Author Topic: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.  (Read 5820 times)

Offline Marybelle

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Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« on: October 13, 2014, 08:47:23 PM »
So, my Murphy is 17ish.  We don't have an exact date, he was a rescue.  We had him at the vet in June to do some basic senior bloodwork, and an x-ray, because it seemed like his back was having issues, which leads to some constipation and pooping right outside the litter box.  I've tried changing litters and such, and it doesn't matter.  We discovered on x-ray that he has 5 or 6 ruptured discs in the bottom of his back.  So, we wanted to get him on pain meds.  Since he's a cat, there aren't a lot of options.  And unfortunately, the Tramadol caused further constipation in him, so we were unable to keep him on it.  He's currently on a stool softener to help keep him pooping, and he's mostly on canned food at this point, as well.  He's been doing some vomiting, mostly unrelated to food, and losing weight, so I took him back to the vet last Monday.  All his blood and urine came back good again, so no kidney disease or diabetes, the two biggest concerns.  His t4 was on the high side of normal, so we sent off for a free t4 and that came back normal as well.  Vet is assuming that Murph has IBD.

So, on Tuesday, I came home with a cortisone injection for him (my vet is awesome, and knows how much the trip stressed Murphy out, and he knows me well enough to know I can do that).  It has now been a week, and I'm not seeing any improvement.  In fact, he's lost more weight, and he's still vomiting.  It's not constant, or even every day, or it would worry me more.  Now, the part that gets interesting, and I'll be calling my vet about it.  I had noticed once a couple weeks back that he had vomited (including a hairball), and I thought it smelled like poop.  But it was in the room with the litter boxes, I didn't catch it right when it happened, and so I couldn't be sure.   Tonight, he did it again, and I caught it while it was fresh enough to know that it was the vomit that smells of poop.  I'll be calling the vet in the morning, but I'm not sure what our options are from here.  The fact that he hasn't responded to the cortisone means it's likely not IBD.  And with all the blood and urine coming back good, we sort of don't have anywhere to go.

I googled vomit that smells of poop, and none of it seems to fit, except one thing about hairballs in the duodenum, since his vomit usually includes hair.  He is getting canned pumpkin to help move things through, but it may not be doing enough.  I just am at a loss.  Any thoughts or ideas you guys might have would be appreciated.  And any prayers and good thoughts for Murphy would also be appreciated.  I know he's old, but I'm not ready to lose him yet, dangit. 

Offline RattieEnthusiast

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2014, 11:03:51 PM »
Hi.
I am not sure what may be wrong with your kitty but our cat will often cough up hairballs that smell like poo and is otherwise healthy.I hope you can figure it out and best of luck. Sending good vibes to the senior kitty.  :-\

Offline Marybelle

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2014, 11:04:53 AM »
So, x-ray shows "something". It's a round spot where there shouldn't be a round spot. Possibly in/near the pylorum. So, headed off for an ultrasound at 12:15, and hoping that will give us some answers, and we can determine if we're doing surgery or something else. The vet said to me "I'm not real happy with they way things are progressing." I said "Neither am I..." So, more waiting. I'm at work right now, I left him at the vet, and I'll pick him up to head to the U/S at 11:45 or so. I'm a wreck, but keeping busy helps, so I decided it would be better to at least come in and do a couple hours at work, rather than running him home, sitting there with him for several hours, then packing up and heading back out.

I don't know how I'm going to deal if we lose him. And I'm not sure how hubby will deal. Murphy is his, in so many ways. And I can already see him denying the possibility that something is wrong, even though there is obviously something. I'm trying not to borrow trouble, and keep reminding myself that his bloodwork is good. It's so frustrating. And what kills me is that Murphy is doing something very similar to what Beaker did in his last days, and hiding in weird places. His chosen spot is behind the toilet, and then he proceeds to lick the base of the toilet, which is rather disgusting. He's always been an inappropriate licker, but this is new. As is the hiding.

Offline Marybelle

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2014, 01:56:47 PM »
So, ultrasound is sort of inconclusive, partially because there was still food in his stomach from this morning. But he does have thickening of his intestinal walls, which is one of the things my vet was concerned about. Going back to my vet at 5 for another x-ray to see if there is still food in his stomach, since he hasn't been fed since 7:30 this morning. If there is still food in his stomach at that point, there's a chance he has a congealed hairball in there that's causing partial blockage. There is also a possibility that he just has reduced motility, and his stomach isn't putting food through like it should, or there is a combination of those two things. IBD is still on the table, although the fact that he didn't seem to respond at all to the steroid shot makes that unlikely. The other two options are intestinal lymphoma or adenocarcinoma in the stomach, both of which wouldn't show on bloodwork, apparently.

So, after we do the x-ray at 5, we all talk, and figure out where to go next. If there is still food, there are two options, exploratory surgery or an endoscopy to figure out exactly what we're looking at. She gave him some Reglan to help move along whatever is in his stomach at this point, so that should give us a fairly clear picture, hopefully. I hate waiting. And waiting like this sucks particularly much. If there isn't any food in his stomach, we can try another steroid shot, along with Pepcid and Reglan to see if he'll respond, but she doesn't hold out a lot of hope for that treatment at this point, and we have to figure out if we want to do exploratory surgery to do biopsies, which I'm not overly inclined to do at this point, considering his age.

Offline RattieEnthusiast

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2014, 03:12:57 PM »
I am so sorry.  :( I hope it isn't serious. I am thinking of you and hoping for the best.

Offline Marybelle

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2014, 08:06:23 PM »
So, had the x-ray, and it's not good news. He stomach emptied, which means there is no hairball. Now, there might still be IBD or a motility issue, so that's how we're treating it now. We have Reglan and pepcid, with an additional steroid shot on board. If that helps, great, we'll keep him on it as long as we can. If it doesn't help, both options are very very bad.

The possibilities are intestinal lymphoma or adenocarcinoma in the stomach. Neither of which respond well to chemo, and I'm not sure I could put him through it anyway, after listening to the dogs they were giving chemo to today cry through the whole procedure. So, we're hoping the meds work. I have a recheck appointment for Saturday, and we'll see where we're at. So far, we're off to a roaring start, with him eating very little of his supper. Granted, he's super stressed after today, so I'm trying not to worry overly much about that, but it's hard.

Offline forkyfork

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2014, 01:33:24 PM »
Im sorry that your guy is doing poorly.  :( You havent updated for a while but I have  a few thoughts. Some infections can smell like stool. Has the vet had a good look at his mouth? Throwing up a lot can also give poop breath. Ive come to the conclusion that chemo is a horrible thing to put an animal through and the survival rate is low after all that anyway and during treatment they are too miserable to enjoy what life they have left. I made the mistake of hanging onto hope that my old man would pull through. Some vets are horrible about giving you the idea that something might help. When I was giving him subQ at home and he hated it I should have known then it was time to set him free but I just kept torturing him until he wasnt himself anymore and now all the good memories were shoved out by the miserable memories before I put him down. I cant offer any more than to say he is quite elderly for a cat. There likely isnt anything that is going to fix him all the way. It is nice to know what is wrong if it can be corrected like removing an obstruction. When you feel like you are torturing him to keep him alive and he is sick more often than not then it might be time to say goodbye. I admit its easier for me to say this than it was for me to do it...obviously.  :-\

Offline Marybelle

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2014, 11:26:44 PM »
Sorry, it's been a crazy week.  So far, the Reglan seems to be doing the trick.  Vomiting is much less.  Not completely gone, but more like once a week rather than nearly every day.  It's possible the steroids are also kicking in a bit to help, as well.  He was off the pepcid for a couple days while I was away on business, and it make no difference whatsoever that we could see, so I'm not making him miserable by shoving it down his throat if it doesn't actively help.

He's in pretty good spirits so far.  Hopefully he'll stay that way. 

My vet is pretty great in that he doesn't try to talk me into treatments that aren't going to help.  In fact, he flat out told me that if it was his cat, he wouldn't try chemo, either.  And he said that doing the biopsies wasn't necessary, since if it's not IBD, the options are grave. 

Murphy still isn't putting on weight, but he's not losing it, either at this point.  And he is old.  Something like 90 in human years.  We're lucky he maintained his youth for as long as he has, really.  :)

Offline forkyfork

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2014, 12:16:08 AM »
Glad to hear he is stable.  :) I have a cat that barfs every day. The only thing we could figure out is she is tiny like 4-5 month old tiny but 4 years old. She also has funnel chest so her sternum jabs into her heart cavity and probably puts pressure on her stomach then she eats way too much dry food and barfs it up. The other thing that sucks is with 7 other cats in the house each cat only throwing up once a day really adds up. there is at least 2 piles of barf and cat hair a day. It makes it really difficult to tell if there is a problem and with what cat. 

Offline Marybelle

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2014, 07:02:49 PM »
When we had 3 it was often a guess, though Beaker was the most likely suspect at that point.  Now, it's almost guaranteed to be Murphy, with just the two.  Isis rarely vomits, and it's usually hairball related when she does.

Offline crazydaisy

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2014, 08:24:33 PM »
I am so sorry I'm thinking about him and praying for him. Many health wishes your way!

Offline Been to the Mountaintop

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2014, 09:08:19 AM »
Best wishes for Murphy, you and your husband. So sorry you are all going through this, and glad you have a sensible vet. You are the best to invest this much time and money in such a senior cat. We have a red tabby Maine Coon named Murphy Muldoon who is eight now and I am not looking forward to those senior decisions. I wouldn't do chemo either. And as you're deciding what to do, I would pretty heavily weigh the pain from 5 or 6 crushed disks. After that many years of good hygiene, it must really hurt to not be able to get into the cat box--and he tried since he went right beside it.  :'(
--Best, Mountaintop--

Offline Marybelle

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2014, 10:44:04 AM »
Well, he can get in the box.  He pees in the box no problem.  And, with the new meds, his stools are looser, and I think (crossing fingers) that he's actually starting to use the box again because his stools are soft enough that pooping isn't uncomfortable.  At least that's how it's been the last couple days. 

He did vomit yesterday morning, so I'm starting the Pepcid back up.  It seems like it was doing something after all, it just took a couple days to show what.  Still just trying to find what works for him at this point.  :)

He's still not putting on weight, but he's not losing more either, as far as I can tell.  So we're still walking a fine line of fine/not fine.  I'm watching carefully for signs that he's not feeling better, and we'll just take it a day at a time.

Offline Been to the Mountaintop

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2014, 12:33:42 PM »
You know you have an older cat when you get totally pumped about softer feline stools! So glad kitty is doing better. Best wishes for you all.
--Best, Mountaintop--

Offline ratpax

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2014, 01:31:10 PM »
Sorry, it's been a crazy week.  So far, the Reglan seems to be doing the trick.  Vomiting is much less.  Not completely gone, but more like once a week rather than nearly every day.  It's possible the steroids are also kicking in a bit to help, as well.  He was off the pepcid for a couple days while I was away on business, and it make no difference whatsoever that we could see, so I'm not making him miserable by shoving it down his throat if it doesn't actively help.

He's in pretty good spirits so far.  Hopefully he'll stay that way. 

My vet is pretty great in that he doesn't try to talk me into treatments that aren't going to help.  In fact, he flat out told me that if it was his cat, he wouldn't try chemo, either.  And he said that doing the biopsies wasn't necessary, since if it's not IBD, the options are grave. 

Murphy still isn't putting on weight, but he's not losing it, either at this point.  And he is old.  Something like 90 in human years.  We're lucky he maintained his youth for as long as he has, really.  :)

Well, first, I'm pretty sure we need a few pics of the boy, just for advisory purposes, you know  ;D

Okay, so your vet sounds great.

My vets are great too, love them, but one area I think is very lacking--the fault of our veterinary educational system, not the of the vets themselves--is nutritional education.

It sounds like you've been on a similar medical/diagnostics journey as I have with my old boy Mojo, and that the vet advice has been similar as well.

Where I ended up turning was to the focus on healing the gut, insofar as was possible, after the years and years of damage that I didn't realize was happening.

Frankly, my vets were skeptical at first, but are now really on board.

This article explains it far, far better than I ever could, but the short version is that all the chemicals, grains, fillers, preservatives and so forth in commercial pet foods cause damage to the gut lining--that inflammatory reaction is what you see on x-ray and US, with the thickening of the intestinal walls.

Here's the article--scroll down to the introductory diet section for a quick jump start on the program, but the whole article was very informative, for me--your research may have already covered this, but I learned a lot about how a healthy cat's GI system works.

http://feline-nutrition.org/health/feline-inflammatory-bowel-disease-nature-and-treatment

So, for Mojo, we do some of the same things you're doing with Murphy--motility agents like Reglan, antacids, steroids as needed--BUT (knocking wood furiously) his need for those has dramatically decreased with his new diet.

However, there are a few things I haven't seen mentioned that may benefit Murphy--we found supplementing B vitamins to be very helpful, some done by injection, others added to his food.

Also, make very sure that any of the feline herpes viruses have been ruled out, because Mojo was also suffering (silently!) with oral ulcers due to calici virus--even though he has a solid vaccination record and is indoor only--one of the shelter kitties apparently brought us that gift home. Sigh.

But, anyway, you have to make sure those ulcers are healed, if present.  Mojo is on L-lysine now, to prevent any further flare-ups.

All in all, I really think this might be very hopeful with Murphy--partly because he hasn't lost much weight yet--Mojo is at a critical point with his weight loss, sadly, and if he didn't act so happy and active, I'd have likely made the decision to euth, based on his severe weight loss alone.

I don't want to hit you with a novel, but if after you check that article out, you want more tips or details, just say.  It may be you can heal his gut since you're catching it now--I don't believe that is "false hope," at all, and at any rate, it's a very healthy way for kitties to eat in general.

Mojo was diagnosed not last May, but the May the year prior--and is still going strong, despite his skinny self  :wink5:
Rat girls:  Ahmi, Ara, & Juniper

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Offline ratpax

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2014, 01:43:33 PM »
Sorry for the two-posts-in-a-row, but I forgot this.

Sent it by PM to you, but thought others with kitties who vomit might also be interested in this information:

If you're not already familiar, read up on "toxic K" which is usually listed as "Menadione Sodium Bisulfite complex" on pet food ingredients lists.

From the MSDS:

SWALLOWED
! Accidental ingestion of the material may be damaging to the health of the individual.
! Ingestion of sulfite salts may cause gastric irritation. Large doses may produce violent colic, diarrhea, circulatory disturbance, depression of
vital functions and, sometimes, death.


http://datasheets.scbt.com/sc-215295.pdf

It's flat out BANNED for use in human food products, yet pet food companies throw it in, because they are required to put a Vitamin K source in their product, and it's cheap and easy.

I'm convinced it is one of the big culprits in feline IBD--and within a week of removing it from my cat's diets I had zero instances of vomiting.
Rat girls:  Ahmi, Ara, & Juniper

Rat boys:  Kibosh & Kerfuffle

Mouse girls:  Pinta & Silverella

Offline forkyfork

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2014, 03:57:22 PM »
Sorry for the two-posts-in-a-row, but I forgot this.

Sent it by PM to you, but thought others with kitties who vomit might also be interested in this information:

If you're not already familiar, read up on "toxic K" which is usually listed as "Menadione Sodium Bisulfite complex" on pet food ingredients lists.

From the MSDS:

SWALLOWED
! Accidental ingestion of the material may be damaging to the health of the individual.
! Ingestion of sulfite salts may cause gastric irritation. Large doses may produce violent colic, diarrhea, circulatory disturbance, depression of
vital functions and, sometimes, death.


http://datasheets.scbt.com/sc-215295.pdf

It's flat out BANNED for use in human food products, yet pet food companies throw it in, because they are required to put a Vitamin K source in their product, and it's cheap and easy.

I'm convinced it is one of the big culprits in feline IBD--and within a week of removing it from my cat's diets I had zero instances of vomiting.

What food are you using now?

Offline ratpax

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2014, 04:23:04 PM »
Sorry for the two-posts-in-a-row, but I forgot this.

Sent it by PM to you, but thought others with kitties who vomit might also be interested in this information:

If you're not already familiar, read up on "toxic K" which is usually listed as "Menadione Sodium Bisulfite complex" on pet food ingredients lists.

From the MSDS:

SWALLOWED
! Accidental ingestion of the material may be damaging to the health of the individual.
! Ingestion of sulfite salts may cause gastric irritation. Large doses may produce violent colic, diarrhea, circulatory disturbance, depression of
vital functions and, sometimes, death.


http://datasheets.scbt.com/sc-215295.pdf

It's flat out BANNED for use in human food products, yet pet food companies throw it in, because they are required to put a Vitamin K source in their product, and it's cheap and easy.

I'm convinced it is one of the big culprits in feline IBD--and within a week of removing it from my cat's diets I had zero instances of vomiting.

What food are you using now?

I home cook for him. Chicken, mostly.  Organic, no abs added, etc.

Some turkey, some organ meat, occasional bits of beef and pork and lamb.  Fish, very rarely, as he's not really a fan.

When I do supplement him with commercial food, I use wet food most of the time, EVO, Wellness Core, Merrick, California Natural, etc.

For my younger kitties, I have been doing a rotation of various better brands such as Orijen, Fromm, Wellness Core, and NVI.  I feed both wet and dry to the younger cats.

I'm trying to prevent ending up in their later years, where Mojo and I are, now.
Rat girls:  Ahmi, Ara, & Juniper

Rat boys:  Kibosh & Kerfuffle

Mouse girls:  Pinta & Silverella

Offline Marybelle

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2014, 11:31:16 AM »
Switched to Wellness Core, which has none of the toxic vitamins in it.  Both my kids will eat it, which is good.  Sadly, the two I have currently have turned up their noses at raw, and rarely eat even cooked people food.  So this is probably my best option at the moment.  Also added a probiotic, which at least comes in a tasty form I can give after the Reglan to make him feel better.  LOL

We're holding steady.  No weight gain, but no further weight loss, either.  The vomiting is mostly controlled with the pepcid and Reglan, and he's using the box to poop about a third of the time now.  I'm not sure what the determining factor is in that, but I'll take it! 

Refilled his Reglan yesterday, and we'll just keep moving forward a day at a time until he tells us otherwise.  He still seems to be in very good spirits, and doing all his Murphy stuff, so as long as he's happy, I'm happy. 

Offline ratpax

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2014, 01:53:48 PM »
Switched to Wellness Core, which has none of the toxic vitamins in it.  Both my kids will eat it, which is good.  Sadly, the two I have currently have turned up their noses at raw, and rarely eat even cooked people food.  So this is probably my best option at the moment.  Also added a probiotic, which at least comes in a tasty form I can give after the Reglan to make him feel better.  LOL

We're holding steady.  No weight gain, but no further weight loss, either.  The vomiting is mostly controlled with the pepcid and Reglan, and he's using the box to poop about a third of the time now.  I'm not sure what the determining factor is in that, but I'll take it! 

Refilled his Reglan yesterday, and we'll just keep moving forward a day at a time until he tells us otherwise.  He still seems to be in very good spirits, and doing all his Murphy stuff, so as long as he's happy, I'm happy.

Great news--so long as he's happy, that's all that matters.  I hope you get many more good years together.

And yeah, my Mojo looked at me like I was insane, whenever I offered him raw food--not sure my own human Mother would have mustered up such appalled looks as he gave me  ;D
Rat girls:  Ahmi, Ara, & Juniper

Rat boys:  Kibosh & Kerfuffle

Mouse girls:  Pinta & Silverella

Offline Been to the Mountaintop

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2014, 04:11:38 PM »
So glad to hear your oldster is holding steady.  :heart:
--Best, Mountaintop--

Offline Marybelle

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2014, 11:30:16 PM »
Murphy is getting worse again. I'm not sure what to do at this point. He's down another pound. He hasn't been real thrilled with the Wellness Core, and I don't know if I should start feeding him crap food again just so he eats more, or what. He has also vomited the last 2 days. I guess I'll be calling the vet in the morning, but I don't know where to go from here. Do I try another steroid shot and just hope that he's gotten worse because the previous one has worn off? He shouldn't be throwing up at all on Reglan and Pepcid, I would think, and yet... This afternoon, when I laid down on the couch to take my nap, and he joined me, he just looked so tired. It made me cry.

Offline ratpax

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2014, 12:59:47 AM »
Murphy is getting worse again. I'm not sure what to do at this point. He's down another pound. He hasn't been real thrilled with the Wellness Core, and I don't know if I should start feeding him crap food again just so he eats more, or what. He has also vomited the last 2 days. I guess I'll be calling the vet in the morning, but I don't know where to go from here. Do I try another steroid shot and just hope that he's gotten worse because the previous one has worn off? He shouldn't be throwing up at all on Reglan and Pepcid, I would think, and yet... This afternoon, when I laid down on the couch to take my nap, and he joined me, he just looked so tired. It made me cry.

I'm sorry--it can certainly be up and down, when they are this fragile.

I would likely do the steroid again, if his bloodwork is recent and looks good.

I didn't have much luck with the premium foods with my Mojo.

I am actually up late (getting awake for work tomorrow, well, today...is gonna stink) because I was late getting home and getting his crockpot on, and we were out of chicken.

He's just finished his small meal and is sleeping peacefully.

I really think if you can try cooking for him, it will at least make him more comfortable, with the vomiting and gut symptoms.

Had a hectic week, but I usually try to cook for him only on Sundays, enough to last all week--I can't freeze ahead much, as he seems to know and be picky.
Rat girls:  Ahmi, Ara, & Juniper

Rat boys:  Kibosh & Kerfuffle

Mouse girls:  Pinta & Silverella

Offline forkyfork

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2014, 08:46:31 AM »
Is there a chance he has pancreatitis? My old man had it, vomiting and no appetite. He stayed at the vet for a few days with an IV and was fine after that. They could see it in his bloodwork or urinalysis somehow, I cant remember.
If you want to try a super crack food petsmarts authority always makes my cats eat. I know its crap but sometimes I dont know what difference it makes. After having cats live 22 years on meow mix and only 14 years on "good" food I dont know what to think.

I would try the shot. If he is still miserable, I know this is difficult but it might be time.

Offline Marybelle

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Re: Older cat vomiting, losing weight.
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2014, 10:16:40 AM »
Well, he scarfed down his Friskies this morning.  So I'm going to talk to the vet about doing the steroid shot once more to see what happens, and feed him the crap food, since eating is better than not eating!