The People's Perspective on Medicine

Don’t Kill Kitty Yourself

Q. I have a 19-year-old cat to which I am very attached. I know her time will come soon. I don’t want to take her to the vet to be put down because she is terrified of both vets and needles. I would like to give her medication myself that would put her to sleep. My wife and I have prescriptions for Serax and lorazepam. Would either of these work? What dose would I need?

A. Please do not attempt to put your cat to sleep yourself. Cats react quite differently from humans to many medications. The sleeping pills you have on hand could cause your cat needless suffering.

Many veterinarians are willing to make a house call to euthanize an animal they have cared for. That way, your cat will not have the distress of going to the veterinary office, and there will be no risk of her suffering as a result of getting the wrong dose. The veterinarian has the appropriate medication and training to do this humanely.

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    About the Author
    Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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    As a professional cat caregiver, I have encountered this question more than once.
    I wish to thank you for your sensible and firm, yet sensitive response and advice on this difficult topic. Please remind people that human medicines–even the most benign, given with the best intentions–are for humans, not for cats: we are different species! People always should consult a qualified veterinarian instead.
    There are many DVMs trained in holistic medicine–Chinese herbs, homeopathy, acupuncture, etc.–so it isn’t always necessary to treat feline problems allopathically.
    Thank you again! (Love your column, too :-))

    * Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^