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My cat has kidney failure and we don't know how to handle it and our upcoming holiday.

(25 Posts)
OMGmetoo Thu 09-Jul-15 19:59:52

We are supposed to go on a long-planned extended-family-type holiday overseas in two weeks. My lovely 13 year old cat has just today been diagnosed with kidney failure.

With no treatment we will have to put her down before our trip. With treatment (Two days' worth of IV fluids plus dietary changes) she could last days weeks or months. We don't want to saddle our cat-sitting friend with the possible death of our cat, but we feel it's a shame to not try the treatment.

Rather drastically, my husband has said he would stay home (it's my family we're visiting) rather than go on holiday, if he had to.

I don't want to have to make this choice, she seems fine but I understand she will go downhill fast without treatment.

tabulahrasa Thu 09-Jul-15 20:03:52

I cat sit for a friend's cat with kidney problems and a heart murmur...I do it knowing full well that I may have to make medical decisions on her behalf, yes it's a bit more responsibility but realistically you never know if that's going to happen when you're pet sitting anyway. far I've been in charge of his special diet and medicine for 3 annual holidays, so it's definitely worth taking a chance on treatment. smile

Ubik1 Thu 09-Jul-15 20:08:18

I would have the cat put to sleep. If it's seriously ill and treatment would only prolong its life by a couple of months then I would take the option to say goodbye before its suffering worsens.

sparkysparkysparky Fri 10-Jul-15 10:47:25

As hard as it is, you should put your cat to sleep. The mantra is better a month early than a day late. If I had the time again I would have spared my lovely old girl that day late. She had kidney failure and hyperthyroidism. We managed it and she still enjoyed being a cat (bit of play; watching the world go by). But she was in a great deal of discomfort her last 12 hours - poorly overnight.
The vet was very kind. It was done very gently with sedation first.
I went home, cleared all traces from dd's sight before she came home from school.
Please do what you need to do. thanks

Sleepybeanbump Fri 10-Jul-15 10:50:10

I'd cancel the holiday. I have done before and I would do again. Dh and I were in total agreement.

But I'm abnormally devoted to my cats.

ExitPursuedByABear Fri 10-Jul-15 10:53:46

No advice from me.

I had my horse pts before going on holiday. She had it coming but I still do not know if the holiday made me do it sooner rather than later.

And I can never forgive myself.

flowers for whatever decision you make.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 10-Jul-15 10:55:55

She may last week's or months but did the vet say what the weeks or months would be like?

kidney failure can't be reversed just slowed and symptoms treated.

I would seriously consider having the vat out to sleep even without the holiday.

I had two cats growing up that we lost to kidney failure. they puked they lost weight and it just wasn't pleasant.

my guess would be that getting a cat to eat different food after 13 years will not be easy.

being at the vets on a drip is very stressful which on its own carries risk. (some cars are of course fine but you just don't know)

treatment can also have side effects or not work or be extremely stressful having to be caught wrestled and have tablets rammed down the throat.

I would have to think very carefully about putting an elderly cat through it. flowers

villainousbroodmare Fri 10-Jul-15 10:58:43

I'm a vet. I think you should certainly try treating your cat. You have two weeks to see how or if she responds to treatment and dietary change for this chronic non-painful condition before you are due to leave. Animals respond variably to this. If she currently seems fine then she may go on happily for quite a long time.
Obviously you may then have to go on hols leaving the responsibility with your friend to bring her back to the vets or to call it a day if things turn for the worse. But that is part of pet-sitting anyway.

Sleepybeanbump Fri 10-Jul-15 11:02:00

Also, my feelings would be affected by the fact that my childhood cat nearly died of kidney failure when she was somewhere in middle age (8ish) and then, after weeks in hospital and the rest of her life on a special diet lived very healthily til 16 when she had cancer and we pts.

I understand every situation is different and don't want to give you false hope, but I've had several medical situations with animals where the outcome was a million times better than what we were told to prepare for.

cozietoesie Fri 10-Jul-15 11:08:58

My own Darling Twoago died of kidney failure at 13 and I wish I had had the resolve to let him go much earlier than he eventually lasted. (I was thinking of myself more than I was thinking of him - but that was just me and in the circumstances back then.)

The timing of the holiday is certainly a PITA because it would mean that even if you started treatment, you likely couldn't be there to see its effect properly. I think that in these circumstances there is no clear right thing to do at the moment - just be sure that you're thinking of the cat and not of yourselves. I can't really advise, though, because I'm a little biased by previous experience. Your call, I think.

nipersvest Fri 10-Jul-15 11:10:56

treating with diet can be very effective. our old cat was really ill with thyroid problems, he collapsed and had to stay overnight at the vets. he came home and once the prescription food kicked in, lived for another 2 years.

your cat sitter can contact you if there's any problems i'm sure. kidney and thyroid issues are very common in older cats. its both of those conditions together that caused us to have our cat pts but he was 17.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 10-Jul-15 11:13:26

I feel if she were my pet I would want to try treatment. If your friend doesn't fancy the extra responsibility it is an extra headache but in a fortnight a lot can happen.

FizzyFeet Fri 10-Jul-15 11:17:28

We had a similar situation, a week before going on holiday, with sudden kidney failure in one of our cats. We decided to treat her, then put her into a cattery with instructions to PTS if she took a turn for the worse. We trusted the cattery owner and the vet to do what was in the best interests of the cat. The vet was 50:50 about her chances, but she made it through and is still fine many months later. We knew fairly early whether she was likely to make it or not, so given that you have a fortnight to see how your cat responds, I would do it. Our cat switched to renal food with no problems, and has a twice-daily dropperful of potassium liquid, so the after care has not been a big hassle. Every case is different though so I would talk to your vet about the chances of treatment working and the likely after care the cat will need.

JollyGolightly Fri 10-Jul-15 12:02:25

I would have her pts, as heartbreaking as it will be. I've learned the hard way that it's the far kinder and more responsible thing to do; keeping them going is not in their interests. I look back and feel guilty that I did not do the right thing by some of my beloved pets, and prolonged their lives after their enjoyment of life had gone. She has limited time left anyway and what is left will be of poor quality, you can do the decent thing and still have your holiday.

crapfatbanana Fri 10-Jul-15 12:18:32

It's a hard one,but as mentioned by the vet above you have a couple of weeks to see how the treatment goes.

I am in a similar position with my cat. She is 12 years old and since last August has been treated for congestive heart failure because of hyperthyroidism. Her prognosis was 3 to 9 months, so we are now on borrowed time but she still seems to be okay although quite slow and thin and she sometimes coughs and struggles to breathe a little bit because of the fluid. We are going to be away for about three weeks from the beginning of August and I am quite scared that she may suddenly decline during the time we are away and that when we return she will be no longer with us. But I can't bring myself to have her put to sleep now when she is still eating and quite happy - at times even playful.

Best of luck with your decision and I hope you continue to have lots of love and pleasure from your little cat for as long as you can.

googoodolly Fri 10-Jul-15 12:57:58

It's so tough. My two year old tom recently had a blocked urethra and suspected kidney problems, it was horrible waiting for those blood results! Luckily he's okay, but DP and I decided that if the worst happened and he had kidney failure, we'd put him to sleep. I love him to bits, but kidney failure can't be reversed - if it was just damage, I would say go for treatment, but the end result is going to be having her put to sleep anyway, whether it's now or in three or four months.

Don't put her through any unnecessary suffering, though. If you think you want to try treatment, that's your choice but please accept that it won't cure anything, it will just keep her stable for a bit longer.

RainbowFlutterby Fri 10-Jul-15 13:02:52

If it was RainbowCat then either DP or I would stay home. RCat is v. old and this has already been discussed sad

cozietoesie Fri 10-Jul-15 13:21:35

I just don't go on holiday. Seniorboy is very old and simply wouldn't understand if his person was absent for any extended period - and with his very limited eyesight, I couldn't any longer take him with me, realistically, if I was to go away inside the UK. Hey Ho.

Liney15 Fri 10-Jul-15 17:13:53

Our cat who's now 14 collapsed with kidney failure 2 years ago. She was 48 hours on a drip and it was touch and go but she pulled through and is still going strong with daily tablets and 6 week visits to the vets for injections. She has a good quality of life and is very happy sitting in the sun at the moment.

OMGmetoo Wed 15-Jul-15 23:27:40

Wow, I didn't realise this thread had so many responses, thank you everyone.

On Friday we decided to have the weekend to say goodbye then have her PTS only... Metoocat suddenly perked up over the weekend, started eating lots, and drinking normally. This, we thought, is not an ill cat. We took her for a second opinion, and we're told that if she is acting normal then she's probably ok for now. smile

She loves her new food! She's eating twice as much as before! She takes her medicine! And we live near one of the vet nurses so she is going to be our pet sitter and we can go away.

We have had our cries and said our goodbyes, so we like having this little exta chance.

AlpacaMyBags Wed 15-Jul-15 23:50:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sparkysparkysparky Thu 16-Jul-15 05:59:29

Fab to hear.

favouritewasteoftime Thu 16-Jul-15 06:23:55

Depending on her blood work numbers she could be fine for a good long time yet. My lovely cat has had 18 months of being completely strong and playful since his first diagnosis. You can also ask about phosphorus binders as an alternative to the prescription diet so she can continue eating her usual food.

cozietoesie Thu 16-Jul-15 07:56:47


Very pleased for you all. Kidney problems can be such a rollercoaster ride that it's nice to hear a positive story.

ExitPursuedByABear Thu 16-Jul-15 21:37:09

Great news. Enjoy your hols.

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