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Old 05.10.2011, 22:27
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Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

Hi all

Sorry to only post sad things in the pet forum. Our lovely 13 year old Claude has been ill for a while. Our vet took bloods some time ago for kidney problems but came back with nothing. Claude has continued to be unwell - today we found out he has an inoperable lung tumour which has spread (to his spine and possibly elsewhere).

So, he only has a few weeks or a month or so. His quality of life is okay at present - he eats, goes outside, sleeps in the sun. He sleeps a lot more than he used to, and his breathing is very shallow and laboured (this is why we kept taking him to the vet). He is losing weight too.

I guess my question is, what to expect? I guess it's hard to say, but if people have had the sad experience of animals with terminal illnesses, is the decline very gradual? Is there a point where you just know it's the right time? I'm not going to selfishly prolong his life - if there's a hint of pain or him not enjoying things anymore then that's the decision made. I suppose I'm asking where do you draw the line - or is it very obvious?

Oh, and what happens afterwards? (Sorry to be so blunt. I deal with things better if I know what to expect). Are you given the choice of what happens to body, or is there a standard procedure [that sounds blunt, don't know how to rephrase better]

Sorry again for a depressing topic and thanks in advance for any pointers you can give.
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Old 05.10.2011, 22:32
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

Sorry you are all going through this. I'm sorry, I cannot give you and advice but I wish you all peace and strength at this difficult time.
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Old 05.10.2011, 22:43
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

Our cat had cancer, also at 13 years, blood in urine, tried a few bouts of antibiotics, no help, so had him put down (after discussion with vet on what was best), and cremated. Box with ashes is in the cat house. Cremation was arranged by vet.

Tom
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Old 05.10.2011, 22:44
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

sorry to hear your pain. this following video might be hard. if you want to see what people go through please click.

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Old 05.10.2011, 22:49
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

Here's something a friend of mine linked to on FB. It's sad, but made me smile nonetheless.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_a...ay.single.html
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Old 05.10.2011, 22:56
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

Thanks all for your responses. I'll look at them properly tomorrow - have an important interview in the morning (it's the way of the world that something like this comes at the same time) so turning up puffy-eyed not the best plan. More information better than less though - he is much loved, giving him a good death is the last act of kindness.
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Old 05.10.2011, 23:01
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

Our 15 year old cat had exactly the same cancer, very quickly the lump on the spine somehow spread to her lungs and she started breathing just like you described. After a week we saw the vet again who offered to try to remove the fluid build up. She died during the attempt, her heart gave out because she couldn't cope with the stress. It was traumatising and with hindsight we would have done better to have her put to sleep. Such a hard time. Our first cat died a few months before her, a very sick cat also, but purring in our arms a few hours before he went, we knew he was peaceful. Wishing you all the courage in the world and try to see how much your cat is suffering..its so hard. The vet said an interesting thing with our first cat, he said he was dying, but he could feel that he was not stressed or tense, so not in pain. It really helped us to know that we could just keep him comfy until his time came.
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Old 05.10.2011, 23:05
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

There is nothing to expect, except to accept and let go.
It really is the last act of kindness and love
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Old 05.10.2011, 23:08
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

Not much help either, just wanted to give you a virtual hug and let you know that my thoughts are with you.
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Old 05.10.2011, 23:51
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

I'm so very sorry to hear this.

Where to draw the line...

This is a question no outsider can answer definitively, other than to say that the line is when your pet's quality of life is no longer good. What that means will vary widely, depending on the progression of his illness and on his character.

You are the only one who can judge quality of life, guided by your vet.

I have faced this decision too many times, and no two times have been alike - even when facing the exact same disease. I'm afraid that there is no roadmap, other than:

Listen to your heart. You love your pet, you are so closely connected - you will know when the time has come. There is a moment when it suddenly becomes crystal clear, and you know what you have to do.

If you are questioning whether the time has come, or not - then the time has not yet come.

Listen to your heart.


---


As for practicalities: speak with your vet now, while you are still thinking clearly. Perhaps write your wishes down now, so that you do not have to make decisions at a time when you are emotionally vulnerable.

If you wish to have euthanasia done at home, many vets will do so. It is helpful to discuss cremation/burial options, ashes, etc. If you wish, your vet will arrange the cremation for you.

I found it helpful to have my vet explain the process of euthanasia ahead of time; I was then better prepared when I had to make the decision, I knew (at least in my head) what to expect as I held my friend for the last time.

(FYI one option you have here that is not offered in some other countries: a sedative is often given prior to the injection; your vet will advise you.)

---

Just a thought:

If you wish to explore further, I highly recommend the Animal Oncology and Imaging Center in Hünenberg, ZG - the doctors are top notch, the staff incredibly kind and compassionate. They are very honest about options and expected outcomes, including palliative care, will be supportive of your choices. The best interest of the animal is always their top priority.

---

For now: live in the moment, as our animals do. Enjoy whatever time is left with your cat, don't let what lies ahead cloud these days.

All the very best to you, and to Claude.
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Old 05.10.2011, 23:53
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

I'm really sorry to hear your cat is very sick. Wishing you all the best during these rough times.
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Old 06.10.2011, 05:41
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

Sorry to hear that kitty is doing poorly...
I had to face a similar situation just a couple of month ag. I felt horrid... But i agree so much with everything you and other had said. Kitty spnet his life loving us... And my gratitude for his understanding and quiet love is still filling my heart.
The decline was very fast, merely a matter of 24 hours. Brutal, really. I felt better that i was able to hold him why he slipped away.
The vet was very kind and understanding; the cremation was arranged seamlessly.

Don't let practical details hold u off; enjoy the time u have with kitty... And prepare to get a new one to love.
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Old 06.10.2011, 10:00
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

After 13 years of service to the family, Claude should expect, and deserves, a peaceful departure.
You will have no way of knowing how uncomfotable he is in his last few days, until it becomes painful for him. By that time he will have suffered too much already.

Personally I believe the least stress route for him will be a visit at home from the vet.
The injection works in a flash, they are gone in a second or so. The perfect departure.

When my old cat went at the grand age of 19, she had suffered kidney failure. I only realised when I found her collapsed in the garden. She lived outside. I wish I'd have had the opportunity to pre-empt her last days and have her sent off to cat heaven beforehand.
Unfortunately your time horizon should be days and maybe weeks.
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Old 06.10.2011, 10:29
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

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After 13 years of service to the family, Claude should expect, and deserves, a peaceful departure.
You will have no way of knowing how uncomfotable he is in his last few days, until it becomes painful for him. By that time he will have suffered too much already.

Personally I believe the least stress route for him will be a visit at home from the vet.
The injection works in a flash, they are gone in a second or so. The perfect departure.

When my old cat went at the grand age of 19, she had suffered kidney failure. I only realised when I found her collapsed in the garden. She lived outside. I wish I'd have had the opportunity to pre-empt her last days and have her sent off to cat heaven beforehand.
Unfortunately your time horizon should be days and maybe weeks.
I agree, a home visit is a good idea, so much less stress for you and Claude.
One of our cats had a tumour in his nose and his breathing was noisy and laboured, we knew we couldn't let him suffer but it was one of the hardest decisions we have ever made. He is buried with our other beautiful cat in the garden of our home in England.
I wish you lots of love and strength at this awful time, and a cuddle for Claude.
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Old 06.10.2011, 10:52
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

My very first and last pet was called Fofinhas, Fu for short. She was a beautiful big fat cat (she went up to 7 kilos in her prime) with a tortoise colour.

I got her when I was 9 years old, and she was my companion through out the hardest years of my life.

When I was 25, I had to leave my beloved kitty in my parents home, so I could go study in Finnland. She had been diagnosed with ovary cancer one week before I took the plane, and she was operated on the night before my flight to remove a tumor the size of a tennis ball. I didn't burst into tears when I said goodbye to my parents, but I couldn't hold my sobs when my old kitty let out a weak "Miau" from her anesthesia daze when I left in the middle of the night. I thought I would never see her again.

The one year went to two because I got a practical trainning in Germany. My cat survived, but never got 100% fit. She had problems identifying each room in the 3 floored house of my parents. She had problems using the potty, so we had to get a lower one so she could get inside without hurting her legs. Eventually we had to put the potty in the same room as the food, because she couldn't move around. Because she was already old, it was very difficult to get soft food for her to eat, so we had to go with freshly boiled white fish.

She was no longer able to climb stairs, she lost all the energy of my big fat young cat. She dragged herself around the house like a penant soul.

Till I came home. She went into shock, looking at me as if I was a ghost from the past, then after 5 minutes she recognized me and never left my side for the whole time I spent time in my parents home. I had to carry her up and down the stairs, and if I went up without her, she would meow till I got down to pick her up.

She stopped eating after a while, turned into skin and bones. She got quite senil, with the exception when I was around. She passed away in her sleep at the age of 18.

This was 3 years ago. My cat suffered a lot, we did the best we could. There is no cure for the sadness that I feel, though. Enough to put me to tears at work and freaking out my co-workers.

It's not easy. For no-one involved.

I wish you the best to you and your kitty.
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Old 01.11.2011, 13:34
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

Hi all

Just to update - we had Claude put to sleep this morning. It was completely the right decision to make, although we're sad he's no longer here. He wasn't in pain and I'm glad he went before he was. But we'd reached the point - we both knew, and having decided, it was right to call the vet and not delay any longer.

I thought the euthanasia might be horrid in some way, but it happened so quickly, and easily - I'd just like to reassure anyone else who might think it would be unpleasant, it isn't. He explained we'd go into a side room, Claude would have an injection to completely relax him and we could spend time with him on his own. And that's what happened. He wasn't distressed, he just lay down whilst we stroked him, and fell fast asleep. The vet then checked him, gave him the final injection and that was it.

Anyway. Just thought I'd end the story. Fingers crossed we can have some cat-drama-free months now!
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Old 01.11.2011, 13:43
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

So sorry to hear about Claude, good that he went peacefully.
Thinking of you, and Claude. x
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Old 01.11.2011, 14:06
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

I'm so very sorry.

From your posts it is clear that Claude was a very special soul, and his was a life well lived.

Wishing you and your family all the very best.
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Old 01.11.2011, 14:09
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

I'm very sorry to hear this...

God be with you during your tough time.
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Old 01.11.2011, 20:09
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Re: Cat with advanced cancer - what to expect?

It's so, so sad...
For some people 1 November is the day to remeber their dead loved ones...
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