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ali-song

Elderly cat - WWYD?

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ali-song

My elderly cat is, I fear, nearing the end, and I’d like some advice on if / how much to intervene. Cat is 17, and has lived a long, healthy life. He recently had a nasty abscess, but appears to have recovered well from that. However, he’s incredibly skinny - he’s always been very slight, but is nothing but skin and bones now. He still eats well, and seems happy enough (jumps up to laps and purrs), if not very active. He also has a not great looking lesion on his nose, which isn’t healing. When we visited the vet for his abscess, she mentioned we could do some tests to try to work out why he’s losing weight. 

So, that’s where we are now. Is there any benefit to taking him back to the vet for tests? Are there any interventions they’re likely to suggest that would improve his quality of life meaningfully and not be overly invasive? I’m not really concerned about cost (within reason), but really don’t want to subject him to anything at all unpleasant, especially if it’ll just prolong life by a couple of months. Options, as I see them, are:

1. Do nothing, cat will probably continue to deteriorate over the next few months 

2. Take cat to vet, discus minimally unpleasant treatments for whatever ails him (If able to be determined)

3. Say goodbye to cat now 😢

4. Other?

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caitiri

Cats are funny things,  if you sense he is happy, Id leave him.   My mums cat (16) was very similar in terms of weight, not long ago Vet was concerned,  but  he has a few months later perked up out on quite a bit of weight so much so the vet told my mum to make sure he didn’t put on any more as he has a dodgy back so excess weight can hamper mobility.  

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Jenflea

I'd assume the skinniness is probably his thyroid.  My 16 yr old cat had hyperthyroidism and she ate like a horse but couldn't keep the weight on.  

I ended up getting it irradiated at the only vet in Canberra who does it on the advice of our vet who said she still had plenty of energy left. 

Sadly it was also masking dodgy kidneys which needed a special diet but we got another 3 years out of her. 

When she went it was fast and I knew she was ready to go when she had no interest in licking icecream off my fingers. 

 

If it was ME, I'd get tests done and find out what you're up against.  I'd not leave him to suffer, I think that's a bit mean and a horrible way to go.

Only then will you know if it's time to say goodbye, or if it can be treated. The lesion is a worry too. 

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Prancer is coming
Posted (edited)

Our cat was about 15 when we noticed she was having trouble with her back legs.  We took her to the vet to have her examined.  The vet ran some tests, and our cat had some sort of turn after they took her blood.  The vet basically advised that whilst they could try and treat her, it was unlikely to help much given her age.  And as she had such a bad reaction to the blood test, further treatment was only going to stress her more.  They recommended putting her down immediately.  I do wonder if we should have just carried on at home given the blood test did so much damage.  Though I guess she was probably in pain with her legs anyway.

 

No advise on what to do, as it is all an unknown how it will turn out.  Thinking of you and your puss.

Edited by Prancer is coming
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ali-song
5 minutes ago, Jenflea said:

If it was ME, I'd get tests done and find out what you're up against.  I'd not leave him to suffer, I think that's a bit mean and a horrible way to go.

Only then will you know if it's time to say goodbye, or if it can be treated. The lesion is a worry too. 

Thanks - that’s very helpful. This is exactly my dilemma - I don’t want him to suffer either due to whatever is wrong with him, or due to whatever we need to do to treat it. He doesn’t seem at all in pain (I check him regularly since the abscess), but doesn’t really groom himself anymore. Very happy to have me brush him, however. He doesn’t eat a lot, but eats frequently, and generally only when someone is stroking him (he’s rather spoiled). 

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lazycritter
Posted (edited)

I would at least get blood tests done and urine.  How long has he been this skinny?  Has it seemed sudden? 

Late onset diabetes can cause it. 

 

My baby girl now 18 (if I've calculated correctly this time ) was going all right until  she started having seizures late last year. She was given a shot of cortisone and she came good and blood tests were normal.  A bit of a mystery.  But after Christmas she dramatically lost weight and was drinking excessively and weeing in front of us on the lounge floor.  And it turns out she had developed late onset type 1 diabetes and a uti.  So we've been doing the insulin and going back and forward to the vet to check curves.  At the time of diagnosis , even though I had to learn to give her shots,  the worst was giving her the tablets for the uti. The insulin and bloods aren't expensive themselves just the continued vet checks can add up.  She ended up coming off the insulin at one point because her pancreas was caught in time to repair, but she went back on after a bit.  It's a balancing act with the amount of insulin to give and cats need only the tiniest amount. 

 

She's doing pretty well at the moment. The vet originally said it's expensive and I was freaking out until I got the first bill and it wasn't the horror price  I was thinking.  

My biggest worry is that she might be in pain but apparently the diabetes is a more lethargic feeling.

 

Anyway,  I thought it was worth sharing considering the weight loss your cat has. 

 

Good luck with him 🤗

Edited by lazycritter
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FiveAus

I had a very similar situation with my 15 year old Maine Coon. She had an open tumour on her side which we elected not to treat...mostly due to her age but also because the stress of vet visits would be more than she could bear. She wasn't in any pain and was happy enough in her little world (indoor cat. never went outside). 

I kept a close eye on her and every day she was good. Purring and head butts and leaping around the furniture. Then one morning last week, I got up and she was good, then about 3 hours later she was not good and I knew it was time. She went from her normal self to huddled and not moving within minutes. She had pus coming from her tumour, so I think she got an infection which quickly overwhelmed her.

But for months I'd worried about when was the right time, knowing the time was coming close. I needn't have worried because I did know when it was time and very calmly arranged it and she passed over peacefully with me stroking her head and telling her was a good girl she was.

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Apageintime

The check for hyperthyroidism is just a blood test. So I'd get that done. It's pretty low intervention. 

I'd find out what you're dealing with first and decide if you want to pursue treatment from there.  

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Romeo Void

I had a friend who's cat did similar, vet visit thinking it would be the end...nope, that cat lived to 23!!

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born.a.girl

I'd go the second option, too.

We had one who lived to nearly 20.  I got him eight years earlier thinking I was looking after him in his dotage.  His kidneys were not great due to being fed cheap dried food, but they came back. He had one eye stitched closed, skinny and not grooming as much in later years, but purred (and dribbled) his head off and ate well.  We just went on vet advice - one time we took him when he wasn't well, and the vet said 'don't bring him back for any more treatment will you?', which told us that it was time, but gave us a few weeks with him.

Good luck with the decision.

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lozoodle
Posted (edited)

I'd go 1. 

Or 2 if non invasive, but I would be prepared to maybe hear things I don't want to hear - e.g. something that be too hard to treat without being too invasive for the cat. 

I feel for you, I'm in a similar position with my 16 year old. Its so hard :(

Edited by lozoodle

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Treasure Island

At this age vet treatment is more non-invasive and palliative. I would do the tests if they are simple and see what happens. My girls was already quite elderly when she developed signs of diabetes (drinking and weeing lots). The vet said not even to test her because we wouldn't want to treat it. I was never going to put her to sleep but in the end she stopped eating and waiting it out was more than I could bear. I was happy that we took it right to the wire but it was still hard. 19 1/2 years.

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joykey

I'd be finding out how invasive or potentially traumatic the tests would be and decide from that.

If he's still happy then I wouldn't be saying goodbye yet. You'll know when it's time for that.

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*Marty*

also, think about putting her on kitten food.  It has more carbs and might help with the cabs.  My old girl also developed a thyroid condition - easy enough to treat (daily pills)

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