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Need help about my dying cat

Discussion in 'Cats - all breeds / types' started by Martica, Sep 6, 2004.

  1. Martica

    Martica New Member

    I just found out that my 14 year old Artichoke is dying of cancer. He has been losing weight for several months, and rapidly in the past 2 or 3. I took him to the vet to get his teeth cleaned, thinking that would help him eat more, but he said he was anemic and severely dehydrated. (He had been diagnosed with early kidney disease 2 months early but THAT vet never mentioned that I should watch or inject fluids.) I left him at the new vet for 3 nights so he could be injec ted with IV fluids for 4 full days. I spent many hours at the vet just sitting my his cage petting and kissing him. He was weak and fatigued but was definitely happy that i was there, he purred.

    After blood tests, Xrays, ultrasound and abdominal cavity fluid extracted, he has been diagnosed with cancer possibly in the stomach/intestines/liver, although unsure where and for sure unless he's cut open which I can't justify doing since without there appearing to be a definite tumor, he said he is not a candidate to be operated on. Also, too old for chemo and in too bad shape to take it.

    The fluid definitely improved him and he gained over a 1 lb. But the vet says he has 10 days to 2 months.

    I brought him home last night (he went in Wed am, we came home Sat night). And now he has trouble walking and I don't know why. He walks about 12 steps then just lies and rests where he is. Then he walks a little mroe and rests, and over and over with the same pattern. He has jumped up and off the sofa and bed, albeit very wobbly in his back hips/legs. This is new and I wonder if it's just the fact that his muscle atrophied a little in the cage and this is just weakness that will get stronger as he walks more at home? Or I wonder if this is some intestinal deterioration or something making him be in pain/or weak? I do not know if he has pooped--he has peed a lot thank goodness. I have several problems that I need help with:

    1. Poop
    I also have his 14 year old brother, Fred, and find it very hard to know who pooped. I don't think Artichoke has and if so, how long is ok to wait to do something about it? He hasn't eaten much. Some fresh kitten, some liquified kidney diet food that I've injected in his mouth with the syringe (but not even a 1/4 of a can today). So I think that's all he's had in the past few days, not much. I don't think he pooped, only peed at the vet. Could the wobbly hips be the result of constipation?

    2. Jealous---and mean--brother cat
    To my hugest surprise, Fred, who has always been dominant to Arti, but has LOVED, licked and cuddled with his brother for 14 years, completey ignored Arti when he came home and has even hissed at him twice. My neighbor told me that her healthy cats sometimes attacked her sick cat. I had expected Fred to give him love to make him feel better and now he's jealous, meowing all the time unless i'm petting him and staying away from Arti. does anyone know what to do about this? I'm a little worred that he might be mean to Arti who is too weak to defend himself if I step out for a few hours (fortunately I work from home but do go out for several hours at a time)

    3. Healers, acupuncture, etc.
    Has anyone tried any alternative therapies to either improve the cat's disease or at least diminish pain?

    4. What should I do to make Arti feel better. His purring is def. less often and weak but I'm dousing him with love and affection. Is there anything more I can do to make him enjoy his last days?

    5. How do I know when he's dying?
    I do not want to put him to sleep as he is my soul and my world (i'm much closer to hiim than to fred). But I don't want him to be in pain. Only I have a very very hard time telling if he's in pain. I see that he is tired and weak, but does that mean he hurts? I need more specific signs so I can better take care and do the right thing.

    6. Tips on IV fluid giving
    I'm giving him fluid everyday (150ml) but he's drinking lots of water, should I give less fluid? Also I'm forcefeeding mushed up food thru syringe in mouth but he's eating a little on his own--chicken slices which may not be best for his kidneys but I'd reather he ate and gained weight and muscle backk. I'm giving him antibiotics and just started prednisone (for inflammation pain if any). I'm a little scared to stick the fluid needle in him--any tips

    Please help me, I'm a complete wreck and don't know what I'd do without him. I've had him 14 years. My boyfriend thinks I'm being obsessive and perhaps giving him more attention than he wants and I should accpet the fact that it may be his time to go and maybe he's ready to go. He doesn't understand that I believe this cat is at one with my sould.

    You can also email me at: MarticaKH@cs.com.

    thank you
    Martica in New York city
  2. Mary_NH

    Mary_NH New Member

    your cat is going to have to eat more than just 1/4 can a day....any less than that and you'd be looking at even more liver damage.

    What you need to consider is his quality of life at this point....ask yourself if he has any. It's hard and honestly I wouldn't want to be in your shoes right now. But after 14 loving years do you think he's ready to go? Do you think he'd want to continue living like this having to be force fed and have IV fluids injected now and then along with the added stress of this?

    His brother might only have hissed at him from the vet smell on him. It may be the illness but if he stops hissing at him it might just have been the smell - which will probably happen after each vet visit.

    Quality of life is so important for our pets...it's a hard thing to do and judge - but only you can be the judge of this

    My heart is with you
  3. RoWdY

    RoWdY New Member

    Oh, how I hear you! :cry:

    I'm going through the same thing!

    I'm so unsure about any of it really. How did your vet diagnose him with cancer? I'm asking because my vet keeps saying my Rowdy has cancer but she doesn't really know. She said something about there being alot of lymphocites or something in the abdominal fluid. Did your vet say that about Artichoke too? Love the name by the way.

    My cat won't poop either. He did last week for the first time in two weeks and the vet said that I must be just missing it somewhere. :0011: I'm sure he isn't and I was wondering the same thing as you. Mine just started getting the wobbly legs today. I mean, isn't that really harmful when they don't poop? My vet didn't seem concerned but I read about blockages and something called megacolon. Didn't understand any of it. He seems to only poop once a week or once every two weeks. Usually on the way to the vet.

    I'm just as stumped as you are. I just don't know which way to turn or what to do. I've read a million things about the liver but I don't know anything about the kidneys. I've been afraid my cat's kidneys are going too because he sits at his bowl for 15 minutes and drinks.

    I asked that same question; how do I know if he is dying because like you, I can't bear the thought of putting him to sleep. I think for me, and on the advice of others here.... I wouldn't do it unless you feel it's time. Not until he "lets you know" Your cat although weak doesn't sound to be in too much pain. Don't give up if it's not what's in your heart and don't let anybody (friends, family) guilt you into putting him to sleep if you just don't think it's time. I'm never going to be able to do it. If I actually saw him in great pain though, well... I just don't know. Plus, what if he could get better? Seems weird that he would get kidney disease and then cancer on top of it all. Maybe hopefully, your vet is wrong and he could somehow pull through.

    Weren't you scared of cleaning his teeth at that age? My cat is 15. My vet told me the other day when I pointed out his awful looking teeth to her that it was "too late for that now" with sort of a sarcastic look on her face. I felt like the worst pet owner on the face of the planet, I should've taken better care of his teeth. Shoulda woulda coulda. Too late now. I heard that their teeth can give them an infection in their bodies or something. I keep half thinking that his bad teeth might have something to do with him being ill. Good for you in cleaning his teeth and I'm glad he got through it ok. I wish I would've been more adament about his teeth being cleaned in the past.

    I'm sorry I can't offer advice about the holistic or much else for that matter...but I just read your post and I wanted you to know that I feel you. I hear you. The pain is intense. :(

    You sound like you're doing everything you can for Artichoke to make him as happy as possible right now.

    Try to take care of yourself, the stress is enormous, I know.

    Much MUCH empathy and hugs to you and Artichoke. Good luck and prayers too!
  4. nern

    nern New Member

    I don't have any advice to offer but wanted to let you know how sorry I am that your cat is so sick. :(
  5. vene

    vene New Member

    I am so sorry. :cry: I can only offer cyber hugs and prayers.

  6. Martica

    Martica New Member

    Thank everybody for thoughts

    Thank you all for your support and helpful comments. I'm not sure how to reply individually so here are my comments below, also an Artichoke update that I think ALL of you would love to know.

    I looked on the web yesterday for an energy healer, there is a well known school called Barbara Brennen's School of Healing and these people are especially good I think. I'm not into alternative stuff before but had tried this before myself once and it really felt like something significant happened--even though the healer never touched me at all, just had her hands above my body.

    Anyway, I took Artichoke to a healer yesterday for 2 hours. He purred louder than he's purred in WEEKS. And she barely touched him, just layed her hands on top and above his body--no massage or petting or anything. And he looked so peaceful and calm and relaxed, not the same fatigue, exhausting resting he has been doing, but truly peaceful and angelic. AND THIS at a complete strangers house, normally as you all know cat's can never relax in a weird enivornment, and if so, it takes many hours for them to settle down. Anyway, when we finished I put him on the floor and he immediately did the scratch-the -carpet-stretch thing! He has not done this for WEEKS! She definitely rejuvenated him in some way. I'm taking him back tomorrow. She did say that she felt like his energy was concentrated in the crown (head) chakra and very low in the lower ones, apparently, when the energy/spirit leaves the body it leaves from the top so of course I didn't want to here this. But she said something again about the will to live, he could possibly get better, but then again, the healing could at least make his transition (and mine) easier and more peaceful. I definitely felt better being there and seeing him so happy.

    We came home and Fred--who has been shunning him actually licked him on his head (only 2 licks but it was something). Artichoke was very very fatigued all evening and morning today so I'm not sure if this was any lasting effect or perhaps this is just part of it--she said some people like to sleep afterwards. BUT ALSO, today Fred was on the chair and ARti got up there with him and they slept together for 2 hours just like old times. Arti has made NO attempts to deal with Fred at all, it's Fred that has been sniffing and walking away and just staying away. Well Fred stayed there and I pet them both. I know Arti was happy I could tell because, again, it was more content rest, not exhaustion while he was lying there. The healer had said that I might consider removing or separting Fred because the rejection might not be good for Artichoke. Anyway, I'm going tomorrow.

    ALSO, I bought some of that Bach's Rescue Remedy, again, an earthy crunchy thing that I don't know if I believe in, but at this point, if it might work, why not. I gave it to them both this morning so perhaps this allowed them to cuddle like this. It's supposed to be a stress releiver, homeopathic, even for animals.

    Also, I played with both cats--with a cat toy. Arti started purring. He didn't really bat at the feathers like he normally used to but he was alert and purring like he used to when we'd play.

    OK, MARY-NH as far as him eating, the vet told me 1/4 can to start with and I agree it doesn't seem like much. He is also eating a teeny bit on his own but I'm just making sure he gets extra calories than he seems to want to eat. He's not loving the syringe in the mouth, but then again, who likes taking any forcefed medicine, but then again, it's not like it's torture for him..

    You may be right about the hissing, I washed him with a hot wet towel several times to get the urine/vet smell off and also washed his furry pads so maybe that's helped too. A few people have told me that animals tend to shun sick animals.

    I'm not sure if he's in pain or just tired. He still walks--ableit wobbly, but the healing definitely de-wobblized him a lot for a short time anyway. He gets on and off the bed, sofa, chairs. He seems to have gained 1/2 lb since I brought him home but then maybe that's poop since he still hasn't gone (and strangely, I don't think that Fred has gone in a couple of days either which doesn't make sense)

    Wow I'm sad you're going thru the same thing but it sounds like our situation is very very similar. I thiink I can answer some of your questions. My vet first took an XRay and saw some masses, then they did an ultrasound which gives a 3D image. This showed 'fuzziness' around the abdominal area--spleen, liver and maybe intestine, but not necessary a lump. Since the lines are suppposed to be clear, this suggest cell growth. They also took abdominal fluid out and it was blood tinged (which is not good and I guess they are not supposed to have fluid there anyway) but mine did not show cancer cell.s But apparently some cancer growth do not shed cells and some do. Basically he said that they couldn't be highly specific about the cancer and whether it's treatable/removable or not unless they cut him open. And given his age and current condition he may not survive the anesthethis and since there was no definitive tumor, there would be no guarantee that once in their they could get anything out. Also, because of his age and condition I guess chemo won't be good either. Lymphocytes are white blood cells that indicate an immune response, so if they are high in your fluid that means they are high because they are fighting something I believe.

    My vet said he would give Artichoke an enenema (takes an hour or so) and some laxatives but that he wasn't too worried. Yes, I too don't know if Artichokes wobbliness is from this or something else. He did try to strain to poop the day before yesterday, tried 3 times in an hour and nothing came out, got out of the litter box and threw up. Other than that he has not thrown up at all. I called the emergency vet and they said that often straining to poop makes them nauseous.

    I just gave him a teeny bit of psyllium husks in water (like metamucil). Just a teeny bit but he still has not gone. I think I'll take him for the enema tomorrow but I hate to bring him back to the vet and have Fred reject him again. I'm going to also try blening up some fresh grass and water, a tiny bit and giving him that thru the syringe in his mouth. That's fresh fiber too and the grass normally is one of their fiber sources. I read about megacolon too but I guess the vet's aren't too worreid yet. In my case, he may not have eaten quite enough to have much in there.

    If you're cat drinks so much that's def a sign of something, but if he's drinking that's good--mine had sort of stopped drinking.

    I did not get his teeth clean, he was too unwell to handle the operation. And yes, I too am kicking myself for not being better about that. But the last time I did, about 3 or 4 years ago, he had a couple removed--but not as many as Fred and was in pretty good shape so I really never thought it was going to get bad again. Of course now, when even that little bit of comofort would make us all happier, I wish to god that I'd been doing teeth cleaning all along. Stupid me, trying to save a little money. (All you kitten owner out there, please start brushing your cats teeth on a regular basis to get them used to it and keep their teeth in good shape. All the processed food is bad for their teeth)

    That posting about putting them down that the last posting put up was very helpful. It is good to know exactly what to look for. I feel like Artichoke is deifnitely not there yet with all those signs, so that's something. I'm hoping the healer will work miracles!!

    anyway, thank you all for all you kind thoughts, it really helps. My boyfriend thinks I'm overreacting and anyone I talk to only talks about me putting him down and getting a new cat. That's the last thing on my mind, I want my Artichoke. A friend also just told me that his cat was diagnosed with kidney and given a month or two to live, and although he remained super skinny and he had to feed him by spoon 10-12 times a day, he lived--happily and not in pain--for 2 more years. I guess with the cancer, it's slightly worse. But there is hope I think.

  7. Mary_NH

    Mary_NH New Member

    in regards to the faith healing...please don't put 100% of your cat's care into this. I know many people believe deeply on this and I'm sure there are many benefits but my MIL had heart trouble for many years and she went to a faith healer and was deemed "cured" she stopped going to her cardiologist. She died from a massive coronary, while doing dishes, a few months later. Yes she felt better but she also stopped taking her meds cause she put 100% of her faith into the event.

    I'm thrilled your kitty is feeling better but please also continue with his medical care through the traditional vet so you can stay on top of things.
  8. Martica

    Martica New Member

    great website for physiology/medical info on cats

    Thanks for the caution about the healer. I'm just wondering how long I have to do the fluid injections--continue with 150 ML every single day? I would rather inject water in a syringe in his mouth--even though he doesn't mind the needle, I find it nearly impossibly to stick in without personally freaking out...does anyone have any tips on this? I'm afraid I'll poke something vital or hurt him.

    Anyway, here's an amazing website for more info:


    Look under 'medical services' and they've done a great job of explaining diseases and treatments.

    Martica with ARtichoke resting in lap
  9. lynnhaz

    lynnhaz New Member

    hi martica...i have read your posts...and feel so badly that your little kitty is struggling. :(

    i will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. i had the love of my life pass away in march. :cry: his name is otis. i worried about him for two or three years before he passed. he was almost twenty years old. from time to time the vet would give him an enema...it helped. basically, though, he was in good health. just threw up alot. :0024:

    i had his teeth cleaned for the very first time when he was 17 1/2 years old. i was concerned about the anesthesia. his teeth did not really even have that much tartar believe it or not. the vet wanted to do it because she said that sometimes they can die from an infection due to the bacteria that gets in their system if a piece of plaque falls out, and bacteria gets in there. (or something along those lines).

    otis had iv sub fluids several different times due to his vomiting. i never had to do it. i dont think i could. i have given horses shots...but i stopped doing that because it freaked me out....thought i was gonna kill them... :shock:

    i think a combination of good vet care and holistic healing is a great idea. there is alot of power in touch, energy, etc...if the person is genuine...not a quack...

    i never even thought about that for otis. :m29:

    i just wanted you to know that both you...and RoWdy are in my thoughts and prayers. [-o< :wink:
  10. fleafly

    fleafly New Member


    I recently had a cat who was very sick, Merlin. The vets couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. He was sick for over a month and on the brink of dying. I called an animal communicator, Linda Thomas, to have her talk to Merlin and see what he wanted me to do. I couldn't put him down, he was only 4 years old and just because of other stresses I don't think I could have handled it emotionally. She talked to Merlin and told him it was okay to go and I would be okay. She asked him about me putting him down, and he said he just wanted to die b/c he was in so much pain. Well after talking to her I sat with him for a few hours, then went to sleep and he died during the night. He had been holding on for over a month and was finally able to go. Some people may not believe in communicators, but I do. She described Merlin's illness, his personality and his surroundings- the only info I gave her was his name, age and coloring. She also did a good job when I used her in the past. If you want to have her talk to your kitty it might help both of you. Her website is www.ispeakanimal.com. I hope things go well for you and your baby.
  11. lynnhaz

    lynnhaz New Member

    hi martica...i just read my post...and i meant Rowdy as the person...when i said i will keep you and rowdy in my prayers. (i didnt want you to think i mixed your kitty up and didnt know whose kitty is whose....) i wanted you to know that i also meant both of your kitties...artichoke and rowdy. sometimes it gets confusing around here when people use the same name as their kitties...but i have to say, i understand doing that...in hindsight...i may have changed my name to otis if i knew people did that in the beginning. i just used my email name :roll:

    so to clarify...i will keep all of you guys in my prayers. :(
  12. Martica

    Martica New Member


    Hi everyone
    Well artichoke and I have been to the healer 3 times now and it really does help him. Whatever the heck she does it totally calms him down and makes him purr nonstop--and he's hardly purring at all these days. He is visibly calmer and more peaceful. All she does is lay her hands on him--no massaging, rubbing, petting, etc.

    Also, coincentally I talked to a 'pet communicator' today. I'm not sure how I feel. I didn't get any huge revelations to make me feel 100% that this was real, on the other hand, I am willing to believe because, well, why not. The VERY interesting thing though is that she was talking to Fred (Arti's brother) too. And we discussed the shunning/hissing thing (which has gotten slightly better in the past few days). But I had her to relay to Fred that I needed him to be very loving and affectionate to Artichoke, he said he was acting out of instinct before, not thinking but now he understood the situation and would do whatever I wanted him to do. OK, sounds weird I KNOW. Well, literally 30 minutes after this phone call (she did it by phone and looking at their pictures), Fred comes over to artichoke, crawls in his little bed thing and starts licking him all over and curled up and slept with him for hours. Thyey are still near each other. Artichoke was visibly (TO me) happy about it. But Fred has not licked Artichoke like this in a week or more, so it was strange. Anyway, so I don't know what to think. She said that Artihcoke didn't have much fight but was willing to try for Fred and I and he wasn't in pain but very weak.

  13. fleafly

    fleafly New Member

    I am glad that things seem to be going better. I just wanted to add that not all communicators are good. I have only heard of a handful that actually know what they are doing and can give you information about your cat without you having to tell it to them. The rest feed off of whatever info you give them. I know that Linda is good b/c she gave me independent information which was later verified. Information I didn't even know myself at the time, so there is no way she was reading cues from me.

    I hope things continue to go well. I will remember you both in my prayers.
  14. Martica

    Martica New Member


    Thank you all for your kind thoughts. Unfortunately Artichoke died last week.
  15. Chessmind

    Chessmind New Member

    Oh my gosh. I am so sorry. :cry: Are you okay? I lost my best pal Handsome (my cat) on May 19th and it was the worst event in my entire life. I will always love him so much and always miss him just as much. I hope you're okay. It's such a huge loss. I'm so sorry. Hang in there. :cry:
  16. lynnhaz

    lynnhaz New Member

    :cry: oh dear....i am so very sorry. i also know how it feels. otis died in march. it was the saddest time of my life. pure sadness...and grief. i thought my heart would break.

    i am so so sorry... :(

  17. vene

    vene New Member

    I am so sorry Martica. :cry: I share your grief. :m35: Losing Vene was the most difficult thing I had to deal with. I still miss her lots and my heart aches just thinking about her. I know you feel the same way about Artichoke :(
  18. Martica

    Martica New Member

    Thank you so much. I really miss him. And his brother Fred is meowing nonstop. But I guess it's better than seeing him in such terrible shape.
  19. sunset05

    sunset05 New Member

    I'm so sorry about your kitty. I lost my kitty Patches several years ago to cancer. She was in pain. It was hard to let her go but we knew it was the best thing to do. Your kitty is not in pain anymore and is in a better place.

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