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QUESTION: Hi Ali:

I wrote to Norm last week because it said you were maxed out & I asked Norm to ask this question from you but he didn't.  

I originally wrote you on Nov. 14 about my cat Baby who is now 19 years old.  He has hyperthyroidism and 15% of his kidneys.

He had a severe UTI Infection & Severe Pain & I got ripped off by a Vet & had to go to another clinic, who had to give him thyroid pills (the lowest dose 2.5mg 1/2 every 12 hours)& he is doing fine. His blood tests were taken just before xmas & they were normal.

I am giving him 100 cc's of Saline a week to flush out his kidneys (he has only 15% of his kidneys left).

I do not know if most cats of his age have normal results or if this is just a transitional stage that he is going through.   Ive had him 18 years on Feb. 28 of this year.  Here weve had severely cold weather (up to 50 with wind chill) and lots of snow.  Baby does go outside when it is warmer out, he is interested in going out but we have only had a few warmer days.  

You had told me that you had an elderly cat that died of the same things Baby suffers from so you have some knowledge in regards to this.

What concerns me right now, is that Baby shows no affection, he was a very, very affectionate cat who would cuddle up with me up to 5 hours a day when I was reading my book in bed (I am disabled).  Now all he wants is attention but when I try to just hold him & cuddle with him; fights to get away & gets upset.  I dont know if this is caused by the thyroid pills or he could have resentment of me, he seems to go to my friend Ron for attention but he does want me to carry him upstairs as I was always the elevator that took him upstairs (sometimes he walks on his own, if he has to).  Baby never cuddled up to Ron, he always slept at the end of the couch where a sleeping blanket is folded.  Ron always gave Baby treats like milk, sour cream, liverwurst etc. & Baby always ran to Ron when Ron was going to the fridge.  

Baby still loves being carried around like a Baby. In November I would pet him upstairs for maybe an hour or more, now he seems not to even want that.  I have to give him his thyroid pills & I have to give him 1 cc of Lactulose every 12 hours, & I give him his food, so all Ron does it give him the Saline while I hold him.  

Baby always wants me to go upstairs with him, most times he will just sit by the downstairs door & wait for me to pick him up & carry him upstairs.  Sometimes he will stay on the bed for an hour while I am up there then he goes & hides under the bed.

I did ask the Vet why he didn't show any affection but she said nothing about it.  So I don't know if it is caused by the thyroid pills or resentment.  The 3 days before he got the thyroid pills he was more his normal self, he came up to me a few times & wanted to be picked him & to crawl on my shoulder (he had the pain meds then... he has arthritis & hadn't been able to crawl on my shoulder for years".  Anyways, he was affectionate until I got the thyroid pills.  After I go the thyroid pills, maybe about a week later, he came & cuddled with me for about 15 minutes, then he left, now he gets upset if I put him on the pillow that I use.  The other day, he did come up to me & then walked away, he tried but he just couldn't do it.  It upsets him.  I talk to him & tell him how things were before & ask him to come to me & he looks at me & he understands what I am saying to him.

The person at reception just said the results were normal & hung up.  I haven't spoken to the Vet.

I hope you can answer this question.  I do not know how long Baby has left to live, he seems to be doing fine except for the affection part.  

Thanks

Jenny

ANSWER: Jenny,

I would say that so long as Baby continues to eat well, drink well, use his box, maintain his body weight and keep his blood values at decent levels that his quality of life is relatively good. My guess would be that his current lack of affection is the result of him being upset about the addition of medications and fluid therapy to his life. Many cats are not happy about needing medication, some are less than thrilled about having fluids, but in time the majority of cats settle into the routine. You may want to try a special treat such as a small amount of fish or meat and broth baby food (just be sure to check the ingredients and avoid garlic, onions or spices) as a reward for after medication or fluids - that way your cat learns to associate something positive with medical treatments and medicine. Please feel free to keep me posted on how Baby is doing and we'll be sure to keep him in our thoughts. If you have any further questions or concerns please contact me at any time - I'd be happy to help in any way that I can.

Kind regards,

Ali

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

QUESTION: Hi Ali:

I have been giving him medications for 2 1/2 months & lactulose; he gets the thyroid med in his food, but I only give him 1/2 teaspoon of food & he eats it off my finger (which he used to do before he got sick) so I don't know if he knows he is getting medication, except that there might be side effects and I am not told of any or what side effects thyroid pills would have.  

I give him the meds and lactulose and his food myself, Ron does the Saline, he puts the needle in Baby & gives him the Saline, I hold Baby while he is doing it.  Baby runs to Ron for affection but he doesn't come to me, & he used to cuddle up with me & want to be hugged, but he gets upset when I try to do that & I put him on the pillow he always cuddled up with me on & he got real upset.  So it seems that he is upset with me only and not Ron.  It seems to me that he resents me or is upset with me.

He does come upstairs with me & allows me to carry him upstairs and sometimes he does stay on the bed but the majority of times, he runs and hides under the bed.  If he does stay on the bed, he sleeps at the back of the bed, which he has never done in the 18 years that I've had him, he always cuddled with me, but if I went to sleep he'd get mad & leave and go downstairs to Ron.  I stay upstairs sometimes for an hour & after I leave, sometimes Baby starts crying about 1/2 hour later and comes downstairs; other times he stays there most of the night (I sleep days).  So I don't know what to think.

We had turkey & Ron was feeding Baby dark turkey meat & giving him sour cream and milk and maybe that is why Baby still runs to him & wants affection from him.  I was told by the Vet not to give him any dark meat, sour cream or milk to Baby & he doesn't like White Turkey Meat.  He doesn't even come to me for the Temptations and Party Mix Treats that he used to love, it's like he doesn't remember them and doesn't particularly like them any more.  He always came to me for treats several times a day & now he either sleeps under my bed most of the time & when he comes downstairs, he runs to Ron for attention & then he goes and sleeps on the couch beside Ron or in his box.

Jenny

Answer
Jenny,

I'm not sure what I can offer beyond that Baby might be going through an adjustment period where he is more bonded to your husband at the moment than he is with you. You could certainly try kitty bribery with similar treats to what your husband has been giving him and see how that goes. As for the vet telling you that Baby shouldn't have dark turkey meat I wouldn't worry too much about that. My concern would be more with making sure that Baby is happy and spoiled rotten for the time that he has left, no matter how long that might be.

If you have any further questions or concerns please don't hesitate to contact me again at any time - I am more than happy to help in any way that I can. I will keep you and Baby in my thoughts.

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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