I put my cat Ellie down on Friday 1/8. She was 18 years and 5 months old. She was my soul-cat and ever-present companion. We've been together for most of my adult life. 

    She started having some health issues about 3 and a half years ago. First the vet diagnosed her with kidney disease and I decided to go along with the treatment for that for as long as we both could stand it. I gave her SQ fluids at home several times a week for about 6-8 months. It got hard to manage, she hated it and so did I, but miraculously her bloodwork for the kidney disease came back normal. All I had to give her was a daily pill for blood pressure. 
    About 2 years ago she started losing weight again. This time her bloodwork came back as hyperthyroid. We got her on thyroid meds and got her back on track. I had to give her pills twice a day. It was manageable and I was willing to keep going on. She enjoyed the treats she got with the pills. 
   I had a baby 13 months ago and got a little lazy with giving Ellie her pills twice a day. For a few months she was getting only half the dose of thyroid medicine. Last spring she was losing weight and got a little dehydrated again. I took her to the vet and they gave her fluids and I started giving her the pills 2x per day as prescribed. She really bounced back from that, and I've been consistent with the dosing and giving her lots of attention every day. 
    I feel like I've been preparing myself for the possibility of losing her for a long, long time. She had some arthritis in her hind quarters, only has one tooth, etc. After the last few trips to the vet, I sort of decided I would keep up the treatment of pills for as long as it was working, but if she started to falter again I wouldn't continue to seek additional treatment. Last fall she started getting mats in her fur, which I gently tended to although she hated to be petted or brushed anywhere aside from her head and along her spine. I noticed she was getting pretty thin and bony again, but she seemed to be eating. 
   Last Tuesday I noticed that she had stopped eating altogether and was so thin. Her coat still was soft and fluffy and it masked how thin she was. She was getting weaker by the day. She could still get up and drink a little water and use the litter box, although her frequency was only once or twice a day, but she was very wobbly and seemed like she was about to fall down. She spent all her time sleeping comfortably on the bed. 
   On Wednesday I spoke with the vet over the phone and she told me we could jump start her again with fluids and antibiotics and see what was going on, but she is nearly 19 and she's had a lot of health issues. We talked about things to look for when it would be time to euthanize. I decided not to treat her further, and just let her go.  I was going to wait until she started to seem uncomfortable, or not be able to walk or make it to the litter box. I spent every moment with her those last few days agonizing and watching her decline. And loving and comforting her, offering her food and water and warmth. I just couldn't do it anymore. It didn't make sense to wait until she seemed really miserable when death was inevitable. So on Friday I took her in to be put down. That same vet agreed it was a good choice for the cat, better to do it sooner rather than later. 
   But now I feel so devastated and so guilty. Logically I know she wouldn't have lived that much longer. We have 3 other cats and a baby so life is complicated to manage in our small house. Every day, I looked at her and wondered in the back of my mind how much longer she would live. Every time I went on a trip I worried that she would die while I was away, and I was relieved when she didn't. Now I am kicking myself for not doing more, for not taking her into the vet last fall when we might have changed her meds or done something to keep her on track. Every time we go to the vet it's a $2-300 bill. Not that I couldn't afford it, but I am generally of the philosophy to have less medical intervention, not more, even for humans. The vet hospital we go to provides top notch care, but I hate that they nickel and dime every little thing. I feel guilty for letting her go last Friday. In hindsight it all seemed to happen so fast. I came to the realization that she might be dying on Monday night and by Friday she was gone. Was I too hasty? Did I panic and not make a good decision? She was my best friend, of course I would have wanted to do everything I could to keep her alive, why didn't I realize that? Those thoughts about choosing not to intervene any further seem so cavalier and short-sighted now. 

  I thought I would feel more peace after her death. I thought it would be easier. I thought not having to worry about her would be a relief. I thought finally being able to give more attention to her sister would be a comfort. I didn't think I would be haunted by these decisions I made, by the image of her being euthanized, by wishing I had done things differently or taken better care of her. Logically I know I did the right thing, and writing this out has helped, but emotionally I'm a wreck. 
  I feel like I lost my best friend, my beautiful fluffy white cat with stunning green eyes and a big regal personality. I miss her so much. 

Thanks for listening,

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 I have been where you are with my black lab, jonah. I chose to put him so sleep after battling lymphoma. He wouldnt walk or eat. Green vomit all night,diarrhoea everwhere. He was miserable. 3 weeks ago i chose to end his life in my arms,full of love. I still question could i have stopped chemo, tried different drugs. But he had given up. The light had gone from his eyes. As tough as it is, id rather hed died peacefully in my arms than alone at night in a terrible state. Read this poem, its message is that this was an act of love for your beautiful Ellie.


If it should be, that I grow frail and weak,
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then, you must do what must be done
For this, the last battle can't be won.


You will be sad, I understand
Don't let your grief then stay your hand,

For this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship stand the test.

We've had so many happy years,
What is to come can hold no fears,
You'd not want me to suffer, so,
When the time comes, please let me go.

Take me where my need they'll tend,
Only, stay with me to the end,
And hold me firm and speak to me,
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know, in time you will see,
It is a kindness you do to me
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I've been saved.

Don't grieve it should be you,
Who decides this thing to do,
We've been so close, we two, these years,
Don't let your heart hold any tears.

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Liz, you gave Ellie 18 1/2 years of love, her great age is a credit to that. I had to have my beautiful 17 year old dog Jim put to sleep just over 4 weeks ago, and although we are in bits we know we gave him the best little life ever. Like you I also questioned myself, did I let him go on too long, was there anything else we could have done for him. I think almost all owners look back and think could we have done any more? Ellie was a beautiful cat, if she could she would thank you for giving her release from all the problems and illness old age invariably bring to our little friends. Feel proud for being such a caring owner and friend to her. Jackie. x
J Taylor
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Thank you Dee and Jackie for your incredibly kind and thoughtful replies. I'm thankful for this forum in that I know I'm not alone. These feelings are normal and it feels good to reach out and talk to people who are going through the same thing. It's so heart-wrenching. 
I'm so sorry for your losses. Our furry friends give us so much love and happiness. I hate that we have to say goodbye so soon, even if they are old. 
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