Making The Decision

Discussion in 'Crossing the Bridge' started by dagger311, Jul 16, 2017 at 6:13 PM.

  1. dagger311

    dagger311 TCS Member Young Cat

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    Nov 4, 2013
    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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    Emmaus, Pennsylvania
    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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    Dec 12, 2012
    Nebraska, USA
    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.
     
  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. Letti

    Letti TCS Member Kitten

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    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017 at 7:56 AM
  6. Purr-fect

    Purr-fect TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Apr 20, 2017
    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.
     
  7. dagger311

    dagger311 TCS Member Young Cat

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    Nov 4, 2013
    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.
     
  8. Purr-fect

    Purr-fect TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Apr 20, 2017
    How much does he weigh now?
     
  9. Mamanyt1953

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

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    Oct 16, 2015
    Havelock, North Carolina
    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."
     
  10. dagger311

    dagger311 TCS Member Young Cat

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    Nov 4, 2013
    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).
     
  11. di and bob

    di and bob TCS Member Top Cat

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    Dec 12, 2012
    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.
     
  12. solomonar

    solomonar TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Jan 13, 2017
    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.
     

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