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How do you make a cat comfortable in its final days?

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Tracey702, Apr 21, 2011.


  1. Tracey702

    Tracey702 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Everyone

    I posted a week ago explaining that my cat has been diagnosed with cancer. I have had a second oppinion and it is confirmed that the cat has Lymphoma. The tumour is so large and entwined throughout her lower intestine and other organs. The vet said that she would not be suprised if the effects have hit her liver already.

    She had a steroid injection a week ago when she was diagnosed and for a few days she was perky.

    Now she has not eaten in three days. She sleeps most of the time, upstairs in my room. She doesn't really want to be bothered or made a fuss of. I keep trying to entice her to eat but to no avail.

    Yesterday the vet said there is nothing they can do. The vet said that if she doesn't eat then it cannot go on for more than a few days.

    The cat does walk about, only to find another spot to settle. She (when she is in the mood) enjoys a little stroking of her head and she even purrs very lightly.

    I just don't know what to do. I keep crying my eyes out.

    Another thing is, I don't know at what point is it humane to euphanize the cat?

    Also I saw a post in Yahoo where someone mentioned giving the cat a strong sedative and allow the cat to pass away at home? What are your thoughts on that?
     
    #1 Tracey702, Apr 21, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2011
  2. Doolally

    Doolally PetForums Senior

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    I'm sorry hun...maybe she is telling you it's time, but only you will know that, none of us can tell you and you know her best.
    With any of mine I know the time as come when they can't do the things that make them happy, that includes eating, sunbathing, moving around and keeping clean (grooming and using the tray).
    If you don't think it's time right now, do you think she is in pain? If so you could ask the vet for some strong painkillers and/or appetite stimulants.
     
  3. Tracey702

    Tracey702 PetForums Newbie

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    The vet refused to give painkillers. She said there was nothing she could do.
     
  4. thelioncub

    thelioncub PetForums Senior

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    I'm also really sorry to hear this. I know a little bit of how you feel from my own experience with our cat Lance. He suddenly stopped eating and we took him to the vet thinking it'd be something simple, only it turned out to be a tumor in his intestine. Because he wasn't eating, the vet sort of hinted that we had the option to literally say goodbye there and then, or run tests to find out suitability for surgery. It was a total shock, and completely heartbreaking, as Lance had shown no signs of anything whatsoever previously.
    In the end, we opted for surgery, where the vet confirmed Lymphoma, and an aggressive one at that.
    I appreciate that our situation and outcome is very different to yours, but if the vet hasn't given you anything that could help her eat or be more comfortable, then I agree that it might sadly be time. As Doolally has said - only you will know this, but trust me, you will know.
    I would try all of the combinations of food you can think of to try and get her to eat something, as she obviously needs to eat - even a little bit. We've always been advised to try strong smelling foods, and that any food is better than nothing at all. To give you an example, Lance is on a 'free pass' with us, so he can literally eat whatever he wants - whether it's cat food or my dinner, and sleep wherever he wants. You might feel better about this if you can do the same perhaps? At least then you can know that you have done everything you could.
    *hugs*
     
  5. Cazzer

    Cazzer PetForums VIP

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    Sorry to hear about your poor girl. My Ginger was diagnosed with lymphoma in January. He is taking steroids and pain killers twice a day. Luckily he is still eating well and enjoying life relatively well. Took him to vet on Friday last and it was considerably bigger so much so we can see his tummy shape has changed a fair bit so I don't think he will be with us for long.

    I am surprised that your vet didn't prescribe pain killer for her. Maybe another vet would. Mirtazapine may help stimulate her appetite but as Doolally says you know her best and maybe her time is come.
     
  6. Tracey702

    Tracey702 PetForums Newbie

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    TBH im very frustrated now, that the vet has not given her any drugs.

    My friend said, she walks abit so she is ok for now and that I should worry if she does not get up or be able to lift her head.

    Should I really wait till it gets that bad?

    Im sobbing as I am writing this. My poor poor Tikkie.
     
  7. Doolally

    Doolally PetForums Senior

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    :cuddle: I can only speak for myself but if she were mine i'd be thinking it's possibly time.
    If you don't think it's time i'd be back on the phone to the vet and asking for pain relief because you want to make sure she is pain free at this time.
     
  8. Tracey702

    Tracey702 PetForums Newbie

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    OK I have just called the vets and the receptionist is having a vet call me back. Lets see? I should have a result within a couple of hours.
     
  9. Doolally

    Doolally PetForums Senior

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    Good. Just say that you want her to be comfortable in her last days and you're worried she may not be eating due to pain (and maybe ask for mirtazipine as an appetitie stimulant), side effects at this point aren't really an issue unless they make her feel ill but we're not really worrying about kidney issues etc now. Temgesic sublingual tablets may be good for her as they are a partial opiod (from the morphine family) and just dissolve under the tongue.
    hugs
     
  10. Cazzer

    Cazzer PetForums VIP

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    let us know know you get on x x
     
  11. Tracey702

    Tracey702 PetForums Newbie

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    The vets assistant called and said that the vet has prescribed Metacam. I said I have some already (as Tikkies daughter, Suzie get cystitus sometimes).

    I asked if it would be ok because of the effect it has on the stomach, knowing that she isnt eating.

    The assistant said yes its fine.

    Gave it to her and the cat is not happy. She has started drooling. So I called the vets assistant again but to ask how often to give it to her. She said once a day with food. I said but she isnt eating. She said, not at all? I said no. Now she has made me worried.

    The assistant said she will call the vet and ask the vet to call me.
     
  12. Tracey702

    Tracey702 PetForums Newbie

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    OK a nurse called. She said that I have to get her to eat.

    She told me that if I use liquid food and put it in a syringe the cat will get some food down her.

    It worked. Not only that but after she had 10 ml of liquid food. I put the little bit of solid on a spoon and she licked the spoon. Now it will be to feed her every 2 hours.
     
  13. Ianthi

    Ianthi PetForums VIP

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    Tracy - In spite of recent symptoms she doesn't sound to me as if she's ready to go just yet. With pain relief she would feel a lot better and it's strange the vet didn't prescribe any before now.

    Did you go to the PDSA hospital? Are you sure this is lymphoma? Normally with tumours the size you describe surgery is needed to remove them, otherwise they can cause problems like obstructions and put pressure ( pain ) on the surrounding organs. This is usually followed up with steroids/chemotherapy which can extend their lives by months and often longer. Has the vet not suggested this? In the meantime the steroids should prevent it from getting any bigger. How many injections has she had so far?

    How is the syringe feeding going? It's extemely important she continues to eat at this time to keep her strength up!
     
  14. Sacremist

    Sacremist Mum to 2 cats and a dog

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    I'm so sorry. I'm sure you will know when it is time to make the decision to end her suffering. In the meantime, I hope the meds make her more comfortable and you get her eating. Have you tried her with some tuna?
     
  15. Tracey702

    Tracey702 PetForums Newbie

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    PDSA hospital is not in my region. The RSPCA one is closer but would cost £50 in taxi fares to get there which defeats the object. The vets have said that the type of Lymphoma that it is is inoperable. They said that her symptoms would suggest this and nine times out of ten it is Lymphoma. Both vets said that Mesenteric, alimentary lymphoma causes the tumour to just attach to everything and that when opened up it is just a big mess and everything is clumped together therefore being inoperable. Chemo does not work on this type of cancer. Both vets said it is useless. No she hasnt had any tests but both vets said that its obvious what it is. The second vet felt the tumour and said it is massive.

    The steroid injection is supposed to last 4 to 6 weeks. Now the other vet said it lasts 3. Even though when she first had the steroid she perked up for a few days, the fact that she has quickly gone into decline suggests to the vet that it is very aggressive and has hit her liver.

    I did feed her every few hours last night. I did give her the metacam. The truth is, she isn't getting any stronger. It's just not working. She is hiding away from me. Under my daughters bed. She just wants to be left alone.

    I think it is her time. The way she looks at me, I don't want her to suffer. She really looks unwell.

    Today being Good Friday, I will have to wait until tomorrow to take her to the vets.
     
  16. jill3

    jill3 PetForums VIP

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    Oh Tracey I have tears in my eyes as I am typing this but if she's hiding away from you and not eating then I think the quality of life has gone.
    You have just said it yourself, so I think in your heart that you know it's time to say goodbye.
    Try and make her has comfortable as poss. Tell her you love her and spend time with her if she will let you.

    You can also arrange for the vet to come to you. I have done this in the past. The problem now it's Easter so maybe you have to take her.

    One of mine is very old now and I know that every day is a bonus.

    You know we are here for you on this site and will help you as much as we can.
     
  17. missye87

    missye87 PetForums VIP

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    Oh goodness I'm so sorry :( My heart breaks for you as it's the most difficult decision to make. Take comfort in that she won't be in any pain and that she has had the strength to tell you it's her time. Some people don't get that sign until it's way too late.
    I sincerely hope the vet can come to you, although more expensive, she will get the chance to move on to rainbow bridge in a place where she feels safe and at home with her mummy there to hold her.

    Now go give her as much love as you can, and try and give her chicken or mince meat. She will probably appreciate that :)

    Lots of love to you and Tikkie from me and Soots xxxxx
     
  18. Cazzer

    Cazzer PetForums VIP

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    sorry to hear about your girl. Will be thinking about you both tomorrow
     
  19. XxZoexX

    XxZoexX PetForums VIP

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    I am so sorry, Will be thinking of you xx
     
  20. Tracey702

    Tracey702 PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you everyone. It is very comforting.

    This is a roller coaster.

    Tikkie has thankfully just eaten a third of a tin of tuna, cleaned herself, gone to the litter tray and had a pee and then settled on her blanket at the end of my bedroom.

    My daughter (17) has given her some comfort and said she was smiling and purring.

    I can still see that she isn't her normal self. Her left eye is a little weird. It sort of looks a little to the left and you can see abit of the third eyelid. Apparently this is a sign of an unwell cat.
     
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