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14-Year-Old Cat Fighting for Her Life Tonight

3331 Views 13 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  FlickeringHope
I'm having some very serious problems with my 14-year-old cat Chyna, and if anyone can give me advice, I really appreciate it. I'll try include all the important details of this story. Basically, fleas are ridiculous here in Indiana this year. About a month ago, they made their way into our home. They immediately started taking over. Chyna was attacked the worst of our pets, and even though we treated her with a “spot on” medication and powdered the carpets, we don't have the problem under control yet.

While we continued to work on that flea problem, Chyna started to show a lot of signs of feline anemia – irregular eating/drinking habits, weight loss, excessive sleeping, rapid breathing, pale gums, eating litter, etc. And, while bathing her, I noticed a large circular lump on her stomach.

I took Chyna to our veterinarian this morning. It turns out that I was right about the anemia. Also, the lump on her stomach is a damaged/non-functioning kidney, and combined with the anemia and her old age, it's done a number on her body. The vet started by giving her an antibiotic shot (I think). He recommended flea bombing our house. Then he sold me Adams Plus Flea and Tick Mist, and probably most importantly, EnerCal Nutritional Supplement and Appetite Stimulant.

Since I brought Chyna back home, she's been more lethargic than ever. I'm trying to get her built back up. I rubbed the Adams Plus onto her body, and basically force fed her the EnerCal twice. She's slowly started to move around a little more, drink healthy amounts of water, and purr when I pet her – Unfortunately I can't get her to eat anything. I've tried giving her beef Fancy Feast (to build up her iron), feeding her tuna (because she'll normally eat that no matter what), heating up the Fancy Feast to make the smell more appealing, etc. She's not eaten more than one or two bites though, and after I give her the EnerCal, she lays down and starts back at square one.

So my questions are.. Could either the shot or the EnerCal be adding to Chyna's fatigue? Could the EnerCal be nutritionally “taking the place of” her food? And, most importantly, what can I do to get her to eat her regular cat food? I'll try anything.

Thank you.
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Flea topicals are poison. We had one of our cats die from it this year. They're not innocent, and they're not only toxic to the fleas, they're toxic to the cat, too. Kidney failure, enlarged thyroid, cancer, lethargy, depression, decreased thirst or will to eat are all signs of flea chemical poisoning. If you do nothing else, give her a bath to wash as much of that stuff out of her skin as possible.

Next post I'll give you the link to a PDF that explains why they're so toxic.

Truthfully, fleas only attack the immune-compromised. Cats eating their natural, raw meat diet do not get fleas, or if they do, it's usuall only a couple and they're not bothered by it. You might be able to bring her back around by *slowly* introducing her to a raw meat diet.

We are battling fleas ourselves. Cats are so sensitive to smells and so many other things that it makes it difficult to rid them of fleas. Cats are very sensitive to essential oils, for instance, but essential oils are very good at repelling fleas. Many are toxic to cats, though. Through research,EXTREMELY DILUTED lemongrass essential oil is excellent at repelling fleas. I also read just last night that you can get Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and massage that throughout a cat's fur. Fleas hate moist skin, they LOVE dry skin. So the coconut oil works at repelling fleas by moisturizing their skin, and if they lick it off, no big deal, because studies don't show any negative correlation between ingesting a bit of coconut oil. It contains B Vitamins, and Thiamine in particular work very well at repelling fleas.
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First of all, I appreciate your quick reply.

You have to understand how bad this flea problem's been. My arms and legs are covered with cellulitis marks. I tried every natural solution and home remedy that I could find to help Chyna, and when that didn't work, I "upgraded" to the Sergeant's spot-on. I wasn't happy with the results of the spot-on, but it didn't seem to have any health effects. After a few more weeks of my natural solutions, the fleas have obviously taken their toll on Chyna. The symptoms match severe anemia so much that even I could see what it was. If I hadn't made the vet trip this morning, I don't think she would've had a chance of making it through the weekend. The mist and the bomb are basically a last ditch effort at getting these fleas off of her body.

I'll try feeding her the raw meat. I'll be watching her closely throughout the night, and wash off the mist if she seems worse.
Did you try diatomaceous earth for your carpets? Comb in with a carpet rake, and leave for 2-3 weeks before vacuuming it up? I really don't think bombs work to be honest. Fleas spend most of their hiding in places that I just don't think bombs reach. And if they do reach those areas, they don't reach down into the carpet fibers where all the fleas are hiding.

Trust me, I understand your frustration. We've been battling them for 3 years.
Chyna had a long night, but she's hanging in there. She drank a decent amount of water throughout the day. I didn't notice her sneaking anywhere to urinate though. Also, I forced her to eat the EnerCal supplement/stimulant (which has a list of, like, 25 vitamins on the back). After some other food ideas didn't work, I had to give her a couple syringe shots of a liquified beef cat food. And, in case she wanted to go in the night, I had her comfortable with a favorite shirt, food, water, etc. She was still laying there alive and lethargic when I woke up this morning.

At this point, I think I'll keep trying different ideas. Hopefully her lethargy and lack of appetite are mainly do to the shot. I hadn't really considered that before reading online, but she was still eating half a can of cat food in the days before the shot. Our usual vet (who, despite the way it might read on here, is the popular/award-winning vet in our area) isn't in on Sundays, but there's a second vet in the area in case of any emergencies. I'm not sure if I should keep nursing Chyna for another day, or have her hooked to IV's at this other vet -- who's actually hurt one of our animals years ago.
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I tried both flea powder and salt in the carpets weeks ago. But I haven't tried diatomaceous earth yet. At this exact second, the main thing I'm worried about is getting her appetite back.
Good news (I hope): I smeared some of the EnerCal on her paw and put some beef cat food over it. She completely ignored it and went to sleep. An hour later, I heard a slight licking/smacking noise, and came in to see her paw without the food on it and what looked like the last second of her licking the "blanket" (tshirt) she was on. I started petting her as soon as I noticed this, her purr came back for the first time in about 24 hours, and she went back to sleep. I have to think this is a really good sign.
Alright, I've got some questions about "nursing Chyna for another day". I thought you might have some good answers. After slowing/stopping on her food yesterday, she's done the same with her water today, and I've decided to force food and water/Pedialyte until I can get her back to the vet for, I assume, fluids tomorrow (I was wrong about the other vet in the area being open on Sundays). In the meantime, I've fed her beef and gravy cat food from a syringe with the tip broken off. It might have been the most pitiful part of this whole experience. About half of it got all over her face, and as she's gone back to laying around, the purring and signs of life have gone away again. Even though I'm trying to help her, it feels like torture.

So here are my questions: Is there a "best" way to force feed an animal? How often should I do it? How much food/water in one session? Should I rotate food sessions and water sessions?
There is a type of electrolyte replacer designed specifically for cats, flavored like chicken. Perhaps she would take to that better. Let me see if I can find it...

Honestly, I've never nursed a sick cat back to health.

You could try enticing her to eat with boiled chicken and rice, which apparently has been very effective through the years in nursing sick cats and dogs....and children....back to health.

I'm of the mind that if an animal doesn't want to eat or drink, it's best not to force-feed too much, because that just makes it more stressful for the two of you. Try and entice her to eat and drink, force-feed what you can, but don't over-do it. =\
I'm in an extremely tough position right now. Chyna's not eating/drinking/peeing/moving. I've been giving her syringes of food, water, and Pedialyte, and when it looked like last night was going to be her last, I gave her a favorite shirt, catnip, and a lot of attention to make her feel comfortable. She had the most shallow breathing when I finally fell asleep this morning. But, after I woke up, she was still breathing soft and steady.

The vet's schedule was packed today, but I talked to the vet's assistant. First, she said that we could bring Chyna in later today, have fluids pushed into her, see if that changes her behavior, and if it doesn't, think about having her euthanized. And, when I explained that Chyna's not getting up at all, she mentioned leaving her at home one more day, giving her a full day of forcing fluids, and seeing whether she improves before bringing her in.

I love the thought of doing everything I can to save Chyna's life. But I hate the idea of "torturing" her (and then possibly killing her) on a table in some strange room instead of letting her go in the room she's literally spent 99.9% of her life in. What would you do?
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Also, as I was typing this, she just threw up stronger than I can remember. And went into this dazed look in her eyes.
I'd want her to be comfortable, with me, in her own house, to be honest. When my rat was in failing health, I was going to get him euthanized. I thought he was suffering not because he was in pain, but because I figured he was starving, since he wouldn't eat. But my fiance told me he didn't think that was the case. When the body's shutting down, it doesn't feel pain, or hunger, or thirst. And you know, I can honestly believe it. Turns out he didn't need to be euthanized anyway; because his body truly was shutting down, and mere hours after I was considering it, he died quickly, and as far as I could tell, peacefully right on my shoulder.

If you can, carry her around with you. Or you could put her in a comfy box if you can't have her in your arms, and carry her around that way. That's what we do when our cats are in failing health. You could still try to administer fluids, but in her condition now, I'm not sure I'd personally do it. If her body doesn't want it, it doesn't want it. Just cuddle her.
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