Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

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vanilla
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Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by vanilla » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:31 am

End of January, my 10yr old (will be 11 in April) cat was diagnosed with colon cancer. I had a feeling it may have been this when I took him to the vets. The vet just confirmed it. The vet quoted how much it would cost to operate but she said in her experience that they don't do to well at this age and said it was better to but him down. It was a shock so I said I would come back another time to do that.

He was himself to begin with but now he hardly eats anything and I can feel his bones. He is withering away. I research loads on the internet and raw foods were recommended. This helped and he took to eating small quantities of chicken heart and sprats. His weight went up a bit and I felt hopeful. But now he is loosing interest in feeding again and I have resorted to assisted feeding. I'm questioning myself whether I should do this or not. He seems livelier and more himself since the assisted feeding. He doesn't refuse it when the syringe goes in his mouth. Question is how long should I do this for? I'm lucky that I am a stay at home mum and can assist in feeding every 2-3 hrs. Am I just prolonging his suffering? Should I put him down? I'm just so torn on what to do... :'(

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by Antonio » Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:55 pm

Hi Vanilla,
I am so sorry for your situation and I recognise myself in it because my cat has a cancer in her mouth and can only eat when I feed her with a syringe.
Could I ask you what kind of food are you giving him?

I've had the feeling that my cat was going to leave me more than once in the past few weeks and I asked myself whether it was morally and ethically correct to force feed her. But then she recovered much of her strength.
At the moment she's very lively and I'd say quite happy, though she had her tongue removed 9 days ago.
The vets told me that I'm cruel and insensitive, even selfish, because I'm doing this. They told me that I should consider to put her to sleep, but when she curls up in my lap and purrs and enjoys the warm sun through the window, I feel I'm doing the right thing.
She is not showing any pain or discomfort, that's why I feel confident that I don't have to give up, but I'm rather ready to let her go when she tells me that she can't bear anymore.
If you see that your cat is not feeling sick and still has the joy to be with you and still shows some interest in what's going on around him, well I would keep doing what you're doing.
All the best for your cat!

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by vanilla » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:14 pm

Hi Antonio, sorry to hear that your cat has cancer too. :( Thank you for your kind words. He does seem better in himself since helping him eat.

Since the assisted feeding he's interested in going outside more. Before he use to stay indoors and hide under the bed for most of the day. Not his usual self. Now he takes an interest in the outside like he use to do. I am feeding him fresh raw chicken hearts that has been blended finely. I also do the same to the fresh mackeral and sprats. I phone up the butchers and fishmongers to make sure that they are the freshest in. He is also on Gourmet gold pate and Gourmet Country Fusions that I offer him to eat himself.

What food are you giving? How much and how often?

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by Antonio » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:48 pm

I'm giving my cat a type of food that has been specifically designed for syringe feeding, it's the Royal Canin Recovery. It's very fluid and rich in nutrients.
It gives 120 kcal of energy every 100 grams. I use to add some Nutriplus Gel by Virbac in the can, then I blend the two things in a single food.
I have reckoned that this way I'm able to provide my cat with 180 kcal with just 120 grams per day.
I also give her some Nutribound, by Virbac as well. It's kind of a syrup that should restore the normal food habits in the pet.
I have split the daily food into three meals, 40 grams each.
The first meal is early in the morning a bit after I wake up, the second meal is during my lunch break from work and the third is around 7 pm.
What I have seen is that after a first moment of discomfort from the syring feeding, she has got used to that and now she's feeling rather well. I'm doing this since Christmas, so it's nearly two months now.

If your cat is doing fine with chicken and fish and he likes it that's fine, but please keep in mind that it could not be enough and you should consider the daily amount of energy your cat is taking. He could lose weight and feel weak if it's not enough.
It's very important that the daily intake of energy is at the minimum required. A cat should take 30 kcal each kg of weight plus 70 kcal, so a 4 kg cat should take 190 kcal daily.

I have some little troubles with the syringe feeding because my cat has no tongue now, but even before this event her tongue was quite useless because the cancer had made it stiff. So when I push a bit of food in her mouth she tends to lose it on her mouth sides and I have to recover it and put it back in her mouth. It's a long and unnerving procedure, I have to be very much patient. It takes me about 25 minutes every 40 grams meal.
You should have less or no problems.

Forgive my not so fluent English, I'm Italian and live in Italy. I joined the forum some days ago because I had found it very friendly and informative.
Last edited by Antonio on Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by booktigger » Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:09 pm

I've never had cats who would tolerate syringe feeding, trying to get one daily dose of medication in them is hard enough, but if I was lucky to have a tolerant cat, I don't think I could syringe feed for something like cancer, you are only prolonging the inevitable and do you know they aren't suffering. I would however do it for a crisis such as cat flu that they could recover from.

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by Antonio » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:25 pm

booktigger wrote:I don't think I could syringe feed for something like cancer, you are only prolonging the inevitable and do you know they aren't suffering. I would however do it for a crisis such as cat flu that they could recover from.
I would think that if a cat is suffering I should understand that, they would be hiding, isolating to a far corner, rejecting any contact, especially feeding.
Not feeding a cat with cancer which is still showing interest for food is condemning them to starvation.
And in my opinion putting them to sleep would be a crime because they aren't ready yet.
While I am typing this, my cat with a mouth cancer is curling up in my lap, looking for the best position. Later it'll be dinner time for her. She'll be happy afterwards, and tonight we'll watch the TV together ;)

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by booktigger » Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:23 pm

Antonio wrote:
booktigger wrote:I don't think I could syringe feed for something like cancer, you are only prolonging the inevitable and do you know they aren't suffering. I would however do it for a crisis such as cat flu that they could recover from.
I would think that if a cat is suffering I should understand that, they would be hiding, isolating to a far corner, rejecting any contact, especially feeding.
Not feeding a cat with cancer which is still showing interest for food is condemning them to starvation.
And in my opinion putting them to sleep would be a crime because they aren't ready yet.
While I am typing this, my cat with a mouth cancer is curling up in my lap, looking for the best position. Later it'll be dinner time for her. She'll be happy afterwards, and tonight we'll watch the TV together ;)
The cat I lost to oral SCC was eating half an hour before his final vet visit, but due to the tumour he couldn't get enough nutrition and was losing weight and you could see in his eyes he was ready - I had no option, I'd come home from work the day before and part of the front room looked like a scene from CSI, his tumour had started bleeding.

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by Antonio » Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:57 pm

We've been through the bleeding phase before, it lasted a few days. One evening I came home from work and just like you said the room was like a scene from CSI. I reported it to the vets during one of the check-ups on the following day and one of them tried with the acupuncture and it worked. On that very night the bleeding stopped, and everything went downhill since.
I am aware that this condition won't last forever, but we're still enjoying each other.
I am so sorry for your cat, I do understand how you felt and how you're feeling.

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by vanilla » Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:37 am

Sorry to hear about your cat booktigger.

My cat shows an interest in food but I think he feels too weak and sick to eat, that's why I have intervened. He is better in himself and doesn't hide as much. Like Antonio says, it would die of starvation rather from the cancer. I'm taking each day at a time and when there are more bad days then good I will do what is necessary.

I would be interested in hearing other peoples experiences regarding cats with cancer and how long they have survived without treatment.

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by greenkitty » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:49 pm

My cat Hector was around for just a 5 days after being diagnosed with a massive brain tumour. I had decided against an operation and had bought him home for a few last days. He wasn't eating and was hiding away most of the time. I looked at him on the Tuesday morning and I knew he'd had enough. The spark had gone from his eyes. During the PTS process he didn't fight or struggle just lay in my arms and I knew I'd done the right thing for him, however hard it is I kept in mind, better a day too early, than a day too late.

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by Lilith » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:17 pm

It seems to affect every cat differently. Recently I described my Shashi, a tabby-point Siamese, who the vet (18 years ago) preferred to treat with antibiotics rather than perform invasive surgery on her mouth; she continued along a plateau of reasonable health for a while, then was due for a check-up one morning; I changed the appointment to an earlier one as soon as I got up as I could see she was 'out of it'. She passed out in my arms as the vet got the syringe ready.

Her mother, Annie-Mouser, became thin and quiet a year later; blood tests showed nothing up and it was obvious to the vet and me that she was dying - but still she was eating/had quality of life. Occasionally her stomach let her down; once, lying half asleep in a chair, she suddenly messed herself and once, as I chatted to a neighbour with her in my arms, she interrupted the conversation with a volley of loud farts, lying in my arms like a little lilac-pointed bagpipes ...how undignified for the girl! The vet suspected a lymphoma but admitted he couldn't know for sure. At one point he tried beta-blockers; at another steroids, but nothing really changed things for her. Then one morning I got up and found her unconscious; I knew she was going and tucked her up in the warm; she died at home a couple of hours later and was spared that last journey to the vet.

With hindsight I should have done the same with Shashi; let her go at home, but I just wasn't sure and felt that if there WAS any doubt, better get her to the vet.

I do feel for you, Vanilla and Antonio, and I'm so sorry for what you and your cats are facing and for others who've been through this, and hope that when you do have to let your guys go, that it is as peaceful as possible x

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by vanilla » Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:31 pm

I'm crying my eyes out reading all this :cry:

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by Antonio » Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:30 am

Lilith, thanks for sharing your sad experiences with us.
I would hope that every cat, mine and others' could pass away while sleeping.
Anyway, my first choice is to call the vet home, I would never let a cat die with the fear of a stranger place around them.
Last time I had to take this terrible decision I called the vet home and while he was coming I laid my cat on a blanket outside the house, so that he could see his beloved garden for the last time, I wanted him to leave this place with the most beautiful thing in his eyes. He was rather unconscious though, probably he didn't realise of that, but he did realise I was beside him and a few seconds before the vet put the needle in his vein he grabbed my hand with both his paws as to say "thank you and good-bye!" :cry:
Tears flow from my eyes everytime I think of that moment, and it was 3 years and a half ago...

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by vanilla » Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:48 pm

He showed lots of interest in food last night and this morning. He managed to eat just under a third of a sachet of food on his own, on both occasions. I have also bought some Royal Canin recovery to help him gain weight. Weighed him this morning and he was 3.9kg. Last week he was 4.4kg. I weigh him once a week, should it be daily??

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by Antonio » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:49 pm

vanilla wrote:He showed lots of interest in food last night and this morning. He managed to eat just under a third of a sachet of food on his own, on both occasions. I have also bought some Royal Canin recovery to help him gain weight. Weighed him this morning and he was 3.9kg. Last week he was 4.4kg. I weigh him once a week, should it be daily??
Vanilla, I think that unless you see major changes ih his behaviour and interest in his food, weighing him once a week should be fine.
In order to notice any difference you should always weigh him in the same conditions, ie after he has used the litter tray or before/after his meal.
If your scale has only one decimal in the reading you could also be missing minor changes, so a daily check might be useless.
My scale has two decimals, so I can read variation of 10 grams.

How does he like the Recovery? How much is he eating of it?
In order for him to gain weight, he should eat more than his RDA in kcal.

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by vanilla » Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:34 pm

He eats the recovery well. I'm not too sure how much to feed him. On the tin it says for a 5kg cat aim for a tin to a tin and 3/4. That seems like a lot to syringe feed. :/ The can contains 195g of food. Would you be able to help me calculate how much he needs? He use to weigh 5kg before he got ill.

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by booktigger » Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:24 pm

Weighing weekly is fine. Losing 500g in a week isn't good though - it may be that you aren't getting enough food into him, or it could be that due to the cancer being in his colon, he can't absorb enough nutrients - how are his poos? I had a cat with intestinal lymphoma who never went off her food but it was going through her, the vet actually forced that decision by saying that if she couldn't get enough nutrition from her food, she was effectively starving.

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by vanilla » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:32 am

So yesterday he started on the recovery food and this morning I woke up to find that he vomited (looked like it might have been a hairball) and he had loose stools in the litter tray. It was a bit explosive and was splattered on the sides on the wall.

How did your cat take to recovery Antonio? Not sure if it's making him feel worse as this morning he showed no interest in eating and just had some water instead. I'm half thinking that it may be time to take him to the vets... :(

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by Antonio » Fri Feb 24, 2017 8:42 am

Vanilla, you won't believe how sorry I am to read about the reaction of your cat to the Recovery, I'm really sad, I feel like it's my fault for advicing you about it :cry:
I had used Recovery before, when last summer my cat had a very risky and invasive surgery and needed a fast acting and nourishing food afterwards. She really liked it and ate it eagerly. She vomited once and she also had diarrhoea, but it was the day that she ate one whole tin in a few minutes and had another one a couple of hours later. I was happy she was hungry, but the side effects were bad.
Last summer my cat recovered in about two weeks after the surgery.

Right now I'm feeding her with a syringe because she can no longer eat on their own because she had her tongue removed about two weeks ago, but she also stopped eating on her own at Christmas because of her mouth cancer.
I can't tell you how long she did take to recover since the beginning of this method of feeding, because she goes through good and bad moments, but I could say that in about three to four days she is fine.
As I had wrote in another post, Royal Canin Recovery has a very high energy supply, but it's necessary that the pet eats the minimum daily amount for its weight. In my case my cat is 2.9 kg, so she should eat at least 130 grams of Recovery per day, it's a huge amount for my cat. I can give her food only three times a day, and she wouldn't stand 45 grams of food through a syringe each time. So I am adding this gel called Nutriplus Gel by Virbac to the Recovery. I add 25 grams of gel in a tin and blend it in. This way I am able to give her more energy with less food amount.
Your cat weighs 5 kg, so he should eat at least 185 grams of Recovery, I'd say a bit less of a tin.
A 5 kg cat needs 220 kcal a day (5x30+70), the Recovery provides 1.2 kcal per gram, 220/1.2=183 g of Recovery.
It's a lot indeed with a syringe, that's why I suggested to add some gel in it. This gel has three times the kcal/g.
Probably you won't be able to give your cat the right amount of food daily, but at least he won't starve.

I do understand how you are feeling at the moment, I've been through this some times in the last two or three months, but after a very bad couple of days, when I was thinking that the time had come, my cat would gain a good shape and she was great for another ten days or so and I thanked God I hadn't taken the wrong decision at the wrong time.
In the last two weeks she's doing very fine and I'm quite sure she gained about 150-200 grams. If I think that 20 days ago I was ready to call the vet I am grateful I didn't.
I do hope that your cat is just having a bad day today and that tomorrow he'll be fine again.

I'm here, if I can be of help I'd be glad.

Best of luck!

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by vanilla » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:25 am

Thank you Antonio. I'm just hoping that as it was his first time with recovery, his tummy is a bit sensitive to it, as it is quite rich. Just watching him rest he seems okay. Not hunched up in a ball but stretched out and looking comfortable. I was thinking of calling the vets this morning but upon seeing him I think I will keep a close eye on him. I want to at least try the recovery for a week to see if he gains weight. I only started to syringe feed when he was nearly at deaths door, hence the rapid weight loss. If he continues to lose weight even with recovery then I know that it will be time. As booktigger mentioned, he has colon cancer and that may be affecting nutrient absorpsion.

Do not blame yourself for suggesting giving him recovery. I think it is good, as I know now that he is getting his required amount of energy and that I am able to give him what his body needs. I wasn't sure I was doing that with the raw foods.

Thank you for your kind words Antonio and everyone else who have replied. I'm so glad I have found this site. I don't feel so alone...

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by booktigger » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:33 pm

Fingers crossed he can tolerate the recovery, and that being loose is only down to the recovery.

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by Antonio » Sat Feb 25, 2017 6:59 pm

Vanilla, I hope your cat is doing fine today and can tolerate the Recovery better than yesterday.
Fingers crossed!

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by Crewella » Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:30 pm

I feel for both of you, but you're both doing the right thing in taking it one day at a time. xx

I always keep some Recovery for poorly cats, but have you tried Hills a/d? It's a soft pate that's perfect for syringe-feeding, and it's highly nutritious so they need less of it than other foods. It might be worth mentioning to your vet?

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by Antonio » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:39 am

Crewella wrote:I feel for both of you, but you're both doing the right thing in taking it one day at a time. xx

I always keep some Recovery for poorly cats, but have you tried Hills a/d? It's a soft pate that's perfect for syringe-feeding, and it's highly nutritious so they need less of it than other foods. It might be worth mentioning to your vet?
Crewella, as for the energy provided by these special foods, I had found that Recovery has the highest energy supply, it's 120 kcal/100g, A/D gives 113 kcal/100g.
That's why I'm sticking to Recovery, with about 30g of Nutriplus Gel added in every tin.

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by vanilla » Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:36 pm

I've stopped syringe feeding him. I don't think Recovery agreed with him and I don't think he was happy about being syringe fed, even though he took it without a fuss. All I can do now is give him good end of life care. He is still eating on his own. I bought some kitten food and he's loving it! Today he managed to eat just over a 100g of the food. Which is good going for him. One day at a time for me... but so far it's a little positive.

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by booktigger » Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:23 pm

Fingers crossed he can have more quality time

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by Antonio » Tue Feb 28, 2017 7:57 am

vanilla wrote:I've stopped syringe feeding him. I don't think Recovery agreed with him and I don't think he was happy about being syringe fed, even though he took it without a fuss. All I can do now is give him good end of life care. He is still eating on his own. I bought some kitten food and he's loving it! Today he managed to eat just over a 100g of the food. Which is good going for him. One day at a time for me... but so far it's a little positive.
I'm so glad that your cat ate something without being forced to do so.
At these stages every positive step is a huge step.

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by vanilla » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:07 am

Had him euthanised today and held him in my arms for ages afterwards. It was time to let him go. He stopped eating and was vomiting clear liquid yesterday and he stumbled when I gently put him down on the floor. I was scared of waking up and going downstairs this morning as I had a feeling things weren't good. He hardly moved this morning and showed no interest when I opened a sachet of food. When he did move, it was extremely slow, like he was in pain. He never complained. Today he vomited yellow liquid just before his appointment. I knew it was the right time. :(

I miss you Alfie. :(

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by Janey » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:24 pm

So sorry for your loss vanilla. God bless little Alfie xx

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Re: Cat has colon cancer - advice needed

Post by booktigger » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:37 pm

So sorry to hear this, RIP little one

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