seeking gentle advice: old wobbly cat(15 Posts)
I have 2 pusscats of 20 and 21. The 20 yr old has renal failure and hypothyroidism - has had for about 3 years. She has tablets for the thyroid but refused the renal diet, and I ended up letting her have her normal diet as it's hard enough to keep the weight on her without her refusing food and I thought she deserved the pleasures she has. She's deaf and I think has arthritis - slow up the stairs and can't groom her back - I have to brush her to prevent big mats forming, which she hates. The problem is that she's gone beyond doing lakes of wee in the house to doing poos all round it too. She confines her wees mostly to the kitchen - we have loads of puppy pads down as she ignores the 2 litter trays, but we'll have to replace the floor and skirting boards. But the poos are getting dreadful - she's just done one on the landing carpet, occasionally in DSs room and on the bathroom mat, and often all over the kitchen floor, away from her loo zone. I cringe when PIL bring DS home without me as they find the mess, and always have to get downstairs first if people stay to clean up. She's anxious because of the hypothyroidism and senility, which probably causes it, along with constipation caused by the renal failure, and the vets can't do anything more. I'm reaching the end of my tether but hate the thought of having her PTS unless she's suffering, and while her life has been better I don't think it's that bad yet... but, poo in the house daily is awful too, and its been going on for 2 years or more.. advice from people who've been here very gratefully received!
What an amazing age for both your cats. I am sure they have had a wonderful life with you. I have an 18 year old who is frail and has hyperthyroidism and mild renal failure too. She is continent and uses a litter tray, doesn't eat much and sleeps for most of the time. I think if she started weeing and pooing everywhere I would have a low threshold for PTS, but I'm not sure how my DD would feel about that. Cats are clean creatures, and I'm not sure if being incontinent is distressing for them. It is a difficult decision to make, and I would ask your vet.
I would say that time might be getting close, not so much because of the mess, but from what you say about not being able to groom or walk upstairs.
Definitely time for a chat with the vet and, hard as it is, you should take their advice, it will be based on what's best for your girl. Losing the ability to be clean is distressing for cats and it's probable her senility has reached the stage where that in itself is distressing for her so I suspect from that perspective the vet will think the time has come. It's never easy but it really is the last kindness we can do our pets and you've patently given her a wonderful life for her to get to such a ripe old age. It really does sound like this situation is having an effect on the whole family, especially your poor old girl and if the vet thinks it's unfair to keep her going then it probably is. Sorry OneMore I know it's hard but she's obviously known a lifetime of love with you and sometimes loving them means making hard decisions and doing what's best for them
Onemore everything you describe not using litter tray, lack of grooming, not going up stairs are classic signs of arthritis. There are medications that help arthritis, however, they are not wonderful if you have kidney problems. But with old cats like old people it is often a balancing act to make them comfortable.
The medication is likely to give your cat a shorter, but more comfortable life and this a conversation you must have with your own vet. Myself I am very much on the side of short happy lives and most of my clients also want this route.
Thank you all for such thoughtful, supportive advice. My other cat is having anti-inflammatory for her arthritis but this one can't because of her kidneys, I've been told. Maybe I need another chat focussing on that - so far all the attention has been on her hyperthyroidism (not hypo, oops) and stopping her from turning into a bag of bones. She's a dear affectionate sweetheart and has got me through some very bad times, so I really have to do the best by her and I can't tell what that is! So based on advice here I'm going back to the vets for a conversation about her comfort and stress levels. Thanks so much
I also have an old cat with desperately bad arthritis. (Just over 21.) He, however, has no real renal issues - they're pretty well bound to be not as good as a youngster's but they're not an immediate concern. His vet practice has always been very strong for older animals so he was put on arthritis meds and stool softener when he was 17 and has recently been allowed supplemental pain meds so he's a happy lad. (This morning, he took his appalling teddy dog to be dipped and chewed in his food bowl which rather brought a lump to my throat.)
Because his pain and possible constipation have been eased for so long, he's cheerful, uses his tray still and, although getting a little
scrawny elegant, he still enjoys his life very much. I'm afraid that it doesn't sound to me as if your girl can be in the same position. I guess it's time for you to have a solid chat with your vet because there's no virtue, I think, in life for the sake of it - not when that life is mostly pain and anxiety.
All the best, anyway.
The anti-inflammatories whilst not advisable can be used with kidney problems if you have a good conversation about quality of life versus risk with your vet. There is a study that has been published ( with a good number of cats) that showed that cats with arthritis and kidney problems actually do better on anti-inflames that those who were not treated.
In the gentlest possible way from what you are describing your cat is in pain, as they are masters at hiding pain you are at a decision point here.
They are good at covering up aren't they? I could only tell that Seniorboy was sore by his changed behaviour and - when it became quite bad despite the anti-inflammatories - by his seeming withdrawal from interaction. He started to sit in a slightly hunched way with a faraway look in his eyes.
Nowadays, we've pretty well got it under control. He enjoys his food, sleeps on his electric blanket and interacts with the family (and me) for his love. He knows that I have the power to stop any pain if needed so we have a system whereby he actually has to ask for his pain meds which he now knows to do. (He's moderate in his requests.)
I'll have no hesitation though, desperately hard though it might be, in talking to his vet if/when things change. He's had a good and long life and he's too valiant and loving for me to tolerate any struggle for him.
Reading this with tears in my eyes. I've never had stool softener discussion, which I'll raise, asking with better pain meds for her. I need to try to ease things for her, and if that doesn't work, then I'll have to face up to the decision and it will be dreadful, but I can't think of her in pain. She still rolls happily on the bed in sunny patches and comes for a fuss, but she did also do the hunched thing. How does senior boy ask for his meds Cozie ?
This thread is helping me immensely...
He has to use a special voice and to use it twice in succession. ( We know each other very well indeed and he's a very very bright and very experienced old Siamese.) It works for us.
He sounds fantastic
Wondering if I can get 20Extra to modify her prrts to tell me ...
Oh he's a great old cat. But you have to look at the bigger picture of course. At the moment, he's on a very fine palliative care regime - and has a very indulgent vet whom he sees about every 2 months - but sooner rather than later, given his age, he's going to hit that roadblock. His vet has already murmured about the sounds emanating from the right chamber of his heart but she knows that investigation at his age would be futile - perhaps even dangerous.
I just give him lots of love, warmth and good food and he's a happy camper for now.
Bah, just lost a long post...
Cozie, my DM had a lovely and very clever half Siamese, who used to take her hand in his paws and put it on his head when he wanted a fuss, what a dude. They can be very special. I hope SB's heart beats strongly for many more of your conversations.
Lonecat, thanks, and I'll look out that paper. I can see that I have taken the no inflammatories advice very literally, and need to be more assertive with my lovely vets, who after al don't see her at home, just cursing up a storm in her travel box.
GRW I hope your 18yo keeps well and happy as long as possible with you.
Thanks to all of you for your perspective and compassionate advice. I've focused much more on the thyroid and renal failure, as the terminal conditions, and not nearly enough on her arthritis, which is actually determining her quality of life. With your help I've shifted focus and will have a talk with the vet prioritizing her comfort above everything else. I ready hope I have more time with her but if not, she won't be in pain.
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