Elderly cat behaviour before death

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exlibris
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Elderly cat behaviour before death

Post by exlibris » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:27 pm

Hi,
My beautiful Backy is very weak, really thin, can't walk without swaying. A number of times he's laid down and we've been prepared for the end....
But then he's got up and got some water (he's doing this VERY frequently), then returns and leaps to the spot he's decided to occupy.
Just a few moments ago he meowed for food - remarkable because he hasn't really eaten - so I headed downstairs to get him something and he rushes down past me and gets to the bottom first! Eats a small amount of salmon and then Whiskers, then seemed to grind to a halt. He had problems standing on his back legs, so I had to bring him back upstairs.
The poor lad is constipated, so we're giving his cat laxatives, but it hasn't worked (as of yet). However, with his legs being so weak, even peeing is a struggle.

So, are these flashes of energy normal in an elderly (18yrs) cat coming to the end of it's life? Or is it because he is so incredibly weak from not eating, presumably caused by the constipation. I don't want to keep force feeding him laxatives when he just wants to be left alone.

Our previous experiences of cats passing away were due to illness or accident, so we have no point of reference for just old age.

Any information gratefully received.

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Re: Elderly cat behaviour before death

Post by Lilith » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:49 pm

Hi there - yes, this can happen. Lots of love to the old chap x

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Re: Elderly cat behaviour before death

Post by Mollycat » Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:27 pm

To be honest anything is possible at the end of life. The main thing I have learned from experience of people and animals is that there is often a complete change of habits and personality, usually to something much more gentle, though not always. And often a kind of rallying, a final burst of energy and wellness that makes people around think recovery is coming. I think my biggest surprise was the first cat I lost in my adult life, when I expected her to hide away as they usually do, but she did the opposite and wouldn't let me out of her sight. Then we had one who was fine when we went to bed and must have gone just after we went, we found her in the morning, no sign of distress or struggle, just as if she forgot to breathe.

I am with you in this sad expectant moment, my boy is on the edge too. We're doing what we can and I don't think I can sleep tonight in case he can't wait till morning for the vets to open to help him on his way, but things are changing by the hour, for better and worse.

Just be with Backy and let him guide you, he will tell you if he needs help.

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Re: Elderly cat behaviour before death

Post by exlibris » Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:40 pm

Thanks both.

I looked online as vet's cat laxative wasn't working. The suggestion was milk, so I tried it out and Backy is no longer constipated and brighter than he has been. REALLY likes the milk. He's eating more, and I'm very hopeful.

BUT....just spoken to my mother-in-law who's just lost her cat to kidney failure. She said how her cat suddenly became very keen on milk before she died. Backy is also drinking huge amounts of water. Lots of these things point to kidney failure too, but the blood tests in May showed he was in tip-top shape. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't change that quickly - I'm wondering if they messed up the test? Have I paid £160 for my cat not to get the treatment he needed? Has someone else been told that their totally healthy 2 yr old kitty has kidney disease? I'd take Backy back to the vets, but that's cruel just to prove a point. I dare say they couldn't have offered any useful assistance anyway.

So, he's doing much better, but still finding it hard to get the energy to walk. I keep thinking 'he's eating & pooing now, he'll pull through', but the classic signs of kidney problems is looming over everything like a shadow of doom :(

I will only know the truth in a few days time - it will be sink or swim.

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Re: Elderly cat behaviour before death

Post by Mollycat » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:19 am

I have just been reminded like a rap on the knuckles how individual cats are - when my Boo was diagnosed with CKD I thought yeah that's fine I've been through tihs before with Misha, I know the drill. How arrogant and wrong. Boo progressed in a completely different way, had a much more typical post-diagnosis lifespan, and didn't respond to the same treatments at all. The way Misha's final days panned out and her tastes and habits changed were as unique as she was.

Just because your mother-in-law's cat suddenly developed a taste for milk before she died doesn't make this a sign. Excessive thirst can be caused by many things including but not limited to diabetes, hyperthyroid, renal failure, some liver complaints, and lots more. What else was tested for? Some of these are easily controllable to give some more comfortable time.

If you feel Backy is fading, it's up to you to make the judgement - do you go for the root of the problem and have tests, possibly many of them, maybe something simpleto treat and maybe never get conclusive answers? Or do you feel he has lived a great long life and let him fade until he tells you he has had enough and help him to move on peacefully? Whatever you decide, you will always question yourself afterwards, and part of the strength we need to find with elderly and poorly pusscats is to come to terms with our own "only human" state and find peace in knowing we made the best decisions we could at the time with what the information and frankly the funds we had at the time.

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Re: Elderly cat behaviour before death

Post by exlibris » Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:16 pm

Thanks Mollycat

A wise reminder - cats love to mess with your head :) Just when you think you know what's wrong or what's going to happen, they go an do something utterly unexpected.

Apparently the blood test also covered diabetes, hyperthyroid and something else, and all were fine.

Last night I thought he was fading fast, this morning he's back to looking better again. He's doing this every day, so I don't know what to think.

I've not given him milk today because the "consequences" of the natural laxative have gone too far the other direction! :(

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Re: Elderly cat behaviour before death

Post by Mollycat » Sun Aug 18, 2019 3:16 pm

If you don't know what to think, maybe you don't need to think too much. Take good care of you.

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