Cat liver failure when to Euthanize

It can be highly challenging and sometimes confusing to know when it’s time to euthanize your pet. Cat liver failure is a disease that can cause serious health problems for cats. However, with the right treatment, cat liver failure isn’t always fatal, and some animals are able to live out their lives in relative comfort.

This blog post will discuss cat liver failure, how it affects cats, and when you should consider euthanasia as an option for your cat.

cat liver failure when to euthanize

What is mean by Animal/Cat euthanasia?

Animal euthanasia can be said an act of killing a cat or any other pet. The process allows them to die peacefully without using extreme medical measures. Euthanasia is mainly done when the disease is incurable, or the treatment is too painful.

Furthermore, it is also done when there are no resources to continue the prescribed treatment, or one cannot support the animal.

The euthanasia process is designed to cause less pain and distress. It is entirely different from slaughtering animals.

We will discuss more about euthanizing of cat below, first let’s check out what is cat liver failure and why you should take it seriously.

What is Cat Liver Failure?

The average cat has a liver the size of an avocado, but even among these playful pets, there are those with rare diseases that need to be watched closely, like liver failure.

When a cat’s liver loses 70% or more function, it might suffer from liver failure (also known as hepatic failure).

What are the main causes of Cat Liver Failure?

Initially, liver failure is caused due to damaged or faulty liver results. When the liver’s condition goes worsen, it can result in liver failure. However, many other can problems can result in liver failures such as heat stroke, ingestion of harmful food or toxins, fatty liver, starvation, tumors, a portosystemic shunt, and the use of Tylenol.

Liver failure is mostly found in geriatric cats. And some popular cat breeds like Siamese are more prone to liver diseases. The main culprits to this issue are overweight and obesity. Besides, blood clots, shock, and acute circulatory failure can also cause liver failure in cats.

Cat Liver Failure Symptoms & Signs

Below are some symptoms and signs you need to keep an eye upon:

  • Reduced or complete loss of appetite
  • Sudden and too much weight loss from anorexia
  • The yellowness of the skin, gums, ears, eyes, and on other parts.
  • Increased and frequent thirst
  • Cat vomiting the food or severe diarrhea
  • Abdominal distention (the cat will feel sleepy all the time)
  • Unexpected changes in cat’s behaviors and routines
  • Extreme drooling
  • Blood in the stool
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Reduction in energy and interest

Euthanizing a cat is not always the answer, and these symptoms alone are not enough to determine if your cat needs a euthanasia appointment. The signs only give us insight into the strength and length of their illness.

Your veterinarian will suggest and provide the best possible care for your furry friend, and you will be informed about those prescribed treatments and whether they are effective or not.

The doctor will assess blood work multiple times to see the effects of medications on the ailing pet. If there isn’t enough improvement after, then prepare yourself to euthanize your cat.

So, if you notice any of the above mentioned symptoms in your cat, it’s time to visit your veterinarian. They will check your cat’s health and conduct various tests to determine liver failure. However, the process can be lengthy and difficult as the signs of liver disease in cats are not specific.

It can cause System Failures.

With a failing liver, it’s no wonder that the effects can be felt throughout your cat’s entire body. Here’s what you should know about these system failures:

Gastrointestinal: inducing diarrhea, IBD, vomiting, and blooding in the stools.

Hepatobiliary: liver failure often results in jaundice.

Immune and Lymphatic: it can cause blood clots due to system imbalances

Nervous: resulting in various brain diseases due to liver failure.

All these system failures result in extreme pain, from discomfort to suffering to disability. In that case, euthanasia automatically becomes a reasonable choice for both cat and owner. The bottom line is to remain updated about the pet’s health at all stages. Only then you can make an informed decision.

After all, death is after humans as well as for pets, and sometimes it is a better choice but a hard decision to make. So, sometimes for cats with liver failure, euthanasia is the only and suitable choice.

Possible Treatments of Liver Failure in Cats

Fluid Therapy

The vet will give your kitty various fluids that prevent dehydration. Besides, electrolytes and sugar levels are also monitored to identify and correct various imbalances and sugar levels.

Feeding Tube

The vet will prescribe a specific diet for your cat in this treatment, and the meal will be given via a tube. The feeding tube is usually implanted through the nose.

However, vets can also implant it into the esophagus through a cat’s neck in some cases. The tube takes care of the cat’s health and ensures that calories, protein, and nutrients reach its stomach. The diet is usually high in proteins in this liver failure treatment and contains a rich amount of vitamins E and K.


When a cat goes through liver failure, it suffers from other problems as well. Vets prescribe various medications to treat such complications and the main source of liver failure.

Your Chances and Cat’s life Expectancy

The matter needs your utmost attention because the life expectancy is virtually nil if you leave it untreated and high mortality rate up to 90%. When cat suffers from liver failure, usually they die due to serious malnutrition.

Luckily, if the problem gets diagnosed in the early stage and you treat it adequately, recovery chances are much higher, and a recovery rate is up to 80-90%.

Early detection is the key and the best way to battle the disease. If you leave it untreated, things will get bad, resulting in a higher death rate.

Natural Treatments for Cats with Liver Problems

A diet that includes small, frequent meals with easily digestible grains and low in fat will help minimize the work of the cat’s liver while it’s healing.

Milk thistle is a powerful antioxidant that efficiently blocks toxins into a cat’s liver and removes them at the initial and cellular level. This results in regeneration, improved liver function & quality of life.

However, there are many nutrients that can be helpful to the liver:

Curcumin/Turmeric Powder: It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

Dimethylglycine (DMG): An amino acid that redevelops liver cells and eliminates the harmful toxins from the body.

SAM-e: It supports and strengthen the liver functions through methylation and establishing of glutathione.

Vitamin E: Helps to protect the cat’s liver from copper buildup.

Vitamin B12: A vital vitamin for proper digestion and consumption of food.

Methionine: Helpful for proper detoxification of the cat’s liver. Methionine metabolizes fats and prevents its build-up in the liver. It also helps to maintain the required level of glutathione. And Glutathione is the liver’s detoxifier.

Natrium Sulphate: A tissue salt that helps to purify the liver.

When do you need to consider euthanasia for your cat with liver failure?  

The decision to have your pet put down should be made in consultation with the veterinarian. They will objectively evaluate whether the cat’s quality of life has declined or not. This helps you to take the right decision about ending the cat’s life, or you should continue the treatment until they pass on naturally.

For young cats, liver failure is not that difficult to treat if diagnosed timely. But for elderly cats, it can be a severe and painful experience.

Moreover, no one likes to see their furry friends in pain and misery. Liver problems can be really painful; for example, the build-up of toxins in the cat’s body is unbeatable. Similarly, no responsible pet owner wants their pets to suffer from the stress of hospitalization.

At this point, you will have to think about euthanizing your cat with liver failure.

Furthermore, at some point, we should allow our cats or dogs a death of dignity and respect without any pain and suffering. However, it doesn’t mean that you should not go for their treatment.

Obviously, we are talking when there are no options, and you have tried your best to cure the disease.

Remember that euthanasia is an extremely challenging decision to make, and often it brings pain and grief for pet owners.

Sometimes the decisions are tough, and they are an act of love, and the last gift by the pet owners to their pets and euthanasia is one of them.

Some other considerations before opting for euthanasia for your cat:

It’s hard to watch your pet suffer. Keep track of the good days and bad ones so you can help them get through it. If your cat suffers from pain or discomfort more due to liver failure than the happy times, its time for euthanasia.

You need to determine whether or not your cat likes the things she used to do. Consider these things; does your cat consumes her favorite food items and treats when provided? Does she love those gentle belly rubs? Is she enjoying with her favorite perches or toys? Is your cat not eating at all?

If you don’t find your cat active and she is still suffering from liver disease, you should think about euthanasia and discuss the matter with your vet.

Before going for euthanasia, discuss the issue with friends and family. Take their advice about your cat’s life.

Lastly, share your feelings with your feline. It might look awkward, but it helps. Curl up together at their favorite spot and observe her behavior. Talk your heart out. Cats know their owners; it might tell you when it’s time for euthanasia.

Can I euthanize my cat without the vet?

No don’t try to euthanize your cat by yourself. At that moment, your cat will be in severe pain and if you try to put it down by yourself, this will get much worse than you will make your friend suffer more. We understand it is difficult to put them to sleep, but it will be the last thing you can do for your feline friend. If you love your little friend, you won’t begrudge with its easy death.

Is Euthanizing a Cat in Your Own Home Possible?

Yes it is possible. Instead of taking your cat to veterinary office, you can get your cat euthanized at home in front of other family members and in more comfortable surroundings. Furthermore, in-home cat euthanasia is a private way to say a dignified goodbye to your cat.

How Much Does Euthanasia Process Cost?

Euthanizing of a cat is a simple and quick but the charges depends on the specific service provider. Generally you will have to pay for:

  • Travel fee (if applicable)
  • Emergency fee (if applicable)
  • Vet’s Euthanasia fee
  • Cremation fee

Combined, the estimated charges will be around $400-1,000 to euthanize a cat.

When euthanizing your cat is NOT an option:

Although it’s rare but some pet parents euthanize cats without trying their best to beat the liver disease. Similarly, some do that because their pets no longer fit in their lives.

As mentioned above, liver illnesses are treatable in most cases. Euthanizing a pet should be performed when your pet’s quality of life becomes significantly affected or your pet’s liver issues have become incurable. Without having such conditions, euthanasia is not the option.


At the end of the day, it’s up to you and your vet. If you feel like your cat is suffering more than living out his life in relative comfort, then euthanasia may be the right option for them. However, if you think that there’s a chance they’re going to recover from their liver failure with adequate care and treatment, then don’t give up hope!

The decision isn’t easy, but we know how important this one is – so consider all factors before making a final call.

What do you think? Have any other thoughts about when it might make sense to consider euthanizing a cat with liver failure?

2 thoughts on “Cat liver failure when to Euthanize”

  1. Thanks for the information… My cat has liver failure, has been lethargic and has a very bloated abdomen. I mainly wanted to know if he was in pain because I don’t want him to suffer. Since he hasn’t eaten in weeks, I’ve decided to put him out of his misery tomorrow. The veterinarian didn’t know if it was painful, so I’m glad I found your site. Killing him is a tough and sad thing to do, hope I can do it quickly


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