I brought my 18-year-old cat home to die instead of having him euthanized because I'd rather he spend what little time he has left somewhere he feels safe and loved instead of somewhere he feels scared and uncomfortable. I'd like to hear from others who have been through this with their cats so I know what to expect over the next few days of kitty hospice care.
Requisite pictures here
. (He looks derpy because he was shot in the face as a kitten 17 years ago.)
His kidneys got really bad really fast. They were OK a month ago when he went to the vet for a UTI, then when was retested this weekend after I took him to the emergency vet for vomiting he got the worst kidney test results that his regular vet said he's ever seen. His vet was surprised that my cat is even still alive and thus said it won't be very long (a few hours or days) until he dies. He gave him some IV fluids for his dehydration and a painkiller shot for his arthritis (we'd been avoiding painkillers previously because they'd stress his kidneys, but now that he's dying anyway we figure that he might as well not be in pain) in the clinic before sending him home with me.
That was 12 hours ago and the cat is still alive, awake, and alert. He hasn't slept at all since coming home -- he keeps starting to nod off but then jerks back awake like he's fighting against falling asleep.
I've been offering him food and fluids in bed (holding the plate/bowl up to his face so he doesn't have to get up) about once an hour and he has eaten a lot of tuna and a little salmon (but rejected chicken, canned cat food, and his dry cat treats) and has drunk some tuna-flavored pedialyte and water.
When he gets restless I put him in the litter box -- he has peed 4 times since getting home -- and then lift him back into bed because he is too wobbly to climb in and out on his own.
I have liquid metacam painkiller to give him every 12 hours for however long he lasts. It seems to help a lot -- this afternoon after the painkiller kicked in he was feeling well enough to go outside and walk around a bit. We sat out there for a couple hours until the wind got too cold and I brought him back inside to lie on his heated sleeping pad in bed next to me. He seems to prefer that to my lap or chest -- his temperature has been very low (the emergency vet had to keep him in a special warming cage all weekend) so I've also got him covered up and that seems to be keeping him warm.
He has hardly purred at all today (once when I first got him home and snuggled him in bed, and once when the inlaws came over to say goodbye to him) but he's not crying either. As far as I can tell, he's not in pain, just groggy, disoriented, weak, and too wobbly to stand or walk.
For those of you who have had cats die at home from kidney failure, what can I expect to happen over the next few days? A friend of mine recently had his cat die from kidney failure and he said his cat was having seizures on the last day, but his cat had other medical conditions that my cat doesn't so I don't know if that's normal for cats dying of kidney failure?
I'd also appreciate any suggestions for how to make him as comfortable and happy as possible. I don't have anywhere else I need to be or anything else I need to do this week besides be here for my cat.