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See you on the other side, little buddy

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My Little Cat Ghost

The years I’ve worn you,
warm upon my shoulder,
ended here…
surprised to find us older.

And there was nothing
left to do today
but hold you close
and help you on your way.

Be still, my little cat,
Be well; be free.
I know that you are somewhere near,
and loving me.

Hey all,

Well, the time for Fredo to exit this world (leaving cancer, pain, difficulty breathing, and two heartbroken humans behind) has come and gone.  Dr. Hannah from Lap of Love came, on time, administered two shots, and let us snot all over the place while we cried until he was gone.  She took time with us to get every paw print/impression that we wanted/needed, and then she took him away.  He’ll be cremated and returned to us within a couple of weeks.

I don’t have a whole lot else to say.  My heart hurts, but I know that if he was still alive, he’d be sleeping on the floor of the closet, away from us, struggling to breathe.  There’d still be life in his eyes, but barely.  I know this was the right thing to do.  It just really, really sucks.

I think we’re fortunate to live in the digital age, because I’m not sure many days went by, especially recently, that I didn’t take a picture of him or his sister, or both.  So, here is a sampling.  Please note: I did take a “last” picture.  It’s not that weird, but skip if you need to.  Thank you all again for the ongoing support.

Christmas 2012 – pre-tripawd 🙂

His Christmas mouse, and the most handsome face

Daphne’s big brother

I assume he’s already found a suitable lap for lounging.

The most proper

His first picture with his baby sister Daphne

His last picture with his baby sister Daphne

Love to my little buddy. Our perfect kitty.


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Our time here is coming to a close

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Hi Tripawds community,

WELL.. quick recap.  Fredo had a toe removed due to cancer in 2014, the cancer returned in 2015 resulting in a rear-leg amputation followed by chemo.  This past February, we brought him to the vet because of some breathing issues, thinking/hoping it was asthma.  Annnd of course it wasn’t, because it is always cancer with Fredo.  The vet was wonderful, but she told us optimistically we had about six months with him.  Well, six months is best case scenario.

Fast forward to now, and he has been declining fairly rapidly lately.  For a while it was manageable.. he still wanted to socialize and be around us and cuddle from time to time.  Now he spends 97% of his time in my closet, coming out to eat (which is often thrown back up) and drink and use the bathroom.  He is scarily thin, with little bony knobs all over (ribs, etc).  The other day I got down on the floor for some ear scratches, and I told my husband he just doesn’t have any happiness left in his eyes.  It sounds insane.. but I’m sure other cat people can relate.  Sometimes you just know.

So, I forced my husband to have the difficult discussion with me, and we came to the conclusion to reach out to Lap of Love who does in-home euthanasia.  My husband had wanted Fredo to pass peacefully at home, naturally… I prefer the medical type intervention to eliminate any suffering, since passing peacefully is likely not an option with terminal cancer.  I feel like this is the best compromise.  Now we don’t have to put him in a carrier for an always-stressful car ride to a place that isn’t familiar with him.  It also gives Daphne (little cat) hopefully a chance to better understand what is going on.  They also provide cremation services and paw imprints and yada yada.. so, what I’m trying to say is, this is the decision we’ve made, and I feel good about it.  The time is right.  Well, Friday will be the time, and it will be right.  Maybe it sounds awful, but I think there will be a really good sense of relief along with this decision.

Anyway.  It goes without saying that this website has been immeasurably valuable to me throughout this experience.  I will be back with another update this week, but then I suppose at that point I won’t have a reason to maintain this blog, but I do look forward to seeing the other happy stories of tripawd recovery out there.  🙂

Thanks for reading/listening/caring.

Just a little update

Hey there,

Not too much new over here with the big guy… who is now a little guy.  You guys, I truly do not know what to do to get him to gain weight.  I haven’t weighed him lately but if I had to guess he’s around 7 pounds.  He was just about 10 pounds after amputation.  He does eat, and his appetite seems fine.  I truly think it’s because his teeth are in such rough shape, so he has a harder time eating as much food as he may want to.  I’ve tried wet food in every possible way… he will not touch it.  I don’t want to COMPLETELY take away his dry food and force him to eat the wet food because at this point, any food is better than no food.  He is 100% skeptical of whipped cream now (since I tried and failed when hiding pills in there–even crushed up).  He’s always been a fan of cake frosting, so I might just go buy him a cake and see what happens.

When he’s not around, I’ve been misting water on his hard food to attempt to soften it a little bit for him.. I think this isn’t NOT working, but I just don’t know.  I feel like he’s eventually going to get so skinny and his little body won’t be able to sustain how hard his heart and lungs are already working.

As a reminder, it’s been three months since the doc told us he has probably about six months left.  He’s on daily pain meds, but I don’t see a ton of signs of pain, honestly.  He occasionally has breathing attacks, but he’s getting around fine.  He’s certainly not as social as he was, maybe because he always assumes I’m trying to medicate him.  But he doesn’t play as much either.  But his bathroom habits and food and water all seem to be fine.  Aside from just not eating enough.  (How is it that his sister who eats maybe 1/4c of food daily just keeps packing on the weight???  She is so chubby.)

On a positive note, we’re moving OUT of the house with the dog in a little less than a month.  The new place will also be carpeted versus hardwood floors.. he has a hard time with the wood floors I think.  Just less “give” haha.  I’ll also be able to control the environmental factors a little better, so less stuff in the air for both the kiddos, and it’ll just be cleaner in general.  My poor little girl has really bad seasonal allergies right now, so I’m looking forward to that change as well.

She always sits on him.. then gives me this look when I move her.

Sorry so blurry. So skinny! My poor buddy.

So, not much else to say.  Any suggestions on how to get a picky, dry food-addicted cat with bad teeth to eat more??  All suggestions welcome.  Have a good one!

Two years and one day

Hi everyone!  Fredo’s two-year “ampuversary” has come and gone.  He celebrated it by sitting in the sun as long as he could and eating food and drinking water, and that’s about it.

Poor little guy is not doing super well.  He had a steroid injection shot about a month ago, which he seemed to tolerate fairly well.  His breathing attacks seemed to subside, but now in the past week or so they’ve been at least daily, sometimes more.  We’re going to have to start thinking seriously about how to assess his quality of life and when to make the tough decision.

I asked my husband what he thought, and he said Fredo still seems happy.  We take him outside most days and he wanders around.  He’s still eating and drinking normally, and he keeps up on his grooming.  So, I’m not really sure what to do.  Keep him comfortable with his pain meds (which he HATES.. even though it’s just in his ears and not a pill that we force down).  Our vet said that sometimes if people know an illness is terminal, they’ll pick a day and plan for that to be the last day.  But the thought of bringing him to the vet, knowing how much he hates even the car ride ANYWHERE, and it being his last trip… that really breaks my heart.  It has been years since I’ve had to think about this.  In fact, when I was 12 my dog had to be put to sleep (brain tumor), but I was on vacation and my grandma made the decision while I was gone.  Any other pet death that I’ve experienced has been involuntary (we lived on a very busy county highway in Wisconsin and unfortunately lost many pets that way).  I’ve never had THIS much time to wrap my head around losing a pet I love so much.

Any input on that subject is much appreciated!  What would you do?  Wait for a severe decline, or get a date in your head?

Here’s some pics of Fredo in his favorite sunny spots.. and his fat sister, who is currently on a diet but of course as a lady, she loses much slower than the boys.  🙂

Pumpkin left over from Halloween.. don’t ask. 🙂

Little man update

Just a little update.  Last time I checked in, we’d gotten some bad news from the vet.  Nothing has really changed.  We’ve been less than successful administering meds to Alfredo, so we opted to get a steroid injection versus a daily pill.  We found it to be immediately effective; he was having near-daily breathing attacks due to mets in his lungs.  Since he got the shot almost two weeks ago, we’ve only witnessed one breathing attack (and it was very short and resulted in vomiting–which almost makes me think it wasn’t breathing-related at all since those particular actions are somewhat similar sounding).

On the other hand, all our attempts to administer his bronchodilator have  been met with resistance… lol.  We’re still trying.  He’s also not a huge fan of pain meds in his ears (buprenorphine gel).  He’ll let me touch his ears any other time, but if he suspects I have the gel on them, he flattens them against his head and runs away.  Such a goof.

Overall good.  He’s eating well and behaving normally.  It’s odd to think that he’s even sick.

We’re having trouble keeping our chubby little girl away from his food (which is kitten food now due to his weight loss).  Debating the Sure Feed method for him, although he’s not microchipped.  Anyone have any experience out there with this product?

 

Garbage truck terror!  It’s been months and he still isn’t used to that thing coming up the hill.

 

Prettiest kitty eyes.

Have a lovely week!

The dropping of the other shoe

Well, this is an update I had hoped to NEVER make… but I’m sure we all know that’s just not the reality of animals with cancer.

Fredo has been coughing/heaving/blah blah for a couple months now.  At first I thought it was maybe a blockage in his digestive tract, because he’d always been prone to vomiting, but in these cases, he wasn’t actually vomiting up anything.  SO, then it changed into probably a respiratory issue for me (probably asthma, based on what I’d seen online and from the Tripawds forum), and I made an appointment for him this week.  Then I chickened out and canceled it.  Then he had these little attacks every day this week, and I knew I had to just do it… face the music, I guess.

SOOOO we went to the Cat Care Clinic in Orange, CA (this place is amazing).  I loved our vet.. it was new for us, as all his previous care had been given in Arizona.  So anyway I was a little hesitant about that, but whatever.

LONG STORY SHORT… it’s not asthma in his lungs.  An x-ray showed white blotches in his lungs, which she said is consistent with metastasized cancer, which I had been expecting and dreading.  I just had a feeling.  Nothing with Fredo has ever been benign, so why would this be different?   The vet feels that, at most, he has six months left to live.  We have discussed this possibility many times over the past two years: if cancer returned, we didn’t want to put him through vigorous treatment for our own selfish reasons.  So, we have decided to keep him comfortable with medications until we feel he’s deteriorated beyond a positive and comfortable quality of life.

She prescribed us some steroids and a bronchodilator as well as some pain medication.  He’s not super psyched about those, obviously.. so we’re going to have to get creative with some Greenies or something to make sure he eats the medication.

So, this sucks.  I just felt that this was coming, and I knew before she even said anything that it would not be good news.  She said we were lucky to have two more years with him, given the aggressive nature of the cancers (plural) that he had.  One of which is extremely rare in cats, of course… and now I’m going to be working from home, and I can spend all sorts of time with him until he’s gone.

I’m also taking this opportunity to get my other kitty into the vet for a check-up and dental exam, so I can get her insurance.  HOPING that we never need it.  Fredo, incidentally, has some terrible cavities too (somehow we were so preoccupied with everything else that we missed that) but they will remain untreated because the vet isn’t comfortable putting him under anesthesia.  They don’t seem to be hurting him though or affecting his diet, so that’s good so far.

Wish I had better news.  Such is life as the owner of cancer-prone animals, though.

I will always be thankful for the community I found here.  It truly made this whole experience so much more bearable for me.

Little man update

Back again!

Anyone get the new Tripawds calendar and see Alfredo on December 2016?  So handsome!

Anyway, I last wrote about my concerns with Fredo, particularly his weight loss and small appetite and general uneasiness in the house with an excessively barking dog… I made a few changes to hopefully see what we could do for him.  I think ideally, getting out of the house with a dog (this is a temporary situation) would be best for him, BUT until then, I am making sure to have good separation.  The dog tends to sit at closed doors and bark at nothing if she thinks the cats are on the other side.  So, we’re keeping her away from the doors as much as possible.

Secondly!  I gave him some different treats we’d received as a sample, and he ate them like CRAZY.  He’s always been picky with everything, food or treats.  So I was glad to see him eat these.  I thought, maybe he just hates his food.  LOL.  Because of course he’d hate the higher quality so-called “healthy” food.  I went to the pet store and got some chicken and rice flavored kitten food, hoping that it would have more fat and calorie content.

The other day he actually threw up something instead of just dry heaving.. win!

I weighed him yesterday.. 9 pounds!  Win!  He was under 8 pounds last time I checked (and subsequently freaked out).  He’s eating much more consistently and even seems excited when I put the food down.  Trying to keep the little cat (Daphne–who is now the big cat, honestly.. SO FAT) away from the kitten food.

There’s a good question.. how do you figure it out when you have one cat who needs to slim down and one cat who needs to bulk up?  Agh.

Okay bye!  Hopefully Fredo is out of the woods.. as much as a cancer-surviving tripawd can be. 🙂

Life goes on

Hey Tripawds,

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!  Our buddy is one year, eight months and 19 days post-amputation.  I know some people are thrilled for even a year of extra time.  I, of course, want 10 more years.  A struggle of tripawd kiddos is that the time is NOT guaranteed.  Our little maniac girl cat Daphne has a significantly less lovable personality (though I still adore her, but I might be the only one) and I’m sure she’ll live 20 years with no health issues.  Fredo, on the other hand, is our catdog who waits at the door for us to get home, always cuddles, and loves his humans… and seems to continuously struggle in one way or another.

First the toe amputation, then the leg bump removal which led to the CT scan and leg amputation, and the subsequent chemotherapy.. then I switched food, then moved them out of state to live with a DOG… now he’s lost significant weight, and this concerns me.

The problem with him is that I don’t know anymore if I’m overly paranoid or if there’s some justification to it.  He’s been hacking up invisible furballs which scares me (meaning blockage, possibly), he doesn’t eat as much as he did, and he’s down to about 8.5lbs (from about 10 post-amputation).

As I mentioned, there is a dog in the house.  Not the kind of dog that eventually chills around cats after a few months, but the kind of dog that aggressively barks when she even thinks to remember that there are cats in the house now (after 7 months!).  Fredo still likes to wander to be around his humans, but he doesn’t have free reign like he did at our old home.  So this makes me wonder….. how much of Fredo’s diet/weight change can be attributed to an increased level of stress/anxiety?  His mood/playfulness around us is generally the same.

Also.  He was always a Purina “chicken and rice” kind of guy.. I switched them to Blue Wilderness Basics.  I wish I knew if he just preferred the taste of the old stuff.. but I don’t know.  I feel that would have enough calorie/fat content to keep his weight consistent.  And it’s supposed to be easier on digestion which to me means that he shouldn’t be having issues with blockage or furballs.  SO.  What to do!!!  He does not like wet food, cat milk formulas, or gravy-type stuff of any kind.  I have managed to get him to eat a LITTLE bit of malt-flavored hairball gel.

The simple answer might be that he’s fine, and I need to calm down.  But I am going to keep an eye on his weight and PROBABLY take him to the vet if it continues to go down.  Poor buddy!

Happy Caturday! + I need help

National Cat Day, I hear…

It has been MONTHS!  Since I last updated, we’ve all moved to California.  Our cats LOVED the 6-hour road trip from Phoenix.  False.  They hated it.  I took our little girl and she meowed for the first three hours (and then of course, when she got quiet and fell asleep I assumed something was wrong with her), and my husband took Fredo and had an equally fun time.

So, a few pictures and then my latest struggle.

img_4215 img_4179

HIS cat house.. does not like to share.  Clearly.  Also no, neither of them goes inside.. not my greatest purchase.

HIS cat house.. does not like to share. Clearly. Also no, neither of them goes inside.. not my greatest purchase, but he likes to sleep on the top.

OKAY, now… 

Fredo has always been a puker.  He gets a nervous stomach from just about everything; I know I’ve talked about this before.  If his dish gets too empty (never actually empty, mind you) he will wake the house in the middle of the night by sitting in the hallway meowing.  So, we feed him, and then he eats at hyper-speed and throws up.  Just an example.  Sometimes, it’s a hairball.  So LATELY he’s been doing the whole heaving thing and very little comes up, so of course I have gone to Google, and I’m told this can be a sign of blockage somewhere in the digestive tract.  Occasionally there is semi-digested food.  Then my husband made some joke about Daphne (other cat) gaining weight while Fredo seems to be getting smaller.  One thing that is true of tripawd kitties is that they sometimes tend to put on some weight due to decreased activity.  This has certainly been true for Fredo, but I wouldn’t say he’s ever verged on unhealthy.  So, anyway, he hasn’t been officially weighed since his last chemo appointment last August or September, and he was around 10 pounds consistently.  I weighed him today and he is 8.8!!!  Over 10% lost!  So, I’m freaking out.  He hasn’t been eating much, and when he does, he eventually throws up some of it.

What to doooooo.  Help me, Tripawd peeps.  We’re new to the area and haven’t established him with a new vet, and we JUST paid off his surgery and chemo in July.  I’m understandably hesitant about putting him through more vet visits and incurring more expenses.  I don’t even know how they treat a blockage, if that’s what it is.  Any holistic solutions out there?   I hate to think we put him through all of this just to get an extra year and a half out of him.  🙁 Of course my mind goes to the absolute worst.  I can’t wrap my head around losing him now.  So, all comments and suggestions welcome.

As a side note, I verged into cat lady territory and watched The Truth About Cats, which dug into the science behind the evolution of kitties.  So remarkable.  Cat lady for life.  <3 Go hug your kitties and wish them a Happy Cat Day!!

 

Almost a year (+video!)

Hey there,

So, March 30th was Fredo’s amputation day last year.  I was just going back and reading some of those entries, from diagnosis to decision to surgery to recovery.  Yuck!  I don’t want to go through that again.  I certainly feel for those who are going through it now.  It gets better!  

Some days I still have a lot of sadness for him, so I try to remember that he’s fine.  I’m pretty sure he’s not wallowing in his depression over the sadness of his missing leg.  In fact, he phantom-scratches almost EVERY day so I’m not even sure he realizes yet.  A year later, ha!  Goofy cat.

He is not a fan.

He is not a fan.

So, I got this scratchy thing to try to help him out with the scratching.  My husband puts me pretty squarely into cat lady territory for this purchase.  BUT SERIOUSLY.. it seems like a no-brainer.  Go scratch the parts you can’t scratch, right?  But Alfredo is not a fan.  He couldn’t even be lured with catnip, his favorite thing in the world.  We set it up at the patio door so that he’d be forced to go through in order to get outside, and he just darted through as quickly as possible, so that wasn’t really effective either.  Cats, man.  They really don’t care about anything they don’t want to care about, haha.

Girly man + sister

Girly man + sister

Little cat’s legs are getting better, I think.  You can still see some fur loss here.  We are in the process of transitioning over to Blue Wilderness Basics.  Apparently the formula I chose before this is very high protein, which I knew, but that can cause an adverse reaction in terms of allergies and whatnot.  SO, we’re trying this.  The cats are super duper resistant to it though.  They eat, but not enough yet.  And I’m transitioning really slowly too.  Again, they do what they want.  If this doesn’t go well though I might have to forego the whole healthy-eating thing and give them the Purina back.

Just a real cute pic.

Just a real cute pic.

Whiskers!

And last, check this out.  I haven’t gotten bed stairs yet for the little dude.. I ordered some and then they were back-ordered and blah blah.  It’s on my list!  But check out his skills.. he loves the back of the couch so it’s nice that he’s able to pretty effectively move himself around.

So, all is well in our tripawd world!  Forever grateful for this community for helping to maintain my sanity.  🙂  Happy Tuesday!