View Full Version : I need some advice (Update on Christy's cat)


Christy
04-23-2007, 05:58 PM
Okay, some of you may or may not remember that I have a pretty sick cat. This cat has been me for 17 years, 2 failed marriages, countless failed relationships, bad times, poor times, good times and more prosperous times. He has chronic kidney failure and I have to give him subcutaneous fluids 3x a week. He also has persistent and chronic bladder infections and I give him antibiotics 3x a week. This poor kitty has more; he has thyroid problems and gets a thyroid pill daily. He has a heart murmur that has steadily gotten worse, but very slowly. He sounds like a lost cause, I know. Since I have been doing the meds and the fluids, this cat has rebounded like nothing I have ever heard of. He ain't done in this world and refuses to go. He has gained a pound since the last time we were at the vet (a month ago...up to 9.3lbs from 4.5lbs a year ago)) and eats like a pig. He runs and plays, chases bugs and bunnies. He loves his catnip and purrs like a finely tuned Harley. His eyes are bright and his fur is shiney. He is as lovable now as he ever was. There was a time when I thought I was going to lose him and the vet told me that he wouldn't last until Christmas...that was last March. The vet is constantly amazed at his progress and prognosis. He has talked about him at seminars to other vets and they are equally amazed that Buddy is doing so well for his age and all of his various symptoms.

Herein lies my problem...this cat, who is doing so very well, has some serious tooth problems. He has part of his gum missing, roots exposed and a loose canine tooth. The vet is not sure Buddy will make thru the anethesia if he put him under to pull the teeth. He says he can do it quick and have Buddy out for just a little bit, but he did not sound to me like he wanted to try. He would if that was what I wanted, but I am not sure how to proceed.

My thinking is this: if Buddy has done so well with all these other problems, maybe, just maybe his luck will continue to hold out. But if I do this and he doesn't come out of it and never wakes up, I will never be able to live with myself. He is in pain, though you wouldn't know it, but what kind of quality of life am I giving him if I allow his teeth to hurt him while I take care of the rest of him? How can I live with myself this way? He is too alive to put down and shows no sign of shutting down anytime soon.

I really don't know what to do. The vet scraped some tartar off of his teeth and pushed on the one with the one with exposed roots (he said start of an absess, which is a whole other set of problems if untreated) and made it bleed. He said that he wanted to "loosen up the gum" so that maybe it would fix itself. He is on the antibiotics, so that helps with infection. I can get him something for the pain but I just don't want to give him another pill. He gets them so much already.

I just want some advice. What would you do? I am totally lost here. I know the decision I have to make, but I just can't make it. I am completely and utterly unable to make this decision. I just want to snuggle with him and cry. He has been my little Buddy for 1/2 of my life and I can't imagine what it would be like without him. I know that one day he will die, or I will have to make that decision to help him go, but he is just not showing me that he is ready. I can't leave him in pain, yet I can't make myself do anything about it.

My mom told me that I needed to do some soul searching and pray about this, but I don't see the answer coming that way, since I already know what I have to do. If I looked at it from a purely financial stance, I would be saving a lot of money if I lost him, but to do that makes me feel really sick and useless as a caring human being.

I just don't know what to do. I would like to hear all advice and will take every bit of it to heart, but I would also like to hear your reasons for your advice. If you think I should put him down, why? Do you think I should take the chance and roll the luck dice and have his teeth removed, why? I just am totally lost and will have nobody to hold my hand to help me thru it or comfort me when he is gone.

leeperjeeper
04-23-2007, 07:25 PM
Christy, your love and devotion for you pet brought back some memories when I had to make those decisions. Mine was a dog though who had brought me through some really tough times and knew when I was sad and would lay down on the floor next to me. He too got seriously ill. I tried for a long time to deny it and went through the vet thing. I just couldn't let him go. As I discussed it with the doctor he made a point that I have never forgotten and sometimes apply it to other decisions I have to make. Why was I holding on the my beloved dog? His quality of life was diminishing fast, his love for me was still there but I was holding onto him not for his life but for my comfort. I didn't want to give him up but I was being selfish. I needed to let him go. So now I have pleasant memories of him as he was without the suffering--without watching him wither before me.

I am not telling you what to do. Only you can decide that. Listen to your own heart and voice. But be sure you are hanging on to him for the right reasons.

nimuay
04-23-2007, 07:59 PM
I'm dealing with the same sort of emotions with my grandkids - I'm trying to explain that though they love both their home and their dog, it's the wrong home for him. No space, for a medium-large dog who has a genetic need to run! How to make them understand that the thoughts have to be about what's good for the dog. . .
For you - well, you've done a whole lot for your cat. You can roll the dice that the antibiotics will indeed cure the gum disease, and then make the next decision. Eventually, you will know when it's time to let go. He will have done his job in your life when you know how to let him go.
Hugs.

sillyj
04-23-2007, 08:10 PM
Can any of the work be done with sedation instead of full out anesthesia? Would that be safer? Would diet changes help at all?

I really don't know what to tell you. My pets are almost a second set of kids to me. If his quality of life is good right now, I might just be tempted to wait a while and see how things go, and make a decision when I really *had* to.

Crone
04-23-2007, 08:20 PM
you can try changing the cat's diet and see if he heals by himself. I've read that feeding them a raw/natural diet has done wonders. You can do an internet search for that and research it. There may even be some yahoo groups for people who feed their pets this way.

JJs_BabyGirl_03
04-23-2007, 09:53 PM
Well i honestly would go ahead and try to do the surgery and just hope for the outcome to come out in ur favor.Cuz I think that if u don't at least try if the antibiotics don't work then the cat would just be suffering and thats not fair to the cat. And if Buddy doesn't come out of it okay then it must of been his time.. and if he does come out of it then that is great!!!! But i do wish u and buddy the best of luck in whatever you choose!!

StormChild
04-24-2007, 12:17 AM
I can't give you any advice, except to say that you should follow your heart on this. If you honestly know what you need to do then it will work out for the best, no matter what happens.

My heart goes out to you. I have a dog who's been with me through some very tough times. He's at that in between stage where the meds have brought back his quality of life, but I see tough decisions like yours in our very near future.

Please let us know how Buddy does.

MrsPhillips
04-24-2007, 04:22 AM
Christy I am so sorry to hear buddy isnt feeling well. I wish I knew the right answer here but I dont. You do what you can and know we are here for you know matter what you decide to do. I know you will do the right thing for your cat and you. It seem like you have been doing that all along. My heart goes out to you.

Christy
04-24-2007, 10:06 AM
Thanks all for your replies. I knew I could count on all of you to help me out. After talking to my husband last night about this and watching him last night, I have decided that right now the best thing to do is to just wait and watch.

He has these little toys that he "hunts" and he was all over that last night! He hunted every one of them and brought them to me all night long. I think he was feeling pretty good.

My husband told me that since he is still playing and eating and hunting, he is obviously not in too much distress. He suggested (as did JJs_Babygirl) that I should just let him go, watch him and see if he stops eating. Then when it seems he is not doing well, try the surgery. He is still eating hard food sometimes, and slurps up the wet stuff. I have to feed him a specific diet due to his CRF, but he gets a lot of fresh chicken when I do the fluids. He is pretty picky with food and I don't know if he would take to a raw diet. It's something I have considered for the future.

I attached a couple of pics of my baby for you all to see. He is soooo cute! I have tons of them, but these are the only ones I have on my computer here at work. One is not so good, and it's before he started putting on weight.

Thanks again....all of you. I feel much better knowing I can come to you with my concerns. It would be so much easier if my husband was here to help me make these decisions, but he isn't and doesn't know Buddy so much.

So for now, I wait and watch and see what happens. I do know that he will tell me when it's time. I belong to another message board that deals with CRF cats and have gained tons of information from them. I didn't go to them because they are all for just doing what needs done to keep the cat going and I wanted "real" people advice on this, people that also know how hard it is to make these decisions alone.

prayingformyson
04-24-2007, 02:23 PM
Christy, I think you have made a wise decision! I hope all goes well with you and your baby!

Debbie

Christy
04-24-2007, 03:08 PM
Thanks Debbie. I think it's the best choice for now.

MrsPhillips
04-24-2007, 03:10 PM
Christy your cat is so beautiful.

Christy
04-25-2007, 06:53 AM
Thanks. He's also a PIA. But I love 'im

JJs_BabyGirl_03
04-25-2007, 07:20 AM
Christy I think your making a good choice.. I hope everything works out for u..

Christy
04-25-2007, 03:08 PM
Well, I just got off the phone with the vet and he agrees with my decision. He said it was what he would do if Buddy were his cat. He also said that Buddy had made incredible progress. His thyroid level is now perfect.

MrsPhillips
04-25-2007, 08:22 PM
that is good to hear Christy. I hope things continue to get better.

Christy
04-26-2007, 07:15 AM
Time will tell.

sillyj
04-27-2007, 09:51 PM
Oh what a handsome boy!!! Keeping my fingers crossed that he continues to do well!

Christy
04-30-2007, 07:10 AM
He had a bad week last week and a not so good weekend, but he spent the night just hunting his toys like crazy! Kept me up! Other than that, he is doing okay. He refused his fluids last night, but he is still fine. Just a toothache and tummy distress I think. He was laying in the sun having a bath when I left for work today!

Christy
08-23-2007, 10:35 AM
Well, it's been a while since I updated on Buddy. I took him to the vet today and he was given the big thumbsup! A couple months ago I woke up to him falling off the bed and unable to use his back legs. He couldn't walk more than a few feet before falling over. It was the most heartbreaking thing I have ever seen. So I took him to the vet and left him there for the day and they checked him out. We still don't know what happened to him, but he is better now and just a little wobbly. The vet told me today that he is losing muscle mass but that it is to be expected since he is 17 years old. His teeth are a little better (since the vet had him all day a few months ago, he scraped some stuff off and the antibiotics are working okay on the other tooth that was so bad.)

Anyway, he is down a few ounces and they took some blood. His thyroid meds may have to be adjusted since he has been "heat seeking" but I thought he just liked the sun. I'm glad I even mentioned it! He has been going out a lot in all this heat!

But, the vet said he is doing very well and that I have been diligent in my care of him and he was impressed with that. He keeps telling me he never expected to be having conversations with me this far along. That's how sick Buddy was then. It's been over a year since all this started, going on two actually, and Buddy is just thriving.

I just felt really good about the visit and wanted to share with you all!

prayingformyson
08-23-2007, 04:15 PM
So good to learn that Buddy is doing so much better! It's amazing what can be done in the world of medicine isn't it!

Christy
08-23-2007, 04:32 PM
Not just medicine, but veterinary medicine too!

nursecrachit
08-23-2007, 04:47 PM
that is great news about kitty! i assume he has made this great recovery all without the need for "the medication" lol! your a good master to him, thats why he is still here!

MrsPhillips
08-23-2007, 05:03 PM
Yes it is good to hear buddy is doing good.

Christy
08-23-2007, 05:15 PM
Oh he gets meds! Plenty...just not the good stuff!

Christy
08-24-2007, 11:33 AM
Just had a message from the vet. He said Buddy has the bloodwork of a 2 year old cat! He is totally dumbfounded by his progress! At a time he should be going downhill, he is going up! YEA!!!!! He even said the thyroid was perfect and his kidney values in one kidney was steady and the other actually improved! He said the weakness in his back end is probably from spinal deterioration, but that is expected with a 17 year old cat! I'm so happy about this. I think he wants to stick around for a bit! Nothing makes me happier!

nursecrachit
08-24-2007, 07:32 PM
I think he knows when he has it good and wants to hang around. He knows he has to watch out for you!

meganlea
08-24-2007, 07:40 PM
Out of pure curiosity, what are you feeding your cat? How do you think he gained so much weight? I'm currently dealing with a sickly kitty that I'm trying to pack the weight on as much as I can. I have no clue how old he is as I found him outside my garage 3 years ago. At that time the vet said he was anywhere from 6 to 12 years old...making him 9 to 15 now. Let me know your secret of packing the weight on!

Christy
08-24-2007, 07:45 PM
I feed him Royal Canin dry food and whatever wet food he wants. He also gets baby food (chicken, turkey, ham, veal) just make sure there are no onions in it. He also gets fresh cooked chicken when he received fluids. I just nuke a boneless/skinless chicken breast in a little bit of water for a couple minutes and cut it up for him. I also used something called CatSure that is like a meal replacement for felines. I used that in the beginning when he was so sick. Now he is just under 9lbs and has a belly of jelly!

Basically...just feed the kitty whatever it will eat. Wet food is the best for packing on the weight. Fancy Feast seems to be the "junk food" for cats and they normally just love it! You can try kitten food too, but be careful with it as it can cause the trots!

What are you feeding kitty now?

meganlea
08-24-2007, 08:04 PM
Kitten food, ugh! I had 3 cats 2 years ago. Mr. Biggs was dying of kidney failure so I was feeding them kitten food. After Bigsy died, Munchkin got sick so I stuck with the kitten food. Poor Squirt is the only healthy one of the bunch so he's plumped up to 16 pounds because of all the darn kitten food I've fed the last 4 years trying to keep the weight on the sickly ones.

Baby food?!? I've never heard of that! I'll stop by the store tomorrow! :) I've recently started using the Catmilk stuff. Munchkin (the sickly one) LOVES it! I've never heard of Royal Canin or CatSure. Where do you buy these? Munchkin loves the Fish & Shrimp Feast from Fancy Feast. His mom (me) hates it...you can actually see the little shrimp and bits and pieces of fish in it. So totally gross...but anything to make him keep his weight on. Thanks for the suggestions! :)

Christy
08-24-2007, 08:14 PM
Kitten food, ugh! I had 3 cats 2 years ago. Mr. Biggs was dying of kidney failure so I was feeding them kitten food. After Bigsy died, Munchkin got sick so I stuck with the kitten food. Poor Squirt is the only healthy one of the bunch so he's plumped up to 16 pounds because of all the darn kitten food I've fed the last 4 years trying to keep the weight on the sickly ones.

Baby food?!? I've never heard of that! I'll stop by the store tomorrow! :) I've recently started using the Catmilk stuff. Munchkin (the sickly one) LOVES it! I've never heard of Royal Canin or CatSure. Where do you buy these? Munchkin loves the Fish & Shrimp Feast from Fancy Feast. His mom (me) hates it...you can actually see the little shrimp and bits and pieces of fish in it. So totally gross...but anything to make him keep his weight on. Thanks for the suggestions! :)


You can get Royal Canin and PetSure at Petsmart or Petco. I know Petco for sure on the Royal Canin. There are several different kinds of the Royal Canin dry. I get the one for senior cats that is softer to chew because of Buddy's teeth.

The baby food I get is Gerber 1st or something like that. I just give the whole jar. You may have to add a little water to it if he walks away for any time because it will dry up pretty fast. Read the ingredients on the baby food...onions will cause anemia in cats and it can be deadly. The stuff I get only has water and chicken or ham or whatever. Some has starch to hold it all together, but that is it. It should have only those two or three ingredients.

There is also something called Spots Stew at Petco. It's all natural and has some veggies in it. My cats go bonkers for it, but it's rather pricey. I get a couple cans at a time and use it as a treat for them or when Buddy is just not eating enough. Just look over the wet food and get a variety. I think that cats are like humans in that they don't like the same thing over and over! I have experimented and usually get quite a selection when I go! They get all sorts of flavors!

Oh, people tuna...in water is good too. But not too often because of the sodium content, but most cats will go nuts for it right out of the can! Don't drain it either!

Christy
08-24-2007, 08:15 PM
Just wanted to add that Petsure is like the milk but has more nutrients in it. More of a meal replacement type thing. It should be right near the cat milk stuff. In a reddish can with a black/white cat on it.

meganlea
08-24-2007, 09:39 PM
Christy - Thanks for the suggestions. On my way home just now I stopped off at the store and bought some baby food. Munchkin is happily slurping away on Gerbers beef something or other. I got a variety of baby food but made sure no onions could be found. Thanks again for your help! :)

Christy
08-25-2007, 09:06 PM
Christy - Thanks for the suggestions. On my way home just now I stopped off at the store and bought some baby food. Munchkin is happily slurping away on Gerbers beef something or other. I got a variety of baby food but made sure no onions could be found. Thanks again for your help! :)


No problem! Glad to help!