The intention of this page is to share a personal experience concerning cat caretaking in the hope that it might help cat owners and cats.
We have just been to the veterinary clinic with Cardi, a small female tabby cat. There is a picture of her on this page with lots of detail about her condition up to this point.
Cardi had terminal cancer diagnosed about 2 weeks ago. She has been losing weight for about 8 weeks. We are looking after Cardi on behalf of her owner who is in hospital. I wanted another up-to-date veterinary opinion on her condition as she continues to lose weight despite being very thin. Cardi has lost her appetite because she has cancer of the intestine. She eats poorly and defecates every 2-3 days. I never thought I would like the smell of cat poo so much 😉 It confirms that the basic body functions are working.
Cardi’s vet, Katy, who is excellent and probably even better than that, coined a phrase that I like and which should set the standard and tone of how cat caretakers need to act when looking after a cat that has an incurable and fatal illness. She said that we were a cat hospice for the time being. And that is so right.
It is stressful. It is very helpful to take your patient to a good vet for advice. It provides information about your dying cat’s condition that helps make a decision on euthanasia, which is the most difficult of all the decisions a cat guardian might have to make.
I feel that you have to remove from the decision making process as much doubt and uncertainty as you can and be armed with all the information that you can obtain. Then you can make a good decision. The decision on euthanasia is a particularly onerous one when you are taking care of a cat on behalf of the owner when the owner is not in a position to provide any input of their own.
The trip to the vet could have resulted in euthanasia there and then but I went in open minded. Katy felt that Cardi was not quite ready to leave us despite losing about 1.3 kilograms since the last visit. Cardi weighs 2.69 kilograms today. This is 5.93 pounds. Katy thought Cardi may have about three more weeks. But it may be longer.
Every animal including our cat companions have a right to life and where there is life it must be granted if it is in our power to make that decision. Cardi is not in pain. If she was the decision to euthanise would have been taken today.
Katy gave Cardi a steroid injection near the site of the cancer to boost the body’s ability to fight the disease and to help reduce inflammation.
Cardi was a complete angel in the car and at the vets. She did not make a single sound throughout the entire experience and was beautifully behaved.
Cardi does have what may be a sore tooth, which may be a contributing reason why she eats less than adequately. Nothing, really, can be done about that at this stage. She ate pretty well on her return.
I have bought some more highly palatable, high nutrient content, semi-moist cat food for her: Hills a/d, and also some Hills high quality standard wet cat found in pouches. You can see them in the picture.
We are a cat hospice. We have an obligation to do what is right for the patient. The vets are Vets on White Hart Lane. If you live in the area, I would recommend them very highly.
Associated page: Making Decisions at the Veterinary Clinic by Ruth aka Kattaddorra.