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17 year old kitty


reinventmyself
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I've never posted here . . but I'd appreciate some input.

I have a 17 yr old senior kitty, Macy (depicted in my avatar)  I'll try to keep it brief.

She's very submissive and shy.  Lost her bonded female alpha friend, Xena, 4 yrs ago to cancer.  Macy was Xena's shadow and w/o her she hasn't been the same.  I adopted a kitten to keep her company (after being talked out of adopting a same age female) and surrendered the kitty after finding out it was a disastrous mix 10 days later. 

A year after losing Xena I did some remodeling of my townhouse, which in turn causes Macy to have this intense fear of coming downstairs.  I worked with her for years, carrying her downstairs daily, cuddling, treats just to have her retreat upstairs.  She is permanently my upstairs cat.  While working from home, I often worked from my bedroom just to keep her company.  I often choose to watch tv from my bed rather than sitting downstairs. Trust me when I say there is no compromise. 

2 years ago she was diagnosed hyperthyroid.  Medicating her daily caused her to retreat even more and not trust me.  As if her world wasn't small enough, I now had an upstairs kitty hiding in my closet.  With that I chose an expensive one time radio iodine treatment that has a high success rate of eradicating the disease.  It also tends to uncover underlying health issues that the thyroid compensates for.

As of a couple months ago, she is losing a good deal of weight.  She is super tiny to begin with and now way too skinny.  At the same time her appetite is good, she seems comfortable in every way.  She definitely doesn't look well and there is no doubt something health wise is going on with her.   

My dilemma that keeps me awake at night is do I take her to the vet?  They will run all sorts of costly tests and prescribe meds.  I will be back to medicating her daily and she will retreat further.  It becomes this ethical issue and I know some people will go to extraordinary lengths to keep their aging pet alive well past their expectancy.  Am I doing this for her or for myself?  I often feel guilty like I am not doing enough for her.  But if her quality life lessons due to medication, which also tends to take time to get the dosage right and the only way to know is to subject her to routine tests . . which will further upset her.   

I have this argument in my head daily.  If she were suffering or younger in age there would be no question on what I would do.  But is the weight loss considered as suffering?  It's just too painful to watch your pet decline and not do anything about it.  I've also never had a pet get to this age and die at home.  I've taken them to vet only to find out I need to euthanize them.  That makes me pump the breaks about calling to vet, being afraid the news they give will end up being that I don't bring her home.

Sorry, I obviously can't explain things briefly.   Thoughts?

Edited by reinventmyself
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Sorry this is happening. A natural death is ok as long as they are comfortable, can eat, not in obvious pain, etc. If her hyperthyroidism is not treated/followed, she'll be nervous, skittish and keep losing weight.

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9 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

Sorry this is happening. A natural death is ok as long as they are comfortable, can eat, not in obvious pain, etc. If her hyperthyroidism is not treated/followed, she'll be nervous, skittish and keep losing weight.

Thx WM.  The thing is she's nervous and skittish naturally.   It's hard to decide.  The treatments may help her physically, but harm her emotionally.

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I'm in a similar spot right now myself.  

My 14-year-old cat has some sort of tumor on her face that is to the point where it's mostly covering her right eye (left eye is fine).  Poor thing looks hideous.  She hasn't been eating as much and has gone from 9 1/2 pounds down to 6 pounds.  The vet of course ran tests to the tune of about $1,000 altogether and nothing was found.  We suspect cancer because everything else has been ruled out, and I made an appointment at the animal cancer center (now THAT'S going to be expensive!) for early June--assuming the cat makes it that long.  Our local vet has said, "I'd understand if you wanted to not invest in a 14 year old cat" and she's saying it in the kindest way possible, but it feels wrong to me to give up.

Thing is, the cat acts perfectly normal.  No other health issues at all.  Activity level is exactly the same, and with the exception of losing so much weight in only a couple months, and having this big lump on her face which she scratches and it bleeds (I put a cone on her and she looked so sad it broke my heart) it's like she doesn't know anything is wrong. 

Like you, I'm not sure what to do.  We had another cat that had cancer around 7 years ago but she was so sick and it was clear she was in pain that we chose to put her down.  This cat is not there yet.  If she got worse then we'd know what to do, and if she got better that would be great, but we're kind of stuck in limbo for now. 

I say "we" because this is my daughter's cat that we've had since the cat was a little tiny baby and my daughter is holding out hope that it's not cancer but something more treatable, since we don't have a firm diagnosis.

So, sorry, I have no advice for you, but I can sympathize for what that's worth.

 

Edited by waffle
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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the responses.  Phew. . It broke the dam and the tears catch me off guard. 

Damn, these little creatures just break your heart in two.  It seems so unfair we don't get to keep them longer than we do.  

My heart goes out to those in the same situation  

Edited by reinventmyself
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In terms of her health and weight loss, so long as she is eating well, seems to be happy in her own way, doesn't show any signs of physical discomfort, then there is no reason to think about putting her down soon. Keep in mind that some old animals can be a lot like old people - skin and bones, but in no way suffering or unhealthy as such. It's just a part of old age.

Of course a vet check to be sure is never a bad idea. However, whatever the vet advises, you ultimately have to weigh against your own judgment in terms of her emotional well being, age, side effects of the meds, etc. No vet can make you take any course of action. All they can do is educate you about your particular situation so it's easier for you to make the right decision. Hugs.

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1 hour ago, reinventmyself said:

It seems so unfair we don't get to keep them longer than we do. 

reinventmyself, I am firmly convinced our beloved pets are the universe's way to teach us about real love... and loss.  In addition to your regular vet's opinion and your own mind and heart, you can go to Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice web page.  They have a whole section on Quality of Life - questionnaires, lists, etc. that can help point you in the right direction, or at least give you some criteria to assist you in knowing if / when the time is right. 

Several years back, one of our dogs was diagnosed with tumors in his lungs and the vet advised against surgery (too invasive at his advanced age).  He said when he picks breathing over food you know it's time.  Also he mentioned Lap of Love.  About two weeks later, the puppers stopped eating.  He suddenly started doing things he never did before (I called it "denning") - going under our bed, into our closet.  He put his face in the back corner of the closet and would not look at us.  When he did it was with sadness.  The "twinkling light" was gone from his eyes and we could tell he was asking us to let him go home...

Edited by spinstermanquee
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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, spinstermanquee said:

reinventmyself, I am firmly convinced our beloved pets are the universe's way to teach us about real love... and loss.  In addition to your regular vet's opinion and your own mind and heart, you can go to Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice web page.  They have a whole section on Quality of Life - questionnaires, lists, etc. that can help point you in the right direction, or at least give you some criteria to assist you in knowing if / when the time is right. 

Several years back, one of our dogs was diagnosed with tumors in his lungs and the vet advised against surgery (too invasive at his advanced age).  He said when he picks breathing over food you know it's time.  Also he mentioned Lap of Love.  About two weeks later, the puppers stopped eating.  He suddenly started doing things he never did before (I called it "denning") - going under our bed, into our closet.  He put his face in the back corner of the closet and would not look at us.  When he did it was with sadness.  The "twinkling light" was gone from his eyes and we could tell he was asking us to let him go home...

Thank you sharing your touching story, S

as much as I like my vet they will never recommend or even allude to putting them down based on the evidence in front of them.   At the same time they informed me of the cancer in my other cat, they packed her up with a Ziploc bag with five medications to take around the clock for pain etc.  I was very surprised and asked them how much longer she had. They told me 5 weeks at the most.  I didn't see the sense of bringing Xena home to watch her suffer and medicate her around the clock and made the choice without any input from the vet to put her down at that time. It's such a gut-wrenching responsibility.  I get it's an ethical thing but it would have been helpful to have their support in the decision.

Thank you so much for the link I will look into it. ❤️

Edited by reinventmyself
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Came back to add, after you putting the sense I get but can't put into words. . Her sparkle is gone.  Though it's been waning naturally due to age, Id at least get a moment from her here and there.  The twinkle when I walk in the room is now vacant.  She seems almost sad.

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I dunno, its a tough call. However, I do urge you to take her to vet, because she might be suffering a lot. Lots of times we are adamant because we know that their answers would be very tough to us. But, if she is in pain, I would at least like to know in what kind of pain and what are the options. There is no point in just letting her endure it until she just dies out. Because, again, the process is maybe painful to her. So its better to know what you are dealing with and what can be done.

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3 minutes ago, Kwothe28 said:

I dunno, its a tough call. However, I do urge you to take her to vet, because she might be suffering a lot. Lots of times we are adamant because we know that their answers would be very tough to us. But, if she is in pain, I would at least like to know in what kind of pain and what are the options. There is no point in just letting her endure it until she just dies out. Because, again, the process is maybe painful to her. So its better to know what you are dealing with and what can be done.

Thx.   I think this is my plan.  I guess I lost sight of the fact that I can just seek information and then step back and make the best decision for her then.  Honestly, I'm just so afraid of what they'll tell me.   When it's an sensitive situation I typically go a little numb and can't think straight.

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Writing about this brought back so many memories... and happy ones 🙂  I went to the Lap of Love website and cruised around after my last post.  They have new content, videos, etc. that look very helpful.  The way they speak about the decision is *so* compassionate and understanding.  BTW I cried every time I posted in this thread - not in a bad way either - very beautiful memories of my past fur babies.  Thanks for bringing this out for us to chat on.  Best of luck in your decision, whatever and whenever that may be.  Your darling kitty is very lucky to have you, and vice versa.

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6 minutes ago, spinstermanquee said:

Writing about this brought back so many memories... and happy ones 🙂  I went to the Lap of Love website and cruised around after my last post.  They have new content, videos, etc. that look very helpful.  The way they speak about the decision is *so* compassionate and understanding.  BTW I cried every time I posted in this thread - not in a bad way either - very beautiful memories of my past fur babies.  Thanks for bringing this out for us to chat on.  Best of luck in your decision, whatever and whenever that may be.  Your darling kitty is very lucky to have you, and vice versa.

❤️

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I believe she and I will be reunited when it's my time to go. I can picture her now, running toward me meowing and then jumping up next to me and shoving her forehead against my hand so I can pet her.

They never forget how much we loved them. And we never forget how much joy they brought us.

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4 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

They never forget how much we loved them. And we never forget how much joy they brought us.

I don't know where our souls go after this mortal coil, but a huge fantasy I have is that when I die I will get to go to the bridge and play with all my former pets at one time.  Call  me crazy, but that alone would cause me to die of happiness IMMEDIATELY if not sooner!!!  <3<3<3

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for all the stories.  Feeling all sentimental today reading them  Macy got some extra cuddles today.  She's probably sick of me by now. .lol

 I feel better having waited this long and postponed just running her in.  Having said that, she has an appt in the morning.

I just googled 'average life expectancy of a healthy house cat".      14-17.   I don't believe it's in her best interest to medicate her daily and run a bunch of tests on her.   Let's see if there's a compromise.

Edited by reinventmyself
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