Help - when have I gone far enough???

gibby2015August 30, 2011

I posted a while back about my frail, fading almost 17 year old kitty with a history of multiple chronic health issues. He is still hanging in there and enjoys sleeping out in the screen porch and sometimes on my bed at night. He eats very little but he does eat. He poops and pees but the peeing is a becoming more and more of a problem.

I've added litter boxes in locations that are convenient for him - though I have no good place for additional litter boxes on the main floor of my house. I'm walking daily through cat litter tracked all over my living room, home office and bedroom. I clean the boxes constantly when I'm home - multiple times per day. Tonight I found one of the cats peed through the seam in the covered litter box onto my rug and wood floor. The frail cat skipped all the litter boxes and he peed on the floor only worse - into the heat duct register!!! I really do not want my house to stink like a litter box for the rest of my life here. When I turn my furnace on in the fall it will be blowing out cat box odor!! I'm spraying simple solution all over my wood floors and they can only take so much of that.

I travel for work and I have a professional pet sitter coming in twice a day to attend to things but I'm not sure that is even enough any more. I love all my past and present cats including this poor old guy but I'm really tired of this. I've always said I draw the line when a cat won't use the litter box but I'm really struggling with deciding what to do. Has anyone else been in this situation?

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Personally, I think you've done as much as you possibly can. You need to think of the cats quality of life .. now that he is peeing around the house, that would be the final factor for me.

This is always a tough decision to make, but you have to live also ... I've put cats to sleep over the years that could have hung on for a while longer, but the quality of their life and mine would have really suffered. I feel it was kinder to let them go with as much dignity as they have left.

I feel for you and your situation.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 11:34AM
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Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it. I'm usually mainly thinking about his quality of life but now I am becoming concerned about mine. It makes me feel kind of heartless though I know I'm not.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 7:27PM
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gibby, don't feel badly about thinking of the quality of your life or the quality of your home. Your poor kitty is probably in distress that he isn't able to get to the box in time. Also, our pets are pretty perceptive and if you are distressed over his actions he probably knows it and is also feeling distress over that. If you decide to take a few more days to say good bye you could always help him be in a situation where he can't make a mess. If he's having trouble getting into the boxes you could put some puppy pads under and all around them, or confine him to a room while you're not there, etc., anything to make it less stressful.

I don't envy your position. I'll be there myself before too long with my older cat. I hope when the time comes I am as patient with my guy as you have been with yours.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 9:18PM
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Ya, I look at his little face and I think he seems sad. He's so thin and his eyes are so big in his little head. He can still get around though I think it's difficult for him. He does go up and down stairs (not sure why now that the litterboxes are upstairs) but it's really hard for him. I have to pick him up very carefully or his back legs shudder - I think because it's painful for him. It's somewhat difficult for him to lie down or get up - he kind of plops down and kind of struggles to get up.

I think the saddest thing is that he no longer sucks his tail. The whole time we've had him (over 12 years) he has always sucked his tail like a baby before he goes to sleep. It seemed like this was a huge comfort to him - and no he no longer has that.

It's so sad when it gets to this stage. When my last cat died I thought no more. I had two left and I figured that would get me through most of the rest of my life. That lasted about two years and then I adopted one from a shelter. So I now have three - soon to be two I guess.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 10:02PM
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Well I've decided to carry on - moved the litter box into my one and only main floor bathroom bathroom in spite of the fact my floor space is only about 3x4. Tile floor makes for ease of cleaning if something goes over the edge - though I switched to a different covered box that I think will be better. Invested in a new high powered dustbuster which I keep in the bathroom to suck up the litter that gets all over the floor.

I just can't bring myself to put my quality of life ahead of his. He's so sweet and seems happy on the porch all day. He's now hanging with me on my desk - curled up by me and purring.

Fortunately DH is working out of town a lot so it's pretty much just me here dealing with the litter box in the middle of our tiny bathroom. Convenient to sit on the toilet and scoop the box at the same time...great multi-tasking.....sigh....

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 12:06PM
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So sorry to hear about your cat :(

Personally, I would worry about my pet's quality of life rather than mine. That is, I would ask myself the question: "Is this urination problem difficult for my pet or for me?". I wouldn't assume that peeing in the house is a problem for the cat. Maybe he simply can't hold it for as long any more...that certainly doesn't mean that he is suffering or in any pain.

Just my opinion...

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 1:54PM
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gibby, I'm glad to hear you're giving him another chance. You could try another litter to cut down on the tracking.....I use World's Best and/or Ever Clean and only get a dust problem when I've waited too long for a complete change out of litter.

When you're gone most of the day, you may find it's better to isolate him to one room if the peeing problem continues. Also, place washable rugs in any area that he favors.

Like you, I do the same multi-tasking..... :~)

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 10:45AM
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Everyone gets to set their own rules. Myself, I can't put down an animal unless it is in unrelenting pain. Discomfort or loss of function isn't good enough for me, they have to be in pain with no hope of relief except with drugs.

When my 19 year old cat began to go downhill I just blocked her access to the whole house. Unfortunately that meant the basement which is sort of a no-man zone but it made it easy to keep clean and in a few weeks she claimed it as hers and rarely left when the door was left open.

I went through this ordeal with both of my parents also. We like to think that once people get to the point that some one has to help them go to the bathroom and clean them up all the time they would be miserable and ready to "go" but my dad was very lucid and said that he liked the extra attention. If it didn't bother me it didn't bother him.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 2:36PM
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True - we do all decide on our rules. And in my case, as much as I love my cats I don't equate their end of life situations with those of humans.

It would be nice if I had a good "no-man" zone to turn into his personal space. Unfortunately the only place I have like that is my small basement furnace room. I just couldn't bring myself to shut my kitty in there 24/7 - though I've thought about it. He's enjoyed all the comforts of the whole house his entire life - including windows and sunlight - and it would seem like torture to close him up in a small cinderblock room.

In any case things have been going along uneventfully with the litter box in the middle of the bathroom. Now we have other challenges - like getting him to eat. I do think he has great joy spending his days in the screen porch which warms my heart. He goes out there as soon as I open it in the morning and seems to be there all day, coming in when I get home from work.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 6:36PM
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We give our kitty an appetite stimulant/anti-nausea medication (mirtazapine)every 2-3 days. Our kitty is only 5-6 lbs so we give her 1/4 tablet -- a little goes a long way.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 11:28PM
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Thanks lascatx. I'm taking the old boy in for a check up this week so I will ask about that. My vet had mentioned appetite stimulants in the past related to another cat but I never ended up going down that path.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 7:44PM
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Update on my cat. He had a bunch of lab work including urinalysis done. He has indications of some mild anemia, mild renal insufficiency, slightly abnormal liver values and possible urinary tract infection - all of which may be related to his long term IBD and IBD treatment. So he's going to get antibiotics and subQ fluids for 10 days then more lab work and general assessment of how he's doing.

So clearly, I've moved beyond the litter box concerns - though maybe the possibility of urinary tract infection might mean his litter box situation could improve.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 4:02PM
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