How to Give Sub-Q fluids… (this person made me feel like I wasn’t a completely horrible parent again)
Other handy things to have when giving sub-q fluids:
-another person to distract the cat
-(failing that) a cat bed with high walls- I set it on my bed so that it is waist high to me then lay Bunny down, then put my arm along her body to hold her still. I also hold the needle in place with the flat of my thumb to help out with it not moving around (that would hurt her) and pulling it out (waste of fluids and distressing to have to poke her again). Starting off with just a drop or two at a time helps her get used to the Ringer’s, then I speed it up and get it over with. She’s patient up to a point and then gets tired of it.
-a heating pad under the cat to help with the coolness of the fluids
Day to day stuff:
She’s a bit bad aiming in the cat box, so the Puppy Pads help out with keeping the floor clean and not distressing her with smell. (Remember, your cat isn’t enjoying this…)
A schedule. With all the medicines, the attempting to keep the weight on, the interactions that could negate all your hard work, keep your sanity by having a schedule.
7:30am: food and bicarbonate solution **
8 am: food (lots; enough to get her stuffed in the morning and then until I get home during the day*), aluminum hydroxide and a bit of filtered water to make a ‘soup’ as well as to keep it moist – I put the bowl in a snap lock box (top off, of course) to help contain the mess and on top of a frozen gel pack to keep the food just a bit fresher.
6pm: home again and another bowl of food the minute I walk in the door
7pm: more food + bicarbonate mixture**
8pm: food and aluminum hydroxide
10pm:food and pepcid dose (2 hours offset from the aluminum hydroxide, apparently they negate each other if take together, my vet didn’t mention that, but I read it and figured even if it wasn’t the case, I’d keep them separate… no harm, no foul.
Also, I take a large bowl full of food to bed with filtered water in it on a cool pack (I rotate 3 through the freezer) and put it in the snap lock container. Her bed is on my bed and she walks all over me at night when she is hungry. I open the container and let her graze and then wake up a bit later to cover it.
We do this 2 or 3 times in the night. Since there are ants around, and it would be ultra unpleasant to wake up to a feeding frenzy of ants in my bed, this also helps to prevent that.
Constant feeding has taken its toll on my sleep patterns, but it keeps her weight up, her stomach acid in check and my sanity in place. Its worth it and I wouldn’t change a thing about waking up all the time over the time since she was diagnosed. Its worth it to see her feeling well and being herself.
*There are timers for cat food dispensers, but with the wet food, I find that it dries out anyway, so the water helps in this regard.
**There is some weird interaction with the bicarbonate mixture and the food I feed Bun, makes it smell DREADFUL if you leave it out to oxidize for any amount of time. I find that if i get her to eat that part in a small bit of food, she doesn’t notice it.
Fleas and Advantage
Recently, I found out Bunny had some fleas (I guess they are in the building, she hasn’t been outside in about 10 years). Considering they drink blood and she doesn’t have all that much left anyway, the vet suggested Advantage (I got the small cat variety, she’s not very big) and it seems to be doing the trick with no problems to date.
Talk to your vet before starting this though. It is absorbed into the system and if your cat is really compromised, it might not be the best thing.
Keeping Her Warm
I’m using one of those pop-up dog crates (the 18″ one would work, and you can also find them at Target). I turned it on its side so that one of the vents was under her, the other one, now on top, I covered with a dishtowel to keep the warm air in and then covered the whole thing with a beach towel for insulation.
Her warming pad and current towel I moved in wholesale and set it all on the couch.
One of the most important things…
Your cat is here. You need to enjoy his/her presence NOW. One of the hardest things for me to do is “be here now”. She’s here now, and I don’t need to be mourning her when she’s still around and perky.
There’s time enough later to deal with it.
Now, go hug your cat and enjoy the combination of the purring and the look of disgust on their little kitty face…
Most cats die of something other than the CRF.
Bunny’s numbers were the same for the entire 2 1/2 years we dealt with it. But recently she had a problem with her hindquarters and the nerves were not responding as they should. She had a walking issue, a compression wound from losing weight and finally (even though the other items had been remedied) her heart gave out. We found a new heart murmur on MON. She started retaining fluids in her leg at midnight on a WED, I saw the vet the next day and she was in definite arrhythmia. Her other leg started to also show swelling on FRI with anything being too tiring to do, and that afternoon, just after she started showing the beginning of discomfort I decided to stop this before it got to her lungs.
19 1/2 years is apparently venerable. But I am selfish and want more years with her… We said good bye to her on Sept 24, 2010. It was the right thing to do, but that doesn’t mean I’ll ever get over it.
If you would like to honor her memory please donate to your local no-kill
shelter or to the Nine Lives Foundation