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View Poll Results: Should I just leave the cat for the duration or stay in town ti visit him daily?
Leave the cat for the duration of the operation and recuperation 0 0%
Stay in town so as to be able to visit the cat twice daily until discharge 4 100.00%
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Unread 04-11-2016   #1 (permalink)
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Default Unanswered: urgent question

We have a wonderful fawn Abyssinian with chronic renal failure. It won't be easy financially but we have made the decision to get him a transplant and the Univ of Georgia vet hospital at Athens seems like the best choice as they are the only facility in the world so far to use a revolutionary stem cell procedure to aid in retention of the donor kidney and reduce the possibility of rejection.

My problem is we live in the Cleveland area and it's an all day drive. I was planning to get a motel room and stay the whole three weeks or so until he is discharged in order to visit him daily to encourage him and let him know I haven't abandoned him; he has been with us over seven years now. How-ever, apparently there is a school of thought that to do so hurts the cat as it thinks it's going home each time you visit.

I really need feedback on this. What does everyone think? Have you had a similar experience? If there are any vets or pet psychologists on here I would especially value your opinions also. It's an extra expense, I would have to leave my wife to take care of two other cats who don't get along and have to be kept separated, and if it is detrimental to the cat I will just come back when he's ready to be discharged. I don't want to do it just because it makes me feel better- the cat is the important one here.

One more consideration- we have not left our cats overnight in the seven years this cat has been with us. One of us has always been with them except for day trips.

Thanks for all opinions.
Bill in Cleveland

Last edited by chevalier; 04-11-2016 at 04:27 AM. Reason: additional fact
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Unread 04-11-2016   #2 (permalink)
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I think visiting daily is very important. Each time you come, you reinforce that you will be coming again. It gives hope.

Leave something you have slept with next to your skin, each time, also. Just a bit of towel or blanket. Nothing you want to keep.

Good luck to your precious boy.
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Unread 04-13-2016   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks so much for your opinion. I hope to get a majority saying this so I don't get the feeling I am hurting him every time I visit and leave. Hopefully some people who have gone through operations with long admissions like this with their cats in the past can let me know what they think based on their experiences. It seems to me three weeks is too long to leave him when he has not been unattended in the seven years we have been lucky enough to have him.
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Unread 04-13-2016   #4 (permalink)
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I'm the only one who posts here regularly. When my Tolly was hospitalized at Cornell, a 2 hour drive for me, I made that drive every single day and visited him. Yes it tore me apart to leave each time, but I think it was very important. He was always glad to see me. And when I left, he knew I was coming back.

When Queen Eva was hospitalized for a week at my local vet I visited her every day without fail. I could see she had bonded with the vet and the vet tech, when they brought her in to the room, but she was always glad to see me.

I even visited a stray I had rescued, she had to have major surgery done on her mouth before she could go to the shelter, and the vet clinic kept her while she was healing (I paid for her though I didn't adopt her) I visited her every day too, until the day the shelter took her in.

Cats are creatures of routine and habit. Your kitty will quickly become used to, and expect your visits. They will give him much comfort.
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Last edited by acerlt; 04-13-2016 at 04:57 PM.
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Unread 04-15-2016   #5 (permalink)
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First of all good luck to your Abyssinian cat! I also believe that you should visit him as much as you can! It's gonna be good for him to be reminded that you're there for him...
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Unread 04-29-2016   #6 (permalink)
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Default urgent question

I decided with a little reinforcement that it would do my cat a lot of good to see me every day while he is in such strange surroundings, knowing his temperament. He has been with us since December 2008 and this experience (even the trip because he hates just the half hour interstate drive to see his internal specialist crosstown) is going to be a major upset to him. So I'm going to do what I can for him while he's inpatient.

Leaving for Georgia Sunday morning and his transplant will be Wednesday. This is an extremely competent surgeon and hospital, but your prayers for him will be appreciated. We'll be there at least through the 11th- I'll post after we get back to let you know how it went.

Best,
Bill in Cleveland
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Unread 05-06-2016   #7 (permalink)
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I've been thin king of you and your boy (name?) I hope all is going well. x
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Unread 05-23-2016   #8 (permalink)
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I would stay in town.

Good luck! :3
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Unread 05-24-2016   #9 (permalink)
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Default broke on through to the other side

Just spent ten days in Athens, Georgia at the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital where our Abyssinian Buffy received a kidney transplant to save his life. It was quite an experience and cost ms some $16,000 I don't have (thank God for home equity lines of credit) but the little guy is a big part of our life and is just too young to die. An amazing younger surgeon, Dr Chad Schmiedt, did the operation and we adopted the donor cat, a lovable young rascal named Chadwick (after Dr. Schmiedt) as is a customary part of kidney donor arrangements. The U of GA is the absolute best place for feline renal transplants because they use a revolutionary stem cell procedure that aids in retention, the only facility in the world to do it so far. So that's where Buffy was going- not Wisconsin or Pennsylvania. He needed the best chance and I got it for him.

While he was in I visited Buffy twice a day before the operation and once a day the following weekend when visiting hours were mornings only and the last few days till he got out. I am glad I did that rather than just dropping him off and coming back for him ten days later (the route was aggravating enough I am doubly glad I didn't make two trips, one to take the donor cat home as he was discharged earlier) because he was really lost and lonely after being with us seven and a half years. I didn't want him to think we'd gotten rid of him and just give up and die. He was so glad to see me it was well worth while driving the 30 miles each way daily.

Georgia wasn't much different from Cleveland- Athens was an interesting town but I was always getting lost- I stayed at the closest decent reasonable motel according to the online ratings, a Red Roof 30 miles north at Commerce) and I took advantage of the cuisine we can't get here since White Castle/Church's Chicken pulled out last Christmas. I ate both and also Krystal burgers like they were going out of style. And of course I had car repairs- after dropping $900 to get the Accord ready for the trip I had some sort of oil seal leak which cost me almost another $300 in Georgia. Fortunately I didn't break down and there was a Honda dealer handy which fixed me up without any inconvenience as the car was still driveable.


Buffy and Chad had to stay in their puppy cages until May 19th so they didn't jump or climb and rip their stitches and staples out (which were removed this morning), and Chad still had a cone collar on until the 21st so he can't get at his healing incision. Buffy's back in the general population and I took pity on Chad and let him out that night because he was meowing from loneliness as Buffy was no longer in there with him. So he formally met the other cats (mainly Simba as Sheba doesn't get along with the male cats, but Chad looks enough like her that she might take him for her son).

The drive back was pure hell with two unhappy cats in separate cages, and I don't know how I got both into the car, one in the back seat (I BARELY shoehorned it in) and one in the front passenger seat (hardly got the door closed and the cage was up against the shifter so I had trouble getting into 5th gear and reverse). I got rid of three boxes I'd taken down and packed my stuff and the cat stuff in the two cat carriers I took which saved room but still it was a very tight fit. I had to stop every few hours for them to use the litter box (on the front passenger floor) and get them water and dry food which they mostly didn't eat but spilled in the car (not the water- I wouldn't let them keep that in the cages). But we made it. It was an experience.

But the relief is great after a few years of worsening condition (he was diagnosed in 2011), increasing medications and internal specialist bills (he was taking nine prescriptions just before the operation and I was giving him subcutaneous lactating Ringers electrolyte injections daily the last few months after every other day for a few years) and getting him qualified for the operation; he has a slight heart murmur and a cardiologist had to sign off on his ability to undergo anesthesia). It all paid off and he's running around glad to be back in his home.

After we lost two cats to kidney disease I wasn't letting it take this cat. We had him twice as long as the first, and the second was a rescue cat but it's heartbreaking when you can't save them. This time I had the means (or the credit).
I want to thank you all for your opinions and I'm so glad I stayed for him. He was so comforted to see me every time I showed up, twice a day the first week then once from the weekend on when there's only morning visitation through Wednesday the 11th when he was discharged. He's pickling up weight and I'm being VERY careful with his meds, the most critical of which (cyclosporine which he has to be on the rest of his life and it can't be put in his food but down his throat in a capsule twice a day because the taste is so bitter. He has to be rechecked weekly for this first month then biweekly for a few, then every 2-3 months. Dr. Schmiedt told me that the longest lived transplant cat has been four years (still alive) and we're going to beat that!!

Thanks again you all,
Bill in Cleveland
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Unread 05-24-2016   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you very much for the detailed report. I've been thinking of Buffy every day hoping for the best. That is so cool that you adopted Chad, the donor too. And that it is part of the transplant program to do so.

Now, one thing I really hope you are doing, I can't stress this enough, WET FOOD ONLY! Buffy and Chad especially, should never ever ever have dry food again, but all your cats will benefit from a better diet of wet food only.

I hope you will keep us posted on their recovery, and further as they all learn to get along together.
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