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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
(This is not a post about the Readercon debacle; I will post on that… 
29th-Jul-2012 12:03 pm
I Hate It Here - Transmet
(This is not a post about the Readercon debacle; I will post on that when I have time to write a real post, because unsurprisingly, I have Opinions. You guys already know what side I'm on here. I absolutely condemn the Readercon board for refusing to adhere to their stated policy and privileging Rene Walling's precious feelings over Genevieve Valentine's safety. More on that later.)

Jack still isn't eating.

He nibbled at some food and peed on Friday, but other than that, we have had no evidence of him eating, and he isn't peeing or pooping. We're still force-feeding him the Nutrical, so some calories are getting into him, but he's still literally turning up his nose at actual food, and I've started crying when he does it. He is noticeably jaundiced. He is breaking my heart.

He's due to go in for more bloodwork on Thursday, but the not-eating may mean he goes in sooner; we'll be calling the vet tomorrow morning. The fact that he hasn't regained his appetite even with the antibiotics and painkillers has me afraid that there's a blockage or a tumor.

He is still sweet and good-natured and cuddlesome. But he is very quiet.

I've never gone through this with a pet before, this genuine possibility and fear of death; my first dog was quietly put to sleep when I was ten, and the next one died suddenly in kennel care years after I'd moved out. Other pets I've had got passed to new homes with friends when I moved (North Carolina to Vegas, Arizona to Florida). Max has been well, other than his jaw issues in 2007. I have never dealt with nursing a pet who might not get better.
29th-Jul-2012 04:15 pm (UTC)
~offers hug and sympathy~ It's really scary and overwhelming, no matter how many times it happens. I'm really sorry.
29th-Jul-2012 04:17 pm (UTC)
I wish no one ever had to deal with this kind of heartache.
29th-Jul-2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
I offer hugs, which you are (of course) free to decline.

I've been in a similar place (with a sad ending) but a friend (fairestcat) had a happier outcome. If you'd like to read about her experience, the tag is "dreadful the pirate cat".

Edited to add: I should have asked whether you were looking for thoughts/suggestions, but since someone else has kindly done so, and you've replied in the affirmative, I recommend investigating the possibility of a gastrostomy tube; I'm certain that's what saved Dreadful's life.

Edited at 2012-07-29 05:40 pm (UTC)
29th-Jul-2012 05:11 pm (UTC)
It's really hard when a pet is unwell and not eating.

Do you want thoughts/suggestions?
29th-Jul-2012 05:13 pm (UTC)
Yes, please.
29th-Jul-2012 05:40 pm (UTC)
So this is based in large part on two old lady cats of mine (inc. Madame who is snoozing at my feet).

I should also say that this heavily influenced by my personal cat owner opinions including that I will do a lot to keep a pet going if they still seem relatively comfortable and able to enjoy life. I am reluctant to engage in medical procedures that are long term uncomfortable/painful. These are a highly subjective measures and I don't want to tell anyone how to care for their pet.

Also you can get nutrical cheaper online.

OK, first of all this is a time when I pull out all stops on getting my cat to eat. I will give Madame cat treats, eggs, lunch meat (low sodium natural turkey), bits of duck, tuna juice, etc. If it has calories and isn't poisonous she gets it. Yay calories.

I talk to her softly and praise her when she eats. I gently pet her afterwards.

This is also a time for stinky wet food. Honestly cheap friskies wet food is sometimes all I can convince Madame to eat. She normally gets fancy grain free Whole Foods nonsense food, but if she's refusing food I will give her whatever she will eat. I smoosh it up with water (and nutrical) so she can basically lap up food. This also helps get water into her system.

Spoon feeding. I know. Basically I sit on the floor with a spoonful of wet food mixed with nutrical and hold it up. If she turns her head away I wait and try again maybe 5 minutes later. If she turns her head two or three times I stop and try again maybe an hour later. If she eats a spoonful I praise her extravagantly and give her more. I try to keep feeding from being stressful.

I mostly try to spoil her in every way possible and try to spend time just being with her. It's hard. In the morning if I can't see her immediately I freak out. When she's napping I will sometimes check that she's still breathing. I try to make sure she gets love from me every day.

When I've had pets that have passed it's really fucking hard. For me the hardest part is deciding what is best for my pet, and that isn't always prolonging life. I do not want to let Madame go, but if/when it seems like she is mostly uncomfortable/unhappy I will do so. Also because Madame is an old lady, I have already decided I won't do surgical interventions. I think the combo of proceedure and recovery would be too much for her.

The things that have helped me with putting a pet to sleep is taking some time between making the decision and implementing it (if possible). An extra few days of at home love helps. Bringing friends/loved ones to the vet with you so you can hold your pet as she passes is also good.

It's hard and it sucks.
29th-Jul-2012 05:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this; I'm saving it for the day when I need it, as I'm sure I will.
29th-Jul-2012 05:59 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. One thing I forgot to add is try feeding kitten food. It's generally high calorie.
29th-Jul-2012 10:01 pm (UTC)
Sound advice, through and through, based on my own experience with Phinneas Punta, who lived to be *at least* 22.

Chicken broth, too. We always have homemade low-salt chicken stock on hand from all the crockpot stuff I make. Calories AND fluid.

And yes, no matter how many battles you win, losing that last battle is hard, and it sucks, and there's no two ways around it.

Edited at 2012-07-29 10:03 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
29th-Jul-2012 05:35 pm (UTC)
Thankfully Judah has experience giving cats fluids, and we make a good team when it comes to giving him oral meds.
29th-Jul-2012 06:05 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry, honey...I went through this with a few of my animals, and it's something that I wouldn't wish on anybody...
29th-Jul-2012 06:20 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry. I just went through this with my kitty.

Did the vet rule out hepatic lipidosis? That can sometimes be treated by force-feeding (a lot).
29th-Jul-2012 07:17 pm (UTC)
Our Perdita was a very brittle diabetic (her diabetes stemmed from a larger endocrine issue), and we thought we were going to lose her over and over again during the 4 years after her diagnosis. And even if you're braced for it, the decision-making is very, very hard. There's a constant level of always evaluating the pet's quality of life, watching how/whether they pull out of it, of judging the procedures necessary to make their quality of life as good as possible. I remember crying while I dealt with some of Dita's issues too.

I wish you and yours the best in dealing with Jack's illness. I hope he bounces back.
29th-Jul-2012 07:40 pm (UTC)
Sending you *hugs*
29th-Jul-2012 08:22 pm (UTC)
It's a really wretched thing to go through. I understand.
29th-Jul-2012 08:36 pm (UTC)
Sympathy and *hugs* offered... I've had to go through this with some of mine, and it's never easy, [and never the same twice.] You do your best, you fight as hard as you can for them... but at some point you have to balance their suffering, against your need to have them around, and decide if it's time, or to fight on.

That said, never count them out until you're sure there's no hope, because I've seen cats survive when by all rights they ought not to.
29th-Jul-2012 09:58 pm (UTC)
It is the absolute worst. I'm so sorry.
29th-Jul-2012 10:21 pm (UTC)
It's really hard, and you all are in my prayers.
30th-Jul-2012 12:07 am (UTC)
*more hugs*
on tap, whenever
30th-Jul-2012 12:49 am (UTC)
I have. Like. For the first time, six months ago.

It sucked.

It will suck. It will continue to suck. It will hurt.

But, well. It's part of the contract. (What, you don't remember signing a contract? That's OK, me neither. But it was a precious thing that I had, the relationship created by that contract.)

I hope there's a solution that means he starts eating again, though. Because Some Indeterminate Time In The Future, for that decision, is much better than Very Soon.
30th-Jul-2012 03:02 am (UTC)
We went thru this with all three cats when they passed around a cold. It was terrifying watching the big boy not eat hardly a thing for a week! We used the stinky wet cat food method & it worked. Also, some chicken broth to keep fluids going. If a cat can't smell anything, they can refuse to eat.
Good luck!!!
30th-Jul-2012 03:49 am (UTC)
As I've said way too often, the one big downside of living with companion animals is that they just don't live as long as we do. :-( I've BTDT, and I know just how much it sucks, and I guess my best advice in that regard is (in addition to doing everything sparkymonster suggested), have a talk with Jack. I know, it sounds crazy, but tell him you love him very much, but if it's his time to go, then you understand and you'll do whatever it takes to make that easy for him; if he still wants to fight, though, you'll also do your damndest for him there, too. They'll let you know soon enough, and you both go from there... *hugs if they're welcome*
30th-Jul-2012 07:34 am (UTC)


30th-Jul-2012 09:32 pm (UTC)
When Rupert was very sick the vet told us to give him baby food (which he hated) or boiled chicken and rice (which he loved).
They are supposed to be good if there are pancreatitis/liver issues, and the animal doesn't want to eat.
I had to hand feed him to get him interested u til he got his strength back a little
Good luck! It is so stressful to deal with :-(
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