Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cat update

Back in March I wrote about sad news we received about our cats. Middle cat has an uncurable, highly contagious and always fatal disease. The outlook was that one by one all three cats would get it and they would all slowly die. I thought I'd write an update and perhaps ask for some opinions.

Middle cat (Cheerios, 10 years old) has been ill four to five months. She is frightenly thin, and light as a feather. She still eats (lightly) and drinks, follows me like a lamb, and purrs up a storm on a regular basis. The vet said she didn't believe she was in pain, just uncomfortable.

Oldest cat (Lucky, 14 years old) has always had a chronic respiratory thing going on, from living on the streets before we adopted him. Now I believe he has this disease. He is still active and loving, but his eyes don't look as sharp, and his sneezing and coughing is worse. On the other hand - he's 14, perhaps this is just old age.

Baby cat (Hazel, 8 months old) is still frisky and energetic and shows no signs of disease. We are praying very hard that her youth and baby shots will keep her disease free. We don't know if that's possible, but we have hope.

Maybe it's my own uncomfortableness that is getting to me. My heart breaks a bit every time I cuddle with them. Especially Cheerios - you can see the outline of hip bones and shoulder blades. Her tummy is round because of enlarged/swollen organs.

I'm really torn. I'm not sure whether to have them put down or keep going.

I welcome opinions on the situation.


Melisa said...

As someone who has been through this (and, ahem, wrote a children's book on it), I can say that YOU WILL KNOW when it's time, if Lucky and Cheerios start to act as if they're in distress. At first glance of your post, I think regarding Cheerios: just keep an eye on symptoms for pain. If she stops following you around, stops eating entirely, or even really ceases the constant purring, then you'll know things have taken a turn for the worse. With Lucky? Hard to say. In my own case, we found (in an x-ray) tumors in Bijoux's lungs and the vet told me that eventually she would have difficulty breathing. Over the next two and a half months her condition worsened and I kept wondering "is it time? is it time?", when finally it was very clear to me that she was having trouble: rapid breathing, a wheezy sound, etc. That's when we took her in: one of the hardest, saddest days of my life.

I know it's hard to try to look at your pets from an outsider's view because you see them everyday. If you listen, they will tell you when it's time.

Momma said...

I second Melisa's comment. Animals tell you when they just can't keep going, but often they are in pain and don't let us know until it's bad. Just love them all you can while you have them.

I can't imagine what it would be like having all of my cats fall sick one by one; it would be like some kind of nightmare, I'm sure. I will keep you all in my thoughts.

Peace - D

noble pig said...

It's easy to to tell someone to put down their animal when they are ill. But I know it's heart wrenching. These pets are so much a part of our lives. You don't want them to suffer but you know you will suffer when they are gone. You have to do it when you are ready.

Susan said...

Kathy, I've been through this too. I agree with those who've said that you will know when the time is right. It sounds like Cheerio and Lucky aren't suffering and are enjoying your love.

It's so hard to watch them slowly decline. Give them lots of love while you can.

I'm keeping you all in my thoughts and hoping especially that Hazel stays healthy.

Queen Mommy said...

What Melisa said. Still doesn't help your heart break...

Tee said...

With tears streaming down my face, you will know when it's time. We had a cat with kidney disease and we knew the day it was time. It's absolutely the hardest thing in the world. I pray I never have to do that again. My fur baby will be 14 in August, but he is doing very well for an old man.