Friday, October 12, 2012

Desperately Seeking Answers

Greetings everyone - Possum's Mummy here (by Possum's kind purr-mission, of course). 

That title should read - "Questions I'm Afraid to Ask".
For a while now, Possum has been going off his food. First he refused to eat his dry foods, then he started going off his moist dietary food, then even Fancy Feast could scarcely tempt him and for the past couple of days, he has, to all intents and purposes, stopped eating. 

I took him to the vet today. I didn't get any real answers. Apart from taking his temperature (normal, apparently), the vet didn't do any more tests. He said that if I wanted, he could do blood tests every week, but his tone implied that there was no point. In fact, he prefaced his remarks with "How old is he? Seventeen?", then looked me in the eye and said: "You know it has to come to an end some day."

But what does that mean? He doesn't know (and consequently, neither do I) why Possum's urine is like clear water. It's not a good sign, he says, but it could be caused by several things. He hasn't done tests except for the blood test three weeks ago. He seems to imply that at Possum's age (seventeen and a quarter) there isn't much point in putting him through the trauma of all sorts of tests, and asks: "And if there is something - then what?"
He also seems to think/imply that Possum's advanced age is explanation enough.

I asked him, when a cat is suffering from no malady other than old age, what can I expect, but he has no answer because he doesn't see otherwise healthy cats of such advanced years. He reminds me again and again that Possum is above the average lifespan even of "stay-at-home" cats. I point out that I have friends on the internet with cats of 18, 19, and even 20, that I have heard of cats living even to the age of 21. He replies that this is very rare - that even 17 is rare.

So I want to ask my fellow cat lovers - is what is happening to Possum merely the natural progression of age? Is he, in fact, trying to tell me - "Mummy, I'm so very, very tired. It's time to let go."
Is he asking me to help him to the Bridge? It goes against the grain to put a furbaby to sleep simply because he is old. But could this be what he wants? Yet he hasn't stopped drinking his water - and quite a lot of it too.
I don't want this responsibility, of having to decide whether to end his earthly life for him. What I've always wished for him is what I would wish for myself and for all my loved ones - that when the time is right, the end comes with a kiss, in one's sleep.

Has anyone any answers?

Shimona

21 comments:

GreatGranny said...

Oh my, I wish I could help you. However as you know Kassey and I are in the same sitiuation. She has been refusing her wet foods, don't know why. This morning, I fed her on the couch again. She never eats a lot of her wet foods at a time. She does prefer her dry foods, but I don't like the ingredients.
I do hope that Possum gets his appetite back.
xoxo

Fuzzy Tales said...

Well, CRF comes to mind, of course.

I can't help, because Chumley died suddenly one night with a blood clot, around 8 - 9 years of age, and I had to let Annie go in February 2011; she was only 10-ish at the time.

Frankly, I would be looking for another vet and I'd want blood work and a urine analysis done.

I mean, the vet is correct in that no Being lives forever, but on the flip side, you could have lots of options yet for Possum.

I really, really, really recommend another vet, preferably at another clinic, if at all possible.

If not, insist on bloodwork and that urine analysis.

Bloodwork does NOT have to be done every week in this instance, IMO. But you would want a base line to see where Possum is, to see what's going on.

Cr*ppy vet!!!!

Katie Isabella said...

I dislike your vet' s attitude very much. Please get another opinion right away. Today or tomorrow if possible. Possum deserves a chance and he certainly I NOT getting one there. He likely does have CRF but he can have treatment for awhile with that and made comfortable.

I really dislike the non answers you got Shimona.

Katie Isabella said...

And there are appetite enhances. Admiral had them for a year.

Sparkle said...

It could be CRF (he shows a lot of symptoms - clear urine, drinking a lot of water), but he needs tests to determine that. And if he does, there are ways to manage it to keep him healthy as long as possible. But like Katie, I suggest that you go to another vet to have the tests and the treatments - this guy has NO bedside manners whatsoever. What a jerk. A good vet would be thrilled that at 17, Possum is doing well other than his urine issues and want to help keep up his quality of life for a long time!

CATachresis said...

I agree! Get another opinion!! It is entirely possible Possum could have some more years with some careful treatment xx

Lucy the Cat said...

Hi,
Katie posted about your situation on her blog. My cat, Lucy, is 16 years d and has high blood pressure, hyper-thyroid, Stacy problems and went blind earlier this year. She also has the beginnings of CRF. She still purrs, jumps on the bed, loves to be on the patio and even plays. She is maintained well on medicine and rarely needs to go to the vet. The vet's main goal is to keep her as comfortable as possible for whatever years she has left. There's no reason to even consider putting to sleep if overall quality of life is there and the animal isn't suffering. I totally agree with the others about getting another vet! My other cat, Simba, is also about 16 and has CRF. He is maintained wonderfully on fluids we do at home. When their kidneys start to fail, they can't concentrate urine as well so they may pee more than they're able to drink and become very dehydrated and that will also cause them to loose their appetite. If this is the case (CRF), then fluids will help immensely.

I wish you the best of luck!

La Cabeza Grande said...

Yep! Otherwise healthy cat with no previous sign of disease? It does sound like CRF but, when caught early, it is totally manageable. Get thee to another vet. STAT!

In the meantime, I second Katie Isabella and her mom's advice re: appetite stimulants. Catnip, bonita flakes, crumbled Halo treats; I've tried them all and they work. My old guy even likes Fortiflora sprinkled on his food. Luckily, even though he is a CRF cat, his appetite and numbers (BUN and creatnine) look good.

You're right. None of us live forever, but age is no reason to kiss your sweetheart goodbye.

If it is CRF, find a plethora of information here: http://www.felinecrf.org/

Let us know the outcome of your second opinion. Best of luck to you and your baby.

Sherlock, Ash and Traveler said...

We agree with you! Get a second opinion!! We are purring hard for your baby xxoo

Pattyskypants said...

Oh, dear, you are living the nightmare I fear! Bhu will be 15 next week and I just know the day will come. I will be just like you: what do we do? I agree with Sherlock, Ash & Traveler and the others: I think for your own peace of mind it would be good to talk to another vet, if you can. xxoo Patty

Mariodacat said...

I think you should get an appointment with another vet. My first cat lived to be 19 - no health problems except a bladder infection when he was about 12. I think they should be doing a blood test for sure to determine what's going on. Good luck. I can only imagine how worried and frustrated you must be.

Julia Williams said...

Before you make any decision, I do think you should visit another vet to ask for a second opinion. This one is clearly lacking in compassion. And as for his statement that "even 17 is rare" for a cat, I think that is hogwash. I have known many cats to live past 17 and even know a few who lived well into their twenties! It just all depends. I will send purrs, and hope your kitty starts eating again.

Brian said...

One of our kitties lived to 21. I think another Vet is a must do...one that knows cats and gives a rip about their patients.

Katie Isabella said...

HERE HERE!!!!

Teri and the cats of Curlz and Swirlz said...

You have gotten more good advice here than your vet has offered you! As others said, the dilute urine is one of the signs of kidney disease but you can give fluids under the skin, and give appetite stimulants and medicines to make his stomach feel better, and give you and Possum some extra time together, maybe a lot more time! At the cat hospital where I work, we do blood and urine tests on cats over 15 years old every 4 months. Your wish for him to die in his sleep sounds soft and easy, but kidney failure is often slow and makes the cat feel like it's been poisoned as the wastes are not being excreted from his system properly, and that is not an easy way to go. Then yes, it would be kindest to say goodbye before that time.

To learn more about kidney disease, watch this video from the Cornell Vet School. It will help you understand what is probably going on with Possum...

http://www.partnersah.vet.cornell.edu/pet-owners/kidney-disease/how-is-it-diagnosed

http://www.partnersah.vet.cornell.edu/pet-owners/kidney-disease/understanding

http://www.partnersah.vet.cornell.edu/pet-owners/kidney-disease/nutrition

http://www.partnersah.vet.cornell.edu/pet-owners/diabetic-cat/hospitalization

http://www.partnersah.vet.cornell.edu/pet-owners/kidney-disease/subq-fluid

Terri said...

Sometimes vets and their patients don't see eye to eye. I would recommend a different vet.

You have every right to know what Possum's health status is. Then, and only then, can you make a determination of what you want to do.

The Furries of Whisppy said...

We think you should take Possum to another vet who has a better attitude. If Possum's urine is clear like water it sounds very much like it's his kidneys. Please take him to another vet to have him properly diagnosed.

The J-Cats said...

Thanks to all those who left comments and advice. I will try to get an appointment with another vet tomorrow. (It's difficult on Shabbat - unless I can convince someone it's an emergency.) The thing is, as we wrote a couple of weeks ago, Possum's last blood test, on September 16, didn't indicate CRF. That's why it seemed unlikely yesterday that he would suddenly be showing signs of CRF in an advanced stage. But the fact that he isn't concentrating urine is still unexplained.I will do anything it takes to enjoy the loving company of my furbaby for as long as possible. I would go to the ends of the earth for him...

Shimona

Dorothy Abernathy said...

I have second(third, fourth?)the other comments here. Get a second opinion. If your human doctor suggested, "oh your just old so whatever is wrong, your times up anyway." you'd get a new doctor, wouldn't you? I don't thing you want to put your sweet kitty through any difficult test, but a blood/urine test? That's not stressful. If you've had a good working relationship with this vet, I can see how changing would be hard. But 2nd opinions are SOP, and you're not getting answers from your current vet. I think it's time to ask friends who their pets see and how they feel about the service they get there. We are sending good thoughts your way.

heyitsjethere said...

Hey Possum, Jet here.

Sherlock, Ash, and Traveler sent us for a visit. We're sorry to learn you are not feeling 100%.

Please accept a palaceful (reference to your Mom's blog) of Jetty kisses and JJ hugs to help you feel comfortable, supported and loved.

meowmeowmans said...

Hi Shimona,

Please get another vet's opinion. Possum deserves to have the best life possible. And you will not know if there is something you can do without some testing - and compassion - first.