Furbaby Worry

October 20, 2013

So…last night [there may or may not have been alcohol involved] I confessed to twitter that I’m worried about the Kittehs.

The truth is that I’m ALWAYS worried about the Kittehs. I rarely voice it because it’s so constant. But that’s what happens when you have a 15 year old cat that the vet said wouldn’t live past 5.

Geriatric kitteh has a heart murmur. But the murmur never got worse like the original vet said it would. But, because of the heart murmur, she’s never had her teeth cleaned (anesthesia can be particularly dangerous with the murmur) so she has bad gingivitis. Oddly, the current vet wants to clean her teeth. As if I’ve waited this long for no reason (apparently anesthesia is somewhat safer now than it was?). I’d rather her teeth fall out than to subject her to more needles and poking and prodding. She’s 15 and deserves a nice, quiet and peaceful old age. And she freaks out easily. A trip to the vet without needles is traumatic enough for her.

And she’s 15. I know some cats live to 20 but most keel over around 12. Not that I want her to go but she’s had a good run. If I found out she had cancer I wouldn’t treat it.

Every year since turning 10 I’ve dutifully taken her in for a yearly exam with pri$ey geriatric kitty bloodwork. And every year it’s come back normal. Even when I’ve taken her in for a specific reason, her labs always come back normal. The only definitive things they’ve ever said about her is the heart murmur and that she gets dehydrated more easily (which is common in older kitties).

So this year I didn’t take her. She’s current on rabies so what’s the point?

Except now she’s losing weight. She feels bony.

But she’s lost weight before and then inexplicably gained it back.

We’re feeding her more canned food and that is definitely helping her coat – her fur is super soft now. But there are no other real symptoms. She has an appetite. She goes C-R-A-Z-Y when she hears a can opened. She moves more slowly and doesn’t like to jump as high (she’s figured out how to use various pieces of furniture as steps to avoid one big jump) but that’s been a consistent decline for some time now and doesn’t seem to bother her too much. At least, it doesn’t prevent her from going up and down stairs, etc. She just does so more slowly, less often and bit more delicately.

And so I pet her and feel bones and worry. But I don’t think a trip to the vet is warranted. Yet.

The other one has a freckle on her nose. Which is common in older orange tabbies. Except she’s neither old nor orange.

Again, the vet seemed worried but just said to watch it. I’m watching it. It looks like a freckle. It *might* be getting bigger/darker. But it’s not raised or oozing anything or otherwise looking gross.

Honestly? I think vets are prejudiced against white cats. There is all this lore out there about white cats being deaf, or having this problem or that problem. But I think it only applies to white cats with blue eyes. And both of mine have green eyes.

So… I’m wondering if the younger one really has early stage skin cancer or if this is just like when they told me the older one would die young. And it just reminds me of how doctors can sometimes be stupid.

In any case, this is how the three of us spent yesterday morning: in bed.

6 Responses to “Furbaby Worry”

  1. Aussa Lorens Says:

    I hope your cats are okay… That’s the worst sort of worry. And yes– doctors are often dumb.

  2. I have a 15-year-old cat, too. With a heart murmur. Whose teeth I have never had cleaned. Who is eating mostly wet food as well because he sometimes throws up kibble. And who has lost a lot of weight recently. His bloodwork was normal, too, in the spring, although he does have some lumps (we had them tested and 16 different samples came back normal – the vet gave us the option of further investigation because she thinks one lump, despite the benign results, could be malignant…I, too, thought about the prospect of further invasive procedures and prodding and decided I would leave it for now because I also feel that he should live the rest of his life in peace.) I think he has arthritis, so I give him a powder in his food to alleviate the pain and it appears to be helping.

    All of this to say, I get the worry, and I, too, try to weigh my cat’s comfort versus being proactive about his health and smart about vets. It’s not easy.

    Your cats are beautiful and you seem to be a very good kitty mommy.

    I hope this video cheers you up:


  3. Dipitie Says:

    (((HUGS))) White animals are more susceptible to skin cancer, so definitely keep an eye on that one. Does she spend much time outside? That would increase her risk. As far as your 15 year old, I know exactly where you’re coming from. My older pup stopped getting her teeth cleaned years and years before she passed away. I just couldn’t do that to her – the vet visit, the anesthesia. If she’s still eating, that’s a great sign. As far as her teeth go, you might try CET treats – they have an enzyme in them that will help reduce the plaque and tartar. Good luck, and keep us posted.

    • Furrowed Fox Says:

      Yes, NoseFreckleCat is the reason we started letting the younger two out to roam about on their own sometimes. She LOVES being outside and making friends with the neighbor kids.

  4. nonsequiturchica Says:

    I refuse to get a bird but sometimes I think it would be so much easier because they have lifespans that are closer to humans than dogs and cats. We have a 9.5 yr old large breed dog that has gone through a lot in the past year and now has some new issues. Our pets are part of our family so it’s hard to see them slow down. I hope that your older cat starts to gain back weight and that the younger cat grew a freckle because it felt like their nose needed “character.” 🙂

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