what do i do

I’ve been purposefully avoiding writing about Sasha because I can barely get the words out before the tears start and then I get all red and smeary and broken.

She’s still around, but I don’t know for how much longer. We had basically written her off in December, telling ourselves than any time past all the tests was “extra” time we should be grateful for. And I am. She still shows signs of her old self – climbing onto my desk to cradle herself in my arms when I’m at the computer. Yelling and finding a way to climb onto the bed and into my face when she’s hungry or deciding she wants some love. Licking my hand and forgetting to put her tongue back in her mouth so she looks all silly and makes me laugh every time. The insanely obvious sneaky creeping she does when she thinks you can’t see her try to steal your food.

Then there’s the rest of the time.

Before Ed and I left for San Francisco in May, Sasha started having .. accidents. Instead of using the litter boxes placed strategically around our apartment, she was going into the bathroom and doing her business on the floor.

Okay, we thought. She’s getting old and she’s trying to tell us something. We moved one of the litter boxes into the bathroom just for her use, and that seemed to work for a while.

Then it stopped working. Shan, who is a saint amongst hipsters, dealt with more than any person should ever have to deal with while Ed and I were away – she cleaned up Sasha’s crap for an entire week. It must have been horrible, and I can’t thank her enough.

We thought maybe Sasha was just stressed out – all the activity while we were packing, then we were gone for a week. Perhaps she was just acting out, and once she realized we were back to stay, maybe things would get better.

Things didn’t get better. Perhaps the litter box is too hard to get into – I’ll take the lid off so she can climb in easier, and maybe things will get better.

Things didn’t get better. Maybe the litter box is all wrong – let’s replace it with one just for her that’s easy to get into. We’ll clean it daily and scrub it out and maybe things will get better.

Things didn’t get better.

Since early May, Ed and I have cleaned two to three piles of cat diarrhea EACH every single day. At first it was just poop, but now she’s not even using the litter box to pee and she’s going in sneaky places. It’s always contained to the bathroom (as far as we can tell), but this is insane – we’ve gone through so many cleaning products I’ve lost count, and every day there’s more and more horrible things to clean up.

I don’t know what to do. We’ve done everything the vet has suggested – new food, new litter, private box, positive reinforcement – but she won’t or can’t stop shitting on the floor.

Ed and I know we need to have the conversation, but I can’t bring myself to do it – it tears me apart to even think about it.

Am I being unfair to Sasha? She lies around listlessly, barely moving – but then she’ll be fine and almost normal and happy.

What do I do? I’ve never faced this before, and I’m so lost.

please dont leave me

please don't leave me

12 thoughts on “what do i do

  1. I feel so badly for you. I’ve been there, and it sucks ass.

    I had to put down my beloved dachshund Dolly due to toilet issues. She was 12, so definitely getting up there in dachshund years, and … well, she shat. Everywhere. Peed, too. She was one of the family dogs, and I had moved out at this point, but I thought of her as “mine” — I was definitely her favorite. I couldn’t take her where I was living at the time, and my lifestyle wasn’t fair to her either.

    And, to make things worse, my sister was learning to crawl at the time. Mom was willing to put up with the ruined carpets, but not to allow her baby to crawl THROUGH all the urine & feces, and do god knows what else with it. That happens to be the “Everything goes in da mouth” stage, too. Not. Good.

    And so… the decision was made to put her down. It was especially horrible because aside from that, there wasn’t much wrong with her. Sure, she was old, but she was still reasonably active & happy, or at least as active as she’d ever been. Slept a little more, but nothing terribly noticeable.

    I took her in to the vet myself — my mother had wanted to have her brother do it, to save us the pain & anguish because “she wouldn’t know the difference”, but to hell with that: I figured I at least owed it to her to be with her. It was awful and horrific and I cried my eyes out… but we were out of options at that point.

    Whatever you decide, I know it’ll be what you think is best for Sasha AND the rest of your family, and that makes it the right choice.

  2. Oh sweetie, been there, done that. And what I will tell you is this: it will only get worse from here. I think we actually waited about a week too long with our Topaz; it was only when he started refusing food and could no longer walk that we made the decision. It was hell, but so was watching him die by inches.

    What’s the ratio of normal-to-listless like right now? I guess what I’m saying is, don’t wait until she’s always listless, because when she’s just lying there, chances are she’s in pain. And no one wants their beloved pet to be in pain.

    Do you have a good vet? Call them. Ask them what they think. No one here thinks you would put down Sasha just because of the inconvenience of cleaning up poop. Hell, I fed Topaz with an eye dropper for two weeks. We do whatever we need to for our babies. But if she’s in pain, it might be best to let her go. I wish you strength, Kimli.

  3. I really can’t advise either since I am pretty much going through the same thing with Odin right now. But I can offer up the advise that my vet gave me with respect to making the ultimate decision.

    Keep a record of bad and good days. Use a calendar if you have to. If she (or in my case, he) is having more bad days than good, then maybe it’s time. I use happy and unhappy faces myself. Stepping back and being able to examine it from a non-emotional perspective is probably the hardest part.

    For my part, I made the decision a long time ago that I wasn’t going to sacrifice Odin’s quality of life so I can keep him with me as long as I can. That’s not very fair to him. In fact, it’s selfish. He’s a sick dude and the moment I know he is too sick. Then I’ll say goodbye.

  4. When Pearl went, she was having good and bad days, though the bad were starting to outweigh the good. That is, she was having good days right up until I went on a two-week vacation (planned and paid for well before she got really sick, and, well, you gotta live). While I was on vacation I left her (expensively) boarding in the ICU of the vet clinic where all the staff loved her. She held up until 3 days before I got home, when the vet called me on vacation to tell me she was nearing the end. The day I got home I brought her home in her basket so she could see her friends one more time. She could barely move; Mharnu, her bestest buddy, seemed not to understand that it was her.

    Whatever sentimental things you are thinking about saying goodbye, you’ve known and grieved for a long time now and maybe you want to spare yourself and her the very worst of an undignified end.

    Retrospectively I knew Pearl was terminal before I left, and I should have made the decision then and spared her those last days of absolute misery and spared myself seeing her when she was truly no longer herself and couldn’t even purr.

  5. I think it’s better to let pets go one day too soon than five minutes too late. In my own experience, and seeing what our clients go through, the ones who have regret are the ones that worry that they waited too long to say goodbye.

    A kind, peaceful death is the last gift a loving pet owner can give their friend.

    It’s so hard to say goodbye. I really feel for you guys and Sasha.

  6. Yeah, I second everything everybody’s said. Cats are experts at hiding their pain, but chances are she’s hurting – there is nothing that cats hate more than not pooping where they can cover it up. Either she’s in too much pain and is scared of going to the bathroom, so she holds it and then can’t wait anymore, or she can’t control it at all, but either one is a sign that she’s likely a very ill kitteh. I second the “call the vet” thing, they’ll at least be able to tell you how much worse it’ll get.

    My biggest regret with our Jennie was that we tried to fix her even though we knew it probably wouldn’t work – she went in for surgery and the vet called us in the middle and said that there was no realistic way to save her. I wanted to wake her up and say goodbye, but we couldn’t, because she’d have been in too much pain what with the unsuccessful surgery … so we put her down while she was still out from the anesthetic and we didn’t get to hold her and say goodbye :(

  7. I and my parents have been there too, with both cats and dogs. I was rather upset to see that my stepmother waited until her cat was at death’s door before putting her down: the cat was obviously sick and emaciated, and suffered for weeks because my stepmother wasn’t “ready”. It was sad to see.

    I guess my point is that you need to let go at the point that the cat’s ready, not you. And it sounds like Sasha’s ready, or will be soon.

    Good luck. I know it’s hell to be in your position.

  8. I don’t even know what to say…I just can’t imagine. All I can do is give you guys big hugs and buy you a Diet Coke or two. And hope that you’ll do the same when it’s our turn. :-(

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. *HUGS*

  9. My deepest sympathies to you and yours. It’s a horrible position to be in, having to decide when it’s time. I’ve been there too, and I agree with what the other posters have said.

    Hugs, and wishing you the best. I’m so sorry.

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