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My mother is 86 and she’s had a furry kitty companion for about five years now. He’s elderly and it looks like he’s got health issues and may not make it through the next 24 hours. She is prepared for euthanasia, but I know this is still going to be hard for her and I’m concerned about her well-being afterward. She has grieved over the loss of her son so the kitty has been a great comfort for her. Any suggestions or advice? I will be traveling to town to be with her to help at the vet so she doesn’t have to do go through it on her own. Any suggestions or advice for me to consider in the long term?

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Thanks everyone for the helpful thoughts. I think first she’s going to need a break. I found an interesting option for her through hopalong.org. She’s always wanted to volunteer with animals at the SPCA or at a clinic. It seems this organization has a volunteer kitten adoption handling program at the pet store right around the corner from her home. This is supported by the local SPCA. They screen and interview all volunteers. This might be a nice 1xweek option for her in the future. For now I think she’ll want to take a break. I might even volunteer 1xweek :)
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Citygirl Feb 2019
What a great suggestion!!! And keep her involved in something! Good luck!
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Thank you again everyone for your kind thoughts and suggestions. I think this is a relief for my mother and with the care of the elderly cat. She does not want another right away, in fact, she’s very stoic about taking everything in and seeing this as a new beginning. I’m very proud of her and encourage her to let the tears roll if they happen. Pets are family and we grieve for their loss. After the euthanasia we went back to her apartment and I shared a cultural Facebook group with her (I NEVER use FB anymore, but in this case, yes) She does not use the computer and was so amazed at the information and to connect with others from that culture and period long ago. She’s always been interested in learning about other cultures and now she’s motivated to learn more about the Internet. I encourage her and on Saturday I will return with my old tablet and teach her how to “drive” the little machine no purchasing or private info, just books, browsing, music and FaceTime with family. I think she’s also excited about spending time with me as our relationship has been very rocky and this process is like bridge for us too. It’s new beginnings on different levels. As for substituting the loss of a pet with another now, she is clear, it is too soon, and understands what options are available to her later :) I asked family members to step up and make a point of being in contact with her more regularly, even if it’s just a 10 second voice message. I already informed her doctors and her therapist to let them know and have received an ESA letter just in case she decides to have another kitty down the road. I think it’s important to give her space and allow her to make her own choices. At the vet, I brought a pretty small box so that she took home tufts of the kitties beautiful Persian hair and we made a paw print to also insert in the box, along with other special kitty mementos she can add later. (This also saved an enormous cost over cremation and receiving ashes!)

Thank you all for your suggestions and I wish you all the very best.

Be strong, be kind at heart and be fearless. ❤️
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robinr Feb 2019
Just seeing this and how things worked out.  ANd to say everyone's thoughts and feeling re the loss and burial or cremation issues are different.  I don't know what the final "disposition" of her kittie's remains was, but however you handled it seems that there was no burial or cremation/ashes.  I would not personally be happy with that choice.
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I am so sorry about the dear little furbaby. This is so heartbreaking, to me one of the worst things that can happen to someone who loves their pet(s) and animals. I became disabled and was forced to find homes for all of mine except one kitty. He lived with me for l5 years before cancer got him -his last years were in a health care facility with me. I now have a new kitty I love and I will be 86. Here are my thoughts. Animals have short lives and it can literally destroy someone when you lose one (it did for me) and in some cases I would think it the very best to get another one immediately - you will miss the angel pet but you will love the new one and it will love you - this is a good bridge to keeping one's sanity. But there must be certain conditions. First, whoever takes on another pet (at 86 an older adult cat would be wonderful) must first of all be mentally and physically able to take care of the pet. Second, immediately, concrete plans and agreements, without any doubts, must be made for someone to step up to the plate and take the pet if something happens to the 86 year old senior. Then, and only then, would I suggest another pet at this age. I am disabled but extremely active, still work two jobs that I love (50 years for one and l4 years for the other) and I am completely mentally with it. But the day my new kitty came home to the facility I am in, I made absolutely strict and complete arrangements for the care of my kitty if something happened to me - this means the veterinary hospital in case of illness or injury and three people who will immediately step in and adopt my kitty. Unless you do this, I would try to somehow get her involved in volunteer work working with the animals - like talking to them and helping to socialize them, without the responsibility of adopting one.
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geddyupgo Feb 2019
You are an inspiration to us all! Kudos!!!
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Oh I’m so sorry! This is going to be so hard for you. Perhaps you can find a volunteer with a therapy cat or dog that can visit her weekly?
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I am a pet lover as is my whole family. It is always hard to lose a pet and your mother will grieve for the cat. Are there other pets in her community that could come visit her? Or are there any facility pets? Do they have pet therapy come to her building?

One quick thought, is there a vet that could come to her home? There is a wonderful vet in my community who does house calls and I have a few friends who have had her come to put down their cat or dog. It maybe less stressful for your mother than going to a busy clinic.

If going to a clinic is the only option ask about a late in the day appointment, it will be less busy and hopefully the vet will give you the choice of staying with the cat and remaining for a while afterwards. When we had Cassie euthanized, we were the last appointment of the day and we were allowed to stay with her during and after the procedure. It gave us time to say goodbye.

I am a terrible one to give advice on what to do moving forward. But I am young enough to have time for a long commitment to a pet. We have an agreement in my family that I will take in whatever dog Mum may have if she is no longer able to care for it.

But Mum does not have dementia, lives in her own home independently at age 85. Currently she has LeRoy a Pitty cross who is a delightful dog and gets along well with my two dogs and the cats. He is 8 now and is feeling aches and pains in his joints, but still a happy dog. When he goes, she may just borrow my dogs for visits, but if she gets another, I will be fully supporting her.

When Tucker died, I found her a senior dog who needed a home. Ginger was a beautiful dog who lived with Mum for almost 3 years, before she did not wake up one day. LeRoy joined her when she had Ginger and it was a blessing that he was there to help with the grieving process.
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Thank you!
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I am so sorry for all three of you. I’ve been through this too many times and it never gets easier. How to handle it depends on Mom’s level of cognition. If she is able to comprehend that her kitty is gone, go ahead with your plans to have her be there for the euthanasia. For both their sakes, this is the way to go. However, if she will not remember the experience, you’ll have to go through the euthanasia and then relive it each time, perhaps multiple times per day, when she asks where he is. In that case, it may be easier to do the deed yourself and then use the Therapeutic Fib, telling her he is at the vet getting a check-up.

I agree that getting her another cat may not be a good idea unless you have every intention of adopting the cat when she can no longer take care of it.

God Bless all three of you.
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I appreciate this, thank you!
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Oh, I feel for her. I am still mourning the death of my favorite dog and she has been gone over 2 years now. It's so hard, and I think it gets harder as we get older.

I know one person suggested having your mom be there when her cat was put to sleep, but I would follow your mom's lead on that. I simply can't be there when my pets are put to sleep. Another family member is always there for them, but I lose my mind and sometimes get chest pains.

I will pray that your mom will find some comfort in the good memories she has with her beloved kitty.

There was a story online about a retired gentleman who volunteered at a cat rescue facility. He would just sit on a couch and pet the kitties or let them snuggle up next to him while he and the kitties took "cat naps". These places love having people come in and give the animals human contact. You haven't said what your mom's physical condition is, but perhaps she could do something like that.
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Just seeing this days later, so I'm not sure what happened...Everyone as you probably already know, grieves in their own way.  But I am one who has come to believe, when the time is right, that our own rescued little one(s) would want us to help another soul who would otherwise be living an isolated, cold existence without love.  Let mom lead the way, but you can make a suggestion at some point, either via phone or when visiting again, about rescuing.  Many local pet groups are always looking for a foster home, and often the foster winds up as a failure because the foster family adopts them...
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Yes we all handle these things differently don't we? There is no "one size fits all" solution to end of life issues for our beloved pets. I had a precious dog companion. After 15 golden years his kidneys began to fail. There was no way I would allow the faithful old boy to suffer, and no way I would let him go into his last sleep alone. Giving him a peaceful, painless end was the last, best gift I could give him. He fell peacefully asleep wrapped in my arms. I will always treasure that moment. No fear. Just trust.
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Desert,

I asked the vet if I could hold my cat during her last moments. He handed me a box of tissues and said of course I could hold her. I cried the entire drive back home. She was 16 years old. They are a part of our family.
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My mother went through this with the loss of her little dog. We did not know that she cried herself to sleep every night. As soon as we did my sister found mom another little dog and he is the magic pill to mom’s contentment. (One of us will take the dog when mom passes.) Go to the pound and tell them you want a cat who wants to lay in a lap and be petted all day long is my advice.
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How sweet.
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