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How much care...

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am new here (haha, obviously). My "Kitty" has just turned 21 and has had a pretty bad year. She was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and given daily meds to control it. Following the meds she became very lethargic and stopped eating, it was then determined that they gave us the wrong dose for her. She subsequently developed fatty liver disease from not eating (I can't remember the exact name of the disease) and was hospitalized for three days to be force fed and have IV rehydration. Amazingly she recovered pretty well for a cat her age, after 2 weeks she was putting some weight back on and eating properly.
I guess I'm just wondering as little things keep popping up every other month, how much care would any of you seek for a 21 year old cat? I mean, don't get me wrong, she has been with me for all of her 21 years (despite being very allergic to her) and I love her dearly. The list of things that she just 'has to live with' because they can't be treated because of her age or some other condition is just getting longer and longer.
She seems to be herself, and for the most part eating well. She tolerates a bath every few weeks (we were told that she is likely unable to groom at her age), we have even got her used to having her teeth brushed to try to help her gums out a bit.
Has anyone else had a cat this age? I feel kind of like I'm in uncharted territory. It seems like every time we are at the vet for a problem we are told that we should probably do the least to just make her comfortable. I feel like they really don't know her though.. is that crazy? She seems good when she is well... and she recovers from her issues quickly, usually within a week or two.
I guess I just need an opinion or two so I can hold my head up next time I spend 2k at the vet while they shake their heads in disbelief. Any opinions welcome.. the more the merrier.
post #2 of 7
Welcome to TCS!
You certainly deserve the highest praises for being an awesome guardian to your cat.
Joji is my senior. She isn't as old as Kitty but like you I would do everything to keep her happy and well. And be proud of it.
post #3 of 7
Congrates on your baby making it to 21 ..

kitty will tell you when it is time

I have a 17.5 yr old"sister" ... I check my check book and vet bills and nothing to seroius topped 800 last year... she still plays and talks like a young girl so I will keep taking her and splitting the cost with Mom when I can
post #4 of 7
It sounds to me like your cat is doing great. Chronological age doesn't tell you the whole story. My grandmother, for instance, is 87 but has the physiology of someone in her 60's. She literally still has a spring in her step. My friend's cat, 22 years old and undergoing chemotherapy for intestinal cancer, would get home from her treatments and pull a toy out from the box to play with. Age really is just a number!

You'll know when it's time to stop aggressive medical treatment for various conditions when she stops responding to it. Since she's consistently responded very well to medical treatment, it makes the most sense to continue to pursue it. When it stops working, then it will be time to consider alternatives.
post #5 of 7
I would be sure to feed her a high quality diet(high fat and protein,low carbs) and be sure to monitor her drinking and urination. With her age, kidney function is something you want to monitor...Be sure to have her thyroid tests done as often as recommeneded too. Also, keep an eye on her weight, make sure she's not loosing too much with the hyperthyroidism. It's sounds like you're doing a great job of caring for her...force feeding and SubQ(under the skin)fluids are things your vet may be able to teach you to do at home, if you're comfortable with it and time allows, to save $ if she has reoccurring episodes... Good luck, hope she stays well
post #6 of 7
Congratulations on taking such good care of this precious cat. If she were mine, I would continue to take care of her until she is hurting and there is no relief for her. You will know when it is time to think about something else. Your cat still has some good quality of life. I would treasure every moment she has left. But I would never let her get in any kind of condition to be in constant pain and suffering. I have known folks who still do every treatment the vet suggests, even when the cat is suffering. I even did it once myself, but it taught me a lesson. You deserve a lot of credit for having done all the right things to keep your cat with you for this long. Hold your head high when you go to the dr. with the cat. If necessary, even tell him you intend to treat your baby until you can be sure there is no recovery for her.
post #7 of 7
You have to step out of yourself and go into her world. Understand that cats are masters at hiding pain. Low on the food chain, they have come to understand that showing signs of weakness, illness and other type of behavior when they don't feel good, shortens their life. You have to ask yourself if she really does have quality of life, or if you are just thinking she does because you can't let her go? You look into her eyes and probe her soul and weigh her actions in your mind. These are the tough questions and the difficult decisions you have to make. If she could make them, she would. But she is dependent on you, not only to love her while she is with you, but to release her from pain when it is overwhelming her. I have had cats die in my arms and to their last breath, they are purring. They purr when they are in pain, scared, contented or relaxed, so don't let that be your guidepost.

Best of luck-
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