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Unread 05-11-2014   #1 (permalink)
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Question Unanswered: My 18-year-old, Tamu, may need help

Hello out there,

Am thankful to have found this forum and so many other cat lovers. I have an 18-year-old-cat that I adopted 7 years ago. Here name is Tamu. We also adopted her housemate from their previous home, Pearl, she is now 8.

Tamu has been very slowly but steadily losing weight over the time I have had her. I contributed it to age and do not trouble myself with her weight. She is good natured and affectionate, and has never shown signs of suffering. At 18, I imagine she’s nearing the end, but again, don’t trouble myself as long as she seems okay to me.

Her gradual weight loss has continued over the 6 months since our move to a new city, but she remains happy and seemingly comfortable. A new addition to our household is a fish bowl. There is no fish in the water, but I’m planning on getting one and have put decorative stones at the bottom and keep it filled with water. Tamu enjoys sitting near it and drinking from it. I didn’t see any harm and have not seen any symptoms of detriment from her new habit of about the last month-and-a-half. It’s become her personal, giant water dish.

A couple of weeks ago Tamu started to lean a little sideways when she was laying down in what would usually be an upright position. She’s also been more demanding of attention and jumps on me when I’m typing at my computer. When I relocate her, she sometimes comes straight back—even more than once--so I’ve taken to leaving her in my lap as I type when she does that.

This week she’s really slowing down and for a few days, when she lies down she’s been lying mostly flat on her side and perpendicular to ground. That is new, she normally spends most of the day lying down but in a relatively upright position. Unless she’s in deep sleep, when she’s curls right up. Haven’t seen her curled up in days.

Over the course of the time described above, I began to suspect that her drinking out of the fishbowl was not ideal. A few days ago, when I was changing the water (don’t like water standing still for too long), I decided to remove the decorative gravel and rocks and just leave the rocks that looked natural. I boiled them in 3 stages and examined the water from each batch. The first was disturbingly murky, the second much less so, and the third perfectly clear. I wonder if the coating on the rocks may have added a chemical component which I have not previously considered. I wonder, with the new symptoms Tamu is demonstrating, whether she may be sick from chemicals from the coating of the decorative rocks. Again, she does not seem uncomfortable, and sometimes she seems mildly comical in her postures. I decided to leave out the rocks altogether.

Three days ago I became alarmed when Tamu started having trouble navigating. She stumbles and moves much more slowly than usual. Two days ago, I thought she may be a goner. She was lethargic in her movements and began to settle in one spot for longer at a time than usual in her daily routine. She’s been moving around less and less. The following morning (yesterday), she seemed better, was upright more often, but is still not moving around much. She gave Pearl a dirty look at one point, and I was heartened by that. She has not been interacting with us much these past few days.

Last night, again, I thought she may be a goner. I held her in my lap for hours and just comforted her. She wasn’t purring and I realized I hadn’t heard her purr in a couple of days. I thought it just may be her time.

Today, her energy is a better, she’s more vertical in her lying position. She’s been drinking lots of fresh water (not from the fish bowl) and has eaten, though not a lot, regularly the last two days. Last night she went to the cat box a couple of rooms away, but it tired her, and she didn’t quite make it inside the box when she peed. This morning, a little time after she’d been drinking quite a lot of water, I brought a small littler box to her and placed her in it. She had a good pee and has settled down again comfortably. A little while later, when I was stroking her, she purred for a time. Now she’s curled up in a more normal-looking position and is snoozing as I type.

I think, if she was sickened by the fishbowl water, perhaps it will pass. After googling a number of times, her symptoms sounded a bit like Vestibular Disease, but not quite. And, due to her age, she’s bound to show some of the symptoms I’ve seen her showing anyway when it is her time to go.

I would like to keep her as comfortable as possible, and I would like to promote the passage of any chemicals that may be in her system from the fish bowl rocks. Again, maybe it is just her time. I don’t know.

My present plan is:

Watch her carefully and get her where she seems to want to go
Keep offering her water regularly to help flush her system
Love her
Wait and see.

If anyone there has any related experience or ideas, they would be gratefully received. Please don’t ask me to take her to the vet. She’s been through enough in her life (was abused in earlier years), and I won’t traumatize her with being poked, and given a battery of tests.

Thank you in advance for any input, observations or just plain good wishes.

Very best to you,

Anna Maria
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