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I am desperately trying to make a decision here. My 16 1/2

year old female cat, who...
I am desperately trying to make a decision here. My 16 1/2 year old female cat, who has always been chunky, was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism approx. 2 years ago. The meds worked for a while, but stopped. She wants nothing to do with the thyroid food. I had already taken my 12 year old cat for the radioactive thyroid treatment. I cannot put this cat through it. Until Sunday, she had been eating pretty well. She will not eat anything at all since then. My personal vet gave her a shot of cerenia to see if it would help, it doesn't seem to have. I know the end is near. I have tried throwing EVERYTHING at my cat, yogurt, cottage cheese, seafood, different cat foods, groundturkey she wants nothing. She is also sort of isolating herself a little. She did cuddle with me last night. Here is why I feel so desperate. I am leaving town tomorrow for 2 weeks. My Dad has been diagnosed with lung cancer with mets, I HAVE to go. Do I risk leaving my cat here with a sitter when she won't eat? How long can a cat go without eating? She is drinking water and using cat box... Or do I take her to be euthanized today? Please be honest. ANy and all advice is appreciated. cathy
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Answered in 17 minutes by:
5/16/2017
Scott Perry
Scott Perry, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1,482
Experience: DVM
Verified

Hi Cathy. My name is***** and I am a veterinarian that can answer your question. I am sorry to hear about the situation you are in both with Ravioli and your dad. I know this is a troubling time for you and big decisions are on your plate. I will be able to answer all the questions you have. One of the first answers I can provide is that cats can not go very long without eating, unfortunately. The general safe cutoff for not eating is 3 days for cats. When they don't eat well they are at risk of other diseases such as a "fatty liver syndrome." There are some ways that we can work around that including placing a feeding tube, but I am not sure if that is something you are wanting to try.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
I think I came to somewhat of a decision, but would value your opinion on it. This cat is the worst at going to the vet. She trembles horribly, cries the whole time, and it takes her a day or two to forgive me. My decision was to either euthanize her, or see if there was something else. My vet prescribed an appetite stimulant, which she has just received. She has been drinking a ton of water, and using the catbox. I asked my vet what HE would do, and he said he would give her the appetite stimulant and see if it helped get her to eat. In thinking about it, if she stops eating, and isolates herself to die, I guess I would rather have her die in her own home than at the vet's office. So, I am trying the medication, going out to attend to my Dad, and hoping against hope that she'll be here when I come back. My pet sitter knows what to do.
Thank you so much Dr. Perry, for your input and kind words. I am stressed beyond stressed over my Dad and my cat, and having to try to make a choice has been miserable. I am feeling not happy, but at least a little comfortable with what I've decided.

Mirtazapine is likely the appetite stimulant. These work sporadically, but I hope in this case it does the trick. I am curious if there is something else going on here besides the hyperthyroidism. Cats with this condition will be voracious eaters, as you probably know, so the fact that she is not eating well has me concerned about something more serious. A blood/urine test would be a place to start, but likely an abdominal ultrasound +/- an intestinal biopsy will give you better answers. Things on the list that I am concerned about, without knowing much other details, would be inflammatory bowel disease, liver or pancreas inflammation, or intestinal lymphoma (common in older cats). All of these are more common causes of nausea in cats and will cause a decrease in appetite. Regarding treatment, if there is pain involved I would include a pain medication in addition to the anti-nausea and appetite stimulant. Prescription diets labeled as "recovery diets" are sometimes helpful in encouraging cats to eat. Examples of these are Hill's a/d, Purina CN, and Royal Canin also has a brand. Otherwise, if the goal is simply to get her to eat, lower quality brands such as Friskie's seem to be work for some sick cats - although the fat content may create more nausea later, so I would use it as a last resort as well as human tuna.

Scott Perry
Scott Perry, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1,482
Experience: DVM
Verified
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Finally, it might be a good idea to seek a mobile veterinarian that will come to your house for either treatment or euthanasia. They tend to be more expensive and in short supply, but it might be a more desired option for you or your pet sitter when that day comes.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Hi Dr. Perry, please forgive this late response. As I mentioned to you in the first note, I left town, and have been very involved in a wedding. Sadly, Ravioli passed away this evening. I was not there, so of course I am devastated. The sitter found her outside, under a table on the lanai, which was her favorite spot to relax. She had spent days behind my bed, but went outside to her favorite spot to pass away. I am trying to take solace in the fact that it was apparently peaceful, and that she died on her terms in her own home. But I am broken hearted to have not been there. Anyway, I agree with you, she had a scent about her that made me think some form of cancer. Thanks so much for your input. Cathy
HI Cathy. These are not easy moments. You did the best you could with the information you had to work with. The best part of all of this to me is the peaceful ending that she got to have her last moments in her favorite spot. We should all be so lucky.
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Scott Perry
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