EMERGENCY - My Cat is Slowly Dying

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sil

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Hi guys.. My 21 year old female cat that I love with all my heart has had a history of kidney and thyroid issues. Her thyroids checked out ok given meds. But her kidney values now are moderate to severe which puts her in danger of death. She's lost dramatic weight to the point that her ribs are almost visible.

For a long while, the vet's advice was to feed her kidney diet like Science Hills made for cats with kidney disease. I've tried doing this for some time. But she doesn't like it as much as regular non-kidney cat food like Friskies or Fancy Feast. She does eat the kidney diet food. But doesnt touch it again after 1 - 2 days. As a result, I had little choice but to return to the commercial, non-diet cat foods she craves. Better to eat something unhealthy than nothing at all, which is what my vet suggests as well. It's a known fact that most cats don't like diet food since it lacks protein which is a kidney killer, unfortunately.

Recently, I've been trying to feed her kidney diet food laced with commercial cat food on top in order to trick her to eat the diet food. But she's not digging it. At the same time, she's not digging the commerical food either which is a bad sign altogether.

She doesn't have much to live and I'm very scared of losing her very soon as she's getting weaker each day. I figure she has days left, maybe a week or so. I'm praying for a miracle every day!

If you guys have ANY suggestions to help turn her situation around, PLEASE let me know. No suggestion is too small. Thank you!!!

.
 

furmonster mom

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I’m so sorry you’re going through this. My 19 yr old guy is struggling with both kidney and liver issues.
I give him Niacinamide for his kidneys, and Milk Thistle for his liver. I also give him some extra potassium to help his muscle tone.
I know it‘s so tough to face the inevitable, they just don’t live as long as we’d wish, and their little bodies break down just like ours will eventually. You may want to consider asking your vet if there is something you can do for pain management during this difficult time.
 

Caspers Human

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I'm sorry to hear that your cat's health is flagging. :(
It's always sad when somebody's "best-est kitty" has to pass on.

I read where you said that she's only got a little bit of time left before she comes to the end of her road. 21 years is a good, long life for a cat. I don't know how people take care of their cats so well that they live so long! The oldest family pet I ever had only lived to be13 or 14! Whatever you've been doing, you've done it well!

Ya' know what? If she's lived this long, why don't you just let her have whatever she wants?

My mother-in-law suffered a stroke and she was in and out of hospitals and nursing homes for about a year before we decided to let her live at home until her time came. She lost her sense of taste because of the stroke and she only wanted to eat sweets and junk food. She claimed that those were the only things she could taste. We talked to the doctors about it and had a family meeting where we decided to let her have what she wants. She lived to be nearly 90 and we figured that she's been alive so long that she had earned it. We made her a deal. If she promised to eat one healthy meal per day, she could eat anything she wanted the rest of the time. We had a visiting nurse come to visit her every day to make sure she was getting her promised "good meal" and that she was otherwise healthy, under the circumstances.

Why don't you do something similar for your cat? Let her eat what she wants.

Make sure she gets some good food every day and see to it that she gets her medicine and veterinary care as she needs it but, otherwise let her be comfortable until the time comes.

At 21 years old, I think she's earned it. Don't you? :)
 

silent meowlook

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Hi.
I am sorry about what you and your cat are going through. It is hard when you know their time is limited.

Couple of suggestions. The association between renal disease in cats and a diet high in protein has been found to not be a problem. So high protein is okay. Canned food is best. What you have to watch out for is phosphorus. So, you would need to know if your cat's phosphorus is elevated, it usually is in kidney failure or chronic kidney disease cats. Then you need to add a phosphate binder like Epakitin (prescription only) or aluminum hydroxide powder (in health food stores) sprinkle on each meal. But of course, talk to your vet first. The other thing you can do is get a prescription for Cerenia. It helps with the nausea that renal cats have. Another thing to add is famotidine (Pepcid) to help with the acid reflux these cat's experience. Also ask your vet about doing subcutaneous fluids at home. Just only do a small amount and make sure they are warmed first. This helps with the dehydration they experience. Another thing to try is Mirtazapine as an appetite stimulant. Also make sure the potassium levels are ok. Often, they are low and that can make a cat feel really bad.
You said they tested for hyperthyroid. Were her thyroid levels ok, or are you giving her Methimazole?
 

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FeebysOwner

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Hi. All good advice above! My focus is on what other signs of kidney disease is your cat displaying? If lack of appetite is the only one, then I would think you have more time to be with her than you might believe. Lack of appetite can be remedied with anti-nausea meds and an appetite stimulant - I believe both were mentioned above.

Many cats never want to eat the kidney care foods, and those who do don't like them for very long. Depending on her phosphorus level, as mentioned above you can feed her 'regular' food and add a binder - I've found one called Phos-Bind that seems to be odorless and tasteless, so the powder can be added to canned food.

There is also a Royal Canin A/D recovery food that is high in nutrition that could be used as a supplement to her food for the added calories.

I echo the sentiment above about reducing protein in a CKD cat is no longer the optimal idea. Cats, especially as old as yours, are already losing muscle mass due to aging in general, so reducing their protein is not helpful.

You also need to learn the 'scruff' test so you can check her dehydration level - gently pull up on the skin at the base of her neck and then let go. If the skin goes quickly back into place, she is likely not dehydrated. If it tents, or goes back slowly, she is somewhat dehydrated and might benefit from sub-Q fluids. Sub-Q fluids are not generally administered frequently until warranted, as the extra fluid is also hard on the kidneys but is necessary when a cat cannot maintain their own hydration.

Do you know her kidney values and her phosphorus level? Knowing these numbers and using Tanya's web site (link provided above) will go a long way in determining what other steps might be needed and when. Don't be intimidated by all the information on that site - it is a lot, but it is also very, very valuable.
 

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HI, I'm so sorry you are going through this. I don't have any advice really, as a relatively novice cat owner, but I just wanted to offer my empathy and support because I am going through the same thing with my baby this week, but different diagnosis. She has an aggressive form of cancer and has gone downhill fast since her latest surgery. I thought we were going to have to put her down today, but the vet offered me hope that she is not there yet. But still...
Anyway, as someone who is also in the current hell that is watching your precious one deteriorate and not knowing what to do, I send love and positive vibes to you and your kitty.
 

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iPappy

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If she's 21 and not eating, I wouldn't force any diet on her she isn't a fan of. Let her eat what she wants, IIRC commercial wet food is actually quite good for cats and their kidneys. Is she drinking at all? Hanging her head over the water bowl? Is she crying out? Is she as active as a 21 year old cat can be expected to be? Is she peeing/pooping?
I have a dog that was once put on a prescription diet. This dog would eat anything. Any food, any treat, any table scrap, anything I offered he'd gulp down. He would not touch the prescription diet. I fed him what he wanted, and it's been 8 years and he's still here (and still eating!)
 

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My condolences on your kitty but realize that you gave her a FANTASTIC long and happy life. But remember that they/we don't live forever. Consider what her quality of life might be from here on...I lost two 20-year-olds over teh last two years, I hate to say this but make sure your love for her doesn't make a battle to keep her going because the hurt of losing can last forever, and we don't want to lose those we love. Think deeply, what is the best decision for her? Is it fair to keep fighting a battle that isn't fair to her ? Clearly, you love your cat very much, but remember, the last thing you only want to do is ask our pets to die slowly for us because we can't bear to lose them. I have had to make those decisions too many times over the years, and after my current cat, I will no longer have any pets. I just don't want to decide when to allow them to pass anymore... it hurts too much. But realistically, if each day is not going to be a better day, My older cats had kidney disease, and it is not a painless end, nausea, weakness, muscle pain, weak heart, etc. it is not just a loss of appetite. Consider the rest that she may be feeling, you love her very, very much and do the best for her, the worse we can ask for I have found over 20 years of cat ownership is to ask our cats to linger for us. One of the saddest moments I ever had was letting an older cat go with kidney disease. It was very clear that he was hanging on for me, and I had told him over and over ago that it was okay to go. I just feel when dealing with our terminal pets. when it gets to th stage thate they asting away somethimes sooner is always better then later. But that is just my opinion.
 

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You provided your cat a FANTASTIC long and happy life; please know that I am sending you my condolences. I would let her eat whatever she wants at this point. The drug ELURA was recently p[assed by FDA for muscle wasting in cats with Kidney disease and might help because it treats nausea and is also an appetite stimulant.

However, I am also going to say this ... please remember that neither they nor we are immortal, and please consider how her quality of life might change. I've lost two 20-year-olds in the past two years. I know you love her with all your heart and soul and that she has been a part of your life forever, but when our love is so deep for our cats, one has to be careful that our love for them doesn't cause them to fight to keep their cats alive since losing them hurts. We don't want to lose those we care about. Realistically, what would be the best choice for her? You love your cat very much, but remember that the last thing we want to do is ask our animals to linger. A lingering end is never a happy end. My prayers and best wishes to you both, and I know you are not alone here. Take care.
 
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sil

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If she's 21 and not eating, I wouldn't force any diet on her she isn't a fan of. Let her eat what she wants, IIRC commercial wet food is actually quite good for cats and their kidneys. Is she drinking at all? Hanging her head over the water bowl? Is she crying out? Is she as active as a 21 year old cat can be expected to be? Is she peeing/pooping?
Wow! You hit it on the head. You're describing exactly my cat's behavior. She hung her head over the water bowl, crying out loudly and not pooping. Sadly, I lost her this morning when I brought her into the vet to have her euthanized as I had no choice to watch her suffer otherwise.

Interestingly, I've noticed with great sadness during her stress and depression that she would retreat to a dark place in the house, almost as if she were ashamed of being sick. Conversely, I also observed the same behavior by my other cat that died last month of the same medical condition which was kidney disease when he withdrew into a dark closet. This greatly saddened me like you would not believe.

If you would give me your 2 cents on why this behavior occurs please let me know!!

.
 
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sil

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Hi guys!

It is with great sorrow that I bear the sad news of my cat's passing this morning. I brought her into the vet to have her euthanized as she was dehydrated, didn't drink water or eat food for 2 - 3 days, became skin and bones and lethargic. Not a way to go but rarely is there a better circumstance from which to exit this world.

My cat was picky, sensitive, loving, cuddly, stubborn, loyal and the cutest cat I and others have ever seen in my life. She was a princess, an angel and a baby. Upon her passing, the vet remarked that it was incredible that she looked so teenagery young at an advanced age of 21 years! One look at her would make you want to pick her up and eat her like a chocolate croissant. I will never forget her nor my other cat which I lost due to the same health issue a month ago.

However, on this somber note, I will check in to contribute what I can to threads based on my experiences to help others with similar issues and better navigate their pain. It is the least I can do humbly to help animals since I love them far more than I do human beings. In a sense, animals are superior to humans in that they were created before we were by the Great Creator.

The following is a poem I found written by Rob Trammer which sums up expectations and feelings:

"Heavenly Nap" by Rob Trammer
“I’ll miss you for a little while,
but our friendship will not end.
Time will pass, and then at last
you’ll be on my lap again.”
 

fionasmom

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I was always told that cats, or other animals, who hide as they become weaker and more ill do so because in the wild they would be easy target for any other predator looking for prey. Whether or not this is entirely the reason may or may not be true. I have seen this behavior myself, especially in ferals who live out of doors.

We appreciate your continued participation on TCS. Members essentially look to others to recount their experiences in all areas of cat care.

Within a day or two, this thread will be closed. We do this out of respect for the cat who has passed on. If you would like to write a tribute or share memories of your cat, you are welcome to do so in our Crossing the Bridge forum.

Crossing the Bridge
 

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Before this thread closes, I am so sorry for your loss. If she was that bad, that quickly, I believe you did the right thing for her.
It's extra hard because you lost another cat to the same problem only a month ago. That's very hard. But the poem you posted says it all.

" However, on this somber note, I will check in to contribute what I can to threads based on my experiences to help others with similar issues and better navigate their pain. It is the least I can do humbly to help animals since I love them far more than I do human beings. In a sense, animals are superior to humans in that they were created before we were by the Great Creator. "

This makes me smile! Helping others with our own sad experiences can be very helpful and comforting to others. I've had many people help me over the years when facing a scary situation with an animal and it helps so, so much. :)
 
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sil

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I was always told that cats, or other animals, who hide as they become weaker and more ill do so because in the wild
This makes a bunch of sense. Thank you sweetheart!

We appreciate your continued participation on TCS. Members essentially look to others to recount their experiences in all areas of cat care.

Within a day or two, this thread will be closed. We do this out of respect for the cat who has passed on. If you would like to write a tribute or share memories of your cat, you are welcome to do so in our Crossing the Bridge forum.

Crossing the Bridge
I completely understand. Thank you, I will look into the Crossing the Bridge forum once I have gathered my thoughts fully.

I am so sorry for your loss. :redheartpump: It is always so hard, but the fact that you saw her through to 21, treating her health conditions, speaks volumes for the love you have for her.
You know it's funny. My upstairs neighbor said the same thing. She says that if it weren't for my constant love flowing to her, she would've passed a while ago. It's the thing that really carried her to 21 years of life. I have to agree with her.

Thank you sweetheart for your words. My mother and I truly appreciate them and your presence on this forum.
 
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sil

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Before this thread closes, I am so sorry for your loss. If she was that bad, that quickly, I believe you did the right thing for her.
It's extra hard because you lost another cat to the same problem only a month ago. That's very hard.
Yeah, you know whats weird? My other cat a month before he passed was strong, healthy and full bodied. Yet in as short of a period of time as 4 weeks he lost massive weight, vomited everything he drank and ate (because his kidneys shut down to the point that they couldn't process any fluids or solids) and became weak. This is why is vitally IMPORTANT to seek a vet at ANY suspicious signs of a pet's health because you will never know what may grow silently within them that can blossom into something out of your control. A pet's health is something NOT to toy with.

But the poem you posted says it all.
Couldn't agree more.

Helping others with our own sad experiences can be very helpful and comforting to others. I've had many people help me over the years when facing a scary situation with an animal and it helps so, so much. :)
Yes I agree. When helping someone's pet its almost like that pet is yours and you're trying to help "your" pet out of sincere love and concern. It's a very powerful positive feeling with positive karmic ramifications.

Thank you for your reply! Means a lot!
 
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sil

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To each person on this thread who has contributed their amazing advice and inspiring words for my cat and me, we thank you!

When the time comes that we are all united in spirit at the end of this life, my cat and I shall seek all you out to show all you her deep love and appreciation. Thank you once again!
 
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