April 08, 2022

When It Rains, It Pours

Man, I've had a lot of emotional posts lately. And that's only the stuff I write about! There has been so much going on over the past six months or so that I *haven't* written about and I feel completely emotionally drained. Today topped the cake.

I'm going to save my Friday Night Photos post for tomorrow. I'm going write this quickly so I can try to distract my mind with anything other than real life right now.

On Wednesday, I heard Phoebe throw up (if you have cats, you very distinctly know that noise!) and when I went to clean it up, I saw that she'd just thrown up bile. Not that unusual--it happens with all animals once in a while. But then she continued to throw up bile several times throughout the day. The last time that happened was when Duck ate yarn and needed emergency surgery. However, Phoebe knows better than to eat yarn--she's about 15 years old now. Still, I wasn't too worried because Phoebe has a very sensitive stomach and by the evening, she stopped throwing up.

Yesterday morning, Phoebe didn't eat her breakfast. She's always been picky about food, so I still didn't think much of it. However, she was drinking a ton of water--much more than usual. I found her in the bathroom next to the toilet, almost like she wanted water from the bowl (I've never seen her do that before). Jerry saw her sitting in the shower later, too.

She seemed very lethargic and she didn't look good--un-groomed and her eyes just looked dull. She also seemed like she'd lost weight and Phoebe can't afford to lose weight. I weighed her and she was only five pounds! I placed water bowls all over the house for her because she seemed so lethargic I didn't know if she'd be able to go to her usual bowl. I called the vet to see if they could get her in, and they said to bring her in a 4:00 today.

From everything I read online, it sounded like kidney disease/failure. I really hoped it was something else, something that had an easy fix.

She did lie in the sun yesterday--she loves the warmth! (She looks big in this picture, but if Duck was lying next to her, you'd be in shock. He weighs more than twice what Phoebe does!)

She looked so bad this afternoon that I prepared myself for the worst--I thought for sure that she wasn't going to be coming home with me from the vet. I thought we'd have to have her euthanized. I prepared Jerry and the kids for the worst. She seemed completely miserable, hadn't eaten in two days and was doing nothing but hiding under Eli's bed. When I pulled her out, she seemed like she was in a lot of pain. I've been afraid to even pick her up because she's so frail.

It was odd going to the vet, because this was the first time I've ever been inside this particular vet's office! They'd been doing curbside service for two years (which is when we switched vets) but now they are allowing people inside. I ended up being there for over two hours while they did tests then explained the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.

Phoebe has kidney disease. And she's not doing so well. The vet explained that it's progressive--not curable--and we could try treating it with diet and medication. She suggested that we try it for a week and then do another blood test to see if her numbers improve at all. If she seems to be doing better, we can continue with the treatment; if not, we'll need to make the decision to whether to euthanize her.

I already know that this treatment is going to be damn near impossible. Phoebe never wants to eat when I want her to and when she does eat, it's only a couple of teaspoons at a time. The other cats can sniff out a can of food from a mile away and they go nuts for it. I'm not about to give them Phoebe's expensive food, so I have to try to feed her in my bedroom/bathroom and lock the kittens out. I can't leave food unattended for even half a second.

Phoebe will might take a few licks and then I have to put her food in the fridge and try again later. Each time I do, the kittens go crazy because they want her food.

In addition to the food issue, I have to give her subcutaneous fluids once a day. They gave me an IV bag filled with saline and showed me how to put the needle under her skin and give her fluids that way. I practiced it at the vet and I was able to do it, thankfully; otherwise, I'd have to drive her 45 minutes to the vet every day!

I also have to give her an anti-nausea pill so that she'll get her appetite back and I have another supplement to give her in addition to her food (it's like a gravy). So far, I've yet to get her to try either one and I've attempted it a few times.

Going through all the stuff with the cats in December was hell. I was so drained and emotional and just frustrated about the whole situation. It was like an around-the-clock job taking care of the cats. If it was just Phoebe here, it'd be no problem. But the food issue is stressful.

I don't have a lot of hope that she's going to get much better--Phoebe is just not motivated by food (or anything, really).

Anyway, we're going to spoil her this week and give her tons of love and attention. We know we may only have this week with her. I don't even want to think about all this right now. I'm just already stressed thinking about tomorrow and trying to *literally* herd cats!

(Excuse any spelling/grammar errors; I'm not going to proofread today.)


  1. I am so sorry to hear about Phoebe 🥺 I will hope for the best and send all of the good, healing vibes. I had to make the difficult decision to say goodbye to my 12 year-old cat last Fall. So hard... Sending you and your family all of the strength amd peace 💖

  2. So sorry to read about Phoebe's kidney disease. She's such a special cat. Sending you all peace and love.

  3. My cat has had kidney disease for years, combined with thyroid disease. The prognosis for it is generally poor, but he's held on for years. We do a combination of sub-q fluids and we tried to do the fancy kidney diet stuff, but he rejects it. So I just let him have stinky fish (Fancy Feast flaked shrimp stuff), since he's a picky boy. We also put mirataz in his ear (rx'd by the vet), which stimulates his appetite.

    The important thing is that she eats, because starving will tax the kidneys more and make it worse. Is there anything hyperpalatable at all that she'll eat? Even dry food, even though it's junk, is high calorie and can help. My little man likes those Temptation candies, and while they're nutritionally void, they're calories -- and at this point, that's what matters the most.

    Long term maintenance definitely needs the fancy kidney stuff, but at this point, your goal is to actually get her to eat and avoid renal failure from starvation. The sub-qs will definitely help, but right now, any food she'll get down is better than nothing. If she fights you on the fluids, you can ask your vet for gabapentin to keep her calm during the treatment.

    I also heat up the fluids by wrapping the IV bag in a heating pad, too, so it's more comfortable for him going in. You and Phoebe are in my thoughts right now, and I'm saying a prayer for her recovery and your peace at this time. <3

    1. KAZ is right on! Our 17 y/o picky pants made it THREE more years on mirataz & a plentiful wet food diet. The kidney food helps if they'll eat it, but wet food is way more important. Sorry Phoebe and you guys are going through this. All you can do is love on her. She feels it. ❤️

  4. Katie I hope Phoebe improves. She looks like a sweat and fragile baby. I'm sorry too about the relay falling apart at the last minute. As far as your knee pain, I'm wondering if Glucosamine might really help. I'm gonna start back on it for my hip pain. It's a supplement, not a drug. I sure hope spring weather makes everybody feel better. Thinking of you and yours.

  5. I'm so sorry to hear about Phoebe. It's so hard when they're ill. We're sending lots of love from Cleveland. You're an incredible cat mama and they're lucky to have you.

  6. I’m so sorry, friend. This sounds so difficult to go through.

  7. I'm so sorry. I know how stressful it is to have a sick kitty. I have a 14 year old kitty too that is not motivated at all by food. You are doing all you can for her.

  8. Katie, I am so sorry to hear about Phoebe's poor health. I lost my pet a couple of years ago due to kidney disease. My thoughts and well wishes are with you and your family.

  9. My heart aches for you all, so sad Phoebe is going through this, sending positive thoughts and prayers your way 💜

  10. Hugs & prayers coming your way. So very sorry to hear what your family is going through. Love Phoebe all you can. Be gentle on yourself this week too.

  11. Oh Katie. I'm sending all the love. You folks are such good pet parents (people parents too, but that's not the topic here). This is just the toughest thing. Hugs too.

  12. I'm so sorry to hear about Phoebe! Our cats are 14 years old. We've recently had various serious medical issues with them and never thought we'd be able to do the treatment, whether it was give pills, get them to eat foods, and yet eventually we were able to do a lot of it. I hope you get Phoebe to eat something so that she will feel a little better - the antinausea meds could really help with that if you can get them into her. I am hoping for the best!

  13. I'm so sorry about Phoebe. I hope Phoebe will eat for you so she can feel better.

  14. I am sorry to hear about Phoebe. We had one with kidney disease and we had to make the hard decision on March 18, 2020 - just an awful week for everyone but this made it that much harder (and perhaps made a little bit more quickly that we would have otherwise). He never took to the special food.

  15. I'm so sorry to hear this about your Phoebe. It is so stressful to see them miserable. And, I totally hear you on the stress of having other cats that are driven crazy by the food you're trying to get the one that WON'T eat to eat. It's really hard. One day at a time, it's a sweet time to spoil her and make her feel really special. I'll send good vibes for success with the sub-q and the special food.

  16. I am SO sorry to hear this, I know how special Phoebe is to you! She always looks so sweet and photogenic as well. Sending all the love and positive thoughts your way <3 I hope she eats and enjoys her special food!


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