When Should You Put Down an Old Cat? Everything You Need to Know About Euthanasia

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When should you put down an old cat? Deciding when to put down your senior cat is a complex and emotional decision. Let’s look at how to tell if the time is right. 

Although putting down your cat may be the kindest thing to do if they’re suffering, it can still be a difficult and heartbreaking process. You can analyze your cat’s behavior and quality of life and discuss his symptoms with a vet before making the final decision.

This article will answer the question, ‘when should you put down an old cat?’ We’ll look at what to consider before euthanasing your cat and how to create a pet memorial.

When should you put down an old cat?

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Cats live around fourteen years on average, and if you’ve had your cat since he was a kitten, it can be particularly heartbreaking to decide it’s time for euthanasia. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your veterinarian to determine if it’s in your pet’s best interest. Here are some signs that may indicate your cat needs some help leaving this world: 

  • Your cat has stopped eating and drinking.
  • Your pet can no longer move comfortably and struggles with everyday activities. 
  • Your cat is in pain or distress, despite medical interventions. 
  • Loss of control of bodily functions, leading to frequent accidents. 
  • Severe weight loss
  • Your pet has an incurable illness that is causing suffering.
  • Ongoing symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting
  • An unexpected emergency, such as a car accident 

Many older cats suffer from arthritis and can be in a lot of pain without their owners realizing it. If your pet seems to be in a lot of pain while moving around, his quality of life will be affected. 


Signs that your cat may be suffering from painful joints include refusing to use the stairs or jumping up onto higher surfaces. Perhaps your cat no longer jumps up onto his favorite chair or windowsill. Other signs include:


  • Unable to get in and out of the litter box
  • Aggression when touched due to pain
  • Reduced grooming


Pain medication may be a short-term solution if your cat is suffering from the above symptoms. However, it may be kinder to put your cat down in severe cases. Many other conditions can cause pain and produce similar symptoms, including UTIs, gut pain, and dental problems. These are all common conditions for elderly cats.  

How do I know when the time is right?

You’ll need to be mindful when deciding how much your pet is suffering and, ultimately, whether euthanasia is the best course of action. Many people let their pets suffer for longer than they should, as they can’t bear to be without their furry friend.

It’s also worth noting that many pet owners suffer extreme guilt if they feel that their pet has been suffering for longer than is necessary. The guilt can be painful and hard to deal with.

Before making a decision, discuss all your options with your vet, and ensure that you feel comfortable with the course of action you choose. Euthanasia is pain-free and often gives pets a dignified end with reduced suffering.

If you need help coping with the loss of your pet, consider seeking out support from friends and family or a professional counselor.

Cat memorial ideas

Once you’ve said goodbye to your cat, there are many ways to pay tribute to their memory. Planting a memorial garden in their honor is one way to do this. You could also create a special photo album with all the pictures you’ve taken together through the years.

Finally, consider writing a tribute or poem for your cat to remember and cherish them forever. No matter how you choose to honor your pet, it’s essential to take the time to grieve their loss and find comfort in knowing that they are no longer suffering.

When Should You Put Down an Old Cat: Conclusion

If your pet has recently been having more bad days than good, it’s likely time to say goodbye to your friend. While making the decision is very hard and heartbreaking, it’s something you shouldn’t ignore, or your pet will suffer for longer than necessary. Your vet can help you make the final decision.

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