Making the decision to put your pet cat to sleep is very difficult, and an emotional time for any owner; even if you know that it is the kindest option right now for your furry friend. It could be comforting at this challenging time to know what exactly happens behind the scenes in a vet practice after euthanasia has taken place. As well as feel reassured that your cat is in good hands, being treated with the respect and dignity that he or she deserves. We will discuss these things in this blog.
On the day
When you come into the practice on the day of the euthanasia, the vet will firstly talk with you about what the process involves. And talk through all of the options available to you. The vet will also answer any questions you have. Whilst doing this, they will make sure you are still comfortable to proceed with the euthanasia. At this point, you sign a consent form.
An intravenous catheter is then usually placed into the cephalic vein of one of your cat’s front legs. (Unless the vet is intending to use a different route). This preparation phase may happen in the back of the practice in a quiet prep room, rather than the consult room where you are. The reason for this is that this can sometimes be a bit fiddly, especially for one person doing it alone. The vet nurses are really good at doing it quickly without stressing out your cat more than is necessary. You can then spend some time alone with your cat. When the vet returns you can choose to be either present or absent for the final few moments.
After this point, you can spend some more time alone with your pet if you choose. Vets are busy but don’t let that make you think that you will be rushed. The vet staff are mindful of the fact that euthanasia appointments require more time than a normal consultation. As a result, they will allocate for this appropriately.
So, what happens next?
You will usually have decided with the vet prior to the euthanasia to either take your cat home with you (for instance, if you are planning on doing a home burial). Or you leave your cat in the capable hands of the vet team. If the latter, the team will prepare your cat to be sent to a pet cremation service. If you opt for this, you leave the practice when you are ready.
Your cat will be taken to the prep room where a nurse may take a clipping of fur or a pawprint impression to send to you with a condolences card from the vet practice. The practice knows what an emotional time this is and that little touches like a card or a poem can make a huge difference to a grieving owner. These clippings and impressions are taken in a very gentle way. The staff are quiet and respectful the whole time.
Handling and transport
The nurse will then place the cat into an appropriate size and colour body bag, secured with a cable tie. With gentleness and respect, this is usually placed into a cold unit to prevent the body from getting too warm and decomposing. The pet cremation service will usually collect your cat within 24 hours. They will know which cremation option you have chosen (either individual or group) depending on the colour of the bag. If you opt for an individual cremation, you will receive the ashes back within a few days in whichever casket you opted for when speaking with the vet. For the group cremation option, you do not receive any ashes back; which you will be made aware of before making your decision. To see more about the cremation process see this website.
Inevitably and rightfully, as an owner, you will always have concerns about how this most delicate of times will be handled for your pet. You can have peace of mind knowing that veterinary teams maintain professionalism every step of the euthanasia process. They will be there to support you as much as they can at this emotional time.