Cat Lover.Org

In the end

This time is the hardest. I just recently had to through it myself.

A choice that is becoming available in more areas, is where you can have a licensed veterinerian come to your house, to euthanize your cat. My own personal feeling is that it puts your beloved pet through less stress. But that is only my personal feeling. This most recent call, was in fact the second time I had to call Dr. Debra Volenec. She was kind enough to allow me to use some of the information from her website at: www.angelsattheend.com. She was telling me that the vetranery community as a whole is starting to embrace and research the end of life process and developing guidelines for the humane euthanization of pets.

Deciding when it is time to end the life of your beloved cat, is so hard because you anticipate their loss in your life. Some of you think, why not a natural death. That is how they have been dying for thousands of years. Dr. Volenec brought up a good point. Your pet has led anything but a "natuaral" life. Your pet has not had to fight other animals for food or a territory to hunt, provide their own food, find water or drink from unhealthy water sources, suffer from parasites and disease, or need to find a safe place to rest.

Your pet did not meet a swift end, when it became too weak to provide for itself. Parasites that come from unhealthy drinking sources are not ending your cat's life, like it might in the wild. Just as changes have occurred in our health care, and we live longer lives than our ancestors, the same is true for our pets. as much as we all can hope that we pass quietly in our sleep, often the ravages of diseases we have make the process long and painful. That is also true for your pets.

Angels At The End
This paragraph comes directly from Dr. Volenec's site, but I paraphrase the freedoms themselves. So, how do we tell if our pets are suffering and what signs do we look for? Animals can be very good at hiding their symptoms, which is an instinct left from the time when they had to fend for themselves. Our pets do not understand suffering; they just accept it and endure it. The guidelines set forth by the United Kingdom's Farm Animal Welfare Council in 1965 holds true for all animals. Their 5 Freedoms are based on the concept that "the welfare of an animal includes its physical and mental state and that good animal welfare implies both fitness and a sense of well-being. Any animal kept by man must, at least, be protected from unnecessary suffering." These 5 Freedoms state that quality of life for animals has at least these basic needs:

1. Freedom from hunger and thirst 2. Freedom from discomfort 3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease 4. Freedom to express normal behavior 5. Freedom from fear and distress

Relying on those around you such as family or friends, can help you keep an objective view of when it is time to think about ending your pet's life. In my case the cost was not that much more than if I took my cat to the regular Vet. But with most of us that isn't the driving factor. The quality of life, and the quality of end of life is the driving factor, as it should be.