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Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

Posted by israat (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 9, 13 at 18:05

Hi all,

My lovely 13 year old cat was diagnosed earlier this year with mammary cancer, and now almost 4 month after her lumpectomy (the vet said she couldn't survive a mastectomy) the tumor has metastasized into her intestines, and she has lumps where the lumpectomy was performed, I took her to another vet who said that he cannot do anything and her case is terminal.
She has lost a bit of weight but she is still within the healthy range, she is eating although not as much as before, she is drinking, her bathroom habits have changed in frequency, she is still slightly playful, but she does not purr as much as she used to. Yet her state goes into ups and downs...
Where I live, in Jordan, chemo therapy is not an option, as we do not have oncologist vets... So right now there is nothing I can do.
The reason I'm posting this, is to get input on how I can take care of her for the time she has left (the vet gave her 7 months), and also, since I have never been through something like this, I want to make the right decision when it comes to letting her go... My heart is breaking as I write this, and ever since I heard the news of her terminal case, I have been crying every night at the prospects of making the decision to end her life.
Some of my friends and family say that maybe I should consider putting her to sleep before things get worse, and before she shows other symptoms, but I feel that this would be wrong...
Help me, please, as I feel so confused....


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

So sorry to hear about your precious kitty. These times are so rough.

I had a kitty with breast cancer, caught early. The lump was removed, clean margins, turned out it was BC. It was a year before it returned but when it did, she eventually started to go off her food about two months later, along with the other problems that had surfaced first worsening.

I was told at the lumpectomy point that mastectomies aren't done and that when it returned to make her comfortable with prednisolone. There was nothing else that could be done. I don't know how much the pred did for her. My vet said it is a very aggressive type of ca and that he would not put her through more, like chemo, because it would go no where. My oncologist said the same thing when she heard the cancer had returned.

When she started going off her food, I knew it was time. I did not want to drag it out as has happened with some others. I think she was getting to the point where the quality of life line would be crossed soon. Cats hide their pain and illnesses, so we can never be sure how bad things are for them.

My vet says it is better to be a little early than too late. That is a very hard thing to do. I hope I did this for her and she was not suffering, although I know she could not be feeling well.

Hope you have many more comfortable months with your girl.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sat, Aug 10, 13 at 0:10


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

So sorry you and your sweet angel have to go through this.

Offer her her favorite foods. Make sure she is hydrated. (Canned food with added broth or water is nice.) If she is thin, offer a heating pad set on LOW under a blanket. A little heat makes them so happy.

Brush her. Older cats don't groom themselves well. And most like getting brushed anyway. Make sure her bottom is clean.

Since she is terminal I would not add anything that stresses her. Nothing other than any meds like prednisone, if she tolerates it. My boy James was more miserable by my efforts to keep him alive - giving sub-q fluids and oral meds - than comforted. Don't let treatment become torture.

I agree about euthanizing her before she is miserable. So if she stops eating and drinking, it's time. Ask the vet to give her a bit of tranquilizer before the shot, so she is calm and at peace.

It is never easy, but you can try to take as much control as possible over her comfort now and at that time.


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

I'm so sorry.

A neighbor brought me a beautiful cat, very thin, very passive, so dirty that I couldn't see what was afflicting her.

She had very little appetite, & I had to coax her to drink water.

After a few days, I realized that this wasn't going anywhere & I took her to the vet.

who cut away some of her matted fur & found a terrible mammary tumor.

He said that, even with early detection & the best of care, there's almost no chance of recovery, that this kind of cancer metastasizes aggressively, viciously, & that it had undoubtedly invaded her liver & her kidneys, & that that was why she had no appetite.

You love your cat, & you have a duty to her.

She's lost weight,
she's eating less,
her bathroom habits have changed,
& she doesn't purr as much as before.

I am famous for loving cats, & if she were mine, I'd have her put to sleep now, before this gets worse.

I am truly sorry, & I am sending you my best thoughts for strength & peace.


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

You wrote "Some of my friends and family say that maybe I should consider putting her to sleep before things get worse, and before she shows other symptoms, but I feel that this would be wrong.."

It sounds like you have some clarity about that - the advice MY vet gave me was that if she's interacting, playing, purring, more often than not - then there is SOME quality of life. She also kept emphasizing that I am the single best judge of when the pain is starting to overshadow everything else in the animals life. Look in your cats eyes- you will see when they are suffering. My cat started literally turning her back on me when she had enough.

Re: the vet mentioned above who says its better to euth too soon rather than too late - I think that says more about what his comfort zone is rather than a hard and fast rule that has to apply to every cat and every situation.

I went thru this with my 22 yr old cat - in retrospect what was confusing was I had a clear sense of wanting to wait until it was obvious she was ready to die - but then getting all kinds of cultural messages about how/when it should be done. There are even these checklists that call you selfish if you don't act to euthanize when the list says you should - I dont know if the author of these realizes how hurtful it can be to read something like that when all you want to do is to do right by your animal.

My cats condition was also such that she was up and down for months - her downs kept getting further down, but she'd have periods of seeming more like her old self, So that made it confusing too - not like there was ever a line that she crossed that made it obvious.

I would suggest googling "pet hospice" and pursuing that route - just see where it takes you. I only heard about the concept the day after my cat was euth - had no idea it existed - AND, there were two vets within a mile radius of me who I could have consulted about this!!! (Pet hospice is similar to human hospice - utilizing drugs and therapies in a terminally ill animal to ease their passing - either naturally, or in the case of my old cat who was having breathing difficulties that would have eventually killed her, we may have ultimately euthanized her anyway due to how extremely traumatic and difficult her passing would have been.)

Whereas my previous old cat back in 1989 died peacefully on her own from feline leukemia - just gradually faded over the period of a month. Ea. death is different, so one thing recommended with the hospice approach is to research thoroughly your cats illness and understand what exactly she is going through - that will help inform you when/ if it's time to help her pass. Its true cats cant talk, but it can be possible to make an educated guess based on what humans go thru ihaving similar illnesses.

Finalllly, I just wanted to add that the nature of the beast seems to be that second guessing is part of the grief process - no matter what you decide, or how it ends. My vet said that people either think they acted too soon - or too late. So be prepared for that - especially after a long illness where you've been up and down for months caring for an ill person or animal - the grief and regret can be intense indeed. (another thing to google - "complicated grief.")

And - know that we are here for you every step of the way.

This post was edited by kashka_kat on Sat, Aug 10, 13 at 18:51


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

"Re: the vet mentioned above who says its better to euth too soon rather than too late - I think that says more about what his comfort zone is rather than a hard and fast rule that has to apply to every cat and every situation."

What he says, means, is very simple. His heart is in the best interest of the animal. That it would be better to let them go before things get really bad, before they have reached the very end versus having waited until they are clearly in pain and suffering, unintentional as it might have been. To err, so to speak, on the side of having been too early, because we don't always know, or can't know, when the "right" time is.

Things can gradually deteriorate but, yes, they still reach the end and can cross that line into clearly suffering, even frightened, very suddenly. It is not pretty. It might not even be possible to get to a vet right away. It is tortuous to wait. You just can't time these things perfectly.

Animals have the luxury of not having to go through what people do, suffering needlessly to the end. It is a gift we can give them. We can let things go on too long. There is no reason to make them suffer through a painful illness, which they will hide. Unless, of course, one believes in a natural death.

It is the last and greatest gift of love you can give them, to do the unselfish thing and let them go.

Israat, I don't know from your post that it sounds like it's time yet. When I say better early than too late, I didn't mean they should be put down when you find out they have cancer. Only you or your vet can gauge the quality of life your kitty has and whether she still seems to have reasonably good days. I do know that these things can drag on too long, usually with the vet's encouragement. I have been through this too many times to feel comfortable with that process any longer. That road is not for the faint of heart, whatever point or intersection you are on it.

Hope you and your kitty have some more quality time together.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sun, Aug 11, 13 at 9:09


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

Thank you all for your input, it is really helping me in setting expectations and to an extent accept what is about to happen.

Tama, my cat, is so far doing well, she is still moving around, asking to be fed, and still following me around asking to play... The only symptom she is shwoing right now is that the lumps on her belly I'm afraid are getting worse in appearance... And she is a bit constipated. So for now I cannot bear it on my conscience to put her to sleep.

As for me, I have my ups and downs as well, there are times when I take it one day at a time, and there are times when my heart sinks thinking that my time with Tama is coming to an end, I just pray that when the time comes I'll have the strength to relief her suffering.

I have two questions though:

I've been reading on the Internet about homeopathy that I can use for breast cancer with cats, it is called Phytolacca Decandra, and what I read that this treatment can reduce the size of the tumor and can help relief pain in terminal cases, does anyone have experience with that and if you were in my shoes would you think it is worth a try?

Also my sis advises me to get another kitty in addition to Tama, because this can also help me adapt, but because I love Tama so much and I don't want her to feel any dismay with another cat especially in her last few months, I. Think it is better to wait, and to be honest, i don't think I can or want to go this heartache again with any other pet, what do you think?

P.S. in Jordan, unfortunately we do not have hospices, however since I'm living with both my mom and my sis, all of us are involved in providing the best care for Tama, and I think when the time comes I wanna ask the vet to administer euthanasia in our home, so that Tama would be more comfortable.


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

Your inclination to wait for a new kitty sounds right - it could be a real stress for your old girl, and not be fair to the new kitty either if you cant devote full attention. The other animals in the house can pick up on the emotion of what's going on, so that might not make for a welcoming arrival.. One of my other cats seemed very afraid and disturbed by the euthanasia the day it happened - it took him a few days to get over it. It made me wonder what he might have seen or smelled while he was in the shelter.

He was one of the 2 younger cats I got about 3-4 years ago for much the same reason - to kind of innoculate or protect me against the loss that I knew was to come.. Except it never quite worked out that way- it really did not prevent one iota of grief. The grief was and is for Kashka specifically.

And sadly one of the new cats was very aggressive toward Kashka - even physically attacking her if they weren't kept separate. Nature is not pretty sometimes, and in the animal world younger animals will challenge older more debilitated ones.

Re: homeopathy, I have had no experience with it myself but I do think its important for the person to feel they've done what they can do.

BTW - just to clarify, the pet hospice is an approach, not a place you['d bring your pet. You would be the one administering care in your home with help from your vet.; It sounds to me like something that may not be for every person, or every pet or situation - but just one more option to choose from - filling a gap between doing nothing, and euthanasia.

PS - Snookums I understand where you are coming from - there is no way around it - it is a profound challenge and we can only be informed by our experiences and personal ethical, spiritual, and/or philosphical beliefs.


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

israat, I would plead that you not get another cat. This is Tama's time; and your parting time together. Kittens are wild and new introductions in general are very stressful; would be particularly so for an older or sick animal. I'm so glad to hear she is still playful. It sounds no way like she is ready. I hope you have many more months together.

I don't know about the homeopathy product but do believe in natural remedies. I would check with a holistic vet if you can. I wouldn't give anything that is not vet approved. Their systems are sensitive and not well understood.

I've read about mushroom extracts (miraculous food) but don't recall the type of cancer it's used for. There were actually some successful studies done on it (probably with dogs) . I believe it fared better than the traditional chemo.

Lots of lumps likely would not go into remission but supplement treatments might slow things down. In the case of something like lymphoma -- my oncologist warns of not giving things that stimulate the immune system (like the mushroom product).

There is also a fish oil available for pets. My vets seem to think it is a good antioxidant supplement and have no problem with it for lymphoma. I just open my kitty's mouth and dropper it in. He hardly notices. None of them liked it in their food.

If she's not already getting them, I would try to get her to eat some of the higher quality foods available today. It can't hurt. Well, one wouldn't think so, anyway.

Bless you and Tama. I'm glad she is feelling pretty good.


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

Thanks again for the feedback you have given me... It really means a lot to me, as I have no moral support here whatsoever... Where I live raising pets and taking appropriate care of them is considered a luxury.... As a lot of people here, including myself, have to struggle to get by... And being worried for a pet or being sad for the loss of a pet is considered trivial compared to the hardships that human beings here have to go through... So I can't really vent out to anyone here... Even my family... Who have tama as part of their life as well...

Anyhow, I think tama has lost a bit more weight, the lumps are getting worse, I asked my sister to order homeopathy from the states for her, my sis lives in the states, and once I get it I'll consult with my vet...

This is becoming harder and harder.... Seeing her weather away... I cry as I write this... Because I'm so scared... Im scared of her suffering... I'm scared of losing her... And I'm scared of the agony of not being able to do anything to keep her living just a bit longer... And most of all I'm scared of having to decide to put her to sleep... I've done this once before with a kitten I found in the streets who was paralyzed from waist below and had no control over her intestines so she couldn't defecate... And when I took her to the vet he said the best option for her was euthanasia... And although the kitten was not mine... To this day I feel I have betrayed her trust... And it breaks my heart every time I remember her... So I'm really scared of feeling this way again...

I'm really sorry I keep talking about this.... But as I said this is my only way to vent out... So thank you all for beating with me


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

You most certainly did *not* betray her trust!
Just the opposite:
You were there for her when no one else was,
you were the only way she had to escape a slow miserable painful death,
& you gave her a kind, gentle, merciful way out.

When we take on a pet, we never think about the end of the relationship, but it generally has to be the way it is with you & your own kitty:

We have such longer lifespans that we're just about certain to have to make these decisions & carry out these duties.

When we take on a pet, we take on the responsibility to give her an easier way out than allowing her to die by degrees.

I've been down this path before, & I firmly agree with snookums (& her vet) & with elly:

Ending her pain, suffering, misery is the last loving service you can give to your beloved cat, & it's time to do her that service.

I had had my old cat Dusty for over 15 years;
I got her before she was even weaned, when someone found her & her mother hiding in a water meter box.
Dusty's mother died from distemper, & I bottle fed Dusty & coaxed her into living & growing up.

Dusty was chronically ill with recurring infections a couple of years ago, & nothing would knock out her problems (it could have been bad luck, or it could have been her rocky start in life, or bad genes, damaged immune system, who knows).

she'd get better, then she'd get worse.
Then the 'better' times got shorter, & the 'worse' times got longer.
I kept hauling her to the vet, & the vet would pump her up, & back home we'd go, & it would start all over again.

I had just moved, & this was a new vet who never never suggested that Dusty might be at the end of her life;
he just kept 'treating' her.

Finally, when she was so worn out that I didn't think she could stand another cycle of this nonsense, I called the vet & said, "It's time to put an end to this."

I took her in & stayed with her the whole time.
She was purring.
There was another vet there that day, a young woman, & she gave Dusty a valium & then slowly, gently injected the drug.
Dusty's purring slowed, & her breathing slowed, & she just gradually relaxed & then, almost imperceptably, she drifted away,

The vet said, "I think she was ready to go, don't you? She went so gently."

I've always remembered that:
"I think she was ready to go".

There comes a time when life has used us up, & we're ready to go.

I really am sorry.


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forgot to say...

I forgot to say that the cat my neighbor brought to me, the little thing that had the horrible mammary tumor, went very gently, too.

She was so exhausted & so sick, & she just went to sleep, gratefully it seemed.

Please take care of yourself,
& let us know how it's going.


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

I'm very sorry, israat, for what you are going through. You certainly should not feel guilty for euthanizing the kitten. It was the kindest thing to do. You saved this poor little soul from dying a slow death in agony. You are an angel for helping this kitten.

I feel badly for you not having a support network, or even a single friend to share your pain with. Believe me, everyone on this forum empathizes with your sorrow and worry over your cat.

I have lost older cats and other animals to cancer. With an old animal, my personal belief is that it is kindest to avoid invasive procedures, and I have never believed that chemo is a good treatment for anyone, as it only temporarily shrinks tumors and even that at the cost of compromising the immune system and thus making a remission less likely. I do what you are doing and just make my pets' lives as comfortable as possible for as long as possible, and then have them put to sleep humanely when they are no longer comfortable.

I agree with you that putting her to sleep before she shows any symptoms is not what your cat would want. I believe that waiting for Tama to tell you when she is not enjoying her life anymore is the kindest course of action. I hope you can find some inner peace when she finally goes.

I'm sorry that life for you and your family is so difficult as well. It's a sad fact of life that when economic conditions are poor, animal welfare concerns often take second place and animals suffer. It sounds like your family is genuinely concerned about your anguish over Tama's condition, and their suggestion to let her go earlier is intended to spare you pain.

Please stay in touch, because you do have many people on this forum who understand how you feel and share your pain.


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

I just happened to think that if your sister lives here in the states and can send you homeopathic supplements and medicines, one supplement that you might have her send you is resveratrol. Of all the supplements available, this is the only one actually known to shrink tumors. There is a lot of research out there on this substance, so it might help to buy your cat more time if you can get her to eat it in her food.

http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/resveratrol-supplements

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resveratrol

I hope that this helps.


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13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

How're you doing, israat?


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

Thank you all again for the continuous support you have given, I constantly find comfort one way or the other in your words.

Sylviatexas, I'm doing good so far, I'm trying to take it one step at a time and enjoy as much time as I have left with Tama. Tama's condition showed no decline so far, except for the fact that the lumps are getting bigger and worse in appearance, she is still eating as much as before, drinking as much as before and playing as much as before, the only thing that has changed, her wanting to spend more time outside than inside, and I let her, because she is a very careful cat and she never once went outside the boundaries of our yard.

Her good condition so far, has helped me stay calm and keep my spirits up, if it weren't for the ugly lumps that I see on her belly. I get some panic attacks when I think of euthanasia, but I try to keep my mind away from that, at least for now.

Thank you sylviatexas for asking, I truly appreciate it


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

Anyone who is a caring, humane person would have the feelings you are having, Israat. I am facing this same thing with a little stray dog my daughter brought to me last week. Two tumors among other health problems. These decisions are very difficult and no one really knows "the right time." Do the best you can as you are now doing. Your decision, based on love and your desire to do what is best for Tama, will be the right decision.
Laurie


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

today tama is having a bad day... she has lost some more weight and she is not meowing... it seems as though she is slightly depressed... she is eating though and walking and purring... her lumps are even worse and she is starting to lick them frequently...

i hate seeing her like this... getting weaker and weaker... and not be able to make her get better... it is agonizing and i constantly feel down spirited and choaked up with tears because of my helplessness... i cry as i write this... i hate that i feel so alone in this... i hate that i will have to make the very difficult desicion to let her ago on my own... that i will have to take to her to the vet alone... and watch her as she passes away on my own... and there will be no one that i can share my grief over her with...

i realize that this time is not about me... it is about her... and im trying to keep her happy and love all the time... but i cant stop myself from feeling the way i do... and im really scared to death of being without her...

help???? oh dear god help!!!!


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

You are very sensitive to your kitty, and that it is all about her right now. I know just how you feel. It is heart wrenching to think of being without them, and terrifying, horrifying for them and their well being.

She might just be having a bad day, we all have bad days, even when healthy. So don't panic quite yet.

Your vet said 7 months, so it would seem early for her to decline so rapidly. Only you know that though as you can see her and see her day to day.

Don't feel guilty when the time comes. There is no denying that her time here is ending. Know that the memories will be sweeter, and things will be easier, on both of you, if you are a little earlier, rather than on the late side where she has had to suffer too much and unnecessarily. Many vets will keep you going way too long, so you might not be able to count on their judgment. You two are in this together, as one, and you are your kitty's best advocate. Love her to pieces. I hope she is able to let you know when it is time.

Precious mama cat and precious girl. It is so difficult.


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

I'm so chocked up, my heart feels as thought it is going to burst... Tama's health is deteriorating... She is not the same anymore, her tumors are bleeding almost on daily basis, she doesn't have the appetite, she is not meowing, she started having siezures two days ago, and I think it is time to let her go... Seeing her like this kills me everyday, it will be a notational holiday starting tomorrow until Friday, and I'm going to tell the vet to come to our house to put her to sleep next Saturday...
As much as I feel that I have to stop her suffering I can't imagine myself holding her dead cold body to bury her... I started digging a whole in the backyard for her today... But I'm not sure if it is going to be deep enough... I wish we had cremation service here to keep at least a part of her.... But we don't ....
I'm a mess... I'm a big agonizing mess... And I have no one... I feel so alone ... I'm trying to be strong but it is so difficult when one is on their own...


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

Just in case this is a 'real' post:

Please get control of your emotions & take care of your responsibility to this poor cat.

Letting that cat suffer for another week is breathtakingly cruel & absolutely inexcuseable.

Get her to the vet or get the vet to come to her right NOW.

If you can't manage that, call animal control & take her to the shelter & have them put her to sleep.

She's already been through entirely too much because of your melodrama.


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

Dear Sylviatexas,

I will first thank you for the strong passion you have shown in your post, I got the vet for her this afternoon (although it is a national holiday), after believing that it was time for her to go, but today of all days tama showed a positive turn in her health where she asked for food, came to my bed asking to sleep next to me and she was purring loudly, tell me if you were in my shoes and you saw a desire to live in your cat, would you have done it? Right now she is sound asleep after having being fed, also the vet checked her vitals, gum color, breathing, movement, and what not and will continue to check up on her on daily basis.

Anyhow I asked the vet to be on standby, as I still feel that the time is very very soon...

btw just to clear my situation out, what I wrote yesterday was based on the possibility that the vet will refuse to come by or see her, or the possibility of having no other alternatives, since it could be the case on a holiday in a developing country where infrastructure for animal care is unfortunately overlooked.
I love tama and I do not wish her to suffer at all, I had just come back on sat from a two weeks long work related travel, during which I was constantly in touch with my family to check on tama, told my vet about my travel, gave my family his contacts, and assigned a friend of mine the duty of getting her to the vet if need be as my family cannot do that, during my travel no one reported to me that tama was suffering, she was eating well and drinking and moving around as she used to, it wasn't until two days before I got back that she started on a downward path, and since I came back I took off work to be able to tend to her and observe her to be able to decide what to do.
I have to say while I appreciate your concern for the well being of this loving soul, I feel you are too harsh with your judgment on me based on what I admit to be an impulsive emotional post.

I will only post an update once I have put her to sleep, and apologies to all for the disturbance.

This post was edited by israat on Mon, Oct 14, 13 at 15:33


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

Just one more thing, I don't know how deep should the grave be for a cat because when the time comes I will burry tama in our back yard, and I'm not sure if that will work as I think the soil does not go deep in the yard

This post was edited by israat on Mon, Oct 14, 13 at 15:48


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

OP, as you already understand the cultural norm in the US for our pets end of life issues is different than in other places in the world. I grew up in 50s-60s when most people in the US still lived on farms and barn cats just went away to die on their own - they never lived long, and it was like one day you just didn't see them. Things have changed. Something happens when you live with and love an animal for 10-20 years, the bond is incredible as well as the sense of responsibility and obligation - that sense of moral responsibility I think is behind people's strong feelings about not letting their animals suffer - as well as their own personal emotional needs. My own cat was back and forth for many months and in the end it was starting to come down to a choice of either I watch my cat die what would probably be a slow torturous death (breathing issues) or choose to end it via euthanasia. My previous cat died relatively peacefully on her own, fading away over a period of several months. But that was simply NOT an option with my Kashka. As much as I would have wanted that for her. Niether was letting her go off and die on her own like a barn cat. It was not "quality of life" question anymore. It had come to what is the quality of death. In other words - neither option I can say was a "good" one, or even the "right" one. It just boiled down to which was the least awful for her and for me. Sometimes in life that's how it is.

BTW my vet was so helpful - completely frank when I asked about what would her death be if I did nothing and how would she experience it. As time goes on this becomes more of a known thing that your vet can and should talk to you about and describe for you - if you haven't already had that talk with him or her. All the best, I wish you and your kitty peace.


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

Israat,

You are doing just fine during this horrible time. I lost two of my cats to cancer a year ago - one to mammary cancer, the other to oral cancer. I have been through the end of life period and euthanasia with a number of my terminally ill 4-leggeds over the decades. I know all too well the pain and trauma both you and Tama are going through, and my heart breaks for both of you.

It's not uncommon for terminally ill cats to have good days and bad days. You are doing everything correctly at this point by keeping in close contact with your vet and making sure that your vet will be available to help Tama pass on. It does sound like this will be happening very soon, and I do not want you to feel isolated during this time.

Sylvia's intent, I'm sure, was to try to shake you out of the emotionalism so that you could make the decision to euthanize Tama. You know that it will be necessary for you to do that very soon. I've been in that same position more times than I care to remember. I can tell you that whenever you decide to euthanize, you will likely feel guilt and regrets. For Tama's sake, it's better if you abandon the hope for more good days next time she has a bad day and just help her move on. Very soon, there will be no more good days coming, and you don't want her suffering needlessly while you wait for that one more good day that doesn't happen.

There is only one more thing to realistically hope for and one more thing to provide for Tama - a peaceful and loving passing.

Please don't feel that you need to do this alone. Those who are disturbed by your posts needn't read them. You can continue to get emotional support here.

Laurie


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

I have just said goodbye to tama, I have put her to her final rest, it was quick, she was tired and it was time but now I feel so tired so lonely and so crushed


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

Israat, I am so sorry for your loss of the beautiful Tama. I know your heartbreak, and I wish there was something I could do to ease it. But I know that it will just take time for your heart to recover. Tama took a large piece of it with her, and she will keep it safe and well loved until you are reunited.

You aren't alone, Israat. I am sharing your pain, and I suspect there are others on this forum who are doing the same. Many of us are missing heart pieces that were carried off by our dearly departeds. But we still have enough heart left to share with each other.

I wish you a peaceful grief.

Laurie


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

I have this very bad gut feeling that I can't seem to shake off, I do not regret putting tama to sleep, but I feel that in the last hour leading to her passing, I have let her down when I took her to the vet where I think she felt stressed. the original plan was to put her to sleep the day after in my house so that she wont go through hell on the way to the vet, but when I saw her condition I thought I couldn't let her go through another night and I had to take her to the vet.
usually she would put up a fight in the car on the way to the vet by constant meowing, this time she didn't... and she didn't put up a fight with the vet when he prepared her, but nothing has prepared me for what happened later...
it took her only two seconds to pass away, and I thought it would be longer, she wasn't purring at the time, and her eyes were kept open after she passed away.

the image of her in her last seconds is haunting me and I can't shake it off....

there are times when I cant even breath.

I got a new kitten, maybe too quickly becuase I felt it would help me to move on, sometimes I call the new kitty tama by mistake, she is an adorrable female half persian two months old kitty, but there are times when I feel that having this kitty is a betrayal to Tama's memory...

My heart is broken, and it hurts so much...


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

Israat, I have been through euthanasia with my 4-legged family members many times. By instinct, non-human animals fight for every last breath for as long as they can. Sometimes they fight the anesthesia. These are the circumstances that tear at my heart when they occur.

Other times, the animal is so sick and so close to death that the instinct to fight no longer exists. This is what you have described with Tama. She knew her life was at its end, and she was ready to go. You were correct not to wait another day. She told you that by how mercifully quickly she passed. Trust me, you would not have wanted her to pass slowly.

I know that open eyes can be disturbing, but that is a normal physiological response. I can't remember a single one of my animals who has closed his/her eyes in passing. I believe that all animals, including humans, typically die with their eyes open.

Some people find that adopting a new companion right away is comforting and helps ease the pain of grieving. Other people need time to let their hearts heal before opening them up to a new loved one. In both cases, the adoption of a new animal is a positive testament to those who have passed. Love is the legacy of our animal companions. They spend their entire lives teaching us how to love. We honor their lives when we pass that love onto the next generation of animals with whom we share our lives.

You are not betraying Tama's memory. You are honoring it.

Laurie


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

Laurie thank you so much for your support... Your words have been the beam of light that constantly pulled me out of the darkness, and the same goes for everyone else... I still miss tama so much sometimes it hurts... I constantly feel empty and broken, but then life moves on anyway and I'm trying to take my grief one step at a time...

Now I feel I brought the new kitty way too early, I can't make a connection with her so far, I still haven't given her a name, and there were many times when I called her tama.

I take good care of her though, and I play with her but I'm still not connecting with her, I made an appointment for her with the vet for a check up next week.

In a way, I'm looking for any trace of tama in her, and I know that is unfair to her, and I try to prevent myself from making such comparisons, the new kitty is half Persian, and tama was a tuxedo cat and regardless of the breed I know that individual cats are different.

I hope in time my feeling would change and I will love the new kitty as much as I loved tama


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

  • Posted by laurief z3b northern MN (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 23, 13 at 21:40

Israat,

I did the same thing after losing all three of my dogs within a few months of each other. I then adopted a new dog before my heart was ready to open up again. Like you, I took good care of Sarah throughout her long life with me, but I was never able to connect with her the way I wished I could. I loved her, of course, but I never could seem to broach the emotional distance that was there from the beginning. I think the fact that Sarah was an adult with lots of her own emotional baggage when I adopted her also played a role in my inability to connect with her. I just wasn't in a state of mind where I could "fix" her at that time.

But that was me. You will have your own experience with your new kitten, and I hope that your heart will open fully to her after you've had some time to work through your grief. In my experience, it's easier to emotionally connect to a baby, no matter what the circumstances. In the meantime, definitely give her a name. She needs her own identity, separate from Tama, and you need to acknowledge that separation with a name. If you're having a difficult time naming her, post her photo and see if we can offer any suggestions that you might like.

Don't be so hard on yourself, Israat. Grief is what it is. You can't deny it, and you can't escape it. You just have to muddle your way through it.

The good news is that your new baby won't hold your broken heart against you. She'll just keep loving you until you're ready and able to return that love. Even better, if you let her, she'll rebuild that hurting heart of yours.

Laurie

This post was edited by laurief on Wed, Oct 23, 13 at 21:45


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

Hey all,

So I named my new kitten "cookie"... She is funny and healthy and adorable, but ... But there is this sense of sadness that hangs over me every time I look at her... In away perhaps I'm too scared of getting attached to her like I did with tama because I still feel so heart broken... Perhaps I'm being too melodramatic... I don't know... But I'm still haunted by tama's last few hours and her last trip to the vet, although I have no regrets over putting her to sleep, I just wish I didn't have to put her through the stress of going to the vet because she always hated it... I just wish her last few hours with me were more peaceful for her, and I really hope that if anything... She passed knowing fully that I had to do this for her own sake... I hope that even in those stressful moments she knew I loved her... I just wish I can know that she was at peace with me when she passed on...

My grief is happening in waves for me... And I'm taking it one step at a time...


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RE: Care for 13 year old cat with metastatic cancer

Israat,

Cookie is a wonderful name for your new baby. Don't worry. She will bring you joy in time. Right now, your heart is still struggling to heal from your loss of Tama. You're not being melodramatic. You're grieving, and what you're experiencing and feeling is familiar to many of us.

Death is haunting, no matter how, where, or when it happens. If you had waited that extra day and had Tama euthanized at home, you would be haunted by allowing her to suffer those extra hours. It's just what we humans do to ourselves in the aftermath of such devastating responsibility.

That one final moment of gut-wrenching mercy couldn't possibly compromise the years of love between you and Tama. You know that. Tama took your love with her, just as she left her love with you.

You must have photos of Tama when she was healthy and happy. Look at those photos every day and let them make you smile. Keep those images dancing in your head instead of the ones you are clinging to right now. Tama didn't spend all that time in your life just to leave you with pain and grief. Her purpose, and her gifts, were far greater than that.

Laurie


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