August 2009 Issue

Euthanasia: What to Expect and What Questions to Ask First

It’s a difficult decision, but the choice to give your cat the “good death” is often the most humane.

How can you possibly go on living without your cat — the beloved best friend with whom you’ve shared your life for the past 10 or 15 years? That is one of the challenging and possibly unanswerable questions that loving and conscientious cat owners must ponder when their veterinarian suggests that they might want to consider euthanasia. The Good Death. The term euthanasia is derived from two Greek words — eu, which means good, and thanatos, which means death. In a report published in 2001, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) defined this "good death" as follows: "Euthanasia is the act of inducing humane death in an animal. It is our responsibility as veterinarians and human beings to ensure that if an animal’s life is to be taken, it is done with the highest degree of respect, and with an emphasis on making the death as painless and distress-free as possible."

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