How to put a cat to sleep?
July 11, 2006 11:47 AM   Subscribe

My roommate's cat is sick, very sick.

It needs to be put to sleep, but my roommate refuses to have it done -- "I couldn't kill her - she's my baby." The cat hardly eats, her hair is falling out, I think she is even missing a few teeth, has a hard time walking ,throws up all over the damn place - the cat is basically dying of old age and is very miserable, very ill tempered, and never happy.

My roommate knows that it is time to put it down, we've had conversations about it and she agrees that it is the right thing to do. She's says she might do it someday. But I really doubt she'll ever do anything about it - she procrastinates to get anything done. I've tried to convince heron numerous occasions to take the cat to the vet and put it to sleep and she's says she'll think about it. She has very few friends besides my (very new) relationship with her and her cat, so I can't call in the calvary here. She uses the cat as an excuse to keep from doing things she's been invited to do.

So I've thought about doing it myself, without her knowledge. It's for the cat's good and for her good. If do it I'd like it to be painless for the kitty and without arousing any suspicion from my roommate. I just don't know where to start, I've never considered doing something like this before. So what's the best way to put a cat to sleep?
posted by the giant pill to Pets & Animals (48 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: sorry, this is not the place for advice on killing others' pets.

 
Oh boy. This isn't going to go well at all.
posted by contessa at 11:48 AM on July 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


What you're talking about is illegal. Clearly and unambigously.

I don't think we should give you advice on how to break the law.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:50 AM on July 11, 2006


"She has very few friends besides my (very new) relationship with her and her cat"

So what: you just moved in?

You're basically the roommate from hell, aren't you? If you want to do your roommate a favor, find a new place to live.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:53 AM on July 11, 2006 [2 favorites]


ok, so maybe i've thought the same thing ... but i managed to win that moral struggle by myself. good luck in that regard.

i would suggest taking the cat in for a checkup, not to euthanize it. that way, you'll have the vet on your side.
posted by lester at 11:56 AM on July 11, 2006


You're basically the roommate from hell, aren't you? If you want to do your roommate a favor, find a new place to live.

That will really help this person with their problem.

Giant Pill: you need to talk to your roommate about this. Say you like the cat and you can't stand watching them both suffer. Ask if she'd like you to help out with this and make it very very clear what you think "help" is. I think forthrightness can help you here. Don't go and kill somebody's cat without their permission.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 11:57 AM on July 11, 2006


You're basically the roommate from hell, aren't you? If you want to do your roommate a favor, find a new place to live.

+1
posted by SpecialK at 11:58 AM on July 11, 2006


I just don't know where to start, I've never considered doing something like this before.

Probably because it is wrong, so very, very wrong.

So what's the best way to put a cat to sleep?

Taking it to the vet (with the owners permission).
posted by necessitas at 12:00 PM on July 11, 2006


As others have pointed out your desired actions are illegal, your best bet will probably be to convince the roomate it's time to put the cat to sleep.

Perhaps offer to take the cat for her, so the cat will have someone with it in the end, but the roomate doesn't need to go through the pain of watching her beloved pet die?

What does the VET think? Is the vet urging her to put the cat asleep?

If your roommate is as attached to the cat as you say she is, she probably doesn't want to wake up one morning soon with a dead cat on her pillow. When the animal is not enjoying any aspect of life, it's time to put it out of its misery.
posted by lynda at 12:01 PM on July 11, 2006


MetaTalk
posted by necessitas at 12:07 PM on July 11, 2006


You can't honestly think that killing your roommate's cat is a good idea.

Go to the vet--with the cat and roommate if you can, but definitely do not take the cat without permission, and just call or go on your own if necessary. Talk to the vet about how to show your roommate that euthanasia is the humane choice at this point.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:08 PM on July 11, 2006


If she's using her ailing cat as an excuse to not go out, then it's likely that she wants an excuse to not go out. Removing the cat will not remove this not-going-out behavior of which you disapprove.

If she isn't ready to put the cat down, she isn't ready to put the cat down. It's her damn cat. Her "prostrastinating" is likely actually "stalling until you find something else to bug her about because she'll make up her mind when she's ready to do so and also, it's her damn cat."

If you were to try to kill this cat in some supposedly unsuspicious way, it's likely that you wouldn't actually get the cat to die, and then you'll be accompanying your roommate to the animal ER and watching her pay incredibly high vet bills to save her cat.

You may wish to live with someone else, who does not have an older pet. The situation you describe is not particularly uncommon among owners of older pets. A quick search of the pets tag may prove enlightening.
posted by desuetude at 12:09 PM on July 11, 2006


Oh, my. This is a tough one. IANAL, but I think the only person who can make this decision is the cat's guardian. If you want to help her, offer to drive her to the vet and support her in making this decision. That's all you can do - no matter how much the cat is suffering, you have no legal or moral right to do anything else.

And you should absolutely not consider putting the cat to sleep yourself. While you may have the best intentions in the world, only a vet can do that. They can do it painlessly and quickly - you cannot. Anything you can get hold of may end up causing the cat more pain and suffering.

Talk to her about the quality of life the cat is having, and how it may be the merciful thing to do. But respect her decision - she is the one who has to make it and live with it.
posted by baggers at 12:11 PM on July 11, 2006


I feel your pain, but it is not your place to make these decisions for your roommate. On the ethics scale this is somewhere between telling her boyfriend that you don't like a lie about her fidelity to try to end the relationship, and locking her up in a basement to break her of her bad smoking habit. This is an irreversible move and it's illegal and it's a big step down the slippery slope towards creepily micro-managing another person's life and responsibilities. However, if the cat is affecting your life in the house, it's appropriate to insist she take the cat to the vet for medicines to control hard-to-live-with symptoms. The vet will guide your roommate towards euthanasia if that is really the kindest thing, but even vets can't force the issue. If the cat is not affecting your life but merely dragging towards death in an unattractive way, then all you can do is try not to watch or move -- it's between your roommate and the cat. Also, try to be more sympathetic -- for many (young) people dealing with old pets is the most difficult responsibility they've ever had to cope with and procrastinating the decision away is indicative of how heartwrenching it is.
posted by dness2 at 12:13 PM on July 11, 2006


Could everyone stop moralising and tell the OP how to kill a cat without the owner noticing, please?
posted by jon_kill at 12:14 PM on July 11, 2006


"...doing it myself, without her knowledge."

I don't have a cat or a dog but if I did and I came home to find that my relatively new roommate had intentionally killed my cat I WOULD BEAT MY ROOMMATE UNCONSCIOUS before I did anything else.

This is a very bad idea.
posted by 517 at 12:15 PM on July 11, 2006


I had a cat as a kid, my previous statement was not hyperbole.
posted by 517 at 12:17 PM on July 11, 2006


You just moved in, you don't think your new roommate is going out and doing enough social things, so you think the way to fix this is to kill her ailing cat, without her permission or knowledge, and now you're asking us how you should do it?

First off, I would approach your family doctor, or, if you have one, your psychiatrist, and I would tell them what you've told us. They should be able to help you with your problem.
posted by bshort at 12:20 PM on July 11, 2006


And I have to continue, based on my experience this spring, dealing with old pets only gets marginally easier even when you're not really young anymore or going through it for the first time. I still procrastinated longer than my emotionally uninvolved friends thought I should. I'm sure they were tempted at some level to do the deed for me, but I love them because they were as patient with me as I was with my cat.
posted by dness2 at 12:20 PM on July 11, 2006


I never really thought about the legality of it. It just seemed the right thing to do, I don't want her to have to deal with the decision of killing her own cat. She has a *really* tough time just thinking about it.. But I as I read these posts, I guess that's is the right thing to do, have her decide it is the right thing to do. What is the best way to convince her to do this? She hasn't taken the cat to the vet in the past six months or so since she's moved in with me. I think she might be afraid of the costs. What would something like this cost? I'd be more then glad to pay the bill.
posted by the giant pill at 12:21 PM on July 11, 2006


Ironically, this very same cat has called me with a question of it's own...

The cat has noticed that a new person has moved into the house, and said person isn't very healthy for subject cat and beloved owner's relationship.

The cat has asked me for advice on how to dispose of the new person without her beloved owner finding out.
posted by matty at 12:22 PM on July 11, 2006


If you killed the cat or had it euthanized without the guardian's consent, I would not be sypathetic to you if she returned the favor while you were sleeping. Pet lovers can be very protective and extremely irrational when it comes to this sort of thing. While it may be the cat's time to go, it is not your business and you are treading on dangerous ground. If you did what you are thinking to my cat, I would probably murder you.

Move out.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:22 PM on July 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


Self plug on cats and how owners can feel about them:

Shadow's Story.

Maybe this will change your mind on how you view your roomates feelings about her cat - and how you have no right to intrude - regardless of the end result.
posted by matty at 12:25 PM on July 11, 2006


Your profile says you're in Arizona.
Arizona Anti-Cruelty Statutes

Pay attention to #5. What you are asking is specifically illegal.

Now, if you truly are concerned, contact your local ASPCA or animal control and report the situation.
posted by zerokey at 12:25 PM on July 11, 2006


Hypothetically speaking, cats like to drink antifreeze. It smells good to them or something.
posted by Justinian at 12:25 PM on July 11, 2006


However, DONT KILL YOUR ROOMMATES CAT.
posted by Justinian at 12:26 PM on July 11, 2006


"Dear AxMe, my new roommate is obsessed with my social life and seems to hate my cat. What's the best way to report him to the police without inviting retribution from this deranged individual?"
posted by bshort at 12:26 PM on July 11, 2006


A hammer would work pretty well. Maybe put a towel down first. Just be swift and confident and the cat won't know what hit it.
posted by xmutex at 12:26 PM on July 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


What would something like this cost?

Um, probably less than $100, given you're not going to want to pay for life-saving medicine, just for comfort medicine.

You've had misguided thoughts, but your heart seems in the right place. It might help to try spending a little money indulging the cat as much as you can: baloney bits, daily milk dollops, a luxurious place of honor in a sunspot. You probably won't kill the cat off faster and you might get appreciative geriatric leg rubs which may help make living with the cat a little easier.
posted by dness2 at 12:30 PM on July 11, 2006


You might an idea or two here
posted by clearlynuts at 12:32 PM on July 11, 2006


But I as I read these posts, I guess that's is the right thing to do, have her decide it is the right thing to do. What is the best way to convince her to do this? She hasn't taken the cat to the vet in the past six months or so since she's moved in with me. I think she might be afraid of the costs. What would something like this cost? I'd be more then glad to pay the bill.

Afaik, costs will vary depending on the vet and the area you live in. Just call a couple of vets and ask them what an office visit will cost, and also, how much to euthanize a sick cat? If the cost isn't prohibitive for you, I think it would be a nice gesture to tell your roommate that you're concerned that she is having to go through this difficult time while also worrying about money, and assure her that you will pay for (or help her pay for) the visit to the vet.

It's entirely possible that a vet visit will provide a solution that does not involve euthanizing the cat at this time. You might try that as a selling point in convincing her to take the cat to the vet.
posted by joannemerriam at 12:32 PM on July 11, 2006


the giant pill: Good on you for the second thoughts.

As far as a vet visit - why not have a vet out? They do make house calls, and that would be a lot more comfortable for your roommate and the cat as well. If your roommate ends up choosing euthanasia, that can be done at home as well. I know that's a comfort I'll give all my animals.
posted by pocams at 12:34 PM on July 11, 2006


Perhaps also the work of US Senator Bill Frist might be of interest in regards to killing kittens.
posted by xmutex at 12:37 PM on July 11, 2006


Talk to your roommate and explain to her that the cat might be suffering & that it's had a long life & the kindest thing to do would be to let it shuffle off, with a little help. There are vets that will come to your house to put the cat to sleep, so that the cat will not have to suffer a trip to the vet & will be comfortable in it's own home. Call around, ask some vets & find out who will do it & offer that info. to your roommate. Then maybe you can offer to donate a little $$ to an animal shelter as a way to honor the cat. Be sympathetic, it's not easy to see a beloved pet age, and even harder to make the decision to put it to sleep. That decision, however, is absolutely not yours.
posted by Alpenglow at 12:38 PM on July 11, 2006


You will want to administer a heavy dosage of pentobarbital. "Trade names include Euthasol, Euthatal, Beuthanasia-D and Fatal Plus." There are others. You may need to break the law to purchase these drugs unless you have a veterinary license.

The suggested dose of pentobarbital depends on the product you use. You may wish to preanesthetize with ketamine.

Be sure to clear any air before administering the barbituate or a very painful stroke could result before, finally, death.

Tanita makes a great line of veterinary scales.

You may wish to have a professional perform this service for you, instead.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:40 PM on July 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


Everything old is new again.

Hypothetically speaking, I know of someone who has eliminated a few problems with some carelessly laid out bowls of antifreeze.
posted by unixrat at 12:40 PM on July 11, 2006


You may want to encourage your roommate to call the C.A.R.E. Pet Loss Helpline. It's a toll free number from a that, in their words, "was developed to provide a supportive outlet for people experiencing the actual or anticipated loss of their cherished companion animal." (I've no affiliation with C.A.R.E., nor have I used them. I'm sure there are others out there. It's just my google-fu came up with).

What would something like this cost?

Anecdotal: My SO and I had a very small puppy foisted upon us as we were smoking on her balcony very late at night last year. The guy said he found it in the bushes and had cats at home so couldn't take it. We cared for him overnight and took him to the vet the next morning. He wound up being diagnosed with distemper and the vet highly recommended we have him put down instead of forcing him to suffer terrible seizures and mental distress.

It was around $50, total. Seems worth it to me.
posted by Ufez Jones at 12:40 PM on July 11, 2006


If you have logistical-roommate-type problems with the cat, such as the hair falling out everywhere, or the puking, then that's a legitimate beef that you need to take up with the roommate. Anything that falls under "consequences of shared living" deserves to be discussed and brought to resolution, because you are the roommate and you deserve that.

But anything further from that is none of your damn business. This includes her feelings, and the cat's well-being. If she is not yet ready to let go, then that's just how it is, and it's not your place to decide. You can try to convince her to get the cat put down, but it sounds like you've already tried that and failed. If you did kill her cat you would be an absolutely horrible, horrible person and I hope that she takes a tire iron to your head if she ever found out.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:41 PM on July 11, 2006


To second 517 if someone, even a well-meaning someone euthanized any of my animals I could easily imagine myself killing that person if I was not immediately restrained. Some of us have stronger relationships with our animals than others and a situation like that is unlikely to end in a rational, thoughtful response.

Try to get the cat some help, I know how ugly aging cats can get and sometimes putting them down is the only humane response but this is an emotional decision as much as a logical one and only the owner can make it.
posted by Skorgu at 12:42 PM on July 11, 2006


You have to get this cat to a vet. If it as bad as you say it is, no self-respecting vet would recommend keeping the poor thing alive. A vet trip alone really isn't that expenisve - it's the meds, etc that will get you.

Convince your roommate that she needs to take her cat to the vet, if only so she can make it's last days more comfortable. Painkillers, that sort of thing. Go with her. If the vet doesn't bring it up, mention euthenasia as an option, or even ask how much longer the cat has, and will he suffer during his remaining days, etc. If its necessary, let the vet make the recommendation, and let the vet deal with your roommate's concerns. That's their job, they do it all the time, and frankly, are better at it than you will be.

Putting down a beloved pet is one of the harder things to do in life. (Trust me, I know). Even when you know it's the right thing, it's very hard to 'pull the trigger', so to speak. Your roommate needs time to say goodbye, in her own way, SO NO KILLING THE CAT ON YOUR OWN.

If the vet does recommend euthenasia, offer to set up an apointment in the near future to have it done. This will give her time to say goodbye, to face the inevitable, and a date she's committed to. Go with your roommate when the time coes. Be a good friend. Act like you would if it was a close friend of hers that just died, because that's what it is.

It cost me a lousy $25 to have my 19 year old baby examined and put down last year.
posted by cgg at 12:45 PM on July 11, 2006


I think encouraging her to take the cat to the vet is a good approach. You're not qualified to make the call if the cat is ready to be 'put down' or not. Maybe it's treatable. The vet will either be able to help alleviate some of the kitty's suffering (everyone wins!) or will be an excellent advocate for euthanasia IF that's the most humane choice for her furry friend. Any vet will have experience helping gaurdians make those difficult choices. That's who you should be pointing her to, not appointing yourself the new kitty doctor. You wouldn't do that if it was her dad who was sick, so don't do it when it's her cat.
posted by raedyn at 12:45 PM on July 11, 2006


AVMA guidelines for euthanasia


among the many non-humane ways to kill lab animals is the classic old gasoline shot. don't believe those who say it isn't done anymore
posted by matteo at 12:46 PM on July 11, 2006


Care And Use of Animals At Rutgers
X. Animal Euthanasia
posted by matteo at 12:47 PM on July 11, 2006


I guess that's is the right thing to do, have her decide it is the right thing to do. What is the best way to convince her to do this?

Hahahahaha
posted by prostyle at 12:47 PM on July 11, 2006


Fixed euthanasia link.
posted by Skorgu at 12:48 PM on July 11, 2006


"My roommate's grandmother hardly eats, her hair is falling out, I think she is even missing a few teeth, has a hard time walking, throws up all over the damn place - the grandmother is basically dying of old age and is very miserable, very ill tempered, and never happy....My roommate knows that it is time to put her down....So what's the best way to put Grandma to sleep?"

Sarcasm aside, here's an alternative viewpoint. My good friends had a cat near the end of her long life. The cat was old and a bit grumpy due to arthritis, but she still came around to cuddle them, and they loved her. She got more and more tired, doing less and less, sleeping more and more. They just kept a blanket next to the woodstove for her to lie on, and eventually, she just died. This process seemed okay to me. I don't think that speeding the cat to the grave would've been so much more noble of them. Maybe the way your roommate is handling the situation is okay.
posted by salvia at 12:49 PM on July 11, 2006


the AVMA euthanasia link above didn't work, this does work, it's a pdf file
posted by matteo at 12:50 PM on July 11, 2006




May be you should get another cat . It might be easier for your friend to accept the inevitable if there were a kitten in the house.
posted by Sara Anne at 12:58 PM on July 11, 2006


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