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Discussion Starter #1
My Barnaby has been having some health issues lately. 2 weeks ago he became very lethargic and weak and after an antibiotic and steroid he was gradually back to his normal self, but that was short lasted and 2 weeks later he is back to not doing well.

I did bring him in this morning to get looked at and the vet says his symptoms point to GI tract lymphoma. It would take some extensive testing to determine it and if that's what it is, his days are numbered. He was given an antibiotic which he was given 2 weeks ago to see if that has any effect. The steroid was supposed to be long lasting so I didn't want to give him that again so soon.

I guess at this point I am trying to accept the fact that he may not be around much longer but I am having a difficult time with it. My heart is constantly heavy and I find myself easily tearing up when I think of him and even when I pet him. I know it will be no easier once he is gone.

How do you cope with it? He has been my purring lap occupant for over 13 years. I knew some day the day would come that I have to say goodbye but how can you ever be ready for it?
 

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I'm so sorry Richo. I remember you posting about Barnaby a while back. There is never a time when you are ready. You just try to cherish the time you have left. You rely on friends, or crazy cat people like many of the people (like me) here to talk about it and help you try to ease the pain somehow. It just really sucks though. I have yet to had said goodbye to one of my cats yet in my adult life, and I'm 44. We had cats when I was little, that ran away, or my parents gave away when we moved, but I've never had a cat from beginning to end yet, so I can't even imagine how you are feeling. I tear up just thinking about it with one of mine. You just do the best you can, and just give him your time and love until it's time to say goodbye. Being there for him til the end is the most you can do for him. I'm so sorry, ((((((hugs))))) to you and Barnaby.
 

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You can't be ready for it, even if you try to tell yourself all along. It hurts all the same and you will miss him terribly. But like with all losses, time will eventually heal and you will carry on.
I feel for you and all I can offer is a prayer for you and your Barnaby.

Take care and try and be well. :patback
 

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I will assume that some tests were done? Would a second opinion help? As for coping, you know how people say we should live as if it is the last day of your life, well treat Barnaby with the love and kindness as if.... I don't know any way to avoid grief when we lose a loved one. Time helps but it hurts.
 

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Richo, so sorry about Barnaby. Look up the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement online - they have online chat groups that you can join almost every night of the week and they do have one especially for what they call 'anticipatory' bereavement. That is exactly what you are experiencing right now and maybe being able to talk to others experiencing the same thing might help.
 

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I'm so sorry to hear about this. I know how hard it is to have to prepare.

I think all people deal with it differently.

Some obsess over it and start crying years before it happens. Each day they obsess over how it's just one day closer to the end.

I remember very clearly how hard it was to lose Mini (my canine companion for 16 years). I bottle raised her (she was a runt) and we were inseparable. If I had to stay after school for ANY reason, my mom would drop her off and Mini would ride the late bus home with me(she sat through a LOT of detentions with me, poor girl). If I went away for a weekend to a friend's house, it had to be place that welcomed her or I didn't go. I never went to summer camp because I couldn't find one that allowed her to attend as well. The only time we were apart was when I went to college and I drove 550+ miles (1 way) every weekend just to spend time with her).
Losing her was worse than losing a limb to me. There was a huge empty hole in my life for a REALLY long time. She has been gone for almost 5 years when MowMow chose me. He was about 4 years old and he is my little furry soul mate. It sounds kookie as ****, but I swear he's Mini reincarnated and I take a LOT of comfort in that thought. Within weeks it seems like we picked up right where Mini and I had left off. He even has the same mannerisms and habits (good AND bad) as that old dog had. The idea that one little soul and I were meant to go through our lives together in whatever form makes me feel so much better.

MowMow may pass on, but at some point in the future that little soul will find me again... as a cat..or a dog... or a horse... or whatever form. It'll be back :) just like it came back this time. I'll love it just as much and it'll irritate me just as much.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the kind words and support everyone.

Right now he seems to be doing a little better, back to purring when petted and he is coming into other rooms in the house instead of just laying in one spot. He also seemed interested in eating but didn't want the food. I don't know if the antibiotic is working that quickly or at all, or if he would have come around this way regardless. Right now it's just a matter of waiting to see what happens next.
 

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Richo, How is Barnaby doing?
Hugs and Prayers...
 

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I don't think you can ever be "ready" for it. I recently lost one of my boys to cancer and was told he'd probably survive 1 to 3 months after his diagnosis. So I knew it was coming. But that didn't mean I was ready. When that day came 6 weeks later when he wasn't himself anymore, I just knew in my heart. Maybe I was in denial up until that point because he was doing so well, but I took it very hard. I sometimes think that knowing a loved one is going to pass is harder than losing them suddenly. It's hard not to be able to say goodbye, but I think it's harder to watch someone you love die. Just listen to your heart and your instincts and you'll know when it's time. I know that doesn't make it any easier. I'm sorry you're going through this. I would definitely recommend a support group if you can find one. Talking about it, and hearing how others are going through the same thing really does help. (((Hugs)))
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi everyone

Right now Barnaby is back to being more like himself but I can't get my hopes up because the same thing happened last time he got an antibiotic shot 17 days ago and then slipped back into lethargy when it wore off. Diagnosing his problem is the hard part and it would seem that the antibiotic is just masking a more serious problem. Question is, if he does have GI tract lymphoma, would that shot make him appear better? He does also have a long lasting steroid in his system but that alone apparently was not helping him this past weekend.

I was exchanging emails with someone whose cat has asthma and she said that sometimes her cat slips into lethargy and it's just part of the asthma but up until now that has never happened and he has been showing asthma like symptoms for 2 years.

Not sure what to think at this point. I just have to take it day by day and see how he does.

Thanks for all your concern.
 

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I think the way most of us that have dealt with the death of our beloved cats is with the Serenity Prayer. Control what we can, and ask for wisdom to know the difference.

I have held on to a cat for far too long, and have given them over too easily (I feel). I've done both. They both stink and the pain for ME was the same but the suffering for them was tremendous for the ones I held on to for too long. I will never do that again. A day, a week or a month more with ME made no difference in relieving my pain, but caused them considerable pain or lowered their quality of life. Never again.

Pray that you will know the proper time to release them and know that they have been loved and cherished and will continue to be so after passing. I know this hurts and I hope you find peace here amongst like minded cat lovers.
 

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It is such a terrible thing. Losing a dear is something indescribable.
I wish you the strength of the world... And never forget that you made everything you can to keep your beloved healthy.


Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Follow up:

After his last vet visit and an antibiotic he seemed to improve and was back to his normal self for nearly a week, with a bigger than normal appetite, and I was so happy to see him that way.... then the lethargy set in again and he has been that way for 2 days. I do have a vet appointment later today.

All along I was thinking that the antibiotic was what helped him but last time he was at the vet I was able to get him to purr in the carrier and when we got home he was already acting a little more like himself, before the shot really had a chance to even start working.

The vet indicated that perhaps this was his adrenaline taking over since he gets pretty worked up at the vet. As an experiment I took him for a little drive this morning to simulate a vet visit and once I got him home I was able to get him to purr for the first time in 2 days so that does have some merit.

I don't know what to make of this. If his adrenaline brought him back both times he got an antibiotic, how did he stay so well for almost 2 weeks the first time and 8 days the second time? Does adrenaline last that long? The vet said that the fact that he was eating a lot helped matters but then if he was eating regularly and that was helping him feel good, how come he slipped back into lethargy?

Maybe today's blood work and x-rays will give us some answers, but maybe not. My wife and I are supposed to go on a vacation in 11 days and I don't think I am going to be able to do that because I am going to be worried about him and not be able to enjoy myself. Plus, if he takes a turn for the worse he needs someone to be here for him. Just bad timing all around.

I have been having a terrible time the last couple days worrying about him and what is to come. I'm so attached to the little guy and it breaks my heart to think of losing him. :'(
 

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I know I don't post here much but I just want to say i know what you're going through. Last Friday I had to put down my 15-year-old cat. It was the hardest thing ever. One year ago he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. The doctor said cats generally will live about a year after diagnosis and that held to be true in his case. He was one of those special ones who almost seem human. It's been a very difficult and surreal week. It seems to be worse in the evenings but during the day I don't feel as bad as I did. I just try to stay physically busy. I take comfort in my other cats as much as I can but heart is broken. I know it will get easier.
 

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So, so sorry Richo that you and Barnaby are going through this. :patback I'll be thinking of you at the vet visit today and hoping things go well and a miracle happens to turn things around a bit.

KimM12 so sorry for your loss - I lost my 16 yr. old furry toddler this past October and I miss him so much every day. Did you ever consider that the loss might be contributing to the upheaval in your household with your 11-yr-old?
 

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KimM12 so sorry for your loss - I lost my 16 yr. old furry toddler this past October and I miss him so much every day. Did you ever consider that the loss might be contributing to the upheaval in your household with your 11-yr-old?
Thanks, Heather. I don't think so because my 11-year-old's behavior problem has been going on for a couple of months. It's only been a week tomorrow since the loss of my 15-year-old.
 

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Richo, how is Barnaby doing? Did the bloodwork lead to a diagnosis?

KimM12, I'm so sorry about your kitty.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hi, right now Barnaby is doing well, and while I keep hoping that he will stay that way, I am not too optimistic because the last 2 times he was given Convenia he bounced back but then slipped back into illness in only a matter of time. It's been 10 days since his shot.

No diagnosis from the blood work, just that something is not right. I am hoping it's just some kind of infection that we need to find a way to get rid of for good rather than something worse. Someone indicated that because he has been on steroids for his asthma issues, perhaps his body is not able to fight off infection and that's why whatever it is keeps coming back.

Being that he responds to antibiotics, the vet ruled out pancreatitis, which was the next thing we were going to test for. Next time he becomes ill I may bring him in for an ultrasound. Some people have suggested giving him a stronger antibiotic, and maybe that's not a bad idea but I don't want to keep pumping him with drugs as a guess until we find the right one.

Thanks for your concern. I will keep everyone posted as things change.
 

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My wife and I are supposed to go on a vacation in 11 days and I don't think I am going to be able to do that because I am going to be worried about him and not be able to enjoy myself. Plus, if he takes a turn for the worse he needs someone to be here for him. Just bad timing all around.

I have been having a terrible time the last couple days worrying about him and what is to come. I'm so attached to the little guy and it breaks my heart to think of losing him. :'(
I am SO SO sorry you are going through this. If it were me I would cancel the vacation this time or at least delay it. I know it's probably a sacrifice but you would feel HORRIBLE if the worst happened and you were not there. Trust me on this one. This is going to hurt - it always does when we lose those we love so much. If he is terribly bad perhaps you can make the decision to let him go BEFORE you go on vacation and use the time away to grieve. I'm really so sorry...
 

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Well, I did tell my wife that I could not take the chance of leaving him alone for 5 days so she made plans to go with her sister. I had thought this through that if he did pass before we left there is no way I could enjoy myself and if he didn't, I need to be here for him if there were a problem.

Right now he is OK but if that will last remains in question. It seems that once the antibiotic wears off he takes a turn for the worse. When he slips into lethargy he becomes very frail looking after just a couple days of not eating or drinking, and I have never seen him like this in over 13 years. Once he starts eating and drinking again, he does so much better. It just scares me to see him like that and then when the vet tells me that he could be at the end of his life, that doesn't help matters.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions at this point but for now it's good to see him acting like his normal self.
 
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