My cat has kidney cancer

(25 Posts)
MountainDweller Sun 20-Jun-21 01:21:17

My beautiful girl suddenly lost a lot of weight and was diagnosed with kidney cancer this morning. One kidney isn't working at all. She has a cough too and the vet thinks she maybe has lung mets.

She's only 10. I'm so sad, and it's so sudden. We lost another cat to cancer only 3.5 years ago - he went from diagnosis to PTS in 5 days. I feel I should have noticed something but she was fine until a week or so ago. In fact even last week, although she was looking thin, she caught two mice and presented them to DH shock

The vet gave her subcutaneous fluids because she was dehydrated and said we should repeat this 2-3 times a week. They said I can do it at home - I've looked at some YouTube videos, mostly of remarkably docile cats! I'm not sure we'll manage it because I know she'll struggle and try to escape... but she finds the vet trips quite stressful too. I'm going to take her on Monday and they'll show me anyway (DH took her today). Cortisone is an option too.

I don't think she's ready to go yet... still eating (mashed up tuna is a hit!) and enjoying the outdoors. I just worry that the stress of treatment will outweigh the benefits for her. And I doubt she has very long... weeks I imagine. The vets are very nice but I do think they can be unrealistic... they mentioned the possibility of chemo for my other cat but there's no way he was strong enough and he was too near the end.

Not sure what I'm asking really but a handhold and any experiences with kidney/lung cancer appreciated.

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MountainDweller Sun 20-Jun-21 23:44:10

Sorry for bothering you all, I will report and ask to be deleted tomorrow.

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Furries Mon 21-Jun-21 01:54:42

@MountainDweller - don’t be sorry/get post deleted. It’s early hours and most people won’t see until tomorrow.

I’m really sorry that your cat has had this diagnosis. It makes it so much harder at that age, as I think plenty of us envisage having our cats well into their late teens and beyond.

I hope that things go as well as possible at your vet appointment later today. But please do come back to say how she’s doing, a handhold will definitely be here from me.

I can’t offer advice re kidney tumours, so apologies (was stomach and bowel for my boy).

ilovesooty Mon 21-Jun-21 02:14:10

I'm really sorry to hear your news. My friend lost two beautiful cats to cancer in their early teens a couple of years ago.

Your cat will know she is very much loved and although I don't have specific advice to offer I'm thinking of you.

EKGEMS Mon 21-Jun-21 11:42:44

I'm so very sorry! I had my 18 year old cat put to sleep last year when his kidneys were failing-he was like a baby to me and I'm sorry you're experiencing this.

OllieTheCat Mon 21-Jun-21 15:01:00

I'm so sorry to hear about your pusscat. We lost our 9 year old cat to cancer last summer. She had a tumour removed from her spleen in January...the vet wasn't even sure she'd survive the operation. We did go down the chemo route and to be honest, you would not have known she was ill. She had a lovely summer in the garden and had regular check ups with the vet to ensure she wasn't in any pain. She eventually died in her sleep at the end of August so eight months post diagnosis. Whilst we knew in her final weeks that she wasn't going to recover, it gave us a lot of time to process the inevitable outcome...and lots of cuddles. I suppose I'm saying don't rule out treatment and let the vet advise you. Sending thanks

MountainDweller Mon 21-Jun-21 23:41:05

Thanks for the support, and sorry for all your losses too.

Had a worrying day today... cat disappeared and we feared the worst. We've continued to let her out because she's normally close to the house and will appear if we call or rattle a tin. And she's not happy being forced to stay in - I'm seeing that as a good thing. We did several rounds of the village, looked in neighbours gardens... missed vet appointment and 15 mins later she strolled in. It's like she can tell the time shock

So vet rearranged for Weds but she is not looking so good now and not eating - still has enough energy to potter around though. She wants to eat but can't manage it I think. DH syringed some cat milk in today and I'll try some food in a syringe tomorrow. She ate loads in the 24 hours or so after the vet fluids so the dehydration must make a big difference to appetite.

If anyone has done subcutaneous fluids at home and has any tips I'd be so pleased to hear from you! Am thinking if I could manage every day it might make a big difference.

I don't think chemo will be an option (that was my first cat). Vet didn't suggest surgery or chemo... one kidney not working at all (covered by tumor I guess - DH not v good at asking questions, and to be fair it was a huge shock). But thanks for sharing your experience Ollie - it's good to know some cats tolerate it well. I think it will be just palliative care - I'm worried about the eating because my other cat got weak very quickly from not eating anything.

We adopted her as a stray who turned out to be pregnant - kept two kittens who are now 9 so she will live on in them 😺

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MountainDweller Thu 24-Jun-21 23:35:50

Little update - she had her sub-cut fluids at the vet on Tuesday and they started her on cortisone. She is much perkier and eating again now. We did her fluids at home today (two goes to get the needle in but so pleased we managed it!) so can hopefully avoid repeated vet visits just for this. I know it's only palliative but it's nice to see her looking better and enjoying the sunshine again. There is a small chance of an op if she puts on a bit of weight but we suspect it's spread and the tumour is 8cm shock so probably better not to put her though it.

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4vrBubbles Fri 25-Jun-21 00:14:57

I don’t have any experience of this but just wanted to say I’m sorry you’re all going through this. Must be a terribly worrying time.

Happy to read she’s looking a little better and enjoying the weather, you’re all in my thoughts.

moonbedazzled Fri 25-Jun-21 00:40:35

Cortisone is a really good pick me up. It can't be used for longterm but from your posts I don't think you're thinking long term. But that it enables her to enjoy the summer is lovely for you all to drink her in and make lovely memories just in case the worse happens.

As for chemo, I did hear that they can't give anywhere as near aggressive amounts as they do in humans so the chance of it working is greatly reduced, but, then, so are the side effects. However, it can work for some animals, so there is always hope.

My beautiful boy died from liver cancer so I know every feeling you're going through. Its tough and you feel so helpless, don't you? But all you can do is carry on loving them and enjoying every minute with them so you can look back with no regrets. You sound like such a lovely owner. xx

Furries Fri 25-Jun-21 01:41:20

Am so pleased that she’s at least eating again. And blooming well done on getting a needle into her, it’s hard enough with tablets - shows she really must trust you.

It’s obviously bittersweet news, but as others have said, take your time to enjoy and love on her.

So lovely that you kept two of her kittens - lots of people rescuing in that situation wouldn’t be able to do that.

Not sure where you are in the country, but it’s been a bit grim where I am - going to do a little sun dance so that she gets some good weather for bumbling around outside 💕🐾

MountainDweller Tue 29-Jun-21 00:33:47

Thanks again, have only just seen there are more replies.

@moonbedazzled do you know how long is normal for cortisone? I think the tablets are 5mg (Prednisolone) and she has half a tablet a day. I have enough for 24 days starting a week ago. Do you think they'll renew if she's still with us? They did say they couldn't give it if her liver function was poor, but it seems ok. They do seem to be making a big difference! Sorry you lost one to cancer too. I was chatting to the vet while she ran the fluids in and she said the late diagnosis is common because cats are so good at hiding pain. I suspect it's too advanced for any further treatment - she'd need to get her strength up anyway so we're working on that. We do feel very helpless and couldn't bear to see her looking miserable and refusing to eat.

@Furries not sure about trust - I think she hates me now sad But I am quietly pleased with myself that we've managed it 3 times now and are working out little improvements to the process as we go. Mostly glad to be saving her the stress of multiple vet trips. We got a ready made cat family with the kittens! My friend took the other two so we still see them too. Thanks for the sun dance - we are in France so maybe have slightly better weather than the U.K. at the moment!

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FlowerArranger Tue 29-Jun-21 02:06:06

So sorry to hear what you are going through with your dear kitty. I know what this is like, unfortunately.

Subcutaneous fluid help a great deal, but it isn't a long term solution. By the time they need it, they are approaching the end. Yes, it is possible to continue this for quite a while, but I would not advise it.

The best you can do now is watch her closely, cuddle her, and get to terms with the fact that she is reaching the end of the road.

Remember that cats have no perception of 'tomorrow', no bucket list of things they want to do before they go. It's better to let them go too early than too late. flowers

viques Tue 29-Jun-21 02:27:13

So sorry to hear of your poor kitty’s problems. Kidney disease is not a pleasant illness. My dds boy was diagnosed with a dreadful kidney disease when about 7. It is apparently quite common in oriental breeds and tho he and his litter brother are moggies we always suspected there was some Siamese or other blue blood in there smileThe affected cats are born with kidney cysts, but they are tiny , undetectable , cause no problems and lie dormant until they are about 7 when they grow rapidly and cause the kidneys to fail . We believed the local vet hospital when they said they could help him. They couldn’t. It was not good, he was very distressed and the last two weeks of his life were not peaceful. In retrospect she would have had him pts on diagnosis. I am now firmly in the never a day too late camp, I always think who benefits from keeping a dying cat alive, it is very rarely the cat.

His brother, the litter mate -though possibly not the same father - is still going strong at 18 bless his little white paws.

Furries Tue 29-Jun-21 13:03:52

@MountainDweller - she loves you really, she’s just pretending 🤣. As you say, it will get better each time you repeat the process and definitely a bonus for cutting down on stressful vet visits.

I had to give my departed boy a tablet, often daily, for a number of years. He was an absolute dream, no problem at all - I think if he’d had opposable thumbs, he would have opened the bottle himself to help out! Have just had to give his brother daily tablets for 4 weeks - completely different kettle of fish with that one 😂

Really hope the weather has picked up for you in a France. I obviously got the routine wrong where I am, it’s still blooming wet and miserable.

Hope your girl continues to do ok, give her a head bop from me.

MountainDweller Mon 12-Jul-21 23:41:07

Thanks for the support everyone. Smokey was put to sleep this evening. She was doing well on the fluids and cortisone and busy pursuing her bucket list of catching as many mice as possible. Unfortunately she developed breathing problems today and we decided she'd had enough. I was glad we were able to give her an extra 3 weeks by doing the fluids at home and saving her the stress of repeated vet visits, I wish she hadn't had to do the last stressful visit today but I stayed with her and told her how loved she was. She'll be buried in our garden.

She's just sleeping in this photo - enjoying some early summer sunshine.

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bengalcat Mon 12-Jul-21 23:48:55

So sorry for your loss - Smokey was indeed a beautiful puss and that’s a lovely photo .

ifIwerenotanandroid Tue 13-Jul-21 00:02:20

I'm so sorry to read this. That picture is beautiful. You both sound very loving & I'm sure she must've had a lovely life with you & felt herself very lucky to have found you when she was in need.

Missedopportunity Tue 13-Jul-21 00:37:26

I'm very sorry she didn't get longer but you have made a loving decision at the right time.
RIP little Smokey.

MountainDweller Fri 16-Jul-21 00:06:18

Thanks all - missing her so much. Four years ago we had four cats, now we only have two sad

But yes glad we gave the the extra time and let her go at the right moment.

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Furries Sat 17-Jul-21 04:01:05

@MountainDweller - oh, am so sorry to see your update.

What a beautiful photo of Smokey. To me, that sums up the beautiful representation of how to live life as a cat. Gorgeous-looking (obviously!), content, fed, loved and stretched out snoozing in the lazy afternoon sunshine (probably dreaming about mouse-catching).

Most importantly, she was blessed with wonderful slaves who advocated for her - giving her the peaceful passing she deserved, whilst they knew the pain it would cause them. True love.


Etulosba Sun 18-Jul-21 09:28:23

I’m so sorry to hear this. My last cat died of the same thing. I took him in to the vet because he looked a bit under the weather. I nearly collapsed when the vet diagnosed advanced kidney cancer and offered to put him to sleep there and then. My head was in a whirl so I took him home but really I should have done what the vet suggested.

MrsSchadenfreude Sun 18-Jul-21 09:32:56

I’m so sorry. I think mine looks like Smokey.

MountainDweller Fri 23-Jul-21 23:50:13

Thank you @Furries and for all your support here, I really appreciate it. My husband especially has taken this really hard so we are limping along. I do love that picture and it pretty much epitomises her life as it was. In fact most of my photos are of her sleeping! We still have her 'kittens' and every time the girl appears on the windowsill my heart does a flip as she looks like her mother in silhouette. She used to eat the mice she caught but now in some kind of hommage to her mother she has started bringing us présents too shock I hope I'll see you on a happier cat thread sometime.

@Etulosba sorry you had the same diagnosis. Mostly I read about kidney disease in cats rather than cancer. Our situation was the same - she was loosing weight but otherwise fine, took her to the vets who diagnosed the cancer. We kept her going for three weeks after that - I suppose it gave us time to get used to the idea, but she went downhill fast so it was still a shock. We have lost two cats and two fathers since 2017, it's been tough.

@MrsSchadenfreude yours does look like Smokey! What a gorgeous kitty. I love grey cats, they are so beautiful. I hope you have many more happy years together.

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Furries Sat 24-Jul-21 20:44:08

@MountainDweller - it’s so hard when they go. Am sorry your husband is taking it hard, but it’s good that you have each other to comfort - and, when you’re ready, to talk about the good times and memories. My boy hated everyone else, so I’m the only one who got to see how awesome he was!

Yes, it’s a stomach-dropping moment when another cat makes you think you’ve seen your departed one. Takes quite a while to get used to. It’s very thoughtful of the “kitten” to realise that you might be missing your gifts - hopefully appetite will soon rectify that.

You might already be aware of this verse - and you might not be ready for it yet - it’s called Today You Did The Bravest Thing. It still brings tears to my eyes, but it also reminds me that the magnitude of pain and grief we feel is counter-balanced due to sheer amount of love we feel. Hence why I also like the saying “if love could have saved you, you would have lived forever”.

I hope to see you on a happier thread one day too. In the meantime, post whenever you need to. I struggled really badly for quite a while, sometimes just needing to get down how I felt. It’s often easier on here than in real life to do that.

Take care.

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