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C2005-37

Dear Christopher Cat

My 16-year-old Siamese has multiple medical problems, and I may need to consider euthanasia. I don’t want her to suffer, but I also don’t want to end her life prematurely. How will I know the right time?

Christopher Responds

Euthanasia is a gift of love that grants your cat a peaceful death, free of needless suffering.

The precise time is rarely obvious, but answering a few questions may help you decide.

Is your cat still enjoying life? Does she interact with family members?

Is she eating well? Does she have sufficient energy to play with toys? Does she explore the house and watch the birds through the window?

Is she in pain? Your veterinarian can help you assess and treat any pain.

Do her good days outnumber the bad – or vice versa?

You can discuss these questions with other caregivers in the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement chat room at www.aplb.org.

My family and I extend our sympathy to you both during this difficult time.

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