The decision to end a life is never easy as the bond between the cat and the owner is a very special one. It is easy to become emotionally caught up in keeping a pet alive when your own common sense tells you there is no hope of it regaining its health. A good vet will help you to decide when it is time to let go. You need to consider things from the cat’s point of view.
** Is your cat in incurable pain or continual discomfort which cannot be alleviated by drugs?
** Has it suffered severe injuries from which it will never recover?
** Does it have an age-related condition that cannot be alleviated and which now causes misery e.g. advanced senility or incontinence?
** Is it suffering from a terminal illness, maybe one related to extreme old age, which has now reduced its quality of life to such a point that it is no longer happy?
The decision almost always causes much soul-searching, especially if you and your cat have been companions for several years. What matters to the cat is the quality of life, not the length of life since a cat has little concept of future time. An illness may be treatable for a period of time, but there eventually comes a point when the cat no longer enjoys life. He may be in visible distress, withdrawn, or incontinent. If you are unsure, your vet will be able to advise you, but he cannot make the decision for you.
Having seen your cat when he is happy and healthy, most owners recognize the signs given by a cat that is miserable or uncomfortable and a caring owner will realize that is their duty to prevent further suffering by offering the cat a painless release from life.
Modern drugs are extremely fast-acting and the end is very peaceful compared to the latter stages of a terminal illness or age-related illness. Your vet will administer an overdose of the anesthetic by injection and the cat will simply fall into a painless and final sleep. If, during its life, your cat has been a cherished member of your family, this is the last, and often most compassionate, duty you can perform for it.