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My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

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My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Old 05-01-18, 09:36 PM
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My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

So . . . this is my baby, Larry Patrick.



We don't know how old he is . . . maybe 15? They estimated he was 15 when I got him, but that was 7 years ago, so I doubt it (he's surely not 22.) He's started drinking tons of water and peeing in the laundry room, so I took him to the vet. Turns out he has kidney failure, but we're going to try to manage it for as long as he has quality of life. I learned how to give a cat subcutaneous fluids today, and we have to do that every day now. That's something I never thought I'd have to do, but it's surprisingly not hard.

Has anyone gone through this with their pet? I guess it's a really common way for older cats to go. The vet was very vague about his prognosis--there is no cure, but he could live weeks or years. There is a renal diet that we'll try, but he's a picky eater, and cats tend to dislike the low protein renal diets. Just feeling kind of sad about him right now and a tad guilty because I was so ticked off about how much he was peeing on the floor.
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Old 05-01-18, 09:49 PM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Very sorry to hear about this. Pets are great sources of joy so it is really hard when you have to go through this kind of thing with them.

I have not had a pet with kidney failure, but I've been through late-life dementia with two different dogs and losing their house training was one of the key symptoms. I definitely understand the conflicting emotions of frustration with cleaning up pee in the house while trying to be caring and understanding with their illness.
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Old 05-01-18, 10:06 PM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Had the same exact thing with a cat of mine like 10 years ago. The fluid was very easy to give, but definitely took 2 people. My cat at the time had a much better life after giving the fluids. She was able to eat easier and drink water a lot easier. It was like she was rejuvenated each time we did it. I think she lived a year or so later after. So it should prolong your cats life, but I would imagine it's based on how bad your cat's kidneys are. Losing pets is awful. Hang in there man.
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Old 05-01-18, 10:09 PM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Wow . . . weird to think that animals get dementia, too.

Yes, the pee cleaning made me pretty grumpy, as Larry had a history of behavioral peeing that I had thought we were mostly over. He still had accidents, but they were weekly, not all day long, so my first response was omg, not this again. Then I noticed how much he's drinking, and that's a classic kidney disease sign. I hope we can manage the pee by making a place he prefers, because I think it will keep getting worse. I almost want to try leaving some folded towels on top of garbage bags in "safe" areas. It would actually be easier to do a bleach load of towels every day than to have to mop. Or maybe I could see what he thinks of puppy pads. He keeps peeing in the same places.
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Old 05-01-18, 10:19 PM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Originally Posted by Lipid View Post
Had the same exact thing with a cat of mine like 10 years ago. The fluid was very easy to give, but definitely took 2 people. My cat at the time had a much better life after giving the fluids. She was able to eat easier and drink water a lot easier. It was like she was rejuvenated each time we did it. I think she lived a year or so later after. So it should prolong your cats life, but I would imagine it's based on how bad your cat's kidneys are. Losing pets is awful. Hang in there man.
Did you get your saline solution from the vet? I'm thinking what my vet charges is pretty expensive. I was thinking maybe a pharmacy or some online place would sell them cheaper. Thanks for the kind words. I hope we get a year or more.
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Old 05-01-18, 10:22 PM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Sorry to hear that. About two years ago something similar happened to one of my cats, he was 15. He would drink lots of water and urinate on the couch or on his bed. His belly started getting big and he looked like he was in pain, so I took him to the vet. I was told that there was fluid building up in his abdomen and that it was very serious. I was told that it was most likely cancer, heart failure or liver damage. It was a very sad moment, but I had him put to sleep because I did not want him to suffer.
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Old 05-01-18, 10:28 PM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Originally Posted by tasha99 View Post
So . . . this is my baby, Larry Patrick.

Gorgeous cat! I'm sorry your cat has to go through this situation.
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Old 05-01-18, 10:44 PM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

I just put my original cat down today, so I feel you, OP. My other cat also has signs of kidney failure (same thing... lots of water, lots of pee) but no diagnosis yet, even after spending a relative fortune on tests (though they did sell us the kidney food). But both have lived a good, long life (for cats), and outlived the kittens that came after them.
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Old 05-01-18, 11:03 PM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
I just put my original cat down today, so I feel you, OP. My other cat also has signs of kidney failure (same thing... lots of water, lots of pee) but no diagnosis yet, even after spending a relative fortune on tests (though they did sell us the kidney food). But both have lived a good, long life (for cats), and outlived the kittens that came after them.
I'm so sorry for your loss--that is rough. I know at some point we'll have to do the same thing. I hope I find the right time--letting Larry live the fullest life he can, but not having him suffer.
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Old 05-01-18, 11:13 PM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Yeah, it's hard, especially because they can't speak... my cat had been unable to control her bowel movements for some time now, but the tests showed nothing obviously wrong, but she was weak and emaciated despite still having an appetite. I had to make sure we weren't doing it just because we were inconvenienced by her, but in the end there just seemed like there was no way she was going to get back to normal, and I was just prolonging the inevitable.
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Old 05-01-18, 11:30 PM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
Yeah, it's hard, especially because they can't speak... my cat had been unable to control her bowel movements for some time now, but the tests showed nothing obviously wrong, but she was weak and emaciated despite still having an appetite. I had to make sure we weren't doing it just because we were inconvenienced by her, but in the end there just seemed like there was no way she was going to get back to normal, and I was just prolonging the inevitable.
I have those doubts . We considered making Larry an outside cat, but he doesn't actually like being outside all that much and I think that would be pretty cruel. He lived for years in an Alaskan shelter, was adopted once and returned, and even after years with us, he doesn't seem "healthy attached." He -hates- being excluded, so putting him outside would be a kick when he's down. So for now, we're just going to try to make it work as best as we can and I'll keep cleaning. I know the point is coming, though, when he'll be suffering, and I'm afraid of prolonging it all too long.
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Old 05-01-18, 11:45 PM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Originally Posted by tasha99 View Post
Did you get your saline solution from the vet? I'm thinking what my vet charges is pretty expensive. I was thinking maybe a pharmacy or some online place would sell them cheaper. Thanks for the kind words. I hope we get a year or more.
Yes, it was always from a vet. I didn't even consider getting it elsewhere. I don't recall how much it was, but don't recall it costing a lot for the saline solution. I would just go in and pick up more as need be.

I would say to call around, some vets charge a lot more than others. You may be able to find a vet that sells the liquid for much cheaper.
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Old 05-02-18, 06:17 AM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

So sad to hear about larry, tasha99 He has a great nurse though so I am sure he will have quality of life for quite a while longer.
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Old 05-02-18, 08:57 AM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Originally Posted by tasha99 View Post
I have those doubts . We considered making Larry an outside cat, but he doesn't actually like being outside all that much and I think that would be pretty cruel. He lived for years in an Alaskan shelter, was adopted once and returned, and even after years with us, he doesn't seem "healthy attached." He -hates- being excluded, so putting him outside would be a kick when he's down. So for now, we're just going to try to make it work as best as we can and I'll keep cleaning. I know the point is coming, though, when he'll be suffering, and I'm afraid of prolonging it all too long.
My cat at the time died a couple of years ago from throat cancer, but before that she had arthritis and a urinary tract infection. She was peeing all over the place. One thing that helped was putting a 2nd litter box in one of the spots that she was peeing and that stopped the rest of the other spots she was looking to go. I think having the litter box downstairs helped her since her joints hurt going up and down the stairs to get to her original litter box. If your cat is peeing in the laundry room, maybe you could put another litter box there for him. Sorry you're going through this tough time with your fur pal, but this is some of what we sign up for when we get them.
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Old 05-02-18, 09:04 AM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

I've never had a cat with this but in the 90s my wife at the time and I had a beagle dog who developed it at the age of nine. We ended up putting her down. She couldn't adjust to the diet. I'm so sorry Larry is not well. He's a beautiful puddymas. My oldest boy Vigo will be seventeen in September and I am just grateful he's still healthy.
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Old 05-02-18, 09:51 AM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Originally Posted by VinVega View Post
My cat at the time died a couple of years ago from throat cancer, but before that she had arthritis and a urinary tract infection. She was peeing all over the place. One thing that helped was putting a 2nd litter box in one of the spots that she was peeing and that stopped the rest of the other spots she was looking to go. I think having the litter box downstairs helped her since her joints hurt going up and down the stairs to get to her original litter box. If your cat is peeing in the laundry room, maybe you could put another litter box there for him. Sorry you're going through this tough time with your fur pal, but this is some of what we sign up for when we get them.
We did that in the bathroom. There was a spot he always wanted to hit, so we put a litterbox there, and while it didn't solve the problem completely, he was a lot better. There are already 2 boxes in the laundry room and he pees everywhere but the box.
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Old 05-02-18, 10:23 AM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Sorry to hear that, tasha99. We had two cats that contracted kidney failure within six months of each other. The timing was so odd that we wondered if there was something in the neighborhood causing it so have kept the new cats indoors.

Some people don't understand our attachment to animals, but honestly we spend more time with them than we do with most humans.
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Old 05-02-18, 10:24 AM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Originally Posted by tasha99 View Post
We did that in the bathroom. There was a spot he always wanted to hit, so we put a litterbox there, and while it didn't solve the problem completely, he was a lot better. There are already 2 boxes in the laundry room and he pees everywhere but the box.
My cat pees outside of the box but that's because she sits in the box and she just streams it outside (so at least she's trying). I think we need a bigger box. Switching to an enclosed one helped contain it but there's still a bit of cleanup.

I spent all this money on a litter robot and nobody wants to use it...
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Old 05-02-18, 10:26 AM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Sorry to hear tasha99, he is a cute kittie.
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Old 05-02-18, 10:39 AM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Really sorry to hear this!

I have a cat that's in the early stages of kidney disease. She's 16 years old. We found out through bloodwork about two years ago. She doesn't have any symptoms otherwise, but she has been on the renal diet. The food does apparently suck, but I have to say it does smell a lot better than regular cat food!

One of the challenges in getting her to switch to the prescription diet was that she was never very food motivated. Her sister, who sadly died in 2011, was the fat one and fucking loved to eat! But she was never that into it. She also stuck to dry food, and I guess the prescription dry food isn't very good. It also didn't help that around that same time she had some issue (still never figured it out) that had her losing weight at a frightening rate. The vets said this wasn't part of the kidney disease. I eventually put her on low doses of heartburn medication and that solved the problem. Or it might've been a coincidence and whatever was going on resolved it self! But that was a horrendous time, trying to get her to eat this new crappy food and she wouldn't touch it, all the while knowing that I need to get her to gain several pounds as fast as possible!

Anyway, here's my advise for making the switch. The urgency that this switch is made will depend on what your vet says. But first buy a bunch of samples of different types of prescription food, both canned and dry. I think it's easier to transition from regular canned to prescription canned, though, so maybe get her eating some regular canned food. Then mix in the prescription food. Every few days, add a higher proportion of the prescription food if she's eating well.

At the same time, make dry prescription food available. Try different flavors and give her a chance to try them out for a few days. If she takes to any one flavor, stick with it. Don't shift away from a flavor she's willing to eat.

The big challenge is that these foods can be expensive AF. Get samples from your vet if you can, as much variety as possible. Then order more online, rather than going through the vet. Places like chewy.com are much cheaper than the vet's office.

My vet also prescribed an appetite stimulant (that I can get from a regular pharmacy for like 25 cents a dose), which possibly helped. This was mostly to try and get her to gain weight, but I still have her on it and I think it helps get her to eat the crappy food more.

I'll end this by saying that cats can live a pretty long time with kidney disease. Years. This is different from dogs, where a kidney disease diagnosis means you don't have much time left. It sounds like your cat is in the advanced stages, but by managing it you will definitely be making your cat happier and feeling better in the time that they have left.
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Old 05-02-18, 11:18 AM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

So sorry to hear about your kitty. I'm in a battle with my 14-year-old German shepherd. A few weeks ago, blood work showed that his kidneys are starting to slow down. They're in full failure, but it explains the increased urination and thirst.

The vet mentioned the prescription food, but I've elected not to try it. My dog has severe problems in his back that have left his back legs virtually useless. The muscle atrophy is so bad in the back at this point, and I'm seeing that weakness start to spread to the front. The prescription food is low in protein, so it will only help accelerate his muscle wasting. That seems like a worst fate for him than the kidneys. I'm just trying to keep him comfortable for as long as he's still engaged, fighting and has the will to continue.

In regards to your situation, I have a friend with some senior cats. One of them quit using the litter box altogether. Adding additional ones didn't help. She tried pee pads, but the cat wouldn't use them. The system she eventually started using was a towel system like you described. The cat would go on the towel as long as it was in the laundry room and not already soiled. It has made a huge difference for her.

Best of luck!
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Old 05-02-18, 02:10 PM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Originally Posted by tasha99 View Post
So . . . this is my baby, Larry Patrick.



We don't know how old he is . . . maybe 15? They estimated he was 15 when I got him, but that was 7 years ago, so I doubt it (he's surely not 22.) He's started drinking tons of water and peeing in the laundry room, so I took him to the vet. Turns out he has kidney failure, but we're going to try to manage it for as long as he has quality of life. I learned how to give a cat subcutaneous fluids today, and we have to do that every day now. That's something I never thought I'd have to do, but it's surprisingly not hard.

Has anyone gone through this with their pet? I guess it's a really common way for older cats to go. The vet was very vague about his prognosis--there is no cure, but he could live weeks or years. There is a renal diet that we'll try, but he's a picky eater, and cats tend to dislike the low protein renal diets. Just feeling kind of sad about him right now and a tad guilty because I was so ticked off about how much he was peeing on the floor.
My Lucas passed away in January. He was 21. In the months leading up to his death, he stopped using the litter box entirely. He was urinating in the same five spots in the living room, and whenever he defecated -- which was rare -- it was wherever it fell out.

He suffered chronic kidney failure as well -- he was over 100 years old in human years, his body was shutting down -- and he was always dehydrated. We gave him subcutaneous fluids every two days (along with a liquid vitamin supplement) and added a Miralax to his food to ease his defecation problems (they were hard, dry, and painful for him).

By the end, he was a sweet loving cat but he was also disoriented, deaf, with failing vision, and seemed to be suffering from some measure of dementia. Some times he was alert and fine, others he would just stare off into space in the dark, barely aware of his surroundings. I'd pick him up and he'd lie limp in my arms. Breathing and barely aware.

It destroyed me to make the decision to say goodbye to him. I had Lucas since he was a kitten, since November 1, 1996. He had been an essential component of my everyday life for the vast majority of my adult life. Through three decades, through seven presidential administrations... heck he was in my life before I had my first cell phone. But quality of life is everything, and his was going rapidly. I said goodbye to him and he was finally free, reunited with our other cat Austen who left 2 years before.

Love your cat. Give him all the attention and affection in the world. He's worth it. And when it's time to say goodbye, as horrible and agonizing as that will be, know that you're doing it for all the right reasons.
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Old 05-02-18, 02:16 PM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

I have had to put down three elderly cats who had health issues. It was not easy, but disassociating helps.

By the end I had decided that when a cat has health issues that require injections twice a week or more, or has bowel/bladder issues, then its time to say goodbye. They can't be happy at that point.

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Old 05-02-18, 02:23 PM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Aw sad news about your kitty. We had a tough old gal named Missy that developed diabetes around that age and we kept her happy and healthy another couple years with twice daily insulin shots. Now in our menagerie we have a furkid named Shadow getting up there (16) and he's dealing with acid reflux and sinusitis of all things. Love to you and Larry.
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Old 05-02-18, 02:24 PM
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Re: My cat has kidney failure . . . feeling pretty sad about it

Aw, what a sweetheart! I'm sorry about your heartache, tasha. That's the dreadful thing about cats, and pets in general: They come and go. The last cat of ours that died also had kidney failure, I think. He was a regular tabby, but had such a winning, cuddly demeanor.
Give your Larry Patrick lots of schmoozing. I'm sure he will continue to purr for you despite his suffering.
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