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  #1  
Old January 20th, 2013, 08:17 PM
robinskitties robinskitties is offline
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Kitty not eating and losing weight

So last week, my friend, who lives with me, noticed that her cat wasn't eating very well and he seems to have lost a bit of weight. We have an appointment for him first thing Tuesday but, a couple of years back, one of my cats died very suddenly from a fast growing tumor in his belly which ruptured (he had been to the vet less than six months before but he went from me noticing he wasn't eating to being dead in a week - he hadn't even lost any weight at that point).

In any case, my friend is a basket case expecting her kitty to drop dead before Tuesday. He's eating a bit (a few bites a few times a day) and he's definitely lost a small amount of weight. He's never been a very big cat though. In general, he shows up for feedings, eats a few bites, then loses interest. He seems to feel fine based on his mood and affect - he's not acting lethargic and not showing any other sign of discomfort.

I'm just wondering if you all might have some words of comfort for my friend. She's terrified and teary-eyed most of the time. Any thoughts? If it weren't a holiday tomorrow, we'd take him in tomorrow but maybe it's an emergency?
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  #2  
Old January 20th, 2013, 09:35 PM
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growler~GateKeeper growler~GateKeeper is offline
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How old is the cat?

Is he drinking normally?

Is he peeing normally?

Has he pooped recently? Was it of normal appearance?

Did she change brand/flavour of food recently?

Has she tried tempting him to eat? Cheese, people food ie chicken, deli meat, cheerios, catnip, a wee dab of butter, a different cat food

Any manufacturer changes to the smell/texture/consistency of the food he's eating?
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  #3  
Old January 20th, 2013, 10:20 PM
robinskitties robinskitties is offline
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Quote:
How old is the cat?
11 or so. Maybe 12. Not much older

Quote:
Is he drinking normally?
Mostly. He takes a sip whenever I turn on the faucet (which is certainly like him) but maybe a little less than usual.

Quote:
Is he peeing normally?

Has he pooped recently? Was it of normal appearance?
She says he doesn't seem to be backed up at all (pee or poo) but no idea about the appearance - there are a number of cats in the house so it's hard to tell which is his. We'll try to keep an eye out.

Quote:
Did she change brand/flavour of food recently?
Nope. In fact, we first noticed the not eating thing when he seemed disinterested in his favorite treats.

Quote:
Has she tried tempting him to eat? Cheese, people food ie chicken, deli meat, cheerios, catnip, a wee dab of butter, a different cat food?
Chicken baby food - showed interest but ate less than a teaspoon. Sour Cream (generally a favorite) - same thing, initial interest but a tiny bit is all he'll take.

Any manufacturer changes to the smell/texture/consistency of the food he's eating?
No changes.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 10:26 PM
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Is he drooling/vomiting/hacking up hairballs?

Any tenderness around his mouth/teeth? Is his personality such that he would let her look in his mouth without biting?

Any tenderness in/around his stomach or when picked up?
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  #5  
Old January 21st, 2013, 06:45 AM
robinskitties robinskitties is offline
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Quote:
Is he drooling/vomiting/hacking up hairballs?
No vomiting, drooling, or hairballs.

Quote:
Any tenderness around his mouth/teeth? Is his personality such that he would let her look in his mouth without biting?
He would probably let her look. He's not acting like there's tenderness unless not eating is a sign of tenderness (which it obviously might be).

Quote:
Any tenderness in/around his stomach or when picked up?
None at all. I massaged it a little and, though he's never been one for belly rubs, he didn't draw away, growl, or show any discomfort. I didn't feel anything either but I only would if it were something particularly new and different.

She is very much hoping that he's just got a bad tooth or something but when she called to schedule the vet, he said it was unlikely to be the problem.
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  #6  
Old January 21st, 2013, 08:15 AM
Hazmat Hazmat is offline
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I lost one of my dear friends to a tumor last week. I had been syringe feeding her for a week before the exploratory surgery and put her down when the Vet. found how extensive the tumor was.

I do realize that that was an extreme case. Most cats will stop eating from time to time for many many reasons. The chance of some type of cancer is estimated to be between 1 and 4%. That is a 96 to 99% chance that it is not a tumor.

Tumor is the least likely cause.
Hairball is the most likely.
Put a glob (1/4 teaspoon) of Vaseline on her paw and she will lick it off. That might get things moving before she can get to the Vet.
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Old January 21st, 2013, 10:12 AM
robinskitties robinskitties is offline
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It's worth a try. Thanks!
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 08:13 PM
robinskitties robinskitties is offline
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Unhappy

Well, sadly, the vet visit did not go as well as we could have hoped. It was looking very good at first - she palpated him but didn't feel anything so she recommended blood work. We're kind of nervous nellies about this sort of thing so we requested x-rays as well. She came back from the x-ray and said he does have a mass in his stomach and she's pretty sure it's not a hairball. Ultrasound scheduled for tomorrow morning to see if it might be operable. Very very sad and scared and worried. It's all about hoping it's operable now...
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  #9  
Old January 22nd, 2013, 08:36 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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I was worried that is could be a mass in his stomach . My last dog had cancer and had the same symptoms. I hope your kitty can have surgery if is does turn out to be a mass.
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  #10  
Old January 22nd, 2013, 09:32 PM
grandmahodie grandmahodie is offline
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Originally Posted by robinskitties View Post
No vomiting, drooling, or hairballs.


He would probably let her look. He's not acting like there's tenderness unless not eating is a sign of tenderness (which it obviously might be).


None at all. I massaged it a little and, though he's never been one for belly rubs, he didn't draw away, growl, or show any discomfort. I didn't feel anything either but I only would if it were something particularly new and different.

She is very much hoping that he's just got a bad tooth or something but when she called to schedule the vet, he said it was unlikely to be the problem.
Have you changed brands of food ?
Could be constipation, I just went through that with my 9 month old kitten. He just stopped eating and I notice he hadn't done any "business in his litter box either...Go to the vet and have them do an xray of the belly..
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  #11  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 12:09 AM
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for tomorrow's ultrasound
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  #12  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 06:56 PM
robinskitties robinskitties is offline
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The ultrasound went as well as we could have hoped for. The mass is focused in a three-inch portion of his large intestine but, aside from a single lymph node right next to it, the doctor didn't think it had spread at all.

He's scheduled for surgery on Friday. Needless to say, we could still get bad news when they open him up but we're hopeful. The doctor suspects that we may need to do some drug therapy (chemo) which makes me nervous but... I have a bad history with people and chemo - maybe it's different for cats?

Either way, thanks so much for all your support!
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 07:18 PM
pattymac pattymac is offline
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sending lots of hugs for you and kitty! From what I've read seems like dogs and cats handle chemo alot better than people do.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 09:02 PM
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Good to hear there is still some hope for Friday

The lymph nodes are very tricky & once it spreads through the lymph system there's not much that can be done. If the Dr can remove that node that gives a better chance.
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  #15  
Old January 24th, 2013, 07:21 AM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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Good wishes for your friend's kitty. We've had one with similar symptoms but it was just constipation. However she does seem to have a very small tumour on her spleen which at the moment is static. At her age, nearly 18, we are in watch and wait mode.
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  #16  
Old January 26th, 2013, 05:16 PM
robinskitties robinskitties is offline
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Shadow is home. They said the surgery went very well - they were able to remove the whole tumor with no trouble. He had the surgery yesterday but he still won't eat. He doesn't show even a bit of interest in anything we've offered him. He's basically just slept.

Should we try to force him to eat? Tomorrow morning we'll call the hospital if he still hasn't eaten but I'm worrying again...
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Old January 26th, 2013, 06:56 PM
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That's pretty major surgery so it's probably not surprising that he has no appetite. I think your instinct is correct, though--if he hasn't eaten by tomorrow, time to call the vet for some advice.

Did they send the mass out for a pathology report?
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Old January 26th, 2013, 07:01 PM
robinskitties robinskitties is offline
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They sent the mass and tissue from a lymph node and liver even though it didn't look like there was any metastases. Really she said the surgery was better than she expected. I just wish I could stop worrying about him... Thanks for your quick response.
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Old January 26th, 2013, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by robinskitties View Post
Shadow is home. They said the surgery went very well - they were able to remove the whole tumor with no trouble. He had the surgery yesterday but he still won't eat. He doesn't show even a bit of interest in anything we've offered him. He's basically just slept.

Should we try to force him to eat? Tomorrow morning we'll call the hospital if he still hasn't eaten but I'm worrying again...
Is he drinking water , if not I would call the hospital right away, he may need to have an IV so he wouldn't get dehydration.
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Old January 26th, 2013, 07:42 PM
robinskitties robinskitties is offline
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I wouldn't call it drinking... I've been dribbling a little water into his mouth every little while. His nose is wet at least. Really, he's not doing anything but sleeping. I finally got a purr out of him... Is that a good sign?
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Old January 26th, 2013, 08:53 PM
pattymac pattymac is offline
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I would say it's a good sign. They also purr to soothe themselves. I would imagine his tummy muscles are pretty sore right now. Did they give you anything for pain? I can't imagine wanting to do anything but sleep after major surgery. It took my kitten two days to really be herself after her spay surgery and I wouldn't think that is quite as long a surgery as your kitty had.
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Old January 26th, 2013, 09:18 PM
robinskitties robinskitties is offline
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They did give us pain meds and he's taking it well enough. I keep telling myself that I would feel like crap after a surgery like that - I've just been so worried about him for so long that maybe it's a habit now. I'm the kind of person who reads the last pages of a book to see how it ends before I get halfway through it - this whole real-life not knowing thing blows. I love this board - thanks for the compassion everyone.
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Old January 27th, 2013, 11:14 AM
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How is Shadow doing today, robinskitties? Did he eat anything?
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  #24  
Old January 27th, 2013, 01:33 PM
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Hope little Shadow is getting better have been praying for him.
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  #25  
Old January 27th, 2013, 03:43 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Originally Posted by robinskitties View Post
I wouldn't call it drinking... I've been dribbling a little water into his mouth every little while. His nose is wet at least. Really, he's not doing anything but sleeping. I finally got a purr out of him... Is that a good sign?
That is good he is purring , I would bring him to vet , I am worried about your kitty not getting enough water .
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Old January 31st, 2013, 02:18 AM
robinskitties robinskitties is offline
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Well, the last few days have been full of good and bad news. Shadow finally started to eat - YAY!! Then he started getting pus - not around the wound but around the edges of the fur line where they shaved him. We took him back in and they said it was an allergic reaction to the scrub. They gave us an appetite stimulant (they wanted him to eat more) and an antibiotic. Stopped eating altogether - lots of licking of chops and drooling - obviously the antibiotic made him nauseous. Called the vet back and they took him off the antibiotic (his last dose wad two days ago but he's still not eating. Drinks a little but won't eat. He's very excited about food and he'll sniff around it but won't eat anything.

On top of that, he clearly uncomfortable - he won't stay still for more than a few minutes. He purrs and he seems to be be in pretty good spirits but neither of us has slept tonight. This is a step back - he's been sleeping fine. I'm wondering if I didn't get his pain medication in him. I was sure I did at the time but now I don't know. Either way, can't give him more just in case...

We have an appointment tomorrow for an ultrasound - if the stitches in the intestine have ruptured, that could cause the nausea.

They also let us know that the mass was lymphoma. That's not very good news but there's no sign in the lymph tissue, or liver tissue they biopsied. That's good news but I'm not sure it's good enough to cancel out the bad.

In the meantime, it's been nearly a week and I'm still desperately worried about him. Just recently, a dear friend of mine had to put her 16 year old dog down - he'd been with her since college. She says she may not get another pet because she doesn't know if she can go through that again. After all the pets I've lost, this is the first time I really understand that feeling.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 10:52 AM
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Keeping fingers crossed that they can get him back on the road to recovery!
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Old January 31st, 2013, 10:40 PM
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See if raising the food & water dishes up between 2-6 inches off the ground makes a difference with the nausea. Place the dishes on a wooden block, phone book etc just make sure the dish won't fall off & scare him when he attempts to eat.

for good Ultrasound results
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  #29  
Old February 1st, 2013, 12:42 PM
robinskitties robinskitties is offline
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So the vet visit went pretty well. He didn't have any fluid in his belly so it looks like the intestinal integrity is maintained. In fact, the vet doesn't think the problem is nausea at all.

I'm going to start a new thread with the problem we now have so that people with the right experience will see it but the basic problem is that his tongue his irritated. He had a pretty bad allergic reaction to the surgical scrub so he's got some blistering and dry skin around the area where he was shaved. They think that licking that area caused his tongue to become inflamed and that's why he won't eat. One thing after another... Ugh!
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