Aging in Cats – A Goodbye

The vet tells you that you’ll know when it’s time. But it isn’t an easy decision.


Over the weekend, Patches’ appetite disappeared, despite appetite stimulants. I thought to myself on Friday night, hm, maybe she only has a week or so left.

On Saturday I looked at her and thought, maybe it’s only a couple of days…

By Saturday night, I was terrified that she only had hours.

I’d read online that she would experience a lack of energy. I’d also been told by acquaintances that the rate of decline would suddenly happen rather than gradually. My experience over the weekend proved that to be correct. Once she’d stopped eating, it was just all downhill.

To drink water, she’d often dip her head very low into the bowl, getting the side of her face drenched. Her drool was bad. She had lost strength in her limbs, so she couldn’t jump onto things. We would instead find her passed out in random spots of the house, like the hallway or in front of the coffee table. I’d put her on my lap, but she didn’t want to stay. My usually loud girl would give this pathetic meep. Her face was so sunken in it almost looked swollen.

Losing a cat is hard. I personally think it’s harder to see them in the state that I saw Patches. I begged her to eat dinner, and cried when realizing that she wouldn’t.

Before she was just my pet, Patches was a family pet. My cousin and her daughters had made plans this week to visit Patches. My brother was supposed to come too. My parents asked that they be kept posted on her condition. So when I made the decision that she needed to visit the emergency vet, it meant that it was a family event.

When we brought her in, her vitals said her body temperature was down and that she wasn’t breathing well, so she was placed on a heating pad in a My brother and his girlfriend met us at the emergency vet, so that the doctor could talk to all of us together.

While she wasn’t in pain, Patches was in discomfort. The vet said that maybe she would live another day or two. However, my husband and I felt that it wasn’t worth living another couple of days if she was living the way she was, if not worse.

They gave us time to say goodbye to Patches first. They brought her after they had put the catheter in. Most places will let you decide if you want to be present during euthanasia. If you decide to be present, it’s also optional to have your pet on the table or in your lap. I chose to have Patches on my brother and my lap.

They give the animal two injections. One is a sedative, and the other stops the heart. The vet will check for a heartbeat afterward to confirm the animal has passed. I’ve had a few fosters put to sleep before, so I was familiar with the process, but it was hard for my brother to witness. Normally when the animal receives the sedative, they get heavy and their tongue falls out of their mouth. I knew it was Patches’ time when the vet gave her sedative, and her condition didn’t even change.

I asked them to return Patches to me in the blanket I had in her carrier, which was the same blanket that she had when I brought her home from college. We took her straight to the cremation place, since they’re open 24 hours. I’d already ordered her urns ahead of time a week prior.

Patches is in two identical urns. One will stay with me, and the other will be sent to my parents. She was my cat, but she was loved by my entire family.


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