My 19 yo cat Emily and declining health - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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My 19 yo cat Emily and declining health

Hi Everyone,

I just need some advice from fellow cat lovers.

I have a 19 year old cat named Emily who had Kidney Disease. She has been declining for the past 2 years. During this time I've been giving her oral meds for hyperthyroid, potassium, and Enalapril which is supposed to help with the kidneys. Her appetite has been declining during this time and she is VERY skinny.

The past two months she has taken a turn for the worse. I now have her on subcutaneous fluids, phosphate binders, and a laxative because she suffers from constipation.

She also went blind and deaf pretty abruptly about a month ago. She also had a seizure two weeks ago that thank God seemed to be a one time thing.

I have been syringe feeding her the last couple of weeks also because she is not eating anything on her own.

Yesterday when i got home, she had urinated in various spots around the house. She has never done that before, so thats new.

I guess, my questions is, at what point is enough enough? I don't want to lose her but it's hard to tell if she is suffering. Should I euthanize or keep doing what i'm doing until she passes at home?

All this is causing a lot of sadness and stress in my life but I don't want that to weigh in my decision. I'll will do whatever it takes for her as long as it's worth it for her.

thanks for listening.

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 12:03 PM
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This is such a personal decision, and heartbreaking no matter what. My first cat, Cinderella, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at 8 years old, inoperable and terminal. I let her go when she no longer wanted to eat on her own. I'm now in the same position with my little Cali, whose cancer, now inoperable, has returned after having her leg amputated last year. When she decides not to eat on her own, or shows other symptoms, I will let her go. I would love to take extraordinary measures, but I believe it would be to keep her around longer for me, which isn't fair to her.

Emily has been through a lot lately, but these are just my feelings and my decisions. You have to make your own choices from your heart. I can only hope my girls live to be 19 years old.

Cali, Cinderella, Cleo and Charlee

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 12:41 PM
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Emily has and is going through a really rough time.

Agree it is such a personal choice.. I have had cats all my life and when they had declining health and/or were suffering because of quality of life is poor, FOR ME the kindest thing was to allow them to pass with dignity and pain free..
It is always horrid to have to make such a decision but for me .. I look at it as the ultimate and last act of love to allow them to go peacefully.

Just my opinion
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 06:49 PM
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It is important for an animal not to show suffering - in the wild it turns them into prey for healthier stronger animals.

Do you think she is happy and enjoying her life now? I don't see that in your post.

Your question makes me think you know the answer. I was just there last September.

19 years is a good run. She's been lucky to have you.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 09:28 AM
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As a guardian and protector for your friend, your love it is the toughest and most important decision you must make.
Remember, you're doing it FOR HER.
For those of us who have made this decision, it is never easy. It's not supposed to be.

Just know if you decide to end her suffering we will be here for you with love, understanding and support.

4ever in my Heart
Dizzy my PookieMoose
June 2003- August 26 2017
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-20-2019, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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I want to thank everyone for the beautiful words. I have been through this once before with Emily’s sister. In her case it was much easier to make. She was clearly suffering. Emily is deteriorating daily but she doesn’t appear to be in pain. (I know cats instinctually hide their pain). I took her to the vet again yesterday and they gave her an enema. They also checked her to see if she had a UTI since she started having issues going outside the box the last few days. It came back negative. His advice was to take her home, make her comfortable and spend the weekend with her. Come Monday, I will make my decision. The strange thing is that it’s all happening so quickly. Just yesterday morning she was walking. By the afternoon, she can’t stand on her own. I frankly didn’t think she would make it through the night but she is still with us.

Another thing I’m not sure about was whether I should keep giving her all her meds or just let her be.

I will keep you all posted. Thanks so much for the support.

Here she is being spoiled with the whole bed to herself, With me, and with her sister taking care of her

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-20-2019, 02:44 PM
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Sweet pictures, Rich.

If the meds aren't for pain, I probably wouldn't give them. Just keep spoiling her rotten this weekend and cherish every moment.

Cali, Cinderella, Cleo and Charlee

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 07:22 PM
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I'm so sorry you're going through this. I had a cat named Nick back in the 90's who started exhibiting the same symptoms as your cat...I brought him into the vet and they determined he had kidney failure...his appetite was dwindling, he lost weight, and he generally wasn't being himself. I had to give him SubQ fluids (which I Hated doing) and I tried everything in the book to get him to eat (cooking his food, etc etc). he was an indoor/outdoor cat and one night I couldn't locate him and he turned up at a neighbor's about 4 houses down. he was hiding, which I knew wasn't a good sign (we were very attached). One night I came home and he was in the corner of my closet and he had peed all over my shoes. at that point I knew the decision I had to make. I called up my friend who worked at the vet hospital I went to and she came over and she basically affirmed what I already knew. I brought him in the very next morning and it was the hardest decision I ever had to make but I knew it was the right one. It was especially hard because he was only 9.

Interestingly, one of my current cats has been loosely diagnosed with kidney disease (but not failure) but since changing his diet to Single Protein Rabbit only he's been holding up pretty well. he's lost weight, but he's still acting his normal self and has energy.

It sounds like she's going through a lot. You will make the decision when the time is right. sending good thoughts and support to you.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 04:08 AM
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Gah, this hits me right in the heart - I went through exactly this with my Wintressia. Emily reminds me very much of Win - she is even gray like Win was!

I'll try not to hijack this into a "all about my cat" reply, but shortly, to commiserate, I've been where you are, 100%. Win was diagnosed when she was 14 and I struggled with her CRF/CKD for six years. She was also hyperthyroid and had IBD, plus a heart murmur. She was on a billion medications and needed subQ fluids as well. She was a champ and tolerated everything I did to her - even squoozling her belly/rear area to help her pass her feces (she had the constipation as well). I got Win when I was 16 years old - she was about 7 weeks old when I got her - so I spent my entire adult life with her by my side. She was child, sibling, best friend, and I vowed I would fight her kidney failure with her as long as she was willing to go on living. I did not, did not want to euthanize my cat.

I went through all the same things - Win became incontinent, she needed to be hand-fed/force-fed, she seemed confused some of the time, and it seemed like overnight she suddenly lost all her muscle tone and became a skeleton with a layer of fur. But she would still purr, would butt her head into my hand to be scritched, and would even paw at her toys, so I was reluctant to even entertain the notion of euthanizing her.

Then, two months shy of her 20th birthday, she had some kind of neurological event (possibly a stroke, not sure) and it was time. I could see it in her eyes, literally - she was all but gone. She spent the night at the emergency vet, and they said they couldn't stabilize her body temperature. I still did not want to euthanize her, but I knew I absolutely had to. I am so fortunate that I was able to hold her in my arms as the vet did it - it was horrible, but I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I was even glad that she peed on me just before she went!

So - it sounds trite, like a Hallmark card, when people say "you'll know when it's time", but it's absolutely true. You absolutely can feel/sense the moment when it's time. It may be something as subtle as a different look in Emily's eyes, or a slight change in the tone of her meow, or suddenly her fur feels different than it did an hour ago. If a cat is grievously wounded/injured, things are different - a terminally injured cat should be euthanized without delay, so it doesn't suffer. But kitties that are dying from slow, chronic, terminal illnesses are a little different - they may be suffering a bit, they may be in pain, but if they still are enjoying life in some way and enjoying your attention, I would err on the side of life, every time. Don't let the vet (or family, or friends, etc.) pressure you into putting her down - truly assess her current quality of life and current condition as objectively as you can - not as her dad/owner, but as a true outside observer. I know that is easy to write in words and difficult to actually do in reality, but I think once you start to really think about it, you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt whether it's the "right time" or if Emily has a little bit more time on this Earth to spend with you and her sister.

I wish I had more to offer beyond my sympathy and my understanding :{

Also - I would keep giving her her fluids at least. If she will tolerate her meds, keep her on them - stopping them abruptly could cause unnecessary suffering if they are alleviating the symptoms of her conditions. If she struggles when you syringe-feed her, try offering her some very "smelly" things to eat, like simple deli meats, simple cheeses, bonito flakes, tuna water, or meat baby food. They're not exactly nutritionally complete for a kitty, but at this point, she needs some calories.

Good luck. Keep us posted.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Everyone,

Sorry I havent been on for a few days. Emily passed away at home Sunday morning at 4:30am. She was in her favorite place. In bed with us. That night before I went to bed I had made the decision to take her to be euthanized the next morning. She had soiled herself and I was cleaning her up and she was bascally a ragdoll. That night I was awoken by her heavy breathing. The interval between breathes kept getting longer and longer. I had my had on her chest feeling her heart and kissing her. Eventually she took her last breath.

There are still tons of doubts in me. Questions like, did she suffer? did I wait too long? but in the end, she passed away in her favorite place. In our bed sleeping with us.

SFGlam and LakotaWolf , thank you for sharing your stories. It means a lot it me. Im sure it is not east to relive it. Nick and Wintressia were very blessed to have you guys in their lives.

Marie73, thank you. Here is another pic of Emily when she was doing much better.

I have 4 other kitties that I need to focus on now. Three of them turning 14 in a few months. One of them has been drinking a lot of water and I need to get her checked out. I REALLY hope it's nothing. I just need a break from being worried constantly.

THanks again everyone.
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