Saying goodbye to a cherished cat is heart-wrenching. We understand that this is a very difficult time and our goal is to make the process of in-home euthanasia as gentle and respectful as possible for both you and your beloved cat.
Cat euthanasia is a compassionate choice made by cat owners and their veterinarians when a beloved cat is suffering from a serious illness, injury, or terminal condition. The process involves administering medication to help the cat feel relaxed and calm, followed by a dose of anesthetic drugs that leads to a painless and peaceful passing. This decision is never easy, but it is made with the cat's best interests in mind, to relieve their suffering and provide a dignified and peaceful end to their life. The goal of in-home cat euthanasia is to show love and care for the cat, even in their final moments.
Saying farewell to your beloved cat is never easy, and it can be one of the most difficult decisions you face. As your feline companion ages, or when they experience unexpected injury or terminal illness, they rely on you to spare them from unnecessary suffering. Deciding when it's the right time to say goodbye can be emotionally challenging, as no one wants to do it too early or too late. This can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of the best time to let go. Read more about how to know when it's time here.
At-home cat euthanasia procedure usually begins with the administration of a sedative to help your cat relax and feel at ease. The sedative can be given by injection or orally, depending on your cat's condition and the veterinarian’s medical judgment.
Once your cat is sedated, the veterinarian will administer the euthanasia solution (a large dose of anesthesia), which will tell the brain that the respirations and heart can stop.. This process is painless and typically very quick.. Your cat will not feel any anxiety, discomfort or pain; nor will they be conscious of their body responding to the medications. The veterinarian will monitor your cat’s vital signs to ensure a peaceful and dignified passing.
After your cat has passed, the veterinarian will prepare your cat for transport to the crematorium if this is the body care option you have chosen. Should you need a few more minutes with your beloved feline friend just let your veterinarian know and they will give you privacy. If you will be handling your cat’s aftercare on your own the veterinarian will leave once they have confirmed the passing of your cat.
During the procedure your cat may show the following signs:
Occasionally involuntary muscle movements may occur especially in the limbs or face. These may look like twitching similar to when your cat is dreaming.
Depending on your cat’s condition and the specific cocktail of medications your veterinarian deems appropriate, your cat may salivate or in rare cases, they may vomit.
Once your cat has passed, their muscles will relax and possible loss of bladder or bowel control may occur.
It is natural for the eyes to remain open during and after the process; again this is due to the muscles relaxing.
Deep reflexive breathing or gasping may occur depending on your pet’s condition; and should not be taken as signs of distress. These are possible physiologic responses, not conscious efforts to gain air.
When present, these signs are natural responses of the body to the process of transitioning. Seeing these responses may be difficult for you but your cat is not conscious of these changes, nor are they actively trying to move or resist the process.
While appropriate in a hospital setting, we understand that scrubs are not necessary nor comforting in the home environment. As such, your veterinarian will come dressed in comfortable yet professional clothing and carrying a bag or case with the necessary items such as medications and a stethoscope.
The veterinarian will be sensitive to your family’s needs and pacing for the one hour appointment. Although the sedation and euthanasia process can be quick, typically 15 minutes, your veterinarian will give you the opportunity to pause between steps or and proceed when both you and your cat are ready.
The veterinarian will explain the procedure and answer any questions you may have, and after the procedure, you will be given time with your cat before the visit is concluded.
If you have decided to handle the aftercare of the cat's body your veterinarian will take their leave at this time. If you wish the veterinarian to facilitate cremation for your cat, they will prepare and transport the body with honor, respect, and dignity.
The decision to choose euthanasia is a difficult one for cat owners; our goal is to make the process as peaceful and dignified as possible for both you and your beloved cat. You can be present throughout the procedure and can take as much time as you need with your cat after they have passed.
Your veterinarian’s aim is to provide comfort and they will answer any questions you may have about the process. They can handle aftercare arrangements, including cremation services, so you can focus on self-care and care of your loved ones after your cat crosses the rainbow bridge.
If you choose to have your veterinarian tend to your cat’s aftercare, rest assured that they will handle your cat's remains with the same honor and care as if it were their own.
It is recommended to make aftercare decisions before the day of the euthanasia to reduce stress. Your veterinarian can provide several options for aftercare, which can be altered during your veterinarian’s visit if needed. CodaPet offers you several after care options, listed here. However, we find that making decisions beforehand can reduce stress on the actual day of the procedure.
We understand that saying goodbye to your beloved cat is a very difficult and an emotional part of their journey. It's important to us that the experience is as comfortable and peaceful as possible for both you and your cat. Our network of veterinarians is here to support you in any way we can and will encourage you to create the atmosphere that best honors your cat, whether it be a favorite spot such as a sunlit window seat or a cozy bed near a fireplace. You are welcome to play music, light candles, or have the tv on for sounds of a familiar show. We are here to honor your wishes and make this transition as meaningful and dignified as possible for you and your cat.
Deciding on body care is a necessary step in planning for cat euthanasia. The most common options include burial at a pet cemetery or at home (depending on local regulations and restrictions for your area), or opting for cremation services with or without the return of ashes in an urn.
It takes courage and love to consider euthanasia for your beloved cat. It is important to educate yourself about the process and understand when it might be the right time for your cat. If you are wondering how to know when the time is right, read more here.
It is also important to take care of yourself during this difficult time so do not hesitate to seek support during the grieving process. Grief begins when the loss is imminent and affects daily routines, it is a natural part of honoring and finding healing from the loss of a loved one. Read more about grief.
"Dr. Hsia helped me through this devastating experience, and while guiding my Lola Kitty on to her next journey with compassion and gentle care. I feel so fortunate that this was able to occur in my home."
"Dr. Gary was very kind and walked us through the entire process. He made sure that Lily was comfortable up until her passing and made the entire experience very peaceful and provided comfort during a very difficult time."
"I am grateful for Dr. Wahla and her team for a peaceful transition for my angel Diesel. All my questions were answered in a timely manner and compassionate manner as well. It was a beautiful experience, I am eternally grateful."
"Dr Karen was very kind and wonderful during this very difficult time of my cat passing over the rainbow bridge. I highly recommend her and will let others know of her love for animals."
"It was hard to say goodbye to our sweet Daisy but we are grateful we were able to be at home. Dr. Gary was very kind and considerate of our feelings and Daisy's comfort."
"Dr. Hsia was so kind and compassionate to both my family and our sweet cat of 14 years. It made a heartbreaking event easier."
"Dr. Whala was incredibly kind, compassionate, and patient. She is a real gem. Thank you for helping our Cloey transition to the afterlife with dignity and kindness."