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Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21333
Experience:  Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
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My cat has really dark yellow pee and seems to be lathargic ...

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My cat has really dark yellow pee and seems to be lathargic and not eating as much. Any idea what he may have?
Is your cat peeing only in the litterbox or around the house? Does he seem to have trouble peeing at all?

Is he drinking water as usual? Does he go outside?

How old is he?

For how long has he been like this?

Thanks for any more details you can supply about your cat's situation, so that I may send you the most complete answer!

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: We have not noticed any trouble peeing other than peeing outside the litterbox. He has been peeing in odd locations. once on the couch
once on my sons backpack. Almost as if he is
looking to tell us something. He does drink
water but is not eating. He has steadily been
shying away from dry and wet food altogether.
We did contact a vet today and are planning on
taking him in tomorrow morning. Any additional help is greatly appretiated.
Hi Brad, and thanks for your additional information!

It's good to hear that you will be bringing your boy to the vet, tom'w!

From your description, your cat most likely has a urinary or bladder infection which is causing discomfort, and that's why he's urinating around the house; cats who experience pain upon elimination, associate that pain with the PLACE of voiding, i.e., the litterbox, and they will go ANYPLACE else, especially on 'soft' items, like the couch and your son's backpack, in order to avoid the pain.

The darkness of his urine most likely is caused by his non-eating. When cats don't eat at all, or very much, for about 48 hrs., they will develop a condition called hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver syndrome; this is a dangerous condition and is usually treated by the vet with antibiotics and getting nutrition into the cat. Your vet might recommend force-feeding with a dropper or syringe, or keep him in the vet hospital and do tube feeding or an IV, if this is deemed necessary.

I do hope your cat is diagnosed tom'w and receives treatment to help him feel better! Please keep me posted and let me know the vet's findings. Thanks!

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: Well we had some bad news from our vet today.
He did a exploratory surgery with our approval
and found he had a condition called "nutmeg"
liver? I have never heard of it but he explained
to us that this condition is terminal and it is
just a matter of time before he passed away.
Is it possible to bounce back from this condition?
Hi Brad,

I so sorry to hear this news! How old is your cat?

Please give me a short while to research this for you and I will send you further information.

Thanks for your patience!

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: Milo is 8 years old.

I also just talked with his normal vet (he is at a emergency care vet) and after explaining that milo was normal only 2 months ago he offered it may be lipidosis (sp?) and to definately get the biopsy done on the tissue. If it is lipidosis then there is a good chance it is survivealbe with extended care and tube feeding.
Hi Brad,

Yes, I agree with your regular vet's recommendations. When you first mentioned Milo wasn't eating, I had suggested there was a strong chance he could have developed hepatic lipidosis, as this is the way the cat's liver reacts to not having food to process for 48 hrs. or more.

From your description of Milo's symptoms to the emergency vet, I'm surprised they didn't first treat him for heaptic lipidosis with nutrition, fluids and antibiotics. Did the ER vet explain to you why they chose to do an exploratory? The "nutmeg" appearance of the liver may be a result of lipidosis, and I've also found information indicating that ingestion of lead may cause this condition. Have you done any renovation around your house recently, which may have caused lead paint or any other substance containing lead to have been present and possibly ingested by Milo?

If Milo remains in the ER vet hospital at this time, what treatment is he currently being given? I'm assuming, IV fluids, IV or tube feeding nutrition; any medication? Did they biopsy the liver when the exploratory was done? How is he doing now, recovering from the surgery, etc.? Is your regular vet in contact with the ER vet?


"In chronic passive congestion, the liver is slightly enlarged with an irregular or granular capsular surface. When a cut surface of the liver is examined, the congested centers of the lobules contrast with the relative paleness of the peripheral zone. Thus, the congested liver looks somewhat like the surface of a "nutmeg" cut in half, hense the term "nutmeg liver." (Nutmeg liver is also seen in high altitude disease.) Over a period of time, fibrous connective tissue scarring occurs around central veins of liver lobules (cardiac sclerosis or cardiac cirrhosis). Remember, in so-called cardiac cirrhosis, the essential features described for cirrhosis are usually absent."

From the above description, it sounds like the physical conditions causing nutmeg liver would have to have been present for a while in order to cause such a problem, now, as you and your vet expressed. If this diagnosis is correct, is the vet giving supportive care at this time, or just waiting for you to make a decision? I know how difficult this is for you! Was it mentioned that Milo has any pulmonary or cardiac problems at this time? If so, this could be related to the liver condition.

Please keep me updated on Milo's condition. Thanks! I send my best thoughts and prayers that he can recover from this with the correct treatment!

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: We just visited Milo and Dr. Hill the emergency vet. He is being treated with fluids and antibiotics. He is barely himself right now. There was a biopsy of the liver and he showed it to us. It did look like a nutmeg cut in half. I was reading on this as well and found it to be
very close to heaptic lipidosis. Of course only
the lab can tell us the final result. We are
expecting to hear back Thurs or Fri.

He is not showing any cardiac problems yet. It was very disheartening to feel his bones so promenently. He used to be the fat cat of the house. I will definately keep you posted.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX your update on Milo. I was going to ask if you can visit him! I'd be interested to know why he's being treated with only fluids and antibiotics and no nutrition?

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: We took him some food and he was not interested. What type of nutrition can they give him?
They can give him IV (liquid) nutrition, or 'tube' feeding, where a tube is inserted into the stomach. Is he receiving the fluids and antibiotics through an IV or orally?

He can also be 'force-fed' (not as violent as it sounds) through a dropper or syringe, with watered down cat food or watered down jarred plain chicken baby food, which you squeeze into his mouth slowly from the side, like you do when you give him medicine.

If he's not receiving nutrition, his liver will continue to deteriorate; you should ask why he's not receiving any nutrition.

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: They did say something about baby food. I am not sure if they are force feeding it or not. I will ask in the morning.

And to answer your question about lead. We have not done any remodeling recently and there is no
lead in our house. We use filtered water for our cats (we do have 2 others) and they have a watering dish which keeps cycling water through a charcoal filter. We have been racking out brains on why this may have happened but the reality of it is, neither of the other 2 cats (one 10 and one 16 years old) are showing any
of the same symptoms.
Hi again,

Thanks for the additional details. The 'lead' was just a possibility I came across in my research, so thought I'd ask. I'm glad your other two furbabies are fine! : ) Feeding filtered water is great! Personally, I feed my cat only bottled distilled/purified water.

If you think they said something about baby food, hopefully Milo IS being syringe or dropper-fed with that!

It truly IS a dilemma! Do you have any houseplants or flowers (live or dried)? Could he have ingested anything toxic?

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: No houseplants to speak of. He is a indoor outdoor cat though and may have eaten something outside.

He also has a pension of jumping up on tables and counters if he thinks there is food there. While we are vigilant about keeping human food away from our cats they draw to it like bees to honey.
Hi Brad,

Have you heard from the vet/seen Milo yet today?

How is he doing?


Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: We are going right now.
We are heading to my brothers in Las Vegas
but have help here at home for Milo.
We are in close touch with the vet a few
times everyday and expect a update on eating
habits. Don't worry. we will be a quick hour
away via plane if something goes down. we
are still keeping our hopes up.
Hi Brad,

Thanks very much for the update, and try to enjoy yourself at your brother's, even though I know Milo's condition is weighing heavily on your heart right now.

He is in my thoughts and prayers and I hope your next reply has some good news!

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: We talked to one of the technicians last night. She let us know that milo did try and eat some baby food as it had a dent in it. So he is trying. What is weighing the most is waiting to hear about the biopsy results.
Hi Brad,

Thanks for the Milo update! I'm glad he's trying to eat the baby food. Did you ask if they're trying to get food into him by dropper or syringe in addition to letting him try to eat on his own?

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: I did ask. I talked to the doctor today, he tried to force feed him with a tube today. He could not keep down the first dose. He did however keep down the second dose and the doctor
was about to give him the third dose when I called. He told me he should have the biopsy back tomorrow and even pending that information thought he would redo the blood work anyway and see where we stand after he has had fluids since Monday and is still kicking. Positive news to say the least. Do you know what the mortality rate of felines with FLV or Lipidosis is? I am hoping the biopsy does not come back as cancerous.
Hi Brad,

The current new IS encouraging! I'm so glad he was able to keep down some food!

I think it's a very good idea to repeat the bloodwork!

I do some research re: the mortality rates for you and get back to you on that.

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: Well the diagnosis is on. We have lipidosis.. as the doctor said it is Severe Lipidosis but it is not cancerous. Thank God! He is continuing to force feed Milo and as we understand he took blood again today. We are waiting until morning to get the blood results. We are keeping Milo very much in our thoughts and prayers. I seriously hope he is getting better. We are planning on going back a couple of days early as we simply cannot truly relax on vacation with a sick kitty in the hospital.
Oh, I'm very happy to hear this. Severe lipidosis is treatable and if he's being force-fed, that's great! Thank God, no cancer!

I know how you feel; I'd do the same thing and come home early, too!

Thanks for keeping me updated, and please continue to do so. Milo is in my thoughts and prayers also.

Sending healing purrrs his way....

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: Bloodwork came back with bad news. I think. I need more information before making this very hard decision. Milo is showing no improvement with his bloodwork. Hemocrit went from 12% to 15%. ACT went from 198 to 225, which is not that dramatic. villirubin went from 10.2 to 10.6. and Alepheran Phospherate skyrocketed to 1194. All since 10/30 when milo was first put on antibiotics and fluids.

My question is:
How long should one wait while force feeding and fluids are being administered to see better results or am I seeing a steady decline in his health until the inevitable happens?
Hi Brad,

I'm so sorry you're faced with this difficult decision. What has your vet advised and how was the interpretation of the blood results explained to you? Does your vet give any indication that Milo's liver and overall condition can improve after continuing this course of treatment (force-feeding and fluids)? How is his demeanor? Is he alert, does he seem comfortable? Are you home yet?

Keep this in mind for now: it's important to treat the cat, not the numbers.

Here is a website with information I think you'll find helpful:

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: He is saying he cannot save Milo. His prognosis is bad and the numbers indicate he will eventually die. He tells me Milo is still just hanging out. No real change from a week ago. We are still not home and I am finding it very frustrating not being able to see Milo for myself. The doctor did say he would keep doing what he has been doing until we give him a final decision on what we want to do. If he still looks the same he is just sitting in his cage not really attentative. I am not sure if he is meowing or showing signs of any affection. There is one technician there who loves visiting with him as she does not have any cats so she has been making him as comfortable as possible. I keep telling myself that same thing.. maybe the numbers will improve with time but have not been able to find any information or cases where that is what happened. The vet also said we would have to talk about a liver transplant and he does not do anything like that, not to mention I don't think I can condone the loss of another cat for the survivability of my cat. I am just really up in the air at this point. I need more information that his mortality can be saved otherwise we need to stop the suffering.

I agree with everything you've said, and in my opinion, if you'll be home in a day or two, I wouldn't make any decisions until I saw Milo in person--as long as you're assured he's not suffering now...

When do you expect to return?

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: We are looking at Sunday as there is business we need to take care of here in Vegas. We are working on buying our first home and our mortgage agent is in Vegas. I think we are leaning towards keeping Milo going and possibly even transferring him to his normal vet and having the bloodwork done again.
Well, I like the way you're leaning! : )
I think that's a good route to go for now, until your can make further determinations. Congrats on working on buying your first home; I hope things go well!

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