My cat has had a great 20-year life full of affection, good food, lolling in the sun and catching mice, and though I'd like her to have more, I can't manage it. How can I think about this most wisely? I want to feel better than I do. I feel horrible. Conversely, is there some option I have missed?
I've done everything I can, and the only thing I have left to do next still doesn't feel right. I have set a date to have her put to sleep, the 24th. The backstory is complicated, but I will try to condense it. Basically, I need to go out of the country for a couple of months, and maybe longer next year, though by then I could probably take her with me. I need to go again to be with the one who loves me, the only person who did in these 40+ years. He couldn't get a visa to come here. Last year I left her alone with an expensive pet sitter to come and do the subcutaneous fluids daily. Honey (nickname) was freako from being alone. She depends on me for affection and serious tummy massage for her pain. She is very affectionate and doesn't mind being left with someone else in the house, but I couldn't get a real house sitter either.
I read these two threads on pet euthanasia
but they don't quite solve my problem.
Her quality of life is good, despite the kidney failure, if I am here all the time to care for her. I work from home, so I have taken very good care of her. About once a year or so she has an episode. One was bleeding in her urine over several random days. One was can't eat and vomiting yellow slime. I take her to the vet and he gives me the technical fix and I go home and nurse her back to a stable state. I have been giving her subcu fluids for almost 4 years. She loves getting them. It's an 8-minutes' break of comfort and affection.
Were she a person, the person would say, "Let me live." I knew someone who died of cancer last week. He didn't choose euthanasia to avoid the decline, and I don't believe my cat wants to give up the ghost, though she was almost that bad during her episodes at times. But I need to have a life too. I have tried to get someone to care for her for a couple of months, but haven't found anyone who can cope with all of the above, and I can't really afford the pet sitter at $17 a day on top of everything else. She can't be in a kennel because she can't get the shots. Too weak. Ditto for getting her teeth cleaned again, too weak for anaesthetic. She can get a rabies-free certificate without a shot, and she might survive that one long flight in future if she gets the chance.
I had to euthanize a very sick cat before. I held him at the vet's office. He was basically on IV and would have had to stay on it. He was ready to go. I don't agree on avoiding the decline, as I don't believe she is "ready to die." I will take her to the vet and she will not be nervous or scared. She will go peacefully, and I will always have a wound of guilt inside me. It's like killing part of myself that's not ready to go. But I need to have my life.