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Rich Lafferty's Journal

(mendelicious mendelusions)

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poor kittercat
Took Rasha in to the internal medicine specialist today for an ultrasound, poor guy.

A few months ago he was having trouble peeing, and we took him into the emergency vet then because our vet was closed. He wasn't blocked (which was our fear, that being common and very dangerous in older male cats) and some sub-Q and antispasmodics cleared him up in a day or so. X-rays from the first incident showed some small kidney stones but nothing migrating. It was chalked up to idiopathic (i.e., no particular cause) cystitis.

But then it happened a couple more times. Last time he was in he got another set of X-rays, which showed his left kidney significantly enlarged and low but smooth, and a full workup, which showed high urea and creatinine levels in his urine, a classic sign of chronic renal failure. On top of all that he's been losing weight despite having a good appetite; he's down around 8.5 lbs now. He was never a big cat but he's pretty boney at that weight. "Supermodel cat", our regular vet called him.

The internal medicine vet, Dr. Norris at the VEC, asked a lot of good questions this morning and walked me through the X-rays and so on, and explained what we know and what we don't: that kidney failure is common in cats, especially purebreds, although at 13 Rasha's towards the young side of age-related kidney problems; that the stones aren't a big concern if they stay in the kidneys, but if they start migrating it can cause a problem fast, but that's not the problem here; that since cats (and humans) can get by on very little kidney, showing elevated levels is often a sign of significant damage; and that neither the cystitis nor the kidney problem really explain the weight loss.

And on top of that I've learned on my own that Birmans are predisposed to renal dysfunction.

He's there now awaiting his ultrasound (and resulting shaved belly -- can you picture this shaved?).

He's still a happy cat, hanging out in the window and snuggling with us and eating normally and generally being his usual bratty self, but I'm worried that he's starting to wear out with age. Poor little kitter. Cross your fingers for us, folks.

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I just thank God that you two are the sort of animal companions you are, because my father actually started talking about putting down my cat (that's lived with my parents for 3 years, but Alicia picked it out from a shelter ten years ago, get real, please) on the basis of, "She's had a long life with many people who love her."

Maybe not the best thing to say to my 70-year-old father, but I retorted, "So have you, and no one's tried to euthanise you. Plus which, for someone who was so angsty about the right to life when I worked at Planned Parenthood, you seem to have a flexible definition of 'right to life'."

The cat, if my parents feel they can no longer manage it, is simply returning to my custody. As it should be.

Keeping fingers crossed for a long and healthy happy time still to come.

I can't help to feel slightly offended by one of the previous comments. I feel there is nothing wrong if someone were to choose to put their cat down in this situation, rather than do what nyxie and mendel are choosing to do, which is a completely valid option, too. Everyone's situation is different. Some people may love their pets immensely, but choose to put them down sooner than the next person, for whatever reason.

That being said, I hope Rasha is happy and comfortable for the time he has left, whether it be two days, two months, two years, whatever. He's a great cat with a great personality. Does he still play the game where you hide behind something and he pretends to stalk you? Loved that. :)

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