Should I be with my cat when he is euthanized?

Yes, you should be with your cat when he is euthanized. You owe a duty to be there. It is the penultimate task for a cat guardian to see their beloved cat companion on their way. And, if you are being particularly hard on yourself you should not cry when those life ending drugs are administered because your cat might recognise it as a sign that you want to hold on. But you want him to go peacefully, to be released from this world, to be free to go over the rainbow bridge where you will join him one day, God willing.

We should be with our cat when she/he is euthanized
We should be with our cat when she/he is euthanized. Image: PoC.
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It is probably the hardest job that you will do as a cat guardian. I am sure that many dedicated and committed cat guardians have been unable to be in that sterile, stark consulting room during the last minutes of their cat’s life. It’s too difficult and too painful for them. But the argument is that we should put aside our pain and distress in that emotionally crushing moment because it’s a moment which is all about our cat. It’s about them and it’s their worst day.

I guess it is an extension of the reasoning that a good cat guardians should be with their cat when they most need them. It’s part of the deal. It’s part of the bond and the mutual love. They have given their unconditional love throughout their life towards you and you owe them to be present at the end of their life.

I confess that I have only decided this late in the day. I have always found it too difficult but the next time it happens I will be there. And if we find it too difficult there is the danger that we delay the moment. The decision when to euthanise your cat is the toughest that you’ll have to make throughout your relationship with her. The decision is only made on the basis of what is best for your cat, his well-being and welfare. It is nothing to do with you and how you feel about his passing. It is a decision which needs to be made coldly and in a businesslike way with the assistance of an experienced veterinarian.

You should know when the moment has come, when the window opens and you are in that timeframe when you have to say goodbye. I’m sure a lot of people will disagree with me. And I completely understand if they do and if they find it too difficult. It’s a personal choice. There is no clean, clear black-and-white answer as to whether you should there at his passing or not but please try for his sake.

Note: Please take ‘he’ as also reading ‘she’.

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1 thought on “Should I be with my cat when he is euthanized?”

  1. I always have been with my cats when they’re euthanized. It’s hard but I do it anyway. It’s a scene permanently etched in your mind. It’s a little easier when the medical situation is hopeless and they’re suffering. One vet let me hug my cat as he was going on & he left the world purring. But that cat liked to be hugged which is unusual.

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