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Can Anyone Help Please? (Long Post - Sorry)

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Hello. I'm new to this forum. Unfortunately I have a major problem and anything anyone can suggest will be greatly appreciated.

I have a little cat, Lucy who I've had for the past 9 years. She's a very special little cat because I got her as a rescue. Her previous owners were very cruel to her with the result she is permanently crippled

She is, at a rough guess, about 16 years old. She has been an indoor cat all the 9 years I've had her. She's mostly lived in my bedroom, been my and my husband's constant companion. Whatever we've given her, she's given us 110% love and loyalty back.

A week ago, Lucy started sneezing which, as we'd had a lot of renovation work done on our kitchen and dust was finding its way everywhere, didn't really worry us. However, within a couple of days, it was clear she wasn't very well so we took her to the vet. Our vet said he thought she'd picked up an airborne virus and gave her a couple of injections, one an anti-inflammatory, the other an antibiotic plus pills to take. This seemed to boost her no end and apart from the occasional sneeze she was back to normal, eating and drinking fine and just being, well, Lucy.

Since Tuesday night she's deteriorated rapidly, stopped eating and is hiding away from us. She doesn't even like me stroking her anymore. On Wednesday we took her back to the vet where she got another injection. Still no change, so we took her back to the vet today. He thinks there may be another underlying problem like liver or kidney failure given her age (16 is only an estimate, so she could even be a lot older than that). She got another couple of injections today, one to try and boost her immune system and another antibiotic. As I write this, I've just gently and slowly syringe fed her 150ml of water. She hated me doing this so much I had to stop. She's still got some fiesteness left - I've got the scratches to prove it.

The vet's also given me pills of which she's got to get 1/4 of daily to try and boost her appetite and get her eating again. He says if this doesn't work over the weekend, she'll have to be hospitalised, put on a drip or we may have to discuss putting her to sleep.

I feel in my heart she is not going to recover from this as she just doesn't seem to have the strength left to fight this infection due to her age.

Can anyone suggest anything at all to help boost her energy levels to try and fight this illness?

I also feel, that as she's a housecat, she's hiding away from me (under my bed, right in the middle where it's harder to reach her) because she knows she's dying.

Although I've got 10 other cats, ages ranging from 18 months to 12/13 years old (another rescue age unknown), Lucy is so special and dear to me. Selfishly I don't want to lose her. I really can't imagine life without her yet I know her time is coming. If anyone can suggest some way to help her, please let me know.

post #2 of 34
Dear Python,
I'm new to the group also, and I'm sure you'll get some good advice here.
16 years is a ripe old age for a cat; as you say, she may be older.
I have had many cats, and from my experience, once they start refusing to eat, there is little left to do.
However, that being said, I would try one more time with my vet, get her diagnosed if possible, and take it from there.
Once my beloved German Shepherd mix began to have liver failure, she went downhill fast, and the best decision was to put her down. Hardest thing I've ever done.
If it's in your heart not to give up on her yet, hang in there and see what your vet can do; but when you sense you're holding on to her for yourself rather than for her best interest, I'd prayerfully let her go.
My two cents, best of luck and let us know what happens.
It is so hard to lose such a special animal friend!
post #3 of 34

First of all I am sorry for your anguish. Lucy sounds like a special cat and it may very well be that your best efforts will be in vain. I am curious why the vet is injecting her, has he done any bloodwork? A senior panel? Or is he just going on how symptamatic she is? I would take her back to the vet and ask for blood to be drawn so they can see her functions. Also, how long has she not been eating? Is she eating anything at all?

You can spread some organic catnip around, that might stimulate her. Also, please see my article, within it you will find tips on how to get a reluctant cat to eat.

I wish you the best, please don't keep her around if she desires otherwise. Listen to her closely and put your needs aside and then you will do the right thing, whatever it may be.,

post #4 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies. She has some kind of URI which has really knocked her for six I live in the UK and vets over here don't normally draw blood unless it's absolutely necessary. Depending on how she is over the weekend I will have the option of either getting her hospitalised on Monday, where the vet has already said they'll take some blood for tests while she's there or discussing euthanisia

The intriguing thing with all this, is it's not the usual cat flu - similar symptoms, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes except her temperature's been perfectly normal all the way through. She doesn't have a fever.

The dilema I'm faced with is, I know she's a very old cat and I don't want her to suffer. Putting her in hospital could kill her anyway as she's never left our side for 9 years and putting her through that and making her miserable could make things so much worse for her, when looking at her at the moment, I feel the end result will be the same - she's not going to recover. Before I got her she was treated dreadfully - she was permanently crippled and also has some mild brain-damage. I don't want her to feel I've abandoned her - it would break her little heart and mine too. It's such a difficult thing to weigh up. On one hand, I want her to get well again and be able to have her with me for a while longer yet, but on the other hand I don't want her to suffer and be miserable.

What I really need is a miracle
post #5 of 34
I work with abused kitties and cats. I have had near drowning victims Cats that have been crucified Cats intentionally run over by their owners.

When these cats go into the hospital, you can make it easier on them in several ways. Take an old tee-shirt, one that is sort of worn out and not needed. Put it on (sans bra) and do a major workout- you want that shirt so wet with your body scent that you have to wring it out. Stick it in a plastic ziplock bag and take it to the vet with you. Tell the techs that you don't care if you ever see the shirt again, but it needs to be in the cage with your cat at al times. Also ask them to cover the cage she is in. You can also take her favorite toys and sleep with them and keep them close to your body so your odor transfers on them. You want your scent near her, this will keep her calm.

Good luck-
post #6 of 34
Maybe see if your vet will send you home with some fluids? One of my cats broke a leg and became very weak from dragging a bulky cast around. He stopped eating and became very lethargic, they gave him a 50% 50% of surviving. I didn't have a lot of money to have them diagnose him so I told them to just put him on fluids and see what happens. I know it's not at all the same situation as your kitty but chances are she's probably not drinking/eating enough to help her body fight the infection. I hope things get better for you/your kitty
post #7 of 34
Thread Starter 
We managed to get 150ml of water into her about 2 hours ago. To get her rehydrated (or stop her dehydrating worse) any idea how much water we should be aiming to get into her? It saddens me that she doesn't like me doing this and she is struggling against it. We are trying to be as gentle with her as possible. I'm going up to our 24 hour supermarket shortly as my husband finishes work at 3am (yes it's nearly 3am here in the UK) and I have to pick him up from work as I've got the car and I'm going to get some chicken breasts, boil them and make a broth with them, let it cool and try to get her to have some.

One thing that has struck me as odd with Lucy. Usually she comes running when I call her. Several times over the last 3 weeks (before she became ill), she ignored me. I think perhaps, looking back in hindsight, she may have been getting ill some weeks ago. Perhaps this infection's something secondary, not primary. To be honest, I just think old-age has caught up with her
post #8 of 34
Just be careful giving her liquids, do it slow or you could get fluid in her lungs and that would be really bad. Drip the liquid into her mouth, don't squirt it-
post #9 of 34
Grr, I wrote an entire post and accidently hit the back button! So i'll just sum it up quickly. Get some pedialite to put back electrolyes that she may be losing. Approach giving fluids to her from the side of her mouth rather than from the front and just slowly squirt it in allowing her to swallow it on her own. Give small doses frequently rather than large doses a few times. Old age may have caught up with her and you shouldn't feel guilty at all if you did decide to put her under. My kitty responded really well to (IV) fluids, and he was basically in a coma state on and off for 3 days. I never did find out exactly what was wrong with him but he was very lethargic and wouldn't respond to us at all, it was a very slow process with him too, probably 2-3 weeks from when he started acting funny. Which is almost the worst way because it's so slow you don't really realize they're so sick. Please keep up updated, and good luck
post #10 of 34
You are not abandoning her in any way, shape or form. She instinctively knows you are caring for her. She knows. Have deep faith in that, and it will guide you. If she crosses that line between suffering and fighting any illness off, you will know it. It's just something that you know when you look her in the eyes. I've been there, many years ago, and it was just a failing thyroid. I chose to hospitalize her at the vet's that morning and in hindsight I regret it, because she was so close it would've been better to let her pass at home beside me. YOU are a wonderful momma, a great owner, and she will let you know. I have no doubt you will make the right decision when it's time. Be strong, be calm, you are loved.
post #11 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your words of kindness. It really does help to know there are people out there who know exactly what we're going through.

I had to nurse another elderly cat a few years ago, our lovely ginger tom, George. He was 21 when I had to have him put to sleep. He just stopped eating one day and lost weight very rapidly. I was with a different vet then who are not so good as the vets I have now. Sadly, George didn't make it despite being hospitalised and put on the drip twice. It did buck him up for a few days and he would eat a little, then stop eating and eventually, after about 6 weeks of vet treatment it was obvious he wasn't going to get any better and we were only putting of that dreadful day but making him suffer in the process. The day we had him put to sleep, he just looked me straight in the eye as if to say "Mum, I'm tired now. I want to go to sleep" so reluctantly I had the vet do just that for him. I stayed with him the whole time then took him home and buried him in the garden with great ceremony. I still miss George but remember him often as I do the many others I have lost in the past - Sooty, killed on Christmas Eve 1983. Darkie killed in an RTA 1990. My beloved Felix, a housecat who got out and was sadly killed right in front of our house. The driver didn't even stop. Beautiful Casper who was killed the first week after we moved to the house we live in now in mysterious circumstances - not a car accident, but we think a dog got him. Jasper and Jester our twins who were born with congenital defects - passed away peacefully within two weeks of each other. Toby a stray cat who decided to move in with us. He too was very old, at least 16 probably 18. An old stray no-one wanted. Many trips to the vet and he became a handsome, if elderly chap who followed me everywhere, supervised my gardening and lavished love on us like no other cat has ever done. Then one day last year, he'd been sleeping longer and longer, just got up, yawned, stretched went into the back garden and that was the last time we saw him. We searched everywhere for him, even our GSD Sadie who was Toby's best friend searched for him to no avail. I contacted the RSPCA and every vet in town, the Cats Protection League and every animal sanctuary I could think of. To this day we have never found him. I just think he went off into the woodland behind our house and died of old age. I'm just glad the 5 years he chose to live with us, he was well cared for, kept as healthy as possible with good vet care and above all, he was loved and wanted.

When we fed Lucy water through the syringe tonight we did it slowly and very carefully as I know it would be so easy to choke her, especially as she is still breathing through her mouth. What we did is drip a little at a time through the side of her mouth. I had 300ml in the syringe but stopped after 150ml as she was getting distressed.

I've bought some chicken breasts and I will boil one and fill the syringe with some of the liquid cooled so it's just warm and try her with that later in the morning.

One thing I didn't mention was that the light seems to be hurting her eyes. She's hiding under my bed (where it's dark) so I used a small torch. I didn't shine it directly at her but above her and she moved quite quickly away from the light. I shall leave the curtains closed and hope she won't feel so distressed and hope that she will take some of the chicken broth.
post #12 of 34
It doesn't sound good for Lucy, but my hopes are with you.
post #13 of 34
There's really not much I can say other than to follow your instincts. Eventually all of us reach a point of no return, when the best medical care can only prolong our dying. You and Lucy are in my thoughts.
post #14 of 34
Originally Posted by jcat
There's really not much I can say other than to follow your instincts.
I am the same. I really wish I could offer you that miracle though
I have no advise I can give you, but I can offer you a shoulder to lean on should you ever need it.
Stay strong Lucy sweetheart

I wept as I read your post about all your other kitties that have passed... its always tragic to loose a loved one.. RIP sweet ones

know that we are all here for you should you need us during this time with Lucy (and behond)

give Lucy a kiss on her nose from all of us

I wish you all the best of strength in the coming days
post #15 of 34
I'm so sorry to hear about Lucy. It does sound like maybe it is her time to go. Hugs and prayers for you and your beloved Lucy. You have given her a wonderfull home in her last few years..
post #16 of 34
In my experience, when they start breathing through their mouth, it is pretty much over for them. I know this is difficult, and I sometimes ask people who contact me on this subject, one question- "If you were in this cat's place, what would you want your owner to do?" That sometimes help, to distance yourself away from your needs and look closely at your cat and see what she really wants.

I wish you the best and it sounds like any cat that wanders into your life, hits paydirt!
post #17 of 34
I was in the same position as you a year ago. Read the signs Lucy is giving you. She will let you know when it is time. It's the hardest decision you have to make, but your cat's feelings are more important than yours right now. I'm sending hugs to you both.
post #18 of 34
Thread Starter 
Lucy is still with us. At the moment I am boiling a chicken breast and will feed her the broth via a syringe when it's cooled in the hope that we can get some nourishment in her as well as fluid. I am also shortly going to get the bathroom steamed up, wrap her well in a towel and take her in there in the hope that it eases her blocked nose.

Many people have been recommending Little Noses. Does anyone know what the UK equivalent might be as I've never heard of it before?
post #19 of 34
I think Karvol do things for babies which should be similar to 'Little noses'
Or you could try a Vicks Vaporiser in the room.

Best wishes Anne
post #20 of 34
Bless your heart... I know how hard this is. However it comes, I hope her passing can be pain-free, at home in your arms. I am sending light and love to Lucy and to you...
post #21 of 34
Your vet should do bloodwork and xrays. At her age this could be cancer, it is unlikely that a simple URI would take her this long to get over. Has she been in contact with other cats lately? Has she ever been tested for feleuk or FIV?
post #22 of 34
Thread Starter 
Lucy's never been tested. She began sneezing last Friday night but as I said in my original post we had been getting major work done on our kitchen and dust was everywhere. Even we were sneezing with it so didn't give it much thought. It wasn't till Monday that it was apparent that there was something wrong with Lucy so we took her straight to the vet where she got two shots, one an antibiotic to help prevent any secondary infection setting in and the other an anti-inflammatory. This seemed to do the trick at the time and she was back to her usual self by late evening. Unfortunately, by late Tuesday night she had deteriorated again and had to be taken back to the vet on Wednesday. She was given another shot. It made no difference so she went back yesterday and was given another two shots of antibiotic and anti-inflammatory again.

Tonight we got the bathroom steamed up. I put a little Vicks in the water and we sat in the bathroom for about 15 minutes. My son very gently and carefully removed the dried up mucus from Lucy's nose and we gently bathed her face and eyes (using a fresh cotton-wool pad for each eye, nose and mouth). She wasn't too happy about it - she's still fiesty then we put her back in the bedroom to relax.

I went up to the bedroom about an hour ago and Lucy came out from under the bed and for the first time in several days, she took a drink of water by herself. A very small step in the right direction. We have also managed to get 300ml of chicken broth via syringe, very carefully a drip at a time through the side of her mouth onto her tongue. Hopefully this will give here some nourishment as well as fluid too. We are going to repeat this in about another hour's time as we don't want to go too quickly with this incase we stress her out too much.

I am also going to mix up some A/D and put it on a flat plate for her as I think she would manage a flat plate better than her own bowl at the moment and hope she will try to eat some of that.

I hope we've reached a turning point but her drinking water by herself has given me a little ray of hope.
post #23 of 34
The great thing about a/d is that it can also fit into a syringe. If she's not eating you can try very small doses so she can get a little bit of nutriets. After a long period of not eating cats can easily develop hepatic lipadosis. Vets will often suggest feeding them human food, or whatever they'll eat because something is better than nothing. Hope things continue to improve!
post #24 of 34
Try to raise her dishes up too. If she has a cold her sinuses will be congested and sore- she may not want to lower her head to eat and drink.
post #25 of 34
fingers crossed that you have reached a turning point... your doing such an amazing job caring for yer your in our thoughts
post #26 of 34
Thread Starter 
Lucy's a lot better today (she's still getting IV fluids at the vets). Her eyes have stopped watering now - it's just her nose that's choked up. Her temperature is normal but she is still on antibiotics. The vet has also given her some medication to break up the mucus in her nose so she can breathe through her nose again. She's still not eating but they think once they get her nose cleared she will.

We've just come back from visiting her and, oh boy, was she pleased to see us. She's got her purr back (first time I've heard her purring in over a week) and was so pleased to see us she was getting tangled up on her drip line, rolling over on her back for me to rub her tummy and giving me snotty-nosed kisses. I'm very cautiously optimistic she may make a full recovery, but it's early days yet. Lucy is not a cat who drinks water often so when they stop the IV fluids, that will be a telling time. She's one of those cats who gets enough liquid through her food so she really has got to start eating. She's also an incredibly fussy cat who'll only eat certain foods - and lets you know if she doesn't like something! She can give you such a filthy, reproachful look. Of all our cats, she's got the most expressive face. You can tell when she's happy, when she's annoyed, when she doesn't like the food you've put down for her, when she's feeling mischievous just by looking at the expression on her face.

I hope she continues to improve and am keeping my fingers crossed that she's back home with us soon.
post #27 of 34
So glad she is doing well
post #28 of 34
hope she is back home with you soon
post #29 of 34
Sending prayers and Get Well Soon vibes to Lucy.
post #30 of 34
When I first started reading this thread, I was so worried! It does sound as if Lucy is improving, which I hope is still the case. You have done an amazing thing, caring for this girl the way you have. Rest assured, she will never forget the love and kindness you have shown her!
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