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I have the best cat in the world, that is 14. She is an indoor outdoor cat. Likes outside better. Now when she comes in she pees somewhere. She is really really skinny. I feel her bones, but I'm not putting her through a lot of tests. She is eating, but sometimes throws up. I don't want her to suffer. How do you know when enough is enough?

Hi Janet,

Sorry to hear your kitty is doing poorly. Although you don't want to subject her to a lot of tests, I would recommend that she go in for at least one visit. Some problems that can cause these symptoms are very treatable and include a long-standing urinary tract infection, diabetes and hyperthyroidism. A urinary tract infection takes only an antibiotic to resolve. Less treatable causes may include kidney failure, cancer or liver disease. Your vet will need to run some tests on her blood and urine to determine the cause, but only one blood draw and urine sample is needed. Because your cat spends a lot of time outdoors, parasitic worms may be a cause of her weight loss, and your vet might recommend treating this, although I would say this is unlikely to be the sole cause of her poor health.

If it's found out that her condition is untreatable, I generally use appetite as a way to gauge how the cat is feeling. Once they stop eating, it is definitely time to make the decision to put them to sleep. Some cats will eat until just hours before they die, and most people agree this means they never suffered more than some mild discomfort. But if she becomes incapacitated and unable to clean herself of filth or is defecating/urinating where she lies, again, it's a sign she is too fragile to get through the simplest dignities, and a compassionate choice should be made for her.

I wish you all the best,


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The areas in which I have gained the most experience are cat health and feral cat management/rescue. I provide supportive care to chronically ill cats, hospice care to terminally ill cats and also am involved in trap-neuter-return efforts. My specialities lie in taming feral cats and in the allopathic treatment of cats with illnesses or special needs. I also have owned Siamese, Himalayans, Abyssinians, Russian Blues, Savannahs, Bengals, Peterbalds, Don Sphynx and Oriental Shorthairs and am well-versed in cat breeds as well as cat behavior and nutrition.


I have 15 years of extensive experience with cats ranging from breeding to medical care. My daily routine consists of caring for cats with diabetes, thyroid disease, kidney failure, feline leukemia, feline AIDS as well as feral cats. I have experience with liver patients, heart patients, feline infectious peritonitis, cancer, recovery from amputation and trauma, congenital deformities and most every disease in between. I have assisted cats giving birth and hand-nursed kittens who were neglected by their mother from 2 days old through weaning.

15 years' hands-on experience. Current nursing student. I've studied the parallels of human and cat anatomy as well as zoonotic disease, so my studies are broadening the depth of my understanding of feline anatomy, physiology and pathology.

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