Leading feline specialists | Specialist vet care just for cats

End of Life / Euthanasia

How do I know when the time is right?

Losing your cat unexpectedly or having to make the decision to euthanase your cat is a terribly difficult time. 

It is also very hard to "know when the time is right" particularly for elderly cats or diagnosed with terminal disease.

The "right time" will be variable for different owners and different cats.

Advice from your vet can be helpful, particularly as they can evaluate whether any medical or surgical options may help.

When there is no reasonable alternative, making the decision to euthanase your cat allows your cat to die with peace and dignity and can be the kindest option.

The decision is never easy and considering the following may help.

Cats are creatures of habit with favourite foods, sleeping spots and behaviours. If your cat is:

  • No longer interacting with you in their normal way
  • Not eating even their favourite foods
  • Not resting peacefully
  • Not grooming
  • Not toileting normally
  • Or not sleeping in their usual places

then something isn't right. Speak with us or your vet if you are worried.

How do I know when the time is right? | Cat euthanasia

What happens during euthanasia?

Euthanasia is generally a simple and painless process that involves a large overdose of anaesthestic drugs to cause the heart to slow and then stop.

You may wish to stay for the injection and hold your cat, or not. This will always be a personal choice.

A cat will typically have an intravenous catheter placed into a vein to allow the injection to be given.  Once the injection is started, the heart will stop within 30-60 seconds.

Sometimes cats sigh or pass urine or stools afterwards, which is a natural part of the body relaxing. After they have passed, cats do not close their eyes.

Before euthanasia it is important to think about what you would like to do with your cat's body afterwards. You may wish to have your cat cremated or buried with a private crematorium company, take their body home for burial, have a communal burial or a post-mortem examination. Post-mortems can be organised free of charge for the benefit of veterinary students to learn and contribute to information on diseases in the future. If you wish to receive specific information from a post-mortem this is a paid service from the University.

Pets in Peace: https://www.petsinpeace.com.au

Post mortem examinations: https://veterinary-services.lab.uq.edu.au/services/post-mortem-studies

Dealing with Grief

The time leading up to and after losing your cat is tough. There is no normal response to grief and everyone will handle this time and the decisions differently. Losing a cat may be overwhelming and these feelings are all part of grieving. Don't be afraid to show feelings in front of us. We understand the grief associated with the loss of your cat. We are used to people showing their emotions in this difficult time.

  • Remember it is ok to grieve, you love your cat
  • Share stories with people that understand the bond you had with your cat
  • Look after yourself
  • Speak to people if you think you need more support


Dealing with Grief

Children and the loss of a cat

Helping children deal with the loss of their cat is difficult. A wonderful book called "The Invisible Leash" by Patrice Karst helps celebrate the love after the loss of a pet in a simple way young children can understand.

The book can be purchased here: https://www.booktopia.com.au/the-invisible-leash-patrice-karst/book/9780316524858.html

It may help for young children to commemorate their pet. This could take the form of a memorial service with friends and family, making a book with photos or drawings or for older children, volunteering services or making a donation to rescue groups or shelters. This also helps improve the quality of life for those animals that need it most.


https://petsandpeople.com.au - this website helps provide counselling services and support specifically for people who have lost their pets

Children and the loss of a cat


Address 1-15 Lexington Rd,
Underwood, QLD, AU, 4119

PhonePh: 1300 228 377

Hours Monday-Friday: 8 am-6 pm
Saturday/Sunday - Closed

Veterinary Specialist Services