Appreciating how to help a dying cat can help ease them and is likely to help you. One of my cats died recently. This is not a new experience for me. I have had the pleasure of sharing my life with many cats over the years. As humans tend to live longer than most animals (if we are lucky!), then this is part of our life experience. It doesn’t have to be harrowing or heart breaking. Here is how I deal with it, for the benefit of everyone in the household.
In a past life, when I fed my cats commercial cat food and consulted a vet for all ailments, I followed the recommended advice of euthanasia when needed. This always made me grief stricken for many days afterwards, even though I thought I was doing the right thing.
I have moved on a lot since those days. Not only do I feed my cats (and dogs) a healthy, natural diet, I treat them myself, since I graduated as a homeopath.
Let’s start with the diet. The difference between the health of a cat fed commercial cat food and those fed a healthy, natural, balanced, raw food, is stark. The commercial fed cat is often obese, often has many ailments in their life (showing a poor immunity) and usually has an unhealthy appearance.
They have often received many vet meds, which are synthetic, so chemicals. This increases their toxic levels, which is also present in commercial cat food. Anyone who is overloaded with toxins, as happens after accumulating over the years, will often become aggressive or unpredictable. (And that’s a reason many cats, and dogs, are killed.)
A naturally fed cat is healthier, with fewer, if any ailments, has a natural shine to the coat, is active, playful and generally content. Right up to the end.
The diet is one of the most important keys to a happy, healthy cat. Not only is commercial cat food toxic, it is nutritionally poor, despite the claims. How can your cat thrive on a nutritionally incomplete diet?
You might ask what has the diet got to do with a dying cat? Everything! A healthy cat not only has an ailment free life (or almost), but the end comes quickly and easily. An unhealthy cat may linger for a long time, making euthanasia an attractive choice.
So changing the diet long before their due date, is going to make everything easier.
When I compare my grief of after a cat has been euthanised to that after a cat dies naturally, there is enormous difference. After a natural death, I am sad I will no longer share my life with that friend, but this passes quickly to be replaced by happiness that they had control over their life and I didn’t interfere.
Judging by the many comments I see related to the grief someone suffers after their cat died, I feel this is something worth sharing.
I believe this single feeling holds the key to what we should do. Feelings are a great way to determine if we are doing the most appropriate thing for the situation.
Do we have the right to take life, just for our convenience? I believe not. I believe that animals prefer to die when they are ready to go and we need to do everything in our power to make that as easy as possible for them. In so doing, I believe we suffer less.
What are the signs a cat is dying? There is no real commonality as it will vary with each cat depending on their level of health, their age and the reason. With Tiffany, it was not unexpected although I believe premature as he was only middle aged. But his siblings had all died much earlier. I had no family history that may have explained or shed light on their short lives, but the mother was not well fed during her pregnancy. She was a thin stray.
Tiffany started to eat more slowly, then he became a little unbalanced, then he stopped eating and found a sheltered spot in the garden to sleep. I had a feeling he was on his way. I brought him inside so he had access to water and was more protected from the elements, but allowed him the freedom to go out if he chose. He chose to stay inside.
He nestled in his comfortable and warm bed on the floor (so he couldn’t fall). I desperately tried to work out what the problem was and how to treat it. This is one frustration we will always have while we can’t communicate with animals. Without subjective symptoms, it is impossible to really know what is going on, with any modality of health care.
Blood or other veterinary tests may indicate what the physical body is expressing, but they will never show what the cause is or what the animal truly wants. Only our gut instinct, usually after many experiences, can help us there.
I was with him when he ‘died’. Immediately after ‘death’, when the spirit has left the body, the body may go into spasms and jerks. Distressing as this may look, it is only the physical body’s reaction. It is often accompanied by deep inbreaths.
Only after rigor mortis has set in, (I like to be sure they really have gone) do I bury the body. This also gives time for the other cats, and the dogs, to check the body out, although most animals know long before the event itself.
If I feel the dying cat is restless or distressed, I will give them a homeopathic remedy that gives them the ability, by removing the fear, to choose whether to stay or go.
Cats have shorter lives than we have, so having to deal with our grief as well as the best for the dying cat, is a certainty. When we are already laden with grief from the past, this will rekindle it, making it harder to deal with. Homeopathic help is profound and can help lay it to rest.
For the rest of us, our feelings can tell us what we should be doing to honour another being’s vulnerable time. I know this is what I would prefer, when my due date comes around, rather than a toxic chemical injection.