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Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Posted by mollyb2 (My Page) on
Fri, Jan 13, 06 at 8:45

I am wondering if there are some cat people out there who can help me with my almost 17 year old cat and her aging. Lucy has kidney disease. I give her subcutaneous fluids every night, which produces a lot of urine. Most of which does not find its way to the litter box. She's on an antidepressant, amitriptyline, and also a low dose of amoxicillin because of recurring UTIs. I feel like a feline nurse. She's actually doing quite well with the kidney function because of the fluids, but her using my completely finished and only six month old carpet in the basement as her litter box is a bit of a problem. The antidepressants worked for a few weeks (they are supposed to calm her anxiety) but now she's back to doing this.

The vet thinks she probably has a bladder stone or a tumor, but she's too old for surgery. The next step is to put her on prozac. I love her dearly -- my dog died three years ago -- and I can't imagine not having a pet, but I live alone, I work all day, no one is home and I don't think that's a good way to raise a pet. But on the other hand, I will be so lonely without one.

Any help either with kitty behavior or dealing with my own personal Urinetown?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good --2

I forgot to mention that I have gallons of Nature's Miracle but wonder if there is a more effective way to deal with the wet spots.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

You could try putting another litter box near the scene of the crime. The problem is that Lucy isnt just wetting the carpet, shes wetting the subfloor under the carpet. You might end up having to replace that, too.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

I'm down to four cats and two dogs so don't take this as I don't love animals...but there comes a time that it's in the best interest of the animal to put them down. I have only had to do it three times and cried for weeks (before and after). Since you are not at home with the pet during the day and she is having so much trouble/on so much medication it's only a matter of time. In my cases, I looked back at the quality of life my pet had and knew it was a wonderful life, the love given and the shape the animal was in and made the decision. It's not easy, but sometimes it's the right thing to do. You can look foward to getting a new pet to fill the void without replacing the memories.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Can't help with the kitty behavior, but I would consider putting down a temporary rubber-backed large door mat in your basement room, maybe more than one. We have a nice looking one from HD that has saved our entry-way carpet. That would be far cheaper than replacing the carpet, much less the subfloor.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

I would try this. Get one of those large plastic mats that are used in offices so chairs roll easily. Put the litter box (which you must keep very clean, give her two if necessary) on it as well as a remnant carpet.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

If a cat stops using the litter box, it may be because it hurts when she's using it, so she instinctively looks for a different place (not understanding that it is the process, not the place, that is to blame). It's not a question of being good or bad. I had cats that lived to 19, 15, and 12. The one who lived the longest had kidney disease at the end and died naturally (which I regret, because I know it was distressing for her and I fear that it was painful as well). The other two had cancer. What I learned from them was that they never SHOWED that they were suffering in the way humans might: they never whimpered or moaned; they just "huddled" and stopped eating and drinking well. I hate to think of the pain they might have been experiencing; I'll never really know. What I finally realized was that cats live "in the moment"; they don't anticipate tomorrow; there's nothing they look forward to beyond the next meal and the comfort and affection from their human. When they've lost the ability to enjoy life and there's no hope of recovery, it's best to release them from it. Our vet was a very kind person who helped us through the process. It was very peaceful.

I'm so sorry you're facing this. Best wishes,

Sue


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Sue makes a good point. I would ask your vet if she could be in pain. My cat had a Fentanyl patch at the end, which worked great. He was getting sub q and had cancer, but the night before he died he was playing fetch with me. The only drawback is the expense and the doctor's visits. Fentanyl is highly regulated. Our vet would only let us take one at a time, so he had to go to the vet every 4 days or so.

I just couldn't bring myself to have him put to sleep, so I know how you feel.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Aye-yi-yi. Of course the subtext of my message is Allison's point. It's breaking my heart. My daughter and I had to put down her cat years ago --he was suffering from cancer -- and the memory of that still haunts me. And this is Lucy!! I love her so. And it could be (mtnester) that she is in pain. Her meows have been so plaintive lately -- I wish I could understand them. But she doesn't seem sick -- I think that's what's so hard about making this decision.

The suggestions about the mats might be a good make-do solution for now. I've tried the multiple litter boxes (which I do keep clean) and she uses them, too, but not exclusively.

I can ask the vet about Fentanyl. I've never heard of it.
Thanks for all your thoughts.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

When my Jasper was upset he would poop right outside the litter box. Sometimes he would pee in the tub (but NEVER on the floor). They tell you what they want you to know.

Just something else to consider - she could be getting senile. This happened to a cat we had years ago, and my sister has a senile dog.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

I've been through all this too, molly. Is she still interested in food? That's one big determinant. And how much fluid are you giving her every night?

There's also a hurraygroups (get it? spam filter stopped me) list called "caring for crf felines" that is a great source of information and support for caretakers/companions of our kitties with crf.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Fly -- yes, she still eats a lot. I'm sorry I'm so dense, but no, I don't get "hurraygroups." I hope this doesn't keep me up all night. I've never been good at this kind of thing. I did google "caring for crf felines" and it brought up a pretty useful website.

Lu's getting 100ml a day of fluids. Is there a way for you to spell out whatever hurraygroups means -- I feel so stupid.


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RE: By George -- I got it!!

Flyleft: figured it out! I tried to type in the secret word and got spamfiltered. I'll take a look. Thanks for the tip.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

My heart goes out to you--I recently had two 14 yr old sister kitties that passed away w/in 8 months of each other--both w/chronic illnesses (one diabetic, one w/IBD). If you determine that she is otherwise "healthy" and are really more concerned about her accidents, if there is one spot she uses all the time, go to a place that sells geriatric supplies and look for Chuck's pads (cheaper than piddle pads for dogs). I did this when Momo, the diabetic one, started having trouble squatting--she'd be IN the litterbox, but going over the edge. Very absorbent b/c they're made for people and come in big sizes.

Big Hugs from another former feline nurse!


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Catluvr: thanks, especially for the hugs. At first I thought you meant to put the pads on Lucy -- clearly my mind is completely useless. That's a great idea. I just had the carpet cleaned a week ago and she's hit it at least a dozen times. I keep multiplying: if she goes on the carpet four times a day for a year, that's 1460 spots of urine. That seems extraordinary to me.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Another feline/canine nurse checking in. The plaintive cries and wet spots are all communications about her condition. I've run into such things with other cats, mainly with cancer.

It has always helped me to remember that cats have no plans to write their memoirs. If this moment is not good, they may not care to repeat it hourly, daily, for weeks and months. Sometimes there is treatment that gives them good months to come, as they get older options diminish.

One of my cats is 21+ at the moment. I've cried my heart out over this cat in the last few years before taking her in for what I felt would be "the decision." She is no longer a candidate for surgery or any procedure that is upsetting or would require sedation. Oddly this cat is happier and far more active than other cats I've had to make tough decisions for at 9 or 11 or 14. This cat literally sprints around the house for fun, chases toy mice she tosses up for herself, pulls me out of bed with her 2 remaining teeth if she has a hankering for wet food. On Christmas day she climbed up on the dining room table (extremely abnormal activity in this house) and tried to make off with the turkey (she's on a low protein diet). I tell you this story only to explain why I didn't put this cat to sleep 2 years ago when she began to test for early stages of kidney failure. She has thyroid issues and immediately responded to medication by gaining weight and returning to favorite activities such as sprinting up stairs. Her new test numbers indicated she was no longer in early kidney failure. I had already said "goodbye" so this was confusing.

My thoughts are to confine the cat to an area that is comfortable for her but cleanable. Offer many creature comforts from beds to foods to toys, and of course litter boxes that are super-easy to access. Shower her with attention when you're home, but try not to bug her. You're doing so much! Is the hydration temporary, until she takes in her own water? (We've gone through this here as well.)

When my cat started peeing outside the box I confined her to a smaller space and watched. She deliberately sought plastic bags and towels and other odd textures to "walk over" leaving small amounts of urine. She was clearly unhappy, made strange noises or none at all, and did not want to be touched or helped. Clearly she did not want to continue this existence. Aggressive treatments would do more harm than good, in cat terms. We tried something simple and it worked. She had an infection that did not show up on the first test, but it did on the second. Everything cleared up with a round of antibiotics.

It's hard to decide what is appropriate or inapproriate intervention. So far I've decided it's okay to draw urine or blood for tests every 6-9-12 months, dependent on changes in behavior. I may decide in 6 months, based on her reaction, that this is far too invasive.

My senior gal goes in for regular weigh-ins (we try to keep her weight up to 7 #). She is fine with this, cooperates and even allows the techs to give her thickening toenails a pedicure. Again, if she starts to complain or if I have gut feeling about it, I'll declare this too invasive and stop.

In my town there are a couple vets who will come to your home to put an animal to sleep. I did this with my dog and it was a beautiful, sad but sweet experience. I held her on my lap on the living room floor.

One vet in my town lights a candle and has a small ritual for the pet owner and animal.

Another vet relieve pain and stress with acupuncture.

Pheromone therapy sometimes calms (the outlet plug-ins with oil).

There are wonderful vets in my area who offer privacy and compassion when it is time to let a gentle life go.

One thing I've thought about with different cats is how close they are to discomfort or death while I am gone. This is unbearable to me, and different from the cat who simply dies in her sleep as we all hope to in old age.

It's hard when you're gone for long hours, or if you travel.

I know you don't want to think about this now but someday this cat will no longer be with you and you may want cats livening your home again. Why not! I think it would be great to adopt 2 together so they can play and sleep happily while you're off earning their keep. Many cats would love a chance to hang out with you, even if you do go out hunting every day. Just a thought!

I hope all these posts are helping, it's such a hard time.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Our CRF cat also frequently avoided her litterbox choosing to urinate next to the box or in my husbands office (but she did sometimes use the bos as well - so frustrating!) ...what we found worked for us (90% of the time anyway) was we placed big towels on rubber backed mats covering areas where she was prone to urinate...lots of towel washing, but it was a good compromise for both of us.

Yahoo groups also has a couple message groups on dealing with CRF kitties that I found VERY helpful in caring for my baby in her last year or so...

I hope you find a solution that works for you both (Walmart also sells a product similiar to Natures Miracle that was less expensive and worked MUCH better for us that you might want to try - something like "Urine B Gone")

Hang in there - it's hard to watch our babies get sicker and older!


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Thanks for your continuing posts, stories, and ideas. They break my heart. My dog died on her own (a tragic story for me that I won't go into), but I have always been so relieved that I didn't have to make the decision to put her down. And if not for this wetting problem, I wouldn't even consider it at this point. Lucy still weighs just over 10 pounds, her weight is decreasing but at a very slow pace. Her normal weight was always about 11.5 pounds. (We're just a couple of middle-aged women with poochy tummies). She has a good appetite. She sleeps most of the time, my guess is from the antidepressant. She's had a number of UTIs in the past few months, one with bloody urine that sent us sobbing to the emergency pet clinic. I was sure she was going to die then.

I think I'll head out to Walmart tomorrow to find some mats and cheap rugs or towels. The problem is that she "likes" the perimeter of a rather large room. But, I'll just cover it all. I could contain her into the unfinished part of the basement, but it seems like such an impoverished existence. A thousand arghs.

I definitely need a pet. I think I'll get a dog next, but I will wait until Lucy reunites with Ellie in the great pet cemetery in the sky.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Glad to hear your gal's appetite is good. It's so hard to coax a cat to eat if she doesn't want to. We had one of those bloody UTIs last year, I know those tears. I'm glad to hear you can cover the whole room. Your cat will feel more comfortable if she can keep her "camp." I'm sure she knows you're trying to take care of her all weekend. Sometimes I wonder if they think WE'RE crazy when we do things like spend a weekend tossing cheap mats around the living room.....


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Well, yes, I'm sure she thinks I'm nuts. I had an amazing idea this morning thanks to all your suggestions. I went online this morning to look for plastic carpet runners just so that I would have an idea what I was looking for when I went to Walmart and came across that tacky (meaning sticky, although yes, it will look tacky) thin plastic runner that contractors put on carpeting to protect it. This would be perfect. There's a couple of rolls on ebay and I'm going to bid on it (of course this delays being able to help myself for nearly a week) and lay that down on the carpet and cover it with towels. It will be unsightly, but at least if she keeps her mess in the basement (I've been lucky so far that she hasn't found the upper floors as attractive as a place to "wee"), I can continue to take care of her and not angst over my carpeting. In the meantime, I've put down some towels and sheets -- it's not quite as protective, but hopefully it will help a little.

These messages have all been so helpful. Thanks.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Having lost 3 kitties in three months (a 21 yr old, 14 yr old with hepatitis, 12 year old with stomach cancer) I understand your pain, All three were put to sleep in my home on my lap. The least stressful for them.
IMO the price we pay for loving companionship is wrenching but worth it. The only way around it is -no animals.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Oh, jillypie, I'm so sorry to hear about your dreadful loss. You must be a wreak. I'd be crying my eyes out for years over that. Please accept my sympathies.

I ended up putting old towels and sheets around the perimeter of the room. She doesn't like stuff like that and so since I've done that (knock on virtual wood), Lucy's been using the litter box. I think she's been reading these posts over my shoulder. I'm still bidding on the roll of tacky carpet protector, so that might be a more "attractive" solution --

Jillypie -- I'm so sorry.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

I am in the process of feline nursiing as well--my 14 yr old calico was recently diagnosed with mild kidney disease, and she used to urinate constantly outside the box in our old house. The box was in the basement. No kidney problems were diagnosed at the time, but I think they may have been latent. Anyway, now we are in a new house and renovating the kitchen/laundry level, so the litter box is in a bathroom upstairs. She has not once gone outside the box in this new house. I do think the stairs in our former house were painful for her to go up and down, so many times a day. I have noticed her having some difficulties with her back legs so that at least makes sense to me. Her urine was in greater quantities back then, as she would hold it in. Now she goes much more often, in smaller quantities as she is getting fluids every other day. The other oddity is that the UTI seems to be resistant to most all antibiotics. Maybe Lucy's infection is acting up, and is resistant to the amoxycillin? Just a few thougts....good luck to you.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Sorry to say that Lucy died last night. I had been out most of the day and then came home and napped and so didn't see her much. I couldn't find her when i went to give her her medicince and then finally found her lying on the floor next to her food dish. She was a good eater up to the very end. :-( Of course, by then it was the middle of night, even later because of the time change, and I ended up taking her to the emergency pet clinic in the wee hours of the morning. They have a crematorium. I have been crying my eyes out since. Poor thing. I'm grateful that she died quietly and that I didn't have to make the decision to put her down. I took care of her every day and loved her with all my heart. I still think I see her rounding the corner into my bedroom and occasionally I hear the click of her paws on the wood floor. I know that there are cat lovers out there who understand how awful this feels. You can see her in the front of this picture. She was just a little gray tabby.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lucy's shining eyes


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Molly - I'm so sorry to hear about Lucy - I'm welling up myself after reading that. You sound like you loved your cat as much as we love ours. We lost our first two cats - one after 16 years and one after 20. One died on her own and one we had put to sleep. I too think it's better for the human no to have to decide to end their life. It is so hard no matter what though. We bawled for days and both DH and I had to take time off work. We have since made a home for three new homeless cats. As sad as it is to lose one, it is an empty feeling not to have at least one hanging around. Maybe in time you will be able to make a home for a new friend.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Molly, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss....Lucy will be with you forever, and she knows how much you loved her. I saw your link; what a sweetheart! Last year I lost two of mine who were just a couple years younger than yours--doubly hard to take. The first one was in the hospital undergoing treatment and I was out of town when she went and I was anguished, shocked, guilty and relieved when I heard the news so I know how you must feel.

I know that time will soften the blow, and know that there are those who understand.

(((hugs)))

Aleesa


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

(((Molly))) I saw this thread come back up to the top and I had a feeling this was what I'd read. I'm so sorry to read of Lucy's passing. And yet she's so lucky to have lived such a long life, knowing she was loved, having support and tenderness to the end. And she didn't have to go to a strange place for her last moments. She died near something she liked, too (little smile through the tears there).

And the picture you linked to is precious--it looks like she's smiling! If you hear her around, and feel her presence, I will go so far as to say that she probably is there with you. Cats have taught me that...


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

((Molly))
I thought the same thing as flyleft when I saw this pop back up. I'm so sorry to hear about your Lucy. I have a furbaby named Lucy, too (a brown tabby). She has had health problems since she was a kitten, so we never know when we'll lose her. I treasure every moment I have with her, just like you did with your Lucy.

I understand how difficult losing a pet can be, as do many of us here. We'll be thinking of you as you cope with your loss.

Image hosting by Photobucket

((Molly))


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Molly, I'm so sorry about your baby. So hard to lose a devoted friend who has been part of your family for so long. This thread has helped me in the process of deciding 'when and what' to do with our little 19 YO pug, who seems to enjoy shameless begging for treats and ear scratches, but cannot manage the stairs on her own and gets lost between the water bowl and food dish.

Hugs and love to you, my dear.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Hi everyone,
Thank you for your kind words and expressions of sympathy. It really helps. I've been working at home today and keep expecting to step on the lump of gray fur who always chooses the most inconvenient spot for her naps. Alas. It's very hard and lonely. My son is being married in late May and I think after the wedding, when I will be working from home for two months, I'll go to the APL and adopt maybe two kitties so that they will each other to play with. I would love to get a dog, but living alone, I don't think I have the stamina to take care of one. And I have such a small yard. I keep imagining the winter, with the walk covered with you know what.

Gibby3000: I'm sorry for your losses, too. I am really glad I could stay home today because I've been a weepy mess. My eyes are swollen and the least thing sets me off. Your so lucky to have three cats --

Catluvr: I'm sorry too, for your loss. My dog died the day I came home from a 10 day trip. She failed within an hour of my picking her up at the kennel and I am certain she was just hanging on to see me. The guilt was ferocious. I understand how awful it is. It still makes me cry. (Well, anything makes me cry right now).

Flyleft: thanks, too, for your sympathies. I really do still feel her around, but I actually hope that she's reuniting with my dog, who was her lifelong friend. I just hope my mother isn't there poking both of them with her cane.

Uxorial: How lovely to have a Lucy. I was telling my son today that if I get another cat I want to name her Lucy-two. He thinks I'm nuts. But how can anyone not love a Lucy? I hope yours stays well for a good long time.

Pecan: Good luck with your pug. 19 years is pretty miraculous. I hope you'll know what to do. I'm very glad I persevered with Lucy. She actually started using the litter box almost exclusively in the last couple of months, and so I'm glad I hung in there with her.

Thank you all for your sympathies and e-hugs and understanding. It means a great deal.
Molly


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Molly, I read your sad news last night and tearfully wrote a post, which I guess was lost when my GW connection crashed.

Such a loss. You so clearly loved your Lucy. I have an elderly, now deaf 15 yesr old Springer mutt named Lucy, and I know she soon will leave too. This moving toward the loss is very hard, but then the loss itself is just wrenching. I still miss Spot and Finley. My heart goes out to you.

Wonderful companions. We are lucky to have them, even for a while. Cyber hugs to you. More tissue here.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

(((((Molly)))))

We had to have our kitty, Irina, put down at 18 in 2000. She was a beautiful kitty. I still miss the little "brrrip" chirp she used to make as she jumped on the bed...but it's an "ok" missing. I'm sorry for your loss.

melanie


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

I'm so sorry to hear about Lucy. I too have lost two cats to CRF in the past two years. It is so hard. The first we did not know had it until the day he died - it was too late. After he died I had his sister (same age) tested, and sure enough, she had it too. We gave her sub-q fluids for a year before we said goodbye to her, too. I read somewhere that CRF is the new #1 killer in cats because they are indoors more now than in the past and therefore, live longer and die of natural causes (like this). I'm sure she led a good, fulfilling, and full of love life, and she will always hold a special place in your heart.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

People who don't have these wonderful tiny friends can't begin to know the depth of our grief when we lose one our babies. I decided after going through a very tough time with one of our dogs, to change my way of looking at putting animals down.

He was one of those special dogs. Everyone who has dogs has a great one in their life. He was our great one. He lost control of his bladder and would pee as he walked. He was so ashamed. I realized after keeping him to the very end, that maybe it isn't fair to keep them for ME.

So now I don't wait until they are on their last legs. I put them down when they are still able to get around but the worst is coming soon. They way I am being fair to them and they do not suffer just because I can't bear to part with them.

I know, after having our wonderful great dog, how one can hang on to the very end, but now I try very hard to be on their side not mine.
Make any sense?

My heart goes out to you Molly.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

((((Molly))))

I've been there as well, and I feel your pain. The worst part is them not being there at all of those routine moments in our day - - like when you walk through the door at the end of the day, or when you get up in the morning. When we lost our dog poor DS cried every single morning until we got our new puppy (a Pug, and pecan - - 19 years? Is that a typo? That is a miracle!). I showed him the Rainbow Bridge poem and that helped some.

I'm glad you were able to take the day. People who have been owned by a cat will all understand your grief.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rainbow Bridge


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Hi again. Thank you for your continuing messages of comfort. Paige, that made me weep all over again. It's so sweet and I really do hope that eventually we will all be reunited.

Celticmoon, mjsee, snookums, hamptonmeadow, and paigect, thank you for your sympathies. It is comforting to know that folks understand. People without pets are kind enough, but don't really understand the depth of the loss. It is sweet to read about all of your pets, even as we mourn them or think about their aging. For the past few months there hasn't been a day when I didn't expect to come home from work and find Lu gone because of her age/illness, but when it happens it's still a shock and terribly wrenching. I wish I could hold her again.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Paige, 19 years. Not a typo. I wouldn't believe it if we didn't have her papers.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

Molly,

So sorry about your loss. I continued to see and hear my "buddies" too, for a long time. If it is any consolation, the
Occicat kitty I got after the loss of 3 cats in a row is one of the best kitties I have ever had. I think he "read" all the "notes" my previous guys left around and picked the best traits. In addition, my 16 year old Maine Coon is doing better so I am coping.
I love my new baby and so will you, but you never forget your old friends.

P.S. Lucy was adorable. What a nice picture. I digitalized some of mine and use them as screensavers.


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RE: Help with a 16yo kitty who's not being good

So, so sorry. This is the hardest part. In fact, it's just as hard every time I have to say goodbye. Then one day I can talk about the furry pal without crying and it's okay to remember the quirkiness and routines that added so much to our lives.

My turn is coming again, I have a 21/22 yr old cat who is slowing down. I try to be "ready" but you really never are. What a wonderful life Lucy had with you! Someday it won't hurt as much as it does right now to remember, but it's a wonderful memory, and a wonderful way to live, embracing those who come our way.

(((Molly)))


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