I lost my cat Amber about 2 months ago after 17 years. She was her normal loving, energetic, needy self one day, and I definitely thought she'd be one of those cats who lived past 20 since she was still super energetic. Most people would talk about how their pets slowed down in their old age, but she hadn't. Then one day out of no where, she just stopped eating. After a day, I started getting worried, but I figured she was just tired. But the next morning, I found her hiding in a super secluded spot, and she wouldn't come out. I know animals hide when they feel compromised, so I immediately took her to the emergency vet. They did some bloodwork and wanted to keep her overnight for fluid treatment and an ultrasound, but she hadn't eaten, and I had this sneaking feeling that these were her final days. I hated the idea of leaving her on that table if that were the case, so I took her home with me and had them administer meds right there. She got even worse that night... wouldn't drink, barely moved, still wouldn't eat, and wouldn't use the litterbox. She also kept going to hide, although in the morning she was back next to me, just couldn't move much. I took her back to the vet, and they told me her kidney levels were elevated and her lymphocytes were high, indicating that there could be a number of things driving her behavior (cancer, CKD, etc.). The vet kept going over the diagnosis options but seemed very unsure about treatment options. After talking to my family and really thinking it over, I knew I'd hate myself if she died on that table scared and alone with needles in her. I had stayed up watching her all night and felt in my heart that she wouldn't get better. She hadn't eaten and barely drank in 3.5 days, and I made the decision to put her down.

I felt some guilt after, but for some reason I just had this pang of guilt that really hit me this week. Most people who have posted here talk about their pet declining over time or getting some sort of confirmed diagnosis for their pet. I had neither. She was herself one day, and then she wasn't. The vet told me what she suspected, but couldn't confirm it was CKD or a number of other diseases. I convinced myself that this was the best thing given that they couldn't make her eat and given that I'd never seen her this weak and sad. Her fur was matted and unkempt, her head kept falling into her water, and I felt like putting her to sleep was better than putting her through all those tests. I was afraid she was going to die of starvation and that I was just prolonging her pain. I'm just so afraid that I didn't do everything I could have done and that I took time from her. She was the absolute best cat, and it all just happened in the course of a week. The fact that this hasn't been the case for most people I've talked to is weighing on me. I hope more than anything that she's pain free and knows that I did this out of love for her. I will never forget her, and she'll always be in my heart.
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Dear Ryan800,

First, I'm so very sorry for the loss of your beloved Amber.  It's absolute torture losing our life's best companions. Secondly, while my boy Patch was a pup not a kitty, mine is a very similar experience. I truly thought Patch would surpass other dogs and live very old due to his tough little spirit and puppy like energy.  He always bounced back - even after a vaccine reaction that ultimately forced him on heart meds 1.5 yrs before.  

He was fine one day, then stopped eating and seemed off.  I managed to get some things in him a few days trying different things, but then he snubbed everything and that's when while I didn't want to admit it out loud, 'I had a sneaking suspicion these could be his final days'.  Upon taking to Vet he told me his kidney values were so elevated we'd need to leave him there for 2-3 days to flush them, 'I felt in my heart he wouldn't get better'. 'I was afraid he was going to die of starvation and I was prolonging his pain.' I could not bear the thought of him suffering any further or an emergency situation. I decided to say goodbye.

I too have had guilt that I didn't do all I could and maybe he'd still be here with me. But what I put in bold quotes above are your words and exactly my thought process and exactly how I felt. I lean on those words and feelings because we are their pet parents and we know, more than anyone including the Vet, our babies. Our intuition tells us how they are feeling - we've done it for years. Patch was 15 and I never thought I'd say goodbye then. I truly felt he'd be one of those dogs with me until 17 or hopefully even longer. 

With elevated kidneys at 17, something certainly was going on and sounds to me like CKD or likely failure - either way no cure. (I believe this is even more common in cats.)  I could've left Patch for the flush and then treated him at home injecting needles in him everyday for hydration - while I know he would be a good boy through it, it would be highly stressful (and painful?) and prolonging the inevitable, more for me than him. We put our babies first. Those words in bold are our compass and North Star - I needed to be reminded of these words as the guilt still pangs me everyday, but we knew what we had to do for our babies. Sending big hugs your way. XO
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Hi there, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My beautiful, sweet angel passed away from CKD/diabetes/?cancer on April 16th. I went through a very similar experience. Making that decision still haunts me to this day, and I will forever wonder rid I did the right thing by or if I could have done better. 

From how you describe her symptoms, it truly does sound like kidney disease. My Patches had very similar symptoms. I have done a ton of research, and it seems that those symptoms are seen frequently with kidney disease. 

I hope in time you find peace.

Warm regards,

Ash and my angel Patches
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I had to put my baby Deeder to sleep the beginning of July. He also had cancer ( bladder), kidney failure, and diabetes. He Just had too much going on and his body was shutting down. I did everything in my power to save him. Later we discovered he had heart issues too. He was 18 years old and putting him to sleep was the hardest thing I ever did. I worry that I put him through too much to try and save his life. I didn’t want to see him go. May our hearts eventually heal and may the beautiful memories of our sweet babies bring us comfort in the days ahead. 
Jeanne Swift
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I don't think there is a right answer.  Even as one of those who journeyed with my cat all the way through palliative care. It is just not possible to make a 'right decision' about someone's life and not wonder afterwards.  Our babies are really babies to us, even though some were very elderly.  I'm also haunted by regrets. I relate to your pain even though the circumstances are different.  I think that we all did the best we could. It is a stacked situation. The odds are against us. I hope and pray for all of us to have some peace of mind this day.
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