so much.
- —Guest Genie
My best friend
- Had my cat 2 years. He was fine the 2 days before, but after the next day he went missing, went to go find him but he didn't come. I prayed to have my best friend home and late at night he showed up, wet from the rain and cold. I heard him cry loudly ran to him and it wasn't until the afternoon that we took him to the vet. Found he had a bladder stone and his chance of living was slim and to survive surgery was 20% and cost $1000. Because of furlo, sadly we had to euthanize him. I miss him so much, the one thing that killed me was the look he gave me when they closed the door to euthanize him, he was scared and gave me a goodbye look. He touched my soul.
- —Guest Danny
- I adopted my cat Meeko 2 years ago and had to put him down yesterday, he was 4 yrs old. One of our familys best friends, and my cats best friend. I found out at the vets that he had multiple stones in his bladder and urethra..his bladder was almost completely blocked.. The vet said he needed surgery which would cost $2000 ( thats without including other expenses) . Unfortunately i dont have that kind of money and had to say goodbye.. If i had the money i would have done the surgery and gave it a try.. But even then what if the problem reoccurred or i found out he had kidney failure? He would just suffer even more and i would never want that. Sometimes our pets get sick or we cant afford the astronomical vet bills and euthanization is the only humane way. It is a very hard decision to make but just know that ur pet is in a better place now and they are not suffering. You loved them and thats all they wanted.
- —Guest Guest Erica
- I was put in a position where there were expensive treatments for my cat, but absolutely no guarantees that the treatment would work. My cat was suffering from kidney failure and a urinary blockage. If love alone could have saved him, he'd be here right now. Unfortunately, we were quoted a care plan upwards of $4000, and we were told there was very little chance it would work. Basically the damage was done and he would just keep blocking over and over again. The decision to euthanize him was extremely difficult, but I was told it was the most humane thing to do for him. But now I'm left wondering if maybe the financial costs weren't so high if he might have made it if given the treatments. We tried everything, from applying for credit to begging. But we were told that payment had to be done up front, there were no payment plans, and if we didn't pay they wouldn't treat. We were left no choice. I miss him terribly, he was my best friend in the whole world.
- —Guest Kiegan's Mom
You did your best
- I've also been in this position, and I want to tell you all, as hard as it is, you must forgive yourselves. Advances in vet technology is a blessing and a curse. We all give our pets the best lives we can. We must accept limitations. I've known people who spent $20,000-60,000 on cancer treatment for their dogs (who died anyhow and were miserable from the treatment). A peaceful and dignified exit is more than many people receive. A hug to all of you. You're not alone.
- —Guest Linda
- My cat had a blocked bladder and had to be catheterised but the vet are not happy with the way things are going, he isn't weeing normally its more little n often so my cat got put on antibiotics n antiflametry tablets, when i found out how much it is going to cost me i was in shock but can just about manage to get that money together but the vet told me that in most cases blockages in cats can recur now Im faced with the decision of having him put down (A) because its unfair for him to suffer with this again but (B) i can't afford this again, its killing me because i love my cat dearly and my children would be devastated if i have him put down so i also have the guilt of looking at there upset little faces
- —Guest jake
Lost so much weight
- In the last year our 14 almost 15 year old cat lost a lot of weight. When you patted her all we felt was bones. She started intermittently not using the litter box, and then completely stopped. We fed her whenever she was hungry and she never gained any weight. We finally took her to the vet today, we really couldn't afford it. Vet took a look, her weight was 5 pounds, and said she was showing signs of anemia. We then opted for an x-ray, after the vet felt lumps throughout the bowel. When we reviewed the x-ray with vet she had no body fat, nothing but skin and bones, and her bowels were quite full even though she pretty pooping everything she ate for the last couple weeks. Her age of 15, and weight and we didn't want her to suffer but we still could not has afforded, 1000 dollar in tests and the cost possible treatments to extend her life a bit more. In the end we decided to put her down which was a really hard decision.
- —Guest David
- I have a 9 yr old tabby who was diagnosed diabetic back in feb 1013. My family has been stressed by my baby for 7 months now between the chore of cleaning every three hrs of peeing/throwing up everywhere in the house , to the expense of vet visits , medication , specialized diet food , sheets, towels , disposable cat litter boxes , litter , cleaning liquids ... We are all stressed as I am sure the cat is ... I also have a 9 month old to take care of who is crawling on floor with debris of cat litter and paw prints from dried urine .... The vet just medically boarded cat for 5 days and says cat BG went from 782 to 250 .. Than please tell me why when he's home he pees all over the house ... I had to confine him to basement ... I'm so stressed I'm considering to euthanize him please help me ... I feel I'm trying everything and I'm sad for thinking of euthanizing him but don't know what to do to hellp him. Your advice is greatly appreciated.
- —Guest Joel
At least I give them some life
- I have stray cats that I love. However, over the years, I saw many die and get ill. I have done with what little money I have for them and prayed also. Remember, they would have died years ago without me helping right then, so I am not feeling guilty. Doctors need to be more generous also once in a while. I am not pet insurance is the complete answer. Even if a cat has shots regularly, they can still get the viruses. Outside cats live a tough life.
- —Guest Jeff
thunders sister lightning
- I am devastated at having the vet put my 23yr old black kitty to sleep today. Our family have watched this much loved part of our family grow old and deterioration in this past few weeks was hard on her little body and these past few days she struggled to breath. I am on oxygen and adapted my machine hoping to see improvement but I knew this would only delay the inevitable. She had a wonderful life in a family with other cats and a dalmatian and humans who loved to see her give you a paw...just like our dog....my neighbours who are elderly loved that she would john them when view would sit in their garden and follow them when they went across to the next street to sit in their daughters garden. She brought laughter and calm linto many lives and although I cried and stroked her and howled my grief as the vet administered in kindness the injection that would make her draw her final breath I am grateful that our wonderful god has given mankind such faithful friends to enrich our lives
- —Guest Wilma colquhoun
Wishing I would not have given up
- I had a 3 year old Siemese. He was beautiful and very regal. He came home gasping for air, so we rushed him to the emergency clinic. We all agreed he was hit by a car do to his injuries. He had a diaphragmatic hernia. Part of his liver and intestines were showing up in his chest cavity. He was in pretty bad shape, and was given a 50% chance of making it. After hearing all that needed to be done was going to cost $3000-4000 for the surgery, my husband immediately said NO WAY. After giving in to him, we put him down. They didn't make payment plans either. I feel sick about my decision. I didn't even give him a chance.
- —Guest Heather
- My cat was very handsome from the day I got him to the day I put him down. 11 great years we spent together and I remember most of them well, he got in alot of fights and ended up in the vet 4 times from serious injuries even though we had him desexed. One day I noticed he wouldn't jump up on my window and wake me up by meowing until I fed him so I went to his little bed and noticed he couldn't walk properly. I took him to the vet and spent my last $200 for a blood test, I found out later that day he had kidney disease and there was nothing we could apart from prolong his death but that would mean expensive surgeries etc: and even that wasn't guaranteed so I decided to put his suffering to rest, I couldn't stand seeing him limping around. It broke my heart but I was with him till the end because it was the least I could do.
- —Guest Guesty
- Years back my wife and I had sepparted. I was working for Xerox . I moved to the country not far from work. CoCo was a Shepard/Mastiff mix. They say they cats have 9 lives but CoCo , Well ? She bought him home in her jacket one day taken from the mother way too soon. He lived for 16 years. Got hit by a car 2x, one Saturday we were doing laundry while still together he fell the the GORDGE back the the facility the fire dept came and got him out with ou a scracth. Had numerous ailments over his life time just as any human. Always came back strong. Protected the boys , was never on a leash except when we went to the park out of the neighborhood. I will end this by saying that when my wife and I separted for that period he was the only joy I had in my life. One winter i was walking him late at night as we were coming up the hil he fell down. (Hip Dysplasia) I carried a 126 pound dog in to the house took off from work next day. Said good bye, he looked back at me saying " It's time now"!
- —Guest Matthew