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Unread 03-23-2010   #1 (permalink)
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Default Loss of our Zoey (long story)

We had Zoey for 8 years so we knew her very well and she was about 10-11 years old. Last summer there was a very significant change in Zoey's behavior. First thing though, I did find one of her fang teeth and I saw the hole left in her mouth..the area seemed ok though. I know at her age loosing a tooth wasn't out of the question so I let it go. By around August, she developed this ravenous appetite and started constantly begging for "people food". We didn't give her food from the table so she had no reason to start doing this. Sure she liked something every now and then, but we definitely didn't make a habit of doing that. It got to the point where she'd wait until we got home from food shopping and she'd try and pull food out of the bags...she'd climb over all the counters looking for anything, even going into the sink to lick whatever was left on any plate, and I mean anything. She even got onto the counter to claw through plastic bags to eat bread. Yes bread!! Her eating habits changed around her food. She'd deny the dry food we put out (same thing for years) and we tried switching foods. She'd eat it, and then let it go, One day my wife noticed her eating out of the side of her mouth and in the bowl I noticed the food crumbled into small pieces so I got a little suspicious. The begging continued and got worse, she'd follow us around, meowing like crazy etc. My wife was expecting a baby in November so I'm sure we overlooked certain things, but we've always been good pet parents and although it was a busy time, the sudden change was unexplained. We started giving her wet food as we though she just decided to turn on the dry we had been feeding her for 8 years. She ate it but she started throwing it up all the time and had diarrhea. (can be normal I know) So we cut it back and eventually stopped it b/c it seemed like that wasn't helping. Then, in late October, I happened to see her eliminating in the pan (diarrhea with no dry food) and at the very end she had one little push that resulted in a bit of blood coming out. Well then I took her to the vet. She checked out ok for the most part. She weighed within the range of what she always has, nothing too alarming by the vet except her mouth had a good bit of plaque build up and tartar. The vet recommended a tooth cleaning b/c he was worried about her gums and teeth and with the recent eating habit change that was a smoking gun. We had them cleaned and she actually had to have 2 teeth removed. One was basically falling out and the other had an extremely soft gum that caused it to be to the point of extraction. After that she seems to recover without too much trouble. We put her on wet food to make eating easier for her during recovery. When the vet did blood work and kidney function everything was within normal range, thyroid was ruled out, diabetes, etc. She had a slight infection due to the gum problem so we had her on an oral anti-biotic after the procedure. By the December she seemed to be recovering without too much trouble and even started with the wet food again. By Christmas the begging was back in full swing. We even had to put her downstairs for our party because it was unbearable to watch her following everyone around begging like mad. By then, a few people had commented that she "looked thin" but we figured it was due to the surgery and recovery period. By the middle of January I was worried because I started to notice how skinny she was - felt her bones, face looked different, etc. She had become less active and stayed in only 2-3 rooms. Zoey was always in our bed but stopped coming upstairs all together. We had her back on wet food but her appetite was all over the place. We had to change the wet food a few times as well because she start sticking her nose up at it like she had with the dry food prior. She had vomited less but one in incident in particular got me worried because she had a violent vomit. It was very loud and all that came up with clear yellow fluid that had an awful odor…this was not good but only happened once so I chalked it off to a freak occurrence. The begging had actually subsided but she’d sometimes eat and sometimes wouldn’t, however she never seemed satisfied. By now she had started to become very lethargic and I was wondering what happened to our cat. She was clearly not the same. By the beginning of February we got very worried and decided to go back to the vet. We had a vet who we trusted, however we have a good vet in our new town (we moved) and we wanted a fresh opinion because I was not convinced the other vet missed something. I gave the new vet our full story and they ran a fresh blood and urine panel. Everything once again came back normal without any reason to suspect a thing. This got me worried even more. The biggest problem was that she now weighed 5.4 pounds. This shocked me terribly because she was always an 8 ½ pound cat, and as early back as November her weight was in that range. For the next month (into early March) we made sure she had wet food out constantly, multiple types of dry food out, everything. She was eating but just not in the regular and predictable manner you’d expect, but eating some. The lethargy was still there, but then the big change. We figured out that she was eliminating in our kid’s play room on the carpet. She had also gone in the bathroom connected to that room on the tile floor and in the sink. We closed off the bathroom but we suspected that it had been going on for some time as the smell was very noticeable by then and upon inspection I found spots very concentrated in one area. She was still going in her pan downstairs, but more so in that room….I even found feces once in there, and on the basement floor outside the pan. So we took her back to the vet thinking something medical was accelerating and because we had an obvious issue with the eliminating upstairs. Zoey was always extremely fastidious so the eliminating thing was not even close to normal….in 8 years she never did that once. The vet again did an exam, looked in her mouth (as best we could). She noticed a good bit of gas in Zoey and said inflammatory bowel disease was one possibly, but we also talked about cancer. (we discussed this during the prior visit as well) I have been through cancer before with pets and knew that if we did an advanced test and found it that we did not want to go down the treatment route. (please no opinions on this…just our personal decision) I also knew that tests like X-rays, scans, etc can be inconclusive and a biopsy is often required and sometimes that is inconclusive. Money in these tests did play a factor as well….although we wanted her to get better, we also knew she was over 10 and it was a possibly that we’d spend thousands of dollars only to have her pass anyway, and with a new baby and toddler this was a concern. The vet recommended that short of advanced testing that we tried some prednisone as if it was IBD that would help and if it was something else it may help her turn around enough to start recovering. At this visit she had lost more weight and not weighed in at 4.8 pounds. The vet also gave her a B-12 shot and for the next two weeks we gave her the pills….the first few days she was back to the way she was the previous August…ravenous appetite…begging…climbing over everything…eating every ounce of food we put in front of her. She started throwing up again so I cut back on the food a bit as I though she was over eating. I cleaned the carpet in the room, added another litter box, and took Zoey up and down the stairs a few times….she started going in the box again all the time and didn’t go on the carpet. I did fine urine and feces on the floor downstairs but I let that go as I hoped she was just adjusting. As we got into the second week of the pills, she started to basically go back to how she was before we started the medicine….lethargic, eating was spotty…she still ate more than before, but still spotty. She really didn’t do much again and just stayed in the few spots she liked except for when she wanted food. I had a business trip on 3/18 and a few days prior to that (3/15 maybe) I found blood on her stool. Her stool was firm but not hard so I ruled out scraping, and the blood was smeared and spotted on the stool…I was very worried as this was like what happened in October. Over the next day I found two more stools with small amounts of blood….Zoey then again started with mild diarrhea and she started urinating on the carpet again in the same location. This whole time she’d constantly “trick” us with days we’d think she wasn’t going to make it, and days she be on our lap rubbing up against us…. Classic feline “trick syndrome” with being sick and hiding it. On my trip my wife and I stayed in contact and we came to the conclusion that she wasn’t making a turn around. I got back on Sunday and yesterday was Zoey’s last day. Without any advanced testing I know we’ll never be sure. The director at our vet met with me (he never saw Zoey before) and he said that based on her file he thought she was a cancer patient. In my heart I know she had some type of cancer that was hiding itself from us. In my heart I know she wasn’t going to get any better from there….in my heart I know she was trying to tell us something. In my heart I know that she’ll no longer suffer and she’s in a better place. However in my head I can’t help but think I failed her and I’m suffering from some guilt that I know will have to pass. At this point asking if “we did the right thing” doesn’t matter because our Zoey is gone from us, however what is your opinion on our story? I’m so sad for our Zoey that I could not help and fix her. I always thought I’d have her for 12 or 15 years and she’d live a long life, but after only 8 with us and a shortened life she’s gone and I’m heartbroken terribly.
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Unread 03-24-2010   #2 (permalink)
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I am so sorry about Zoey, you did all you could for her, poor baby.

She is now free from pain at Rainbow Bridge, with all our Bridge babies, waiting to be reunited with you one day.

Please do not blame yourself, you will be in turmoil.

I promise time is great healer, no one can explain the feelings you are having right now. I have been there myself, the last time was a year ago. But it will ease, remember the good times, remember Zoey had a good life with you.

R.I.P. Zoey, now an angel for sure.

As close as a whisker, and remembered with every heartbeat. xxxxx
Love me,love my Cats.Che.xxxxx
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Unread 03-24-2010   #3 (permalink)
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Oh I am so sorry to hear about your Zoey. We had our sweet boy Oscar pass away in Dec. 08. Like Zoey he went from an active sweet boy whom our other cat Zipper adored and was his constant companion to a sad lethargic sick looking boy. Zipper started hissing at him for no reason and steered clear of him that Nov. and he went down hill fast. He too lost a ton of weight We all figured he had cancer as well. He was 14 at the time. You're feelings are natural. I sometimes wonder if we could have done more as well but then I remember his last day on earth and how he tried to get outside even though he was always an indoor cat. We figured he was trying to find a place to go to die. He knew his end was near. We sometimes see him here in the house. Sometimes we look up and see a shadow of gray and white drift by. Darby who we got last June is very much like him in most ways. Not to say he is an replacement We have Darby's brother as well who is Liam. Zoey is free of pain now and is at the bridge frolicking around with others that have gone before. You have your memories and photos. You will be reunited once again. R.I.P. Zoey

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M.J. Zipper Darby and Liam
A Cat's eyes are windows enabling us to see into another world. Irish legend

A cat has absolute emotional honesty. Human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not. Ernest Hemingway

There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.

R.I.P. sisters Sasha and Jasmine, Lucky, Mr.Sim, my sweet boy Oscar!
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Unread 10-13-2010   #4 (permalink)
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Unhappy Wow.

Do not blame yourself. I don't listen to that when people tell me that but there is nothing more you could have done in a case like that.

Zoey will walk with you forever, I promise.

Good luck.
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