Moms with Old Old Cats or Those That Died Old

Updated on January 29, 2011
S.D. asks from Peoria, AZ
21 answers

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.

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answers from Houston on

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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answers from Honolulu on

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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answers from Albany on

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.

So sure, go ahead, spend some money and time if you like, if you need a REASON she's dying, and prepare the household for the impending loss.

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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answers from Detroit on

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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answers from Seattle on

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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answers from Phoenix on

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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answers from Chattanooga on

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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answers from Phoenix on

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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answers from San Francisco on

So sorry! Went through this with my 18 yo cat, too. I waited too long and our last day together was very wrenching. He couldn't even raise his head to say hello. Very similar symptoms.

I wish you well and hope that you have peace either way.

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answers from Phoenix on

You have so many great answers so far. I just want to offer my sympathy. I lost a cat at 11 with kidney failure that had many of the same symptoms and also a history of bladder/urinary infections. I fought hard for her, because she was relatively young, but ultimately it was for nothing. I lost another one recently also to kidney disease, but he was perfectly healthy his whole life up until the day he wasn't, and he died before I even got all the tests back. The vet explained that they try to hide their illness because they don't want to show weakness. Losing a pet is so hard. The tests are expensive, and the treatment, if there is something, can be expensive too. At her age, and with her problems that she already has, you should really think about what you want to put her through. On the other hand, they also know when it's time to go, and will usually quit eating, so as long as she is still eating (even if she barfs it right back up), she's still trying. You can definitely get your vet's opinion, but unfortunately, I believe you are facing the hard decision for your kitty here. My heart is breaking for you.

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answers from Phoenix on

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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answers from Biloxi on

Oh Geegbers,

it is so hard when our pets age. I grew up with cats and still have many pets. When my Orpheus (cat) was 14 he began with pancreatic failure. Through diligent vet care and diet changes he was was with us, happy and pain free for another 2 years. When it was time, our vet humanly euthanized him and I held him while he left us. We lost Euricide in 2005 shortly after Hurricane Katrina - she was a stately old lady by then, but the stress of the storm just wore her out.

The most important thing is to talk to your vet and make the right choice for kitty - not always the choice that you want. Through a normal blood test and urine analysis the vet can check many organs, check for infections, and give your a clear picture of your kitty's health. I have always chosen moderately aggressive treatment plans for my pets - plans that relieve as many symptoms as possible while maintaining a balance between pro-longing life and improving the quality life for the time they have remaining. In each case my kitties "told" me when they were ready for me to let them go. The other thing you need to think about is your kitty's final resting place. My son and I prefer cremation so that we can bring them home....a lot of people think that is weird, but to us, it with the expense.

Her urinating in odd places and "quivering" could be as simple as a urinary tract infection. Refusing dry food can be because her teeth are old and it is hard to eat. So there may be some easy to treat reasons why your kitty is ill. Your vet will help you decide what is the right course of treatment.

Good luck Sweetie and know that you will make the right decisions with love for your kitty.

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answers from State College on

Sorry to hear about your kitty. I would recommend doing the blood work if recommended since it will give you piece of mind with what is going on and it will also let you know if there is something that can be done. They will probably want to check a full including kidney enzymes, blood glucose, thyroid level and more. Part of it will depend on what is going on to how much you can do and want to do at this point in her life. I hope your vet appointment goes well.

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answers from Phoenix on

I'm sorry to hear about your baby. I have been in this situation. Everything you say is what my cat did too. He was out of norm. I took him in and never came back out with him. I'm sorry to say this. I know it is very hard. Best wishes and prayers for peace to you and your baby.

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answers from Washington DC on

oh, this is so hard. i am so sorry.
i'm glad some folks have practical advice here for how to help her go on. i wish there were an easy line to cross that would make the decision a no-brainer, but there doesn't seem to be.
i held onto both of my old cats longer than i should have. as long as i was getting a purr and a head-rub it seemed to me that they were enjoying life to some degree and i couldn't make that hard last trip. but in retrospect i can see how they suffered. my beloved foo is middle-aged now. i hope i'm able to deal more clearly with him when the time comes.
i have to say, my dear one, that your sweet old girl sounds as if she has come to the end of her road. you may be able to keep her reasonably comfortable for a bit longer, but i think you should begin preparing yourself.
my prayers are with you both.

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answers from Glens Falls on

weight loss sometimes very extreme, wanting to hide alone, (being unable to jump on things, they tend to hide under things), really watery pee over which there is less control if kidney function is involved, more pee than usual in the litter box and finally failure to eat anything at all. If she is still social at times that is good. They reach a point where you have to go visit them in their hiding spot.

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answers from Houston on

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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answers from Atlanta on

Well, the vet will tell you if her organs are in distress or if they're shutting down. My amazing cat had to be put down a week before my first child was born. He was also 18, and it almost killed me. The vet and his staff were obviously horrified and you could tell they were afraid I was going to have the baby right there I was so upset! He just started going downhill suddenly and wouldn't eat. His liver and kidneys were failing. I gave him IV fluids for a few days, but he never perked back up and his organs didn't stop failing, so I had to do it. Your cat sounds like she's just old though. She may be in the beginning stages of organ failure and you should let them test her. If she's eating and going to the bathroom, then she's still okay. You do have to prepare yourself -sometimes they have some quality time left and sometimes it happens really fast. I'm really sorry that you'll have to deal with it at some point. I will say -that was almost 5 years ago with my boo, and I just got another cat for my birthday. He arrived last weekend! I've been wanting one for about a year, and we found a great guy. It took me a LONG time to get over my little puss though!

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answers from Philadelphia on

I have 9 cats and have been down this road before (altho my cats were unfortunately much younger than your kitty). You know your cat best, but the first thing to do is take her to a vet. They will do a urinalysis and bloodwork (I think my vet called it a senior profile or something), they may also like to do a full body x-ray. These can all get pretty pricey. But the urine and blood test I would recommend and you can see what those results are and see what your next move should be. I just lost one of my kitties before Halloween to liver disease or something like that. I did the blood test and xray. I could have done more tests to pinpoint exactly what was wrong but there really wasn't any need for that. Once the liver start to fail, there really isn't any reversing it. I had already spent over $500 for them to tell me that my cat didn't have long to live. I did what I could for her and basically set up hospice in my house and made her as comfortable as possible and then when the time came that she was basically just laying there waiting to die, it was time to do the right thing. I had my husband take her to the vet because I just couldn't do it this time around. I have a toddler and I need to keep a happy face. I would have been a sad, sad mess and that would have upset him even more. I still haven't opened the box that her ashes were delivered in... one day I'll be 'ready' to deal with it. Sometimes we don't notice 'real' problems right away. So make that vet appointment. Watch her when she eats and pay attention to how much. Also, if she is frail, she may be having a hard time getting into the litter box (especially if it's covered). Try uncovering it and see if that helps. If she isn't into dry food anymore, it's possible that she has a problem with a tooth or teeth. They can get dental diseases. Feel free to message me if you have any more questions. Hope I helped.


answers from Phoenix on

this just happened to my mom last month. her cat was over 16. he was so skinny, same thing as yours. he went to sleep one night and didn't wake up. i'm sure its close to the end and like you said, she is old and its just her time. i'm sorry. good luck.


answers from Phoenix on

My Mom just had her cat put to sleep not long ago. She was going on 19. She had arthritis, and taking meds for it. She was feeble indefinitely. From what you described, sounds just like what my mom went through just before she decided to put Sarah (her cat) to sleep. I know this is weird, but Mom had her cremated, and put in a little urn with her picture beside it. It is so hard to make that decision and it seems like you are going to have to make that decision soon. Straining to pee is a serious matter. Bless her little heart. I feel for you. I have three cats myself and I dread the day I have to make that decision. My Mom has been through this a few times already and it doesn't get any easier.
My sympathy goes out to you wholeheartedly.



answers from San Diego on

Please take kitty to the vet and she may have stones, if she is straining and it is causing pain. Put litterboxes in different areas where she is peeing. Some pets live into their 20's, some shorter but having her diagnosed properly, especially when she is peeing inappropriately means there is something going on.

She could very well have the beginning of kidney disease but your vet can prescribe a medicated diet that may help with that too.

Blood tests are fairly standard, to my knowledge, at if there is surgery. But I will tell you this. Try to get a pee sample. Like get a syringe after she pees to take it to the vet. Otherwise they do it with a catheter.

In my view, a qualified vet's diagnosis is what is needed here.

Good luck to your kitty.

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