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Ask Terri Your Own Question
Terri, Feline Healthcare Expert
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21709
Experience:  Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
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My cat has been in kidney failure for a couple of years now.

Customer Question

My cat has been in kidney failure for a couple of years now. He has noticeably lost weight over the past week and the past couple of days, he is getting this brownish crusty looking stuff on his nose. Does this mean it's time for him to go to kitty heaven?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the kitten's name?
Customer: BJ
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about BJ?
Customer: He strained to poop the other day and pooped on the floor, not in the litter box, and it was loose.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 9 months ago.

Hello, JACustomer. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for over 15 years and would be happy to help you today. I'm reviewing your question right now.

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 9 months ago.

Can you share a picture of the crusting on the nose?

How is he acting otherwise? Still eating and drinking well?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I'm at work, so I can't send a picture. He is drinking more, I think. I think he's eating less.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 9 months ago.

Has a recent weight been taken to determine if he's losing weight? This would be a wise consideration if you think his habits have changed.

There's no rush on attaching a picture. This can happen whenever you return home.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Ok. I have an appt for him on the 12th, but I'm not sure he's going to make it till then. No recent weight, it's been a few months since we were at the vet
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 9 months ago.

What is making you concerned he will not make it to the visit on the 12th? The crusting alone does not sound life threatening and is likely due to him cleaning himself less. This is one of the first places we see dirt buildup. That said, it can be a sign that his overall health is going downhill if he's avoiding cleaning himself, drinking more and eating less. Rechecking kidney values soon would be wise, as well, if he's not to the point of euthanasia yet and you're wanting to try for more time.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
He just looks bad. I can feel his spine when he lays on my chest and I'm stroking his back.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 9 months ago.

That certainly sounds like a confirmation of weight loss to me. Thinning and muscle wasting are both common in end stage renal failure in cats.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I know I have to make a decision, I just don't want to decide to euthanize when he could still have some good days left.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 9 months ago.

I understand and sympathize with your situation. Consider that euthanizing earlier that his last given, natural day may save him some suffering in the end, too. One must weigh the good with the bad, of course. If I can help you to know when that final day might be, please let me know. I recommend to everyone that when considering euthanasia they do the following: Make a list of 10 things that your pet enjoyed doing when they were young. Perhaps that was playing fetch, riding in the car, etc. Now mark off all of the things that your pet can no longer do consistently due to age or illness. Once you're down to 5, it's time to discuss euthanasia and once 2-3 items remain, it's time to have the procedure performed.