Help me make the right decision. :/

For those seeking advice on caring for incontinent pets and animals with kidney-related problems.
Melia
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Help me make the right decision. :/

Post by Melia » Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:05 pm

So my boyfriend took our kitten, Trogdor, to the vet on Tuesday (Trogdor has Cerebellar Hypoplasia, only a mild case). He was having some diarrhea problems and wasn't making it to the potty okay. The vet told him that Trogdor can't tell when he has to go to the bathroom. He has muscle control down there, just not the little indicator that says "hey! you need to go to the bathroom pronto!". The only problem I have with this whole situation is that: 1) he goes to the bathroom when he's in the same room as his litterbox (I, however, DO NOT want to just seclude him to our room. That is no life for a cat) 2) he is in a great deal of pain, a lot of the time now, because he can't tell when he has to go to the bathroom 3) he is going to have kidney failure later on down the road, and there is no way he can overcome this disability. He's a loveable kitten, plays with his toys, sleeps with us all night, and is a real sweetheart. The vet wants to put him down this Tuesday. I don't really know what to do. I don't want him to be in pain anymore... And I'm gone 8 hours a day for school, so I can't be there for him 24/7. Advice?

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CarolC
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Re: Help me make the right decision. :/

Post by CarolC » Tue Dec 29, 2009 1:03 am

Melia, please do not do anything irreversible until you hear from critters or mumpkees or Diana R. or others with experience. I would love to reply but I do not have personal experience with CH. I would not hesitate to confine him to a room or even a crate while you are at school. He will sleep and be ready to play when you come home. Constipation (if that is what is making him uncomfortable) can be treated pretty easily, and so can diarrhea. Did the vet test for worms? Kittens usually have to be wormed several times while they are growing, I don't know why, it's just a kitten thing. I am not an expert but I do not understand why the vet said he is going to get kidney failure. :? I hope critters or mumpkees can give you better advice.

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Re: Help me make the right decision. :/

Post by Christine » Tue Dec 29, 2009 5:54 am

Hi Melia,

I am not the cat expert either, but, as Carol says...please wait until you hear from our experts who live with these issues everyday and their pets are happy and content because of the things they do to help them. The other thing I would like to say is the cats (and dogs) I have had in my life have always arranged their schedules to fit mine. My time at work was their time to sleep away the day and they were ready to play when I got home and back to sleep when I went to bed. Also, there is a lot to be said for their own secure space that is familiar and comfortable until the people they love are back to play with.

Many vets think that the owner cannot or will not do the extra things that might be necessary to give that pet quality of life and some do not even know of the options. This is your pet and it is your decision. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the information you will learn. Another option that I don't feel will even be necessary is that there are many people, some who visit here who foster and/or adopt special needs cats. Hang in there, help is coming.
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critters
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Re: Help me make the right decision. :/

Post by critters » Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:10 am

Melia wrote: The vet told him that Trogdor can't tell when he has to go to the bathroom. He has muscle control down there, just not the little indicator that says "hey! you need to go to the bathroom pronto!".
) 2) he is in a great deal of pain, a lot of the time now, because he can't tell when he has to go to the bathroom 3) he is going to have kidney failure later on down the road, and there is no way he can overcome this disability. ?
Frankly, I think you need another vet. I don't see any way the vet is coming up with all this, aside from "there is no way he can overcome this disability." Yes, he's disabled. I suspect the vet is confusing CH with SCI--spinal cord injury. After 2 CHers (including 1 extremely severe non-walker) and 3 SCI boys, only 1 SCI boy developed a neurogenic spasm at the neck of his bladder and couldn't pee, and yes, he was PTS after surgery and all. Fact is, even if Trogdor "doesn't have the indicator" you can express him, and it's what I'd suggest. Did this vet do anything about the diarrhea? If not, I'd beat feet elsewhere. (Well, I would anyway...)

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Re: Help me make the right decision. :/

Post by Christine » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:09 am

Hi Melia,

Just checking in with you. A couple of our members who can help may be away for the holiday. Here is a harmless, possibly helpful thing you can do right now with the bathroom situation. Give him a teaspoon of canned pumpkin - no spices - just plain pumpkin. This will help with loose stools or constipation. You will receive emails alerting you to more information as soon as it is posted.
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Re: Help me make the right decision. :/

Post by critters » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:17 am

Pumpkin is a GREAT idea, even if he still has some diarrhea; by absorbing and holding water, the pumpkin may help both diarrhea AND constipation! Metamucil or other fiber products can do the same thing, but the powders need to be mixed into canned food or something so he can't sniff the powder up.

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Re: Help me make the right decision. :/

Post by CarolC » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:45 pm

http://www.chkittyclub.com/pages/chcare.html

Here are tips on using the litterbox. One person says exactly what you said, the kitty objected to the litter. See what they did instead.

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Re: Help me make the right decision. :/

Post by CarolC » Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:19 pm

Melia, these are my impressions, but if critters or mumpkees or Lisa or Diana R. say differently, then listen to them.

[EDIT] Deleted my message, I was basing my conclusions partly on things the vet said, that do not sound right to someone who has experience with this.

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Re: Help me make the right decision. :/

Post by Melia » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:54 pm

thank you all for your information.
the vet is saying all these things because he is having a lot of problems with the bathroom. he won't go, plain and simple. he can't tell when his bladder is full, so he doesn't go. he's been peeing all over our home, etc, because he just can't tell. his CH isn't an issue. if it was just that, it wouldn't be a problem... i can deal with that. but i just can't put the time in to express him all the time, considering im at school from morning to evening, and i have a job at night.

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Re: Help me make the right decision. :/

Post by Christine » Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:23 am

I think it is amazing that you have mastered expressing him in addition to your full schedule. He's lucky that you chose him and that you love him so much. The vet is suggesting an option that is causing you so much pain...just think about the fact that this is not the only option.

The most perfect option would be that you can fit the expressing he needs into your schedule (before you leave for the day, when you return and before bedtime) and he can stay in his own little secure area until you are home for the night. This does not have to be a cage - just an area that you block off so he won't roam and pee. That area can be lined with an old shower curtain or plastic tablecloth over a thrift store blanket or towels that can be thrown into the washer to use again. Put some toys in with him and a comfy blankie for him to curl up in (maybe with an old t-shirt with your scent on it). Cats sleep A LOT, normal or handicapped. They are saving up for all the cuddles and kisses they get when their owner returns!

Maybe a lower kitty litter would be more enticing to him. They make special ones or you could test the theory with a low traylike box or an old cookie sheet. the expressing you are doing and a litter box close at hand could turn things around. He is so young that he is still learning, he could still work this out with your help.

Your back up option is finding him a home with someone experienced with these issues and a more flexible schedule. As I mentioned before, we have members right here who may be able to take him and we would all help if you decide to do that. You have a lot on your plate right now and you love your little guy so much. Take a deep breath and think about the best decision for him, you and your boyfriend. It does not have to be a death sentence.
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Re: Help me make the right decision. :/

Post by CarolC » Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:00 pm

I think I may have been jumping to conclusions and I deleted my comments above. I hope Mari will post again.

If he goes in his box when he is in the room with it, why not have a box in every room? It's easier to clean a box than the carpet.

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Re: Help me make the right decision. :/

Post by mumpkees » Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:14 pm

Melia:
Take a deep breath.......... All of us the first time we have been blessed to have been chosen to be the parent of a special needs cat or dog are overwhelmed at first. Things are so much different than caring for a regular cat or dog. Some can't use regular litter boxes or go outdoors, some need help climbing or jumping on things, some need help drinking water or eating. But none of these challenges are insurmountable.
The first thing you need to do is find another vet. The sad thing is most vets have little or no experience with disabled cats and dogs - most people don't want to have anything in their life that they can't easily do or take care of. So the first thing out of vets mouths is pts - it will be the easy way out for both the parent AND the vet since he won't have to think outside the box in order to help the cat or dog. As you are seeing from these forum responses, there are many things you can do.
One thing I want to say before I elaborate further on this vet and his responses to you is - the first thing that those of us with disabled cats/dogs have to get past is the idea that confining a cat or dog to a single room or large roomy cage is that it is cruel. We all have to be able to keep our homes clean and habitable for the humans that live there. We all have way too much on our plates to have to work, go to school, care for family and then come home and try to find and clean all the places in our home where our baby has had an accident. Another good thing about confining them to a room/cage is that it allows us to closely monitor their 'outputs' - how much pee, is it the right color, how much poop, is it solid, too soft, not enough. These are very important things to know with a s/needs cat/dog.
It isn't cruel to confine them - cruelty is to euthanize them because they have messed our home so badly that another family member has given us an ultimatum of ‘get rid of the cat’ or the cat has gotten a serious bladder infection that has gone systemic or they have gotten so constipated or suffered diarrhea so badly that they have not eaten and are dying of starvation. Confinement for part of the day is NOT cruel – it is SAVING his life.
Cats typically sleep 16 hours a day. They will get up to eat, play with some toys, look out the window, but soon will be back to napping. Trogdor will be fine and happy as a clam in his own room or a nice spacious cage with his ‘litter box’, food, water, bed and a mini-scratching post and toys. You will be happy too to not have to come home and spend an hour or more, cleaning up the accidents he has had. He will be happy to see you, you will be happy to see him.
Now as to what the vet is saying – as I told you earlier, CH kitties don’t always develop as quickly as other kittens and regular kittens don’t even have full control of bladder and bowel functions until they are 10 or 12 weeks old. CH kittens could very well need several more weeks. By confining him to a smaller area, this will help him too by instilling this is where I need to go when I have to go potty.
You can also express him – it is easy to learn and even if you can’t do it as many times as you think you should, I’m sure you can manage to get him done three time a day – upon rising, when you get home and before bedtime. What is the vet basing his ‘in a great deal of pain’ on? By expressing him until his brain catches up and learns to tell him to pee, you will be emptying his bladder regularly. It irritates me when vets tell you something like ‘he will be in kidney failure down the road and there is no way to overcome it’. This is BS – there is no way of knowing whether he will or won’t go into kidney failure – ANY cat can go into kidney failure somewhere down the road. He can get bladder infections, but not if you express him regularly and keep him clean. And at this young age, we certainly do not know that he won’t get control of his brain / bladder signals. And so what if he doesn’t? There are dozens on this list who work full time jobs and go to school and care for kids and several handicapped pets and have for many many years. You have already shown us that you are willing to do things to help Trogdor CONTINUE to live the life of a happy, active, loveable kitten.
The single most important thing you can do for Trogdor is to find another vet who is willing to work with you and Trogdor. And then to seriously consider several of the suggestions that are being made here on this forum. Expressing him will empty his bladder. Adding pumpkin to his food or possibly lactulose will balance the stool. Stool can be removed just like expressing by ‘poop on demand’. Trogdor can wear human baby diapers when he is out with is family to make sure he has no accidents. (He can’t wear them all the time because cat urine is very caustic and he will get urine scald which is like human diaper rash on steroids and very difficult to clear up).
Has Trogdor been wormed? All kittens have round worms at the very least and if exposed to fleas, he could also have tape worms.. He could also have coccidia and/or giardia especially if he was rescued from outside or a shelter. They are parasites that are often found in puddle water or shelter conditions. Trogdor needs to have a thorough fecal done to check for worms and parasites. I’d have two done – ten days apart as the life cycle of parasites is such that sometimes nothing shows up the first time.
I don’t know what you are feeding him, but some cats are allergic to the food dyes and preservatives in commercial cat foods. Try him on a high quality kitten food with no dyes or preservatives.
As you can see, there are so many things that you can try that can help Trogdor. I’d start by confining him so that you can monitor him, limit the clean up you have to do and help him work on his brain to I have to go potty skills. I’d find another vet who is willing to look past Trogdor’s challenges and see the adorable kitten that you see and want to help you help him. I’d have a thorough exam done with two fecals. If he has worms and/or coccidia/giardia, I’d treat for that. I’d have the vet teach you to express him to help empty his bladder until he does it on his own. I’d try different litters, different litter pans, doggy pee pads or whatever you think might be a better litter pan for him based on your observations of his potty habits. Put a dozen pans around his room at first – praise him big time if he hits one of them. Leave the ‘deposits’ in the pans at first – I know it bothers humans, but cats go by smell and if he smells himself in a spot, he will return to it. I’d buy a high quality kitten food with no dyes and preservatives and see if that helps the diarrhea also.
Melia, I cannot see any reason to euthanize Trogdor. The issues he has can be worked out. By coming here, you’ve shown us you want to help him. Find a vet who wants to help you both, stay here with us and ask anything you need to. We’ve all been where you are at one time. It was often rocky, but with the support and information, tips and ideas from friends here, we made it. You and Trogdor will too! /mari
Melia wrote:So my boyfriend took our kitten, Trogdor, to the vet on Tuesday (Trogdor has Cerebellar Hypoplasia, only a mild case). He was having some diarrhea problems and wasn't making it to the potty okay. The vet told him that Trogdor can't tell when he has to go to the bathroom. He has muscle control down there, just not the little indicator that says "hey! you need to go to the bathroom pronto!". The only problem I have with this whole situation is that: 1) he goes to the bathroom when he's in the same room as his litterbox (I, however, DO NOT want to just seclude him to our room. That is no life for a cat) 2) he is in a great deal of pain, a lot of the time now, because he can't tell when he has to go to the bathroom 3) he is going to have kidney failure later on down the road, and there is no way he can overcome this disability. He's a loveable kitten, plays with his toys, sleeps with us all night, and is a real sweetheart. The vet wants to put him down this Tuesday. I don't really know what to do. I don't want him to be in pain anymore... And I'm gone 8 hours a day for school, so I can't be there for him 24/7. Advice?
/mari
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Re: Help me make the right decision. :/

Post by GabrielDeafBlindPupFamily » Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:24 pm

Mari. Wow.
Melia, you are in the best of hands here at h-cap. I am constantly stunned by the heartfelt and devoted support of the hardworking management team, the first responders, as it were, and the absolute wealth of knowledge by all of the members.

This thread just brings it home so sweetly to me. This is my home, and I hope it will be yours as well, as your precious Trogdor. I think I speak for all of us when I say, We'd LOVE a pic! :wub:
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Re: Help me make the right decision. :/

Post by Diana R. » Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:56 pm

Melia:

I think Mari and Christine pretty much covered it and gave you some great advice. Please do not put your little kitty down! He can lead a good quality life. I am not sure why you are saying (or is it the vet saying) that he is in pain or will develop kidney disease down the road? Sometimes vets try to make life easier for the owner when all we really want to hear is what is best for our pet. I have two cats who need to be expressed, which I do three times a day, and I work full time (and my job can be pretty stressful and unpredictable in schedules at times). Once you get the hang of it it is just like brushing your teeth, something you do as part of your routine without a second thought. Ideally a cat should be expressed 3 times a day. Do not sweat it if for now if you can only do it two times a day. Do it in the morning when you get up and then when you get home. If you can do it again before you go to bed that would be great. I agree with Mari about getting a fecal done---it could be giardia causing the diarrhea which is sometimes missed and easily treated with flagyl. I know I have felt at times that I wish I could do a better job for my pets. It may be a situation where it will take time and seeing a vet who is more attuned to special needs animals. If not, please do consider Christine's suggestion of posting him for adoption/fostering. Diana

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Re: Help me make the right decision. :/

Post by LisainCAN » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:54 pm

I really can't add much more.

You are being very honest and you know your limits regarding taking care of a pet with a disability, but there are others in different circumstances who could take care of your kitty. Either being expressed or wearing a diaper should help. I personally am surprised at your vet's dire prognosis, because although the nerves will never heal, there can be improvement in things like sphincter tone over the course of kittenhood. Therefore, I too would suggest trying to find a different home for your kitten. It also sounds like you would offer a lot of love and a wonderful home to a cat without so many issues so I do hope you choose to adopt another.

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