My cat needs a feeding tube and I can't afford it.I don't know what to do. :(UPDATE - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 12-10-2010, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My kitty Ollie is not doing well.He was severly constipated and we took him ot the vet for that.They helped him,and it cost all my savings.He's on 4 meds now,and is refusing to eat.He still hasn't pooped and it's not looking good.The vet wants me to force feed him special food with a syringe and bring him in for a feeding tube on Monday.That will cost approximately $800.I just paid $1200 and am completly broke.I don't know what to do.I don't want to lose him,he is the sweetest cat ever and I love him so much.Dd will be crushed if we lose him.But what can I do?I'm afraid putting him to sleep is our only option,or else he'll starve to death.I am so upset.I wish he would just eat something.We did get a few treats into him but not enough,and I got a little of the food into him as well.Very little.He does not like it,nor will he eat anything else.It's gotten to the point that he is afraid of me.He's afraid of the syringe.I hate this. :(


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#2 of 21 Old 12-10-2010, 04:27 PM
 
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When my cat was very sick and not eating, I tried to get him to drink tuna fish water.  It's not an ideal food, but it's better than nothing.

 

Does your area have resources for pets that need immediate care that donate on a charity basis?  I'm not explaining it very well.  But I've heard that some places do have that, or even you might be able to work out a payment plan with your current vet or another.

 

I'm sorry you are going through that and I wish I had more advice. hug2.gif

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#3 of 21 Old 12-10-2010, 05:47 PM
 
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Bideawee in NY helps with vet services.  Maybe call them and see if they can help hook you up with services in your area?  I would think if they didn't know of a particular vet or organization, they might be able to help you figure out where to look, and who to contact..

 

You could also look and see if there is a veterinary school in your area that can help.

 

I would call local animal shelters, and organizations to see if they offer any financial assistance, or know of anyone who does.  The organization I work with doesn't advertise it, because we don't have the funds to do it consistently, but I know we have given financial assistance for veterinary services, and food assistance to those in need.

 

Don't hesitate to call other vets as well.  They may offer the same services for cheaper.  Or you may discover the first vet made the wrong diagnoses, or there is a cheaper solution.

 

Finally, if there are no other options, some vets will teat the animal if you surrender it, and then adopt it out when it is healthy.

 

Just remember, it never hurts to ask.

 

Good luck.  I hope your kitty gets better soon.


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#4 of 21 Old 12-11-2010, 09:52 AM
 
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Does the vet have a diagnosis on what's wrong with your kitty?  Or is the feeding tube just meant to resolve the immediate symptoms?  How does the vet know that your cat is constipated?

 

You say he hasn't eaten in a while, that may well explain the lack of poop (I know when I put my dogs on a fast due to an upset tummy they don't poop for a while).  I also like the idea of canned tuna or other kinds of fish since fish tend to be very appealing to animals due to the strong smell.  Another thing that may be liked is liverwurst (I get it at the deli section of our grocery store).  If you get fish in oil or add an oil to whatever you can get him to eat that often has the effect of lubricating the bowels to get things "moving".

 

Good luck!

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#5 of 21 Old 12-13-2010, 07:35 AM
 
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I am interested in the diagnosis as well. If expensive treatment is going to be an onging issue, I would seriously consider having the cat put down. It's not fair to the cat to be in a position where you may or may not be able to afford his meds down the road. And it's not fair to the rest of your family for the cat to eat up all your savings. I know that pets are beloved family members (I had surgery on a pet rat when I was in college), but the people really do have to come first. I don't mean to make it sound like it's all about the money, but if it's a choice between getting the cat to eat or putting food on the table, there's only one choice.

 

Sometimes the kindest thing we can do for our pets is to put them out of their misery.


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#6 of 21 Old 12-13-2010, 07:53 AM
 
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I have to agree with this.  Sometimes the most humane thing is to let them go.  (((hugs)))

 

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Originally Posted by nd_deadhead View Post

I am interested in the diagnosis as well. If expensive treatment is going to be an onging issue, I would seriously consider having the cat put down. It's not fair to the cat to be in a position where you may or may not be able to afford his meds down the road. And it's not fair to the rest of your family for the cat to eat up all your savings. I know that pets are beloved family members (I had surgery on a pet rat when I was in college), but the people really do have to come first. I don't mean to make it sound like it's all about the money, but if it's a choice between getting the cat to eat or putting food on the table, there's only one choice.

 

Sometimes the kindest thing we can do for our pets is to put them out of their misery.

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#7 of 21 Old 12-13-2010, 08:15 AM
 
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Sorry, I disagree with this.  Too many animals are put down for this reason....first look to other ways (there are people out there who will adopt a pet knowing a history of issues).  I have spent many hours force feeding cats.

 

  The vet is clearly worried about fatty liver (which untreated is fatal).  Did they not try manually evacuating the cat?  What we do is if enemas and laxatives don't work is give the cat a light sedation and manually (with a finger and massaging colon) evacuate the cat.  The cat will not eat because he is so backed up.  Left untreated the colon can become permanently distended and this can happen again.  Did they do xrays to ensure no foreign bodies or tumours?  Are they wanting to do a naso-gastric tube (through nose) or a peg tube (out the side of the stomach wall and oun outside of abdomen)?  If force feeding isn't possible we generally go with tthe naso-gastric as the pet generally needs very light sedation (sometimes only local numbing of the nose) as the peg tube requires a general anesthetic.  Have they given you A/D-or something similar (very smooth liquidy type food) to try and force feed with a syringe?  Ask them if there are local vets who do treatment for lower income families-most will answer honestly as it is in the pet's best interest to be treated (by anyone) rather than left to suffer or be euthanised.  Best of luck and KUP
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nd_deadhead View Post

I am interested in the diagnosis as well. If expensive treatment is going to be an onging issue, I would seriously consider having the cat put down. It's not fair to the cat to be in a position where you may or may not be able to afford his meds down the road. And it's not fair to the rest of your family for the cat to eat up all your savings. I know that pets are beloved family members (I had surgery on a pet rat when I was in college), but the people really do have to come first. I don't mean to make it sound like it's all about the money, but if it's a choice between getting the cat to eat or putting food on the table, there's only one choice.

 

Sometimes the kindest thing we can do for our pets is to put them out of their misery.




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#8 of 21 Old 12-13-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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I understand your point, which is why a reason for the problem is critical. If we're talking about a young animal with an acute, but treatable and cureable condition, I can see either spending the money to get him healthy, or finding someone else who can do that. But if this is an older pet, and/or the problem is going to require long-term expense, cost IS an important consideration.

 

Where I live, it's hard enough to find homes for healthy kitties - I think it would be really difficult to find a good home for a sick kitty. Our Humane Society currently has 38 cats available for adoption, and they presumably do not have ongoing medical conditions.

 

While I do not believe that pets are disposable, and that they deserve a life-long commitment, I do not believe that caring for a pet should put a family into financial hardship. The OP's statement that she was "completely broke" sounds to me like a pretty serious situation.


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#9 of 21 Old 12-14-2010, 06:56 AM
 
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OP - you have my sympathies. 

 

For years, we dealt for a chronic condition in a very much loved elderly cat.  I stopped keeping track of the expense when it reached five figures.  I agree with nd's advice and opinions.  We went too far and looking back on it, we did it for us, not her. 


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#10 of 21 Old 12-14-2010, 02:23 PM
 
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Muldey, I think you say it all when you say your beloved pet is afraid of the syringe and afraid of you.   It sounds like this condition is chronic; your cat will need the tube or syringe for the rest of his life.  There's no way to explain to your cat that this treatment is keeping him alive.  I know it's easier said than done, but I think you should release yourself from the guilt you'll have if you have him euthanized "because you don't have the money."  Even if you had unlimited money, this may be the stage where it's time to let go, for your cat's sake.

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#11 of 21 Old 12-15-2010, 08:51 AM
 
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I firmly beleive that once they stop eating it is time to let them go.  They are telling you it's time.  I'm so sorry about your cat-cat, it's so hard, but it is best for him, he is suffering.

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#12 of 21 Old 12-15-2010, 09:21 AM
 
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I can't believe people are saying things like this without knowing what the actual problem with the cat is - we don't even know if it's a long-term problem or just a digestive issue that can be fixed with no long term effects.  Certainly my dogs have stopped eating at times due to an upset tummy, and have disliked things/treatments I've had to do (anything from giving pills to ear or eye drops).  That's definitely not enough reason to euthanize the pet IMO.

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#13 of 21 Old 12-15-2010, 02:44 PM
 
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is the feeding tube an alternative to syringe feeding or is the syringe feeding not working?  I've had to syringe-feed two cats.  It's not pleasant - they hated it, it was messy, and they hated me.  i used a/d canned food from my vet blended with powdered probiotic and just enough water to get it smooth and fed small amounts every couple of hours.  In both cases my cats had quit eating/drinking due to illness curable with meds.  however if i had not syringe fed them, they could have gotten much worse before the meds had time to work.  with both my cats, they started eating again after 2-3 days of meds and syringe feeding.  i probably would have lost them had i not done the syringe feeding.  once they started getting well they were my friends again.


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#14 of 21 Old 12-15-2010, 05:04 PM
 
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NO they aren't....cats are notorious for going off their food.  I have nursed many, many fatty liver-not eating cats back to health and they have gone on to live happy, full lives.  Many reasons can cause a cat to go off it's food...so no....I am totally not in agreement with you

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Originally Posted by plantnerd View Post

I firmly beleive that once they stop eating it is time to let them go.  They are telling you it's time.  I'm so sorry about your cat-cat, it's so hard, but it is best for him, he is suffering.




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#15 of 21 Old 12-17-2010, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ollie is doing better.He's started eating on his own.He pooped as well.He still doesn't look quite like himself,but he is getting there.We've decided to let nature take it's course with him,unless he's in pain.We don't want to put him to sleep and will do all we can to avoid that.I just cannot afford a feeding tube,plus i cannot see putting him through that.The vet said there can be many complications with it,and he may not even live through it.It's so sad,we love our kitty so much.Hopefully he keeps eating and gets back to himself.I spoke to my therapist about this at length.Almost my whole session.She helped me be at peace with my decision.I'm going to go cuddle with him now.I keep talking to him and giving him lots of attention.I want him to know how much we love him,especially if the worst happens.Thank you all.


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#16 of 21 Old 12-17-2010, 01:21 PM
 
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I am so glad he is eating!!  That is step one!  Keep us posted and best of luck!

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#17 of 21 Old 01-17-2011, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well Ollie is eating,drinking,peeing and pooping!He's not using the litterbox very much,I think he's having a hard time getting into it.So I have to watch out for pee and poop in certain areas,not fun,but he seems to be doing better.He is a little yellow,from his liver problems,but is walking around,today he even went up and down stairs and was in the open litter box(we have one open and a few covered).He's starting to wash himself,still is a little smelly from pee but getting better.He's such a good kitty and I don't want to lose him.Hopefully he will keep getting better.I'm very worried about his liver.I'll take him back to the vet soon and see what they say about that.But he's eating and pooping!love.gif


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#18 of 21 Old 01-17-2011, 01:37 PM
 
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It is great to hear a success story!! I am glad you pressed forward and Ollie has a renewed life. 


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#19 of 21 Old 01-17-2011, 10:24 PM
 
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Good news, indeed. You might want to consider improvising a low-rise litter box from a sheet pan or something similar if he's having trouble getting in and out of a regular one. I don't think cats like that situation any more than their people do. (Similarly for being "smelly from pee"--unscented baby wipes are worth a shot, but it takes patience to make a dent.)

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#20 of 21 Old 01-18-2011, 01:21 AM
 
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HI there.

 

When cats refuse to eat (which can happen quite often for so many reasons) they are in danger of getting lipidosis- where all the fat goes to their liver and that tells them to stop eating, period.

 

That is why force feeding is so important. A feeding tube is not necessary IF you can be methodical and conscientous about force feeding him small amounts three times a day, as well as giving him subcutaneous fluids daily. If your life does not allow or this (often it is a two person operation- one to wrap kitty up like a burrito and hold him there, the other force open the mouth wih syringe and feed him), then a feeding tube is the way to go.

 

I had a cat like this. After force feeding him this way for a month, he was back to normal! He went on to live another 8 years.


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#21 of 21 Old 05-10-2012, 05:37 AM
 
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Hi ~ My cat Gizmo has lipidosis. We are feeding her with a syringe. It makes me so sad. How much were you force feeding your cat when you did it for a month?

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