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Is In-Home Euthanasia Right for You and Your Cat?

In-home euthanasia may be available for your cat.

End-of-life issues are difficult, whether you're talking about a human or a cat. Still, when it comes to your cat, it is possible to use euthanasia to help end or avoid suffering.

If you are nearing a point where you must consider euthanasia for your feline friend, please know that those of us at CatHealth.com understand what a difficult time this is for you and how hard the decision can be.

Here, we hope to provide you with some information on in-home euthanasia that you may be able to use to help you during this painful time.

What Is Euthanasia?

Euthanasia is the process of using a medication to peacefully cause death. Usually, in cats, euthanasia is accomplished by an intravenous injection of an overdose of anesthetic. The doctor may place an IV catheter into your cat's vein and inject the medication through that, or he or she may inject directly into a vein.

When the injection begins, a cat will usually lose consciousness within a few moments. The heartbeat and respirations stop at some point after that. How long the process takes depends on the individual cat. Cats with heart conditions, poor blood pressure, or certain tumors may take longer to respond to the drug.

Sedatives may or may not be administered to your cat before the euthanasia solution is given. This will depend on your cat's condition, temperament, and concurrent medical conditions. Sedatives may cause a decrease in blood pressure that could make finding and hitting the vein with the needle containing the euthanasia solution more difficult, so the doctor will take everything into account before recommending for or against these pre-medications.

How Do I Know When to Consider Euthanasia for My Cat?

The decision to euthanize your beloved cat is bound to be a highly emotional one. Your veterinarian is best suited to help guide you through this process.

If your cat is no longer participating in or enjoying activities that he once loved because of pain or weakness, it may be time to consider euthanasia. Depending on your cat's diagnosis, your veterinarian can help determine if there are other treatments that may help keep your cat comfortable and what the expected course of the illness is.

Is In-Home Euthanasia Right for My Cat and Me?

Many people hope for their cat to pass away peacefully in his sleep. Unfortunately, that is not a particularly common occurrence, and it may only happen after extensive suffering. More often, a decision to euthanize must be made at some point.

For many people and cats, having the euthanasia performed at home is a good option. It can allow both the humans and the kitty to feel more comfortable. For cats that are afraid of car rides and get scared at the veterinarian's office, euthanasia at home is an especially attractive option. People don't want their cat's final moments to be filled with fear and anxiety.

If your cat's condition allows for it, it's best to have a detailed conversation with your veterinarian before the euthanasia, to learn what steps will occur and what will happen, exactly. There are some unpleasant things that can occur during a euthanasia, so it's important to be aware of them, so they won't alarm or scare you if they do happen. Be sure that any questions or concerns you have are thoroughly discussed with your veterinarian before you make a decision on in-home euthanasia.

If you decide to pursue an in-home euthanasia, your veterinarian should first walk you through decisions on what you would like to do with your kitty after he's gone (cremation and burial are common options, but burial may not be legal in your area).

Be sure to think through all aspects of your decision to have an in-home euthanasia for your cat. Consider such things as how you will feel about having memories of the euthanasia associated with your home rather than with a room at a veterinary clinic, where you won't have to dwell daily. Be honest with yourself and your innermost feelings and wishes, and rely on your veterinarian for advice, as well.

When done at home, there can usually be more flexibility in the conditions of the euthanasia. You can have it done in your cat's favorite room and cat bed if you want, or you can hold your kitty.

The decision to euthanize your beloved cat can be excruciating. Being allowed to go through the process in the privacy of your own home can be a lovely gift for both your cat and you.

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Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at CatHealth.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site. Just Answer is an external service not affiliated with CatHealth.com.