Balancing Life

Something is wrong with one of the cats we adopted as an adult from a shelter 9 years ago. Antibiotics, special food and diagnostic tests have not revealed why she refuses to eat like she used to (like a pig). Willow, once nicknamed “Willow The Pillow” because of her lively chubbiness is now just plain Willow.

We keep saying once we do this test or try that medication, we will stop and let nature takes its course. The cat is about 12 years old, which is up there but not ancient. But then test results send us down a path of decisions we did not anticipate. If there is something to be discovered that is easily correctable, we will do it. If it is not easily correctable, we will not. Unfortunately, there are no clear indicators of how to move forward because our good vets have not been able to discover the cause. We continue to push antibiotics and now have added two heart medications for a mild cardiomyopathy that while troublesome, does not warrant the severity of her anorexia.

We agreed to try her for two weeks on the new meds before making the “E” decision.

When do you stay, now we stop? This is highly subjective and never to be judged. Some cat owners do nothing while their pets become sicker and eventually wander off to die. Others go to extraordinary lengths to extend the life of a beloved companion. Many times, decisions are based on finances but I have known owners who could easily afford veterinary care but refuse to get it for a suffering animal because its “wasting” money, while others crash and burn in debt to hold on to the hope that one more treatment, one more medication, will bring a sick pet back to life.

We are balancing Willow’s ability to recover and our ability to afford to make that happen, if that is possible, knowing that relieving her suffering is more important than our pain at losing her. As Antoine St. Exupery says in The Little Prince, “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed….”

This entry was posted in cats, euthanasia, feline cardiomyopathy, The Little Prince, Willow. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Balancing Life

  1. Poor Willow. It's never easy to make a decision like this. I think you just have to rely on your own instincts and do what you feel is right. I'm so bad at making these kinds of decisions and have a hard time letting go, so I'm not the one to give advice.
    I hope she turns a miraculous corner and comes back to good health soon though so you have no decision making in the near future.

  2. dAwN says:

    oh..this breaks my heart. Lost one of my fur boys last spring.

    He had problems for three months..tumor..head would shake at first, then stuff coming out of ear..then tumor spread down neck.

    The little boy loved it at home but didnt like vets..didnt want to put him thru something that would put him thru more issues..
    and to what was inevitable with his cancer.
    so i took him to a few alternative places..nothing helped.
    in retrospect..I would have just kept him at home and not done anything until he got to the point where he was in pain.
    I wore myself out and the little one out trying to find something that would cure his cancer.

    My sister had and old cat that quit eating…it started eating again and lived another year.

    I know you want to find an answer..and you would kick yourself if there was one and it was an easy fix, and u did nothing.
    I can tell you love you cat like I loved mine..and u would do just about anything to help..

    I would say just keep the kittie home and love it like you are doing..until it passes on its own..or it is in pain and you need to help it pass.

    I hope it is just a temporary thing..and your kittie gets better…
    take care.

    I think this is one of the most difficult things to go thru.
    I send u a Big cyber Hug!

  3. Bevson says:

    Oh God. I feel your pain. It is the worst, hardest decision to have to make. Is she ready, are you ready, are you being uncaring or too caring. Ugh. We deeply love these little lives in our care. I know you will do what is right, my friend. But it will not make it any easier.

  4. Maria says:

    such a tough time, it is definitely a road each individual needs to take for themselves for each unique situation, sounds like you are weighing things well, best wishes for you & Willow.

  5. MaryM says:

    I don't know if they carry what you need but a friend of mine emailed a pet medication website vetdepot when she had a really sick cat and they gave her an extra discount when she purchased until her cat passed. They are at Hope this helps.

  6. Hi Dd…Willow is a gift from God. She arrived in your life as a gift. When her time comes, she will leave your life's experience richer due to the gift she has been.

    Tough decisions? Sure. Your quote from The Little Prince says it all.

    You once told me that our beloved pets will let you know when it is time for them to leave. As hard as it is, trust that.

    And in the meantime, trust God. For all of creation rests in God's loving hands…even our beloved Willow whom God surely shelters and guides much like the lilies of the field…


  7. DeeJ, this is such a heart-felt post, and it's obvious how much you care for Willow. Our cat is almost 17, and we've been to the vet twice in the past 3 months asking some of those same questions. I see her losing weight and wonder “How much longer?” But she doesn't seem to be in any pain, and she continues to enjoy our affections and return them. I think even as pets age, you just try to do what's best and intervene when they suffer.
    Your quote is absolutely correct–I wish all pet owners felt that responsibility.

  8. Sparverius says:

    What difficult place to be. Those are such hard decisions. I see my 12 year old dog showing more and more signs of growing old. Weight loss, arthritis, poor eyesight, hearing loss. My heart goes out to you.

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