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QUESTION: My cat Baby, who is 19 years and 4 months had a severe Urinary Tract Infection and Severe Pain.  When I took him to a vet I was told he had hyperthyroidism and kidney failure.  I never had any problems with him in almost the 18 years that I had him.  He seemed to be doing well in his old age.  He drank a lot of water a peed a lot since he was 8 years old.  The vet I took him to ripped me off and sent him home with no antibiotics, no pain pills & he knew I would phone to bring him back in but I went to another vet.

Before this Baby seemed to be normal.  We stopped letting him out because he was in a few fights the year before.  We took him out on a leash when we could & he was interested in walking across the street to look for this cat he used to fight with.  Sometimes he just sat under his favorite tree and looked around.

The new vet put Baby on antibiotics & gave him fluids & gave me pain meds to give to him at home.  He was doing fine the first few days after that, he was friendly, wanted to be picked up until we went to the Vet 3 days later and she gave thyroid meds & after that he doesn't want to have anything to do with us, doesn't even seem to recognize us, doesn't care.  I'm wondering if the thyroid pills are making him like this? He just isn't the same cat. The vet never told us of any side effects these meds have & what it all involves with these meds, blood tests etc.  When we went to see the vet again, she just asked how he was eating, drinking or vomiting.  He isn't drinking that much so they gave us fluids to give him at home once a week.  I read on the internet that if I take him off the thyroid meds, that he will have a heart attack and die, it just breaks my heart to think of him passing away but I can't stand the way he is: not recognizing us or caring at all.  He has led a good life & I would like to have him the way he was before all this happened.  I don't want to take him in for constant blood tests and give him these meds if that will only extend his life for a few months & him not wanting anything to do with us.  He just wants to run and hide in a closet or under the bed.

If we took him off the thyroid pills, would it be painful for him.  I know that meds cause a lot of bad side effects.  2 years ago I talked to another vet on here & this vet said that Baby was a geriatric cat & to just keep him warm and comfortable and when it is his time to go, just let him go.

So I am seeking an opinion about what would be the right thing to do for him at his age.

Thanks for any advise that you can give me.

Jenny

ANSWER: Jenny,

Typically when a cat has kidney failure as your little guy does hypothyroidism co-exists, however the hypothyroidism actually protects the kidneys with increased blood pressure (and therefore blood flow). I suspect that what you may be seeing is that your kitty's kidney levels are high (which can cause cognitive dysfunction). I would suggest having him seen by a vet again to draw blood to check his kidney levels - if the levels are high then my suggestion would be that you seriously consider how far you want to go with treatment and whether you want to try taking him off of the hypo-thyroid meds to see if that helps his kidneys settle some.

At this point, Baby's life should be about QUALITY over QUANTITY. What I mean by that is that he may not have much time left, so spoil him rotten and let him go on a good day. I know how hard this is and my heart goes out to you. I'll light a candle for Baby and say a few words aimed at hoping he's with you longer.

Please don't hesitate to contact me again at any time - I'm more than willing to help in any way that I can.

Kind regards,

Ali

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Ali:

You misunderstood me completely, Baby has HYPERTHYRODISM not HYPOthyrodism, so I'm sure that you have a different answer for me.

Baby does still have 4 days left on his antibiotics for his Urinary Tract Infection and I am still giving him pain medication.

I really don't know how to rate you, because of the misunderstanding on Baby's problem.  I'm sure you will have a different answer when you see that Baby has HYPERTHYROIDISM and he has no good days right now.  I am having the vet phone me tomorrow and finding out if these meds are causing him to want to hide all the time and act like he doesn't even know us.  It breaks my heart because he was such a super affectionate cat, I spent almost 18 years with him every day and when I was reading my book on my bed lying sideways, he would put his head on top of my head and he always wanted head rubs, belly rubs, he wanted attention all the time, now he just wants me to leave him alone.  I don't know if the medication Felimazole Methimazole 2.5 mg (1/2 tablet every 12 hours) are making him so sick that he just wants to hide and to be alone.

I thank you for lighting a Candle for Baby and saying a few words aimed at hoping he's with me longer. I know that it is a good possibility that he might not be here much longer with me, but if that is the case, I wish the vet would tell me so & advise me that there is no hope for Baby & it is best to euthanize him.

I hope that you will have a different answer for me when you reply.

Thank you very much.

Answer
Jenny,

I realized my error when I sent the answer... I sent a corrected one, it must not have arrived. The only  mistake that I made was substituting HYPO for HYPER. The advice still stands. I got caught up by the similarity of your cat's situation with a 22 year old kitty we knew and loved and it was hard to type through tears. When I received my copy of the answer I immediately sent you a corrected one. Sorry about that.

Kind regards,

Ali

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Ali

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I am the proud guardian of 5 mixed breed cats ranging from 12 weeks to 13 years old and one purebred ragdoll. I have 20+ years experience working with mixed breed cats from a variety of different situations. I have fostered cats/kittens with special needs/behavioral issues. I have rescued/rehabilitated/re-homed a variety of stray/abused cats. I can offer advice on managing feral cat colonies, rehabilitating strays and finding them forever homes. I can help you to determine whether a cat is stray or feral, there IS a significant difference. Improperly introducing a new cat/kitten can result in aggression between newly introduced cats because cats are territorial by nature and they don't like sudden changes in their environment. To learn more about a peaceful way to introduce a new cat into a home with other cats please check out my previous answers on this subject. Proper nutrition for cats can be confusing, I recommend checking out catinfo.org which was created by a veterinarian (Dr. Lisa Pierson) who takes a common sense approach to explaining feline nutrition. Cat behavior and instincts are different from those of humans, I can help you understand your cat's needs so that you can meet them adequately and have a balanced, psychologically and physically sound kitty. Cats vary in personality, energy level and intelligence, different approaches may be required to achieve results in terms of training and interaction with your feline companion. An intelligent, high energy cat must be kept busy or they will make their own fun. I am NOT a licensed veterinarian and I can't offer medical advice. If your cat is ill/injured my advice is always the same: get prompt medical treatment provided by a veterinarian. If finances are an issue I will try to find resources in your area that can help with medical costs or make other choices to ensure the welfare of your cat.

Experience

I have fostered feral and stray cats, rehabilitated and homed cats that many people recommended euthanasia for. I am willing to make an effort to do the research and ask questions because I care enough to find solutions to behavioral problems rather than giving up. I have an interest in the use of alternative therapies to help provide the best possible care for all cats and I can say in all honesty that I've seen some incredible things happen for some incredible cats and their human caregivers when the right alternative therapeutic modality is used by a qualified veterinarian with expertise and experience in the field.

Education/Credentials
I've earned my diploma as a veterinary assistant with honors.

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