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How do you know when it's time?

(18 Posts)
Mitzimaybe Fri 14-Nov-14 13:15:56

Sorry - long.

My cat is only 11 - I think of that as relatively young; I've had two previous cats which lived to 18 - but the vet says it's elderly.

She was fine up until this summer. In the hot weather it was difficult to interest her in eating but that's always been the case; I thought she was just being fussy. I noticed one of her pupils was dilated; turned out to be nerve damage and is almost back to normal now. Didn't seem to bother her in the least. Investigations looking for the cause (blood tests & x rays) revealed ankylosing spondylitis in her spine and borderline abnormal kidney function (all 3 conditions apparently completely unrelated.)

A few weeks later she started limping - nothing wrong with the leg, must be the spondylitis. Vet put her on pills (anti inflammatory) but a week later she deteriorated sharply, repeat bloods showed kidney function had declined. Off the anti inflammatories and onto kidney medication.

She's been a bit up and down since then, back legs have got worse and her tail drags. Last week she perked up quite a bit, much more alert and active, eating more, "talking" to me, asking to go out (she has a litter tray indoors but has always liked going out,) even holding her tail higher. She's continued losing weight though and is down to an awfully skinny 2.3 kg. When you stroke her you can feel how bony she is (she's long-haired so it's difficult to see.) The vet agreed she had a reasonable quality of life still but her limited capacity is the "new normal".

This week she's declined again. Very lethargic, not wanting to go out, not eating. I've been hand-feeding her some tiny pieces of chicken and some soft pâté stuff the vet gave me (in a tin) but she won't have much before she turns her head away. I've tried all her favourites, cooked white fish for her, you name it. She won't even drink whiskas cat milk; she used to go mad for it. She doesn't generally seem to be in pain although she cried last night when I (gently) combed her whereas she has always been quite tolerant of being combed and even enjoys it around her head/neck/chest. So that did seem to be hurting her.

I'm thinking maybe her kidney function has deteriorated further. She's not really drinking water, but most of her food (the little she eats) is sloppy stuff and she's never been dehydrated when the vet has checked. Yes, I know I need to take her to the vet again and I will do. But it will need another blood test to check the kidney function.

How much more do I put her through? How do I know how much she's suffering and whether she has any quality of life?

Some background: I am moving house soon and a sick cat is quite inconvenient. But I love her to bits and want to be 100% certain that any decision I make is purely for the cat's sake as I am prepared to put up with any amount of inconvenience if it's worth it for her. As against that, I think I let my previous cat suffer too much because I wasn't prepared to let him go, so I delayed the decision beyond the point I should have done (in hindsight.) It's so hard.

bonzo77 Fri 14-Nov-14 13:20:13

I think you are pretty much at that point. The house move will be stressful for any cat, more so for and old, Sick one. As they say, better a day too soon than a moment too late.

marne2 Fri 14-Nov-14 13:20:17

It's such a hard decision to make sad, you need to do what you feel is best for her, the house move could be very stressful for her and could upset her more. Talk to the vet and see what they think you should do, the fact she is not eating and is losing weight is not a good sign, poor baby sad.

cozietoesie Fri 14-Nov-14 13:21:13

So she's getting no pain relief at all?

Dinglethdragon Fri 14-Nov-14 13:22:32

from what you have said - it is time to let her go now before the stress of the move.

bonzo77 Fri 14-Nov-14 13:23:25

Sorry that was blunt. I recognise that pang, torn between doing the best for your cat and the inconvenience off the invalid. My previous cat developed some undiagnosable condition when DS1 was 3 months old. I Was up in the night syringe feeding her as well as feeding the baby. I made a snap decision when she got better for a day or two then suddenly went down hill again.

chockbic Fri 14-Nov-14 13:25:04

I would say it's time. She seems to be in pain.

Mitzimaybe Fri 14-Nov-14 13:42:38

Thanks, everyone, for taking the trouble to read and comment; I'm very grateful.

cozie no, she's on no pain relief because she doesn't seem to be in pain. She doesn't wince or cry when she moves, or when I pick her up or move her about. The vet doesn't think she's in pain. Prior to last night she didn't object when I combed her.

bonzo I was syringe feeding her a month or two back when she was very poorly before the kidney medication started to kick in. She improved a lot after that but is almost back to that point again.

marne2 You're right that the house move will stress her a bit, although I'm moving somewhere we have stayed previously, so will be familiar to her.

Dingle Thanks, I do think that myself but I'm kind of second-guessing myself too.

Mitzimaybe Fri 14-Nov-14 13:45:06

chockbic She hasn't seemed to be in pain at all until I tried to comb her last night. But maybe she is now.

Mitzimaybe Fri 14-Nov-14 16:36:24

My vet's away until Monday so I've made an appointment for Monday morning and I'll see how she does over the weekend.

chockbic Fri 14-Nov-14 17:08:22


Spickle Fri 14-Nov-14 18:23:01

We made the decision to let our beloved cat go on Monday after a visit to the vet. On Tuesday the deed was done. He weighed 2.2 kg and didn't seem to be in pain, but his quality of life was poor, spending hours laying by the water bowl or litter tray and not wanting to go out at all. He had kidney disease and a urine infection and over the last couple of weeks he had deteriorated. We, also, could have had more tests done, but sometimes you know it is just delaying the inevitable. We have been in bits this week but actually I do think we did the right thing.

Whatever your vet says on Monday, you know he is advising you of the best course of action for your cat and it is the kindest thing in the world to put your pet's needs above your own. Thoughts are with you flowers

Mitzimaybe Mon 17-Nov-14 00:27:27

Spickle Thanks for your thoughts and I hope you are OK yourself. It certainly sounds like you took the decision that was the kindest for him.

My cat has not got any better; worse if anything. I'll see what the vet says in the morning.

cozietoesie Mon 17-Nov-14 07:06:37

It sounds as if she's almost certainly been in pain so relieving that would be an immediate task. I have to say, though, that having severe degenerative bone disease at her age presents a pretty bleak picture, especially given the various other problems asociated with spondylitis.

Your vet will advise you on the options but, as always, it will be all about her and her likely quality of life - which doesn't sound too great.

All the best and take care.

Mitzimaybe Mon 17-Nov-14 14:41:45

Thanks; we had lots of cuddles over the weekend and she was PTS this morning. I'm a bit weepy right now.

Many thanks & much sympathy to those of you who have gone through this yourselves recently and still found the strength to comment on this thread.

flowers to you all

bonzo77 Mon 17-Nov-14 14:48:58

Sorry for your loss. I'm sure you did the best thing.

Spickle Mon 17-Nov-14 18:04:06

So sad to hear your news, thoughts are with you and hope you can take comfort that your dear little cat is no longer suffering due to the decision you've had to make flowers

rosieposey Mon 17-Nov-14 22:47:26

MItzi - I'm so sorry, flowers

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