Update to "When cats die?" - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-07-2005, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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Update to "When cats die?"

Hello,

I wrote back in November about my cat Punkin "disappearing" at night concerned that she may be preparing to leave. And thanks again for all the kind thoughts.

She was a stray who adopted us 14 years ago and has basically been an outdoor cat, but does come in when it;s storming outside and/or when she detects fall/winter in the air (South Florida!). Everyone thought she was already an older cat when she showed up here, so she really is a senior citizen.

Anyway, since November whe she started disappearing at night she has really been declining and now that she;s in the house is very apparent. Her hearing was already bad, but now she's running into walls, chair legs and so on, so her eyesight must be frighteningly bad for her. And she seems confused and occasionally disoriented, sometimes just sitting and staring into a corner or at the floor. But she still looks healthy.

Aftre a period of time sleeping on a bed, she is now scrunching down and crawling under a desk where she spends all her time other than to eat and use the litter box. SHe still purrs when petted when she comes out to eat or if we can catch her between trips to the litter box, but I have to say that she has a fearful look on her face. And I don;t think I'm projecting what I am feeling.

I've never had a pet that reached this stage of life and have never had a cat before, so I am a bit unsure about what I can do to maximize her comfort. Don't know if I should be letting her stay under the desk all the time or if I should be bringing her out or what. I don't think there's anything a doctor can do unless she is sick which she doesn't seem to be, as she continues to eat regularly. Whoops, almost forgot, I have caught her a couple of times eating her litter. Fortunately it had been cleaned each time.

So while there isn't really a question here, I suppose I'm interested in comments from those of you who have "been here".

Thank you very much in advance... Kent
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-07-2005, 07:23 PM
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A trip to the vet would be in order, even if there's nothing that can be done to cure him. Cat's, like any other creature is designed to live. When the time comes that their body can no longer properly function, the process of dying is as painful and uncomfortable as with any other creature. There are ways a vet can make the inevitable easier and more humane. I'd urge you to discuss it with a vet.


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-07-2005, 11:13 PM
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I agree with James. I know you want to do the best you can for this much loved older cat. The eating of litter is, I'm sure, symptomatic of a disorder. I would give her lots of love, the good food she loves, and the care of a good vet. Please keep us informed.


edit, punct.




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A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem. ~Jean Burden
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-08-2005, 06:28 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Jeanie for your empathetic comments.

And thank you, James, for your input. I posted on this site hoping to gain some insight into the nature of Punkin's behavior in advance of her veterinarian appointment today. I wonder if I am to infer from your remarks that something in the behavior that I have described would suggest that Punkin is in pain? I had considered but ruled out that possibility because she doesn't cry or complain. Physical pain is one thing, but the inconvenience of old age and the concomitant emotional distress which often ensues is quite another. It is unclear which it is that you suggest. One demands decisive attention, while the other may benefit, to whatever small degree, from the less extreme palliative of tender loving care. Either way, this cat, our pet, deserves the same respectful consideration as any other member of our family.


Thank you both again.

Kent
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-08-2005, 12:05 PM
 
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How did the appointment go?

Does she have any other ailments besides becoming senile? I have had several senior kitties that began winding down before their deaths. It's a sad process and she will need to be made as comfortable as possible. Our 17 year old kitty never complained or cried as she aged, but a simple trip to the vet showed that her intestines had stopped working properly. That had to have been painful, she just did not show her pain in the way that us humans would expect. So those regular checkups with the vet are of vital importance during this time. Our 12 year old kitty had a blood disorder smiliar to feline anemia. He was weak for years, off and on, and behaved very peculiar during his last year or so. Pooping in the bath tub, eating fuzz from the carpet, hiding away in quiet spaces such as our closet. I hope that your kitty is comfortable and it sounds like she knows that she is well loved.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-08-2005, 07:38 PM
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Kent, I think that James' suggestion was because cats almost always hide their pain, so it's best to have an older cat checked frequently. Of course, we didn't know you already had an appointment. There are specific symptoms you mentioned that only a vet could address. For instance, my son's dog was often found staring or in unusual places. He was relatively young, but these were seizures, which needed treatment.

The obvious things you can do would include making jumping easier. Older cats still like to sit on higher objects, but begin to "miss," and sometimes fall. That's sad to see, but we can help by putting "steps" between the floor and the desired spot. You will also want to make sure your cat is having normal BMs and is drinking the usual amount of water. I would just spoil this kitty as much as she wants. I'll try to find some links to articles about the care of older cats.




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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-08-2005, 07:42 PM
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Here are a few of the articles I found:

Growing Old Gracefully - Caring For Older Cats... Most owners find caring for such cats a very rewarding experience and in turn, an older cat will enjoy the love and security that a caring cat owner can provide ...
messybeast.com/Oldcat.htm - 59k - Cached - Similar pages


Caring for the elderly cat... With improved nutrition and veterinary care, more and more cats are living to greater ages. ... Cats over 10 years old are considered to be 'geriatric ...
www.fabcats.org/elderlycats.html - 41k - Cached - Similar pages


Complete Care for Your Aging Cat... cat's lifespan will be, the beginning of old age is ... done, one should expect the random-bred cat-next-door ... they all receive the same level of care and attention ...
www.ivillage.com/pets/expert/ care/articles/0,12329,622311_623523,00.html - 62k - Jan 7, 2005 - Cached - Similar pages


How to Care for an Aging Cat - eHow.com... for a cat to reach 18 to 20 years of age and they are middle-aged by their eighth birthday. Awareness of the needs of your older feline friend makes caring for ...
www.ehow.com/how_18686_care-aging-cat.html - 36k - Cached - Similar pages


Cat Care Sites From Sparkle the Designer Cat... The Special Needs of the Senior Cat This is an excellent article on older cats - what to expect, how to care for them, keeping the older cat healthy. ...
sparklecat.com/topics/catcare.shtml - 16k - Cached - Similar pages




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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-09-2005, 02:23 PM
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My husband's first cat of 17 years, Bonkers had the text book behaviorial pattern change prior to his demise. We were at a loss on how to "prepare" ourselves for the inevitable. My husband never had a pet that long in his life either and I was a new to the whole cat world. Later when Bonkers' breathing became laborious and meows weak, my husband took him to our then wonderful vet, who since retired, counseled husband on the subject of "quality of life". My thoughts are with you during this time.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-09-2005, 05:08 PM
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It's agonizing to just think of the possibility of losing a pet, isn't it? Somehow or other, we get through it. I didn't wait long before I got a new cat or dog, not that any one animal can be replaced, but to help fill the empty spot in my heart--perhaps a month or two at the most, not that long, usually. How grateful I am that God lends us His little creatures, and trusts us to care for them.




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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2005, 08:48 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all of your supportive input.

Thanks to a visit to the human ER for one of us, Punkin's doctor's visit was delayed till Monday morning. It was the first time she's ever been disagreeable at the veterinarian's office, not wanting to cooperate with anything. She even made getting weighed difficult for the assistant. Probably sensed our own tension about the visit.

The doctor didn't discern that she was in any pain or experiencing any distress other than that associated with old age to which he attributed the behavior that she has been exhibiting. The labs showed that she has "mild" CRF, according to the doctor for which he prescribed KD food. SHe doesn't like it, but I gather she's going to have to adjust to the change if her "decline" is to stabilize or at least slow down.

She does seem to be adjusting to her diminished eyesight fairly well as she hasn;t been just sitting and staring the way she was and the fear that I was seeing on her face is gone. THough she still does look a little perplexed every now and then. This adjustment really doesn't surprise me because I've always thought of her and admired her for being a real survivor from her first appearance on our front porch 14 years ago as she diplomatically moved first into our home and then into our hearts to the way she responded so well to the care she needed for a broken leg a few years ago. From always knowing when to come in out of wet or cooler weather even before the weather changed, to her current challenge, she's always done the right thing. Guess this is probably true of all cats and other animals.

The care we've been fortunate to be able to provide for her has come back to us exponentially from the friendship and companionship she has given us over the years and I just hope we can do the right things when she needs us most.

Thank you all again for your help.
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