or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › Ancient Tabby's Health Failing
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Ancient Tabby's Health Failing  

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
My oldest cat -- in fact, the oldest cat I've ever met -- is a calico tabby named Mattress. She is so named because she suddenly appeared, full grown, from inside a mattress & boxspring set that had just been shipped cross-country in 1985. We don't know where she came from originally, but she has lived with us in the Carolinas for the past 21 years --- because she was already "fixed" when we found her, I'm guessing that she is at least 22 years old (but possibly older).

Mattie is the grand matriarch in my household, and our other 4 cats give her a wide berth --- not because she's mean or aggressive, but because she is more dignified and more deserving of respect, I suppose.

The last (and only) time I took her to the vet was 10 years ago, when a bladder infection struck her down. At that time, the vet recommended that we put her to sleep because she was "so old and weak"... Well, she recovered quite nicely and here we are 10 years later. This is, by far, the toughest cat I've ever known.

In the last 2 years, however, I know that she has lost about 90% of her hearing -- she still responds to very high-pitched noises and finger-snaps, but she now mainly obeys hand gestures rather than verbal commands.

Also, about a year ago, we noticed that her breath was going bad, and I figured this was because she was starting to lose her teeth. Ever adaptable, Mattie gradually switched from hard foods to soft foods and finally to soup -- wet catfood mixed with warm water.

Through all of this, Mattie has remained a happy, loving, purring baby.

However, in the last month we have seen a drastic change in her health --- her bad breath suddenly became positively intolerable, and she has started drooling and bubbling from the mouth. The mucus from her mouth is sometimes bloody, although her infrequent stools appear completely normal. Her appetite is now erratic, but she drinks great quantities of water. Most telling, she is losing all interest in her appearance, and doesn't attempt to groom at all.

In my experience with other cats, the lack of grooming is a BAD sign... But I just can't tell with Mattie if she's actually dying or if she's going to recover on her own and live another 10 years.

The smelly, bloody mucus from her mouth is what concerns me most at this point. We have tried rinsing her mouth with warm salt water and natural, mild mouthwashes, which seem to help for a few hours at a time. I am really hesitant to take her to the vet because I already know what he'll say.

In the meantime, she still wanders around the house, jumps up and down, sleeps in the sun, meows, climbs in my lap, purrs, etc, as if she's trying to continue her life normally. She doesn't seem to be in any pain -- in fact, she seems sort of oblivious to her deteriorating health.

Any thoughts on what ailment she may have, aside from advanced old age?
post #2 of 30
I see where you're coming from in regards to what the Vet might say... however. you seem to have a strong cat with good genes... Mattie has survived this long, who's to say Mattie won't make it through again?

However, lets assume the Vet doesn't suggest active euthanasia and puts Mattie on medication and that medication is what makes Mattie survive... wouldn't it be a ashame if you didn't go?

I personally think, it's downhill from here because Mattie is just simply old.. now i'm no Doctor, but that's how I see it. I hope i'm wrong, I hope Mattie gets better.

Good luck, keep us updated.
post #3 of 30
Oh honey, love her, hug her, pet her and get her to the vets. There still may be something new that will help Mattie into a longer old age, but with the grace and dignity that she had before.

Please let us know how she makes out, will you?

PS: Welcome to TheCatSite.
post #4 of 30
I would seriously consider taking her to the vet. Bad breath can be caused from many things including kidney failure or decaying teeth. At her age it could be either, both or many other things. She could have an abcess in her mouth from bad teeth becoming infected which would be very painful and make it hard for her to eat. There is no way of knowing what it is without a trip to the vet. I'm on antibiotics myself for an infected tooth and man has it been painful. I would hate for one of my babies to suffer the pain I have from a bad tooth. Who knows, maybe it's something that's not too bad that a simple antibiotic will clear up.

You've obviously done a great job caring for her all these years or she wouldn't have made it to 22. I hope you can find out what the problem is. Good luck!
post #5 of 30
It is time to take your lovely Mattie to a vet and at the least get an exam and some senior blood work done.. Most issues with seniors cat s if caught early are treatable ... My Kandie is an example at 18.5 she has had CRF or cronic ranal failure for nearly four yrs .... her last blood work is the same as the past two years cept for she has a UTI which is being treated
post #6 of 30
I have had a couple of cat with kidney problems and it does sound like her symptoms are consistent with that. If it is her kidneys and assuming her other organs are in decent shape it is treatable with a change in diet and she might possibly require supplemental fluids. It shouldn't be too expensive and will make her much more comfortable. Congratulations on your long lived kitty. I recently lost one of mine who was 19 and thought that was old!
post #7 of 30
Welcome to TCS and congratulations on keeping your Mattie in relatively good health for so long. I do agree that she should go to the vet - it seems the only alternative as you can do nothing to make her better at home, and there is always a chance that some simple treatment will help. You would not want her to suffer for nothing, especially since she has always been a dignified cat.
post #8 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your replies and goodwill. Mattie wishes you all season's greetings. Again, let me stress that this cat seems indomitable -- In spite of her illness, she is very indignant that we are cleaning her with baby-wipes. You can see it in her face and eyes --- and, no, I'm not anthropomorphizing. When you live with a person (even a cat-person) for 21 years, you KNOW that person's emotional cycles. Mattie thinks we are over-reacting.

Before I go on, let me tell you that I am almost thoroughly anti-vet. A long time ago, I lived with a perfectly beautiful black manx named Sister Woman. At the age of 13, she was diagnosed with cancer. I agreed with the vet to amputate her hind leg at the hip at that time --- so she became a reclusive tripod. A year later, she was diagnosed with an esophageal tumor --- so we agreed to a stomach tube implant. Sister Woman died of a heart attack shortly thereafter. The vet charged us a total of $12,000 for this prolonged death-dance.

And, NO, the few extra months of living with a surgically-debilitated animal WAS NOT WORTH the expenditure. This was a HORRIBLE experience. I have vowed that it will never happen again on my watch. I don't mind telling you, I feel ashamed for for prolonging the death of Sister Woman -- but it was never my place to decide WHEN she should die.

In Mattie's case, I marvel that this strong little baby is telling us to BACK OFF and let HER deal with dying, if that is in fact what she's doing.
post #9 of 30
Mattie's and your decisions should be respected. However....(isn't there always a "however"), a call to the vet for information, may give you some better ideas to help your sweetheart.

I can understand your feelings. My DiddoKahli let me know when she had had enough and with dignity, love and tears, we went to sleep.

Mattie isn't the only indomitable spirit there, and you are to be commended for loving her enough to let her be on her own terms. Bless you.
post #10 of 30
If her mouth is icky she won't want to clean herself with it. Perhaps she could have her teeth cleaned or treated. Or she may need antibiotics at this point for a simple gum infection.

Heck a cat this ancient deserves a fundraiser for this type of thing, to make her more comfortable.
post #11 of 30
The vet can suggest anything he or she wants, but Mattie is your baby, and you call the shots for her. The vet's there to give an opinion, and to treat the way you choose given the options.
I am sorry for your awful experience with Sister Woman. It's so horrible to lose them, and even worse when they are not comfortable. None of that was your vet's fault, though. I will agree that $12,000 is an awful big vet bill, the vet gave you options and you acted on them, correct? It's not your fault either, but unfortunately these things happen.
I would strongly recommend that you take Mattie to a vet. A different vet than the one who charged you all that money! She could, as another member has already pointed out, have an abcess in her mouth that is curable. She may be fading away due to something that's totally treatable. She also may have failing kidneys, as is common with cats, especially geriatric ones, and she can be treated to a degree for that, too.

Ultimately, it is your decision what happens with Mattie. You don't have to take the vet's advice, you know her better than anyone, and you know when she is ready to go and when she is not.

All the best to you and Mattie.
post #12 of 30
Please find a new vet that you are comfotable with and take your wonderful "grand dame" to him or her. She sounds like an astonishing cat and you should try and find someone you can trust to correctly diagnose and treat this wonderful cat! Kitty vibes to her from Sophie, Mollie and Ollie!
post #13 of 30
Wow, what an excellent age for a cat. But, please, please take her to the vets to get to the bottom of this - however anti-vet you are, cats need vet visits, and senior cats should have at least 2 a year. Kidney probs jump out at me from the breath and drinking water, and they can go hand in hand with dental issues, but they can be managed, and you could have years together left, but kidney probs left untreated will make a cat feel very, very miserable. Good luck.
post #14 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thought you might like to see a 22-year-old calico tabby named Mattie... Pretty much life-size photo. She agreed to the photoshoot as long as I didn't use a flash.

post #15 of 30
Mattie is a beautiful senior kitty.
I would take her in to be checked by a vet.
Be very clear about what you expect.
If nothing else, if she is in pain,
medication can help that.
Precious Mattie will be in my thoughts.
post #16 of 30
Mattie, you're absolutely gorgeous!

I, too, very strongly recommend that your little lady see her Vet for a thorough exam including senior labs. Cats are the ultimate experts in concealing pain and illness, and with these very serious symptoms, she is in great need of treatment. This could be a treatable condition that would return her to health. Otherwise, she will continue to suffer, and this breaks my heart.

I also extent big welcomes from my girlies and me to our new fellow NC'ian friends!
post #17 of 30
Mattie's story is amazing. It would make a great children's story book! And she has lived longer then any cat I've ever known. I'm sure there are others out there but I'm still amazed! I'm going to say something that is not meant to be mean or offend, rather, to prepare. It sounds like Mattie's body has deteriorated to the point where her body is starting to shut down. Maybe even possibly her kidneys are shutting down. Humans react the same when their bodies are shutting down and badly deteriorated. Right down to the foamy saliva. The intolerable breath is a sign of that but as others have said, it could also just be because of decaying teeth. Depending on how long it's been since she lost her teeth, or if she still has a few left. I would take her to a vet and at least make sure there isn't something you can do for her. If they tell you to put her down and you're not ready, ask them for something to make her comfortable and take her home. Whatever your decission is, I respect that. I have twice in the last 1 1/2 years have had to make decissions of my male Persian, Jake who was near death both times. He is 5 years old so it was hard to accept letting him go. So I didn't! And he is once again doing well. I'm going to follow this thread. You've really touched my heart. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Mattie.

XOXOXOXO For Mattie.
post #18 of 30
Mattie is a beautiful cat, and what an amazing girl she is!

I would add only one thing to that last comment--I'd get two vets' opinions about her health. If both say that the cat is in pain and needs to be put to rest, I'd follow their advice.
I had a dog die of kidney failure and she had all the symptoms except the foamy saliva--she did not get that far.

you did not mention whether she was still peeing; if she has stopped doing this, it is a serious condition.

Mattie has had a long and happy life with you and while we all hope that she can continue to stay with you, her comfort and quality of life should be considered when making any decisions.

And a vet is best qualified to make them. Good luck and best wishes to wonderful Mattie.
post #19 of 30
Thread Starter 
QUOTE: you did not mention whether she was still peeing; if she has stopped doing this, it is a serious condition.

No, she hasn't stopped urinating. Because of her diet, which is largely catfood soup, she urinates quite regularly. As I mentioned earlier, I don't see anything unusual coming out of her except the (sometimes) bloody drool from her mouth. She seems blissfully unaware that there's anything wrong with her, and she's rather indignant that we're making such a fuss over her. But that's Mattie for you.
post #20 of 30
Mattie...you are such a special lady.
post #21 of 30
Thread Starter 
The very good and wise and magical Mattie, aged 22 years, passed on today at 2:35 pm. She is survived by her younger brother, Mike, and her much younger sisters Abby, Neely and Gilda; Mattie was preceded in death by her adopted kitten Fluff, who died of old age 4 years ago (Fluff was 17). Mattie was surrounded by her family at the end and gently passed in her sleep --- and, although our hearts are breaking now, a quiet peace has settled through our home and we know that there is a new senior angel in heaven tonight. God Bless You, Mattie. We Love You Forever.

Thanks to everyone here for your kind thoughts and advice. It's always good to have a whole team on your side when facing the tragic and inevitable. God Bless You All, and Best Wishes of the Season.

Charlie, Mary, Mike, Abby, Neely, Gilda and Her Highness Mattie
post #22 of 30
My heart and thoughts go out to you and yours. Sad, headbroken headbuts and tearful, sorry licks from KittenKiya's Clan.
post #23 of 30
Condolences to you and your family. Maddie is now romping like a youngster again with our other kitties over the bridge.
post #24 of 30
My deepest condolences on your loss.

RIP Mattie. Play happily over the Bridge
post #25 of 30
RIP Mattie You lived a long life now you are healthy and whole again
post #26 of 30
i am so sorry to hear this, RIP little one.
post #27 of 30
Play at the Bridge sweet angel.
RIP precious Mattie.
post #28 of 30
Rip Mattie...
post #29 of 30
I am so sorry you have had to go through this, but Mattie had the best and longest life possible with you, where she was much loved and will be missed. I am glad she had a peaceful passing.
post #30 of 30
With all the respect due such an extraordinary and regal old lady, I will now close this thread in honor of Mattie's passing.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Health
This thread is locked  
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › Ancient Tabby's Health Failing