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Hi everyone,

My name is Ryan, and I'm a cat servant like many of you. I've made an account here because I'm struggling with my wife and her cat, looking for insights on how to deal with the psychology behind the situation. Tempers and emotions are pretty high around home because of this.

So I'm sure a lot of people here have had issues with hanging on to their pets and it basically causing marital stresses of sorts. What was and was not helpful?



Here's the key data-points:
  • 18-year-old cat
  • Has had kidney failure for years and years
  • Has had thyroid issues for years and years
  • Showing signs of arthritis
  • Went from 8.6 lbs to 6.7 in the past 12 months
  • Is on appetite stimulants every second day
  • Is on semintra twice a day
  • Is on Methmizole (sp?) twice a day
  • Is on a phosphorous blocker (aluminum hydroxide)
  • Is on laxatives daily
  • No good way to fix thyroid while maintaining any appetite since at cats age the heart has an arrhythmia but we could stack beta-blockers too to reduce heart rate and reduce heart muscle density increases but we're at risk of a thromboembolism or a stroke then
  • We waste enough cat food to feed several cats per day just leaving out several kinds of food at once, several times per day, just to give her options
  • Took to vet for marking/peeing issues and was given the phosphorous blocker and an antibiotic for possible UTI
  • We have one dog who has lived with the cat now for the past 5 years or so
  • New Irregularity - past 2 months - Pees in, and sleeps in, the dog kennel (so we try to keep it closed at all times, except night)
  • New Irregularity - past 2 months - Pees in basement and stairwell (so we keep this closed too)
  • New Irregularity - past 2 months - Pees on my work bag (I have to keep it elevated)
  • New Irregularity - past 2 months - Pees in my office (I try to keep this closed too)
  • New Irregularity - past 2 months - Pees on the outside of litter boxes on occasion, thus the floor is rotting and spreading (yay!)
  • Regular behavior - Pee's on doors in spring/summer, so I have to sand them as the pee gets in-between the door and frame and swells the wood
  • We put a dog/cat gate in front of our door to prevent the peeing on the front door but now the cat is so emaciated it fits through the bars
  • Regular behavior - Pees on rugs (yay! so we don't have those anywhere we can move them)
  • We've been using the cat pheromone wall plugins too. It has helped a bit.
  • Wife will only now hang out in the bedroom with the emaciated cat because she thinks being anywhere else in the house would be hard on the cat to move to, which is crazy
  • Wife gets mad and stressed when I eventually get mad and stressed out about all of the pee and the black, rotting wooden floors
  • With our last cat, we kept it alive until 19 y/o. It stopped eating and drinking then forced-fed it and injected it with water while it would yowl and wife would cry. We're crazy people, clearly.
  • Clean both litter boxes twice a day, maybe more frequently at times
  • Cat was declawed as a young adult because it kept tearing holes in walls, so it's really just done whatever it wanted its whole life
  • her opinion is: this is our life now, we have to just deal with it, getting upset wont fix a thing
So ever so slowly we shrink the cats habitat. My wife has been with this cat for probably 16/17 years, so there's this emotional bond she has with the cat. She thinks I get mad because "You just don't try to even like the cat" which is true, I suppose, but I don't find it reasonable that we keep modifying our lives and the dogs life, while ruining our home, to keep this cat alive and maintain it's quality of life while decreasing every other occupants' quality of life (us and the dog). It's madness.

So last night the cat peed in the dog kennel again and it clearly did it several times while we were watching TV right next to it. Wife was yelling at the dog to go to his kennel (next to our bed) and he refused so I checked it out, cat peed on his bed, his blanket, and on a blanket outside of our bed, so I yelled upon discovering the third pee-area and took everything to the laundry, then slept in the guest bed because the dog will sleep with the wife (I'll overheat with 3 of us in the king-sized bed). But now of course she thinks I over-reacted by yelling and in the morning avoided me after telling me the dog was quivering after I yelled. Apparently being upset about living in ammonia is unreasonable and not constructive. So I told her our lives are crap because of this emaciated old cat, that her hanging out in the bedroom with the cat all evening is ridiculous. Didn't help, I'm sure. To be continued.

I feel like my options are to accept my wife is as emotionally emaciated as our evil old cat and find a way to be calm while it destroys our home, rots our floors and soaks our home in ammonia or move out with the dog. That's dramatic, I won't do that, but it's how I feel. She just tells me she feels like I'm making her force to choose between me or the cat, which I don't feel like I am... I don't want to her to feel forced to put her cat down when she's not ready, that'll be a psychological disaster. I take good care of the cat in my wife's absence and buy it stairs and cat-beds, feed it, pet it when it wants attention, etc. But it's just time to let the cat die IMO, even the vet said "You have multiple chronic issues and diseases at play, if we fix the thyroid levels then her appetite will decrease further and she'll die, or if we give her more stimulants she'll be high all day. So we let the thyroid levels be a bit higher and her pulse stays high and increases the heart arrhythmia and therefore congestive heart failure, or we use beta-blockers as well to decrease heart rate w/ stimulants and eventually force-feed and inject water". The vet basically hinted that it's very close to the ethical time to put the cat down but that we can persist it's life for some time further, even needlessly further if we choose. If history repeats its self like it did with our blind cat, she'll ask of me to force feed and hydrate this thing for weeks.
 

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I would have let this poor cat go a long time ago. To me, it's almost abusive to keep this cat alive.
 

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You need to be the man of the house and do the right thing for the kitty. Take charge.
 

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This is complicated...Your wife is definitely connected to this boy...
There does become a time, that we have to say goodbye...
One of the Greatest Gifts we can give our beloved animals, and the last Gift of Love, is to know, when to let them go...with dignity, not suffering in pain...
And I will be the first to tell you, it never gets easier...but knowing you were there for them, and you did, what you could for them, does help the heart heal...
I have never regretted the decisions, I've had to make in my years of pet ownership, mourn, yes...you are saying Goodbye to a trusted companion, and it Hurts...
I truly hope your wife will realize this...its not fair to this poor boy, to keep him barely hanging on...
His quality of life has been so compromised now...
Please don't let him go in pain...

You may have to be the one to step up to the plate, if she can't be the one to see this through...

She will cry and mourn, please understand, how much this kitty, has meant to her, he's been a huge part of her life, Please be there for her, she will need a very strong shoulder to lean on...

Wishing you both the Best, in this sad situation...
Sharon
 
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