Making The Decision--kitty With Heart Disease

Discussion in 'Cat Health' started by dagger311, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. dagger311

    dagger311 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    So, my 4 year old cat, Indy, has been diagnosed with heart disease.

    It all started nearly 3 weeks ago. He became lethargic, refused to eat, and wouldn't leave his chair. A vet trip later, and they said his stomach wall was inflamed. A normal, easy to resolve problem. Well, he saw minor improvements on Cerenia but his condition began rapidly deteriorating. Last Thursday (The 13th), I took him back, assuming it was still an inflamed stomach wall. The vet then informed me that he developed a heart murmur, and requested to do blood work and x rays immediately. I gave the green light, and she gave me the bad news. Fluid on the lungs and all the other signs of heart disease. He's now on pills twice a day for the rest of his life (Speaking of that, is it alright to pill a cat while they're on their back? It's the easiest way for both me and him I think). They seem to have made him slightly more active and alert, but he still refuses to eat no matter what we try. He's losing weight, and still lethargic but slightly more active (And will purr if he sees me).

    We already know his condition is terminal, and 3 years is probably the most he's going to live if he responds really, really well to treatment (She said realistically, he probably won't see 2018). I'm wondering if it may be time to start talking about letting him go before it hurts him too much. I'm just not ready to let go, and never will be. I feel so much guilt that I can't afford the treatment he needs (A cardiologist, ultrasounds, more pills, etc.), but I'm also sitting here with a 4k TV and an Xbox instead of an emergency fund in case something like this happened. I can't help but feel his blood is going to inevitably be on my hands, or that I didn't love him enough to prepare financially for something like this.

    So, what is your experience with knowing when it's time to let them go? I'll personally never be truly ready to walk into a vet's office and tell them I want them to kill my cat, but I'd be willing to do it instead of have him suffer for my sake.
     
  2. les26

    les26 Sylvester's daddy Alpha Cat

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    First I am so sorry that your cat is not feeling well, but DON'T GIVE UP YET!!!! I hope that it is okay to recommend a product on here because it has helped me in the past with Serenity who had a brain tumor, bought her another 1.5 years along with regular vet medicine, and it is also for humans and their immune system, it is called Transfer Factors Plus, and it is an immune stimulant and was recommended to us by a vet who believes in natural alternative things. It comes in a capsule form, and we just would open it up and mix it in with food, didn't always use the whole capsule maybe about half, but gave it to her faithfully plus we would mix it with water and I would hold her and Deb would give it to her in a syringe, but it did help and we give it to our other cats from time to time too. Again, I hope it isn't breaking any rules on here telling this, but it might help.

    And when the time comes for him to move on, it will become pretty obvious; sometimes, they make the decision for us and pass peacefully on their own, sometimes we must make the decision but it isn't easy either way. Follow your heart, do the best that you can and I hope he has many more years with you, God Bless....:alright:

    Make sure you get the Transfer Factors PLUS, not just Transfer Factors, she said it makes a big difference, you can get it online.
     
  3. di and bob

    di and bob TCS Member Top Cat

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    My cat is in the same spot, he developed a cough 4 years ago and had fluid on his lungs from an enlarged heart. They started him on lasix which he has been on since, and is almost 17 years old now. I truly thought it was 'the end' so many times I lost count. He stops eating and drinking and gets lethargic. I stop his lasix because he stops drinking. Then he comes back after coaxing with special treats such as Arby's roast beef, raw hamburger. or bacon.
    The only thing you must remember is that he would never want you to become bankrupt or unhappy because of him. Those feelings of guilt will be there no matter how much you spend or how much care you give him, it is called grief. If you do some research on all the treatments that are out there you'll find that rarely do they prolong life enough that it justifies the cost. It also brings on more suffering and anxiety with the procedures. If there is not a GOOD chance that whatever can be done is going to bring back a life of quality, why put them through all the unnecessary stress?
    As for the pills, however it is the easiest and the least stressful to get them down is the best way. I break mine up, 'paste' them to a piece of bacon with a very small piece of Pill Pocket fro Cats, and he gobbles it right down. Sometimes he spits it out but another piece of bacon does the job. He's been doing this for 4 years. I guess what I'm trying to say is there is no definite sign of when quality of life leaves your sweet boy. As long as he gets around and seems somewhat interested in what is going on around him, he has time left. He will sleep much more and eat less. You'll know when life becomes unbearable. He will withdraw, he may breathe harder and faster, he'll cry out when handled. With a heart condition it will be sudden and quick. I pray for that. That our loved ones will die at home, surrounded by all they love.
    All he wants so very much is your love. Hold him and tell him how much he is wanted and loved, that he holds a special place in your heart. Tell him the time you had together is not nearly enough, but the bond you share will tie you together for eternity. At that age his condition was most likely congenital, it is because of your love and care that he got 4 years of sharing your life's journey. Give him a kiss for me, I'll keep you both in my thoughts and prayers. You will be blessed for loving him so much.
     
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  4. tresnjazg

    tresnjazg TCS Member Kitten

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    First of all, I am so sorry that your cat is not feeling well, but as les26 wrote, don’t give up yet. Consider looking alternative / natural medicine and contacting people who have experience with alternative treatment for such conditions. Maybe there are some solutions which don’t cost too much money but could provide some help and comfort to your cat in the time still left.

    Regarding the decision when is the time to let go :you will never be ready for that decision and it is possibly one of the hardest ones you will make.

    However, this is a time to put your cat first; ask yourself daily : can my cat still have some quality of life at this point?

    Talk to your veterinarian, what does he/she think : can your cat live without pain and discomfort for three or six or more months? For which signs should you look after so that you know there is no sense beyond that time?

    Have your veterinarian on speed dial and phone him/her and ask for advice if something strange happens or in case you need the veterinarian to come to your home urgently.

    If your cat refuses to eat, try giving him special recovery food (if necessary sometimes crush it in smaller chunks and warm it up so it smells better) or give him chunks of food he really loves.

    Try with immune/vitamin boost syrups or pastes, it will help in getting back some energy and calories. Medication doesn’t make sense without nutrients.

    Read on the condition, consult and decide which steps you’ll take, you’re the one who knows your cat best. Find the time to curl up together and that he feels you’re there for him and that he is not alone. Talk to him about all the times you’re grateful for and you’ll remember.

    Our beloved cat lived two and a half months longer after being diagnosed with fatal renal failure despite veterinarian prediction.

    Those 2,5 months were hard, more emotionally than financially (vet care: diagnostics, treatment, medication, special diet) and physically (daily medication two times, extra feeding, cleaning), but we were given little more time together and she even had a short comeback where she was better, playing and squirting. Our primary concern was her well-being and that she wasn’t in pain or discomfort.

    I hope you will get to spend a little more quality time together.

    When your loved one is gone, this is how I feel about it:

    You give a piece of your heart to everyone you love. When your loved one is gone, that piece of your heart comes back to you and stays with you forever. You will put it in the bottom drawer because it’s too painful to look at all the time, but it will never go away.
     
  5. Purr-fect

    Purr-fect TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    I can never read posts on this thread without getting a lump in my throat. Most if us here have experienced what you are feeling now.
    Our most recent loss will be two years this aug 8th.

    Each day my wife and I discussed if our girl was still getting some pleasure from life, if she was in unbearable pain, if she was eating and drinking, if she could use her litter box, if she could still see and hear us. For almost 2 years we never took any vacations as we were afraid she might pass without us at her side, or that our absence might cause her stress.

    When it is time, you will know. There is a chart on this website that helps you assess the situaion by assigning points to the quality of the cats life.

    I would like to suggest that you find a nearby alternative vet that is open 24/7 if your vet clinic is not. That way if you cat begins to suffer when your vet is closed, you cat wont have to suffer needlesly until the clinic opens the next day or after the weekend. I did that for our cat.

    But in the meantime, look at other remedies, spoil the heck out of him, give him treats, love, affection, play with him....whatever he wants.

    I also heard that failing cats sometimes cant see as well at night and cry and become distraught, I read that a night light in their rooms can help.
     
  6. dagger311

    dagger311 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    I just can't stand to see him like this. He used to be so active. 12 pounds of pure muscle that would chase you up the steps, beg for treats and curl up between your legs when it was time to go to sleep. Now he's like a husk. Deathly thin (Visible ribcage if you look hard enough, his spine forms almost a fin going towards his rear, The top-down view is horrendous), Never runs, only purrs when I get near him, and actually moves away from me or anyone else after about 30 seconds. This isn't him anymore. I've had him since he was 3 months old (A rescue from the street that eventually found his way to a Petco adoption center), and he's never missed a chance to sleep with me or one of my family members. Now he's just laying underneath my bed.

    He doesn't seem to be in pain, still drinks water, but he's losing weight rapidly. I'm fairly certain starving is a horrible way to go.
     
  7. Purr-fect

    Purr-fect TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    How much does he weigh now?
     
  8. Mamanyt1953

    Mamanyt1953 Rules my home with an iron paw Staff Member Forum Helper

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    SIGH...I am so very sorry that your cat is going through this, and that you are having to suffer right along with him. Almost everyone here has been through this, and there is ALWAYS guilt. Not because we are guilty, but because we are human. But you have loved Indy and cared for him for 4 years, you have done the best you can for him. Let go of that guilt and replace it with something more constructive. Use that energy to cherish Indy for as long as he can reasonably be with you, and to allow you to help him to go when it is time.

    Until that time, you and Indy will be in my thoughts and on my "candle list."
     
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  9. dagger311

    dagger311 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    He weighed 11.3 last Thursday (Down from 12.1, so lost about a pound in two weeks). I don't have a scale at home to weigh him, but just by holding him I can tell you he's gotten thinner since Thursday.

    He's not acting hurt, so right now I'm just giving him the medications the vet gave me (Two different pills, one to pull fluid off of his lungs and one to help his heart murmur) and trying to get him to eat anything. He still purrs when I pet him, and the heart disease hasn't paralyzed his hind legs yet. He still moves around between his rest spot and his water bowl and litterbox. The vet will be calling me tomorrow to suggest something we can do to get him to eat (Though I'm not sure what they have in mind, probably an appetite stimulant).
     
  10. di and bob

    di and bob TCS Member Top Cat

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    Nebraska, USA
    My Burt has gone from 16 pounds down to eight. All you can do is not worry right now about the quality of food, get them to eat anything. Mine ate a big amount (for him) about a tablespoon of fried chicken breast I got from the deli. You just keep trying.
     
  11. solomonar

    solomonar TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    I guess a more detailed vet consultation could help. Perhaps a second opinion as well.

    In my very personal view, cats get sick as humans do. I mean, I could not imagine a cat being 100% healthy for 100% of his/her lifespan. That would be not natural. Not to mention the vet's opinion about a situation like that.

    Another point is the parallel occurrence of two or more diseases inter-linked or not. It is not clear for me what diseases(es) we talk about.

    Heart disease at 4 years make me thinking about cat's nutrition. I would say that a very detailed discussion about the cat's nutrition with the cat's vet may be useful. Being the case of a disease, I would rather refrain myself to express any thought about the nutrition. Could be something not ok in the current nutrition or the nutrition is OK, but the health status of this cat requires special formulas.

    Also, you speak about "3 years ahead" - I will be happy for myself to have such precise life expectancy, seriously. We do not know the future.
     
  12. dagger311

    dagger311 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Nov 4, 2013
    Okay, I have a happy update.

    Yesterday evening when I came back from my usual hangout spots, I tried to feed him like I normally do. He acted slightly different this time, he looked up at me like he used to and flicked his tail up. I set the can down, and he yet again refused to eat, but he smelled around it a lot. Then I offered him the lid like I usually do, and he licked it clean, then proceeded to lick the gravy out of the can. I ran out and bought turkey and gravy baby food to try and feed him, because it had a similar consistency. I again offered him the lid, which he refused until I let him see me put some from the lid onto my finger, then let him lick my finger clean. He ate everything off the lid, plus about another spoonful.

    And today, he ate about six of his usual treats, plus drank some tuna juice from the starkist cans, and ate a decent sized chunk of tuna. He's also a lot more active, and vocal again.
    I spoke with the vet at length about this, and she said him having heart disease at that age means it was most likely congenital (He was perfectly healthy in literally every way except that). I will be putting him on better food than the Purina stuff he's been eating now though.
     
  13. solomonar

    solomonar TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    "heart disease"?

    What exactly?
     
  14. dagger311

    dagger311 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. His heart wall is too thick.
     
  15. solomonar

    solomonar TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Well, the heart wall was always to thick. I would not draw the conclusion "terminal phase" from this info alone. Unless your vet specifically said so, of course.

    Anyway, you know I guess, (human) cases when the heart stopped without notice or kept beating in very poor condition, despite all bad prognosys. Who knows the future?

    Perhaps preventing the obesity may be good anyway. Maybe your vet may tell you more about what are the acts to be prevented (I imagine that a serious jump may not be a good thing, but this is just my personal idea, don't take it as an advise, but just as an illustration of what I am trying to say).
     
  16. foxxycat

    foxxycat TCS Member Top Cat

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    DId they prescribe Lasix? It helps pull water out to make less stress on the heart=you will notice increased urination.

    Yes baby meat food is a good idea to try. Also ask vet for A/D in a can=it's wet food pate style=mash it with a fork-add HOT water=it will make it smelly and entice him to eat.

    When heart disease is at it's peak-the cat won't eat because it's trying to breathe=if the fluids in the chest get dealt with-appetite should come back. Then it becomes important that meds are taken on time every day.

    Hope this helps.
     
  17. Mamanyt1953

    Mamanyt1953 Rules my home with an iron paw Staff Member Forum Helper

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    This is very good news, indeed. Sounds as if your boy is not quite ready for that final journey. Not yet. He has a bit of living yet to do. Enjoy him, enjoy every moment of him, for this very moment is all any of us can count on. Happy, happy news for me.
     
  18. dagger311

    dagger311 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    He lost his fight yesterday morning. I came home from work Wednesday evening and knew it was time. He could barely hold his head up and didn't want to move. I cuddled up with him that whole night and he died in my arms, peacefully, with very little pain (The vet said he was starting to feel pain from what was most likely kidney failure due to starvation), at the vet's office. We buried him in a shallow grave in our backyard and intend to grow flowers over it in his memory.

    I do feel immense guilt. One of the last things I did to him was shoo him away because I was eating and didn't want him messing with my food. I'll remember that forever, as well as all the times I chose to lock myself in my room instead of spend time with him. I also feel guilt because I'm honestly a little bit relieved that the stress this condition put on both him and myself is over. No more pills, no more pain, no more trying my hardest to get him to eat. It's over. I just take solace in the fact that I fought tooth and nail until the last minute, until he showed me with his actions that night that he could no longer fight this cruel disease.

    I'm just glad I gave him that one last good night. He purred for the first time in a long time, and I'm sure a lot of people would kill to have that and a peaceful sleep be their pets last memory.
     
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  19. EggSandwich

    EggSandwich Cinnamon's roll Adult Cat

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    I am glad that he went peacefully, and happily.

    What I do when I am discouraged, is think about what I have accomplished. What I did right. Try and do that.. You may have shooed him away from your food, but it is okay. I'm sure he forgives you, and would not want you to feel guilt for it. In fact, he probably loved the fact he got you for the last time! His medicine may have not worked for as long as you were hoping. Thus, his life ended before there was major suffering.
    Think about these things:
    • Neither you, nor him will have to experience such stress anymore.
    • You got him to at least eat a little bit, he did not die because of starvation (which I imagine would be quite painful.)
    • You got him to take his pills (and other meds) successfully. He didn't choke or anything.
    • But most importantly, you gave him a very good life with lots of love. His last night was very peaceful and happy, despite everything.
    Try and keep yourself busy, alright? You'll get used to having a hole in your heart which your boy once filled. It won't ever go away, but it wont always hurt you the way it does now. You will be in my prayers tonight.

    Rest in peace, little one. You were and still are, very loved. You may now frolic freely without any stress or illness. You are stronger now, well-fed. You can get a full rest. You are truly in a better place now. Enjoy it. Be there to greet your family, cat or human, when it is their time.

    And remember, your boy will always love you.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017
  20. Purr-fect

    Purr-fect TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    My condolences.

    It must have been comforting to him that you were there, when he passed.
     
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