The Cat House on the Kings believes that no healthy or otherwise treatable animal should be killed when alternatives exist to save them, as stated in our no-kill community policy. The term “euthanasia,” by definition, means an act of mercy. Therefore, it should be reserved solely for ending the suffering of an animal who has experienced serious and irreversible reduction to his/her quality of life.
The Cat House on the Kings does not consider population control by any lethal means, including lethal injection, to be euthanasia by definition. Any healthy or treatable animal who has his/her life ended to make space for other animals, or for some other reason, such as treatable medical conditions or old age, should be considered to have been killed.
The Cat House on the Kings will euthanize animals in our care if they are irremediably suffering and our veterinarians advise that there is no chance of recovering an acceptable quality of life. While this is a difficult choice, we approach this decision from the perspective of what is in the best interest of the animal.
Any of these four conditions are sufficient to recommend euthanasia:
- An inability of the animal to breathe on his/her own without distress that cannot be treated medically or surgically.
- Extreme physical pain that cannot be managed with medication or surgery and that seriously compromises the animal’s ability to enjoy life.
- End-stage organ failure.
- Uncontrollable seizures.
The following conditions are red flags that require further investigation and are not usually sufficient on their own to justify euthanasia, depending on severity:
- If the animal’s desire and/or ability to take in adequate water or food is very low for more than a few days, this could indicate significant suffering. If not already done, a veterinarian’s advice should be obtained.
- The animal is chronically soiling himself or herself to the point of inflammation or damage to the skin.
- The animal is unable to move about in relative comfort.
- The animal is unable to enjoy the activities that he/she did before. The animal’s overall enjoyment of life appears minimal to nonexistent.
- The animal has dementia that significantly impairs his/her ability to function and to enjoy social relationships with human family members.
- The animal has extreme emaciation for which a cause cannot be found.
At our sanctuary and in our local programs, it is not The Cat House on the Kings’s policy to euthanize animals for aggressive behavior. We instead prefer to find or create an environment and management protocol that will protect the animal and his or her human handlers and offer the animal a reasonable quality of life. In the event that the aggression is so severe or has unrelieved physical suffering as its underlying cause and/or the necessary management protocol is so restrictive as to seriously compromise the animal’s qualify of life, then The Cat House on the Kings would consider euthanasia an acceptable method for relieving that animal’s suffering and poor quality of life. Such a decision would need to be made by animal care management and a veterinarian, after careful consultation with the animal’s caretakers.
Method of Euthanasia
The only method of euthanasia The Cat House on the Kings finds acceptable is that recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association, specifically the use of veterinarian prescribed sedatives and FDA-approved euthanasia solutions administered in as comforting and loving a situation as possible. We do not support the use of the gas chamber.