How To Know When It’s Time to Put Your Pet Down

The past two weeks have been extremely difficult in our house concerning one of our family members. Not human but one of our fur-babies, but still a family member just the same.  

My beautiful Siamese/Tabby cat has been ill lately and we’ve had a few discussions lately as to whether or not it’s time for us to “say goodbye” and putting our pet down.

Sir Thomas (that’s what I named him) because he’s regal and elegant, beautifully classic in every way, shape and form.

Tommy Boy is his nickname, among others: love sponge, cuddle muffin, master kitty and best friend.  He’s almost 24 years old and has been a constant source of love and affection in my life for as long as I can remember.

Lately though, he’s not been himself which has led us to the question: Putting a pet down, How do we know when it’s time?

It’s difficult even considering the idea of having to end a pets life. I mean Thomas been in my life longer than my husband and children. He’s been my buddy and soul-friend.

I don’t want him to suffer and I know that humans have a tendency to put their own needs before others in fear of the loss and pain that will often follow losing a loved one.  

That is not something I want to do.

Harley (yorkie) giving Thomas (my cat) kisses cause he’s not feeling good.

He’s still eating… drinking … going to the washroom and asking for love…

So how can I know if he’s suffering?  

I have to watch and see I guess. They tell you to take your animal to a vet but as soon as I do that, and they realize how old he is. They will just tell me to do the right thing and put him down.  

Am I being selfish in thinking that perhaps it’s not time — not just yet?  I don’t know. I’m so torn.

Last week I noticed Thomas’s eyes were watery and red and dripping. I looked it up and yep he has conjunctivitis, a normal condition many animals get, especially as age sets in.  

I immediately wet two tea-bags and put drops of earl gray into his eyes and wiped his eyes with tea bags, and within a day he was much better.  

Not perfect but better.

best buds

I sometimes wonder if Thomas is telling me it’s time?  His personality hasn’t really changed. He’s still lovable and always wanting pets. He’s still jumping up to the freezer to eat his food. He’s lost weight and walks slower than before (of course) he’s old. I just don’t know if it’s time or not.  

I know it sounds stupid but … what if I’m wrong and he hates me for ending his life too soon. 

He’s a cat I know. 

But he’s MY CAT!

I love Thomas dearly. I don’t want him to suffer but I also know that as selfish as it sounds. I’m not quite ready yet.

On payday I’m going to take him in and talk to a vet, get some feedback and hopefully I will have a clearer mind over this.

Until then… I’m loving him every moment possible!

Have you ever had to put a pet down due to age? How did you know it was time?

Update: We had to say goodbye to our beloved Thomas. His eye infection got worse. The vet barely got the needle into his arm before he closed his eyes, his paw wrapped around my finger, and said goodbye. I’m absolutely heartbroken over this and have no idea how I’m going to live my life without him. 

Thomas mommy will always miss you boy. Thank you for loving me and being there when I needed you. 


  1. Fordy March 18, 2013 at 2:59 am

    I've been going through the same thought process with my dog lately. Asking is it time? Is she suffering?

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author March 19, 2013 at 8:00 am

      Oh Fordy I know it's not easy, she is very old. It's hard though isn't it? I wish you the best of luck hun and hey you should stop by for coffee some time we miss you 🙂

  2. Brooke March 18, 2013 at 1:49 am

    Right now, we're having those discussions about our 13 year old dog. She's always had accidents in the house, but they're becoming more frequent in her bed (causing her to sleep in it). A couple weeks ago, she started losing control of her limbs. The vet warned us it might happen because of an old spine injury. She falls and her limbs will begin to twitch on their own. It terrifies her and it's hard to watch her suffer.

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author March 19, 2013 at 8:05 am

      Awwww I'm sorry to hear that Brooke, that's not fun. It's very hard, I cry even reading your story and others. People aren't aware animals are like our kids, part of our families.

  3. Erika E March 17, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    I have never had to put a pet down due to age. Unfortunately there has always been some other reason, sick with cancer or another illness. I think you're right to take him to the vet to get an opinion. I wish you all the best with this terribly difficult decision.

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author March 17, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you Erika for your comment, I appreciate it 🙂

  4. Nancy T March 17, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Not due to age (8) but I had to take my cat Tiger to be put down after suffering with kidney disease. We tried to prolong his life thinking he would get better (loss of weight, not eating properly, urinating so much I had to dump his entire litter box every day) and after an overnight stay at the vet with IV he came home so much his old self. We thought (hoped) he was on the mend. But it wasn't to be. A few days later he was listless and couldn't see to drink from his water bowl. I knew it was time. As difficult as it is you will know when it's time and my heart goes out to you and your family.

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author March 17, 2013 at 1:15 pm

      Thanks Nancy, he's doing better today but yes he's still going in as it's hard they can't tell you if they are suffering or not. I just want to make sure we are making the best decision for him 🙂

  5. Brenda March 17, 2013 at 9:54 am

    My family has always had dogs or a cat. We have put animals down before, but once, we did not realize how bad things had gotten and the dog died naturally. It was so sad, but at that point is when we realized that animals will live their lives for us, even to the end. They will do whatever they can muster up the energy for so that we know that they are "okay". I know that it is always impossible to tell when it is time, but I hope that you can tell so that Sir Thomas doesn't suffer like our poor dog did. It's such a difficult decision!


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