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The author thought that when the time came he'd simply put his cat "to sleep." He never imagined how heartbreaking it would be.
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Some cats will have a bowel movement or urinate. After your vet puts your cat to sleep, options exist for care of the body. Most people leave the cat with the vet, who cremates her. The vet can dispose of the ashes, or you inquire about picking up the ashes if you arrange to do so with your vet -- not all vets are able to offer this courtesy.

Another option is to take your cat home for burial. You can also take your cat to a pet memorial center, a place similar to a human funeral home. Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper.

She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication.

Katz can help determine whether it's time to let Penelope go. Typical Reasons People usually consider euthanasia only when their cats are suffering and are in pain. An Injection The most common method of putting a cat to sleep involves injecting her through a vein in her front leg with an overdose of an anesthetic agent. Staying With Your Cat Many people choose to stay with their cats during the euthanasia procedure.

Afterwards After your vet puts your cat to sleep, options exist for care of the body. Video of the Day. Brought to you by Cuteness. References Feline Advisory Bureau: Time to Say Goodbye: About the Author Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since Calming Herbs for Cats.

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These are not signs of life; in fact, they are reflexes denoting that death has occurred. The eyes usually stay open and the bladder sometimes empties.

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The vast majority of euthanasias proceed smoothly and quickly with little distress to the animal. Even if there are difficulties, it is still a quick procedure that can save your cat many days or weeks of suffering and a painful end. This is entirely your choice. It may be a comfort for you to see that euthanasia is usually a quick and gentle process.

Try not to feel guilty if you feel unable to watch — if you are upset then this may upset your cat. Vets and nurses choose their profession because they want to help animals.

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If you wish, ask to see your cat afterwards. At the end you will probably be offered the opportunity to be alone with your cat for a few minutes.


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Most people opt for cremation arranged by the vet. Usually, this is communal cremation with other cats but you can arrange for individual ashes to be returned, although this may be expensive. There are pet cemeteries for which vets usually have details, or you can take the body home for burial.

What Is the Normal Procedure for Putting a Cat to Sleep?

If you are undecided, then vets can usually store the body while you consider. It is entirely natural to feel upset when your cat dies. Do not be embarrassed about showing your emotions — veterinary staff expect you to be upset. It takes time to get over the loss of a loved one, and, although reactions differ, often a mixture of feelings — sadness, loneliness and anger — can follow. Try not to feel guilty or blame yourself — the decision for euthanasia is taken with your cat's interests at heart to avoid suffering.

What Is the Normal Procedure for Putting a Cat to Sleep? - Pets

Some people find themselves questioning whether they did the right thing. It is normal to feel some doubt, though this will ease in time. Be prepared for the house to feel empty on your return. Try to treasure your memories and talk to family and friends. If you have questions about your cat's condition, then talk to your vet. Sometimes family, friends and work colleagues who themselves have not experienced a special relationship with an animal, may be unsympathetic or make unhelpful remarks.

It can also be helpful to talk to someone who understands your feelings such as our Pet Bereavement Support Service. For children it can be especially upsetting, as it may be their first experience of death.

Putting my cat to sleep. WARNING. VERY EMOTIONAL

Children need support even if they are not outwardly upset. Talk to them honestly about what is happening and, as far as possible, involve them in the decision making. Rituals such as funerals, making a memorial or assembling a scrapbook with memories of the cat may help. Be prepared for questions about death and its finality.

Other cats may notice the loss and respond to it. They may be unsettled and lose their appetite for one or two days. It may help if they see the body of the deceased cat. Giving them extra attention may provide some comfort. Sooner or later you may start to think about getting another cat. No two cats are the same and, although another may have characteristics in common with your previous cat, your new cat will have a different personality. Everyone is different, and when you feel that you want another cat, you will probably find that your new cat is a worthy successor.

The knowledge you have gained from caring for your cat could be put to good use caring for one of the many cats currently in shelters for want of an experienced owner.

If you have other cats, remember that bonding can be very specific to an individual. A different cat may not be easily accepted as a substitute companion, even though you wish to have another cat around. You cannot force cats to like each other — some live with a newcomer easily, but others never get on or only manage to live together in an uneasy truce. However, if there is no competition for food or safe sleeping places, most cats accept each other and some even form close bonds. Taking things slowly with careful introductions is vital to prevent excessive reactions see Introducing your cat to other pets.

Sometimes it helps to share your feelings with someone who knows from personal experience how distressing the loss of a cat can be, and who will listen with compassion and without judgement. The Pet Bereavement Support Service is a telephone helpline and email service that offers such support to bereaved pet owners, through a national network of trained volunteer befrienders.

Pet advice Time to say goodbye to your cat Time to say goodbye to your cat. Time to say goodbye. More from Blue Cross.