Need input - FIV+ and FIV- cats living together. Risks/Concerns

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chaucer

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Hi
Hey it has been awhile, hope you are staying safe. How are the kitties ?
I just returned to the forum. I have two very senior carport kitties now that were abandoned by my neighbors and then Gatsby who has been showing up for a year or two. He may be in this thread somewhere. He comes and goes, but I got him trapped, neutered, and released because I couldn't keep five cats in the house. He's probably FIV + as it seems most of the males are.

Hope you are staying safe too. The cats are great comforts these days when going places has become chancey. Gatsby when he wasn't having his eye issues.
 

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chaucer

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Because you all have followed this thread for years and provided support and advice, I wanted you to know that my cat Orville, my first FIV + cat, is on the downswing of the disease. He has always exhibited skittish, semi-feral behavior but was to the point that he was listless. He is very difficult to catch - he lives inside - and so vet visits were few and far between, but the vet knows this and even suggested not traumatizing him unless it was absolutely necessary. It was necessary about six weeks ago.

Orville became listless and even allowed me to pick him up and pet him at will. I knew something wasn't right. He had his blood work and that showed most everything was normal, except for infection, and something else that indicated the FIV was progressing. The vet also discovered he had severe periodontal disease, not uncommon for FIV cats, but the surprising thing was he had no symptoms - no bad breath, no drooling which my other FIV + cat has to alert me and I can get him medication. Also, Orville was eating some, which surprised her. He was given an antibiotic shot and meds. The plan was to clear up the infection and go from there. Unfortunately, I couldn't afford the "from there" which would involve major dental surgery as in removing most all of his teeth, but we agreed to just clear up the infection and see. He perked up for about a month, but refused to take the medication after three days. His weight had gone from nearly 15 pounds to 9.76 pounds. It's less now and probably around 9 or less. He is a long, large-framed cat with a big head and paws and he was always muscular, so the 15 pounds was a good weight for him.

At the end of the month, he became listless and I tried the medication again, which he took for five days and stopped. During this time, he began scratching, running, shaking his head, and experiencing confusion. He began hiding and exhibiting fear. I didn't attempt the med again, feeling he might be allergic, and had a phone consultation with the vet who told me that because he was not receptive to treatment and that it would be a stop gap because the FIV had advanced, to keep him comfortable. We had the "conversation."

Orville is still with me and still eating a bit. He's hiding mostly, but will at times rouse himself to move to a new location. He has not used his litter box much. Today there was a half tablespoon of urine on the puppy pad, and he was lying in the unused box. He has currently relocated himself to a table in my formal living room. My plan is when he stops eating for a couple of days to take him, but this poor cat has a zero quality of life now. He's 8 and has been with me about six years. So that's where we are. I'm waiting for him to tell me when he's ready to go...😢 Attached are recent photos.
 

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di and bob

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I'm so sorry, it's so hard to watch them like this. He has had 6 years of love and comfort from you, it means the world to him.....Please know we are here for you if you need to talk, I will pray for your little boy.....
 
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chaucer

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di and bob di and bob , Thank you so much for caring. It is a tough decision, particularly when he is still eating. However, after the first two pictures were taken, he suddenly disappeared. After a lengthy search of everything, I looked in the piano. He is hiding way back on the strings. This cannot be comfortable. I can, of course, raise the lid and get him out, and will have to pretty soon. I can't feed him in there. I don't know if this is his way of saying "I'm not ready. Leave me alone," or if it's "I'm ill and scared and have no quality of life."
 

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I'm so sorry to hear about this. I know it's hard to know when it's time. Can't imagine. But you're doing your best to make decisions for him. ❤
 

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Thank you so much for taking the time to post the update. I wish it were better news in general, but Orville continues to have the best care from you. Good to know that he is a little better today. Your plan to observe him and act accordingly is all you can do. He has had 6 great years with you.
 

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Very nice of you to give an update, it's been a long time since this thread, and so sorry to hear the struggles you and he are going through at this point. I was feeling emotional as I read this update, then reading that he's having a better day today helped a lot.
Emotional because I went through similar before I took my beautiful Simone to be put to rest. Hers was CKD but the change up of her normal spots and daily norms started shifting to places of isolation, and nothing I did would convince her that in my arms, on the bed, on her perch and so on, would feel better to her, her preference now was under the bed, spare bathroom type spots. It aches my heart to remember. But as much as I resisted, her persistence spoke to me in the same way that Orville seems to be.

I have to say though, if she had better days in between I would have held out as long as possible but sadly, she didn't. She lost her chirpy, trilling self. I had to let her go for her. It hit me like a light bulb turning on.

Don't think too much about it, it will come to you in it's own way.
If you ask me, it's the hardest damn thing we have to do in life.

I wish you guys the best, it's not easy.
 
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chaucer

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catwoman707 catwoman707 It is definitely hard to let go. My plan is when he stops eating, but he's still eating somewhat, but is not gaining any weight. His sides look rather caved. I believe he is also quite constipated as I didn't see him use the litter box when he decided the guest bath was the place for him.

fionasmom fionasmom Thank you for saying those things. I don't know what I hope for other than he doesn't suffer.

He's rallied again today, but I view this as more restless than anything. He's scratching constantly - and this has been an ongoing issue which I thought was related to the meds, but it seems it may not have been. He still grooms some and washes his face after eating. It's not as much as it was, however. He has taken to my piano for some reason. Currently, he's lying on top of it, but fortunately he is unable to get inside again. He wants to be up high or hidden. He has always had a high-pitched mew (odd for a large male cat) but now the volume is increasing and he will let out a cry almost. Yesterday at the patio door and this morning a couple of them in the kitchen. He just freezes and stares like he's a little confused, but he allows me to pet him and pick him up, which was iffy before. He never was hissy or fussy, he just kept to himself or to Henryetta his bonded "catner." I keep thinking I'll know when to take him, but he's having some better days.
 

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Just take this one day at a time and evaluate how he is doing. I know that this is so hard, but is probably the best way to get through this. There does seem to be an element of distress, but that does not mean that he is not regrouping and still enjoying some of his time.
 
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chaucer

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I don't think his quality of life is much right now. He eats if I bring it to him and he will wash his face, but he looks miserable - so sad and scared. His head is always down and his tail drooping. He's either frozen and listless or restless, but he responds to my voice and raises his ears and sort of opens his eyes. The first photo is from yesterday. He has dropped weight considerably. From above, I can see how his sides are caving in. He has sores on just below his ears and I can feel some scabs on his neck and head from all that scratching he does. The other two photos are this morning. He has relocated to the mantle. That's tuna in water that he eventually ate. I saw him attempt the jump to the bookcase ledge yesterday and he stumbled and then made it to the top. I've removed him and he still goes back there. I've got a quilt on the brick ledge at the bottom in case he rolls off and a chair near that so if he jumps he could go to the chair instead of trying to get down the way he got up, or, worse, jumping to the floor. The last photo is him before all of this. There's definitely a difference. I'm calling the vet today for another phone consultation.
 

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fionasmom

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He is a beautiful boy and you have done and are doing everything you can. It is so touching that he still responds to you when you talk to him.
 

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My Simone would clean her face after eating but stopped grooming herself. Hard to imagine a pure white Persian NOT grooming, the coat is so dense and baby fine, a strand would literally float in the air. Then the undercoat would matt very fast and tight. :please:
What a nightmare. That was a big sign to me since she was always so fastidious.
I would probably feel that as long as he still cares about his coat, he has some life left in him.

What has helped me is keeping in mind that death to animals despite their strong survival instinct, is how they don't fear it as we do, or think how they will miss us. Its just natural. Ive reminded myself over and oer when trying to choose when theyre ready.
 
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That's true, catwoman707 catwoman707 . They don't fear it. My late Himalayan stopped grooming and it was awful. Her fur was matted and I couldn't help with it. (I accidentally cut her trying to get the matts out). She did not like brushing, but she got down to four pounds and couldn't jump any longer and was hiding in my closet. Kidney failure and I had to make the decision the day I took her to the vet.

Orville's not going to be euthanized. Canceling it today. He's eating (quite a bit this morning); he's using the litter box somewhat. He's washing his face but grooming is questionable in that small space. His eyes look better. He still knows my voice and his name. He has taken three days of Clindamycin so I think it is helping, as long as he takes the next six doses of what I have left. The scratching continues, though. tufts of fur with scabs come out a few times on the mantle. Not at all sanitary, but I cannot clean the mantle with any disinfectant while he refuses to leave it even for a minute. No problem jumping down, although there is a chair for him, but he races to the litter box and returns - sometimes stopping for a bite in the kitchen and showing a little energy, but that ebbs quickly and he's back on the mantle. He acts terrified when he's away from it and freezes when I approach him while he's up there. Photos are of him looking a bit better up there. I think this is going to be an up-and-down thing for him. Hoping to get him something for the itching after he finishes the Clindamycin. I know he still looks "big," but he's not - he's a large-boned cat - although I think he has gained some. He feels a little heavier. He does not eat much unless I bring it to him.
 

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chaucer

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I had just called and canceled the appointment and asked about Benadryl when this happened. Exciting news! I am so thankful! A few minutes ago, he got off the mantle, raced to the litter box, and then jumped up to sit in a screened window for a few minutes before racing back to the mantle. It's the first time I've seen him look me straight in the eye and seem so alert.
 

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What a great feeling to see a better/brighter day, even if they're sporatic! It's a heavy weight to bare at the point where we question if/when it's 'time'.
Seeing some of his old self is surely his way of saying, not time mom. Maybe even some hope that with taking the med, he may get back to his old self and have much more time. Let's hope! :crossfingers:

Yes! Ugh, Simone too. She did not want me brushing her which she once loved. Matted down to the skin despite my efforts, I ended up having to have my groomer friend come to my house in 3 sessions to shave her. I hated it then and it still hurts me looking back. She was a gorgeous, proud beauty, ugh, chokes me up to this day having to do that to her. But no other option....:bawling:
Kidney disease also took her.
 
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I ended up having to take him to the vet this afternoon. Later in the morning I checked on him and he had raw sores on his head and neck that must have been scabs but scratched the tops off. The vet gave him a steroid shot and said don't worry about the clindamycin. He wanted to get the itching under control. Orville has dropped to 9.2 pounds from the 9.76 or they had 10 on his chart. However, we got home and he ate another bowl of wet food. In a month, we will see where he is and may be put on prednisone in his food every other day. As long as he is not scratching and miserable-looking, I will be happy. At least he is no longer listless.

I remember how that fine cream hair of my cat floated in the air -- seven inches or so of it sometimes. She was 17, so she had a long life.
 
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Things took an apparent turn sometime late last night/very early this morning. I woke to my cats scratching at my door around 2:00 - they often do this. I got up at 3:00 and found that Orville had crossed the Rainbow Bridge a few hours earlier. I called a friend at that time who came over thirty minutes later and buried him for me in the backyard. Thank you for all your care and concern for him. I really appreciate it.
 

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I am so sorry for your loss. The fact that this thread continued for as long as it did is a testament to the love and care that you gave Orville. You both fought the good fight. Orville ate last night and seemed in a better place....I hope that gives you comfort that during the night he reached the point where his body could not continue, but he passed on in his own home, surrounded by everything and everyone that he knew and loved. I am glad you had someone to call to be with you at that time.

Godspeed, Orville :redheartpump:
 
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