Desperately seeking help... - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 03:49 AM Thread Starter
 
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Desperately seeking help...

My cat Snowball, who is 15 years old, was recently diagnosed with oral cancer. Apparently there is a tumor under/on her tongue... she also has failing kidneys.

Among a ton of other problems, I've noticed (it's hard not to) that her fur/skin is turning brown. She's licking herself a lot and I'm wondering if it's because of the tumor in her mouth collecting bacteria.. and then she licks her fur, spreading the stuff. It's all over her face and her front legs. I've attached some photos to show you how bad it's getting.

I've tried giving her a bath (something we've never ever given her) but she won't have any of it. I've tried hydrogen peroxide with cotton balls, but it doesn't really come off... plus I can only clean her for about 15 seconds before she gets a bit violent. I'm going to pick up some dry shampoo and try that... but I have a feeling it wont work too well for that problem. It'll probably help clean up the smell (she smells awful) but not anything else.

Have any of you seen this problem before? I don't know what to do! My vet seems to ignore it every time I bring it up because she has so many other problems to deal with, so I'm not getting any help there. What about those neck things that prevent them from licking themselves? I've always thought they were kind of cruel, but I don't know... I thought maybe it was allergies so I am feeding her grain-free food but it doesn't seem to be doing much.

Agh! I just feel awful for her. When I was a little girl I remember my mom saying to me that cats are clean animals and deserve to have clean litterboxes (she was teaching me to empty the LB every day)... that's always stuck with me and even now I feel like I should be doing everything I can to help her get clean -- she deserves it.

Any ideas? Thanks so much in advance for your help!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 11:37 AM
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Re: Desperately seeking help...

Oh, my goodness.

First, I'm sorry to hear your poor Snowball isn't doing well. I can even tell by your pictures, that she isn't doing well at all. Her fur is very spiky and dull looking and she is sitting/laying sort of hunched up and not comfortably relaxed. I bet her muscle tone is decreasing and her weight has probably dropped a bit and she feels a little bone-y.

The discoloration of the fur on her face certainly looks bad, and like it would smell bad, too. Is her paw also discolored, one more than the other? ...from licking her paw and rubbing/grooming that side of herself? If this was coming from her mouth, I would expect the other side of her face and both paws to be discolored. With this occuring mainly on one side, it is indicating to me that her discomfort is mostly on that right side and/or she may have more going on (cancer) than just her mouth/tongue spot.

IME (limited experience, btw) cats who aren't feeling well usually do not groom themselves. They may do a couple licks here/there, but no intensive or proper grooming at all, and that leads me to think the discolored part isn't from grooming but from irritation and the discoloration you are seeing is a visible result of the iritation she is bothered by. I am sorry to say I have no words of advice, and can only offer comfort, because it seems like you will be close to having to make The Big Decision for Snowball soon.
I wish I could be more positive. I hope your vet is able to help Snowball overcome these health issues, but at 15...I'd say she's lived a great long life with you. What a lucky kitty to have someone who loves her so much.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 02:27 PM
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Re: Desperately seeking help...

I'm so very sorry for what Snowball and you are going through. It is obvious from the photos that Snowball is not doing well. She looks like a very ill kitty. Her spiky coat makes me suspect pretty severe dehydration (common in CRF cats). Are you administering subQ fluids at home? If not, you should consider having your vet teach you how to do so. You'd be amazed how much better fluid administration can make a CRF cat feel.

As far as the discolored fur around her face is concerned, it looks to me like it may be dried blood, probably coming from her mouth tumor. I'd try wiping the discolored area several times a day with a warm, wet washcloth to try to keep it as clean as possible.

Cats in end stage renal failure develop a very strong odor as toxins build up in their bodies. Again, administering fluids may help her flush some of those toxins out of her system and make her feel a lot better. Of course the bad odor may also be coming from her mouth cancer.

I hope you are feeding her canned food mixed into "canned food soup" with hot water. With her mouth tumor, I assume it would be much easier for her to take in food that she can lap up. It'll also help increase her fluid intake which will help her kidneys and overall hydration.

From the look of those photos, I'm afraid that you may be faced with a painful decision very soon. I'm so sorry.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 08:08 PM
 
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Re: Desperately seeking help...

Awww. No advice, just hugs for her and for you.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-16-2008, 02:29 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Desperately seeking help...

Thank you all for your responses. I'm sorry for taking so long to respond, it's been a hard few weeks. I made the decision to put Snowball down this morning so she's in a better place now. The filth on her face got better and she was acting perfectly normal (purring, jumping up on my lap to cuddle, alert, etc) but the cancer got bad enough that she couldn't eat and she was getting too skinny... I had to do it. I loved her enough to not let her to starve to death even though I still wanted her by my side.

To say that I am devastated is a bit of an understatement... she was my everything. Tears are definitely pouring down my face as I write this.

That being said, I appreciate all your responses, even the ones encouraging me to put her to sleep... that was hard to hear, but needed. I've never done anything like this before. So, thank you. Your words meant a lot.

You can see my post on Snowball here: http://www.iamrobyn.com/?p=511
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-16-2008, 02:35 AM
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Re: Desperately seeking help...

I'm so very sorry for your loss, Robyn. Snowball had a wonderful life with you, and it's obvious how much you loved each other.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-16-2008, 10:16 AM
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Re: Desperately seeking help...

It's never an easy decision to make, but it is our responsibility to do so.

*hugs*
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-16-2008, 11:00 AM
 
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Re: Desperately seeking help...

I know it's tough but you definetely did the right thing.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-16-2008, 11:14 AM
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Re: Desperately seeking help...

I'm so sorry for your loss. ...but how wonderful that she was able to feel better and you decided to say goodbye before the disease could ravage her further. Sometimes, we need to hear it is okay to help our cats to The Bridge. I need to hear the same thing about my Mousie. That decision will be coming very soon. I'll try to be brave and full of love for my kitty like you were.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-16-2008, 07:24 PM
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Re: Desperately seeking help...

I am so sorry too. You know she was comforted having you with her. You sound like best friends, through the end as it should be. Hang in there. Time will help with the pain. Such a pretty girl.


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