Is it time to let my pet go questionnaire

I don’t really have time to write today. Iris was simpering around me this a.m. and what I like about myself is it took me awhile to notice. I was doing my usual morning stuff, which involves letting Edsel in and out 47 times (he has a ritual) and feeding the cats—including hoisting giant Lily up to the dryer so she can eat like she needs it—when I was finally conscious of Iris walking around me, winding her way around my ankles.

“IRIS!” I exclaimed. I’d already lifted her to the dryer, site of many cat foods for her eating pleasure, first thing and she’d shown no interest.

In the end, it turns out she would eat if I fed her away from everyone else, holding the bowl in my hands, and only after I’d broken her canned food up into teensy bits. But she ate. A little.

So now it’s 8:18 and I really can’t stay (but baby, it’s cold outside. Here’s a roofie). But I did want to tell you about the questionnaire the vet left in the bag of Iris’s liquid antibiotics.

It’s a quality of life questionnaire and it turns out I have none.

Bah.

It was a really very helpful list of questions you rate from 0 (oh hells yes this is my dying pet) to 2 (you’re outta your mind) and then you add up your score. Questions like, Is the pet hanging out with everyone else (that was one of the things that led me to call the vet: She’s been in the bedroom almost all the time), is the pet eating and drinking (I gave that a 2, but now she’s eating a little yesterday and today), has the pet’s disposition changed, as in does she still abhor the stuff she hates (no; she’s still charming Iris who hates nothing, mostly).

Anyway, my score was right at the beginning range of yes, the end is near but you probably don’t have to call the hearse just yet.

I’m not going to be the person who doesn’t call the vet until the cat is soiling itself and all bones, either, though.

I’d better go. I have to be “at work” in one minute. I’ll be dividing my time between working and obsessing about this cat.

38 Comments

  1. That’s kinda helpful, having a rating system. I guess I have one in my head but it can really help clarify for anyone. (Plus those who don’t go through it often. Such as I do with many short-lived ferrets. Short-lived because of health problems. Talk about a vicious cycle. ANY. WAY.)

    I know you will do the kind thing when it’s time. I’m glad you won’t be the person who waits until it’s blatantly clear. Poor babies.

    Well, take all the time you can with sweet blindy Iris. We love you, little marshmallow feet!!

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  2. My old dog (Ernest T. Bass who is almost 14) is not doing well. He has a herniated disk and some nerve damage and can’t really feel his back legs. Anyway, I am exactly who needs to be reading that list and I can’t seem to make myself read it. Initially, when I saw the list I said to myself “self, no way are you going to have an opinion on Iris and June and their situation” and then I realized a second reason why I can’t look at it. It is too close to home for me. I wish you and Iris all the best as you make your way to the end of her journey.

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      1. He’s a very good boy who is old, decrepit and now rather smelly. He starts physical therapy and acupuncture on Friday.

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  3. Ah yes, the infamous questionnaire. A lot of vets know about it now and give it to their clients. Having had to answer those hard questions myself just a few months ago, I did find it useful. Kisses to Iris.

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  4. I’m sorry you have a need for that questionnaire (Iris being ill), but I’m so glad I found out such a thing exists. That is something I surely could have used a few times when we’ve had seriously ill pets. Our dog and cat both have chronic illness, so I’m going to take a picture and save it!

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  5. When we were making the decision about our hedgehog with wobbly hedgehog syndrome (something that sounds amazing but is decidedly not), the vet stated that it was “better to be a day too early than a minute too late.” Good thoughts to you, Irish and the rest of the crew during this difficult time.

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  6. You just know and then agonize over the when – then the constant is the right decision but it always always is – it is just the when.

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  7. The related story under this is when Iris faked her death to avoid getting you a Christmas gift. You mentioned pressing spines in that, too. Love to Iris.

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  8. So sorry about this. It’s very sad. I can only imagine. I do think that survey will help you to know what to do. It seems like a very helpful tool, but tools be damned this is still the pits.

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  9. This quiz was so timely for me. We have an appt. to put Alex down this afternoon. She’s not doing well at all in all those categories. I hope I have the strength to do this. This is our last pet for a while and she was my favorite.

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    1. Barbara, I’m so sorry. It is never easy and to say we miss them is an understatement. The only comfort is knowing you are doing the right thing for Alex.

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    2. Barbara, I’ll be thinking of you today! I kinda think we are going to lose 2 of our 4 dogs this year and we aren’t “replacing” them either. I’m sorry for your loss.

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  10. That is a very good checklist. One of our vets compared it to being in hospice – they’re definitely not well but it’s not necessarily time, either.

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  11. Thank you for sharing. We scheduled the appointment for our almost 15 years old mutt yesterday. Today she is getting all the treats. I felt secure in our decision, but that test solidified it for me. Best wishes to you and Iris.

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    1. Sorry to hear this Elle, but we did the same thing for our Gizzie a few years ago. We set the date with Lap of Love to come out and then treated him extra special for that last week. I’ll keep you in my thoughts!

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  12. Bless her sweet self. One bonus to WFH – you can be with her and see how things are going for her during the day.

    Those are all such good questions – I hope that is something more vets are sharing with their clients. I think we know much of that intuitively, but sometimes seeing the big picture is helpful. I am not an “alive at all costs” type of pet owner either, so I totally get it. I’m not an “alive at all costs” when it comes to humans, either, actually. “Being alive” isn’t more important than being able to enjoy your life.

    Soft pets for Iris and thoughts of hugging June (but thinking better of it and hoping she knows I avoided the awkwardness).

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  13. It’s so sad and hard on the pet mom. I’ve never seen a quiz like that before, and I wish I had one when I had to make hard choices for my dog.
    You know, with just a few tweaks that quiz could work on coworkers. “He doesn’t hang out with the rest of us after work. He’s gotta go.”

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  14. having that list would help a lot of us see more clearly, sooner, when emotion blinds us.

    Scritches to Iris, when she wants them.

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  15. You are the best pet own…staff, wait cats have staffs not owners. I’m sure you are doing the right things for her. This is so hard. Tearful.
    Tee

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  16. Oh, Iris. June, I admire your strength in acknowledging when an animal has no more quality of life. I worked in a hospital and wished more people were able to see when their loved ones were at that point.

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  17. Good for you to be aware of her quality of life. I let Lady go on about a month too long, I think – but – then, again? She wanted a walk the day before she died. It’s all just hard. And shitty. I’m sorry.

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    1. It is good you have that scorecard. With my pets I have always just known when the end was here. I sure that this for you.

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      1. I’ve never said this before, but I knew it was time for Tallulah, who was so stoic, when she was screaming in her sleep. Once she got sick she wanted to sleep on top of me, a thing her aloof self never did before, and the night she did that, I knew.

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        1. That is so heartbreaking to even just read, I know that must’ve been just horrible for you. I know you’ll make the right decision when the time comes.

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