Tuesday, September 04, 2007

When is it Time?

From The Mom -

When do you say it's time to help your best friend of 17 years cross over the Rainbow Bridge? I thought Ayla would be clear in telling me when she would be ready to go, but she's being her stubborn self.

The cancer she has will never go away. It just gets worse and worse. Her weight is down even more so she is literally skin and bones. She can barely open her mouth to eat. Her left eye is swollen closed from the tumor. Her left cheek is full of lesions including a small area of skin that just disappeared, like part of her cheek was gouged out. When I noticed it last night, I was crying so hard.

I figured it was Time and we would call the vet.

However, the old girl has been more spry these past couple of weeks than she has been in months. She's trotting up and down the stairs, demanding Stinky Goodness, and is being her old snarky self. Every time I think it's Time, she does something to remind me that she is still there, being strong, tough, and independent like she always has been.

Part of me wants to help her fight. Give her as many good days as she wants. But I don't know if I can take it any more. Every time I see her, I cry. She was such a beautiful girl and now she is so tiny and fragile and mutilated by this evil disease. Is this more of a decision for me or for her at this point? If I know her, she'll keep going strong mentally until her body gives out. I just don't think I can be that strong. I love her so much and to see her body being eaten away is wrenching my heart.

How do you know when it's Time for both you and her?

38 comments:

THE ZOO said...

oh aylas mom we is leaking tears. we luf ayla from reading about her. we just went thru this last year. 1 year ago august our selena died and in february itll be 2 years since malcolm died. they were our 2 oldest pups. been with me forever. its very very hard. youll doubt yourself forever but youll know. malcolm quite enjoying his eating. thats how we knew. he had a stroke before. we have their cremations here still. it does help having the other animals, theyre a distraction, but youll cry to death everyday for awhile. i slept with malcols collar for awhile. i still have those. selena died natuarlly here, and that was easier, not as much doubting. selena had a wart on her eye. she had alot of wart bless ehr heart. we still talk about them and now can do so without crying everytime.
she'll tell you. she may be saying her goodbyes. sometimes they almost are dying spring back then they pass on.
poor ayla, you and the family. were soo sorry.

Max said...

We've had that conundrum with our two former pets, Dusty and Hank the Dog. With Dusty we just knew: when she couldn't eat and couldn't drink, we took her in, and she actually died before the vet could help her cross.

With Hank, it wasn't as clear cut. He was obviously having problems, his breathing sounded like Darth Vader under water, and the only food he would eat was people food--I cooked for him the last 3-4 weeks just to get something in him. But we didn't know what the problem was, and he was having some good days that made us wonder if he could hang on.

In the vet's office--we'd only taken him in for a weekly checkup--the vet said she was 99% sure it was pancreatic cancer. We weren't willing to put him through surgery because of a bad liver... there was hope he would have dozens more good days, but that hope was mainly for us.

He was likely in pain and not showing it, so we decided then to help him go to the Bridge. When the vet gave him sedation first, we realized how much pain he had been in, because his face unclenched...his facial tension just went over our heads.

I think it comes down to quality of life. If the bad days outweight the good, and if there's any question of pain, we have to decide if we're hanging on for their sake, or for ours. If it's the latter...we have to let go.

If she's enjoying life, give her some time. But if she has a string of days when she's obviously not, then it's time. Err on the side of comfort, and know that when you make the decision, it's the right one. Ayla deserves to go with dignity.

And Max will miss his fellow grump sooo much...

(Max's "Woman")

Tiger Lily said...

I'm crying with you, as I know exactly how you feel. In June 2006 our beloved Pfredd, at the age of 19 years and 3 months, finally decided it was time to go after what seemed to us like a very long time of refusing to give up. He wasn't ill, just old and thin. He was never very large, but he was down to 3 pounds at the end. Every time my husband and I decided it was time to help him go, he'd catch a mouse or thwap the dogs into submission or sneak out the door and climb a tree. Although he threw up fairly regularly he ate like a little piggy and never seemed to be upset about his life.

Regular visits to the vet helped us know he wasn't in pain. He did get wobbly and for the last few months he used his weakness as a weapon against us -- we had to pick him up to his food (had to be up or Sushi would get it before Pfredd was ready to finish it off).

Even now, more than a year later, I think back and wonder if we should have helped him go. But ... he was happy with us and he made it very clear that he was not ready to go until that very last day. He just very quietly lay on his soft towel and stopped breathing, in his own time. I always remember his purr the night before he left us and realize that he was happy the way things were. I believe Pfreddy would have been really upset with us if we'd messed up his plans!

I think Ayla will tell you when she's ready to go and you'll just know. You are the one who sees her every day and you know the nuances of her life. When you make that decision, it will be right because you love her so much and you'll do it because of that love. There will be no reason to beat yourself up worrying about why you make the decision.

We'll be praying for you to have the peace you need when the Time comes.

Rebecca
(Tiger Lily's Mom)

The Meezers said...

oh Aylasmom - I can't give you any better advice than what has been given. Ralphie lived for 6 months after he was diagnosed with cancer. He ran off to the Bridge 2 hours before the appointment I made at the vet to help him get there. Norton ran off on his own when he finally decided he was tired of going to the vet every 6 weeks because he was constipated, and 18 years was a good long life. Trixie just stopped walking one day and went to the Bridge less than 12 hours later. Sometimes they tell you it's time and sometimes they just decide it's time and that's it.
I totally agree with Max's woman - if the good days for her outweigh the bad, then she's not ready. If there's any question of pain, then unfortunately it might be time. From personal experience I can say this - no matter what you do, you will have doubts that you did the right thing. But don't let those feelings cloud what time you have left with Ayla, and don't let them cloud your memories of her when she does go to the Bridge.
We are all here for you, and the meezers and I are sending you lots of hugs and purrs.

ML (Mary Lynn) said...

I don't have any advice on this, but my heart and prayers are with you during this difficult time.
ML

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I had to put my cat Mitzi down. Looking back I wish it had been sooner because I think she was in distress but I had not been ready. I think if there is pain & more bad days it is time. It was the hardest thing I have ever done but she passed in my arms before the vet was even finished. I still miss her ten years later (I am crying while I type), but I felt such a sense of relief that she was no longer suffering. She was cremated and the day I buried her in the back yard I saw all the neighbourhood cats come and lie in that corner for an hour.

My heartfelt sympathy to you whatever you decide

Anonymous said...

It is so hard to let go, even if you know it's time.
Our 16 year old 25 lb Maine Coon Sneaker got sick in May. After 3 days of not wanting food, I knew it could be time when he hid under the bed, something he'd never done before. His liver and kidneys were both failing and there might have been therapy to lengthen his time with us, but I didn't even consider it. If he couldn't bounce back and be his usual happy self anymore, it was time to spare him the unhappiness of continuing to merely exist for a while longer.
And I don't regret for one minute making that decision. Holding him in my arms at the vet's office while he made the trip to the Bridge was the most loving thing I could do for him.
I'm crying for you right now. Every time someone loses a kitty, the hole in my heart for Sneaker opens again and I sob for all lost kitties and the people who loved them. But I know in my heart I did the right thing for him.
When the time comes, you'll know you did the right thing for Ayla, too. I'll be thinking of you and praying for you and your family, and for Ayla.

MamaCat

Diva Kitty's said...

We can offer no words of advice only thought of kindness at this time.

Hot(M)BC said...

Oh we's leaking too, Ayla's Mom. We luvs Ayla so much from knowin her here. Mommy used to work wif hospice for people and she says she may be so spry sayin byebye to everyone. If you are ready to let her go to be not in pain no more at the Rainbow Bridge, tell her dat it's ok to go and not be in pain any more and that you'll be ok, and a'course we knows you'll tell her dat you love her. We's telerported ofur in spirit and told her ourselfs that we loves her and she's a grate cat and we'll miss her lots when she goes, but we'll see her at the Bridge one day.
Purrrrrrrrrrrrs,
Sanjee, Boni, Mini, Gree and Pepi

jenianddean said...

I have to agree with Max's mom - when the bad days outweigh the good ones. We had to help my cat, Fluffy, over the Bridge. He was 19 years old, and he had a great life, but the cancer had taken over his little body. I still cry thinking about that day, but I know in my heart that was the most loving thing we could have done for him. He deserved to die with dignity and to be with the ones who loved him the most.

May you find the answers you are looking for and have peace when you find them.

We will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

-Jasper McKitten-Cat's mom (Jeni)

Zippy, Sadie and Speedy said...

Mom's leeking hard. She knew it was time for old Punkin when she wasn't having fun any more. She played for weeks after the cancer came back then she would play 4 days out of 7, then 3 days out of 7, then one day she wouldn't eat, didn't want to snuggle. she laid down under the coffee table and wouldn't come out so mom spent the night on the floor next to her and took her in the next morning. It's the tuffest decision we'll ever have to make for them but we can't let them suffer because we want another day with them. Mom thought she could keep Punkin for a few more months but she's glad now that she made the decision when she did. It was hard to say goodbye but even harder to watch her suffer. You know Ayla the best, if she isn't really enjoying life anymore it's time. We'll be praying for you and her...and when the time does come we'll be crying right along with you. Not for her, because she won't suffer anymore but for ourselves because we get left behind and miss them so much.

Tara said...

Ayla's mom, this is Tara's mom. I know how hard this is. I was faced with the same decision last year. You can find Baby's story if you go to Tara's blog and click on the wall of remembrance link. Baby was eating right up to the end. But he started to slow down, and was having trouble with his bladder. Still, it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I too still have Baby's collar.

My thoughts are with you in this difficult time.

Tina

Kimo & Sabi said...

Our beans had this dilemma a few years ago wif Geno kitty who had lymphoma. He started getting worse at the same time Mommakitty's momma was about to pass. Geno kitty stabilized fer a brief period so Mommakitty could grieve when her momma passed, then he let Mommakitty know it was his time too. Mommakitty said she saw it in his eyes, like he was telling her he was ready. They spent one last great day together cuddling and napping and talking to each other all day. Then the next morning he just looked at her with his eyes in a way that said, "I'm ready." He had been very irritable to touch until the day before and that last morning. Mommakitty said he looked very comfortable when she carried him to the vet's office and he wasn't scared with the vet at all. Mommakitty and Daddykitty stayed with Geno and held his paws while he was gently helped over da bridge. It was a very difficult day, but there was much love involved in the process.

You and Ayla will somehow communicate with each other and know when it is time. The hardest part is giving her permission to leave. Just like humans, she needs to know you will be OK too.

We are sending purrrs and prayers to you.

Bogdan, the editor said...

Hi Ayla and Ayla's Mom,
We are purring for you. We don't have any advice but we are here to support you. Purrs, from your new friends, Bogdan, Sara and Kat3.

Miss Peach>(^,^) said...

You are in my deepest part of my heart right now during this very hard time in your lives...
Ayla is a part of your heart forever...now and forever.
Give yourself the purrrrmission to let her know it is alright to leave. Peace will follow after grief and tears...
Love Miss Peach

Karen Jo said...

I don't have any more advice to offer than what's already been given. When the bad outweighs the good, then it's time. I feel so much for you. I know how hard it is. I will miss Ayla very much when the time comes, but I don't want her to suffer any more than you do. I think you will know when it is time.

Parker said...

Dear Aylas Mom,
Only you and Ayla know when it is time to help her on her journey to the Bridge. Our eyes leak just thinking about her cancer and how awful it is that she is being overtaken by it. Here are some things to consider. If you find yourself asking if it is time, maybe you know it is near. Often animals and humans get one last burst of energy near the end. We think everyone who has commented has excellent thoughts and advice. She knows that you love her and if you do help her along, she will go surrounded by your love. Me and my Mommy send you love and strength and want you to know that you are in our prayers at this difficult time.
T-Gray was Mommy's kitty who came before - he lived for almost 22 years. He let her know when it was time. Mommy said it was the way he started to look at her (he had cancer in his mouth too). It was back in the ninties before there was treatment options that there are today.
All of our love -
Parker, Mommy and family.

DEBRA said...

Ayla's Mom

~Time can bring you down,
Time can bend your knees.
Time can break your heart,
Have you begging please, begging please.
Beyond the door,
There's peace I'm sure,
And I know there'll be no more
Tears in heaven.

Our hearts are heavy with sadness and our eyes are leaking with tears from such a heavy heart... there is no clear cut answer, other than Ayla will tell you when she has reached her decision. If she is still acting spunky then she isn't ready. But, follow your heart it will never lead you wrong.

Purrs our dear friend...
Abby, Boo, Ping, Jinx, Gracie and MomDebra

Monty Q. Kat said...

Evfurryone here has already said what I was going to offer, I Just wanted you to know MomBean's thinking of you. She ad to put her two beforeMe kitties down within a few months of each other for different reasons.

I think the biggest thing is that you'll know. She'll tell you when she just isn't having any more fun and is ready to go. Enjoy the good days, and when the bad ones outnumber them then it's time. We're thinking of you, it's so hard.

Dragonheart said...

Oh Ayla's mom, I feel for you. It is a very hard decision to make. I can't offer any better advice than what has already been shared, but know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Dragonheart's Mom & Dragonheart

Millie said...

We faced the same thing with our beloved Gizzy earlier this year. Every day he waited for mom by the window, and greeted her at the door. All he seemed to want to do is curl up in her lap or near her and sleep. He didn't play. Mom knew it was time because when he was healthier, he used to nap stretched out and comfortable, but now when he napped, he curled himself into a tight ball.
But he kept wanting to go outside, kept wanting to explore new things. On the way to the v-e-t he wanted to watch everything going by. Mom didn't want him to suffer and she didn't want to come home and find him d-e-a-d, so she helped him cross the Bridge.

We agree with Max's woman.

Good luck, and God bless!

Magoo, Smudge, Bella & Dolce said...

When Smudge got sick, the Vet told us that cats are great actors. They can be in immense pain and we would not be able to tell. I don't know what we would have done if the sub-q fluids hadn't turned SMudge around.

You love her and she loves you, and sometimes the greatest kindness is to say good-bye.

I would really recommend you contact Buzzerbee's mom and dad, since they just went through this and probably can relate better to your situation.

Headbutts and Purrs.

Daisy said...

You, who loves Ayla best, will make the right decision for her. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

The Furry Kids said...

Our eyes are leaking, too. We don't have anything to add, but please know that our thoughts and purrayers are with you.

Hugs and purrs,
The Furry Kids & their Mom

Name: Mr. Hendrix said...

It stinks that you have to make this decision. It is so hard to know. I think you'll know when you see her slow down. You don't have to wait until her body shuts down, just until the day you see her slow down.
Somehow, I think she'll let you know. Our purrs and prayers are with you.

Emma's Kat said...

So sorry to hear of Ayla's failing health. I think what Max's mom said is so true. It comes down to "quality of life". I had my beloved DannyBoy taken by a cancerous tumor on his shoulder. I knew it was time because he slept with me EVERY night and when he started staying downstairs and sleeping in my son's room, I knew he must be in too much pain to make it upstairs. And so, I made the decision to help him to the Bridge. I couldn't bear for him to be in pain and I knew he was ready. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done. The vet said he definately was in pain and he went to the Bridge so peacefully. I miss him so much, but, have his memories in my heart. You and the family are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

The Tower Hill Mob said...

We are so sorry that you have to make this decision. With Jiggsy Doodle, he was in pain and had little interest in life. A fairly easy decision, but still wrenching. Then, Tilly girl who spared us by slipping off to the Bridge early one morning.
If you're asking whether it's time, it probably is. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

Henry Helton said...

Oh Gosh. This is so sad. I have no advice. You will do what is right when the time comes. I hope you are doing okay.

Eric and Flynn said...

We are very sorry about poor Ayla, we feel like we know her so well. We can't offer any extra advice except that if you're not sure if it's time, then probably deep in your heart, you know it is. The first cat we ever had together (Marmi)had kidney failure. We kept having the injections which kept him going, and we thought he was doing ok because he would always purr for us. In the end he lost so much weight and couldn't keep any food down. We fed him liguids with a syringe, and in the end he couldn't even keep that down. Then we decided that we should help him to the Bridge. He was still purring for us. Some time later, another vet told us that cats will still purr when they are in great pain. This was 25 years ago and I still shed tears for him We vowed then that we would never make the wrong decision again. You will know when it is time. Be brave for Ayla, she knows you love her.Purrs and hugs to you from Eric, Flynn and mum.

Bad Kitty Cats & Megan said...

Hi Aya's Mom and Ayla. This is indeed a rough decidion you are telling yourself you must make. Maybe and this is only my opinions it's something you do not have to decide. Nature, God, whatever you want to call it will take it's own course.

What I am saying, well Baby, my kitty cat who was with me for 19 years often showed signs of feeling bad, listless and other problems that come with age and her illness. Almost blind, couldn't get herself in the poohbox all the way, things like that, constant puking after eating. Well I made my decision to not decide based on one thing.

Baby gave me so much joy, love and had good and bad days. It comes with age. My choice was from thinking and will always be, for any kitty cat, that being dead is no quality of life versus being alive and living the last says out in love.

If one of our kitty cats were to be hit by a car, have internal bleeding and no hope, I would depend on the advice of a vet, but I still would be not wanting to help the kitty. Miracles happen and I do not want to be the one to stop something. It's a rough road for sure.

As for Ayla, I would keep her close and happy until it's her time, the time nature and her own body decides. Some say I am selfish, the kitty may suffer or be in pain.

Guess what? Humans too, but we do all we can to extend life. There is pain medications, there are measures we can take to make kitty comfortable.

KittyCats will go away when they know it's their time. Baby did. She knew when and I am so thankful in the last 3 years of her life I did not make that choice. If Ayla is spry and eating and happy, even with pain or discomfort, well then the choice is easy for me. No Bridge.

I have not read the opinions of others here, because I do not want conflict. Some say yes maybe no... to me, never if at all possible.

All our love and I don't know if it helps or not, but Baby went to her bridge when it was her time. I shudder thinking I would have lost three or more years if I had made that choice to assist in her death. But this is only my story. We all have to live with what is best for us, even when circumstances are not so good.

Long live Ayla, either in our hearts or with us until her time is here. Loves and Purrs and Hugs and Prayers too.

Tyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tyler said...

I had to remove my above post because I had written that I've never lost a cat. I have lost a cat to kidney failure which is different than to old age. I can't believe I forgot my precious Katie.

I also wanted to tell you that I feel for you in this horrible time of decision. I hope that Ayla does tell you firmly when she needs to cross. You are not alone. We are here with you.

RAM said...

Alya will tell you. I did not believe it either, I used to stay awake wondering what to do.

It was hard watching my Pretty Thing die. She had the same cancer as Alya. She got thinner and thinner, no longer took care of her fur, ate less, it was hard to look at the cancer pass through her nasal passages into her mouth, it was hard for her to breathe. I had a vaporizer going full time. But she would acknowledge me when I walked into the den, and she did still move around the house a little. She liked me and the other cats to sit with her.

My vet came by the house one evening. Pretty Thing's teeth were in really bad shape, but my vet did say she had seen cats with such awful abcesses, they were loosing weight. She had also helped us with her cancer, so I know she was not ignoring what was happening, but she admitted, she is a bit of a Pollyanna. We agreed Pretty Thing would go to the vet's office the next day, and if it was not the teeth, they would not reverse the anesthetic.

Needless to say, Pretty Thing did not enjoy her examination, she never did. She marched back into the den, sat on her blanket, and never left it. She had a bad night, very restless; nobody slept well that night.

In the morning, she looked at me, and I just knew. "It's time Robin." So the vet came to the house; she cried too. Pretty Thing's ashes, along with her two boys, are in the living room.

I will always miss her, she was my first cat. But she is waiting for me, with her kittens and every other animal she can boss around at the bridge.

She will let you know.

Samantha & Tigger said...

There is so much good advice here! We will keep you in our purrayers during this time and {{{{{hugs}}}}}}.
Kiss Ayla for us.
Your FL furiends,

NinjaCat said...

We are crying with you. We are so sorry for the pain you are going through. Our prayers are with you in this difficult time.

Ninja & Brenda

Beau Beau & Angie said...

Oh we hate to see this again so soon. We had a meezer cousin that had almost the same thing. He just hung in there till he was skin and bones and then one day his Mom made the decision instead. With another cat we had years ago he let us know it was time by going into a dark place that he never went before and I just knew. You just need to do what you makes you feel the most comfortable and when you feel the strongest and can be the strongest for her. Our hearts go out to you and we are sending you both the strength you need.
Brenda, Beau Beau & Angie

Alexi said...

Oh, we is leaking tears and purring and purraying for you here. We've been through this, too. We won't tell the story of it, but we do know. Our beans leaked a lot of tears...

We're soo sorry and, as with Tiger Lily, you'll have the peace and strength when the time comes.
Alexi, Annie, Evita and the rest of us at the Castle.

Skeeter & LC said...

We're not gonna try and make rhrymes today.

Instead, we will just say farewell to a kitty who seemed kind an friendly.

An we both send our purrs and hugs to the bean...