Senior cat with precancerous cells in his urine - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
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Senior cat with precancerous cells in his urine

My kitty, Mojo, is a 16 1/2 year old tabby male. His twin brother, Charlie, just passed away on Nov 7 with dozens of tumors throughout his chest that was squeezing his heart, lungs, and trachea :'-(

Mojo is a bit of a special case... where Charlie was the coolest cat in the world, Mojo is the exact opposite: he's terrified of people, and the only person that can ever really pet him is me. He's extremely jumpy, and I suspect that he's at least partially blind in one eye (if not totally blind) and partially deaf. There have been several times that I've walked normally behind him, and he jumps as if someone had smacked him! So I hate taking him to the vet, it's always a traumatic experience for him.

He started peeing blood a few days before Charlie passed. The symptoms were clearly cystitis... frequent trips to the litter box with small amounts of urine each time. So I switched him to Purina One for UTI (I tried several soft UTI foods, and this is the only one he would touch), and used Licks gel for UTI, but it didn't seem to have much of an impact. He has plenty of energy like normal, though, and still comes to sit with me when I watch TV.

I took a urine sample to the vet on Monday, and the results came back that he definitely had bladder crystals (expected) and infection (sorta expected but was hoping against). The vet gave me an antibiotic for the infection, but said that he saw some precancerous cells and would really like to see Mojo and do some bloodwork.

So that leads me to my question and why I'm posting...

I understand that the average life expectancy for a tabby cat like him is 15-18 years, and he's already 16 1/2. So worst case scenario, let's say that the vet does find cancer... what can I realistically do? Surgery would be very unlikely at his age, and I honestly don't think I can afford radiation or chemo.

I'm really torn on this. I love my kitty, but money has been tight this year and I just spent almost $1,000 on Charlie last week. Am I just wasting money by taking him to the vet to find out he has cancer, if there's nothing I can do about it?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 08:06 PM
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Sorry you got such unsettling news. Here is my experience:

My old calico had a bladder tumor (maybe cancer, but we didn't check that). At considerable expense we did ultrasound after repeated UTI troubles and blood in the urine. She was older also.

The decision was to do nothing at present and to watch. We did use antibiotics against infection. The vet said that at some point the tumor would either block the inlet or outlet of the bladder and that would be The End. So I was to watch for straining with no pee.

It took some weeks (month or more?) and one day that's exactly what happened. So I called the vet, took her in, and she got the final shot.

The good news was that the blockage had caused some mental disorientation (uremic poisoning?) for her, and she did not show her usual fear at that last trip, nor being in the vet's office. It was all remarkably peaceful.

Whatever you and the vet decide, make sure the front desk girls at the vet's office know that when you call for the final appointment that they are to let you in that day, not put you off for a week.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-16-2018, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, eldercat A bladder tumor like that would be my worst case scenario, too, but if your vet didn't prescribe pain killers and it didn't really affect her quality of life until the end, then I'm leaning towards "I'd rather not know". I use a pee mat instead of litter so I'll know if he hasn't urinated that day, so that's definitely something I'll keep an eye on.

When I took Charlie to the vet last week, it was similar. He was normal and playful on Saturday, but didn't eat dinner that night... by Tuesday he couldn't hold himself up and I was trying to force feed him (with no success). I took him Wednesday morning, and all they could do was put him to sleep. By that time, though, he was so disoriented that I'm not even sure that he knew I was there. I'm sure he wouldn't have lasted the day, so it was definitely the right choice. It was just so sudden! I'm still pretty upset about it :'-(
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-16-2018, 07:33 AM
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Ahhh, you've got troubles coming in batches, which is a horrible thing. My summer was like that, and I'm still trying to crawl out of the pit. Much sympathy.

You did everything the best you could with Charlie, I'm sure. That was not a very long drawn out failing, and you were aware and working on a solution the whole time. Why do things go bad always on a weekend?

My vet did not give painckillers, but we could not tell that there was pain with my calico. She seemed to be fine except for recurrant infections and we were not sure they were painful, sometimes they're not. Antibiotics were more important to treat that.

We just muddle along best we can. They don't tell us how good or bad they feel and we are left guessing - until the very last. I am sorry you are looking at two endings so close together. Enjoy Mojo while you have him and watch closely the quality of life.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Kinda sad today... I've been giving Mojo an antibiotic for the last 7 days, and I thought his urine had pretty well cleared up. I use a pee mat, and each day it has gotten progressively better, turning more to a dark yellow rather than red.

I changed the mat last night, and today was his last round of antibiotics. After the crazy fight of giving him the antibiotic I checked the mat, expecting it to be yellow or dark yellow... but no, it's just as red as it was before I started the antibiotic! There are 3 or 4 spots, maybe 2" in diameter each, all red :'-(

And no defecation in 2 days.

He's still giving me attitude about eating, but it feels like he's mainly just finicky. He'll eat boiled chicken tenderloins with gusto, and he loves the dogs' small Milkbone treats. But now he doesn't look twice at the Purina One soft food that he loved before. Or the vitamin that he used to love. Or the regular treats that he used to love.

I can only guess that the apparent improvement was more due to him eating some wet food rather than the antibiotic? But he will literally eat a can of wet food one time, and then the exact same thing the next day he'll refuse and never eat again! I'm quickly running out of options!

He still seems to have plenty of energy, though, and doesn't seem to be in pain. So his quality of life is normal (aside from losing his brother), it's just the bloody urine, constipation, and barely eating that has me so worried.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 09:05 AM
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That's discouraging. Sounds like the antibiotic is not helping. So... either a resistant infection or it's not "just" an infection. That's what we discovered with my cat, the blood was not an ordinary UTI, it was a tumor (but why blood? we never knew).

Good luck with this. *Of course* we're walking right into a long holiday weekend (if you're in the USA)... when else would we have a severe problem with pets or children?

I'd want to talk with my vet's office today, before the holiday, just to line out some plans and options. In case you need to move really fast on Monday. Geez. Or maybe before. Papers to present to vet ER clinic? Dunno.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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For real, it's always weekends and holidays!! There's no vet ER clinic near me (not within 200 miles, at least), but I do have the vet's emergency number saved in my phone. The response time is usually 2-3 hours, though, and the hourly rate is double, but it's there if I don't have any other choice.

With the antibiotic, the dosage was 1.2cc but he gets VERY dramatic and tries to spit it out so I've been giving him 1.5cc... with the hopes that he's actually swallowing the 1.2. Maybe he's spitting out more than I thought, though, and that's why it stopped working?

I had the same thought about a tumor... possibly ruptured? I really should take him to have bloodwork done, but I keep going back and forth; if he has cancer, what could I do about it?

He didn't eat anything last night (not even the boiled chicken or fish food), but he seems normal today with plenty of energy. So I guess I'll just be keeping an eye on him over the weekend and hope for the best
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-22-2018, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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Peeing in the kitchen... Mojo's drama continues

For the last 3 days I've had a confusing experience.

My routine is that I get up, let the dogs out to go outside, then go let Mojo out of his room. Mojo follows me upstairs to the kitchen, where I give him some treats (which he's been refusing for the last couple of weeks), then I let the dogs in, make them sit and stay, then give them their treats.

Then I go upstairs to work, while Mojo goes to the dog's bowl to drink water. He has his own fountain bowl in his room that's been there for years, and is cleaner than the dog's bowl, but still, he comes up and drinks from their bowl like he's dying of thirst, every morning.

For the last 3 days, I've gone to the kitchen later to find 1 or 2 large puddles of water, right in front of the stove. I cleaned them up with a paper towel and could see that it was clear water, no smell and no sliminess. I thought maybe I had a leak in the roof or something, so I crawled around in the ceiling looking for spots, but couldn't find anything.

Then today...

I took a little longer than usual after giving the dogs their treats, and Mojo came in to the kitchen next to me. I saw him stretching his back, with his tail straight up in the air and twitching, and his hind legs straight (vertical) and shaking like they were getting a good stretch. I laughed a little, thinking he must have had a really good sleep... then I saw the big puddle of water under him!!

That's what it is! He's coming upstairs, drinking a bunch of water, and then walking 30' to pee it out immediately in the kitchen, where he usually gets treats!! In the same place, every time!

On a plus side, there's no red in the urine, it just looks like pure water.

So what's a guy to do? I can't put a second litter box in my kitchen, and even if I did the dogs would try to eat the kitty-cookies His litter box is clean, I clean it every day (it's the kind with pellets on top, then the urine passes through to a pee mat underneath; he's had this for a few years now).


(For those that haven't read my previous thread, Mojo is 16 1/2 years old, male, neutered since he was a kitten. His brother just passed away on Nov 7, and since then I've found that he has been peeing blood. I had him on antibiotics for 7 days that I thought were helping but he's still peeing blood, and he's become a very, very finicky eater. He still has plenty of energy and has no symptoms of being in pain, but he's so skinny now!)
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-28-2018, 03:29 PM
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Hi csdude,

I'm so sorry for the loss of Charlie.

It wouldn't be surprising if the infection and cystitis flare are related to losing his brother, as stress is a trigger for both.

Do you have the results of the urinalysis and/or know what the urine specific gravity is? If the USG is under 1.035, given Mojo's age, his thirst, and the smell-less urine, I would guess that he almost certainly has chronic kidney disease. The urine doesn't smell because the kidneys are no longer excreting toxins. CKD itself is generally not painful, but it is commonly seen in conjunction with other conditions, one of them being chronic or recurrent UTIs that are difficult to clear - and sometimes difficult to diagnose.

However, I'm not a vet, so I would very strongly encourage you to tell the vet about these symptoms, ask for a different antibiotic, and take him in for bloodwork - full blood chemistry panel and CBC - to confirm a diagnosis of CKD.

CKD kitties need to be on a broad-spectrum antibiotic for at least 30 days. Which antibiotic is he on? Generally the best ones for CKD kitties are Baytril or Zeniquin, as their infections often don't respond to more commonly prescribed ones like amoxycillin or Clavamox. One way to know what an appropriate antibiotic is would be to do a urine culture & susceptibility. It identifies the specific type of bacteria present and lists all antibiotics that each one is susceptible or resistant to.

Your guess about why he's drinking from the dog's bowl is dead on. Regardless of whether he actually has CKD or not, his body is telling him that he needs more water, so leave water bowls everywhere so that he doesn't need to travel far to get to one. If it is CKD, the absolute most crucial thing is that he maintain hydration. And the litterbox thing, well...you'll need to find a solution for that.

Also ask the vet about starting to give Miralax daily. You said that he hadn't pooped in a couple of days. That's likely because the body is pulling water from everywhere, including the colon, so then that causes constipation.

CKD is manageable with proper treatment though. Does he seem ok otherwise?
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-28-2018, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
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Mojo's time is getting close :-(

Well, my friends, I get the feeling that his time is getting pretty close

He's a little over 16 1/2, and we just lost his brother on November 7. Since then, Mojo has deteriorated rather quickly... you may recall that he's been peeing blood for awhile and the vet found both crystals and precancerous cells, but Mojo is terrified of the vet so I've been giving him antibiotics at home and going my best to get him to eat wet food and drink as much water as I can get in him.

But in spite of that he's had major weight loss, no appetite, incontinence, and now he's gone about a week without pooping and his undercarriage stays wet from what appears to be an inability to hold his urine at all.

He's eating some, but I'd say 1/3 to 1/2 of what he should be eating. But since he's not excreting any of it I don't know if that's good or not.

And for the last few days I've noticed a weakness in his hind legs. He can still stand and walk (albeit slowly), but after washing his belly off with a washcloth 2 nights ago, I witnessed him dragging his right foot slowly before bringing it in front of him. So not lame, just... weak.

These are all symptoms of renal failure.

I'm basing every day on whether he greets me when I wake up. So far he's waiting impatiently by my door, but I know the end is near. The day that he doesn't greet me is the day that I'll know it's time :'-(
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