Feedback (Page 8)
opinions expressed in the Caregiver Feedback pages are those of the
authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Feline
CRF Information Center.
for the CRF site. We've got a cat about 3 months into a CRF diagnosis
-- named Toulouse, a Russian Blue. So far, the most life-threatening
aspect for him has been severe constipation -- we've had him at
the vet twice to clear things out, and have been giving him enemas
about 2x/week to keep things moving. You might want to consider
adding this to the Management section of the page; our vet says
it's a pretty common issue with CRF cats he sees, and it can sneak
up on you (it sure did on us!).
for your web site. Spot was a brave cat, who endured his debilitating
disease with grace and dignity. But getting him to eat was another
matter. When all else failed I would feed him broth. I started
off with the stuff from the store but he liked fresh broth better.
So it became a weekly part of my routine to boil down the bones
of chickens (usually) or cows (a treat) and feed him the broth.
He was usually excited while the broth was boiling and thankful
to slurp it all down. I liked making it fresh because I knew what
went into the pot, and I felt that I was helping him to get both
fluid and nourishment. Maybe this tip will help other people trying
to help their kitty friends.
My cat "Bandit"
was diagnosed with CRF in March of 1997, when I had taken him
in to the vet due to his refusal to eat. After tests upon tests,
the vet gave him the diagnosis of having 25% kidney function followed
by a life span of "2 months or 2 years." Well, that was almost
2 years ago and he is a bit thinner, but still doing well. The
following suggestions I would like to make in the hopes that they
help someone else; however, please take this information as you
would anyone's opinion - as general information.
The way I
have been able to deal with CRF, the changes that had to be made,
and hopefully the extension of Bandit's quality of life is by
I use the
"Nature Made" brand of Potassium Gluconate 550mg, found at Target
stores, due to the high cost of the vet brand of the same ingredient.
Money is an issue with me; however, if getting the vet brand was
the only way to save my cat, I would have done it.
I coat any
pill form of medication with a touch of petroleum jelly to make
it easier to swallow. (Vet suggestion)
stops eating or appears to have stomach upset I give him 1/8 to
a 1/4 of a 200mg tablet of the ingredient cimetidine, which is
found in Tagamet. (The vet first prescribed this for him when
he had stopped eating.)
If I do have
to leave him to go on a trip and his care is in another's hands
I put plain pedialyte in his waterer instead of water, as it has
calories and nutritional value.
feed him his choice of food, which has been "Fancy Feast" canned
food for the past year. When he is finicky and doesn't eat much,
I supplement his diet by adding the "High Calorie Vitamin Supplement"
by St. Aubry Veterinary Labs. It is a gel diet supplement that
I have researched and found at all Wal-Mart stores. Bandit loves
the taste of it, in fact it is the only thing that he rushes to
I have chosen
not to frighten him anymore than I have to, in that I do not take
him to the vet anymore - as Bandit wouldn't eat following those
trips. I have the philosophy that if I were in his "paws," I would
not want a bunch of people testing me and then telling me how
I had digressed. This way his life is as normal as it can be with
I have three
cats, and Bandit still runs, plays and jumps as they do. The only
difference that I can tell is his eating habits and he sleeps
a bit more than the others do.
to all who are dealing with this illness. Try to look at the quality
of life rather than the length when you think of your precious
all so much for this page (the authors and all my kindred cat
My dear friend
Stasha (aprox 12 year old rescued 'pound-cat') was diagnosed with
CRF early this Jan.'99. She had the usual signs as described in
these feedback pages (of which I have poured over with a note-pad).
months of over-priced and uninformative care from the "premiere"
cat hospital in my area, I decided to get a second opinion. I
have to recommend this to all CRF care-takers. Don't think because
a vet has the best looking or best advertised facilities that
you are getting the best care. You know your pet better than anyone.
If your cat is not getting any better (or as in my case, getting
worse!) look for another doctor and don't look back! I hunted
around and was led to a wonderful (ex-zoo) vet about 30 minutes
from my home. He is very down to earth, no nonsense and is very
much into minimizing invasive care (no more vaccinations, she
is 100% indoor, and no reason to stress her weak system further)
and emphasizing home care and patient education.
On to a few
hints I have picked up or learned. First, sub-Q's: warming the
bag made all the difference in the world for us. I thought I would
never be able to do the now 3 X per week injections till I found
this hint. Also, my cat seemed to feel the needle a LOT when lying
down (she has always been a small girl), so I found another way
of finding a better 'tent' in her scruff. It is a 2 person job,
but we put her in a box about the size of a shoe box, but with
higher sides. With brushing and petting, we get her to sit (rear
end down, head up). This seems to bunch the skin up more around
her shoulders. After she is in this ideal position, we stuff towels
around her to keep her in place. With the bag hung HIGH above
(off the top of the door) it takes about 1 minute to get 100 cc's
in (also using a large 18 gauge needle).
I also found
another brand of low-protein food at my local pet-store (which
is a small privately-run business). The brand is Hi-Tor, the line
is Neo-Diet. The info on the can says "packed for: Triumph Pet
Industries Inc. Hillburn, NY 10931" and "Product of Canada" but
I am in Maryland, so it is available through-out the states. It
is only .5% more protein than KD (which Stasha hates) and does
not require driving to a vet's office to get (it is not "prescription",
a misnomer I believe has more to do with $-contracts with Hills
than anything else). I occasionally mix in cheap tuna in water,
when she is not interested in food (the cheaper 'light' tuna instead
of 'white' has more fat and richer taste and smell). My vet said
that since protein is the problem, not fat, even frying up the
food in some butter can help, if they like it (it didn't entice
my cat, but worth passing the suggestion on.)
thought. On my vet's suggestion, I put Stasha on 3 cc's of Amphogel
2X per day, for one week. We then switched to the same dosage
of a liquid Calcium Carbonate (special order from a good privately
owned pharmacy, they seem more helpful with special requests than
big chains). This switch was to avoid aluminum toxicity from Amphogel
too long. I assume we will switch back and forth, ask your vet.
I let her get the antacid into her stomach for about 45 minutes
before bringing her right to her fresh food. It's as though she
hadn't considered that she felt well enough to eat till then,
and to my joy, usually does eat some!
do urinalysis at home every 2 weeks. On "pee-day" we fill the
litter box with Styrofoam peanuts so the urine will run right
through and do a dip-stick.(Hema-Combistix, tests for PH, blood
and protein. I ordered them from my wonderful pharmacist, not
cheap, but saves a stressful vet-trip). I can call my vet with
the results, and take a urine sample to him if he thinks the values
I thank you
for allowing me to take up so much room and hope some of these
hints will help some of you with your wellness care. Cherish every
moment with your loved ones, when they come to see you, stop what
you are doing and give them some love, soon enough you'll miss
those "interruptions" in your life. Best wishes to all.
and Stasha, my "Kahn"
to the world of CRF and your website is just a fantastic place
to find help, information and ideas. We were in shock at the diagnosis
and couldn't even think of questions to ask our Vet. We've now
learned to read labels (Sheba foods are low in protein), ask questions
I'd like to
share a trick which may help others. When first introducing the
prescription food by mixing it with regular (low protein only)
foods, keep the prescription food refrigerated. Warm the regular
food until it's hotter than the kitty would like, make a hole
in the middle, fill it with cold prescription food, and fold the
hot food over the top. When our Cally dives in, she eats right
down to the bottom, old and new food together. When the food is
cold, they don't taste it, so it's eaten right along with what
I thank you
for a most informative website. Having lost my 18 year old Ginger*
female cat two weeks ago to CRF, I was desperate for some answers
& more info about what had happened to her for the last 3 years.
Being a Medical Technologist, myself, I went first to the Medical
sites which were obviously human-related. Somehow in my search
I came across your site. How I wish that I had discovered this
while she was still with us. I have, however, found great comfort
from its contents.
I am from
Cape Town, South Africa, & I was amazed to read about all the
medications & treatments available to you all for CRF. During
the first 2 years of Ginny's diagnosis she was dripped 3 times,
one occasion she was on a drip for 4 days. During this stay in
hospital I also took the risk of having her teeth cleaned as the
vet said that the condition of her mouth was making the disease
progress faster. This decision paid off & over the last year she
was dripped only once, only because she had a bout of diarrhea.
Mostly she has suffered from constipation but I managed to control
this by giving her Animalax every 2nd day. I ensured that she
drank lots of water, even when she was dozing I used to present
her with a bowl of water.
was very good. I did have a her on KD pellets in the mornings
but in the last 6 months she had a problem chewing them & as I
knew her time was near I allowed her to eat whatever she would
eat. At times she did go off her food but then I would give her
a few doses of an "ulcer " suspension & she would eat again.
all your feedback pages I did not see any experiences with nasal
bleeding. According to the medical sites, platelet dysfunction
is a complication of Renal Disease. A month before I had to euthanise
Ginny she had her first nasal bleed which occurred after she sneezed
due to a cold. A month later she started to bleed slowly through
her nose late one afternoon. By 23h00 that night it had not stopped
& was causing her distress as it seemed to be running down the
back of her throat. We took her to the Emergency Vet who gave
her coagulants & dripped her overnight. The next afternoon I fetched
her & took her home to spend her last night with us so that we
could say good-bye. That night the blood started to clot & the
small clots got stuck in her nostrils causing her much distress
until I removed them. She did have a fairly comfortable night
& the next morning she ate as usual, sat in all her favourite
sun spots in the garden & even jumped onto the patio table to
get the first rays of the sun. It was like any other day except
for the blood slowly dripping from her nose & this made it so
much harder to take her for that final ride to the vet!
lost her fight with CRF on June 12, 1999. Her photos and story
are in the Tributes to CRF Cats Gallery.
I am the proud
owner of Samantha - "the wonder kitten". She is 19 in August and
has had CRF for almost 5 years. Just today I noticed that she
was shedding quite a bit so I did a web search to find out if
that was one of the symptoms of CRF. Sadly I find that it is.
I would like
to share just a few things about my stoic kitten. We call her
the wonder kitten because she has gone through those ups and downs
you describe so clearly in your wonderful website. She has undergone
an international move recently and came through it with flying
colours. However, shortly afterwards, began having small bleeds
in her beautiful eyes. I took her to the new vet (who had been
recommended to me). He was unsure but mentioned it could be high
blood pressure - but that there was no blood at the back of the
eye - it was visible from the front so he thought it unlikely.
to take her home and monitor her. Well, several small bleeds later
(she never seemed to be in pain) and quite a few trips to the
vet and I was beginning to feel that they did not know what they
were doing. Then, she had a HUGE bleed in one of her eyes - so
terrible that you could not see any of her eye as it was full
of blood. She was in a lot of pain - as was I. I called my old
vet - he is wonderful and told me to ask for a referral to a specialist.
I did and
am I ever glad. The vet that looked after her is a godsend and
in one visit, identified her problem - high blood pressure - in
fact it was at 290 - when it should have been 160. The vet said
that Sam was lucky not to have suffered a brain aneurysm due to
She is on
BP meds and is like a new kitty. However, the meds are affecting
her kidney function slightly and I know I am on borrowed time
but as you say it is the quality of the time spent with her that
is important now.
I just wanted
to share this with you because you love Avatar and did everything
for him that you could. Some people think I am nuts but she is
my best friend and a wonderful soul. Even my husband, the cat
hater, LOVES her and will be devastated when we lose her. You
have to admit - any animal that can change a person like that
is pretty special.
for your website. It is an inspired and wonderful tribute and
will help many who feel they are alone with this.
this with Fred, my cat, I've found that mixing AD (anorexic diet
cat food from the vet) with an electrolyte solution like Pedialyte
or a generic brand instead of water helps supplement his electrolytes.
It's available at the grocery store ($5) for kids that have to
supplement theirs. Also, mixing Metamucil or a generic brand of
fiber laxative (1 teaspoon per meal) helps ENORMOUSLY with fighting
Fred's constipation. This has been such a serious issue with my
cat. His kidneys pull all the liquid from his GI tract so he winds
up seriously constipated and it has nearly killed him. He almost
died last month because he was so constipated he wouldn't eat
which led to %40 body weight loss to a respiratory infection so
he couldn't smell which compacted the eating situation. His BUN
level was not high at all but the vets thought it was time to
put him down. He was totally lethargic, always trying to eliminate.
I decided to fight back and mixed a concoction of food, meds,
electrolytes and metamucil with a rigorous enema regime and syringe-fed
him 50-60 mL daily in addition to sub Q fluids. Within a week,
his constipation was gone and his strength came back. He's gained
over 2 lbs and is healthier than before.
instincts. You know your animal best.
found your site in May, 1998 when our dear Amelia was diagnosed
with CRF. Being very ill, she spent 6 days on IV at the animal
hospital and was released to us with instructions on giving Sub
Qs daily for a month and then tapering off slowly.
Since we live
and travel full-time in our RV, we were told to have her blood
levels checked in a month wherever we were. After the 2nd test
we showed the doctor the first test results and he commented that
we were lucky we had the first vet when she was diagnosed. He
said, "This was a classic case of 'Put the cat down." He noted
that Amelia's current test results were better than the first.
He advised us to complete the Sub Qs and have her tested again
in a month or two.
When she was
first sick, we did some things that others MAY want to consider.
We firmly believe these things have helped Amelia regain her health
and build her immune system and other organs.
Once a day
we fix a mixture of about 8-10 drops of Essiac Tea (get it a health
food store--take no substitutes) and about 2-3 spoons of water.
We add 2 drops of Gingko Biloba extract (also found at health
food stores). We purchased a large, plastic baby dropper at the
drug store. She gets 2-3 droppers of this mixture each morning.
At midday and in the evening, she gets 2-3 droppers of plain water.
We just turn her onto her back in our arms and slowly feed it
to her, giving her time to swallow.
As a treat
for being so good, we give her one "Hugs and Kisses" vitamin (purchase
at large pet stores) which she loves better than any treat she
ever got earlier in her life. Since taking these, her coat has
improved and she also sheds less, plus she gets the value of the
vitamins. When we get distracted and forget to give her the treat,
she just sits on the floor and gives us "the look" until we deliver
vet sold us some special K-D Diet cat food, but we discovered
early on that it contains preservatives. Through our research
we learned that these synthetic preservatives contribute to kidney
problems, so we found cat food that has no preservatives. This
is what she eats exclusively AND she loves it. There are a few
varieties found in large pet stores now.
her 13th birthday in Sept. She seems more spry and healthier than
before she got sick. We really appreciated your site and the help
we got in coping with her illness, so we thought you might like
to share this info with other visitors.
upon your site rather by accident (was looking for a people-doctor
web site). My own cat, Vash, was diagnosed with CRF in 1995 when
she was 5 years old. She spent a week at the vets' with an IV.
Her BUN and creatinine were off the scale even after that week
in the hospital. I was given a choice of putting her to sleep
or taking her home and giving her Sub-Qs. I opted for the Sub-Qs.
When I brought her back to the vets' on Monday, they were finally
able to get a reading on the BUN and creatinine. She remained
on the Sub-Q for several months but finally got to a point where
she didn't need them. She's now on a diet of Hill's Feline k/d
mixed with a little bit of Sheba (to make it palatable enough
to eat) and 1/2 a dose of Winstrol twice a week. She's playful,
frisky and otherwise seems perfectly healthy (though she's a bit
thin and underweight). My vets are calling her the miracle kitty.
I am lucky
in several ways. First, though she's on the Winstrol tablets,
she actually *likes* them and all I have to do is put them on
the floor and she'll gobble them up. Also, based on my vets' reaction
when she first got sick, her level of health seems much higher
than they had expected. With the exception of the special food
and the pills, one would hardly know she was sick. Prognosis during
the first few days looked bleak. They spoke of possibly having
to give her regular dialysis if she didn't improve enough on her
own. The best they had hoped for was that she would recover sufficiently
that she would only require an altered diet for the rest of her
life. However, my impression from, not only what they said, but
how they said it, was that they didn't expect she would survive.
Her BUN and creatinine still register in the high range, but have
stabilized at the low end of that range.
in Hill's Feline k/d last year was a definite improvement and
I was able to increase the amount of food I give her. I've tried
weaning her off the Sheba, but every attempt to decrease it even
a little has resulted in her refusal to eat the food. I chose
Sheba because of the brands of cat food that I found, it came
the closest in protein levels to the Hill's k/d. She gets 3/8ths
of a 5 oz can of Hill's to 3/16ths of a 3.5 oz can of Sheba twice
a day. I realize that seems like an odd amount but it's based
on how much I can give her before she ends up leaving the rest.
If I start seeing her clean her bowl, I'll increase the amount
I give her. If she starts leaving large amounts repeatedly, then
I'll cut back for a while. I was giving her 1/4 Hill's to 1/8
Sheba last year, but she showed a definite preference for the
new formulation of Hill's so I was able to increase it a bit last
summer. Thank goodness that worked. Once the Sub-Qs kicked in
and she started to improve her kidney function, she nearly stopped
eating all together. Every suggestion by my vets and by Hill's
proved ineffective. It was only the addition of the Sheba that
got her eating again and stopped her weight loss (she was down
to about 4 lbs at her lowest). She's maintained a weight of 5
1/2 to 6 lbs for several years, fluctuating slightly up or down
(though I think it went up a little with the change in Hill's