My baby dark tortoiseshell is about 16 years old now. She has always been rather talkative and very clingy. She doesn’t like it when anyone else picks her up and although she’s the smallest, she’s queen of the house. The larger cats tend to stay out of her way and if they don’t, she puts them in their place. She’s not my pet. I’m her pet and she makes sure I know my place, too. I’m also her bed, servant, and mommy.
In early 2011, we had to have her sister put to sleep. Her kidneys were failing after years of struggling with diabetes. So in 2012, when my baby started losing weight, we worried that she might also have diabetes. We took her to the vet and they ran a battery of tests, but found nothing wrong. However, she continued to lose weight.
She weighed 9 lbs when all this began and was down to 6 lbs when we took her to the vet for the second time. She was barely eating and had frequent diarrhea. Again, all tests came back normal and we were told she probably had either stomach cancer, colon cancer, or IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). They gave her a shot of cortisone in hopes it would help increase her appetite and sent her home.
The cortisone seemed to help some, but she still wasn’t eating much and would cry all day and night. We started feeding her nothing but canned cat food since she wouldn’t touch the dry, but her diarrhea got worse and worse. My poor baby sounded like a deflating balloon every time she went to the bathroom, so I started doing research and looking for alternative foods to feed her. I started with cooked meals because she acts like she has problems eating and I thought cooked would be easier on her than raw. She makes slurping and clicking sounds if she has to chew something, but the vet said her teeth were fine. She ate cooked chicken with baby rice cereal and eggs very well for about a week. Even her diarrhea was starting to go away, but she suddenly stopped eating it. I tried feeding her a raw diet after that, but she wouldn’t even try it. She looked at the raw chicken and then at me like, “What the heck is that?”
So, we started feeding her canned food again, because it was the only thing she would eat, and rotating the type and flavor with every meal. I had read that constant change sometimes got rid of the problem and it worked for a couple of weeks. But after that, she would eat the canned food and 30 minutes to an hour later, she was screeching at us. It wasn’t just a meow or a cry, but a screech like a dying bird. Half a can three times a day and she was still more than hungry, she was starving. The cortisone shots stopped helping at all.
In just the last few days things have taken a turn for the worse. Her diarrhea is so bad that I have blankets and towels covering the carpeting and furniture because she can’t control her bowels anymore. You can feel every vertebrae in her back and every rib. Her hips are bony and sharp. She’s down to under 5 lbs. She feels like a skeleton. She screeches constantly and doesn’t let me sleep for more than a few hours. She’s in pain. She’s miserable. She’s starving and dehydrated because everything goes right through her. I stopped feeding her canned food again, but she still won’t eat the chicken. I tried pork and she barely ate it. We’re also trying Diatomaceous Earth after reading about its positive effects in cats with IBS.
We have a few other things to try and people to talk to in hopes we can come up with some solution that works. We don’t want to give up on her because when her IBS isn’t as bad as it is right now she still plays, purrs constantly and doesn’t act like an “old” cat. Even now, with as bad as she feels, she’s still active, still purrs and sleeps in my lap. Well, not sleep… she doesn’t sleep very much at the moment. We don’t want to give up on her if we don’t have to, but we can’t let her keep suffering like this.
If anyone out there has suggestions, we’d welcome the help.