Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A New Campaign in Tungsten's War


Tungsten went to her veterinary appointment on Friday. The resulting information from the tests conducted upon her was not good, but not very bad either. My orange friend is in second stage kidney failure, retaining about half of her kidney function. Usually, the doctor told me, cats don’t exhibit signs until they lose three quarters of the organs’ functions, so I was lucky Tungsten showed me clues relatively early on.

This is of course bad news, but it’s not a death sentence. I intend to try some kidney diet on her, though it is anyone’s guess whether she will accept this and, if she does, how long she will continue to accept it. Failing that, I can try some food made for seniors. There are other articles I can use on her, including some pro-biotics and a supplement for binding phosphorus.

The orange one’s big need is for water. I will be setting up more bowls for her. An indication of her desire for more fluids is her apathy in allowing me to see her drink from a bowl - previously, she felt that she had to maintain the fiction that she didn’t drink from bowls; that way, I would feel compelled to provide her with running water from a tap. (She doesn’t know that I’d give her water in any form she likes, so long as she drinks it.) As well, Tungsten doesn’t seem as reluctant to accept water from a syringe sometimes.

Good news did come from the examination, however. Her T4 values, measuring her hyperthyroidism, remain good. The normal range is between ten and sixty. Tungsten was at sixteen and now is at nineteen.


Something a bit frightening occurred the night following the veterinary visit. Tungsten began visiting the litter-boxes, very suddenly and very often; every few seconds, in fact. She would do what she had to do, come out and immediately go back in. She was wetting, small drops each time, so she was not blocked. It was as if an infection had assailed her without preamble, causing her to think she had to go when she hadn’t really. Then it stopped. The episode lasted about an hour and a half.

The next morning, it occurred again. It was of shorter duration, but Tungsten felt such need that she sought other places to go, even though I brought a litter-box up from the basement to the main floor for her convenience. She probably felt that the litter wasn’t helping her, so she would try other locations. This too stopped suddenly.

Finally, it happened a third time on Sunday morning. Tungsten was so needful to go that she tried everywhere, chairs, carpets, hardwood floors, leaving little spots of urine at each. Then that ended, as well. She has since recovered fully, and has not been restless at night as she was during the weekend. She is leaving proper-sized lumps in the litter-boxes.

I called the after-hours veterinarian Friday night and she suggested I bring my friend in the next morning. But Tungsten’s swift recovery that night suggested to me that this was related to stress and not an actual infection. Its repetition the following two days - and its abrupt stop each time - made me more certain that she was beset by stress caused by the doctor’s visit. I took a chance and did not bring her to the hospital. It was risky, I know, but I think I was right. She is doing well now, except that she woke me early today using her new method for getting me out of bed when I don’t want to: roaming the top of my nightstand and knocking items to the floor. I wish there were a diet to deal with that…

So my top-cat enters a new phase of her war against her conditions. I will be getting the food and the supplements, pouring more water into her and making sure she eats. A friend has a cat in a similar condition, a cat who has lived for three years with the same problems, and is now nineteen. Tungsten isn’t yet finished with life; as long as she’s comfortable and content, I want her living a very long time.

19 comments:

  1. Lots of purrs to her, we know you'll manage her CRF the best you can for as long as you can.

    Tanya's CRF site the most comprehensive I'm aware of: http://www.felinecrf.org/

    I'm dreading the day I have to do research on CRF...if the boys don't die of something else first. :-/

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    1. I will be checking that site out. Thank you.

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  2. The cats send their purrs, and I'm sure you'll do everything you can to keep her healthy and happy for as long as you can. Hopefully the stress of the vet visit is past and she doesn't exhibit any more episodes. Poor girl! And poor you too, not knowing exactly what was going on.

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    1. When a cat suffers stress, so do her people. Both of us are much calmer now.

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  3. I can tell just from Tungsten's photos that she's got a very strong character. Long may the top-cat reign!

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    1. Yes, she does have that. That's why she's top-cat!

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  4. It does indeed sound stress related. Flynn has had stress cystitis twice in his life, the first time when Kit died and then when Eric died. It sounds as if Tungsten's was mild enough for her to get over on her own, but keep an eye on her just in case. It is good that her CRF has been caught early and hopefully she will go on for many years to come. Good news that her T4 is well within range. Flynn's was 110 on his last test which was taken after he had been off all medication for a month. Hopefully it will be better next time.

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    1. There is so much that can upset a cat, and the loss of a friend is a big cause, certainly. I will be watching for Flynn's updates.

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  5. Dear Tungsten what a little trouper you are. We are hoping for the best and what the Vet told you is truth, Even at Stage 4 CRF is manageable. So Tungsten has a long long LONG way still yet to go

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    1. Things are quite different than they used to be, I think. Such conditions are not the end for cats. I'm encouraged to know that even a late stage can be managed. Thank you.

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  6. I know I am a stranger to you, but I send my love. My Robin who passed 20 years ago and the age of almost 16, and the matriarch of the family who reared all three of my sons had severe kidney disease. She had some heartbreaking issues too. Please know I want the very best for you both.

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    1. Thank you. I'll be thankful for every day that Tungsten is alert and content.

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  7. Tanya's CRF site is wonderful! She also has a list of suppliers in Canada if you choose to do home SQ fluid infusion. I have given subcutaneous fluids to 7 cats over the years. ( I usually open my home to seniors).It's really not hard at all and I've only had one cat who didn't cooperate with it. Also, ordering fluids,needles and lines from a supplier for home use is extremely cost effective. I use Brico here in the states. The urination issue would have upset me terribly. Blockages, stones, that terrible feeling.
    We're behind you both with whatever route you choose. If we can be of any help do not hesitate to let us know. Hugs to you and kisses on Tungsten's sweet head. We send you our love, Tungsten dear.

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    1. I'll be interested in the list of suppliers. Tungsten's stress problem was rather alarming, though its sheer suddenness (both in stopping and starting) was ironically a bit reassuring. Thank you for your help.

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  8. Oh poor Tungsten. I do hope her health stablizes and she is able to enjoy more years with you. Tha fact that she taken to knocking things off your night stand to wake you up tells me she still has some "kitten" in her yet. Jessie used to do this when she was young. Broke a number of IKEA lamps and alarm clocks. From Eileen and Jessica

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    1. Tungsten does still have a, shall we say, interesting personality. She'll be around for a while yet.

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  9. glad they weren't terrible results and her stress leveled back out. our old man Maestro was diagnosed with kidney disease at one point....hated the special diet so mom just supplemented him with canned food and water added

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  10. Tungsten, sorry to hear you are having some kidney problems. We have had a couple of cats here that had that and they lived a long time. Sounds like you have the personality to keep going. We sure send many purrs etc. You all take care.

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  11. Cats do very well if we can get enough fluids into them to hold the renal failure at bay. He seeming to be blocked would have given me fits and I commend you for seeing what I agree was most likely stress related. You have our support in full!

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