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My 20-year-old cat was fine but now suddenly ill and not eating :(

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:59 am
by Moonshine25
Our gorgeous 20 year old boy was doing so well up until a few days ago :(

He has hypothyroidism (managed for 2 years on methimazole ear gel, last blood test showed thyroid function as normal) and has epilepsy (managed for 1 year on phenobarbital, roughly 1 seizure every couple of months) phenobarbital can cause problems with the liver but this is monitored again via blood tests and the last one indicated some enzymes were raised but otherwise no concerns. His teeth are in bad condition due to his age and the vets have previously had concerns about kidney function as he drinks a lot of water and urinates a lot. I know this sounds like a lot but for a 20-year-old boy he is fantastic, the vets are normally happy with him he has a good weight, grooms himself, still loves playing and having cuddles and eating his food and favorite treats.

However, last Friday PM he refused his usual sachet of pate type cat food (he normally has x2 a day plus some treats) this is not unusual but on Saturday AM he was completely off his food altogether which is unlike him, he had some cat milk and a lick-e-lix but about an hour later vomited and had a very loose poo. We assumed he had a tummy bug so he just had water the rest of the day and was very lethargic. Sunday AM we tried some plain chicken but again vomited this up an hour later along with a very loose stool straight away, he was lethargic and just had water the rest of the day. Monday AM he had a lick-e-lix and later on a small amount of sardine, he managed to keep this down which is good, for the evening I made some fresh chicken bone broth but he was not tempted at all, we were worried at this point so syringed some broth into his mouth, he seemed fine on this and before bed had a lick-e-lix (I know these aren’t great but they are all he is interested in!) an hour later however he vomited and had loose stool. He seems lethargic and very sorry for himself, not his usual character at all. He has been drinking water and weeing a few times a day as usual so I am hoping he is not dehydrated, he has also been taking his usual medications no problem, I think he has definitely lost weight though.

This morning he was more alert and actually seemed interested in food, however when offered he just sniffed but didn’t eat any, we tried all the usual things he loves, we syringed some chicken bone broth again just to get something in and he had another (!) lick-e-lix. We have a vets appointment this afternoon which is the earliest they can see us. I am so worried about my fluffy baby, because of his age I always think the worst, I am praying it is just a tummy bug and they can give him some antibiotics. He is an indoor cat aside from venturing out into the garden with us occasionally but the last time he did that was 2 weeks ago, we haven’t cleaned recently or had any new products in the house so I can’t think that he has eaten anything poisonous.

Has anyone with an older cat had a similar experience to this and what was the outcome? I am just looking for ideas so I am prepared when I go to the vets later.

Thank you so much. x

Re: My 20-year-old cat was fine but now suddenly ill and not eating :(

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:03 am
by Mollycat
Poor old boy sounds like he's feeling his age.

He could as you say have some kind of stomach upset and a course of tablets could see him right, though with any antibiotics they strip natural gut flora and can make issues drag on - vitamin B can help this and you can also get probiotics for cats.

On the other hand, cats hide illness and pain very well, so it's possible he has something more serious. Did he have a check-up recently? It sounds like you are really on top of his care so likely anything creeping up would have been spotted. Are his loose stools any particular colour, or slimy in appearance?

Is he really hypOthyroid, or hypERthyroid? HypO is very rare in cats and methimazole is for treating hypER.

Is he drinking normally or more than usual? And did the vet test for kidney function? Any tender spots around his kidney area?

Is he sleeping longer and more deeply than usual?

Does he have any dandruff, especially on his lower back near his tail? (This is a good indicator of stress or pain for many cats)

I guess it's occurred to you that maybe there isn't anything specifically wrong and he is just winding down ... it's possible and of course you would need to eliminate any other possibilities first. Wishing you all the best at the vet's later, please let us know.

Re: My 20-year-old cat was fine but now suddenly ill and not eating :(

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:36 am
by Moonshine25
Thank you Mollycat for your helpful and kind reply.

Yes hoping it is just a stomach upset, that is a good idea about the probiotics too I will look into that.

Yes that is my concern too that it is something more serious :( his last check up was a few months ago and they were broadly happy with everything then, his loose stools look normal poo colour just more 'loose' but not quite diarrhea.

Sorry my mistake he is hypERthyroid, wondering if that is causing this latest episode but the methimazole has been working for the last 2 years...

He normally drinks a LOT however this has reduced since last Friday, last check up kidneys were fine and as far as I can tell no tender spots around kidney or tummy, he feels a lot bonier though :( No dandruff near back or tail, so hoping he is not stressed, I have Feliway plugged in, playing relaxing music all day and trying to give lots of cuddles so hoping that is helping him.

Praying this is just a bug and not anything else, hoping the vet will be able to eliminate other possibilities for us, will update of course. x

Re: My 20-year-old cat was fine but now suddenly ill and not eating :(

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:37 am
by Moonshine25
Oh and yes sleeping a lot more and more deeply than usual, very lethargic. x

Re: My 20-year-old cat was fine but now suddenly ill and not eating :(

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:00 pm
by Mollycat
I have a 15 year old with low level renal failure and a delicate tum which is getting chronic now. My vet agreed that in his case antibiotics would be counter productive and gave me a course of Nutraflora. Powder capsules that can be sprinkled on wet food. Contains probiotic, prebiotic, antioxidant and B12. Seems to be a relatively new product (launched last November) but vet says no reported issues. Mine doesn't seem to get on with it.

Not sure if they told you this but the raised blood pressure with hyperthyroidism can protect the kidneys, or mask CRF. I do know that if they have the curative radioactive iodine treatment this often unveils renal issues (as it has for my girl), I don't know whether this happens if it's drug controlled though. I would think it should be the same as T4 level returns to normal.

If there's nothing else wrong, Pro-kolin helps to firm things up. I keep a supply now, as I don't fancy the vet bills every time. But the loss of appetite and lethargy sound like more of a concern as they are the sign he is feeling unwell.

Re: My 20-year-old cat was fine but now suddenly ill and not eating :(

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:26 pm
by Moonshine25
Thank you Mollycat, thank you so much for the recommendations, I will look into the Nutraflora and Pro-Kolin, sorry to hear about your cats renal failure :(

So just returned from vets and she could feel a golf ball sized tumour under his ribs :( wasn't expecting that! He had also lost quite a lot of weight.
He was given an anti nausea injection so will hopefully eat some more and get some strength back now.

He is going for an ultrasound on Thursday morning to determine where exactly the tumour is and what it is attached to then will go from there. X

Re: My 20-year-old cat was fine but now suddenly ill and not eating :(

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:44 pm
by Mollycat
Oh no, one thing we just didn't think of at all. Hope it can be sorted with minimum fuss or else at least he can be treated to feel better in himself.

Re: My 20-year-old cat was fine but now suddenly ill and not eating :(

Posted: Thu May 02, 2019 12:19 pm
by Moonshine25
Thank you Mollycat, he is in at the vets now for a scan and maybe a biopsy, feel awful leaving him there but know it is best so we can find out what it is. Depending on what they find maybe I will start a new thread and see if anyone else has experience with it. x

Re: My 20-year-old cat was fine but now suddenly ill and not eating :(

Posted: Thu May 02, 2019 2:59 pm
by Mollycat
Fingers crossed for you both x