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Posts: 17
Hi everyone.  It's been quite some time since I've needed help/support on this site, but I now find myself once again having to question if it may soon be time to put another of my dear furbabies to sleep.

Since everyone here has obviously had experiences with sick/dying pets, I thought that maybe some of you here could have good advice to offer.  I should also add that, my cat has been to the vet recently, and had recent bloodwork done.  But yet, often a group of folks here have a wider swathe of experience under their belts, and may have insights that my vet would not.

So the details:

my cat is ex-feral.  I took him in about 17 years ago.  He was part of a colony of street cats that lived elsewhere on my street.  He was a tough, scrappy guy, used to scaling 10' cinderblock walls that were topped with barbed wire.  When I first took him in, he often wailed like a caged animal; I'd let him outside for a bit, and then he'd return back inside.  It took almost a full year to 'tame him', but over time, he became the absolute sweetest cat.  But he always retained a bit of the wild in him, never taking to a litter box, and preferring to pee on the floor (I eventually figured out to get him weewee pads, and that's been his mode of choice ever since.  ;-)

As mentioned, I took him in 17 years ago, and seeing as he was feral (ferals typically don't live very long lives on the street, from what I understand...), so I'd therefore surmise he may have been 2-3 years old at the time, therefore making him about 20 now?

Maybe 2 years ago the vet put him on some meds (I can't remember now what the meds were for in the first place...I think one was to regulate his liver which at one point was a bit enlarged?)  He gets prednisone and methimazole daily.

Past few years he's obviously had some arthritis issues, and now it's much worse.  He slightly drags his hind legs when walking.  Wobbles a bit.  I had to get him a step stool to get up on the couch.  Now when he's reclining, I can tell from his body positioning that he's uncomfortable.  

Past few months, he'll let out an occasional cry...sounds like a primal animal type of cry...and then he'll stop, and he seems fine.

Past week, I notice he's 'pacing' a bit...sorta walking here....then there... as if he's 'not sure what he wants'.  Not behaving like a normal dog/cat who might look out the window, check their food then lay down again.  It's as if he's literally 'not sure what he wants'.  Then he might come over to me.... meow in such a way as if he 'wants' something, and all I can do is look and say 'kitty...I don't know what you WANT....'.  I try patting him, kissing him, offering food, try to coax him to go out on my secured balcony for a bit, but nothing.  He just doesn't seem 'satisfied'.  And then, eventually, he will stop...head back to the for a bit.   

Not as much appetite as usual.  Has been drinking more water than usual. 

I know the general concensus is that it's usually time to put a pet to sleep when they are having more bad moments or days, than good ones.  Right now, I feel like I'm at that tricky spot, where I don't feel the scale has tipped sufficiently.  And that's what makes it so difficult...the constant weighing back and forth.  In some respects, I wish he'd be more clearly in pain or something, so that it would make my decision and the timing of it, more clear for me.

I do have a call into my vet to tell her that his arthritis is much worse, and to ask if there is a med to help with the discomfort...that maybe that in turn would alleviate his other disturbing behaviors (not seeming to know 'what he wants', occasional primal cries, lack of appetite, etc.)  But aside from that, any thoughts?

I'm also going to ask the vet about this product I found on Amazon, and which has good reviews, the key ingredients being: Ammonium Phos, Rhus Tox, Bryonia, Caulophyllum, Ledum Phos, Utica.


Thank you!

******(Links to commercial websites are not permitted - EdW)

Posts: 834
I am sorry your kitty is having such problems. I do not mean to sound as if I am telling you what to do, only passing on what my vet told me just a few days ago. I lost my fourteen year old dog about 7 weeks ago due to kidney disease. This week my nine year old dog started acting out of sorts so my vet told me when she gives him his vaccinations in July she will do some bloodwork. She said at his age it is good to do it yearly. I am 69 years old and can tell you that arthritis can be very painful. The fact that he cries makes me wonder if he might not be having a good bit of pain. Animals are very good at hiding pain as a general rule. Increased drinking can be a sign of kidney disease. I would suggest making an appointment sooner rather than later.

Posts: 17
Tx.  I'm bringing him to my regular vet tomorrow (she was not at the office today).... yes, I do know that excessive drinking of water can often be a sign of underlying issues... I also know cats are good at hiding pain.  I've had a number of cats over the had kidney disease...others cancer...and I really pay attention to their behaviors...body language...any change in habits...and even the look in their eyes...when cats are not feeling well, their eyes often take on a 'dead' look...sometimes looking sad or 'resigned' versus alert and perky.  I take all of this into account, weighing everything.  

At this point I do realize my older cat is in that 'iffy' it time to put him to sleep?...a bit too soon?.... But once I see that the cat is having more bad moments than good, that's when I know.  I don't feel he's at that point just yet.  And I would never ever have him remain in this world...or me not putting him to sleep just yet...because I'm not ready to say goodbye.

When I think back to all my cats that I've put to sleep, in each instance I was able to look back and feel that I'd done it at as perfect a time as I could have.  I never felt I waited too long.  For the last thing I'd want is for them to be miserable, and for the bulk of their hours/days...

Right now he's resting peacefully on the couch....has been sleeping a bit more comfortably than in prior days....and actually had a pretty good appetite this morning...

Thanks Twinkiesmom

Posts: 834
If you think I was in any way trying to say anything negative I apologize. Several years ago I was guilty of waiting too long in putting two kitties to rest due to another vet's advice and will always regret it. The vet I have now is not like that. When I called to tell her I thought it was time to let Piper go I had an appointment within two days. As soon as she saw Piper she was in total agreement. I believe we know our pets better than anyone else and our vets are capable of being wrong just like everyone else. Again I am sorry.

Posts: 17
Appreciate your words.  Got to my usual vet today, but unfortunately the appt was not ideal due to COVID restrictions...  Clients cannot go inside, so you must wait outside, then a technician comes to the door and retrieves your pet.  Once the vet takes a look at your pet, they then call you, and so I was standing on a loud city street with traffic, trying to understand everything as the doc went on and on.  Nice of her to take so much time to explain things to me...I know she's super busy...but very hard for me to take in all the info, and while standing on the street and dealing with traffic noise.  Add to that my emotional state.... then the fees adding up for this test and that...and trying to determine...does this all make sense....will he even get better?  It's one thing to spend $1000s to mend a broken leg...another for cocktails of meds to 'try' and make him better, while still not really addressing or understanding underlying cause of issue.  Very anguishing...

Anyway, so he's back home, and he's on a pain med for first time, which will hopefully enable him  to have more restful sleep, and hopefully if we alleviate his discomfort (which seems to be from arthritis and perhaps something else?...he also has always had very bad teeth, so they also gave injection of antibiotic, in case any painful mouth infection...)... idea is that we alleviate those discomforts, perhaps his appetite will increase.  It's just one big circle of course, for if you are already a cat on the smaller side...and older...and you're not eating affects everything else.

So....we'll see how next few days go.

I learned something new today however...the term 'knuckling'.  Seems that's what my cat was starting to do with some of his paws...guess it can sometimes be a way to 'protect' painful joints...but it also could have neurological causes....

Thanks again for taking time to write.  Really appreciate it!
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