Euthanasia: Is it time to let go?
One of the most difficult decisions a pet owner will ever have to make is — ‘when is the time right for euthanasia’ ? Learn more about the importance of letting go in order to prevent suffering.
Every one has very individual views on this emotive subject but it is essential that you are able to make an informed decision focusing on the wellbeing of your beloved cat and try to assess their quality of life objectively.
Determining the presence of pain in cats is notoriously difficult, particularly when assessing chronic pain or that associated with disease. A cat’s behaviour or normal routine can be affected in many ways if pain is present; some of these changes are obvious while others are far subtler. The type or location of the pain will be significant, for example, aural (ear) pain can cause scratching or rubbing of the affected area.
Musculoskeletal pain will affect the animal’s ability or desire to climb, jump and play and may even cause lameness or an unusual gait. Often cats will be less active, filling the time with sleep.
An understanding of the individual is as important as recognising normal feline behaviour when assessing pain in cats. It is often difficult to view a cat at any one moment and see obvious signs of pain.
Behavioural observation is so important to assess the presence of pain to ensure prompt and effective treatment. It can also be invaluable when a cat is suffering from chronic or acute disease to judge the appropriate time for euthanasia.
As owners we are well equipped to make an important contribution to this decision if we have a knowledge and understanding of the changes in our cats’ behaviour at the end.