Is my cat suffering?

by Tina Mello
(Milpitas, CA USA)

Bambi our cat

Bambi our cat

What makes a cat start to lick the cat litter in her box for no apparent reason. She is doing it more and more. She will just sit quietly in front of box as if to smell it first and then she just licks it. She has problems really bad already with going to bathroom and vomiting. I found out she has stage lV breast cancer and is receiving no treatment at all. She has not really been going poopy or eating some days and wants to eat grass out on front lawn? She doesn't appear to be in any pain accept for the stomach upset days to eat grass and throw it back up. I wanted to know if I am making her suffer? Desperately starting to panic about the possible time to let her go. My mom owned her for 16 yrs until mom was suddenly diagnosed with S4 lung cancer last May 2010 and died 3 wks later, I kept Bambi and found out shortly after that she had a tumor which was s4 breast cancer. She is a Himalayan and weighing around 6lbs, if not for the lump and cancer, you would not know she was even close to age . Any ideas for me? I have really grown very attached to her. Thank You Sincerely

It sounds like your cat is rather old now, around 17 years old. Unfortunately with a cancer at her time of life especially if she is not receiving any treatment for it will only progress and her symptoms
may be a manifest of her symptoms progressing.

She may be feeling sick and may mistakingly be eating or licking the litter to make her sick. Or the litter may have a scent which is attracting her to it. Some chemicals can make a cat have the desire to lick it up.

To be honest with you, it is difficult to advise you really. You have obviously decided not to treat her for the cancer and let her life pan out naturally. by the sounds of it she does not sound like she is suffering badly. the vomiting and the constipation may be separate issues. I don't know if you have taken her to the vet for these symptoms or not. They may or may not be related to her cancer and there may be things the vet can do to ease these symptoms.

my rule of thumb is this. When a cat stops eating or drinking and starts to display lethargy and is sleeping all the time or appears to be in pain when they have a illness like this, then this is when you need to consider taking her to the vets to help her pass, if the vet feels that there is no more that can be done.

but if your cat still seems relativity happy and is still eating normally etc then perhaps she a little more time.

Sadly there will come a time that you may have to make the difficult decision to let her go, but you will know when that time comes.

best wishes kate

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