Congestive Heart Failure in Cats When to Euthanize

The moment we welcome our feline friends into our homes, they do not simply remain as mere animals or pets – they become part of our family. When we want what’s best for our family, we also aim to provide the best for our furry friends. 

This is also the very reason why when our cats get sick or maybe feeling a bit off, we also worry about them. And ultimately, it is going to be quite a difficult ordeal to go through when it is time for us to say goodbye to our cats. I have a throat in my stone even thinking about the idea, but lets talk about congestive heart failure in cats and when to euthanize


What is Congestive Heart Failure in Cats?

Deciding to whether or not it is time to euthanize our cats when we see them experience so much pain is really a tough one. Here’s to hoping that as you read along, you will be able to arrive at a decision that’s going to be best for you and your cat.

Quite a very general term, the congestive heart failure in cats occurs when your cat’s heart is unable to deliver the required amount of blood supply to their body, resulting to fluids getting stuck in their lungs. It is a condition that knows no age, gender, and breed. Although, it is evident that middle-aged to senior cats are more vulnerable to this condition.

When a cat has congestive heart failure, they may exhibit the following symptoms:

  1. Breathing is laboured – Observe if your cat is having difficulty breathing. Watch out if your cat breathes fast all of a sudden or breathes really slow.
  2. Lethargy – Look for signs wherein your cat seems to be not in the mood to play or eat or do anything at all.
  3. Loss of appetite – Alongside other symptoms, loss of appetite can also be a tell-tale sign that something not right is going on in your cat’s body
  4. Blue/Grey gums or tongue – Constantly check for your pet’s oral condition
  5. Collapse – Immediately consult your veterinarian upon its occurrence
  6. Hind limb paralysis – This is a condition that is often linked to congestive heart failure as well

Why Does it Occur in Cats

Congestive heart failure in cats occur during hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or a condition wherein the walls of your cat’s heart thickens. Once this occurs, your cat’s heart is unable to stretch to its maximum capacity to supply blood in the body. At times, it can also be traced back to the existence of a thyroid disease, high blood pressure, and heredity and genetics. It could be caused by failure of the left side, or right side, or both sides of your cat’s heart.

How is Congestive Heart Failure Diagnosed?

There are a series of tests done in order to arrive at a diagnosis. These tests include an electrocardiogram; an echocardiogram in order to evaluate your cat’s heart structure and function; blood and urine tests: including thyroid hormone test, CBC count, biochemical panel, heartworm test, FeLV/FIV test, and urinalysis; blood pressure measurement; and chest radiographs of the heart, blood vessels, and lungs (It’s quite a handful of x-rays, but there a lot of affordable cat x-ray costs out there).

When Do We Let Our Cats Go?

Here are some pointers to hopefully help you make that decision:

  • Consultations – You went to almost every veterinarian there is, and most of them advised you that it will be best for your cat
  • Pain – Looking at our cat in pain, pains us even more! It is really difficult to bear, having to look at them and somewhat knowing that they are in extreme pain. It gets to a point where we wish that we could simply take away the pain
  • Finances – Unfortunately, there is this factor. It may not look pretty but this is reality. We would also have to consider our financial status if we could still sustain and provide medication for our cats.
  • Condition – Aside from pain, it could be that your cat’s condition is only getting worse – probably even leading to more pain

Bottom Line

Of course, we will do everything in our power just to keep our pets alive and stay with us. But some circumstances will really lead to hard choices for us to make – especially when we see our cat, a family member, suffering too much. Clear your mind and think about what’s going to be best for your cat. Do message us if you need a chat, we are here for you.

Rebecca Welters

Yes, I am that weird cat lady with 200 cats and live in the darkest corner of the city where no one dares to go! Joking! But I am a cat lover and have 2 Ragdoll cats called Toby, he's 3 years old and Dory, she's 8 years old. I'm 36 years old and live in the quiet town of Washington.

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