Our cat...
  • Why I haven't been on the PC as much... I'm just copying this from another forum that I posted on this afternoon, but I thought I'd share our bad luck with all of you.

    The missus got back from the vet 2 hours ago [10:30am] and it might not be good news for our 15 year old cat.

    He's had a cough/hack since the start of december. He got an xray a week before christmas and discovered that he's got a partially collapsed lung and an enlarged heart. He was given tablets to clear up his lungs. It should have cleared up but it hasn't. His breathing is a bit weird aswell. And he's got a bit of a heart murmur that wasn't there before christmas.

    He's on other tablets for his heart which he'll be on for the rest of his life.

    He's now on different lung tablets and we've to go back in two weeks and see if that's helped. If not then there's nothing we can really do except prepare for the worst. If it does clear up then he'll be with us for longer. It's going to be a long two weeks.

    He's also lost some weight since the xray.

    Comes as a shock as he's generally be healthy except for getting steroid shots every month or so to clear up his eczema.

    You'd honestly think there's nothing wrong with him except for when he's coughing. He's been lazier than normal for a while but he's always tried to find the easiest ways to do things. Instead of just one big jump onto the kitchen bunker for his food he's been stepping onto a low shelf, then stepping onto the table then a medium jump over to the bunker. We always slagged him off for being a lazy wee ****e but it's probably because of his lungs and heart. So he might have been getting worse since the summer but that lazyness was the only symptom that we ever saw.

    As I said on twitter it's stressing us out and we've started smoking again. I've only ever been a social smoker but due to health problems myself I haven't been out much since June so I kinda stopped altogether. Sioux only smokes when she's stressed about uni work so she started having the odd puff a day before christmas.

    I suppose 15 years is good, especially as only a couple of months ago the vet says that he could pass for a cat half his age.

    I know there's another thread on here about someone else's cat (sorry for not remembering who, and I don't want to hijack that thread) that I posted in saying something like we'll have him for a long time to come. Wish I hadn't said that now.


  • I had a Burmese a few years ago who we'd adopted from being an ex show and breeding cat. He was relatively anti-social for the first few months we had him (including lashing out heavily when scared, something my ex-girlfriend found out when he tore a big chunk into the meat on the palm of her hand) but settled down quickly and he was always coming and sitting on you. I was very attached to that cat, and we took him with us when we moved half way across the country here.

    The sad thing was he didn't do so well being on the flight it seemed and was constantly sick and had various stomach issues after that, and from there on it was just constant vet visits, pill and medical costs for him. We kept this going for a year or so with little issue, until one day when he came to sit on me I realised he had some swelling on his neck which turned out to be a tumor and surrounding fluids. We'd been warned that the meds increased the chances of other issues including this, and it grew quickly over the coming weeks and we sadly had to have him put down before it became a further blight to his already decreased health. We had a decision on this if we wanted to or just to leave him where he could have possibly last up to another year (provided they drained away any fluids) but in the end we decided to let him go. I was very very sad about this, but it was just the way things had gone. He'd had over 17 years which was a lengthy life for a cat I think and that was the way things are. But I'm just glad I didn't keep pushing him to keep living just so I could enjoy some of his company for more.

    I guess the point for me in this is that if your cat makes a recovery in the next couple of weeks, it's good. But if it doesn't, don't prolong it's life if it's not going to be too happy of one just for you to feel better.
  • JayneJayne
    I'm so sorry, Vince. Jim and I adopted two cats when I moved back from California. I needed to have kitties because I had to leave my California cats with my ex. I try not to think about them, and hope he treated them well, but I know they'd never have made it on a 5 day, marathon cross-country drive with days in the desert and altitude changes and such. I left alot of family heirlooms back there, too, but I think about the cats most of all.

    Our adoptees back here in NJ were "special." Huckleberry (nickname "Boo") was missing some teeth. His littermate Thomas had bad allergies, such that he licked his stomach bald. They were more than a year old and nobody would take them because of their quirks, but they were the best cats. They came when called, played with us, even appealed to the cat haters we know, including my mother-in-law.

    Thomas was always a little sickly. The vets thought he was exposed to a bad respiratory infection as a kitten and it affected his whole system. He used to have serious stomach issues and the allergies got to be so bad he was scratching his ears bald and cutting himself. We found a new vet when we moved, and Thomas was put on an anti-inflammatory that, for the first time ever, cleared up his allergies and kept his stomach quiet. He also had an enlarged heart and coughed like it sounds your cat does.

    Over the last 18 months, though, he was beginning to decline again. He used to yowel like someone stepped on his tail, even though he was sitting quietly. We changed his dosage, changed his food. He'd have good days, but the bad days were coming more frequently. Over Thanksgiving weekend this past November, he was having a really hard time. The yoweling was several times an hour. It was hard to watch. I suggested to Jim that we need to let him go. He was Jim's pal (Boo was mine-- their choice). He went to the vet while I stayed home with our daughter. I felt like I was abandoning Thomas, but he had Jim and the vet people were all broken up about it too. Jim requested a separate cremation and a friend of ours made a little urn for him. I'm not one for remains, but it helps Jim to have something to look at. Everybody copes in their own way.

    I know how hard it is to wait and deal with suffering. You already see how it's making you and Sioux smoke. Jim and I were dealing with Thomas's suffering while contending with a toddler. We were at one another all the time because of the stress, and Boo was misbehaving terribly, chewing on all sorts of stuff. He was also acting depressed. I think he knew Thomas was hurting.

    Putting Thomas down was horrible but it was the right thing to do. He wasn't himself anymore and it was obvious. You'll know when it's time for your cat friend. When he's not himself and doesn't change back, who he was has already moved on. That's the sign that it's ok to give his body a rest.

    We still miss Thomas now and then, but there's a peace about our house that wasn't there when he was hurting. Boo has become Mr. Snuggle, too, and has mostly stopped chewing on plastic bags.

    Hang in there. You know us pet owners understand. Keep us posted.

  • Aww.

    We've already talked about that. His brother got put to sleep in 2001 as he had a fused spine, a heart murmur and toilet troubles so we're prepared to let him go when he gets too bad.

    The thing is, you'd never notice something was wrong with him until he has a coughing fit. We've already said that when his breathing gets too difficult or he's too tired to go to his food then it's time to let him go.

    (I saved that as a draft in reply to @Rombie before abandoning the PC for a little while)

    Just had a quick scan of my first post and I don't think I mentioned his brother who we lost around 2001 (I can't remember and there's no way I'm asking Siouxsie just now). They were both found abandoned in a field around 1996. There wasn't anything wrong with them that could be seen without drastic tests. I never really saw them back then as I only met Sioux in 1996 and we didn't get together until 1999 so I remember Sookie after his problems really started.

    He had a fused spine which meant he could only look up if he was sitting on a sofa with his arms up on the arm. (bum on seat, forearms on arms). He was a sad sight but he was happy and still able to move and play. But then he started having toilet troubles aswell and his back was getting worse. It wasn't until Sioux started making nappies for him that she thought it was time to let go. It wasn't right letting him continue the way he was.

    With Obideah now (Siouxsie's ex named him after a misheard witch doctor (Obeahman), nothing like the religious name, pronounced Oh-bih-day-ah) starting to go from us we sorta know what to expect but it's just so sudden. Especially as he's maybe not quite as active but he went through phases and now that Siouxsie's home more often due to university holidays he's not wandering about looking for her so we never really noticed that aspect.

    We have noticed that he's been humphing and snoring a lot more than usual. And there's been wet coming out from his nose even without sneezing. It's not terrible yet. Not as bad as sinusitis or the flu he occasionally got, but it's there. And it's probably just the fluid in his lungs but the vet is stumped why he's getting the wet exhalations and why the tablets didn't help his lungs.

    To say that Sioux is devastated is an understatement. She's going to drop out of her final year at uni tomorrow as she can't concentrate on anything. There's no way she'll be able to sit her all day exam next week. She's tried finishing 3 essays that were started before christmas but she's not had the heart or enthusiasm at all. They've to be handed in on friday and I think they're nearly finished but she's just not caring about her degree now. And this is the second time she's tried 4th year as she had to drop out at christmas last year due to one of the tutors being an unhelpful idiot and dumping stress on the class.

    We don't know if she'll be able to go back. I doubt she'd actually go back anyways as she's been studying for 9 years now and I think she's had enough.

    I'm not smoking as much as I thought I would but that might be me just thinking about my left bundle branch block and not wanting to aggrivate that and spen a night in hospital. Sioux's thinking is all over the place so I definitely don't want anything to happen to me. I'm being ultra carefull with my food aswell as that's my main problem and smoking can have an effect on that too. But it's the only stress relieving thing we've got.

    It also gives us time to think about what is happening to him. Earlier on this afternoon while smoking (in the kitchen away from Obi and his food which has now migrated to the living room) we were having a laugh some of the stuff he's done. Like Sioux taking a photo of him getting ready to pounce on Sookie and realising that Sioux was taking the photo. "Caught bonny" was the perfect way to describe it.

    Then there was the time we had a 5ft long sausage balloon that made farting noises when let go. He was scared shitless of that noise and it made his tail go seriously fluffy. We only did that once and we're sad to say that it was hilarious seeing him having fun trying to get away from it. We've got a photo of him on the kitchen window with his tail all fluffed up and a massive scowl on his face.

    Lots of good memories that we'll be cherishing. We've got a wee bit of film footage of him on the PCs just now along with maybe 60 photos, and we've got maybe another 60 photos properly developed that I'll be scanning in soon. I'll get a DVD made myself of all that stuff to go along with the miniDVD of Sookie I made for Sioux's christmas.

    Gonna stop there before I make myself cry. And it's almost 2am and we've to be up at 8 to phone the doctor. No way am I getting even 5 hours sleep tonight.

    @Jayne like you, I'm not as close to Obi as Sioux is. He's her son. We'll never have kids (hereditary problems on her side and we're just not kid people) so she's always seen him as her one and only. And spoiled him rotten every step of the way. Seeing her devastated and heartbroken is also breaking my heart. Seeing her like that is the worst part of it for me. Thinking about it, I'm surprised I'm holding it together aswell as I am. If I knew how I was able to do that then I'd be sharing that with Siouxsie to make her time easier.

    Damn this is difficult.

    @Jayne on your Xbox avatar do you have the wee black cat that walks round your legs then wants it's belly rubbed? I remember both of us buying that wee thing then seeing someone else on my friends list with him. I'm thinking it was you as you're a cat person.
  • JayneJayne
    Yeah. The avatar cat looked like Thomas. I switched it to the Portal 2 things when he was getting ill. Our daughter has a book of baby animals and there's a little black kitten in it, and I have to stop myself from saying, "That's what Thomas looked like." Instead, it's "That's what Boo would look like without his stripe."

    Jim did all the things you guys are going through. For weeks after, I'd catch him going through all the photos on his iPad and playing videos of Thomas playing with things.

    Some friends said, back before we had a kid, that when you have kids, all the pet things take second seat. I guess I didn't freak out as much when Thomas had episodes after Ali was born, but his situation didn't affect me that much less and his loss wasn't any less sad. He and Boo were our practice kids, and I can say from experience now, they are good surrogates for human children, particularly babies. They can't talk, they get into stuff, they get sick and nobody's quite sure what's wrong. It's the helplessness and unconditional love that they give that sucks us in.
  • Unconditional love. That's what Sioux said on wednesday when she was really upset. That's what makes it harder when things happen.

    On a brighter note, yesterday and today have seen a drastic improvement in the wee man. The different tablets he started on tuesday must be working. He hasn't coughed nearly as much as before and Sioux's been hugging and playing with him more than she has been able to the past few days so we know that his lungs are improving if she's able to be a tiny bit more forceful with the petting.

    He also hasn't been making as many breathing noises and yesterday afternoon he didn't snore in his sleep at all. He's snored since he was a kitten!

    Also yesterday after doing his business in the box he bounded up the stairs in a flash and played with his toy in the bath so he's obviously feeling better aswell.

    We're still taking him to the vet around the 17th to get another xray and there's still the heart murmur to think about, but he's much, much better now than he was two days ago. It's like night and day.

    Today he's the same as yesterday aswell, he's up and about more often.

    The funny thing is, Obideah's got an enlarged heart and a murmur, his brother Sookie had a murmur, we found out last summer that I've got left branch bundle block, then a few months later Siouxsie was diagnosed with an ectopic beat. Is this the only case of the owners taking after their pets? :-))
  • JayneJayne
    When I was a kid, we had a cat that developed diabetes. She was an awesome cat, and she lived with the condition for 6 years or so, and finally passed of old age. About 3 years into her diagnosis, my dad was diagnosed with diabetes, too. Pretty strange, for sure! (Of course, my father's being a nearly completely sedentary engineer type who only sweats because it's hot outside doesn't help...)
  • He was at the vets on monday and he hasn't had his xray yet, but there's still no sign of the breathing problems and the vet couldn't detect the heart murmur at all. It seems to have just disappeared. He's also put some weight back on and he's as active as he used to be.

    He's getting the xray on monday so I'll post another update after that. The lung might still be partially collapsed but apparently that's okay. It's not ideal but it shouldn't get worse, it just means that that part of the lung will never heal. But as it's just a small part (maybe an 8th of the lung) it's nothing really to worry about unless he becomes lethargic again.

    We'll also get to see how his heart is doing on the new tablets and maybe find out if it's a recent thing or if he's had it for a long time.
  • Okay so I haven't updated since the xray as it's now been me that's had the health issues. What a family we are!

    So, he's just the same as before with regards to the lung not fully inflating and his heart still being big. It's a shame that his lung will never be the same but it doesn't seem to be affecting him.

    We've already had to double the steroid tablets for the lungs as he had a wet spray from his nose a few times. We'll have to raise or change make of tablets when it happens again but other than that he's fine.
  • Well he was fine until saturday. His tablets were working, he was playing as usual then saturday he wasn't eating at all. He slept most of the day. We phoned the vet and they said that if he wasn't better on sunday to take him in.

    He was fine sunday. Back to his usual self again. Tuesday night he was a bit funny. Wouldn't eat at all yesterday so we made an appointment for today. Hadn't eat at all today either. Got him booked for an xray today. Got a phone call to say that he had tumours on both his lungs covering over 50%. The collapsed one had the majority of it.

    There was nothing we could do at all. His enlarged heart had noticably increased probably due to the cancer.

    We decided to let him go today as the vet thought he'd only last a few more days and we don't want him to suffer. We also decided not to wake him up from the sedative he got for the xray as he'd be disorientated and he'd probably struggle with the injection.

    We got to see him for 30 mins before the injection. We stayed through the whole process right up to the last involuntary muscle spasms but he was gone before the whole solution was in.

    He had a good life. Wanted for nothing, got pampered like no other cat on earth, got mollycoddled all his 16 years.
  • DanBirlewDanBirlew
    @vincent Truly sorry, for both of you.
  • PlopperPlopper
    So sorry to hear of your loss, I know how you feel as I've had to go through the exact same procedure with our family dog some years ago and as you did, I stayed until the end!
  • This has to be the worst thing we've been through together but we're surprisingly doing fine. It's going to be hard to get used to an empty house as there's reminders everywhere.

    We've been laughing at how daft he was which has helped. We also know that there's nothing that we could have done to change things. We could have taken him to the vet on the sunday when he was better, but even doing that would've been too late for him. And that's the earliest that we knew something was wrong.

    We're also pretty sure that the partially collapsed lung from december/january was the thing that started the cancer. As he was older his lung wouldn't reinflate and Siouxsie is thinking that when his cells were dividing in the lungs that started the cancer. (or something like that, she's actually been studying cancer as part of her microbiology honours degree but I can never keep anything like that in my head).

    I'm just so glad we decided not to wake him up after the sedative on thursday as that would've been hell for all involved, especially him. It's annoying that we couldn't say goodbye to him properly due to that, but it was for the best.

    The really annoying thing for Siouxsie was that she's finishing her honours degree this week and would have been able to spend more time with him after that. It's shit the way things happen, but at least it was quick.

    We've been going through all the old photos of him and his brother (who died in 2000) and scanning them into the PC so we can make a collage for the main wall in the living room. That's been helping.
  • JayneJayne
    So sorry. Having been there so recently ourselves, we know how difficult this can be. You did the right thing his whole life, right up to the end. That's the burden of responsibility and the best demonstration of love.

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