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Cats, Kidney Failure, and dying

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    Cats, Kidney Failure, and dying

    I know nothing about cats. I have a good friend that is elderly and doesn't have internet. Her siamese cat is 13. When he started having issues eating she took him to the vet thinking it was a dental problem. He did need a couple teeth attended to, but blood work etc. indicated he is in kidney failure.

    He stayed at the clinic for about 5 days getting fluids, antibiotics, etc. Apparently his numbers were improving. While they didn't paint the rosiest picture of prognosis, they did lead her to believe he could live a while (years) if maintained properly. Otherwise, she would have chosen euthanasia right there at the clinic.

    He has been home now for a little over a week and is going downhill. She said he hasn't eaten in a couple days and he peed on the floor which is out of character. She knows he is dying and it's just a matter of time.

    Now to the problem. She does not want to take him back to the clinic for euthanasia because she feels it is so stressful for him to
    be in a cage and with strangers when he passes. She is at this point choosing to let him die at home. The question she needs to know is what kind of death this will be. If he doesn't eat, will he die of starvation? Will his kidney's just shut down and then the heart will shut down? Will he be in pain with any of this?

    These may sound like crazy questions, but this is what she is wondering and she is going through much anxiety and worry what with being elderly, alone, and stuck inside with covid.

    Note: I will not respond to baits and snarks on my posts.

    Around here there is a vet service that will come to your home for euthanasia.

    I can’t imagine it would be a comfortable death...starving and dehydrated. My Mom’s little dog died of kidney failure. There is no way I could have just let her die. She was already a skeleton as she hadn’t been eating well for a few weeks (not for lack of trying and medication to boost her appetite) but the day she quit eating AND drinking, she was euthanized.

    An elderly friend of mine was of a similar thought with her kidney failure cat but she ended up euthanizing as it was evident the cat was painful.

    Jingles to your friend. I think the end of suffering more important than the location but that is my opinion. Most vets have a special room with furniture (couch or big plush chairs). The vet where I took Mom’s dog had a couch and a fireplace. Very much NOT a clinical atmosphere. Once they are sedated, they are very calm. Do check to see if there is a local service. One is called Lap of Love. Just google euthanasia done at home.



      Euthanasia at home is what I've always done and find is easiest on the animal and owner.
      Mean Girls grow up to be Mean Women


        I put down my elderly cat at home. She also had renal failure. She was totally at peace and not at all worried about the vet being there. It was absolutely worth the extra money. Except in cases of extreme emergency, I will always opt to do euthanasia at home.


          Renal failure is a terrible, awful way for any animal to die.

          Please, please, please support your friend in having an at-home euthanasia service out.


            I agree, see if you can get an in-home euthanasia.

            My mother just put her oldest failed TNR kitty to sleep last night for kidney failure (renal). One thing you should tell your friend, that it is very painful and they are not themselves as their organs shut down. The kitty your friend has gotten used to, grown and loved, will suffer awfully and will not be the kitty they are used to. They get withdrawn and they hide - they do not want affection or attention, and they die slowly. It's best if they can get PTS ASAP.

            Big hugs. It's never easy but with renal failure, the reality often makes the decision just a little bit easier -- it's almost never too soon for them to go once they are in renal failure.
            AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


              I've had a number of cats with renal failure, who did well for a while on sub-Q fluids but it sounds as though your friend's kitty is beyond that stage. Renal failure is an awful way to die, please encourage your friend to put her kitty down as soon as possible. I agree with doing it at home if you can find a vet to do that. My current vet is against at home euthanasia but I did have it done by my previous vet and it was very peaceful. However, your friend's kitty may be so sick feeling by now that she might not even notice the stress of being transported to the vet. I'm so sorry for your friend, we all know how heartbreaking it is to lose a beloved companion.


                YES, he will be in pain. He will suffer. It is an awful way to die, and if she thinks she will be there to comfort him in those final days/hours - she won't, because as cats do when they get ill, he will go hide somewhere to be alone. I lost a cat to FIV last year. As much as he loved me and was an absolute cuddlebug, when he got sick, he hid, and it took hours to find him.

                Is it really that she thinks the kitty will be stressed, or is it that she can't face taking him to the vet herself? Can you offer to take the kitty to the vet for her? Or call her vet and have it done at home. Honestly, the euthanasia part is not as stressful as people think it is. He's probably so sick right now, as BAC said, that he won't really even notice where he is. The vet will give a sedative first, and the kitty will doze off. Then, the euthanasia drugs are administered. The cat never knows the difference, and your neighbor will know that he's no longer suffering.


                  Please offer, today, to take kitty to the vet to comfort and pet him during the process. And thank you for helping your friend.


                    There are over 2 million cats in the US with chronic renal failure. In fact almost all aged cats (>14) have some degree of renal failure. They can be managed in the early stages and will often live 3-5 years. Once they hit late stage renal failure, the management gets much more invasive and they feel pretty crappy. As stated above, it's not a great way to die because they can linger for a long time. They lose their appetite and throw up a lot from the uremia. They get anemia which leaves them exhausted. They slowly waste away. Sorry to be graphic, but it is the reality of renal disease.

                    There are many euthanize at home outfits now. I'd call one of those.

                    My last cat was in renal failure. I managed him until he was not his happy self and then I called one of those places (I'm licensed, but I don't carry a DEA license so I don't have the drugs to do it myself). Best decision!

                    It was much better than taking him in.

                    If she can't find one of those places, please encourage her to take him or have him taken in. The momentary stress of it is better than the prolonged suffering
                    Turn off the computer and go ride!


                      I opted to euthanize mine before she completely stopped eating (she had had all of her teeth pulled before being dumped so finding vet approved food she could and would eat was an ongoing battle). The small animal vet who specializes in at home wasn't able to come out due to her own health problems so I asked my horse vet and she was happy to do it and it went well-- it was before COVID but a nice sunny day and we did it outside on the porch.


                        I had to put my oldest cat to sleep a few weeks ago due to cancer. IDK, what her vet's requirements are due to Covid but I stayed with Elvis until he was gone. They gave him a sedative and I stayed with him and petted him until he was gone. He wasn't stressed or scared.


                          The reality of cats is that kidney disease will get a lot of them in the end. I am sorry about your friend's cat. I've recently had to put one down for renal failure (during covid) and I have another whose time is near for the same reason. I've had to put 2 others down for renal failure in the past. Kidney disease gets a lot of cats, no matter what you do. It sucks.

                          It is cruel to just let a cat waste away and die as its organ shut down. They feel MISERABLE when they are in renal failure. It is literally the last gasp of the body trying to keep itself going. There are vets who will come to the house and do a home euthanasia. If that's not a possibility, I would take the cat in and out it down. Letting the cat waste away, tired, hungry, thirsty, and in pain is far crueler than a few unpleasant minutes in a carrier in the car.

                          I really am sorry for your friend. It sucks to be in this position. Especially with covid etc. But she cannot let her pet suffer.
                          "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                            Shame on your friend. I lost one of my beloved cats yesterday to serious congestive heart failure. They allow humans in when it comes to end of life and they were patient with me as I was half masked and crying. I don't mean to be rude or mean, but your friend needs to think of her cat, and not herself. Taking their pain away and taking it on ourselves is the least we can do for them. I have no respect for someone who can't be bothered and thinks it's "easier" for the cat to die a painful death at home. It's Just Not Right.

                            Best of luck to you, your friend and especially the poor poor cat. Again, I am sorry for being rude - this his a bit close to home for me today.


                              Originally posted by syreino View Post
                              Shame on your friend.
                              Let's be kind. Her friend may not know any better. This may be her first elderly or ill cat. She may have never SEEN what kidney disease can do. Education is more effective than shaming.
                              "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                                OP, how's it going with the neighbor? Sometimes it can be very difficult to get them to give up yet another aspect of their life. Good luck.

                                syereino, so sorry for your very recent loss.


                                  Originally posted by vxf111 View Post

                                  Let's be kind. Her friend may not know any better. This may be her first elderly or ill cat. She may have never SEEN what kidney disease can do. Education is more effective than shaming.
                                  It does sound as though this is the friend's first experience with feline renal failure, but kindness to the animal is the first priority. Its been several days now since the OP first posted and I sure hope that doesn't mean that the poor cat is still suffering because of his owner's refusal to do the right thing. I would not have much sympathy for that owner if she allows the suffering to continue.


                                    Originally posted by BAC View Post

                                    It does sound as though this is the friend's first experience with feline renal failure, but kindness to the animal is the first priority. Its been several days now since the OP first posted and I sure hope that doesn't mean that the poor cat is still suffering because of his owner's refusal to do the right thing. I would not have much sympathy for that owner if she allows the suffering to continue.
                                    I'm hoping its just that ToN hasn't had a chance to update.
                                    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                                      Originally posted by vxf111 View Post

                                      I'm hoping its just that ToN hasn't had a chance to update.
                                      I’m hoping the same thing!