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View Full Version : Cat Lovers, I Need Advice....


knightgames
13-06-11, 09:53
.....I've been living in an apartment complex for almost twelve years. When I moved in my neighbour introduced me to a beautiful feral black cat. We're not allowed animals, but my neighbour daily leaves food for the cat. At first she wouldn't cotton up to me, but after a short while she became my daily greeter. Whether I got home at 4PM or 4AM she'd meet me halfway across the parking lot and walk me to the door. I'd pat her for 5 - 10 minutes and go in. She never liked to be picked up, but if I attempted and she squirmed out of my arms she'd be immediately at my feet wanting attention. On many occasions I'd sit cross legged and she'd lay across my lap and fall asleep. Almost everyone else save 3 people in the complex would cause her to run. She IS feral.

We used to have a milk box for milk deliveries. As I'd walk across the parking lot I'd say, "Over to the box." and she'd go to the box and sit upon it. I'd pat her, she'd nuzzle me.

Anyway, she's twelve - being born about 6 months before I moved in. Here's the problem. The last three months she's been getting HUGE. It's very unnatural looking. The belly has extended sideways. The belly is so wide it's almost 3/5ths of her length. She's not getting bigger nipples, and the stomach is very firm with no movement inside, so I don't think she's pregnant.

Lately when I've seen her it's always laying down beneath the shrubs along the building. She looks listless. Friday she was underneath a shrub and I called out to her. She barely opened her eyes to acknowledge me. I saw yellow where she opened them the tiniest slit. I could even see the muscles constrain as if to attempt to lift her head, but she either didn't or couldn't.

On Saturday I was coming up the inside stairs of my building and I see her in the familiar location near the front door waiting for her dinner from my neighbour. She WAS sitting, but her head hung so low as if without energy. She's ALWAYS meowed when she'd see me and rub up against the glass. Not Saturday. I went out to see her and she didn't even attempt to raise up to meet my hand. Heck, she didn't even move out of the way of the swinging door. So I sat cross legged and held her. Her breathing was so laboured. I sat there about a half hour with her until my butt was too cold to sit on the concrete. As I picked her up so I could stand she'd try her best to get back in my lap. She's never done that before. She's usually like, "Well your done? Okay, thanks." This time it was like I was her only comfort and the way she curled her paw around my leg to prevent me from getting up seemed desperate.

I didn't see her at all today. The cat food bowl was untouched, and both Sandy (the neighbour) and I think she's soon to be gone from this world.


Now as a kid I had a dog. She died when I was 14. So it's been a looooong time since I've had an animal. Could this cat be preggers? Or could my instincts be right telling me something is severely wrong?

I know there are animal lovers here and I'd appreciate some feed back.

1) What are cats like before they give birth? How do they act? What's the stomach like? Should I be able to feel something moving in her? How long does labour generally take?

2) Should this be something more ominous, can anyone give me ideas on where I can go for EXTREMELY LOW COST or free veterinary service? I'm on a very very fixed budget at this time. ASPCA? I've googled a few close clinics but none seem to offer any help for this situation. I'm in Massachusetts not far north of Boston.

The cat's never stopped me from patting her belly. I get no indication that she's in pain, despite her listlessness and girth. I'm just worried that she is in pain or that she has cancer. Should it be something bad like this I'd like to put her out of her misery.

touchthesky
13-06-11, 09:59
Well, you clearly seem to love this cat, so the best thing to do would be take her to the vets.

Most vets have a walk-in surgery time so you should be able to get something. If I'm honest it sounds like it might be something she has eaten. Or she might just be shutting down. I'm no pro (yet :P) but fingers crossed that she can be either helped or put down.



Good luck and keep us informed!

SLAYER
13-06-11, 10:05
I'd take her to a vet before worrying about putting her out of misery

SkyPuppy
13-06-11, 10:09
I'd take her to a vet before worrying about putting her out of misery

this. :/

knightgames
13-06-11, 10:11
Well, you clearly seem to love this cat, so the best thing to do would be take her to the vets.

Most vets have a walk-in surgery time so you should be able to get something. If I'm honest it sounds like it might be something she has eaten. Or she might just be shutting down. I'm no pro (yet :P) but fingers crossed that she can be either helped or put down.



Good luck and keep us informed!

It's funny you mention something she ate, touchthesky. My neighbour mentioned that the cat caught a rabbit and was eating it a few months ago. According to her, it was shortly after that that the cat started getting bigger. I don't know anything about the rabbit so I can't answer with any authority on that. I've even mentioned that she could be constipated. BUT SHE'S HUGE, and for as long as she's been huge, being constipated would be painful.

I'm not sure I understand the concept of walk in surgery time. Do I call and explain the predicament, and the vet does low cost or free care? I'd obviously not expect surgery, but a diagnosis (even a preliminary one) would be helpful.



Geeze. Another thought. The neighbour feeds her daily. Wet and dry food. Sometimes she'll give leftovers like fish, and chicken. I don't think anything else.

SkyPuppy
13-06-11, 10:14
well, before my dog died she was huge as well due to a heart problem, so it could possibly be that... that she has too much fluid inside her.

knightgames
13-06-11, 10:16
Surely the putting to sleep would be the last option, and without knowing I'd not even consider it unless I knew she was in pain.

I plan on calling a few local clinics. It's only 6:15 here. I honestly don't have a plum nickle to spare. ATM I'm broke and looking for more employment so I'm really in a quandary over this. The neighbour's hubby said he wouldn't shell out any money for the cat. I didn't ask him to. It came up in conversation when discussing the cat.

knightgames
13-06-11, 10:20
well, before my dog died she was huge as well due to a heart problem, so it could possibly be that... that she has too much fluid inside her.

I thought of that too. I have congenital heart defect myself so water retention is extremely hazardous to my health. My legs fill up, but worse, my heart and lungs are restricted due to the fluid. My experience in my abdomen is that the belly still feels jiggly. Her's is firm.

Dennis's Mom
13-06-11, 13:03
There is no such thing as "low cost" surgery. Sorry. We've learned through experience that if you bring a feral animal in for treatment, they don't say "well, since it's not yous and you're being super nice to help a strange animal, here's a deep discount."

I understand your concern. I adore animals, and have super soft spot for cats, but you're best bet would to call shelters and see if there's a Trap/Neuter/Release program that can help. If the animal's truly ill, being put down might be the best option, particularly if you can't afford expensive vet care.

You have no idea how old the cat is. Sluggish behavior could be indicative of something like diabetes that requires daily insulin. Or it could be something else.

Cats are mysterious little critters when sick. There's really no way to know if anything's really wrong without a vet checking it out, and even then, finding out what's really wrong can get expensive.

Boardachick
13-06-11, 14:00
Oh my god, take her to Revere pet clinic, and tell them I sent you. PM me and I'll give you my name. Dr. Olga is AMAZING, and she will do her best to keep the cost down. I take all 5 of our cats there, and she literally saved my friend's cat's life last year when Angell Memorial was ready to just put him down. Where do you live?

Dr. Olga works a lot with ferals, and shelter animals. It's kind of her specialty. She works at Revere Pet clinic and a low cost spay/neuter clinic in south boston. However, i would still expect to have to spend at least 200 or 300 dollars for everything. I can help pay.

They also have a coupon online where they waive their first exam cost for new customers.
http://www.bostonanimalclinic.com/

If she needs x-rays, I will x-ray her at work. I am an x-ray tech at a tiny clinic, and I x-rayed my friend's cat to help her keep costs down.

Love2Raid
13-06-11, 14:34
Hi Knightgames,

I donīt know much about animals, but they do share a lot of anatomy with us and diseases as well. What you are describing could mean a few things:

- gas (inside her intestines), that would mean there is an obstruction somewhere
- fluid inside the peritoneal cavity

Those are the most likely options, considering how fast it went and sheīs not pregnant. There is also not a solid mass in there, right?

I personally donīt think itīs gas, you can check by gently placing your left hand flat on her belly and tapping with the middle finger of your right hand on the middle finger of your left one (hope that makes sense), if she will allow that. You can listen to the sound. If itīs dull, it will be fluid. This is usually not a good sign. It could mean several things but itīs basically never good (ascites). You should take her to the vet, they can tell you more about what it is and what it can mean. I doubt they would operate on her, but they could at least easily get that fluid out of her belly (if it is the case) and that can make her already feel much more comfortable. But it will most likely come back, so itīs not a long-term solution. :(:(

Iīm sorry about the cat, I hope she wonīt suffer much.

knightgames
13-06-11, 19:30
There is no such thing as "low cost" surgery. Sorry. We've learned through experience that if you bring a feral animal in for treatment, they don't say "well, since it's not yous and you're being super nice to help a strange animal, here's a deep discount."

I understand your concern. I adore animals, and have super soft spot for cats, but you're best bet would to call shelters and see if there's a Trap/Neuter/Release program that can help. If the animal's truly ill, being put down might be the best option, particularly if you can't afford expensive vet care.

You have no idea how old the cat is. Sluggish behavior could be indicative of something like diabetes that requires daily insulin. Or it could be something else.

Cats are mysterious little critters when sick. There's really no way to know if anything's really wrong without a vet checking it out, and even then, finding out what's really wrong can get expensive.


This has been the reality in the back of my mind and accurately describes the predicament.

I've called animal control and several clinics. The cost of evaluation and euthanasia would be ~ $120.00. Now an exam would be great, but then we get to the reality of medical care should it not be terminal.

Since she's not owned by anyone the animal control should pick her up and bring her to a clinic where the deed would be done.

I DO know she's twelve, though. My neighbour has lived here twenty years and the cat is second generation. Apparently Sandy 'took care' of the mother too. When the mother cat had kittens she brought them to the front door. It's been like that ever since. Sandy said it was about 6 months before I moved in.

There's a farm behind us and that's where the cat stays in inclement weather.

I was just looking at her now. I'm really concerned that she's defenseless at night.

interstellardave
13-06-11, 19:35
Same thing happened to our cat, Tigger. He was 15. We had found out he had a heart arrhythmia but he seemed okay nonetheless, just much less active. Suddenly he got big and round like you describe. One morning I told my wife we needed to get him to the vet again... not 10 minutes later, when my wife went downstairs, she found him dead behind the couch. :(

Dark Lugia 2
13-06-11, 19:56
Knightgames, did you see Bordachick's post at the bottom of the first page? Thats some amazing help and info!

If you saw it an PM'ed her ignore me. :o I hope everything turns out well for th cat.

LNSNHGTDS
13-06-11, 20:09
My first thought was that, maybe, something the cat ate affected her health. Since she's a stray there are many things that she could have eaten which latter on caused her that dammage.

I'm not really sure from which age and on cats are considered "old" so I'm not really sure if she's just getting old and is about to... leave this world.

My English teacher is a huge cat lover(she has eight cats and one dog living with her in her appartment and is also feeding and taking care of about eleven stray cats) . Whenever one of her cats(whether it's one of the stray ones or not) she immediately calls a vet to cure the poor cat. She also sterilizes the cats she feeds and takes care of(because she can't feed eleven cats and their babies!) . All of her cats seem to love her as much as she loves them. I don't think she pays much to the vet for curing or sterilizing the cats, she's leaving in Greece though so I doubt that it's the same prices with the U.S.A. plus she doesn't pay with dollars but euros.

Maybe you could persuade your neibhours to let you take the cat in until she gets better. Unless you're renting the apartment you could secretly bring the cat inside.

Do you happen to have any vet friends? I believe they'll be more than happy to help you and at a reduced prize(or even free) .

That's all the ideas I can think of, I really hope I could help and I really hope the cat will get well soon.

knightgames
13-06-11, 20:17
After posting to Dennis' Mom I got a ring at the door.

Um..... I'm stunned.

She's gone. The officer came after giving us a bit of trouble on the phone. He just showed up and took the cat.

We never even named the cat. I picked the cat up. She never opened her eyes. The officer took her from me and......

I wasn't expecting him to come today, especially since it was so close to closing time. I wanted to hold her on my lap one last time. Gawd, I hope we did the right thing. Sandy's balling her eyes out. I'm just stunned. I can feel the tears welling up.......

Gawd, I feel like I just killed her. I feel like a murderer.

Boardachick
13-06-11, 20:49
No, no, no please! You are not a murderer! She sounded like she was so weak and sick that she couldn't move even! I know it's hard but you did the right thing! I pm'd you back, but that was before I read your last post. She will just go to sleep, it's ok she won't feel anything. She knows you loved her! She obviously trusted you more than anyone else in the apartment building, and you did what you could to make her comfortable and content. She lived a long full life and no cat can ask for more. I know that if your apartment had allowed pets, you would have scooped her up immediately. Don't beat yourself up for helping her die in a peaceful way. You would have been more upset to find her body by the door, getting rained on, whatever. You are a good, loving person who has a huge heart and you did the right thing! Lots of hugs!

knightgames
13-06-11, 21:17
Thanks Boarderchick.

It's going to be real hard when I come home from somewhere and she doesn't meet me in the lot. Or when I go out the door, make a cat call and she doesn't come.

I know the reality of this, but I still can't help but wish I could do more.

I mentioned I have congenital heart defect. Last fall I was feeling like the cat looked. I literally couldn't hold my head up. Fluid build up compressed my heart and lungs that I couldn't breath and I was constantly in arrhythmia. I was fortunate to have surgery, and get a medical regimen to take care of fluid build up. My problem was congenital. I think hers was because of age (should it even be heart failure).

Going through what I went through and am now 'relatively okay' I feel like I've tossed her life away.

The reality is I REALLY haven't a clue what's wrong. It could be cancer for all I know, but I can't help but think of how she looked now and how I looked 7 months ago. I'm left to wonder with a sad heart.


P.S. Thanks everyone for the concern and advice.

LNSNHGTDS
13-06-11, 21:19
Don't see it that way, at least she doesn't hurt anymore and she can finally rest her body in peace :) . There's nothing you should feel guilty about, on the contrary you should feel proud of doing the right(which is saving her from a lot of more pain) . You're a really brave person :hug: . When my second cat died(the first one run away :( ) I didn't even had the strength to bury him(well I was like eleven but whatever) . I hope your cat has finally found peace or even heaven(if it really exists) :) .

Lara's Nemesis
13-06-11, 21:37
Sad story. :(

12 years old is a really good age for a feral cat though, I'm sure she wouldn't have lived that long without the care from you and your neighbour. Sounds like she had a pretty good life.

Tough decision you had to make but it sounds like it was definetely for the best.

xXhayleyroxXx
13-06-11, 22:16
I'm sorry to hear about the cat :( Urgh, I feel proper sad now. It really could have been anything... from pregnancy to fluid buildup resulting in lethargy which it would have recovered from or feline infectious peritonitis which would have killed her and more cats in the area...

:(

I wish I had posted earlier and I might have been able to help :/

skylark1121
13-06-11, 22:46
Don't feel bad. She lived 12 years. I know how heartbreaking it is to lose a cat that you are emotionally attached to. It hurts pretty bad. I just lost my cat. He was about 6 months old (though he grew fast and looked about 1 - 1.5 yrs old). You feel responsible for the death, when truly, it is beyond control - but that doesn't take away the pain. I know how you feel. :hug:

knightgames
13-06-11, 22:50
One last ray of hope. I plan on calling tomorrow to find out.

Earlier today while making calls I inadvertently talked to the clinic the officer brought the cat. I asked about options and euthanasia was discussed. The woman on the line told me that the vet will look the cat over to determine if that would be best. Should he not agree he won't perform the euthanasia.

The last thing the officer said was it's out of my hands. I'm hoping this means the vet will and can make an informed decision and possibly keep the cat alive for future adoption.

Fingers crossed.

Dennis's Mom
14-06-11, 00:42
You did the right thing. The only chance it has is professional help. Now, due to its age and condition, you may find out they euthanized it. That will be tough, but know that death for a cat in the wild is not quite as painless or quick. If we could choose our own death, it certainly wouldn't be the street or in pain, after all.

But I'll keep my fingers crossed for good news tomorrow.

star-dust
14-06-11, 02:10
One last ray of hope. I plan on calling tomorrow to find out.

Earlier today while making calls I inadvertently talked to the clinic the officer brought the cat. I asked about options and euthanasia was discussed. The woman on the line told me that the vet will look the cat over to determine if that would be best. Should he not agree he won't perform the euthanasia.

The last thing the officer said was it's out of my hands. I'm hoping this means the vet will and can make an informed decision and possibly keep the cat alive for future adoption.

Fingers crossed.

I'm so sorry to hear about the cat. :( You did the right thing though, she's getting the help she needs! My fingers are crossed. :hug: :hug: All the best!

Encore
14-06-11, 02:18
Edit: sorry about my stupidity, didn't read the updates. :hea:

I hope she makes it...

knightgames
14-06-11, 19:08
I called the veterinary clinic today and asked the progress of the cat. I was told they do not euthanize for five days unless she really is in a terminal state. They try to find an adopter and then will proceed with medical assistance. I'm REALLY hoping that she has something like congestive heart failure, where medication can alleviate the congestion and she can be somewhat healthy.

Even though she's been a stray she has a wonderful demeanor and disposition. I hope for a good outcome.

SkyPuppy
14-06-11, 19:11
oh, god. :( i am really sorry to hear she's gone... poor kitty.

knightgames
14-06-11, 20:04
oh, god. :( i am really sorry to hear she's gone... poor kitty.


She's still among the living SkyPuppy. The only difference is now she's someplace warm and the vet can evaluate her. It's still a small chance depending on the veterinarian's prognosis, but it's still a chance.

Should she be too sick to help then she will be at peace. For now she's still living.

SkyPuppy
14-06-11, 20:25
oh... then i apologize for making that mistake. :( i really hope she makes it, then, even if it's that tiny chance.

knightgames
15-06-11, 20:44
I stopped by the clinic today and they put the cat down this AM. She had cancer and was filled with tumors. We did the right thing, all things considered.

RiP cat.

As I came home from errands last night I still expected a shadowy form to appear from the shrubbery and greet me in the lot. Then reality slapped me in the face.

xXhayleyroxXx
15-06-11, 20:47
I stopped by the clinic today and they put the cat down this AM. She had cancer and was filled with tumors. We did the right thing, all things considered.

RiP cat.

As I came home from errands last night I still expected a shadowy form to appear from the shrubbery and greet me in the lot. Then reality slapped me in the face.

ahhh... filled with them!? geez, she must have been in so much pain. Its hard to diagnose over the internet but now you know -- and trust me, you really did the right thing. Without going into gory details, you definately did her a favour because she would have died a very long and painful death xxxxxxxxxxx

knightgames
15-06-11, 20:51
I've had two relatives die from cancer. Both were long and protracted ordeals that I'd not wish on anyone. I can't imagine the cat's suffering. I never heard her cry out in pain, even on the few occasions she allowed me to pick her up.

Love2Raid
15-06-11, 20:53
You definitely did the right thing, Knightgames. She would have suffered so much otherwise in the few days that she still might have had. RIP cat. :/

star-dust
15-06-11, 20:53
I stopped by the clinic today and they put the cat down this AM. She had cancer and was filled with tumors. We did the right thing, all things considered.

RiP cat.

As I came home from errands last night I still expected a shadowy form to appear from the shrubbery and greet me in the lot. Then reality slapped me in the face.

Because of you, I think that cat had a wonderful life. You did do the right thing. :) All the best. :hug::hug:

xXhayleyroxXx
15-06-11, 20:55
I've had two relatives die from cancer. Both were long and protracted ordeals that I'd not wish on anyone. I can't imagine the cat's suffering. I never heard her cry out in pain, even on the few occasions she allowed me to pick her up.

I know, me too. But just think -- think of how she couldn't speak out and tell you but you read the signs and acted before she suffered xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dennis's Mom
15-06-11, 22:51
You did the right thing. *hugs*

knightgames
15-06-11, 23:11
Thank you all.

I'm fine with the decision. Knowing now that she was terminal I'm very happy she was spared any further pain. When the vet told me of her condition it was a weight off of my shoulders.

What's that song? "I've grown accustomed to your face?" Well that's how I feel about the cat - a wonderful addition to my life that I grew accustomed to. Now it's over for the better.

Sandy (the neighbour) was crying when I told her, but she too was relieved.

skylark1121
16-06-11, 00:03
I'm sorry to here of your loss. As others have said, it was the best thing to do. It saved her from terrible pain. It just goes to show how strong human-animal relations can be.
Be strong. :hug:

interstellardave
16-06-11, 11:18
I've had two relatives die from cancer. Both were long and protracted ordeals that I'd not wish on anyone. I can't imagine the cat's suffering. I never heard her cry out in pain, even on the few occasions she allowed me to pick her up.

Cats are incredibly stoic... they just hate to let on that something's wrong with them.

I know it's a sad time for you but, clearly, the right thing was done by you and the vet.