This photo shows just how strong the bond between a pet and an owner can be. In a time of need, this cat held his owners’ hands.
According to BuzzFeed, Andrew Bernhard was crying as he drove to take “Little Andrew” the cat to the vet for the very last time.
Andrew Knew Something Was Wrong
The cat, in some sense, knew that something was wrong. And this act of him reaching out his paw is quite touching. Seriously, I hope you have some tissues handy.
Apparently, Andrew had not been acting like himself for quite some time, and Bernhard and his wife made the tough decision to put him down before things got worse.
“He wasn’t eating or drinking, stopped purring, and just wasn’t himself. It would’ve been selfish to keep him just because I didn’t want to lose him,” Bernhard told BuzzFeed.
The cat had been by his side for fifteen and a half years. So that was clearly long enough for Andrew to understand when something was amiss at home. And that day, on the way to the vet, he must have known his human owners were suffering.
When Bernhard posted the photo of Andrew holding his and his wife’s hands to Reddit, he got a lot of love and support from other internet users.
And understandably so. Losing a pet is never easy, but it’s especially difficult when that pet was as good a pal as Andrew.
How To Know When It’s Time To Put A Pet Down
According to a Harris Poll survey, more than three in five American households have at least one pet. Of those pet owners, 95 percent consider their furry friends to be part of the family.
Since most animals have a much shorter lifespan than their human companions do, coping with the loss of a beloved fur-baby at some point is practically unavoidable. And sometimes, pet parents are faced with the daunting task of deciding whether that time has come.
Learning the various factors to look out for when considering euthanasia can give you peace of mind when making this difficult, yet often loving decision.
1. Chronic Pain
The first course of action should be to visit a trusted veterinarian. Your vet can tell you whether your pet is suffering, and if anything can be done to eliminate or at the very least control the pain.
2. Unable To Eat Or Keep Food Down
If your pet is staying hydrated but has a couple of “off” days, just keep an eye on things. However, a loss of appetite that continues past 24 to 48 hours is a cause for concern.
Similarly, vomiting or diarrhea that is ongoing and causing dehydration or significant weight loss warrants a call to the vet.
3. Trouble Standing Or Walking
Immobility is another telling sign that it may be time to let go. If your pet is unable to stand up without assistance or cannot walk without falling and there is no injury or other treatable cause, you should speak to your vet about the possibility of euthanasia.
4. Ongoing Breathing Difficulties
If your pet is getting on in years or has been diagnosed with terminal illness and you notice chronic labored, rapid and shallow breathing or excessive coughing, your precious animal might be letting you know the time is near.
5. Lethargy And Loss Of Interest
Sometimes sick pets who’ve always loved to fetch will show bursts of activity despite being in physical pain or discomfort.
When beloved toys, prized treats and favorite pastimes, such as going for a ride in the car, taking a walk or playing with the best toy ever no longer hold interest for your four-legged family member, and even strokes and hugs from favorite humans provide little comfort, it could be the right time to say goodbye.
6. Severe Incontinence
A little loss of control may simply be a sign of aging. However, if your fur baby regularly soils himself and seems to have lost control of his bladder or bowels, it could be a symptom of the organs shutting down.
What To Expect
If you decide that euthanasia is the best, loving step to take for your pet, know that it is generally a calm, peaceful process.
No matter how much time you have to make this difficult decision, be sure to give even the youngest family member time to prepare and love on your beloved pet.
If you are ready to consider this decision for your pet, consulting your veterinarian is a great first step. He or she will be able to provide you with an assessment of your pet’s condition as well as advice about whether it may be its time.