How to Put Down a Cat Humanely at Home
Once your cat has come to the end of its life, making the difficult decision to put him or her down humanely can make things easier for both of you.
Some pet owners choose to euthanize their cats at home instead of visiting a vet’s office, as it can provide comforting relief for animals who do not take well to car rides and visits from medical personnel.
1. Talk to Your Veterinarian
No owner wants to make the difficult decision of euthanizing their beloved pet. Unfortunately, in many cases of untreatable medical conditions or just natural old age effects on cats, euthanasia may be the kindest course. Luckily, many vets offer home euthanasia services which makes the process more convenient for both the owner and cat alike. If you are considering this path for yourself or your feline companion, speaking with their veterinarian before hand can ensure you know what’s ahead and can prepare yourself emotionally and mentally for when the time comes for saying goodbye.
Ask the vet to come directly to your house instead of sending an employee. Although this option may cost more, many owners prefer it when saying goodbye to their pet in their familiar environment and with family nearby. This may especially benefit cats that experience anxiety when riding car rides and visiting vet clinics.
Selecting an ideal time and place for you to put down your cat can also ensure a more peaceful process. Consult with the veterinarian on what to expect as well as an ideal time of day that might bring peace and quiet, especially important if older cats may become overwhelmed by noise and activity in a veterinary office.
After conducting euthanasia, it will be important to prepare a space for your cat’s body once the procedure has taken place. This could be anything from a box, blanket or room within your house – it is best to plan this ahead of time as doing it in an emotional moment can be hard. Some may choose burial after euthanasia which provides for an effective farewell ritual and allows a peaceful send off for them and allows a good goodbye experience – then all that remains is saying your last goodbyes and being there during their last moments –
2. Gather the Supplies
As a cat owner, one day you may need to say farewell to your beloved feline companion. While this is always difficult and heartbreaking for all involved, sometimes it may be the only humane solution if their health becomes such that they no longer enjoy life.
If you decide to euthanize your pet at home, you will require the necessary supplies. The most crucial element will be an appropriate container that can securely contain them and features lockable doors – this could include anything from a cage/crate combo or plastic carrier with front opening door to plastic carriers with doorways on both ends.
Before injecting, your cat will require a sedative to ensure they remain calm and relaxed during the procedure. If there are other family members present for the euthanasia, try organizing it so they can attend in small groups so as to reduce stress for both yourself and the feline being put to sleep. This will minimize emotional strain for all involved parties involved and lessen stress for everyone present during this momentous occasion.
Once you have the necessary supplies in place, the next step should be preparing the house for the procedure. Turn off TV and music as this will create a more peaceful experience for your cat; dim lighting may also help. Finally, remove any plants that could harm the animal such as Amaryllis, Azalea, Baby’s Breath Bird of Paradise Calendula Cyclamen Diffenbachia Daffodils Easter Lilies Eucalyptus Ivy Mistletoe Oleander Peace Lily Primrose Tiger Lily from your home and garden.
Before making any decisions, it is essential to remember that any form of euthanasia will require payment if performed outside of veterinary services. There may be low-cost services available – please reach out to your local Humane Society or SPCA for more information about these options.
3. Find a Place for the Body
Some pet parents prefer euthanizing their cat at home rather than at a vet’s clinic for various reasons. Perhaps their cat will feel more at ease at home and their last day with him/her can be spent without distraction and with lots of love and attention from all family members present; or possibly their feline may not enjoy the clinic atmosphere and become anxious or uncomfortable in such an enclosed setting.
Decisions concerning cat euthanization can be highly emotionally taxing. Only you know when is right for your cat and this choice will have far reaching ramifications on all family members involved. Before making such a hard choice, try changing its behavior before reaching out for help from an animal behaviorist or vet if necessary.
If you make the difficult decision of euthanizing your pet, then planning their burial site is also key. Many opt to bury their pet at home which can be an emotional way of remembering them, however it may not always be suitable depending on where you reside and burying the body may not always be allowed within certain communities – in which case, consider visiting a pet cemetery instead if that option exists in your community.
After your pet has been sedated, administer an injection of pentobarbital; this will quickly stop their heart and breathing.
If you have children, it is essential that they understand what will happen to their pet and understand why one day their beloved cat or dog will die. Reading books about pet loss together and discussing its significance as well as respecting other’s feelings and beliefs are helpful ways of providing support during this difficult process. Though others may make unsupportive remarks about what’s best for both your family and their furry friend can be tough, do what’s right in your own eyes and act accordingly.
4. Say Your Goodbyes
At some point, you will have to say goodbye to your cat. While this can be an emotional process, being prepared in advance can make the experience less traumatic for both of you. Whenever possible, conduct euthanasia at home for maximum peace and comfort for both parties; also helping grievers deal with memories more easily.
Your cat needs time with you in their final days; give extra ear rubs, cuddles and tell them how much they mean to you. This can help ease transition and provide them with one last happy memory of their life with you. Additionally, play soothing music or read one of their favorite books; speaking to others who have also lost pets may be comforting.
Decisions on how you will handle your cat’s end-of-life should also include whether or not to attend its appointment with their veterinarian. Most vets welcome owners being present; if not, that is fine too – whatever works for you and discuss this option with them beforehand to make an informed decision.
If you choose to be present for the euthanasia of your cat, be sure to have someone hold her as you say your final goodbyes. Many pets feel comforted by having human presence during this difficult moment – although some cats prefer not to be held during this last phase.
Once your cat has been euthanized, you must choose how you will dispose of her body. Some choose burial while others opt for cremation – it is wise to consult your veterinarian when making this decision as they can provide guidance on proper disposal methods for their remains.