I'll writ up a blog and add a link. But wanted to get this out there. Of all I have read it seems normal to wait until a cat is on death's door before action is taken. I disagree. A couple years back I had spent 4 years and $1,000's trying to help a beautiful cat that at age 11 started to bite and growl at her private area. The moment she did that I wanted to end her suffering. But of course went to the vet to see what they had to say. The first 2 years were terrible. The regular vet had no idea and tried all sorts of treatments with no effect, and every day I had to watch her in agony like she was being attacked from the inside. I was never offered any pain meds, didn't think to ask either. And they didn't seemed phased by what she was going through. I tried to take a video but it was a quick onset and she would run away. Then there was the specialist. They suggested a $1500 test to rule out intestinal cancer. I can't believe I didn't just end it there. Without the test they said to just give her the leukeran and see how she does. At first it was $5 a pill, but quickly the manufacturer changed and it doubled to $10. I was so distrought I didn't know if I could justify $110/mo for her meds. And while it helped I still had to watch the occassional attacking herself. But all other areas were fine, so it seemed I should hold on. So I ponied up the money and watched her get thinner and thinner. After those 2 years the specialist said "We are not there yet" WTF!. A couple of months later she was skin and bones, ravenous and was about to be tested for diabetes. Since I wasn't getting the support at the specialist I called the regular vet back and said it's time. She agreed and we said goodbye. But I hated myself for putting her through all that. I promised I would do better by her brother.
He seem to exhibit similar behavior as her, just not as intense or frequent. In Jan, a year after his sister passed, he started to get picky with his food lost some weight and subsequently lost significantly more weight. I also didn't want my experience with her lead me to jump the gun with him, but this past week he started more intense gnawing at himself, and finally saw him growl and attack. Like she used to do. That was it, I knew I wasn't going wait and put him through the same fate. He was already 17 1/2 and is weight was going to continue to decline and probably rapidly. I made the appt and the vet tried to see my point, but also was very reluctant. His bloodwork was good, he was otherwise strong/healthy. I didn't really care what she thought since she couldn't help the first cat properly. She didn't want to see him go before he was 'ready'. What does that mean? The next few months would be agonzing and traumatizing for both of us. he would need pain meds and his food situation was reaching critical. She didn't like it, but at his age, she agreed he was in declining phase without meaningful improvement and accepted my decision. I have to accept my experience with his sister affected my decision to not prolong his agony, but not having the vet support was particularly difficult, even though I made the best decision I could.