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Posts: 4
Thank you for this message board. It's helpful. I've looked for similar situations to mine but wasn't able to come across one, so I am posting. We were forced to make a very quick decision at the vet this morning and my husband and I both fear terribly it was the wrong decision. Our 6-year-old cat Finley was hit by a car this morning. He was a rescue and much loved and cared for, but he always had a little Stray Cat left in him and was very smart too so was just miserable unless we let him outside for brief "prison breaks." We had trained him and our other kitty to come back when called as he was very food driven. He was RIGHT THERE with me and our baby daughter and our other kitty in the back yard, this morning, and then he walked off, and didn't come when I called a little while later. Our neighbor found him in her bushes in great pain and unable to move.

I rushed him to the emergency vet and the vet said his pelvis was badly fractured and he would need either surgery or to be euthanized, and she pressed us to make a decision as quickly as possible because of his pain and the extent of his damage. (I think she was impatient and a little terse out of concern for Finley's pain, not for her own reasons, but it felt quite unhelpful at the time.)

The vet said she could not assess the level of neurological damage, damage to his urethra, spinal damage or any other damage, and the pre-op workup would not assess those things either (the level of pain and shock made it impossible to determine neurological, and the urethra test would have to be done once he was under general anesthesia on his way into having the surgery. I don't know why she wouldn't have been able to tell us about the spine at that time. I think his pain was a big problem and he was too unstable for a lot of painkillers. I felt like she was hurrying us, and like she was guiding us toward euthanasia by highlighting the cost of the procedure and by stressing how we needed to make an immediate decision, but maybe that is unfair toward her as I trust she has a very hard job). She could not provide us with much in the way of what his post-surgery healing would be like - she said it's possible there would be complications/incomplete healing such as incontinence or difficulty walking, but its' possible there would be no complications, and there was no way of knowing. 

We could have done the diagnostic workup before making a decision, but she didn't seem to push that, and when I asked why she said it would not provide much more information than she already knew which was that the pelvis surgery was definitely necessary, but said she'd be happy to do it if that would help us make a decision. So we opted not to do that as a decision method, as it would only cause him more pain.

I don't know what horrible thing happened, but he could not move out of a frog-leg-splayed type of position, hind legs out to the side and back body completely pressed against the ground. It looked to me like he was not hit but actually run over given this position. My husband and I decided, in the pressure and grief of this moment and given how extensive his injuries seemed to be, and how miserable he would be if he were not able to move around and be independent upon recovery, that putting him to rest would be the least bad option.

I so regret this now. We both feel if we had had more time, just a few more hours, we would have come to a different decision. I have been crying and feeling sick all day. We sort of decided that the danger of having lower quality of life,for a cat who was miserable without some freedom, made surgery not the best option. But WE COULD HAVE BEEN WRONG. Only AFTER we got home did we look into pelvic surgery and see that this is a common injury and cats do recover. We are both wracked with guilt and regret. He was young, he was otherwise healthy, he was a sweet wonderful funny handsome precious beloved kitty who we love so much. His sister-kitty will miss him so much. Our one-year-old will learn to say his sister-kitty's name and not his. We have two bowls and two litter boxes, toys and scratching posts he loved, favorite places he had to sit. He was so young. Maybe he would have recovered FINE. If we had checked the information about pelvic fractures maybe we would have made a different decision.

It's true that in many cases cats can recover at home but that this was definitely not the case with Finley - he clearly needed surgery, and I gathered from the look of his backside and from what the vet said that he may have had other injuries, though maybe I was WRONG about these inferences. We needed more guidance for this decision and didn't have that guidance. Now we've made an irreversible decision.

We are going on an international trip in a week but his post-op recovery probably would have been better if he were boarded with like a vet-tech or something, anyway -- better than we could have offered him.

Finley was not old, not declining in health, not previously in any sort of pain or difficulty, and had not been given a definitive terminal/tragic diagnosis or poor prognosis. The ambiguity of the diagnosis and prognosis is terrible and won't let me rest in this decision. 

I feel almost more sickened and heartbroken about this than the accident in the first place. Has anyone experienced something similar? Healthy furbaby, sudden accident, but NOT a clear choice of what to do next?

Thank you for your thoughts, and for this website. 


Posts: 19
Of course you regret it. I completely understand. Besides, his absence is heavy and hurtful—and usually animals do seem like they want to live. I would trust your vet’s candid opinion. Even if she was wrong and you were wrong, his recovery would have been painful. The cat might realize all the freedom that he’s lost and would have wanted to go. Knowing that, I am sure the cat has somewhat accepted that he wouldn’t make it and was well aware of two human beings he loved being right there at his side trying to fix it for him. It is good to troubleshoot I think. I learned everything I could about heatstroke after my dog died of it at my parents’ house when I was out of town. They gave him beef broth for three days. I needed to pay a vet just for an opinion on what happened. It was devastating and I still cannot stop troubleshooting. But without doing it, I wouldn’t arrive at the realization that it’s not going to bring Smiley back. I would get other opinions now if you could, just to understand better that you did or didn’t make the right decision. I used a service called “Ask a Vet”. They have vets who freelance for the site and have credentials. It was very helpful to me to do that. My thoughts are with you and your boy and I hope for your healing.

Posts: 629
Good Afternoon, Dearest Keeks,

I am so very sorry for the loss of your beloved Finley, and my heart is heavy for the pain and heartache that you and your family are going through. When we lose our beloveds, it is painful enough for us, but when the circumstances are unexpected, where quick decisions must be made, well, it is even more so.

Dear Spirit, it is my wish, my thought, and my hope for you that you may know that in no way should you feel guilty for the actions and decisions you made for your Finley. When faced with a life altering decision, there are so many factors to consider, future health, recovery, and the potential for long term, permanent damage. Dearest Keeks, contrary to what you may think, while a natural part of mourning, please do not feel regret for the decision made. By no means was it made in haste, without information, made on a whim.

Dear Keeks, when we welcome our beloveds into our lives, we promise to give them love, caring, and companionship, while at the same time, protecting them from pain, suffering, and discomfort. Sometimes, sadly, part of our honoring that promise is maing the heartbreaking decision to send our beloveds on a journey Home to where they may be forever young, strong, and vibrant.  It is so clear from your words that you provided so much to your beloved Finley, and more. Please find comfort in knowing that you did everything just right, and that your beloved Finley know that. In fact, I know that in his way, he will let you know just that.

Dearest Keeks, I wish for you that over the next days and weeks, you may take care of yourself, let you yourself heal, and know that for today there are so many in this wonderful loving community, offer you their thoughts, hopes, and prayers for you, your loved ones, and of course, your beloved Finley.

All is well with love,

Posts: 6
Keeks, I believe you made the right choice. I can’t even imagine how much pain your cat must have been in, the injuries were severe if his back legs were out like that, I think it would have been cruel to take a few hours to consider things, while he was in so much pain. Your decision was based on love, the ultimate act of love to ensure he didn’t suffer a second longer. It’s a terribly hard decision to make, but I have no doubt that you made the right choice. You did the right thing.

I’ve just been through the same thing. I had to make that decision a week ago. My decision felt rushed also but it was only rushed because of the pressure I felt, knowing how much pain she was in. A decision needed to be made quickly, unfortunately :(

Posts: 4
Thank you all so much for your kind words.

Posts: 639
Oh yes I experienced something similar for sure. The vet rushed me into euthanizing my baby daughter.  And then after the euthanasia acted like it was just another day at the office for himself. This was my child!

I can't believe how insensitive the veterinary profession is with regards to rushing people.

You can't force people to be a partner in the death of their child and expect that decision to be made "on the spot" simply because you (the vet) think it is a good idea.

To the vet is is an option but there are other options and all options deserve equal weight.

I dislike immensely how vets treat euthanasia as a cure all. It is easier for them to do away with the problem rather than take on a new medical project that is going to require time.  Some have suggested they size up clients and determine who can and can't afford future treatment. And the vet him or herself as stated simply in some cases does not want to be the one to have to care for the sick animal so they push euthanasia.

I don't for a second give them credit that their rushed approach is for the well being of the animals. Not a second.
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