I'm about to lose two cats at once.

I know this has been coming, but I haven’t wanted to admit it. I have three cats who have stayed with my parents since I moved to NYC - Isabelle (Izzy) who is fifteen, nearly sixteen; Hurricane, who’s my brother’s cat technically, but he no longer lives here - he’s thirteen; and Rugby, the ‘baby’ at ten who’s your basic tomcat-wandering-the-neighborhood. In addition, when I moved back in five months ago, I brought along Oscar and Emmy, my Brooklyn cats.

Isabelle is my old girl - I got her when I was twelve and she’s definitely my cat - she loves me. She sees me come home from work and immediately comes to me, wanting to be pet, if we’re both inside, she wants to sit on my lap, and she’s been my girl forever. She has always been overweight and recently tipped the scales at 20 lbs (she’s actually lost weight in the past two years - she used to weigh in at 26). We tried putting her on diets nearly all of her life and nothing seemed to work. But she’s been a happy, healthy cat aside from the obesity until a couple of years ago when she developed arthritis. It’s gotten progressively worse over the past two years and now it’s to the point where it hurts her simply to walk.

Hurricane is our ‘drive-thru’ cat. My mom saw him under the drive-thru sign at McDonalds with his brother one afternoon, and called me to go pick them up. We did, brought him home (his brother went to neighbors) and he quickly became a part of the family. Sadly, several years later, he was lost for a week during the hottest part of a summer - temps reached over 100 degrees the entire week - and he developed brain damage. He did return home, but has been skittish and scared of shadows since then. He knows that he lives here and he knows that we feed him, but he’s still afraid of us and rarely lets us pet him. I noticed a few weeks ago that he’s been losing weight and today when I got home from work, it was extremely noticeable - he refuses to eat more than a bite or two a day, and he just looks gaunt and sick - he’s not even acting normal for him. My parents have said that they’ve noticed him several times acting like he’s in pain. I have a sixth sense about my cats - I knew when one of my cats had stomach cancer when I was 12, and I get that same feeling with Hurricane. There’s something wrong beyond aging. Apparently, I’m not alone in that.

I mentioned both of them to my mother and said maybe we should make an appointment with the vet. My mother said she didn’t want to take them to the vet because they’d both been through enough, and when I said that maybe it’s time to think about letting them both go, we both started crying. She and my dad have thought the same thing, but none of us have wanted to say the words before. And the subject has come up before, but none of us have wanted to admit that it might be time. And I’ve always said that Izzy would let me know when it’s time - I think she’s telling me that it’s time. I don’t want her to hurt anymore. I know her life is that of constant pain, and we’ve tried everything at this point. Last time we took her to the vet, he said he wasn’t willing to do anything else to her and if she got worse, it was time to think about our options. And with Hurricane - I just want him to be at peace for once.

I know the vet will say that it’s our decision ultimately. I’m calling him tomorrow to take both cats into see him as soon as possible. This is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but I know it will be the best decision that I can make for them. They count on me to keep them safe and healthy and out of pain and it’s not fair to let them continue to be in pain. They have been loved and well-cared for their entire lives and this is just one more thing I can do for them to show them that I love them.

It would really help to hear from others who have had to make this decision. I need to know that I’m doing the right thing. If this post sounds very matter-of-fact, it’s because I’m at my computer trying not to sob and being matter-of-fact about this is the only way I can think of not to do this.



Hi avabeth, I’ve never been in your situation, but I can feel for you. I thought I was going to have to euthanize my cat and it was very sad. It takes courage to realize that it’s time. If you think your cats are suffering, then it probably is the right thing to do.

Poor dear… no, it doesn’t sound matter-of-fact, sounds like you love your cats very much and it’ll be really hard on you. Well, this is a really difficult step, but as you already know it’s what’s best for your kitties.

See it like this: they should be allowed to go to sleep safe and sound accompanied by somebody who loves them instead of having to endure more pain.

Hugs to you and courage for the hard trip it’ll be for you. Keep your head up, you know their spirit will live on in all the memories you have of them.

I’ve been in your shoes, avabeth, and the decision is never an easy one. But you’re the one who knows best when your animals are saying it’s time to go. It’s going to hurt, a lot, but you’ll know you did the right thing for them.

I’m so sorry you have to do this, though!

Oh my, I am so sorry. I had to have my first cat, Baby, put to sleep a little over three years ago, and it hurt like hell. But he had kidney failure and his quality of life, at thirteen, was down the tubes.

Two things got me through it. The first was knowing that I was doing for my cat what I wouldn’t ever be able to have done for me, if the necessity developed. Baby is now free from pain, and although my faith doesn’t take my pets into account, I like to go with a quote from Martin Luther, who said it wouldn’t really seem like Heaven if there weren’t any dogs.

The second thing that helped was that I knew that I would soon get another cat. Didn’t know where from, just that I would. There is the humane shelter, the no-kill shelter for cats, and the paper. Tobermory, my second cat, came from my sister and BIL, who had been taking care of him as an outdoor cat(they had elderly indoor cats that didn’t need the stress)

I wasn’t being disrespectful to Baby. It was a way of honoring him actually, by taking in another animal that needed help NOW.
I live alone and it was sad to come home to an empty house.

I will be thinking of you at this difficult time. You just do what you feel is right, and email if you want to talk more.


It’s never an easy thing to decide is it? I don’t know what else to say other than pray and pray and then pray some more. Eventually, though it may hurt, you WILL come to the right decision for both you and your cats. It may not be easy, or fun, but it will be the right decision, whatever that happens to be.

And if nothing else, you know there are people here who support you.

Avabeth, I’ve been in your place except my cat was still a kitten at the time. It doesn’t make it any easier, though. You love your cats and it clearly shows in your post. You’re doing the right thing – no worries about that. Your cats have had a good life and like you said, they’re not the same anymore. Subjecting them to more trauma is just not right.

When the time comes, I hope that the members of your family who can manage will go with you to the vet’s office. You don’t have to see the vets euthanise the cats; that is up to you. Against everyone’s advice, I went into the exam room and held my kitten as he was euthanised. It felt silly to tell people that I’d promised him I’d be there until the very end, but it was true. I’d like to think that seeing me there, he was not as scared as he could have been had he been in the room by himself.

Small word of advice: before going into the vet’s office, state what you’re there for (which it looks like you have done) and what you’d like them to do with your cats’ bodies (bury, return to you for your burial, cremation). This will make things easier because the last thing you want to think about at that time is filling out paperwork.

Give yourself time to mourn. They have been great mates. You’ve loved them, and they know this well.

All the best, Avabeth.

I really appreciate the responses, more than you can know. This really is devastatingly difficult and at this point, I’m trying not to jump to conclusions before I call the vet tomorrow. I just feel like I know what needs to happen. And I have my other cats, I have Oscar and Emmy, and Rugby, who’s a sweet, sweet boy (and this is going to be incredibly difficult on him since Izzy is his big sister and he is extremely protective of Hurricane), but every single one of these cats is special to me in their own way, and losing any of them will hurt like hell.

The worst part is that my parents know, too - they love these cats, too, and this is hard on both of them. My dad will go to the vet with me - I know my mom won’t be able to handle it - and whatever happens, we’re all in agreement that it’s not fair to keep both of them in pain.

I just went out to the garage to check on them, and while I was there, I picked up Hurricane. I’d be surprised if he weighs more than four pounds. At his last vet visit last year, he weighed nine pounds. And I’m sitting here watching my healthy Oscar sleeping on a suitcase near me - he never sleeps in here while I’m on the computer, but he’s been following me around since my mom and I talked. I think he knows that something’s up and he wants to comfort me. Nobody can ever tell me that cats aren’t sensitive to their humans’ needs.

I so appreciate the responses. It’s funny, a very close friend of mine was given some bad news about her dog last week and I know her heart was breaking because I know how much her dog means to her. I don’t know how anyone can say that animals aren’t a part of the family. Izzy and Hurricane are definitely a part of ours.


And when I get home tonight, I will pick up my big, fat Dillinger kitty and my soft, perfect Gia kitty and I will cuddle them both and cry because I don’t know if I’ll ever be as strong as you are being right now. Going with them is one of the most beautiful, admirable gestures one can ever make towards a loved one. To hold them and assure them that while everyone has to endure this part of the journey, you won’t let them go through it scared and alone.

I hope when the day comes, I’m able to be there for my babies as well. hugs My thoughts are with you.

Of course they are; we just don’t speak Cat.

I’m glad your dad is going with you. Someone will need to drive you home. Perhaps the vet will be able to help prolong your cats’ lives a bit longer. That would be ideal. It’s good that your family is in agreement about what to do about your pets. It’s obvious that they are definitely well-loved members of your clan.

Thinking of you,

Maybe it will help to remember that your kitties have had a good life; so many don’t. And if your vet tells you this is all he can do, their last moments will be with their family. I have had to go through this before, and that made me feel a bit better. Crying helps too.

We had been household staff to Charlie, a fine ginger marmalade tom, since he was 6 weeks old. He had been everything one could ask for in a cat - demanding, stroppy, loud, condescending, beautiful, affectionate - the list is endless. As a cat person, you know that ALL cats are amazing.

Sadly, he started suffer the effects of progressive kidney and liver trouble and just over a year ago, at the age of 14, we had to make the decision to have him put to sleep. It was both the hardest, and easiest decision to have to make. Hard, because we knew we were going to miss him so much, and easy because we couldn’t bear to see him suffer.

I feel for you, and the decision you are faced with. Although Einmom said “they should be allowed to go to sleep safe and sound accompanied by somebody who loves them instead of having to endure more pain.” I think that is something that can only be decided by the individual. It was the last thing I felt I could do for him, although it broke my heart. Mr Sqwert felt he would rather say his goodbyes at home and couldn’t face the journey to the vets. Either way, your cats have had good lives, and they know you love them.

On a slightly more positive note, our remaining cat who was always very much the subordinate has blossomed. Out of Charlie’s impressive shadow has emerged a lovely little personality with a fine sense of humour. Like you say Avabeth, they are indeed sensitive to our needs, and she has done her best to help us get over his loss.

My thoughts are with you.

Ava, I’m sorry to hear about what you and your fur babies are going through. I “lost” my own dear girl 5 months ago, after a long battle with hyperthyroidism, hypertension and chronic renal failure. It was fairly easy for me to recognize when it was time to have her put out of her misery, but very difficult to actually do. I cried the whole way to the animal shelter, and the whole way home. I cried for several days afterward whenever I thought of her. And just the other day I drove past the shelter for the first time since I took her there, and started to cry again. And I feel tears coming now.

But I’m only crying for my own loss (which is nonetheless a good reason to feel sad); because I know I did the right thing by my girl (she was almost 17). To let her suffer would be the most selfish thing, and I loved her too much to do that to her.

I hope you can recognize when/if it’s time to release your kitties from this life. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

[ slight hijack]

Peg–people thought I was NUTS to be in the room holding Precious when we put her to sleep two years ago. They said ‘oh it’s just a cat’ (and you’ll probably hear some of that too, ava, and I don’t know about you, but seeing as your cats are part of the family the way mine are it’ll prolly piss you off like it did me no end) and that I was stupid to ‘interfere’ with the vet’s work as somebody put it.

I gave that person a hearty ‘Fuck off’.[/hijack]

Ava…keep your chin up and know that there are other kittylovers out there who support you, no matter the decision.

Also…as I have done with others, I offer up these simple poems as comfort for your grieving heart.

*Lend Me a Kitten
I will lend to you for a while a kitten, God said.
For you to love while he lives, and mourn when he’s dead.
Maybe for twelve or fourteen years, or maybe two or three.
But will you, 'till I call him back, take care of him for me?

He’ll bring his charms to gladden you and should his stay be brief,
you’ll always have his memories as solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return.
But there are lessons taught below I want this kitten to learn.

I’ve looked the whole world over in search of teachers true,
And from the folk that crowds life’s land I have chosen you.

Now will you give him all your love, nor think the labor vain?
Nor hate me when I come to take my kitten home again?

And my heart replied, “My Lord, Thy Will Be Done.”
For all the joys this kitten brings, the risk of grief I’ll run.

We’ll shelter him with tenderness, we’ll love him while we may.
And for the happiness that we’ve known, forever grateful stay.

But should you call him back much sooner than we planned,
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes, and try to understand.

If by our love we’ve managed your wishes to achieve,
in memory of his sweet sweet love, please help us while we grieve.

When our cherished kitten departs this world of strife,
Please send yet another needing soul for us to love all his life. *

The Cat’s Prayer
Although I am too proud to beg, and may appear to be a very independent creature, I ask for your loving care and attention. I rely on you for my well being much more than you may realize.
This I promise you, my benefactor, that I will not be a burden on you nor will I demand more of you than you care to give.

I will be a quiet peaceful island of serenity for you to gaze upon; a soft soothing body to caress, and I shall purr with pleasure to rest your weary ears.

Since I am a gourmet who appreciates different taste sensations, I pray you will give me a variety of nutritious foods and fresh water daily.

You know dear friend, how I love to go. Allow me, I pray, a warm sheltered place where I can rest peacefully and feel secure.

If I am wounded in battle or suffering from disease, please tend me gently, and see that I am treated by loving and competent hands.

Please protect me from the inhuman humans who would hurt and torture me for their own amusement. I am accustomed to your gentle touch and am not always suspicious nor swift enough to avoid such malicious acts.

In my later years when my senses fail me and my infirmities become to great to bear, allow me the comfort and dignity that I desire for my closing days and help me gently in my pain or passing.

Hear this prayer, my dear friend, my fate depends on you.

From the Tombstone of a Cat
'Tis false that all of pussy’s race
Regard not person but the place,
For here lies one, who, could she tell
Her stories by some magic spell
Would from the quitted barn and grove,
Her sporting haunts, to show her love
At sound of footsteps absent long
Of those she soothed with purring song,
Leap to their arms in fond embrace,
For love of them, and not for place.

Earl St.Vincent.
From the tombstone of a cat,
Meaford Hall, near Stone, Staffordshire, England.


IDBB, I started reading the poems and had to stop because I started to cry again. However, I’m going to save them in a Word file and keep them to read when I return from the vet and need something uplifting - thank you for posting them.

I’ll be with both of them if need be. With Izzy, it’s basically up to me to make the decision and I think she’s ready, as much as I don’t want to let her go - but I’m being selfish. She deserves to be able to go peacefully and she deserves to have me with her - she was there for me through middle school and high school when I was bullied and picked on - the least I can do is be there for her. With Hurricane, I’m hoping we can do something for him - get him on some sort of medication that can prolong his life - it’s just that after looking at him tonight, I realized what bad shape he’s in. And I don’t necessarily know that he’ll be able to survive without Izzy, either.

You all honestly do not know how touched I am by your words. I’ve been agonizing over this since I came home tonight and trying to convince myself that I’m making the right decision for Izzy, and that I’ll be able to do so for Hurricane if I need to. To know that others understand and were able to make the decision makes me feel much stronger. I’m so sorry for all of the losses that you’ve shared with me, and I’m grateful that you’ve taken the time to share them - I can’t say it enough - I truly appreciate that.


I’ve had to do this twice. My profound sympathies.
With my 16 year old tabby I knew what was wrong even before the vet did, much as you describe. And although I managed to keep him a little longer it was very much a relief to let him go at last so he wouldn’t hurt anymore, although I did. But I’d like to think he’s still with me in spirit at least as yours will surely be with you.

Well, you know I’m going through this right now and I have been through it twice before. Not with cats but with my dog, Tuck, who has lymphoma, really old and there is no cure for him, we’re just buying him time. However, I said that he would tell me when it’s time to leave and I know he will when it comes. His time isn’ t up yet.

However, at least you have long, long years with these cats and you have the time now to say goodbye. I had two horses taken from me very quickly. There was no last ride together. There was no last walks together. There was no long talks to say goodbye. It was a few minutes goodbye and they were gone at a very young age.

I’m glad that your parents are there to help you with the decision. I’m glad that my dad is here to help me with Tuck because no one helped me with Argyll and Monday (my horses). It was my decision and I was alone in making them. In that, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and to this day, as you may not know it, I still blame myself for alot of things that have happened.

Your decision is the right one. You don’t want Izzy to hurt anymore and you are willing to let her go despite your own pain and that spells incredible love for an animal. I only hope I have the same courage when it comes to Tuck’s time to go.

I know, hon:(. I’ve been thinking about you since my mom and I talked. And I hope you get the chance to meet Izzy and Hurricane when you get here but I’m not sure if it’s going to be possible - in any case, Oscar and Emmy will be happy to see their Aunt Jazz. But I did see how much Monday tore you up and I know you’ll be there for me when I need you - you were there when my grandma had her stroke. I think this weekend will be a much-needed time for all of us. The past two years have been tough, haven’t they?

dwyr, I think that’s the worst part. We let them go from their hurting, only to start our own hurt. But I’ll do whatever I can to make sure Izzy and Hurricane aren’t hurting anymore.


IDBB, you’ve made me cry. Sigh.

Ava, I’ve had to put one baby down, Fraidy, when he was less than a year old. He was a stray, and it wasn’t exactly like your situation, but it had to be done, and it hurt just as bad. I just lost my 6-year-old dog to lung cancer, and I have a diabetic cat who is 9 years old and wasn’t supposed to live past a year, and while she seems to be going strong, I have to live with the fact that she likely won’t reach the old age many cats see, and I’ll have to make the same painful decision you’re making now.

I’ve had to face the possibility of losing her three times before, once when she was first diagnosed with diabetes, once after I’d moved and didn’t realize the stress had spiked her blood sugar dangerously high, and once when she’d become a partially outdoor cat and the extra exercise made it necessary for us to give her less insulin, which we discovered when we found her in a coma in front of our door. Each time I’ve been devastated, but reminded myself I’ve given her more than many people would (I’ve had vets tell me they knew diabetic people who didn’t want to be bothered with the trouble to give their cat a shot each day), and I’ve given her a great life. She’s a happy, loving cat and I will miss her terribly when she finally decides to leave this world.

But you know your cats better than any vet possibly can, and you will know when it’s right. You’re supported here. {{{Ava}}}