I may have to put my cat down

I suppose its not really “may” at this point, just “have to”. I’m not sure why I’m even writing this, other than that I don’t have anyone to talk to about this at the moment. I can’t stop crying. My cat severely attacked my mom tonight, to the point that my mom had to go to the ER, with scratches on her face, arms, and legs. She’s going to need stitches for the cut on her eye. This isn’t the first attack incidence, and we’ve tried so many things to help my cat, but at this point, I’m not sure what else to do, other than make sure no one else gets hurt again.

I’ve had my cat Smokey since she was four months old. She grew up with her litter mates, wasn’t a bottle baby, stray, or feral. She has been an indoor only cat for her entire life (with the exceptions of some attempts of leash training). For the first couple years of her life, she was a normal kitten and then a normal cat. Maybe 5 years ago, at our old place, she saw something outside (we had a glass patio door), at night, that completely freaked her out. I woke up to her yowling, got out of bed, and she lunged at my face, then threw herself repeatedly at the glass door. It may have been an animal, but I had found the back yard door unlocked earlier that day and thought it was someone trying to break in. I didn’t have my glasses on. I turned on the lights and yelled for whoever it was to go away (in retrospect, this probably made things so much worse). My parents also came rushing into the room and Smokey attacked me again. She was absolutely terrified; wouldn’t let me get past her to get out of her sight, and would alternate between hiding under the table and trying to attack me. Eventually, my dad lured her away with food and I was able to get away, but for days after, she would try to attack me if she saw me.

Eventually, by keeping food and toys constantly on my person, the attack attempts mostly stopped and she went back to her friendly self. During this entire time, she was friendly with everyone else. We moved apartments and there were a couple more incidents where she tried to charge me, but I was able to either close myself away or calm her down.

Then one night, when we had guests over, she managed to get out of the apartment and ran down the stairs. My dad ran after her (again, in retrospect, bad idea) and she hissed at him but ran back into the apartment. I closed her in my room to let her decompress, the guests left, and I let her back out again and she immediately attacked my dad, to the point of drawing blood. We closed her away again to let her decompress and kept her separated from my dad for a couple days. She was fine when we let her near him again, but something, maybe a recollection, triggered something and she ran into his bedroom and attacked him. I was able to cover with a towel long enough for my dad to hide, then closed Smokey away again.

Multiple vet visits and medications later, and after spending two years on clomipramine, with the first year being mostly segregated away from my dad, she was fine again. We had one really good year where she was mostly calm and happy. During this time, she was also diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, dealt with a couple incidents of pneumonia, and we found out she was FELV+ (how, I don’t know, her mother was FELV-).

I figured her attacks were either PTSD or anxiety related, or triggered by something outside. In this last year, her anxiety has increased. We identified some common factors and shaped her and our lives around them, including keeping certain windows closed and specific blinds down. We tried a couple anxiety meds, but those didn’t resolve anything and sometimes, we had no idea what the trigger was. About five months ago, my brother was cuddling with her, set her down, and she attacked him. Que the old cycle of close her away, let her calm down, try treating the anxiety, let my brother become her best friend (via food) and she was fine with him. Then, two months ago, she attacked him again. Same process, all over again, but at this point we weren’t fully allowing her to be in the same room as him without one of us there. Last week, he went to grab something from my closet when I wasn’t home and she cornered him and attacked him a third time. All three times have drawn blood.

Her anxiety was through the roof. I gave her diazepam and it didn’t calm her down. She went back to the vet and got a shot that should have reduced her anxiety for 3-4 weeks. It lasted maybe two days. She was anxious two nights ago, then was completely calm last night. She was calm today. I closed her away in my room before my brother came home and went to take a shower. During this time, my mom went into my room and Smokey attacked her. She’s never attacked my mom before. Its pretty bad.

At this point we’ve tried so many things. We’ve been in and out of the vet’s every month this year and every other month the year prior. She is so sweet at the vet’s office - she always has been, to the point that I’m pretty sure the vet doesn’t think these attacks are as bad as they are. Most of the time she’s a sweetheart. But I can’t give her away to someone, without risking that she’ll attack them.

We haven’t been able to determine what has triggered these last four attacks and my parents don’t trust her anymore. Add to that, her heart disease prognosis was that it would be manageable for 2-3 years by medication before the medication stopped working. We’re on year 3 now. She receives 2x the maximum recommended dose every day to keep her heart under control. At this point I’m not sure what more I can do, other than to have her put down. She’s locked in my room right now, meowing and scratching at the door, but I don’t know if she’ll even let me go in with her. I called the vet’s office and just left a message asking them to call me back. They’re closed on the weekends but sometimes have a staff member who checks the phone.

Sorry for the massive wall of text.


I’m so sorry. You and your family have done everything you possibly could for her but she’s clearly too dangerous to be around people. And she has to be miserable during her anxious phases. It truly is best for everyone, including her, to put her down.

Sending big hugs your way.


Thank you. I’m just caught in a whirlwind of thoughts, wondering if maybe there’s something else I can try, if there’s some major underlying issue like a brain tumor, is it fair to others at home,what her quality of life will be like if she has to live it locked in my bedroom… I don’t know.

It sounds like you’ve gone above and beyond to make things work. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, things just don’t turn out how’d we like them to. I think you’ve made a very reasonable decision given the circumstances. Jingles for you and yours.


It’s really hard for someone on the “outside” to truly know what’s going on with an animal so I usually don’t outright recommend that anyone put their animals down for behavioral problems, but if a cat is injuring people severely and repeatedly, I really do think it’s best for it to be put down.

Euthanasia is a last resort and I think owners should always look for underlying conditions and fix them, if possible, but it sounds like in this case, the cat has been under the care of a vet so they probably would have recommended additional testing if they thought it had a physical cause. And even if it was cancer, is treatment realistically an option? Especially with a cat who behaves dangerously when under stress? That’s definitely a question for you, your family, and your vet, but I think it’s unlikely to be a practical answer.

I work with wildlife and I’m used to working with animals that are likely to cause injury. It sounds like your cat, while a domestic species, behaves very much like a wild animal. Highly sensitive to stress, prone to unpredictable aggression. I love animals and can happily accept them exactly as they are, regardless of how dangerous they can be, but I know that safely managing and housing animals like that and keeping them happy and healthy at the same time is challenging. And usually expensive.

It would be really hard and probably really expensive to keep your cat in such a way that she is happy and humans are safe. If it’s possible at all.

Just out of curiosity, is there any possibility that she’s a hybrid? A Bengal or savannah cat?


Just another point of view, but the cats life really isn’t enjoyable either with how she needs to be managed to keep everyone around her safe.
Euthanasia is not the worst that can happen to an animal.
And there are so many who need homes who would thrive in your home with your family.


If I was living by myself or if it was possible to move out at this time, I would try to manage her as is. But I’m not and I’m not sure she would ever settle to being locked in my room 24/7. What worries me the most is the unpredictable (to me) nature of her recent behavior and I worry that its getting worse. Two nights ago, for example, she must have smelled something outside before I closed the window, and she then spent the entire night trying to claw her way out of my room to get at whatever it was. She came up to me multiple times and had I moved wrong, I’m fairly certain she would have bitten me. In the past if an outside smell bothered her, she would settle down fairly quickly after we blocked off the stimulus. Yesterday night however, she was completely calm all and slept through the night.

No, I think its unlikely for her to have bit of bengal or savannah in her.


The worst thing is that she’s very sweet and friendly when she’s not anxious or attacking. She’ll spend hours on your lap. She followed my mom around all morning, begging to be picked up and cuddled. But I know she would be stressed out if she was kept locked up in my room, especially since I often have to work long hours and can’t be with her.


Don’t beat yourself up, OP.
It sure sounds like you & your parents have done all you could to cure whatever has gone wrong with your cat.
I don’t imagine Smoky herself is living her Best Life, the fear/rage can’t be pleasant for her, no matter the cause.
Giving her a peaceful end is a solution that benefits everyone.

I’m looking at euth as a potential Next Step for my 7yo FIC/FLUTD cat.
He’s a complete sweetheart now, after being a feral in my basement for the 1st 4yrs I had him.
Now he’s a big orange barnacle, attached to me & “helping” wherever he can.
But he’s at the vet now for his 3rd blockage in 2yrs.
He’ll be 100% fine all day, then at night begin straining in the litter box, crying & searching the house for a place to pee that won’t hurt.
This episode was the worst yet - instead of going home with me w/ABX & anti-emetic, he’s had to be catheterized & has been there since Thursday morning. He’s the poster child for both syndromes: young, fat & nervous.
He gained 3# since his last visit in Feb 2021 when he was 12#.
I feed mostly free choice dry food (urinary diet) as neither housecat will eat much canned food.
Which does not help the fatso’s problem.
I put down a literal teaspoon of canned nightly & usually find it uneaten in the morning. I’ve tried all sorts of textures/flavors & no dice.
His blockages could become more frequent & I can’t afford another stay like this one.
If he presents again, I will have him put down.
No sense in making him suffer through another blockage.
Sorry for the hijack, but you’re not alone.


What a hard decision for you. But the right one. Poor Smokey must be very confused

We always say ‘please don’t beat yourself up’ and I’m saying it, but I know it’s hard not to

If you have the money and think you can handle it I’d have a necropsy done. Maybe she has a brain tumor or something like that going on

So sorry for you, Smokey and your family


I’m sorry to hear about your boy. Hopefully he’ll have a long run before his next blockage. I’ve been in that same position of trying to find wet food that the cat will eat and its so difficult.

Smokey has had pneumonia 3 times in the last 2 years. The last two times this happened, her vet was concerned that there might be lung cancer hiding behind the pneumonia, but she generally responded well to antibiotics. Last week when I took her back in to the vet, she had another chest Xray and her lungs weren’t completely clear, so we were trying another round of antibiotics to see if her lungs would clear up all the way and if they were bothering her and contributing to her behavior. I didn’t see any improvement.

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So sorry, but it sounds like you have gone above and beyond trying to manage and treat this. The cat can’t be happy either. It sounds like the best decision for all involved.


I’m so sorry. I agree with everyone else that it sounds like you’ve gone above and beyond trying to figure out her triggers and manage them as best you can.

I circle back to what you said in the last paragraph - that she’s basically end-stage with heart disease. To me, that’s the deciding factor. You have managed the anxiety and rage as much as possible, but now you have a physical problem with no cure and you’re nearing the end of being able to manage that as well. So honestly - you’re not putting her down because of her anxiety issues, you’re letting her go because of her heart condition, and you want to do it now before it becomes worse. I went through two with heart damage/failure recently. The heartbreak of seeing them like that is unbearable. You’re going to let her go before it gets worse. You’re going to take away her pain and make it yours. It’s not easy, but it’s the best thing for her (and your family).

We’re all here with hugs and jingles and virtual shoulders to cry on.


Thank you, that really does help.

I tried going into the room to see her and she’s just completely out of it. If I had the door open any wider, she would have attacked me. I hate seeing her like this. I’m going to have to try to get her into her carrier (which is in the same room as her) and then get her to her vet. We talked to her vet briefly and he’s guessing she might have a brain tumor. Either way…


I would concur with the idea of a brain tumor. You could have a necropsy done; if she does, it might help just to know she had one. It would be an explanation, and you would truly know there was nothing you could have done differently.

Does she have a favorite food or treat for which she’ll go into the carrier?


Yes, I’ll probably go with a necropsy. Even if it doesn’t show anything, I’d rather know than be left doubting.

She’s definitely food motivated but the problem right now is getting into the room with her. I might see if I can get a tablet of ace from the barn and try to sedate her. I’m waiting to hear back from the vet if its ok to try that.


I don’t think I’d try to put my hands on her at this point, even if she does settle down. Can you open the door up enough safely to slide a humane trap with tasty food into the room?

So sorry you and your kitty are going through this.

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Im so sorry to hear about your kitty. I agree with everyone else, you did what you could to find the cause of the behavior. Hugs to you and thank you for sharing your story.

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You are doing what has to be done as a responsible cat owner. I’m sorry, I know having an animal that you are fond of put down is so difficult, but we have to do it when it’s time.

Best wishes to you and your Mom, that must have been a terrible experience.


I’m so sorry you’re going through all this. And your mom.

Another to add to the chorus of you’ve tried so much and now it sounds like the kindest and best decision for all is euthanasia. I hope she calms down and you have a chance to say goodbye.