Dealing with the prospect of euthanasia

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Dealing with the prospect of euthanasia

Updated Dec 21, 2021

Dear Cathy,

When we lost our last kitty, I was so thankful God took her in his timeline. For me, the guilt feelings of deciding when was the “right” time was overwhelming. I pray I never need to make that decision again.

– Donna B. Tampa, Florida

Dear Donna,

If you have pets, then you will likely have to make the euthanasia-decision at some point during their lives. It’s part of the grand bargain we make when we agree to share our homes with animals that we outlive by decades. The best we can hope for is that our pets either die of natural causes, as with your kitty, or live to a ripe old age and do not develop health problems that force us to make a euthanasia decision earlier in their lives. But that is not always the case.

You are not alone in this feeling. Regardless of when this decision is made, it’s always a difficult one for pet parents to make. Sadly, some people swear off adopting future pets as a result, saying it’s just too painful to think about. Eventually, most people adopt again when memories of the happy times spent with their pet eclipses the grief, and they suddenly long for that friendship again. Anyone who has ever had a companion animal can relate to your feelings. 

Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal

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Cathy Rosenthal (aka The Pet Pundit), CHES, CFE
Animal Welfare Communications Specialist

Cathy brings more than 35 years' experience in the animal welfare field. She is a sought-after speaker, Certified Humane Education Specialist, a syndicated pet advice columnist, an author, a publisher, and of course - a loving pet parent.

Read more about Cathy here or check out her Non-Profit's page to see more ways she can help you and your organization.

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