Skip to comments.When to Put Down a Neurotic Cat?
Posted on 06/30/2012 8:05:22 PM PDT by Marie
Ten years ago my family adopted a stray, adult male cat from our local shelter. He took to me immediately, but would barely tolerate my kids. He flat-out hated my husband on sight and that never changed. He did form an uneasy truce with our dog. They basically agree to ignore each other.
He's at least 12 now and the years have not been good for him.
He's always been terribly nervous. He over-grooms to the point of self mutilation and there are months where his belly is completely bald. He spends his time under the bed. He moves through the house with his tail low, darting from safe-haven to safe-haven. He's the only animal I've ever had that refuses treats. He only eats dry kibble. And, in the summer he'll refuse to eat even that and go down to skin and bones.
He's flea free and well taken care of. The vet has never found anything physically wrong with him. Nothing has worked to make him happy except one thing.
Being alone with me. When the house is quiet and empty, he's a different animal. He's affectionate and playful. Relaxed. He's been a true comfort to me when my husband has been deployed. He and I have our daily rituals. We are true friends. I think that, had the two of us been tucked into a cabin the woods for all these years, he'd have been fine.
But now we're moving and we can't take him with us. My daughter had planned to take him for me, but now things have changed.
The disruption in the house has driven him mad. He's defecating all over the house for the first time. He's scratched his own throat terribly and I've just discovered that the wound is infected.
In the evening, for just an hour or so, he crawls into my lap for comfort. He relaxes and purrs and behaves like a happy, normal cat.
And then he's off again. Running and hiding from imaginary bad guys. Ripping out his hair and scratching himself bloody.
I've never had a problem putting down a sick animal. I know that there comes a point to let them go.
But he's not dying! He's just miserable and crazy. I know that, if he goes with my daughter's new family, he's going to be insane and drive her insane with the random pooping.
I don't think that it's fair to ask her to put up with this. She is buying her first house. And I don't think that it's fair to keep him in this miserable state.
But then we have that hour or so where he's a normal, happy cat and I don't think I can go through with Monday's euthanasia.
When is it time to let a crazy cat go?
It sounds like you already know the answer, you are just taking time to adjust to it.
Wow, please accept my sympathy.
My wife and I just put down our ancient girl (over 20). She had mild dementia for several years, but remained good natured. Her health went down hill very quickly and it was time.
Just pray and do what would be in the cat’s best interest.
Sorry Marie for the upset. It’s hard when you care for an animal but their behavior is less than desirable. It would be hard for me to put down a cat especially one that wasn’t physically ill.
These would be my suggestions:
If at all possible try to take him with you to your new place and get him on meds quickly.
If your daughter and her husband, etc. are okay with taking him, let her do it, but make sure she and her family are truly okay with it. It would be a shame to have him go to a new situation and be absolutely miserable, but then for your daughter to be absolutely miserable in her new home too. Of course, get him on meds if he goes with your daughter.
If there’s no way you can take him and your daughter decides she can’t do it, get him to some place: shelter, foster home that can take him until a suitable home is found. A place that won’t kill him. He’d be perfect for a woman with no husband, kids, or animals. Not sure what part of the country you are in, but I know we have several options in the Denver area for animals. Some animals are really hard to place, but like disabled children, there are people that will take them in. Start googling your area now: “hard to place cats in Whatevertown USA”, etc. or some such, “no kill shelters in Whatevertown USA”. If you can get him to a no-kill option, give them a good donation that you can afford.
If none of those options work out you may have to put him to sleep as a last resort. I UNDERSTAND that is hard and it comes with guilt, at least for me, even when the animal is physically ill, but you’ll know that you did your best on trying to find an alternative. Animals are such a great addition to our lives, but I’m not one of these animal lovers that thinks you should absolutely go to the most extreme lengths when a situation is causing such havoc. I always initially side with life with an animal, but there are times when the less than desirable has to be done because in the end people do have to come first.
I wish you the best. Please ping us, if you care to, to give us any updates.
Perhaps you can offer to pay a neighbor for cat food....
Free Republic — the new death panel.
I had to put my first golden down when she lost her hearing and most of her sight and began resisting going out because she was afraid, even though I went out with her on a leash in a fenced yard. I think she could smell other animals but not know where they were. It scared her terribly. She would just lay down and shake.
Anyway, I decided it was cruel to make her suffer that fear and cruel us to have to deal with a dog that was too afraid to go outside and instead messed up our house. She felt bad about doing her business in the house because she knew it was wrong. So, we put her down and it is very sad. She was a great dog. I will never forget her.
Damn fine post Lx, my compliments.....
Has the cat ever had a FULL tick panel or full thyroid test run?
I’d check that, first.
Cats tend to be hyperthyroidal whereas dogs tend to be hypothyroidal.
Hyperthyroidism manifests as nervousness, anxiety, aggressiveness, weight loss and a ton of other seemingly ‘gone crazy’ symptoms.
The older a cat is, the more prone they are to it.
*Any* “extra” stress exacerbates it.
Seriously, you have my sympathy. We’ve lost three cats over the last couple of years to old age — two died in their sleep, one had to be put down. We have a 19-year-old cat who’s heading in that direction. We thought he was a goner, but the vet recommended subcutaneous fluids, A hundred milliliters of saline every couple of days have kept him quite healthy the last six months.
He has a problem with food, however. He seems to be able to eat only a tablespoon or two of food at a time, so he needs to be fed every hour or two. This wouldn’t be so bad, except that we have six other cats who descend on him when they see the canned food, so I have to stand guard while he nibbles at it. I wonder every day if I should just give up, but I work at home so his job is to make sure I take a regular break from my computer.
Thank you, I didn’t realize she had already scheduled the euthanasia.
Marie, please, you do not want to do this; it will haunt you forever and that is no way to treat a friend. There are many no kill shelters that will take your kitteh, look one up and see if they’ll take her.
Or better yet:
The kitteh will also get used to living with your daughter and eventually, she will replace you in the kitteh’s heart.
This isn’t an inanimate object, this is a life and must be respected.
I wholeheartedly agree with your wonderful post (especially the last line).
It’s possible the cat could take to your daughter’s household and settle down. I don’t see why he shouldn’t be given at least that chance.
When you take in a dog or a cat you can only guess at what they've been through before finding you.
That cat had a free pass 'till the day she had a stroke and stumbled to me for relief...fortunately Marie was out of town.
There are hard days and there are really hard days and there's some grace in accepting the only hard ones knowing the really hard one is coming sooner or later.
And, to gunsequalfreedom;
I'm fairly well armed but none of my 1911s has ever climbed into my lap for a nap. I've had a couple of Glocks and hated both of them (little guy, a Highpower or Para Ord is about as big a grip as I can tolerate). The Highpower may make me feel more secure at night, but it can't keep me warm. Either the M1A1 or 12 Gage could easily clear the back yard, but the pitbull is quite adequate and likes to have her tummy rubbed. The mini-poodle isn't good for much except being the bull's best buddy, he's still skittish with strangers but I pulled him out of some bushes after watching him being hit by a car so I cut him some slack as well.
I'm sorry for you.
As a multiple cat and dog owner, I hurt for your dilemma. I’ve had to put a cat down in the prime of her life and it devastated me. That being said, I don’t have a problem of putting an animal to sleep if need be. There’s no pain and the alternative is better than than an ailing animal. If you are unable to keep the kitty, what kind of life will he live when you’re gone? He’s miserable now and harming himself to infection. Putting the critter out of his misery would be good for all. Just my humble opinion.
I would say any time you think he may be hiding a handgun on his person.
Oh wait... put down.
Have you tried psych drugs for your cat? Buspirone helped my neurotic cat be a LOT calmer. Plus, if your household being turned upside down is a short-term thing, you can use diazepam (Valium) to calm him down. Unfortunately you can’t keep cats on diazepam long-term because it can cause liver damage ... but OTOH, if your alternative is to put him to sleep anyway, you might feel comfortable risking it. (Usually vets want you to get them off diazepam within 5 days.) If I were in your shoes, I would definitely try psych drugs. You will need to talk to your vet to get them, but they are not expensive. (And if your vet has seen the cat relatively recently, say within the last year, they should be okay with prescribing the drugs over the phone so you don’t have to pay for a vet visit.) You should be able to get generic drugs cheaply at Costco or someplace.
To go to the ethics of the situation ... I too hate to put an animal down who is simply a problem, rather than actually being ill. It is a tragedy when that happens. I really urge you to talk to your vet and go for the psych drugs. Iffen it was me, I would start the cat on buspirone immediately since it takes a while to kick in, and put him on diazepam immediately as well, to keep him calmer while the buspirone is starting to work. Then by the time you need to stop the diazepam, the buspirone might have started to help him. Your vet may have ideas on better drugs as well. Good luck!!!!!
I hope you’re wearing asbestos underwear.
I have just had some upsets with my 12 year old kitty, Ebonie. She too licked her tummy bald and I had her into the vet umpteen times to try to sort out what is going on...she also had troubles with her anal glands...soiling outside the litter box and scooting....finally an outstanding surgeon removed the glands and no more licking which drove me nuts and the potty problems are solved too. One hitch, the meds given post surgery sent her into seizures..those seem to have resolved now too but she is a little unstable...her get along is ok once her get up gets her up..Your kitty’s problems may be physical and she is trying to tell you something is wrong. Get kitty well checked out, check the foods, and take a hard look at what is going on in the household...check that you have enough litter boxes one cat 2 boxs...all those sorts of things before you result to taking that last drastic action...kitty is trying to tell you something is wrong.
Marie, one last thing ... reading the first time, I did not see that you had scheduled the euthanasia for Monday. I urge you not to do it Monday, but to consult with your vet instead and try drugs instead (as outlined in my original post, or of course whatever your vet might recommend ... but I will say I have had tremendous luck calming down crazy cats with diazepam. It is a miracle drug for crazy cats!!!). If the drugs don’t help, you can always go forward with the euthanasia as originally planned, later. But your post makes it clear you will feel really guilty and sad, and feel that you have let your crazy buddy down. I urge you to give it pharmeceuticals a try first, and see if you can work this out after all. good luck!!!!!
My in laws had a neurotic cat that sounds like yours; sans the extreme licking and scratching. It did almost starve itself to death, after coming face to face with our cat; who was almost an exact physical clone. They took it to the vet and got it some kitty Quaaludes. It was never a truly well adjusted cat; its behavior did level out, though.
I would explore that route, before taking such extreme recourse. I agree with a previous poster. If you don’t, as a pet lover, you may regret it.
My dog went deaf 2 years ago and went blind about 6 months ago, I told her if she still eats and wags her tail we will be OK She has learned to walk the walls when going from one room to the next and probably by smell, when I let her out onher 40 foot cable, she knows exactly where to do her business...she does all things by smell. I also found out she is allergic to chicken so I check my dog food and make sure there is no checken in it...She use to love to go throught the drive through with me cause she would get her order of chcken nuggets. The vet told me to give her snacks of green beans...she loves people food and green beans have lot less calories than chicken nuggets...1 can last about 1 1/2 days. (she is too fat) I am hoping she is down to 80 pounds, last trip she was 90 and not good for her weak back end....she is about 13 and still wags her tail and eats so we live one day at a time...
Cat needs to be put down
And i have cats....and dogs
I would suggest a vet
In rural areas we often do it ourselves but its not easy i can tell you
If the cat is that anxious its either putting it to sleep or doping it maybe
But i mean its a cat....no way for a cat to live honorably
And cats are rather proud as we all know
One other thing you might try... Feliway pheromone diffusers. You plug them into an electrical outlet. Works for some cats. They diffuse calming pheromones. Doesn’t work for all cats, perhaps, but might calm your cat a big.
One other thing you might try... Feliway pheromone diffusers. You plug them into an electrical outlet. Works for some cats. They diffuse calming pheromones. Doesn’t work for all cats, perhaps, but might calm your cat a big.
There are indeed some no-kill retirement places for kitties, run by such organizations as the National Cat Protection Society. For a fee, they will take in your cat for the rest of its life. However, this is not free. Many rescues might be hesitant about taking in a cat who might be considered unadoptable. It’a very difficult to find cats a new home after they are adults, particularly if they’re “seniors” (more than about 7 or 8 years old). I’d try the pheromone diffusers first, or else Prozac (or something similar). Yes, lots of cats are neurotic. It’s part of what makes them so charming.
I second the poster in the 3rd posting, pray for your cat. The cat needs your prayers. I will pray for your cat as well. :)=^..^=
Also Slings and Arrows has good advice also. Ask your vet.
Also ask about at the cat’s vet, foster home care for the cat that is tempory.
Also if your daugther is interested in taking the cat in, good for her. I give her my support.
I looked up pleonasm in the dictionary and saw a picture of a neurotic cat.
In full agreement with Lx. DON'T do it, at least not until you've tried the meds.
My "Cats Only" vet reports fantastic results with Prozac, especially for litterbox issues. She says it works better for cats than it does for hoominz. Generic Prozac is $4.00 at Walmart, but for a kitteh you "quarter" the pills, so once you have the Rx it'll cost you a dollar a month.
Pill Pockets make it very easy, my cat has no clue she's getting a pill.
Please give your friend this one more chance before you do something you'll possibly regret.
Alright. I slept on it. I read all of your posts and I rally appreciate all of the understanding. People who don’t love a pet just can’t understand the delima. “It’s just a cat. If it’s pooping all over the place, put it down.”
As for meds and the other suggestions, I have to remind you all that we’ve been dealing with this for a decade. I’ve spent thousands of my (very patient) husband’s dollars on this animal over the years. We’ve tried most of the suggestions here. Over a thousand dollars (I don’t want to think about the exact amount) on tests. We even had to bard him with a vet for several days for fluids and tube feeding when he refused to eat or drink one summer. (Almost a thousand for that round of treatment and tests... and we were broke at the time.)
I’m letting him go. He’s not happy. I’m not asking my husband to put more money into an old animal. I’m not guilting my daughter into taking a disruption into her new home and marriage. I’m not ruining my landlord’s property with cat feces and urine.
I’m not going to put my responsibility onto other people’s shoulders.
And I’m not abandoning this cat to an unknown fate. I am still responsible for him.
I’m going to go ahead with the home euthanasia.
Thank you all for your thoughtful input and understanding. This is hard, but I do believe that it’s the best thing for my little buddy.
I don’t know if animals have souls or not, but I do believe that there’s a special part of him that needs to go ‘home’ now. He did his job here and he did a great job! It’s time to get this guy away from this terrifying place and let him rest.
Sounds like you lasted a lot longer than I did, we had a beautiful female who was a very good cat. She disappeared for 3 months, came home very skinny. It was in the middle of the winter and we think she got trapped maybe in someones garage while they were away for the winter. She was never the same, nervous, spooked easily, very neurotic. We finally realized it was a big disruption and after more than a year of hoping she would settle down we had her euthanized. She was not happy and was suffering in her own way. We have a very good vet and talked with him before hand and he agreed. Best wishes on a diffficult decision.
She is now starting to feel comfortable being around the other two. We gave her her own space to retreat to and feel safe. The meds stopped the "outside the litter box" behavior.
I would not put this cat down until you have tried medication. Have you ever the tv show, My Cat From Hell? The guy has some wonderful ways to help cats like yours.
If you cannot take the cat with you, please give him to a no-kill shelter. I volunteer at one and the people who are employed there will help him. They will isolate him for a few weeks, do medical tests, and give him some loving care and good grub. Please don’t euthanize him!
P.S.: It sounds like your cat was originally a feral cat. They usually bond with only one person. I have such a cat.
It’s been my experience that no-kill shelters are very selective about the animals they take since their space is so limited. Given his behavior problems make him virtually unadoptable, it’s unlikely they’d take him.
When I took Mimi in from my back yard, I was vetless, so I took her to a “holistic” vet to get checked and make sure she didn't have anything she could give my other 2.
I told him about her cough. He said cats sometimes cough, nothing to worry about, all tests came back fine, etc.
Took a while to find a great vet, but I did. I knew that cough was something, especially when it got worse.
This wonderful vet I now have instantly diagnosed her w/ chronic asthma. Poor thing suffered these past couple of years. He mimicked her cough to a tee.
She's got another huge problem the 1st vet missed as well. Surgery is on 7/10.
My point? Your vet is probably misdiagnosing him.
Isn’t it amazing how quickly they go downhill? My eldest, Kitty, died at home on 12/16/10.
We were together 19 years, 1 week and 2 days. It was devastating. I knew she was going. I took off work so we could spend the last couple of days together.
It was awful; however, I just could not bring myself to put her down. I knew her time was near and I told her it was okay to go now. Before that, I was begging her to stay and get better. She tried, she really did.
May God help you get through this, then. Both of you.
Too bad for the kitty.
Don't image, have a look. At a glance your carpet may look clean but under a microscope its a whole different story. This is pet dander in carpet.
And this is just one of the little critters that feast on pet dander in carpet.
Dinner is served! This may look like a dog scratching but it is really a dog preparing another meal for the bugs in your carpet.
Humans shed skin and hair, and feed the mites too.
Having a pet of course increases this, but unless you live in a sealed bubble, your house is going to be full of dirt and bugs no matter what.
“I hope youre wearing asbestos underwear.”
It sounds like you’ve had a lot of animals and none has given you this trouble before. In all the years and all the dogs and cats we’ve had, we’ve only had two neurotic animals and they were both dogs. OK, three dogs. I forgot Sadie. I’m not at peace with the decisions we made with any of the three. I won’t go into details. But we did the best we could with what we were able to do at the time. It’s in the past and I won’t grieve about it. One suggestion that I haven’t heard regarding cats - there is a large contingent of people who post on kitty ping who think that cats cannot be allowed to be outside. I have always had a cat but never one who was not allowed outside whenever he/she wanted outside. I’ve never had a neurotic cat. I’ve never had a cat pee or poop inside. I don’t even have a cat box for the one I have now. He just waits and goes outside. Much healthier for all concerned.
Our kids are not allowed to scratch inside the house...
Seriously, it is a big, big difference between a dog and people. I understand there are some people that don't shower every day but do you know anyone that gives their dog a bath every day? Dogs in a house is just plain gross.
I’m surprised that you would say that on a public forum filled with cat lovers.
I will refrain from the comment I’m thinking.
I've read your reasons and I understand spending a lot of money on an animal when you don't have it. Unfortunately, some vets are extremely unethical and once they see in your eyes that you'll pay whatever it takes to make that animal better, you get every test there is, they always need to be hydrated although it sounds true in your case.
Please give this kitteh a chance to live, find a no kill shelter, if you lived near Sacramento, I would be glad to help you. They have volunteers and the one my wife volunteers at will take any cat and then they post adoption posters for them on the web. Some are destined to live forever at the shelter as they aren't adoptable.
I understand about the litter box. We just got an abandoned female who doesn't get along with the other kittehs. So, I take her upstairs to bed and she sleeps at my feet. Well, one night, I woke up and she had used the blanket I was sleeping in to do #2. I was not pleased. She'll scratch at the throw rugs which means she needs to be put in a litter box. We're hoping she learns soon because two nights ago, she was scratching at my shorts so it was a quick trip to the litter box.
It sounds to me like you've taken a lot of time and put a lot of thought into this decision; you're not trying to be cruel, just what you think is best for the little guy.
Maybe some of the suggestions in this thread will give you options you didn't know you had.
I hope to read that you've changed your mind but if you don't, I won't hold it against you, not that I have a right to anyway. None of us know what you've done over the years and you have to be able to sleep at night which I think you will as you've spent so much time, money and emotions trying to help him. Good luck and prayers.
EXACTLY!! Can’t imagine thinking that all animals have fleas or some such. (They don’t if they are taken care of.) Also can’t imagine fearing LIFE that much! (Dust, dust mites, dirt, pollen, hair shedding, skin shedding —if it’s living it’s going to shed — and yes, this includes humans who sometimes shed the grossest things imaginable.)
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