The decision to give cat hospice care to our cat Pumpkin has prolonged her life significantly. Now a year and half later after almost euthanizing her, she’s still alive and still enjoying life. Today she’s going to our vet for a checkup to see where her general health is and to understand if we need to make any adjustments to her medical regimen.
I wrote about Pumpkin over a year ago when our vet had recommended euthanizing her to relieve her obvious pain and suffering. She had declined quickly, had lost a significant amount of weight, and was diagnosed with possible lymphoma. But I wasn’t ready to make that decision to end her life and wanted to give Pumpkin another chance, so we worked with our vet to create a palliative care plan for her that would make her as comfortable as possible, address her symptoms, and possibly extend her life.
So fast forward to today, a year and a half later, she is indeed still alive! We’ve been able to maintain her health and comfort, though there have been many ups and downs and times where she has periodically declined, we have always managed to bring her back up by increasing and adjusting her medical regimen. We’ve been managing with taking her for vet visits every 3-6 months for a blood panel, urine test, and to specifically check her thyroid and kidney health. It turns out that today’s visit has revealed a lower white blood cell count in her urine which means possible infection, and a lower red blood cell count, which means possible anemia, but her kidneys and hyperthyroid levels have maintained, which is good news. So we’ll pick up a prescription for an antibiotic, and watch her anemia.
We never imagined that she would have lived this long, but we’re so thankful that we didn’t give up on her as the last 18 months we have really taken advantage of the added time we have had with her and given her an extra does of love and attention every day.
Pumpkin’s medical care plan has meant giving her medications every morning and night, as well as good quality wet food several times a day. One thing I’ve noticed with our old cats, is that they don’t only want to eat morning and night, but nibble throughout the day. We also add warm water to Pumpkin’s wet food for more hydration and she loves it! Additionally, her plan has included giving her a steroid injection (Dex Sodium Phosphate) every other day to reduce inflammation, hydration with twice weekly sub-Q fluid therapy, daily Lactulose for her constipation, and Cisapride for when she needs more help with her constipation, Cerenia for when her nausea flares up periodically, and Pepcid AC for when her stomach is upset.
So I’m still taking this one day at a time and appreciating every day we have still with her, but as I look back and think if we had euthanized her that day a year and a half ago, we would have missed the best year of our lives together with her. She knows she’s loved deeply, she knows we’re trying to help her, she enjoys sleeping on my pillow every night wrapping her body around my head, and she loves her daily trips to our garden lying in the sun and enjoying the nature around her.
Time is so precious in life and I’m just grateful to be given more time with Pumpkin, and to give her more of the life she so enjoys. As long as we can keep her comfortable, pain-free, eating well, not losing weight, and enjoying some quality of life–it’s well worth the time and effort. It’s definitely a commitment, but one we have always felt was important and had value. I never want to give up on one of my cat’s lives, just because I wasn’t willing to put in the time, effort, money, and work necessary to address their health and medical issues to give them the longest and best life possible.