- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Older cat health - already saw vet - still concerned/worried

August 10th, 2008, 05:40 PM
My 13ish year old cat is sick and I'm not sure what to do. He has already seen the Vet about a month and a half ago and received a shot and some additional medicine administered for 10 days and his health did not improve.

He started coughing a few days, then sneezing and coughing and once or twice making sounds like he had a stuffy nose when breathing. I took him to a vet after about a week from when I first noticed the coughing. I would have taken him sooner but with loss of employment a month earlier and no income, I was hoping he would get better on his own. The Dr. at the clinic looked at him and didnt give me much to go with, said by his vague symptoms it could be anything and that my cat was "very old" and it would be several hundred dollars to run tests which may or may not determine his ailment. I explained my situation and asked of any less expensive options I could explore to which he offered a shot and medicine. I felt from his body language that he did not seem confident that these would do much if anything for my cat, but offered them maybe to put me at ease. I do not feel he was trying to push his services, although I did feel lack of compassion.

It has been about a month+ since he has seen the vet and his condition has only gotten worse. He sounds like Darth Vader when he breathes, his nose runs all the time and has to be cleaned several times a day. It is so bad he has started licking the mucus off himself, he doesnt seem to like me doing it much for him. More recently he has a discharge from his eyes too. Both discharges are green or greenish brown. He has always been a picky eater, about a month prior to him getting sick he was pickier than ever, now that he is sick he wants to eat all day and usually consumes all his food, he gets about half of a 5.5oz can of wet food twice a day. He has dry food up on a counter which he begs to be lifted up to eat because he is lazy unless really starving then he will jump up to eat. We have to keep it away otherwise our Mini-Pin will consume it all. Although he eats very well, he has been getting skinnier and skinnier. His bathroom activities seem normal as far as I can tell, he has never been a litter box kitty as he has free roam in and outdoors. He does use the litter box more recently only to urinate though. He has never been a super active cat but always brought us "presents" as recently as about a month ago (during his sickness) he brought us a bird, then last week a lizard. He likes to sleep a lot, especially outdoors in the sun. At night he used to, and still tries to sleep with me but because of his snoring I have to keep him out because I cant sleep.

Background info: 13ish years ago somebody dropped 2 kittens off at a neighbors house that had lots of plants/trees/rocks/landscaping for them to take shelter in. (he was never home, a race car driver) My mother brought them food and water every few days. One of them realized across the street is where the love is and would come over every time he saw one of us outside and just wanted to jump in our lap and purr and be loved. Soon we had no choice, he adopted us as his home. I believe he has only had two rounds of shots one as a young kitten, and another one about 8 years ago when neighbors trapped him an sent him to the shelter. We never could keep a collar on him. He has been in many fights, went to the vet for antibiotics now and then, after a while we just cleaned them peroxide and he was fine. As he got older he just relaxes around home mostly, doesnt go more than a few houses away, and usually comes back fairly quick.

I'm not sure what to do, I apologize for the novel but wanted to give as much details as possible to get the most accurate suggestions. My mother thinks its just his time to go, yet he doesnt seem to me like he is ready to die. Our previous cat died from kidney failure about 3-5 years ago and you could tell she had no more life left in her, she was also 17... I dont think shadow is ready to go.. unfortunately I cannot afford to spend a lot, yet I dont want him to go just yet... I want him to get better.. With your collective wisdom, what do you suggest?

August 10th, 2008, 06:20 PM
13 is really not that old for a cat considering many can live into their 20s, and for your vet to just brush off his symptoms as a result of age is irresponsible.

I'm concerned about the increased urinating and eating, combined with losing weight. Is he also drinking more that you've noticed? This isn't normal and I urge you to take him (as soon as possible!) to a different vet for a complete senior wellness exam with blood work and a urinalysis. For one thing, I suspect that shot that your cat got was a corticosteroid injection, and this can result in diabetes in some cats. The symptoms also fit the bill.

The original issue of breathing problems and goopy eyes could very well be a URI. If you can find some L-Lysine powder from a health food store, put about 500mg twice a day into some canned food until symptoms diminish. Also running a hot shower with him in the bathroom might help loosen up the mucus.

And feed him more canned food, stopping the dry. If diabetes is in the equation (and I'm not saying it is, just that it's a possibility you need to rule out with a vet visit), he should eat as much of a good quality wet food as he wants. Dry food, due to the high amount of carbohydrate, is not great for cats and can also contribute to the development and exacerbation of diabetes.

Good luck. Please let us know how it goes!

August 11th, 2008, 12:37 AM
Definately a second opinion @ a different clinic is needed. A full geriatric blood panel & urinalysis is needed to rule out several conditions, most of which are treatable. When I have these tests done on my cat it is never more than $200 including exam & sample collection fees.

As SCM suggests L-Lysine will aid to clear the URI symptoms.

August 11th, 2008, 07:00 AM
For a vet to say 13yrs is very old in a cat,is just simple lunacy,it's like saying a 50yr old person is very old.
I ditto all that has been said,a blood-panel is absolutely needed and it's not expensive.
I am no vet,but judging by the symptoms,I am sure your cat has something that could be easily treated,so please do not think he is ready to die:sad:

August 11th, 2008, 07:27 AM
Green discharge, according to my vet, is an indication of an infection and requires vet treatment, normally antibiotics just in case it is bacterial. It is possible for a cats sinus to drain through it's eyes. Do you know if it was antibiotics that the last vet prescribed to you?

I would not be taking my cat back to the vet office that you went to originally, but to a different one. Phone around to get prices on senior blood panels and urinalysis, there could be a difference in pricing. If you can get your kitty coughing on video and bring it into the vet that may help with the diagnosis.

August 12th, 2008, 05:47 AM
I definately agree that you need to take Shadow to a different vet. My grandma had outdoor cats, and some of them got sick occasionally with very similar symptoms as what you described. All of her cats had a type of dust infection from spending too much time in barns and stables. It was easily treated but could really make the cat suffer if not treated.