S.D. asks from Peoria, AZ on January 25, 2011
Moms with Old Old Cats or Those That Died Old
So i have an apt for the vet. but wanted some first news from experienced cat lovers. My cat is 18 years old. She obviously has arthritus due to not squating anymore to pee. She stands straight up and strains to pee.She is even quivering once in a while when just laying down. Now she is going all over the house in different places. I thought we went down this road before and it could be a bladder infection. But she is is fragial. Not really eating and sleeps in a different place every day and just looks like her body and everything is sinking in ( so to speak ). She is very social around meal time when we eat. She drinks a ton of water ( but she always has ) She will eat wet food although it makes her sick. She does not seem to be wanting dry food anymore which is what she has only eaten forever. So I guess I come to a quesiton of......... is this the beginning stages of her organs or something shutting down ? If they ask to do a blood test of her internal organs, should I do it to know what to expect ? What other signs will happen if she is really close to death.
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So What Happened?™
the vet said she is in the last stages of kidney disease , has a heart mirmur and so with that said, they are recommending we put her down. I am sad. Thank you for all your notes.
A.G. answers from Houston on January 25, 2011
she could live another year maybe, i had a cat that lived about that long, her body caved in too like that. its just old age, we humans cave in too. As humans we can live decades that way, but a cats life is faster.
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S.H. answers from Honolulu on January 25, 2011
One of my cats... when about 14... died from old age... AND age related degeneration of his body... and also tumors developed. He went downhill... knew he was dying.... but we made him as comfortable as we could. He lost his ability to do much , like yours..and eating became a difficult thing for him. His body... was, shutting down. But he really tried to keep up a good front.
One night we were discussing about maybe putting him so sleep, instead of having him in pain and suffering....
The next day, we put him in his box with his favorite blanket... to take him to the Vet to see what he said or thought... my cat 'knew' what was going on... and during the car ride to the Vet.... he looked at me.... very long and without blinking... he let out a meow which sounded really emphatic... and then, died. Before we could even reach the Vet.
He willed himself, to die. Before, getting to the Vet.
I was very sad, and felt that my cat, just wanted to die... at home. Not elsewhere.
I didn't mean to upset him, but just wanted to take him to the Vet again, just to see/evaluate him again and discuss options, so my cat would not be in pain.
But yes, that is what my cat went through, before he died. Just deteriorating and degenerating. I forget how long it took, but he hung on as long as he could. He would just want to be near us, more so as the days went on.
I am so sorry you are going through this.
I still miss my cat.
all the best,
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T.N. answers from Albany on January 26, 2011
Hi Geebers, I am very sorry about your cat.
To me, there are three quality of life issues with regards to domestic pets
1) Appetite, whether she is still eating with the same enthusiasm, whether she is still mooching under the table at dinner time, whether she will eat the processed food she always has...
2) Ability to manage her own waste, whether she still goes in the littler box, or asks to go out, does not have frequent accidents, etc...
3) Obvious pain
Sounds to me like your wonderful old girl has already hit those milestones and is no longer wanted to live.
I have an aging golden retriever with a seizure disorder which for years was managed with a low dose of phenobarb. Back in Sept she started having seizures again. We've upped her phenobarb as high as it can go, and added potassium bromide (both drugs VERY effecting to her ability to be a DOG), but she is still having cluster seizures twice a month or more. My vet (who is astonishingly empathetic, patient, and attentive), says if I am willing there is a newer people med she can take in addition, but it is very expensive. Meanwhile she is having regular blood tests to moniter the level of the first two meds, and since Sept the total is up over $2K.
We do not see the point in further testing, as even if it DOES show cancer, brain blockage, etc, it's unlikely I would put her through the treatment, or spend the money. She is ten years old and has had a fantastic happy healthy life.
Of course at THIS point, she is eating with gusto, not having messes in the house, and does not appear to have pain. Although she is totally stoned all the time and a very stoic dog to begin with.
At any rate, when those three issues start going down the hill, I will probably have a party of sorts where everyone who has known and loved her can come hang out with her one last time, then takes all the kids (all teenagers) and put her to sleep with us all around her.
Bleck, sobbing while I write this!
I'm so sorry about your cat, I hope you won't let her suffer too much longer!
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T.R. answers from Phoenix on January 26, 2011
I actually just put one of my cats down - with many of the same symptoms. He was peeing all over the place, obviously in pain - alhtough there were times when I thought he was just fine. He also had lost a ton of weight rapidly. I was told by many - vets and regular people that it was most likely a kidney failure, and unless I wanted to spend HUGE bucks, it was way more humane to put him down. It was the hardest decision I had to make. He was 16 years old.
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R.. answers from Chattanooga on January 26, 2011
My mom's cat made it to 21 years, then they had to put her down. She could barely walk, and all she could do was lay in one place. She had to eat wet food and couldn't control her bladder. It was so sad to see her in this state, since she had been so vivacious her whole life. They made the decision to put her down when they realized that she wasn't enjoying life at all, and that she was in daily pain. It was better to end her suffering and let her rest than to prolong her life for our comfort. It's sad, but it is what it is. I'm sorry that your cat seems to be going downhill... It almost seems like it might be her time. :( In the wild, cats are consumed by nature before they can get to this point in their lives. Their bodies just aren't made for 'old age'. I know a lot of people who will refuse to put down a pet, wanting to let them die 'naturally'... but in all honesty if things were natural for them, they wouldn't have made it this far. It's hard though. Just remember the time you DID have with her. (Of course, consult with your vet before making any real choices.. IF she does have a fixable health issue causing these things, great! But... it honestly sounds like old age to me...)
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R.J. answers from Seattle on January 25, 2011
It's probably the begining of the end. One thing that *may* "fix everything" for a few more years would be to switch her entirely onto a raw food diet. It doesn't work for all things... but for our first cat, he got another 10 years out of life (plumped back up and acting like a kitten for the first 5, and then normal for the next 4.5 and then gradual decline over 6 months... eased with a heated bed for his joints)... and all our subsequent cats got a raw food diet from day 1. Most lived into their early twenties. Our first cat was 19 at his death, but he'd already been on death's door once.
Now... we switched on "accident". He'd lost his fangs, and his joints hurt too much for dry food, so my mum started feeding him hamburger as a "last treat". Low and behold, he started getting better. Then we slowly started adding more "stuff" to it (raw eggs, cooked veggies/roots, fish oils, etc.). Then we checked with my cousin (big animal vet) who gave us the recipe that they used for the big cats at the zoo, scaled down. ((Her zoo uses foods as close as possible to the best found in the wild, instead of 'zoo chow')). But you can avoid all that mucking about...
Or for a *lot* more money than making it yourself, buy frozen raw food at your local upscale pet shop (like MudBay Granary)
Raw food isn't magic... it's not guaranteed to "fix" everything. But the results can e amazing.
Big hugs to you. It's so hard to watch those we love in pain, and harder still to lose them.
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K.U. answers from Detroit on January 26, 2011
I would be suspicious that her kidneys are failing - bloodwork at your vet can help determine that, it's the most common reason for their health to start to fail. That can make them more at risk for bladder infections and sometimes we even find old kitties with bladder cancer. Dental disease, with bad teeth and gums, is very common too, as well as other forms of cancer, unfortunately. Bring her to the vet for a check-up, discuss bloodwork and other diagnostics with them if you want some answers before making any decisions, and keep in mind that your treatment options may be limited to what you can do to keep her comfortable. If she reaches a point where she is not eating, or appears to be suffering in any way, the kindest thing to do would be to have her euthanized. I know that may be very difficult to have to think about it, but it's about being honest with yourself and thinking about what is in the pets best interest, and not being selfish about it (not saying that you are, but I see many pet owners who go to extremes to keep their pets alive, even when the pets' quality of life is unbearable). Your veterinarian can discuss your cat's situation further - they (like I) have been through this many many times.
Good luck to you, I am sorry you are going through this...
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C.D. answers from Phoenix on January 26, 2011
Definitely take her to a vet. It really sounds like yes, a possible bladder/urinary tract infection, but it definitely sounds like classic kidney failure. All of your symptoms point to it. As far as the dry food - it's possible that her teeth are hurting and it's just too much work. You can put a little tuna water or just water in it. As they get older their olfactory senses break down, so a sharper/stronger smell can help.
On to the kidney issue: Yes, it is serious, and yes it can be deadly. HOWEVER, there are changes that can be done to extend her life and better the current quality. Your vet can recommend or sell lower protein food made especially for kidney issues. He may recommend a taurine supplement - watch for cat keeping her head/neck down, which is a definite taurine issue. If needed, you can hydrate her. I had to hydrate one kitty twice a day - a needle stuck under his skin - be sure to warm the saline bag in warm water (no microwave, I did use hot water, but only for a brief time - you don't want it too warm or cold). The needle didn't bother him too much, and in fact I would say, "Who wants hydration" - he would come running because he knew it helped. My other persian waited in line because she knew he liked it. I capped the needle and pretended to hydrate her. Anyway, if that's the case the vet may charge a lot for the saline bags, so check medical supply places for the bags and tubing. The vet may also check the thyroid - he can give med pills for that, too, if needed. My boy got so anorexic that I had to feed him the Rx food with a little syringe - kind of making him eat. All this worked. He lived an extra 6 months, but did have seizures near the end. Best news is that you can help extend and comfort him. i left water all over the house for mine. Oh, and as far as her getting sick after food, the vet also had us give her a portion (either a quarter or half) of Pepcid A/C to settle the tummy. Plus I made sure to brush her every day to avoid fur balls. The kitty litter should be a little finer and a little less of it. The finer is to help her paws and the less is to help her traction. I also put a mat down to help her with cleaning her paws. The other thing is that my boy lost traction on our tile floor. I bought those rubber type liners that come in a roll and put them around so he could walk on them. This and a lot of love help, plus gentle touches and lifting. It is a lot of work but it's really worth it if you can do it. When she can't control her peeing and/or has seizures or other signs, it's time to let her go. Mine also went blind so it took him a bit to acclimate himself. He would sit and stare at a wall, so using my voice and touch brought him around. Good luck and I hope some of this helps to make your furbaby feel better and get a little more love from her. I'd love to know how it turns out. (Antibiotics can help any infection, but watch for diarrhea in an already dehydrated cat - talk to the doc about avoiding that if she needs it.)
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S.D. answers from Phoenix on January 26, 2011
I'm sorry to hear about your cat. I just had to put my cat to sleep. I had him for 16 year - I got him from a shelter, so I wasn't sure exactly how old he was (estimating about 18 years). Back in April, he was peeing all over the house, so I brought him to the vet. They ran tests and gave him an antibiotic for a urinary tract infection. They also found out he had hyperthyroidism (he kept eating and eating, but was losing weight - he weighed less than 5 pounds at the time). The vet's main question was "what is his quality of life like?" That is really what you need to think about. At the time, he was doing fine. He enjoyed eating, begging for handouts, and snuggling with me on the couch after my son went to bed. So, they gave me medication for his thyroid problem and all was well. Fast forward to January, he was no longer eating and it was hard for him to get up on the couch. I brought him to the vet and she could tell right away that he was miserable and so I had him put to sleep. It wasn't easy, but it was the right thing to do. The humane thing to do. I'm glad I had him on the medication for those few months, I think he was feeling healthy and enjoying life. I'm glad I got to spend a few more months of quality time with my beloved kitty. Whatever happens at the vet, just always try to remember. . . .what is HIS quality of life like? Good luck!
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