Cat is very scraggy and urinates everywhere

by Lynne

Our cat is 16 years old. About 4 months ago she had a tumor removed from her tyroid gland with Iodine treatment. She has not fully regained her strength since then. Her hair is straggly (used to be silky and smooth) her eyes seems to have receeded into their sockets and her appetite is small. We give her a mixture of dried biscuits and moist food and fresh meat and give her water every day and cat milk every night. She used to be very, very clean. We never knew where she toileted. But now she urinates in the house and we have to watch her very carefully when she is walking around the house. We can't let her sleep in the house anymore because her urinating is so unpredictable, on the carpet mainly in different spots. She also defecates in the garage which she never ever did before either. We have a lovely garden which she knows well but she doesn't go to the toilet outside very much anymore.

She has one lovely warm bed with a rug down on the floor in the garage, but she doesn't use it. She has a box with a blanket in it about 60 cms above the floor, but she doesn't use that either and we put a large pillow out for her, but she doesnt use that either. She will only sleep in her litter box which we refresh everyday, but she wont urinate in that. We often catch her licking the concrete in the garage and we have a sandstone fireplace in the house that she licks.

We often notice her drifting off into space, looking very vacant and sometimes we think that she doesn't quite know where she is but she always responds to our voices when we talk to her. She never used to like being picked up but now she wants to be as close to us as possible. Recently we have seen her crouch down on all four, hunch over and put her chin close to the ground. At this time her breathing becomes shallow. However, she surprised me the other night when she was in the garage eating her dinner because when I called her back inside she sprinted into the house.

Since her procedure she has little control of her back legs and it seems difficult for her to support herself in a sitting position. Her gait is not as it used to be but is acceptable and she can ambulate. We thought it would take her a while to recover but instead of getting back to her old self, but she appears emaciated, bony, staggly and she has slowed right down. We have literally spent thousands on her over the last four months, and I don't know what else to do for her.

Our vet is very good but he wants to operate on her back legs and personally i don't think she would survive another physical trauma
I just want to make sure she is comfortable and free of pain. What do you think might be happening for her. I look forward to your advice.

This sounds terrible and rally feel for you. I know what this condition can do to a cat as my old 17 year old cat had a thyroid removed too.

Sadly this condition in its later stages gets to the point where by the body no longer processes food and so the cat literally wastes away including muscle and this is why they can become shaky on their legs and look so scraggy..

i don't know why your vet is sayings she need a leg operation unless their is some other issue there too.

you did not mention if the vet has put your cat on medication after her operation of not. My cat was because she only had one thyroid removed and the vet said that the other one may need support to get her back to health. He also told us that if the other thyroid failed she would need that removed too.

After a month your cat should be getting back to some sort of good health and so i wonder if there are still issues with her hormones and still some problems with her her other thyroid.

The urinating etc is because she is distressed i fear. they will often use their urine to try and make themselves feel more secure in their home when they are feeling this way.

I think if I were you you have two options. Either decide that at 16 she has literally come to the end of her life and perhaps it would be kinder to let her go. Or visit another vet for a second opinion, this of course may mean more tests and expense but that is up to you.

My cat survived for a year after her operation but eventually her other thyroid failed and she lost so much muscle that in the end she broke her leg which could not be repaired. Amputation was the only answer and like you we felt that at her age and condition it was just not fair on her and so we had to put her to sleep. She was 17.

I have a web page about cat thyroid condition here for more information


I'm afraid there is no easy answer here. i wish you well in what ever you decide to do as I can tell from your writing that you care about your cat and will do what is right for her.

best wishes kate

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