catdoc constelation
"When loving care no longer supports an acceptable quality of life . . ."
Keith and Quicken



( "easy death" -  from Greek eu = good + thanatos = death )

  • How do you know when it is time?

  • Your cat will tell you, but you have to be ready to listen. Every cat is different and every life experience unique. It is important to take the time to consider what "quality of life" means for each cat individually.

    Be aware of:
    1. appetite - enjoyment of food and the desire to eat are essential to life

    2. activity - engaging in normal daily routines is an important sign of interest in life

    3. Sleep - cats spend a considerable amount of time sleeping. This usually takes the form of napping in several different locations in the house A sleeping cat looks luxuriously comfortable. If not, something is wrong.

    4. personal hygiene - Cleanliness is important to your cat. Urine and feces anywhere other than a proper cat toilet are a problem for both of you. When grooming behavior is no longer effective, a soiled matted coat and overgrown claws are distressing for your cat. When efforts to assist in grooming feel like torture rather than care this problem just gets worse.

    5. responsiveness - Cats like to sit and watch. They seem to be aware of every little movement every tiny sound. Lack of interest may be a sign of mental dullness or physical discomfort.

    The Staff of The Cat Doctor will help you with this dificult decision, but trust that when you know what to look for you will know when it is time.

  • How is it done?

  • The process of euthanasia involves the injection of an overdose of barbiturate anesthetic. Your cat will fall asleep and then that sleep will become deeper and deeper until all body functions cease. A final deep reflex breath may occur. Eyes open and pupils dilate. A relaxed urethral sphincter allows any urine in the bladder to escape so an absorbent towel is provided for your kitty to lie on.

    When the drug goes directly into the blood stream the effect is almost immediate. An intravenous injection requires restraint unless an intravenous catheter is already in place. We often choose to give the injection into the abdomen. This requires little or no restraint and minimal discomfort. The anesthetic is absorbed more slowly and the effect of the drug less abrupt. Additional drug can be given if needed without distress The goal of euthanasia is a gentle, peaceful passing.

  • Can I be with my cat?

  • Yes, you can be with your cat. This is a personal choice. Each of us copes with the reality of death in our own way. Just as you must trust that you will know that it is time, you must also trust your own feelings about attending. Let us know what you are feeling and what would bring you the greatest peace of mind. We will do our best to help you through this process.

  • What happens afterwards?

  • The first decision that must be made is a choice of cremation or burial.
    1. Burial options
      • home burial - a suitable box can be provided at no additional charge.
        this option may be limited when the ground is frozen
      • pet cemetery - we can coordinate service with the cemetery of your choice.
    2. Cremation options
      • individual cremation with return of ashes
        We provide a unique hand thrown pottery urn.
      • group cremation no ashes are returned

    We can provide you with a clay paw print and / or a clipping of fur to serve as a remembrance if you like.

  • I feel so sad, does that mean it was the wrong decision?

  • Grieving produces a series of emotional reactions. Everyone's experience is unique. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. You may feel many strong emotions in quick succession; anger, sadness, relief. Knowing that you have made the right choice does not make the loss of your beloved cat feel any less painful. The joy of having loved is the only thing that allows us to bear the pain of loss no matter when or how that loss occurs.
183 Brighton Avenue, Portland, Maine 207-874-2287 - copyright © 1988-2009