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Cat Health

Last Updated: 3/15/06

Breast Cancer
Chronic Renal Failure

Breast Cancer

There is one basic sign of breast cancer. It is hard lumps along the mammary chains. The only treatment is major surgery to remove the lumps. With my cat, the cancer would always return because the vets could not remove every cancerous cell by mastectomy. Complete removal of both mammary chains over a series of operations may be necessary. After four operations, the vets would not perform any more. She had no skin to stretch over anyway. Eventually, after the operations stopped, the cancer spread to her vital organs and killed her.

See Bootsy.


The symptoms of diabetes are:

Hyperglycemic shock = body shutdown due to too much glucose in the blood resulting from lack of insulin to transport consumed glucose in food into the body's cells for energy
Hypoglycemic shock = body shutdown due to too little glucose in the blood resulting from too much insulin
Ketosis = too high a concentration of ketones (chemicals) in the blood resulting where too much sugar was in the blood but not in the cells so the body broke the sugar down into ketones in an attempt to gain energy; ketones are toxic
IV = intravenous fluids, liquids (water with salts) fed directly into the blood stream


Treatment involves insulin injections in most cases. My cat had transient diabetes. This means he takes insulin for a few months, then does not need it, and then it comes back, and he goes back on insulin. Now, his beyond that and close to death. Cats are hard to regulate. One week 5 units of insulin twice a day will be great. The next week, the cat could go into hypoglycemic shock because it is too much then. That is what happened to Tootsy.

See Tootsy for more information on his diabetes. I follow each step of his saga there.

Signs of hyperglycemic shock and ketosis:

Stop eating but usually still drink a ton of water
Not active, just lays there
Abnormal pitiful meowing
Advanced stages include coma, body shutdown (kidneys, liver, lungs, and/or heart) and death

Treatment for hyperglycemic shock:

Intravenous saline IV

Signs of hypoglycemic shock:

Inability to walk in a straight line
Falling over
Very abnormal behavior (our cat sought me out, collapsed at my feet, and wailed)
Advanced stages include coma and death

Treatment for hypoglycemic shock:

Glucose IV or catheter
Dark Karo syrup (corn syrup) may be used in an emergency at home; smear some into the cat's mouth

Chronic Renal Failure

I have had three cats with kidney failure of various degrees. Tootsy and Kisty died but not as a direct result of the renal failure. Samantha is still alive as of 2/10/06 (I may forget to change it here when she passes so see the section on her). You can read the details of their health in their sections. I improved my three cats qualities of life and hopefully the lengths of their life by administering lactated ringers subcutaneously. That means, I basically pumped water under their skin between the shoulder blades on a regular basis. For Samantha, I did 100 mL three times a week. As of 2/10/06, she gets 100 mL every night. Tootsy had a more advanced case and got 100-200 mL every single day near the end of his life. He was also diabetic. Diabetic cats are more prone to renal failure. Here are some links of use for people researching renal failure for their feline kids.

Chronic Renal Failure Information Center
Tonya's Chronic Renal Failure Information Centre
Yahoo Group for Feline CRF
Sophia gets her subcutaneous fluids - this is a really long (30 pages) story about giving a cat subcutaneous fluids, step by step.


My cat Gino developed cystitis in late February, 2006. See Gino's page to read about his experience.

Cystitis is the inflammation or irritation of the bladder. Cats with this problem have blood in the urine. It is more common in male cats. Most often, it is caused by a bladder infection or crystals in the urine (that can create stones). Very rarely, tumors can be involved. When the crystals clot up with the blood, a male cat's urethra may become blocked. With females, such stones normally pass pretty easily. There are also just plain bladder stones not always associated with cystitis. Bladder stones, or uroliths, can be struvite (also called triple phosphate, may dissolve if the urine pH goes back to its normal acidic nature) or oxalate (has calcium in it which is harder to dissolve) crystals. A cat with stones and/or cystitis will strain to pee and little or nothing will come it. Sometimes there is not a blockage but the irritation of the urinary system makes the cat feel like he has to pee all the time. If you find your male cat in the litter pan straining, get them to a vet right away. If it is a blockage, it is very dangerous. Crystal formation can be reduced with modified diets that are meant to help with urinary health. For example, some help lower the pH of the urine which can dissolve some stones/crystals. Some have lower protein, potassium, magnesium, and/or ash levels. It is better for cats to eat canned food for urinary health. If given just dry, the kidneys have to work harder, and the cat may not have enough fluids. For some cats, like Gino, this is a problem since he only eats dry! Fat cats are more prone to cystitis. At 13 pounds, Gino is getting up there. Some links are below for more information.

Acute Cystitis in Cats
Feline Cystitis
FLUTD in Cats (Cystitis) - this site has excellent information and covers cystitis and the various kinds of stones/crystals, blockages, infections, etc. involving the urinary system. FLUTD = Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease.
Feline Cystitis - another very good article

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