My poor boy..(31 Posts)
One of my foster cats just can't get a break...he has a serious heart condition and wasn't expected to live very long at all but he's a fighter and is now the grand old age of 2... He's partially sighted but as he's an indoor cat this isn't a problem. Few months ago he developed kidney problems but we have thankfully got those under control by using wet food with water,lots of water bowls and deliberately leave the taps dripping ( annoying but it works). He hasn't had any infections now for quite a while ( again easy to monitor because he's an indoor cat).
Problem now is that he has developed epilepsy and we can't seem to get the meds sorted and to appropriate levels. Getting them into him is easy enough after a bit of trial and error ( towel/syringe meds into back of throat/ cat milk in separate syringe to wash them down- not ideal but working). He is clearly having some sort of migraines before he has an episode and his whole personality has changed. He was an adorable affectionate funny quirky little boy now he's a grumpy bullying git who constantly picks on and chases the other cats. It awful to watch him struggle and he just doesn't 'look' right...he appears miserable a lot of the time then we have flashes of him being his funny self and I think great we have cracked it. But we haven't..he's just not 'him' anymore and I really wonder if it's selfish/unfair to keep him here. Vet says we are a long way off having 'that' conversation but the vet doesn't live with him or the other cats. I veer between this isn't fair when he is already life limited to if he isn't giving up then neither am I. I protect the other cats as much as possible and rehoming him isn't an option but I am feeling increasingly uneasy. Vet costs are covered so don't have to worry about those so they don't factor into the equation. I know people always say you will know when the bad days outweigh the good but it's different in this case I feel because of his other problems. He increasingly hates going to the vets and this stress puts pressure on his heart..he is having regular blood tests and has had to have some day stays in vets..
Has anyone got any opinions? Advice? I don't know what to do..I'm not giving up on him,he's a young cat and I'm more than happy to help him in any way I can but I don't like seeing him in pain and he's tormenting the other cats..am going to speak to vet again and see if there's anything else we can do to help him..
How awful and I would be as conflicted as you are in that situation (and have a very similar decision to make myself at the moment). I generally advise to be guided by a vet but, as you say, the vet doesn't live with him.
I would certainly give it a couple of months more to see if there is any improvement and, if not, I would be seriously considering 'that conversation'.
That's very tough. I feel for you. It's fair enough old cats having ailments that require a lot of taking care of, but yours is so young. You're doing so much for him. Can you give him a daily painkiller to help ease his pain & stress. 2 of mine have loxicom everyday for arthritis and they're like new cats.
Is it feasible to keep him away from your other cats for the majority of the time, so that he doesn't have to worry about being niggled by them? Does get have a hidy place up high, where he can retreat to?
Good luck. Others will be along soon to help you.
Thanks Cat Neuterer for understanding..sorry you are in same situ...I will completely give it some time and I guess it's good in some ways that the final decision isn't up to me as he is a foster..problem with that is that the rescue who 'owns' him has already suggested that he has had a far longer life than expected and maybe we should be considering our options..I could fight them on it but would that be the right thing?
Trust..I do give him metacam on particularly bad days but it totally wipes him out and then I am constantly watching him to make sure he's still with us...will have a chat with vet next week and see if there is a different/lower dose I can try because I do think he's in pain..
He's the one who 'niggles' the other cats..he goes looking for them to chase them and can be quite nasty..before he was a loveable stupid clown now as I said he's a bit of a nasty grumpy git. I have lots of beds/blankets hidden away in various places high and low so all the cats can get their own space..they all have their favorites.. His one is a fleece fur blanket on top of the kitchen cupboards. I often bring home a box or two from the shops and make them forts etc to play in too so amuse them and their toys are rotated every few days to keep them amused. I also have a run and if he's being really awful I shut him out in 'time out' if it's not too cold ( he loves the run).
Saw the vet this afternoon to get more bloods taken..am hoping we can up his meds a bit when results come back.. Vet said he really needs an MRI but because of the cost (up to £2000) and the fact that he has such a serious heart condition she doesn't think that it's an option. I agreed and besides what would be the point of putting him through that when it will be very unlikely he will be able to have any treatment because of his other health problems. The money could be found its more is it fair to put him through that?
As awful as it would be, if he was my cat I think I'd be saying that enough is enough now. And be having 'that conversation' I'd be heartbroken but wouldn't want him to suffer any more.
I understand your upset. I have been lucky enough to have two generations of cats -a family of four moggies who all lived to a ripe old age - and now a new brood of norwegian forest cats, all still quite young.
In our first family, they all eventually developed some type of cancer. The reason I say this is because for one, we spent a huge amount of time (and money) on treatment, and for another we did not. Not because of compassion fatigue but because one was up for it, and a real fighter, and the other absolutely the opposite, and we felt strongly that she wanted to go. My key point is that you know the cat, and from what I read, I think you need to give yourself permission to let him go.
If your instant reaction to that is 'no' then you have your answer, and vice versa.
My other observation is I am surprised at the vets feedback. Most are quite circumspect and tend to be more proactive when they see prolonged suffering and/or a human owners angst. Often they give owners a lot of comfort and validation in agreeing that enough is enough.
I worry that you are taking their (otherwise) direction when your heart and head say otherwise. Could you get a second opinion on the 'long way off' assessment?
Whatever you decide, your foster cat will have had more care and consideration and love than most.
Gighasmoked.. That made me cry...and yes I think that's what I need 'permission' to let him go...I have had to have other animals pts but it was different because they were old and had had a long life, it was obvious with them and the last time the vet didn't even examine my dog when I took him in to have 'that' conversation..he took one look at him and said he's ready to go now...
I am a little worried that because this boy is a foster that the vet is doing more/spending more...not in a bad way,they are a very good vet and have a really good rep..more in a way that they know it's not coming from one person but from a no kill organisation..
Either way my boy isn't happy and he's making the others unhappy and I took him on to give him a short good life not a long unhappy one. But how do I say that to the vet again without sounding like someone who just doesn't want the hassle or the work ( he's sick a lot because of meds- that bit doesn't worry me- it's only a bit of cleaning). How do I take a young cat and say goodbye..
I'm hoping his bloods wil show we can up the meds and get more of a handle on his condition and I won't have to make the decision but my gut says that's not what's going to happen and if it's full on neurological problems then it's going to get worse and I'm not leaving him too long so the short happy life we have given him turns into an unhappy one..I guess it's just knowing the right time ...it's so hard when otherwise he looks like a shiny coated healthy young boy
Toddler..I really don't want him to suffer either.. I want him to go over the rainbow before he suffers but I just don't know how to express that with vet without sounding like I don't care or I don't want him anymore.. I would fundraise every penny myself for the MRI if I thought it would help but what could they do for a cat with say a brain tumour who has a serious heart condition (grade 6 murmur)
I'm feeling a bit teary myself reading this. It's a hard enough decision to make with the vets support so this must be awful for you. Would it help at all to make videos of his behaviour to show the vet? Is there another vet at the practice you could see?
I would say vets are only human, and also busy, have a lot of patients, and dont always get it right. I think you would get a lot of comfort in having a direct conversation with your respected vet to focus on your cats quality of life and behaviour, and agree together. Let him or her make the case for continued treatment rather than the reverse. Your heart is saying otherwise and needs to be convinced. Often in life we submit to what we think is a very firm and directional view of others only to find out after the fact it was just a passing comment. (Right now I am thinking of my builders and their urgentrequests for stuff which turned out to be needed 4 weeks away!)
I love that you are so thoughtful about this, it makes me glad.
Living.. We have managed to video him having episodes and I keep a diary as well..vet has seen both and said 'it wasn't normal cat behaviour'.. He doesn't have grand Mal fits, he paces and paces in a dazed state while meowing then stares at lights and doesn't respond to noise. All the vets at the practise know him and he normally sees the senior vet because he's 'complicated'
Thankyou Gigha.. I will wait for the results of today's bloods tests then make another appt I think to discuss and maybe won't take him with me so it's less emotional...
Right now I'm on the sofa with one cat in my knee, a small dog beside me, another cat playing with some nut shells on the floor batting them around and the cat in question is lying on the very top of the cat tree watching. Not often we all in the same room together
I think your pan sounds sensible Op. it sounds like you've given him a wonderful life.
Potentialmadcatlady, I can't add anything to the excellent advice you've already had but I wanted to say how lovely you sound. Your love for your poor boy shines through in your posts and, whatever happens, he's lucky to have you.
flowers to you and your boy
Aw Thankyou.. I hope I have.. My other 'heart' cat is nearly three.. They expected her to live 1-2 years.. She has a grade 5/6 murmur.. She just mooches around like a diva and hides if anyone comes into the house- she can hide for hours if she feels like it and would live on dreamies if I let her..
I feel much better now I have a plan.. Knew you lovely lot would understand me
Still waiting results...still being sick and grumpy
Results are in and not great..meds are in therapeutic range which means we don't have anywhere really to go..I can up meds a tiny bit then bloods will be retested.. Phone call was not a positive one..vet suggests that he is 'moved' to a single cat/ pet household which has upset me a lot...
So sorry this wasnt the decisive or guiding event you wished for. But the vet is perhaps going through a process of elimination to separate the behavioural from the medical issues? Its complex, isnt it. Certainly facilitating a different environment (and possibly as a consequence a different vet imho) is maybe how you can do your best for this little one. Another carer and catlover to observe his behaviour and happiness, or lack of, for themselves ?
Perhaps your role in this is to be his wellbeing facilitator not necessarily his long term carer? It doesnt make your role or your contribution any less important. Certainly I dont think the status quo, (him suffering, you very
distressed and the vet reluctant and persisting with treatment) is helpful and I understand why you want more proactive intervention before a crisis. Good luck, potentialmadcat.
Gigha..genuine question- would you be happy moving a cat with major heart condition, kidney problems and neurological problems from the only home he has ever known to a new one to facilitate a few extra months of life when he is already classed as life limited and has outlived his prognosis by over a year and a half at this point?.
If I thought it was the best option for him him I would hand him over this afternoon That's if a home could even be found for him.. But his current behaviour annoying/chasing the other cats is only before/after one of his episodes when I assume he is getting an aura/headache/pain. I wish I could post the photos I have of him from yesterday cuddled up with his arms round his little sister with his older sister sitting beside him. Last night before bed he was cuddled up to me and the dog. He slept on the end of my bed with the dog and one of the cats. His grumpy behaviour is only when he is coming up to an episode which is unfortunately nearly daily at the time. He has already had one this am and thrown up twice. He is now very grumpy and wants left alone while he paces up and down whinging.
I really don't know what to do. I will do whatever is best for him but it does feel at the moment a little like we are keeping him here because we can not because we should. As he has thrown up this am he will not be covered with his meds so it will be a another bad day for him and that is sad and not what was the plan.
Oh Potential, I was really hoping for better news.
It breaks my heart to say this, but I do wonder if it's time to have 'that' conversation with the vet. Uprooting him doesn't seem fair to him, as you say it's the only home he's ever known - it would be different if he was a healthy cat.
Whatever happens, he has had the best life possible with you and, most importantly, he has had a lot of love in his short life.
to you and him
ah no potentialmadcat, I would not. To move him from his familiar environment when he usually gets on with your other cats would be more distressing for him.
I am totally with you, I am just trying to understand the vets pov. Your post is most eloquent and exactly what the vet needs to hear and counter if possible. As Pink says, its that time.
Imagine if you had a vet which said to you
" the poor lad, this isnt helpful, it would be more humane to let him go, thank you for being brave enough to face up to that and bring him here"
"I understand your distress but ethically I truly cannot support euthanasia in this case as he still has, from my vast experience, an acceptable quality of life, so thank you for making him as comfortable as you can until that situation changes"
In either case you would have more reassurance/support and the direction you need, and you would still be entitled to a second opinion. I think that is what is missing for you? Hugs, OP.
Thanks everyone and yes you are right Gigha. I feel unsupported at min by vet- yesterday kinda felt like 'you aren't doing the best thing for him so let's just move him'. It's probo not what the vet meant but it's what I heard and reacted too. It feels like I'm the one who is repeatedly suggesting that his current life is good enough so let's end it which in essence is what I'm saying but not in such a brutal way. I always said better a short happy life rather than a long unhappy one. I guess I have to do what I was given him to do and be his advocate no matter how hard that is. It just feels a little like I'm not being supported by vet at min but that could just be me imagining it. I need to toughen up to be his protector whatever the outcome is and I need make the decisions knowing that it was 100% the right course of action for him. I don't mind the sick/meds/supervising him etc and thankfully have the time to do it, I just don't want to be letting him suffer for the sake of it nor do I want to let him go too soon. Tbh I hope he will just go in the middle of one of his episodes then there will be nothing I can do or better still just go to sleep and not wake up.
Thankyou Pink for the flowers and understanding
Can you see a different vet at your practice, or would you be able to go somewhere else for a second opinion?
I understand what you mean about not feeling supported. My vet was on holiday last year when we had to take Harry in for a check up and test results. We saw a different vet (the practice owner in fact!) and he was so different to the usual one. He hadn't read the notes, was vague about the results (it might be cancer, it might not, he couldn't tell and I'd need to speak to our normal vet) and seemed to be scared of Harry. I left feeling worse than when we went in. Luckily the usual vet was back the following week and was able to reassure me.
Can't go to a different practise because it's the one linked to rescue that I foster him for.. He has seen a different vet every time he goes in but they all know him,have done since he spent time there as a tiny very sick kitten.
Thankfully day has been a semi decent day despite him throwing up his meds..he has had his evening meds and is currently playing 'elephants' with his little sister on the stairs- little pleasures
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