Are You Considering Euthanasia For Your Diabetic Cat?
Are you considering euthanasia for your diabetic cat? This is something that I would only consider if the pain and suffering got to a level were the most humane thing was euthanasia. However with a proper treatment plan there is no reason why cats should not be able to lead a normal a life as possible for many years. But I can understand why many owners might feel daunted by the prospect of looking after a diabetic cat and consider euthanasia as a first choice. Author Sarah Ettritch in her latest blog post which this month is about her personal experience with feline diabetes states:-
“The number one cause of death in diabetic cats isn’t diabetes, or the hypoglycemia that can occur when cats are receiving insulin. It’s euthanasia. Caring for a diabetic cat requires a serious commitment. Your life pretty much revolves around the shot schedule, and going away on vacation (or even a weekend) is problematic.”
The fact that euthanasia may be the number one cause of death amongst cats with feline diabetes really is an eye opener and if true, that is really sad. Yet you can understand that looking after a diabetic cat may not be straightforward and every one’s cup of tea. So are you considering euthanasia for your diabetic cat? What I believe is that once you get over the initial teething problems, looking after a diabetic cat can become straightforward but of course you do need to keep an extra eye out as you would for a sick loved one.
Blood sugar checking and the insulin shots again should not be too time consuming and again once the teething problems have been resolved they should become routine. If you have more than one responsible member in the family make sure that you all are able to do these tasks and share them out. But I can understand that this may be all too daunting for some owners and it is a lot easier to throw in the towel.
There comes a time when to end suffering cats sometimes need to be put down. Normally this is a very painful decision but in the end do you prolong the suffering or allow the cat to go away peacefully. Generally vets do not put down animals unless they have to. In most cases cats can still have a good quality of life if the diabetes is treated and the cat kept an eye on. It is also worth remembering that about 20 percent of cats with feline diabetes go into remission. This occurs because after resting, many pancreatic beta cells regain function and produce insulin again.
I’m sure another factor for some cat owners is the cost of looking after a cat with feline diabetes and the large expected vet bills. Well to keep the costs down, you must learn to home test. This is discouraged by some vets and if your vet is not in favour of you doing your own home blood sugar testing then change your vet.
I came across the following post from 2006:-
“I had a diabetic cat who died about 10 years ago. If another pet of mine ever develops this disease, I will take it to the vet for euthanasia as soon as it’s quality of life suffers. Unless things have greatly changed since my experience, the constant vet visits trying to stabilize the blood sugar and the many complications of diabetes are too cruel. There is no cure, only fast or slow deterioration, and I am convinced that I tortured that cat trying to prolong it’s life, albeit with the best intentions in the world. I now believe that euthanasia would be a kindness.”
Well, what can I say apart from the fact that some cats do go into remission and reverse their diabetes, and now there are also long lasting insulins and home testing kits which make looking after a cat with feline diabetes a lot easier.
Here is another post from the same thread:-
“When my cat was diagnosed, I thought I would never be able to handle it. The expense, the timing, the glucose swings…… but right now the cat is a hell of a lot easier for me to deal with than the dog (whole other story). It is expensive and it is a pain the butt, but it is so worth it. My cat was very ill until he stabilized (it took a couple of years for this to happen), but now the shots are just part of his feeding ritual. The 12-hour thing is tough. It means no over-night trips, scheduling late nights just so, begging my parents to take him in one more time….. And, by the way, by 12-hours they really mean between 11 and 13 hours. And there are ways tweak the system even further if the cat is basically stable (not exceptionally good for the cat’s health). “
In my opinion if you initially decide to keep a pet cat then you take the responsibility of trying your best to look after it, in sickness and in health, in the same way you would look after a sick child or another member of the family. So, are you considering euthanasia for your diabetic cat? If so, please only make it a last resort, at least put in a little extra effort and try and follow a treatment plan. As I have said before, it won’t be easy at first but eventually will become routine and your cat may enjoy many many more years of joyful living.