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Did I do the right thing?

Species: Cat
Breed: Mixed
Age: 11-15 years
I have been grieving because a few days ago I had my cat euthanized. I am feeling terribly guilty and sad, she was my beloved baby doll and I never imagined I would have to do this.
She had uncontrollable diabetes for several years and I had tried, under my vet's advice, various dosages with little improvement. She had been urinating outside of her litter box for a few years now and I did not mind dealing with that, I loved her I would have done anything for her. She also had a tumor in her ear, and my vet told me it was inoperable because they could not get her blood sugar under control, and surgery would be too risky for her. My vet advised me to put her to sleep a couple of years ago and I refused because I could not bear the thought of it. I decided to put her to sleep recently because she started urinating farther and farther away from her box, into my bedroom and on my bed, which was hard to deal with. Now I just miss her and regret doing it and wonder if I made the right decision. Lately, when I had to give her the insulin shots she seemed to cringe, and I was not sure if she was in pain. I just know I miss her and, did I do the right thing? I feel horrible. I miss her so much, she was a big part of my life. And, she had the sedative before they put her to sleep. Can you please tell me she did not feel any pain from this? It would help my feelings a lot. Thanks for advice.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I am so sorry that you have had to go through this. I can definitely relate because my own cat, Wilson, recently suffered with uncontrollable diabetes and just a few months ago I put him to sleep.

While some cats respond really well to insulin, those who don't are so difficult. It makes decision making really hard because it is not a condition where an animal is healthy one day and then suddenly sick the next. The gradual decline makes it really hard to know when to say it is time for euthanasia.

What I tell owners of cats with diabetes that is difficult to control is that at any point it is ok to make the decision for euthanasia. When the symptoms of urinating in the house get unbearable, then this is definitely an acceptable reason to put a cat to sleep.

While I don't know exactly how an animal with diabetes feels, I know they can't feel great. Being thirsty all of the time just can't be fun. I don't think cats with diabetes are in pain...but I don't think they are fully enjoying life. At some point though, if the diabetes goes unregulated for long enough then the cats start to feel really unwell.

Regarding the euthanasia, I can tell you that we have great medicines that make it painless for cats now. Sometimes there is some slight discomfort when the initial sedation is given. The final injection causes absolutely no pain. It causes the brain to go unconscious and then the breathing stops and then the heart stops. It is very humane and I can guarantee you that she did not feel pain.

I know this has been hard for you, but from what you have described it sounds like you did everything right.

I have a question for you. I am thinking of starting a section of my blog for people to post memorials for their pets. If you would like to send me a photo of Violet and a little write up about her life, I would love to post it on my blog. You can send it to

I pray that your grieving period is no longer than it needs to be.

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Dear Dr. Marie,
Thank you. Your answers helped my feelings a lot. I think I did the right thing for my baby and I hope to see her in heaven, along with all my other "babies" (former pets now gone) and I am glad she did not suffer in the end. Yes I could send you a photo.

Customer reply:

Dr. Marie,
I have one more question - why did Violet start urinating farther and farther away from the box? That was the part so hard for me to understand.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm not sure that anyone knows why cats decide to urinate where they do.

One explanation though could be that because of the diabetes she was feeling weaker and weaker and so she may have put less effort into getting to the box.

But, it's really hard to say why though!

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.