Friday, October 20, 2006

The Problems with Getting Older


Well, my test results are in. My thyroid is fine, but my kidney levels are elevated. I don't know what that means, but my V.E.T. says I should eat special food now with less protein so my kidneys don't have to work so hard. I also have to increase my liquid intake to help my kidneys get rid of waste.

I don't know if I like this news. I'm used to eating Iams hairball/weight control formula and an occasional bowl of tuna water. I don't like much of anything else and actually might be called picky by some people because, unlike the other cats in this family, I don't inhale everything in sight! Just because a guy is selective about what he eats doesn't necessarily mean he's picky!

So now Mom has to get special food for me and try to get more fluids in me. I wouldn't mind having tuna water more often Mom, if that helps! But only if I don't throw up like I did this morning.

(sigh) I don't think I like getting older. According to the chart I saw at the V.E.T.'s office, my age in human years is over 60.


I'm taking over for a minute to ask if anyone has experience with this. At 9 1/2 years old, George's blood tests show his kidney levels are just slightly elevated and our vet wants him to try a food called Nutro, available at pet stores, for older cats that need decreased protein in their diets. She also mentioned Eukanuba renal formula and Science Diet KD available only through veterinarians. He also needs more fluids and she suggested offering tuna liquid with a little added water twice a week or administering subcutaneous fluid at home twice a week. I don't know if I'm ready to attempt that yet so will try the change in diet/tuna liquid route first with the blood test re-checked in two months. I offered him some tuna liquid this morning, which usually is OK for him. He had a little bit but 5 minutes later threw it up all over the coffee table. He doesn't like much of anything including treats, table food or canned cat food, so my options are limited. He does like to play with ice in water by dipping his paw in and licking it, but I don't think it really gives him that much extra fluid intake that way.

Now I have to feed everyone separately since Misty is still growing and Tipper and Max eat "regular" food. The vet did say if the other 3 get ahold of some of George's special food, it wouldn't be harmful to them, as long as they don't have a steady diet of it. Good news, since Tipper & Misty will eat everything in sight!

At this point, this isn't something to get alarmed about or that needs really aggressive treatment. They're hoping early detection and changes in diet, etc. will slow the progression into full fledged kidney disease resulting to early death. Of course, we want to keep our little guy as healthy as we can for as long as we can!

Input from anyone about kidney problems in cats will be appreciated. Any info that would be too long for "comments" can be emailed to



At October 20, 2006 10:30 AM, Blogger Cecilia & The 2Bs said...

Unfortuanately I have no experience with this issue. We hope that George will be OK.

At October 20, 2006 12:52 PM, Blogger William said...

My mom has some info on treatment, so she'll e-mail your mom later. In the meantime, I hope you feel better, George!

At October 20, 2006 1:32 PM, Blogger Riley & Tiki said...

You might try one of those kitty drinking fountains. I found out too late to do much for my Vincent, but the subQ wasn't as hard as I thought it would be - it just didn't work because he was too far gone. My new kittens love Nutro kitten, so hopefully the Nutro your vet suggests is tasty too.

Tiki & Riley's Mom

At October 20, 2006 4:52 PM, Anonymous Beau said...

Don't know anything about the treatments, but when I had a fountain I did drink more. I love fresh water so maybe a small bowl of fresh water every few hours might be enticing. Get better soon, and love to all!!

At October 20, 2006 5:33 PM, Blogger Gemini said...

We've dealt with this repeatedly. How soon you and how much you need to do with fluids probably depends upon where his values are now as far as kidney's and such. Kidney failure in some cats shows up fairly early in their blood work but they aren't very symptomic--except for wanting to drink more water. Some cats fail quickly and the values go up quickly and others go more slowly. The senior type diets are usually best for that having lower protein. There used to be a place online where a woman had researched all the protein levels of a bunch of different foods and had them listed. Of course, K/D is the lowest. I'm not a big fan of science diet because I try to feed organic foods, human quality foods and stay away from preservatives--and Science diet meets none of my requirements.

We did fluids with my oldest cat when he was in late stage renal failure. We did his every other day but we started with him very late. Georgia has been showing kidney failure for a year now but her levels haven't changed much. This vet wants me to do fluids for her and she said once a week should be enough (as with the pred and all G has enough to put up with!) and it's mostly to make them comfortable and help their kidneys flush through toxins. The fountain is a wonderful idea and make sure it stays filled. I know with all my ancient kitties they drank water like no tomorrow.

The fluids really aren't that hard. My older cat loved to play in the faucet so I'd drip water and he'd play with the water while getting the fluids. I have a plant hanger that I hung on the mirror over the vanity that I mostly used to give fluids and that made things very easy. Don't let the fluids get too cold. I think if they feel the cold fluid they'll really hate it! Georgia dislikes the whole fluid thing the most of all my cats, but then again she's also the most physically sound at the point of starting them and she's all been a pain to medicate in ANY way!

Essentially what you are working for is to give George the highest quality of life for the longest time possible. You can't cure kidney failure. I think checking in with him repeatedly to see how he's enjoying the food and how much he hates (or not) the fluids is really a good idea. I mean if his life has to revolve around all this life extension stuff but he's miserable, is it really worth it? I think my vet would love to have G on fluids more frequently (the pred is massively hard on her kidneys) but that's our compromise on how often so that she does have space to not be messed with and she can still enjoy mess free time! this isn't from Gemini but she sends purrs for George! And I just realized the similarity of names of cats that I've been talking about! Actually Georgia got feminized by me because she was a girl. She lived around my apartment complex and several folks just called her George!

At October 20, 2006 5:43 PM, Blogger Gemini said...

Oh and I wanted to add--renal failure may be incurable--it's not going to happen tomorrow. I know some cats go downhill fast but others live for years. I guess some Siamese start showing renal failure fairly young--nine or ten but end up living to 20 or even 25 in a few cases--this is not the time to start mourning George--unless it's very far advanced. It's just time for him to get his senior discount.

I mean, it's all about getting older and we all do--

Oops just saw your email address and probably should have sent there!

At October 20, 2006 6:26 PM, Blogger Edsel/The Pooch said...

hi, my Mom emailed your Mom 'cause she knows some stuff bout this. hope you feel okay. barfin' up anything is no fun

At October 21, 2006 6:43 AM, Blogger Sahara said...

My momma has my sister on Royal Canin Urinary SO. It is for kidney/bladder problems in kitties. It is suppose to have the added effect of making them thirsty so they drink more.

At October 22, 2006 8:59 PM, Blogger Rosie & Cheeto said...

I wish we had inportunt infurmashun to help yoo out george. George, yoo need to get bettur's obvious yer lady is vary wurried about yoo!

At October 23, 2006 2:33 AM, Blogger Hot(M)BC said...

George, did you do like Mini and drink your tuna waters too fast? Mini frows up from eatin too fast. Or if it's too rich. She's jus got a fussy tummy.

Mommy hadta switch all of us to a new food cuz Mini hadta have it fur a while. She did it by puttin a lil in my cat chow the first day, then a lil more efurry day til it was all the noo food. An you know what? It won't so bad that way. I efun eated it. (They says I's picky too, George!)

Keepin the water fresh n clean is the bestest way to make sure kitties get lotsa water, my Mommy read. Fountains are good. An the artycle said that hafin more than one water bowl round the house is good too. And maybe your Mommy can ask Chatham's mommy bout the subcute-anney-us thing too, for later.

We all hopes you keeps feelin good George. Your beans are just tryin to help you stay healthy. Not much fun sometimes, but feelin sicky is poopy.


At October 23, 2006 7:44 AM, Blogger Latte said...

You've got lots of good advice here George! I just wanted to add that Nutro is tasty food and pretty good for you. Its not our "main" food but we eat it mixed in sometimes and their stinky goodness food is YUMMY!

At October 23, 2006 11:51 AM, Blogger Junior said...

My Meowm doesn't have any advice but she said we will keep our paws crossed and say purrayers for you!

At October 23, 2006 7:52 PM, Blogger Jake and Bathsheba said...

Jake and Bathsheba's mom here: My beloved Maine Coon cat Precious was diagnosed with kidney disease when she was 18 years old - about 10 years ago. My experience might not be current, but she ate the Science Diet KD dry food; she had previously been a Purina Cat Chow girl. I gave her subcutaneous fluids for about seven months. I couldn't believe that I was able to do something so "medical," but I loved her very much and she took it very well. We started out once or twice a week and worked up to about twice a day at the end. She died peacefully at age 19 in 1997.

At October 24, 2006 7:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no detailed information, but I can share that my cat, Gertie, was diagnosed with chronic renal failure when she was about 8 years old. She was a somewhat picky eater, but transitioned well to Science Diet k/d food and tolerated the subcutaneous fluids without a claw raised in protest. She'd run right over to her scratching post after we were done and give it a good workout though!! Gertie lived a good quality life for 10 more years. In the end, cancer took her, not the kidney disease.

At October 24, 2006 11:46 AM, Blogger Name: Mr. Hendrix said...

My woofie cousin Comet who went to the rainbow bridge last year also had to have more fluids. My grammie and granpie would put some water (light broth sometimes too) in his crunchie food bowl. It also helped to soften his crunchies to make it easier to chew.
Comet was a rescued golden retriever who lived to be 15 1/2 so lotsa love and special food helped him stay healthy for a long time.
It was pancreatic cancer that took him in the end, not his kidneys. Our purayers are wif you.

At October 25, 2006 8:06 PM, Blogger nels, ed, nitro, and/or xing said...

hi, george--nelson lapurr here. i've been eating science diet K/D for about 8 years now, and it's literally kept me from dying. i have chronic congestive heart failure--if i don't tinkle off the fluids, they gang up around my heart and squoosh it.

K/D makes it easy for you to get rid of fluids, so if you try it, i think you can expect good results. it comes in both crunchies and canned, and mom & dad sneaked it in on me a little at a time over the period of a week. i have liked it just fine ever since.

all us meowers sure hope & purray that efurrything goes well for you from now on!


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