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My oldest cat, Tammy, is 16. Last November, I took her to the vet because she was lethargic and they said her kidneys were failing. They said this is very common in older cats. They had me come in with her for a week and gave her IV fluids everyday (to the tune of $400). When I took her back in Feb. for her annual shots, they did bloodwork and said her levels were the same as before she had IV fluids in Nov. I chose not to go through the routine again at that point because her weight was back up and she seemed happy and I thought if this is only good for three months, what's the purpose? It was very traumatic for her going to the vet daily in Nov. Yesterday, I noticed she is walking very lightly and seems tired. She loves to go out in our backyard, so we let her out and sat and watched her. She lightly stepped down the steps and sat at the bottom on the concrete slab. She didn't try going too far from that. We just got a kitten a few months ago and I asked my husband whether he thought we were shortening Tammy's life by getting Ming, who chases her and Sheba all around. I don't know whether to take her to the vet again and go through the whole procedure. It almost seems like the person who won't let another person die by keeping them on life support. What's do you think?
 

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Well my personal opinion is mixed.

If kitty seems to be in a lot of pain, or having trouble doing things such as eating, walking, etc. AND because she is old, I would consider putting her to sleep. She's lived a very very long and happy life with you.
If you think that the meds will work this time, even though they didn't last time, try them again. Putting her on them when you don't think they will work will just cause her more stress..

Anyone else want to change my point of view? I'm up for your opinions too.
 

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Cathy, My Blacky had convulsions the first time his kidneys began to fail. It was the first symptom, so the vet thought he might have walked through weed killer on someone's lawn. Blacky had more problems periodically, and I took him to the vet as soon as I noticed any change in appetite. He was perfectly fine between these spells, and when the vet specifically told me the renal failure could no longer be helped I allowed him to put my baby to sleep. It broke my heart, but it was the best think for Blacky. I'm glad, however, that I gave him every opportunity. The vet will tell you when there's not a likelihood of a good quality of life Blacky had a whole year of playing and eating and getting loads of love. I hope that's possible for your cat. Listen to your vet. He or she doesn't want your cat to suffer.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I wasn't thinking about putting her to sleep. Would I be cruel to let her go naturally? If I put her to sleep, I would constantly be thinking "Was she ready or did I rush the end?" :( She's still getting up and around.
 

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Hi,

It really comes down to "quality of life". I had to face this decision in July. My cat was diagnosed with cancer in January & I was determined to fight it 'till the end, even though I was expecting my first baby (babies cost LOTS of money), and facing a $6000.00 bill for Eliot. We went to see two oncologists both of whom wanted to see if the cancer had spread before going further. Anyway, to cut a long story short, she had a CAT scan & it showed she had cancer in her lung (the original site of the cancer was in her nose). The vet was awesome & said speaking as a cat lover & not a vet, he recommended chemo, it wouldn't cure her but it would slow down the growth. Chemo isn't as bad for cats as it is for humans.

She started to go downhill around May, but was still active & eating well & showing an interest in her surroundings. She seemed happy in herself & not in pain, but her coat was starting to look a bit raggedy. We decided to stop the chemo as the last one she'd had (in May) had knocked her about a bit. One Wednesday in July I got up & she looked awful, her coat was stark & she was sleeping lots, she was still wanting attention from me & asking for food though. We decided that day to euthanise her the next day. The next day she was worse, still wanted food but after she'd ate she slept all day & was fairly unresponsive to me, where usually she loved me patting her. The decision to put her to sleep was actually very easy, she was so sick those last two days that I really was putting her out of her misery. I don't know how long she'd have lived had we not had her euthanised, but I can say with certainty that it wouldn't have been a nice time for her. I still have slight feelings of guilt about euthanising her, but in my heart I know we did what was best for her.

Regarding the fluids. Can you ask your vet to teach you how to do this? Last year we adopted a very sick Burmese cat who was on death's door. She was severely dehydrated & I didn't want to go back & forth to the vet for fluids so I asked him to show me how it was done. It's really very easy to do & meant I could keep her really nicely hydrated by giving her fluids morning & night.

I think in your heart, you will know when it's time to say goodbye to your pet. While we all dream of our pets slipping off in their sleep, reality is that it doesn't often happen that way & we have to make that final & heartbreaking decision for them. Most vets are able to guide you. I know with Eliot though we didn't need a vet to tell us, we knew the time was right.

Julia.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well we took Tammy to the vet yesterday. As my husband said "it was well worth the $100 for the peace of mind." She said although she is low on potassium and had a slight block in her intestines, her kidney functions were as good as they were after having the fluids in November. She said she is probably walking funny on her hind legs because of being low in potassium. She gave us potassium pills and another pill for the blockage. She said if she doesn't improve on these that she would want to do a full screen for other things, but she thinks this will do it. I was worried because when they weighed her she had lost another 1.3 lbs. since March.
 

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Please let us know how she does as time goes on. Your husband is so right. It's worth the money to know what's really going on. I glad the vet has found a way to make her do better.
 

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Cathy
ask your vet to show you how to give subQ fluids at home
it is really not hard to do (i have done it with my BJ) and it will make your kitty feel so much better and possibly keep her alive another year or two

low potassium is a sign of dehydration, the subQ fluids would really help that

i had a kitty with CRF at only 7 yrs old but she made it thru another 2 yrs

if i had known about subQ fluids back then, she would have lived longer and been much healthier- AND i would have saved a ton of money on vet bills!!

if you want i can direct you to websites with more information and i think there is even a video of how to do it

i assume her blood sugar has been checked? as what you are describing is common in diabetes

all the best
 
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