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Health, Disease & Diet Find out the best tips and practices on managing your cat's diet, health care, and issues with diseases from our community of animal lovers

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Old 10-13-2008, 02:42 PM
ashleywong ashleywong is offline
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Default Twilight Time: The Long Goodbye

Twilight Time: The Long Goodbye
When you know it is "time" but aren't quite sure


By Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM, About.com
Welcome to the twilight time. That bittersweet time when you know that the end is near, the time to say goodbye is at hand, but you are left wondering: "how will I know when it is really time to put my pet to sleep?"

The "how will I know it is time" question is a common one for vets and one of the most common questions asked on this site. Of course, there isn't one clear-cut answer for this question. The nature of the disease or condition, the general health of the pet, and the household/living situation all play a part in this process. As can be expected, it is a very personal decision. A decision that I would never answer for anyone else, but have tried to provide guidelines.

I have several resources on this site on the topic of euthanasia, pet loss and grief, and how to recognize the signs that the time is near. Even with that knowledge, when I was faced with saying goodbye to my most favorite cat, Herman Roosevelt Quinn, all of those suggestions flew out the window.

I had a while to say goodbye, having diagnosed his hyperthyroidism one year prior. I was considering I-131 therapy, an excellent treatment option for hyperthyroidism, but his kidneys were showing early signs of failure, and so he was not a candidate for that treatment. We opted for daily Tapazole® pills, and that suited him just fine.

In this last year, Herman enjoyed whatever he wanted to eat (one side benefit of hyperthyroidism, good appetite) and the love of his family: human, feline and canine! Despite this, he lost weight. He lost some of his sass. He lost most of his hearing. He used the litter box a lot (increased thirst and urination, primarily from kidney failure). He still had that sweet quizzical look and purring "meow" every time I looked at him, though. Even when sound asleep, he would uncurl and meow-purr a greeting.

So how would I know when it is time? Once a "robust" cat (ahem) who was perpetually on a diet, it was hard to see him so much smaller in size. Other than that, he wasn't in any noticeable pain or discomfort and was eating fairly well, considering. Kidney failure can go on for years, and with his hyperthyroidism nicely under control with medication, I wasn't sure of the time we had left.

Then it happened. A subtle change, but undeniable. He went on a hunger strike. Still interested in food, even begging for food (life-long habits die hard), but nope. He would just walk away, likely nauseous due to the disease processes.

My husband was surprised when I mentioned that it might be time. "He still seems the same, and he begs for food each morning." Then we discussed how much Herman was actually consuming, and it was a different picture.

As the cat who had been with me for almost 17 years, through thick and thin, I wanted him to have some dignity. I didn't want to wait until there was some sort of emergency; a definite, without question have-to-do-it-now situation. That is really hard; when your pet is still cognitive, loves being scratched under the chin and alert.

Here are the steps I did to prepare for the inevitable and ease into that Final Goodbye.

* Call ahead to a vet (or vets) of your choice
Pick a time when you can speak clearly and ask about their procedure. Ask questions. Do they do a sedative prior to euthanasia? Will you be able to choose if you want to stay with your pet? How are the remains handled? What are good (i.e. quiet) days and times for this procedure to take place? Are you able to expedite things by pre-paying and filling out necessary information beforehand?

* Consider other family members
For us, we had the kids say goodbye at home. Our neighbor boy also wanted to come over and bid farewell, and that helped with closure for our kids, too. For Herman, I needed to not be worrying about my kids, so we arranged for friends to watch them during this time. It was also better for the kids to say goodbye in a calm, quiet environment. This is a personal decision, everyone is different. Talking over this event with kids prior to the appointment will ease the transition, whatever plan you choose.

* Have someone drive you to the appointment, if possible
This may sound extreme, but this allows you to focus on your pet on the way there and not worry about driving afterward. After, if you need to get a cup of coffee or go for a walk, it is nice to have company to talk to.

Yes, it was a very sad day, saying goodbye to this special cat. Having made plans ahead of time saved a lot of grief-guilt, though. The staff knew just what to expect, and had everything ready when we got there. I can say that it certainly helps not to have to talk and explain things when you are trying to keep it all together.

As always, time helps ease the pain of losing loved ones. Take your time, be kind to yourself, and if you feel that the loss is too overwhelming or interfering with the regular function of your job or regular life, please reach out to friends or seek professional grief counseling. There are many free telephone hotlines and resources available.

Goodbye, Herman Roosevelt Quinn.
DOB: Around January, 1992. Not sure. He was brought in by animal control, hit by a car, on July 2, 1992. About 7 months old. Stole my heart that day.
Said goodbye on October 4, 2008.
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:43 PM
ashleywong ashleywong is offline
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Default Re: Twilight Time: The Long Goodbye

Hi All

Credit for the above goes to Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM, About.com

please visit www.cats.about.com for more information on griefing issues with pets
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:53 PM
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lynielime lynielime is offline
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Default Re: Twilight Time: The Long Goodbye

i am so sensitive right now, this article is making my eyes tear .
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:56 PM
ashleywong ashleywong is offline
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Default Re: Twilight Time: The Long Goodbye

ooh dear lynie

i'm so sorry. i didn't realise. so thoughtless of me. please don't cry.

moomoo and charlie had been release from this life of suffering. they're now free from suffering at the rainbow bridge.

being alive in this world may not be great and is not considered a privilege - it is suffering.

pls dont' fret over them. they'll be fine now.
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:59 PM
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lynielime lynielime is offline
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Default Re: Twilight Time: The Long Goodbye

aww its ok! its a really good article!!
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:05 AM
reen2509 reen2509 is offline
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Default Re: Twilight Time: The Long Goodbye

Quote:
Originally Posted by lynielime View Post
i am so sensitive right now, this article is making my eyes tear .
sob sob.. me too..
btw, it's a very good article to share with, ashley.. thanx ya!
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:47 PM
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Default Twilight Time: The Long Goodbye

What a coincidence!!! Yesterday I read 1 book in Borders Berjaya Times Square All Pets Go To Heaven By Sylvia Browne. Honestly,I was crying and wiping my tears while reading this book. Passerby must think I'm nuts or something. Really, the book very inspiring and touching. People relate story abt their passing pets
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Old 05-13-2009, 02:41 PM
ashleywong ashleywong is offline
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Default Re: Twilight Time: The Long Goodbye

i haven't the heart to read it again in view of what is happening to the dogs at pulau tengah and pulau selat kering.

i read tv smith's blog further and saw another information which i missed - they saw many dog carcasses as well as skeletons on the island - which showed how long they had been marooned there and the finality of their fate.

this part really tore me up. i'm still thinking whether to put it up here or not - i want people to help out - anything,anyway, would be a great way and if people do help out, then this is indeed good, because it shows that compassion for animals are still alive in the heart of some malaysians.

for a long time now, i had believed that only a small handful of malaysians care about the welfare of all animals, i hope i'm proven wrong.
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Old 05-13-2009, 02:46 PM
June June is offline
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Default Twilight Time: The Long Goodbye

You may be right after all,Ashley.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashleywong View Post
i haven't the heart to read it again in view of what is happening to the dogs at pulau tengah and pulau selat kering.

i read tv smith's blog further and saw another information which i missed - they saw many dog carcasses as well as skeletons on the island - which showed how long they had been marooned there and the finality of their fate.

this part really tore me up. i'm still thinking whether to put it up here or not - i want people to help out - anything,anyway, would be a great way and if people do help out, then this is indeed good, because it shows that compassion for animals are still alive in the heart of some malaysians.

for a long time now, i had believed that only a small handful of malaysians care about the welfare of all animals, i hope i'm proven wrong.
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:30 PM
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blackie007 blackie007 is offline
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Default Re: Twilight Time: The Long Goodbye

aww, this article brought tears to my eyes. i can relate to Janet Tobiassen. it is the hardest decision any pet owner has to make, and I'll never forget how i felt having to make that decision to put brownie to sleep. i hope no pet owners ever have to make that awful decision.
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