I always say that the best way to judge what to do is to evaluate your cat's quality of life. As long as your cat is still able to eat AND is grooming himself, then his discomfort level is manageable (to kitty).
I'm sorry to hear about kitty's troubles, as well as the cost. I don't know if it's possible with his medical history, but you can check into pet health insurance. Generally they set a deductible and they'll cover the rest. It usually isn't that expensive, and in a case like this, it would save you money.
I'd suggest doing that asap if kitty pulls through, which I hope he does.
Cindie56 I am sorry you kitty has such a bad run and it must be hard for you both. Like Savas says it is quality of life that is the real indicator.
I am hoping that he will come through but we have managed kidney disease through diet and I am sure you have heard many times that most of these disease's come from feeding your cat biscuits.
I have included an excerpt from a Vet finding:
Recent research suggests a link between vaccination for feline distemper and immune-mediated inflammation of the kidneys, which is thought to be the cause of CRF. Annual boosters for distemper are completely unnecessary. Be sure to discuss all recommended vaccines with your veterinarian. A cat with kidney disease or kidney failure should not be vaccinated at all.
Long-term feeding of an all-dry-food diet is also suspected as a factor in Chronic Renal Failure. Cats' kidneys are highly efficient and adapted to life in the desert, where they would get most or all of their water from eating their prey. Cats eating dry cat food take in only half the water that cats on a canned or homemade diet get; this chronic dehydration can cause stress on the kidneys over time. Dry diets also predispose cats to lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD, LUTD, FUS, crystals, stones, cystitis) because they force such a high degree of urine concentration. Chronic or recurrent bladder disease may also be a factor in the development of CRF.
So I am advocating that you do not feed your cat biscuits of any kind and if possible change to a raw food diet ie diced chicken/turkey breast, diced whiting fish and diced game meats like kangaroo, rabbit etc. these have no fats and if fed alternative provides all the necessary nutrition your cat needs. Will be think of you and your kitty...bestest
Our cat, Calamity Jane Grey, had lowered kidney function diagnosed just after she turned 19.
The vet showed us how to give her subcutaneous fluids to help flush out her system (50 - 75 CCs of Ringer's lactate solution every other day).
Cammie made it to 21 years 4 months, a pair of strokes finally got her. She was responding to therapy after the first, but the second just devastated her.
Aside from needing the fluids, she was active, had a good appetite and never went off her good litter-box habits. Two weeks before the strokes, she took my wife on a walk, which was about 1/4 mile or so in length.
Even when we took her for the final visit to the vet's after the strokes, she sat erect (though shaky).
Upshot is, with help, your kitty can have a good life.
Be mindful of kitty's comfort level; no life is worth extending in pain and loss of dignity.
Thank you for your responses. I just happened to check back here.
Tommy died on Friday 7/25 in the afternoon at the vet's. They called us and said he was getting fluid on his lungs and around the heart and it wouldn't be long. We did have a chance to say goodbye, but it was so difficult. Then they took him away and we left. We did not want to watch them give him the shot. He was very lethargic and quiet and would not look at us, he kept his head down. That just killed me because he was the type of cat that would look you right in the eye with his beautiful blue eyes!
I am just heartbroken now and in shock. I was really hoping he would recover enough that we could have him for a while longer. But he was suffering, and they said there was no hope, the kidney disease had just advanced so quickly.
Rest in peace Tommy!
I'm sorry to hear that. At least his suffering is past now. Best wishes and try to focus on the fonder memories..
I am so sorry but I am glad that you managed to see him before he past over. I have had many a cat pass away in my arms as we have always had up to 6 cats at any one time and I find it very important to be there even if it is 2 in the morning like my last baby.
I always give my cats the best of everything including love so when they pass over I think that I have given them the best life and they given me their best....
Thank you both so much. We certainly did everything we could. The last vet bill was $1400!!! I couldn't believe it! It's not like they saved his life!
I am honestly afraid to get another pet, be it a cat or a dog (hubby wants a dog) because of the vet bills. This past year, the bills for Tommy put us in credit card debt! He was worth it, but still the costs are astronomical!
You should really look into pet insurance. There are quite a few plans out there, and from what I've seen, the coverage is better than us humans get. :)
It's also fairly cost effective, around 10-20 dollars a month.
I am so sorry for your loss of your dear little friend. I know how that feels and I fear that time is not far off for me with my 16 year old boy with kidney problems. I have heard it said that God made our pets' lives so much shorter than ours so that we could enjoy many more little pals in our lives.
I feel your pain about the vet bills too. It is not an easy decision to make to get a pet these days considering all that. I would look into pet insurance next time if you get another. I have it and it does help somewhat, although not a great deal.
I just know that when my last cat died, I was so sad for over a month that the only way I could snap out of it was to get this little guy. Just being in the house without seeing him was sad.
Take care and good luck to you.
Thank you all. About the pet insurance, we have looked into it, but the plans we see are very expensive. Not in our price range. I guess I will keep looking, though because my husband just went out and got a little dog. And I still would want another cat or kitten eventually after I can deal with Tommy's death a bit better.
Unfortunately, they do charge more for the insurance if there are preexisting conditions. Which is why it's best to get in on the bottom with a new pet (I know, doesn't help you with kitty).
Generally from what I've seen the insurance will fairly cheaply cover regular visits/checkups, and then cover the first serious billing for accident or illness. After that, I', guessing it goes up accordingly. I'm doing some research into the whole pet insurance thing for an article I'm writing, when it's done, I'll post it to the health pages for those interested.