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Schuyler is starving and we need help.

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
We share our home with three cats now. We've always had a houseful of felines and kids but now the kids are all grown and gone and it's just me, my husband, (Sky) Schuyler, Angie and (Terminator) Tootsie.

Back in 1993 my husband was at a vet's office to pick up our dog and as he walked down a hallway, he felt something tugging at his arm. In a cage he saw the most magnificant and gorgeous cat he had ever seen.

The vet said that the cat had been left with him for euthenasia. Bob didn't ask why, but the vet explained that Schuyler was too difficult for his owner to handle. He said that Sky was declawed, had all immunizations and papers to show that he was a registered Birman. Birman are supposed to be long haired by Sky had short hair, weighed 22 lbs., and had all the right Birman markings. The vet asked my husband if he would like to take Sky home and no way could Bob say "no".

We had just returned to the U.S. after living in Switzerland for 3 years. We'd transported six cats and a dog to Europe and back and another kitty in the household was no problem for us. And anyhow, Sky was fascinating and stunning to look at.

We quickly realized that Sky had never been outdoors. Our cats are generally indoor pets though we do let them out occasionally for a few minutes. Sky tiptoed over the lawn the first time we let him outside so we just kept him indoors all of the time. He was a gentleman and preferred the comfort of a well organized house. He especially seemed to enjoy lounging in a bathtub so we guessed he had spent considerable time locked in a bathroom. He also got excited if he smelled ice cream or canned tuna. I speculated that he'd lived with a single working person who fed him whatever was handy. He was going to have to adapt to a new lifestyle and it turned out to be easier than we expected.

We have lived all these years with this wonderful, rambunctious cat who has won our hearts and who has always been sociable with other animals in our home. He plays "soccer" with his cat toys, tossing them up then batting them across the room and into the air. He bites my ankle to let me know he wants something and if I know what's good for me, I'd better figure out what that is. I'm immuno suppressed so if a cat bite breaks the skin I either have to flush even the most minor break or expect to be hospitalized, with the possibility that the bite could lead to a fatal infection. I've learned to be very careful and a tube of Neosporin is always at the ready if I need it.

Recently, Sky has seemed to be starving to death. He's lost most of his body weight and we've taken him to two vets but neither has a clue about what is wrong. His only symptom is frequent vomiting. His appetite appears to be voracious though he actually eats almost nothing. Lab tests have not identified a problem and they don't think he has cancer. Nor does he seem to have a thyroid problem. He is simply wasting away. We fight with him to try to give him the Prednisone the vets have prescribed but he hates it and he is still very strong so usually the medicine ends up all over us and not inside him. Since he eats so little, there's no point to putting it in his food. Yet when we're eating or cooking he begs for a taste though he rarely even eats a tiny bite if we try to oblige him. Our hearts are breaking. He comes to us and taps us on the shoulder or nuzzles us, or just cuddles. He wants help but nothing we do works.

Over the years he has played with and intimidated Angie, our little desert cat. When we moved to Las Vegas in 1997, the property manager found her in 110F heat being terrorized by neighborhood kids who were throwing rocks and dirt at her. At the time we had two other cats besides Sky but there was no way we would put her back in the heat to be tortured by neighborhood hooligans. She has been with us ever since and she is now a little round ball of love. Sadly, Sky and Angie no longer play. Cats seem to sense impending death and begin to ignore the "friend" they are about to lose. We also have Tootsie who we have nicknamed "The Terminator." For weeks I saw her lurking in the shrubbery outside our house in Las Vegas but she was clearly semi-feral and would not let me come near her. So, I put food out for her every day then one day she simply walked into our house through the patio door, found her way to our bedroom, and hid under out bed. Until she figured out how to get into the garage where we kept the litter box, she used our bathtub. Fortunately she found the garage quickly. We call her Terminator because she becomes a ball of shrieking fur that stands on end as she flies into attack mode every time she sees Angie or Sky. She's a pretty little calico and she no longer attacks us but she still goes after Angie and Sky, so we have made a home for her in our spare bedroom. Actually, she will reside wherever she chooses. That's the kind of cat she is. We do love her very much. We love them all too much which is partly why Sky is now breaking our hearts.

I am hoping that someone has some suggestions about how to get liquid Prednisone down Schuyler twice a day, and I am hoping someone has some idea about why Sky keeps losing weight and eats so little, while continuing to vomit at least twice a day. Is he dying? We fear he is, and if so, is he in pain? He doesn't appear to be. How can we help him? What can we do to make his life better? No way can we bring ourselves to have him "put down" and anyhow, we have no justification to do something like that. The vets could not find any tumors or lumps or swollen lymph nodes. Nothing. Nada. He is just wasting away. We love him so much and we just want to hold him close and do whatever we can to make his life happy and comfortable. We were told that he was about five years old when he came to live with us in 1993, so that means that he must be 16 years old now. In the past, our babies have lived to be as old as 22 except when cancer or kidney failure took them from us. No sign of either in Sky, and if he's 16, he doesn't seem very old in our opinion.

Is there medication we might try to give him to increase his appetite? We would be so grateful for any suggestions or words of advice. I can be reached at

Thanks to anyone who might be able to help.

Best regards,
post #2 of 15
Dear Geri and Schuyler and family:

I've sent you an email to your comcast address. Hope it is of help to you.
post #3 of 15
I sent a copy of this via email but wanted to post here so that others can read it as well.

Do you have copies of his blood tests? You may want to join the senior cats group on Yahoo ( where the group owner is also an expert in many areas--she's taking Vet Tech courses and she is always willing to share her experiences. Do you know if they ran a free T4 as well as a total T4? There are several medications that vets may use to stimulate appetite. The most common are cyproheptadine and diazepam/Valium. My cat is actually receiving vitamin B12 shots right now which are also supposed to stimulate the appetite. You should probably talk to your vet about assist-feeding, either via syringe or with a feeding tube. I know it sounds extreme, but sometimes cats really need us to help kick start their appetite again by getting food back into their bodies. Without food, they can develop liver problems (hepatic lipodosis) which can be fatal if not reversed.
post #4 of 15
Dear Cloud Shade:

Wow, these are great suggestions for Geri that I neglected to mention. Also, Immunoregulin is another innoculation given to cats for a variety of diseases and/or just to boost their immune systems. Might be something else to ask a doctor about?
(but then, YOU KNEW THAT!)
post #5 of 15
In addition to everyting posted, I wonder if he's dealing with nausea?

I realize that this isn't a kidney issue, but nausea and vomitting with apparent hunger but unwillingngess to eat much is something that crf (kidney failure) kitties deal with. I'd ask your vet if they feel it's okay to try using pepcid (go to and find the section on stomach acid to read about dose).

Best wishes, I completely understand how frustrating and frightening this can be. I am currently assist-feeding my oldest cat Tyler as he simply does not eat enough on his own - no clue why (despite known conditions).
post #6 of 15
Thank you--they definitely know they are cute. Willow just stopped eating one day a few weeks ago. We still don't know why--her bloodwork looked good though her kidney values were a tiny bit high. She was dehydrated and had very concentrated urine. They also found what looks like a kidney stone on the x-ray. It took a combination of cyproheptadine and assist feeding to get her eating at all, but she wasn't eating enough. My vet suggested switching to a different food to see if that would help stimulate her appetite, along with the B12. She's gained four ounces in the past week, so apparently something is helping!

Geri, talk to your vet about the different options you have. Whether assist feeding with a spoon, a syringe, or a feeding tube, it is really important to get food into your baby. Persistence can definitely pay off.
post #7 of 15
I wonder, could there be a problem with his throat or esophagus that is making it hard for him to swallow? We had this problem with our family cat as he was declining... like your cat, he seemed very hungry and begged for food, but he had trouble swallowing anything. Another thought I had is that he might have swallowed some foreign object that is in his stomach or intestines. Did they do any X-rays?

We had some luck feeding our cat meat baby food with a spoon. If all else failed, we could put the baby food on his chin or paws and he would lick it off.
post #8 of 15

Sky's symptoms are similar to those that one of my semi-feral kitties is experiencing. He'd been losing weight, but had an appetite. Though he wanted to eat, and would try, he'd vomit the tiny amount he was actually able to get down.

His blood work was terrific, especially in light of the fact that he's probably 14-17 years old and has been outdoors for at least 7 years that I know of. Two vets saw him on two different days. Both said that high on their list of possibilities were IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) or cancer.
Neither is easy to identify without more testing. Did your vet do x-rays and ultrasound (sonogram)? If not, you might want to do that - it may give you some answers.

What my vet did for my kitty was to give him a shot of DepoMedrol. It's like a mega-dose of pred, and lasts approximately 4 weeks, sometimes longer. For my little guy, it has been a miracle. There is no more vomiting, and though he's still thin as a rail, he's able to eat and keep the food down. His activity level is normal and he's back to enjoying his life. My vet tells me that if my kitty's got IBD, the Depo will probably continue to be effective past the 4 week mark. We're at the 4th week now, so I feel like I'm holding my breath, praying that he'll continue to be ok. My vet says that if the Depo seems to be doing the trick, we can assume it's IBD, and we could continue the shots. The danger with Depo is the possible development of diabetes with long-term use. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Maybe Depo would help Sky too. It would certainly be easier on him (and you) than trying to get meds down his throat twice a day.

Otherwise, cloud_shade had some good suggestions. Make sure your vet ran multiple tests for thyroid function - they give a more accurate result than a single test. And assist-feeding (or a feeding tube - there are different kinds, the one that goes through the nose is the least invasive) will be necessary if Sky doesn't eat enough food on his own. For help with that, there's a great website: But no matter how you feed him, Sky's got to be able to keep the food down, so you'll need anti-nausea/vomiting meds.

Best of luck to your special boy and you.
post #9 of 15
My only other suggestion is that he may have a mouth ulcer or teeth issues. My Twitch has no teeth. They were all removed as they were rotten. She suffered from mouth ulcers in addition to the rotten teeth & it tooks months after her tooth removal to ger rid of all the ulcers.

I do so hope your dear Sky can get better. Sixteen is too young for him to be in the condition he is...
post #10 of 15
How is Skye?
post #11 of 15
I do hope that you can find something to help Skye.
post #12 of 15
O Pat and Alix (and Tyler and Frankie Jean!):

Hi! Nice to see YOU on here! You may be wondering just who this is. It's Jamaka and the gang from the Mojave! That's good advice and I sure do hope it leads to eating success...!
post #13 of 15
Originally Posted by Tarasgirl06 View Post
O Pat and Alix (and Tyler and Frankie Jean!):

Hi! Nice to see YOU on here! You may be wondering just who this is. It's Jamaka and the gang from the Mojave! That's good advice and I sure do hope it leads to eating success...!
Hi Jamaka!
It is good to see you on here as well
post #14 of 15
Have you considered the possibility of getting a dental? Those toofers could be bothering him and often lead to weight-loss. Or how about a food-intolerance issue?

You may want to try Hill's A/D if he can handle it.
post #15 of 15
Dear Geri and Family:

I haven't had you all out of my mind since reading your post; I am hoping and praying that he has rallied?
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