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Cat v ill, not sure what to do, PTS possible :( What would you do?

19 replies

Moobcross · 15/10/2013 19:17

My 2.5 year old cat has been very ill for about a year. We had her at about 4 months, she suddenly got very thin at about 1 and a half and looked 'wobbly'. We took her straight to vet, after lots of tests everything came back clear. She had two negative Leukemia tests because the vet was sure that's what she had, all her blood work came back how it would come back if she had Leukemia if you see what I mean. She hadn't been vaccinated as was/is an indoor cat but perhaps she went out before we had her.

We tried her on steroids where she stopped losing weight for a while and antibiotics which also weirdly seemed to work. But she only stays 'stable' doesn't actually get better.

She is still very, very thin, has sickness/diarrhea 3 times a day, doesn't move much, doesn't want to be stroked etc. The vet didn't think she'd last till last Christmas as apparently the steroids would advance the leukemia if that's what she had? But obviously she did.

She isn't now losing weight but isn't gaining either. Eats constantly, in fact seem ravenous, sometimes has jaundice, is very pale.

Vet says she's not in pain. I'm starting to think about her quality of life though, she is still unsteady on her feet, has diarrhea all the time, doesn't jump on anything, doesn't want to be stroked etc.

So now I'm wondering about having her put to sleep. I don't know whether I'm thinking that because of what's best for her though or because (to be truthful) it is v hard cleaning up every day all the sickness and diarrhea and keeping her segregated from the other cats. I know that sounds terrible but I honestly don't know what is truly motivating me to even think about this. Money wise she's probably cost about £500+ in vets bills which while not ideal is ok, but there's nothing they can do now about from invasive tests which we're not sure she'd survive and also the treatment would be the same.

Would like to hear from anyone else who has been in a similar situation and what you chose to do. Or if anyone has any idea what could be wrong with her or what could help?

OP posts:
thecatneuterer · 15/10/2013 19:25

It's difficult isn't it and I'm so sorry. But if your vet doesn't think she has any hope of recovery and you don't think she has much of a quality of life then I think you need to seriously consider it.

I think I would be guided by your vet.

I'm imagining they've also tested thyroid function, kidney function etc?

Moobcross · 15/10/2013 19:48

I honestly don't know, I think so. The blood results are apparently exactly what would be seen in feline leukemia but the tests come back negative. They even redid the test at an external lab to see if it would be different but it wasn't.

Strangely we had another cat with almost exactly the same symptoms, about 10 years ago, they never met and have never been in the same house as we moved after she died. Just collapsed one day, took to vet, lost weight etc, was on steroids, lots of tests, that cat was over £1000 at vets (different vet else I'd be getting suspicious!), bone marrow test done all sorts but didn't get better. She again was about 2 years old when it started and she passed away about a year later.

I just feel guilty that I think I'm doing this for me, the constant cleaning with 2 young children is getting me down after a year, especially trying to make sure they don't get near the mess before I do, and I think maybe I should just let her be, surely if she's really ill she'd pass peacefully anyway? Argh, too many conflicting emotions.

OP posts:
lljkk · 15/10/2013 19:58

What does she do, sleep all day?
I couldn't cope with a cat with chronic diarrhoea (sorry).

cozietoesie · 15/10/2013 20:01

I've been in a similar situation emotionally and I let it go on for too long, I think. I now believe that it's better to take action maybe a little too soon rather than a little too late.

I'd let her go.

cozietoesie · 15/10/2013 20:03

Sorry - in the circumstances that wasn't clear. I'd have her put to sleep.

cozietoesie · 15/10/2013 20:10

One thing that occurred to me when you mentioned your previous cat. Do you or your DH/family engage in any interests or activities which use non-household chemical compounds? Have a thought about it.

Moobcross · 15/10/2013 20:25

Thank you for all replies, definitely food for thought.

What do you mean non household chemicals, like serious chemicals at work or something? I don't think so but will have a proper think.

Vet said that usually when a cat this young gets ill it is feline leukemia, she looks about 25 rather than nearly 3. I wonder whether one of my other cats, who did know both, is a carrier of something but with no symptoms?

OP posts:
Moobcross · 15/10/2013 20:25

yep she sleeps all day.

OP posts:
cozietoesie · 15/10/2013 20:29

I don't know about carriers - that's something to check with the vet. (Did this cat have FIV vaccinations?)

By non-household chemicals I meant really anything that's not an 'under the sink' thing. (I'm assuming you use all those with appropriate precautions.) The sort of chemicals that might be stored in the garage or outhouse/shed for use and might have transferred between houses with the move.

But if you don't then you don't.

out2lunch · 15/10/2013 20:36

its odd when this happens.we have had two of our cats ill at about a year old - mystery type illness both went to vets,didn't think they would make it but both now ok not brilliant but ok.
I have a long term illness myself which the vets and specialists couldn't rule out affecting the cats too.of course it could be something in our environment affecting me and the cats.
does your cat have good days and bad days?it tool a long time for my second ill cat to really recover but he is ok now - he is a housecat and likes to be warm and lives to eat really but he does look happy and enjoys our company and attention.
I would say if your cat looks like she has some happy times,is comfortable and maybe having more good days then bad its worth keeping doesn't seem fair otherwise although I know I would find it so hard to make that decision.
also we stopped all the intervention and tests by the vets after a certain point as I didn't think it was helping.
hope she picks up soon x

LunaticFringe · 15/10/2013 20:41

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lonecatwithkitten · 15/10/2013 21:54

I think that considering the PTS option is a very reasonable one in this situation.
The only thing I would add diagnostically is has FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) been tested for. It is a horrible disease that can pretend to be just about anything else, but often gives the same 'blood picture' as FeLV. Though sadly it's prognosis is very bad.

Lovethesea · 15/10/2013 22:05

I think I would pts. All treatable things have been tested, constant hunger and diarrhea must feel horrible and she is unconscious much of the time though young. I would fear she might be stoically suffering because cats do just pretend its fine. I would rather pts too soon than too late.

Rikalaily · 15/10/2013 22:14

Lonecatwithkitten I agree, FIP needs to be considered. One of my cats started having seizures last year, FIP was ruled out as the only thing wrong with her was the seizures, her bloods came back perfect... Vet thought most likely epilepsy as she was 1.5 and epilepsy usually starts between 1-4 years old.

It turned out that it was FIP (started with dry FIP and progressed to wet FIP), she just didn't present with the usual symptoms. If we had known it was FIP at the start we would have PTS straight away instead of putting her on anti seizure meds which turned her into a zombie and changed her personality, we had a few extra months with her but her quality of life was awful although she wasn't in pain. She couldn't climb or jump to the places she felt most safe and comfortable, she wasn't herself, before she was very vocal and she just used to sleep or sit staring with vacant eyes, she couldn't be a normal cat.

FIP is a fatal condition and PTS is the kindest option before they become extremely unwell like my cat did. I wouldn't hesitate to make the decision if any of my other cats showed symptoms of it again.

Moobcross · 16/10/2013 08:41

Thank you again for the responses. I'm not sure they've considered FIP. Will ask vet.

I'm swaying towards pts but then I look at her and think argghhh! Think I'll give it till next weekend and see how she seems, if she's still the same then I'll talk to the vet again Sad

If I thought she was in pain I wouldn't hesitate to pts it's just that although she's always lethargic she doesn't seem in pain at all. Just not really a quality of life is it.

OP posts:
cozietoesie · 16/10/2013 08:48

No it's not - and remember that pain is only one aspect of feeling lousy.

It's not an easy one at all. Maybe a good idea to speak to the vet.

MissGarth · 16/10/2013 09:03

You sound like you are doing everything possible for your cat.

Quite random and very unlikely, but have you tried changing the flea treatment? This sounds very much like my parents cat a couple of years ago, and that turned out to be the cause- the cat was massively, massively allergic to the stuff the vet used and it was horribly sick for a few months, lost so much weight that the vet thought it must be a kidney problem but tests were ok, slept all day,etc. After about 5 months she seemed to rally for a few weeks and then went downhill fast again (we realise now because she had just been given her 6 month booster). Bizarrely it was my parents window cleaner who suggested it to my mum, as he had come across it before. The vet was quite sceptical (and sarcastic) but it was the right answer.

MILLYMOLLYMANDYMAX · 16/10/2013 09:03

Has she been tested for diabetes. Had cat with similar symptoms, when he was diagnosed we injected him twice a day everyday for the rest of his life. He lived until he was 15 1/2 and had a great time he was a complete character.
Tip if it is diabetes, get your vet to write you out a prescription then take it to chemist, same insulin, 1/2 the price at human chemist.

Lovethesea · 16/10/2013 10:10

Cats are just so hard to read when ill or hurt sometimes.

Huntercat was hit by a car in May, it smashed his front leg above the joint into fragmented bone. He came home. Got in the cat flap. Laid on my bed all night without a word. Moved the next morning to DD's bed without me seeing him. Laid on that all day without a murmur. Then got off and I saw his leg was twisted up and utterly broken.

He needed orthopeadic surgery, metal pins externally and internally for 4 months. Tons of painkiller, antibiotics and a skip load of dreamies.

Clearly he was in enormous pain from the moment it happened, but he was stoical to the point of hiding any injury at all.

That is my fear with leaving a cat who is not eating normally, not playing or moving about normally and not enjoying affection normally. The only thing you are left waiting for is them to tell you it hurts or they feel nauseous or dizzy or headache or stomach cramps or down right depressed. But they don't. They act ok in the hope it all goes away.

It is really really tough. Hope you get clear answers soon. When you watch a cat slowly decline it is harder than if it has a traumatic incident and the change is sudden and obvious.

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