For those who asked about my cats...

Here’s the update. I apologize in advance for this being long, but I’m going to throw all this out there in case anyone can give me any additional advice.

Teddy came home Monday night, along with 5 different prescriptions, two different kinds of prescription food, and an appointment to get blood work done in ten days. For those not up on this, he’s got chronic renal failure, which is vet-speak for his kidneys don’t work. He was doing pretty well at the vet, so they opted to not do a kidney biopsey to see just how far gone they were. We’re supposed to give him medication for ten days, then the vet will do another blood scan to see how he’s doing.

For those who care about such things, here’s the drugs he’s on. I don’t remember their real names, only what they do.

Vitamin B-12, since he might not get this from his food
A liquid antacid (administered with a dropper, I can’t tell you how much fun this is…)
Valium (diazapem? Vet said it will stimulate his appetite)
…and two more. I thought I remembered them all, but I’m drawing a blank.

In addition, he’s on a restricted low-protein diet for the rest of his life. Doctor gave me Hill’s k/d, dried and canned.

<sigh> If you asked me Tuesday night, I would have said my gut feeling is that he’s not going to pull through this one. I actually was up most of the night worrying - no matter how hard I tried not to think about it, I did, and I couldn’t sleep. He wasn’t eating much on Tuesday/Wednesday - about a quarter cup each of the wet & dry food.

I’m feeling a little better today, partially because I’ve been worrying so much that I just can’t worry anymore, and partially because he ate just about a half a can of wet food and a whopping 3/4 cup of dry food overnight last night. Yesterday, before I left work, I had prepared myself to go home and find him half dead on the floor. Instead, when I pulled into the garage he came running out to greet me. That felt pretty good!

The funny thing is that he is displaying some appetite now, but he doesn’t eat much of his food. We had lamb stew for dinner last night, and he sat on the couch between me and Mr. Athena trying to get our food. It was horrible - here I am worried sick about him not eating, he desparately wants to eat some of our food, but he’s not supposed to have anything but his prescription diet. I ended up giving him a teeeeny tiny little piece of lamb, then I grabbed some of his dry food and held it for him while he ate some. I think maybe he was fooled a little bit by the smell of the stew being so close to his food.

I’ve been trying to make his food a little more palatable by heating it in the microwave, and putting a little beef broth on it, but it didn’t seem to do much good. Tonight I’ll try chicken broth. The vet said that he was eating 2 cans a day in the vet hospital - I can’t even get him to eat 1/2 a can! What’s up with that?!?

Mr. Athena thinks he’s just a little stressed from being at the vet, and after a few days at home he’ll start eating normally. I hope he’s right.

Cyndar, you might be able to answer this. I don’t have much experience with wet food, all my cats have eaten dry food. Vet said to give him 1/2 can of the wet food in the morning and at night, and to refrigerate what he doesn’t eat. The problem is, he doesn’t eat it fast. If I leave it out all day (or all night) he eats bits and pieces at a time, and last night he got down just about all of it over a 10 hour period. I’ve been leaving out 1/2 can all day, and throwing out what he doesn’t eat at night and putting out another 1/2 can for overnight. Is it going to spoil and hurt him to leave it out like that? He won’t eat it if I only leave it there for an hour.

Athena, I feel for you kiddo, and hope the pusser’s past the worse.

Growing up pet-less, I’ve no mental common ground when pet owners discuss the trials and tribulations of ownership. It seems like an awful lot of expensive trouble to me. Then again, I think nothing of a $45 antibiotic prescription for my son.

I don’t usually read, nor respond to pet threads, but I feel my son is driving me slowly but surely into the corner of dog or cat ownership. Thanks for giving me even more dread to look forward to as well as an accurate depiction of a pet problem.

I don’t even want to think about fleas.

I’m glad that your baby cat is home!

My parents’ cat had severe kidney failure. He passed away recently. However, he lived longer than the vet expected. They said he might live a year, and he lived a year and a half.

More importantly, he was very happy that whole time. He became very thin, but he was very muscular. He was able to do all the things he enjoyed.

My parents gave up on the low protein diet because they live in the country. He was always catching squirrels and field mice. So they just fed him whatever he wanted.

If your cat’s appetite doesn’t improve, you might want to talk to your vet. The medicine my parents’ cat took was some kind of steroid, and it stimulated his appetite.

One thing I would suggest for your cat is giving him filtered water to drink. My cats have had various health problems, and I think the filtered water helps them. It’s one less thing for their systems to have to take care of.

About the canned food - when possible, just give him as much as you think he’ll eat. I give my cats canned food as a treat. If I give my cats too much, they gorge and then throw up. So I only give them a heaping spoonful at a time.

When one of my cats was sick with a mystery illness, I gave him a big spoonfull of food every hour or so. Having small portions made him eat more enthusiastically. Over the course of a night, he would eat quite a bit.

In time, I think your cat will get his appetite back. Remember, he’s trying to work you. He ate a lot at the vet’s office, because he knew that’s all he was going to get. But he just knows he’s going to get some of that lamb stew from you!

By the way, didn’t you have two sick cats?

ChiefScott I have the same symptoms you have, only in reverse. Given the amount of $$ and time and worry I’ve put into my pets, I worry that I’ll never make it as a parent. At least with kids, you usually have insurance, and if you don’t you probably don’t spend much time thinking about whether or not it makes sense to spend the money to fix 'em or if you oughta just go through the pain of putting them to sleep. Also, your kid probably will mention he’s sick long before it becomes fatal. Those #@!@# cats just didn’t bother to tell me they didn’t feel good until it became very, very serious.

lesa I did have two cats. Ardy had eaten rat poison, and despite the best efforts of my vet, he didn’t make it.

I’m glad your second little guy pulled through. You are a very loving mom.

I encourage you to read through the library and message boards over at Veterinary Information Network. They are loaded with hints about eating, renal failure, more than I could possibly transcribe. It helps to see that others have experienced similar setbacks. Here is the link for convenience:

To examine the message boards you must register (easy and quick) but they have an extensive searchable library (enter ‘renal failure’ and get a recent article, etc.)that you can access without registration.

You have done a wonderful thing. These next few days will be heartbreaking but I feel certain your little guy will surprise you and just make it through. Kittys are tough!

dustMagnate (and brood of two feline/two canine love sacks)

I have to keep this short, because I am trying to get ready for work.

Yes, diazepam does stimulate the appetite. It is also a sedative, so your kitty may be lethargic. There is a drug called cyproheptadine, you might want to ask about it, if the valium makes your cat too groggy.

As far as the food goes, does he eat the dry KD? If so, then I wouldn’t worry about the canned too much, unless your vet wants him on the canned for some specific reason. the way you are feeding him is fine. Leaving it out for that length of time won’t make the food go bad.

Also, don’t feel bad about not recognizing the signs of CRF. Many animals don’t display any signs of illness until they are very ill. That is why vets usually advise a geriatric exam for pets over a certain age. This way, diseases like CRF can be caught at an earlier stage. There is no way to stop renal failure, it is just a problem associated with growing old, but with early intervention you can slow the progression down.

If you have any more questions, feel free to e-mail me, OK?

One more thing: Pet health insurance.

Anyone interested, e-mail me.

My Kate has chronic renal failure, too. It is hard to deal with, so I feel for you. I have found that she eats well when I mix the K/d canned with a little turkey baby food, then add warm water and mix it up to make a sort of thinnish oatmeal consistency. The key is to get him to eat and drink.

I found some great websites with good info, but I don’t have them on my favorites list anymore. If you can’t find them with “feline renal” as your search words, email you and I will get you some info. I seem to remember Sugar’s CRF Forum being one of them.

Hope this helps. Best of luck to you and Teddy.

Bryna - Wow! Thanks for the advice on the turkey baby food. Is that too much protein, though? I’ll do anything to get him to eat, although yesterday went well. Let’s hope today is more of the same.

I had to run home today from work, and he was sitting right next to his food/water dish. This has turned into his favorite spot - he lays there, and will occasionally take a little nibble of something. But I have to say, something about him today gave me some hope. He’s starting to look like his old self, at least a little. Brighter eyes, and his fur is looking a little less bedraggled.

Cyndar - Thanks for taking the time to read this thread. The valium doesn’t seem to make him overly lethargic, but it doesn’t seem to do much for his appetite, either.

He doesn’t seem to be eating enough of either type of food, canned or dry. Yesterday he ate about a cup, which seems to me to be maybe the low side of normal. The days before he was eating maybe 1/2 cup over a 24 hour period, which scared me. Seems to me he should be eating more than this.

here are a couple of resources:

Feline CRF information center:

Feline Veterinary Medicine Links from Cat Fanciers

I have found with my sick critters that lovin’ is what ultimately heals them. Yours are in our prayers.-R

athena, i’m glad teddy is doing better.

is he grooming? cats do love baby food. my girls like beef the best.

Try this link to find out about nutrition in baby food. Just avoid anything with garlic in it; I have heard that is bad for them.

Athena, thanks so much for the update! I was wondering how Teddy was doing, but was half-afraid to ask. He sounds so improved from your first posts (what a tough little kitty!).

I have a 16 year old kitty who’s been on the low-protein dry food for almost 4 years now. He was diagnosed with kidney problems when he had x-rays during the course of another illness and the vet discovered that one of his kidneys is completely atrophied. They did bloodwork and found out that his “kidney values are elevated” (whatever that means - I just know it’s bad).

He’s doing very well on the dry food. I have been really strict about his diet, but he sneaks the other cat’s food whenever he can. I can tell when he’s been doing that, because he starts to SMELL bad. He weighs around 7 or 8 pounds, and I’d estimate that he eats about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of food a day. My vet gave me potassium pills for him, and they seem to help him feel better. The only other thing I can think of that hasn’t been mentioned is to be sure you keep plenty of fresh water available for him.

Good luck. There have been times in the past few years when I was sure that my little guy wasn’t going to be with us long, but he’s still doing just fine, even with only one kidney and that one not functioning very well. I hope yours does just as well.

Onions are bad.

Thanks for all the well wishes.

After last night, I’m thinking that if Teddy would have known how good he’s treated when he’s sick, he would have gotten sick months ago. He’s started talking almost continuously, and sitting on laps, and getting fed little pieces of food from our hands, and being let into the bedroom at 3 am for some cuddles, etc. etc. Being sick agrees with him. I sing him little “kitty’s eating! Kitty’s eating yummy foodies!” songs all the time, which he seems to like.

Anyway, his fur is getting nicer, his eyes are brighter, and he’s generally driving us nuts wanting affection all the time. I think part of it might be that he’s lonely - he’s used to having Ardy around. I’m going to talk to the vet about getting a kitten in a couple weeks, when Teddy’s had time to settle completely.

Thanks again for everyone’s thoughts.

Athena, thanks for the update. My condolences on Ardy.

Since our Hanta Virus ‘concern’ (can’t call it a scare), I’ve Decon’d our little bucktoothed visitors. I’m usually not one for Decon, thinking it a cruel way to dispatch the buggers, but I do have to admit it’s effective. Our kitties are indoor cats, so they’re relatively safe from ingesting Decon along with a furry snack, but after your experience I shall be doubly careful. Keep’em away from antifreeze also; the sweet smell and taste can attract pets, and it is definitely bad news for them, and can cause renal failure.

You and ChiefScott can rest easy in your concerns; I have three cats and three daughters (teenagers). I have so far lived to tell the tale, and so far as I know, none of us have been driven to psychosis. Well, maybe George, but he has always been a little squirrely.