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Old February 15th, 2009, 04:30 PM
Spartacus Spartacus is offline
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16yr+ male, licks lips, lethargic, not eating, etc

Greetings,
Worried owner, in fact teary eyed owner, with a pretty sick cat.

16+ years old. Indoor and outdoor cat. We live on acreage and he has an outdoor banquet and good food inside. Always in at night. Always healthy, except for a bout of diarrhea and projectile vomiting at 2 years ago - corrected with herbs and a change in cat food.

This December we were snowed in for 11 days and so I can recall events- he was eating normally - up to 3 or 4 small cans of food daily, plus free choice dry.

After the snows left he was back inside and outside and his consumption started changing then. We attributed it to outside food. Now, 6 weeks later, he slowly reduced his intake and seldom ate canned food, but would eat dry, not a lot, just some.

At the same time we noticed he was licking his lips frequently, and he was sleeping more and more (but what is winter for?).

Finally got so bad - not eating, not drinking, that we took him to the vet Friday. He had an exam and blood work up. They found nothing, nothing at all, and his blood work up only showed he had anemia. Since he was dehydrated he was given an IV

Well, he's back home and not getting better.

Lip licking continues. Diet is no better. In fact when food is placed in front of him, he approaches it, smells it and turns and walks away.

And there is a change in his voice. He almost growls when I do get him to eat. A real deep throaty sound as though he was defending his food - and this is a big change - as he never sounded off while eating.

His fur is looking listless, when he does eat he now drools, and all he does is lay around - and even then he frequently turns from side to side.

He purrs when petted, but his heart isn't in it.

So far, he is down a little over of 3 pounds from his normal 11 lb weight.

He's not eliminated any stools since 5 days ago, and last night he dribbled a little urine in the litter box.

I've tried a variety of meats, liver, seafood, chicken liver - all to no avail.

Today I decided to try some canned chicken gravy and he ate 1.5 tsp of that before turning away.

We're scared and at our wit's end. This cat is a lifetime friend. He's often the one who senses when my wife is ill, then he sits in her lap, stretches up, causing her to recline and then he stays, keeping her down and healing.

Outdoors he is in many ways a better dog than our dog. He goes on walks and comes when called. Just a joy for both of us.

Now, when he needs help, we are helpless.

Any ideas or thoughts?

Thanks
Dave
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Old February 15th, 2009, 05:31 PM
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Winston Winston is offline
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Did the vet check his teeth? I am just wondering since you mentioned the drooling? have you tried to water down the canned so you can get some more water into him? The other thing I was wondering is if he is getting into soemthing that is on the toxic side? just grasping here but the teeth could be an issue?
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Old February 15th, 2009, 05:48 PM
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growler~GateKeeper growler~GateKeeper is offline
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I'm sorry your kitty is not well, it is past time to have him back at the vets for more testing and exams.

Was it a full blood panel? Did they check the T4 thyroid, BUN and Creatinine?
Did they test his urine? Did they check for crystals?
Did they take an xray of the bowels?

Quote:
Lip licking continues. Diet is no better. In fact when food is placed in front of him, he approaches it, smells it and turns and walks away.
That is generally a sign of nausea, causes are varied.

Please have you cat checked again
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Old February 15th, 2009, 06:10 PM
Spartacus Spartacus is offline
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Winston- afaik all the teeth are there. Yesterday, when he ate the dried food the vet supplied, he had no trouble grinding it down.

Growler - you raised some good questions - which we will pursue tomorrow.

One thing I failed to mention - this cat HATES going to the vet. Each time - only 3 in the last 13 years- he has been sedated before he can be examined.

(when he came to my house, as a stray, it was obvious he had been severly abused, even his whiskers had been burned and he was left with wrinkled up remains of what are now glorious whiskers)

The visits are so strenuous for him, I hate to subject him to another - but we'll do what is necessary.

On a closing note: two hours after the first chicken gravy, he now turns away and around from it.

Here's a snapshot

Thanks, all,
Dave
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Old February 15th, 2009, 06:33 PM
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for the visit tomorrow
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Old February 16th, 2009, 12:53 PM
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Unhappy Doesn't sound good

Ah what a lovely gorgeous boy...you've had many years of love and enjoyment with him. At 16+ years old, sounds like he's winding down....it's so sad to see. I think you should be prepared to make some tough decisions for him. It's always so hard to see one of our beloved lifelong friends go....but there does come a time sooner or later. Been there, done it, for too many pets. It's never easy.
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Old February 16th, 2009, 02:34 PM
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An xray is an excellent idea, it will show if your kitty swallowed anything and check for kidney/bladder stones.

Good luck.
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Old February 17th, 2009, 09:45 PM
Spartacus Spartacus is offline
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Sorry I am late getting back online...

Catlover2 - you may be correct, we've thought about it, and wondered if this were the start. It may be. Read on though.

Love4himies - so far we've not done the xray bit.

Monday was the day to check back with the vet, which we did. They had no new ideas, and then Spartacus decided to give us a bowel sample - which we ran in to the vet. We also picked up materials for a urine sample -

But earlier that morning Spartacus surprised us by wanting to go outside, then he went down 2 flights of stairs and began drinking water out of an old bucket (fresh water inside not being good enough).

Monday afternoon we learned the stool sample was okay, and then by chance Spartacus left us a urine sample which was run into the vets and tested on the spot - all normal.

Monday night he all of a sudden was up and about and rubbing against legs and doorways as though nothing happened.

He insisted upon going out into the garage, and spend the night high up on stacked bags of pellet fuel.

Tuesday morning he came in, ate a whole can of food, ate some dry food and drank water - just as though nothing had happened. The rest of the day was consumed by sleep, and an afternoon spent on the deck in the sun.

He is still turning away from offered food, as though it disgusts him, as he shakes his head and makes a muttering sound.

I noticed one thing about his walking, hir right front paw turns in and it never did before. I also saw him go downstairs, rabbit like - hoppity-hop, which is different than his traditional way.

So, I'm wondering, did he have a stroke?

I'm also confused by episodes of the most foul odor surrounding him. It doesn't stay strong for long, but it is atypical of him, as he never has had an odor of any kind.

To summarize - all tests are normal, urine and stools were negative - he can and does eat a little, and if the water is dirty enough he will drink it. He is sleeping all the time and his voice has changed from a normal cat meow, to more of a broken record cat meow or a poor imitation of a lion growl.

We're still worried and confused, but pleased to see the recent improvement. Hopefully each day will bring positive improvements.

Thanks and we'll post more news as it happens.
Dave
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Old February 17th, 2009, 10:44 PM
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TacoGrl TacoGrl is offline
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Unfortunately, he is an outdoor cat...perhaps he was bitten by a spider or something...or perhaps he drank some water with something in it...the tests should have revealed something though one would think.

If he was my fella, I would keep him inside and monitor him until he gets through this...or at least follow him more closely when he is outside to see ALL the places he goes...maybe a clue in one of them...

I will add though, my Mooki would rebound, then spiral, then rebound during her last few months...not what you want to read...hard for me to type, but...
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Old February 18th, 2009, 11:03 AM
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catlover2 catlover2 is offline
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dave, glad to hear all his tests checked out OK. With a 16 y.o. cat he'll have his good and bad days. At least he's still eating and drinking. I agree with Tacogirl that he should be kept inside if it doesn't distress him too much, or monitored when he goes out. Cats sense when they're coming to the end of the road, and at that time will stop eating altogether but continue to drink a little, and some will often seek out a hidden place to pass away, much to distress of owners.

Give him as much love and comfort as possible. Who knows? he may surprise you and everyone by being on of those rare cats who lives to 20 or beyond.

Cat age vs. human age conversion: http://cats.about.com/cs/healthissues/a/agechart.htm

Most of my cats (Manx) lived to be 16-18 yrs. but I did have one girl that died just shy of her 19th birthday. She had been mostly an indoor cat, but in her last year liked to just go sit in the sun on the deck. One day, she disappeared for 4 days. We searched everywhere for her. There's a small wood adjacent to our property, but she was deaf and no amount of calling and searching for her was successful. About 4 days later she barely dragged herself home, but was severely dehydrated which damaged her kidneys. She lasted for another 6 mos. before she died of a heart attack. I still miss her. :sad:

My neighbour has a DSH black & white tuxedo neuter who in spite of thyroid condition and deafness is still able to catch mice and is coming up to his 21st year. So you never know.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 11:14 PM
Spartacus Spartacus is offline
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catlover2, TacoGrl, and everyone else who helped us,

How do you say I screwed up, except to say, "I really screwed up"

When last I wrote I speculated on 'stroke' - and let my mind wander as though I knew what the cat was experiencing. I didn't have a clue.

After that last message, we went out for evening chores with the horses. For the first time in a week Spartacus came along. As is his custom, at the end of chores he approaches me, turns around and waits to be picked up to have his head petted and his chin scratched. This is a routine we go through almost nightly.

That night I was in for a surprise when after petting his chin my fingers came back with tufts of fur, lots of it - and it stank - putrid.

At that point I realized I shouldn't have poo-pooed Judith when she had told me she'd seen blood on his neck. Well, it turned out to be his chin and he had a lot of it.

We took photos and emailed the vet. Turns out he had a big abscess which popped. Cause? Likely an animal fight and bite - though it could have been self inflicted - no one knows, least of all me.

Today a 15 minute procedure removed the dead skin, cleaned out the infection and left us with a really happy cat. He now has an opening to muscle tissue, which we clean and treat twice daily. Vet claims this type of cat wound will heal nicely (usually) and that it will take about a month.

She is perplexed because he didn't have a visible wound or show blood, or show an elevated white cell count on Friday.

I've learned to 1) listen to my wife 2) try to watch all of the cat's symptoms and 3) don't give up (which we came close to doing Sunday morning).

He's going to stay inside and get his feet on the ground. Right now he's at my feet purring and enjoying life. 3 helpings of chicken livers doesn't seem to bother him either.

Looks as though Spartacus will be with us for more time and we are two very thankful humans - who have learned alot this week from a very tough and loving cat who didn't give up.

Thanks again for all the support. If photos of before and after will help others, I'll post.

Purrs and more,
Dave and Judith - and Spartacus too
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Old February 18th, 2009, 11:46 PM
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Good to hear it was just an abcess and nothing more serious though if left untreated they can become serious.

I suppose it's possible the abcess never fully formed and was leaking little by little or it was fairly deep in the tissue that's why it never showed Probably accounts for the slight anemia showed in the blood test.

About the bunny hopping down the stairs my Mischief started that from about 9 years on probably for stability coming down the stairs as she did it mostly on a slippery inside set of tall stairs.
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  #13  
Old February 19th, 2009, 08:18 AM
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TacoGrl TacoGrl is offline
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I am sooooo happy you found out hwat it was!

Now for the nag in me to come out

If it was from a cat fight or similar, indoor cats do not have this problem
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Old February 19th, 2009, 11:37 PM
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Great news that you discovered the abscess. Untreated it could definitely lead to serious problems, but glad you discovered it in time. Long life to your 16 y.o.
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