Euthanasia is the process of ending a life to relieve suffering. Many people are afraid of hurting their pet when the time comes, and as a result, leave them to suffer for an extended period of time until they ultimately die from starvation or dehydration. In many cases, cats will continue to eat and drink in spite of severe illness or injury. If you know that your cat is going to have a shortened life span or cannot be treated successfully, you should consider humane euthanasia so that your beloved feline does not suffer needlessly.

An over-the-counter drug called pentobarbital can provide a painless death for your cat in about 15 minutes. Pentobarbital is also used for execution by lethal injection in humans, so there’s no concern about it being inhumane.

How to Euthanize a Cat with Over the Counter Drugs

There are several over-the-counter drugs that can be used for euthanasia in cats. The most common one is a drug called pentobarbital, which is already commonly used for euthanizing small rodents. Other drugs that can be used include phenobarbital and secobarbital, but they must be prescribed by a veterinarian because dosage must be carefully controlled.

The dosage will vary depending on the cat’s size, age, and health condition. A typical dosage recommended for a cat that weighs over 10 pounds is 10 milligrams per pound of body weight. For example, a 20-pound cat would require 200 milligrams of pentobarbital.

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Preparation for Euthanasia

Before you begin, make sure that the cat is healthy enough to survive the process. If the cat has been injured, has a serious illness, or is very old, you may want to consider euthanasia.

There are several steps you can take to prepare your cat for euthanasia. Before administering the euthanasia drug, you should make sure that your cat is not dehydrated or hungry. Offer food and water, and consider giving them a small meal to help avoid painful cramps and spasms.

If your cat has been injured, make sure to clean the site and apply an appropriate bandage or dressing. If your cat has a serious illness, you should make sure their site is clean.

Giving the Shot

Find a quiet, comfortable spot for your cat. If applicable, make sure to keep the site clean and bandaged.

Give your cat some food and water. This will help them feel more comfortable and relaxed.

Be prepared. Make sure to have the drug nearby, cats can get nervous and spooked by the sound of a syringe.

Clear your pet’s mouth of any food or water if necessary.

Pull their upper lip back and check their gums. If they look healthy, the euthanasia drug will probably not harm them. If their gums look pale or white, the drug might be too strong and cause them harm.

After Care

When the cat has stopped breathing, you can close their eyes and bury them in a place that is meaningful to you.

Wrap them in a soft cloth or blanket and place them in a cardboard box.

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Place the box in a quiet, comfortable spot where you can remember them and pay your respects.

Try to avoid eating or drinking in the same room where you put their box as a way of showing respect to the deceased cat by not disturbing their peace.


Cats make excellent companions and provide a source of love, affection, and comfort. Some cats are even capable of helping individuals with special needs get out of bed and attend daily activities. Euthanasia will not be necessary for every cat, but for those that would suffer needlessly and not be able to receive treatment, it is a humane option.

Veterinarians do their best to provide care for our feline friends. Unfortunately, there are some situations in which an accurate diagnosis cannot be made, or the condition is too advanced to be treated. In these cases, euthanasia is accepted as a humane end to the suffering of the patient. It is important to understand the different ways in which a cat can be euthanized. If you know that your cat is going to have a shortened life span or cannot be treated successfully, you should consider humane euthanasia so that your beloved feline does not suffer needlessly.

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