some people call it 'kidney failure'. some 'kidney disease'. the practical upshot of all of it is that piglet's kidneys are not functioning as the cat goddess intended.
the cat goddess is probably bastet. she's probably in charge of all cat-related things.
piglet has had a tooth issue for a few weeks now. when we took her to the vet about a month ago, it looked like her tooth had been chipped. there was a spot with no enamel and the dentin was exposed. it seemed painful to her. we put her on a round of antibiotics and the vet said the tooth may die and have to be extracted. so i kept an eye on the tooth. it's had a bit of a growth on it, like the gum is growing over it, and it comes and goes. but it hadn't been looking like it was dying or that it was bothering her that much. i was considering finding a vet dental specialist.
a few days ago, piglet started getting a bit lethargic. her tooth had no change, she was still eating and peeing and pooping, she was still purring and snuggling and playing as normal, but she just seemed a bit run down. i decided we needed to take the tooth out now because it seemed to be bothering her. the vet wanted to take a look at it first and since it's a far drive, we decided to bring her in just before appointments started to ensure removing it was the best thing, then she could stay there and have the procedure or i could take her home if we decided against it.
i brought her in. three of the four vets were in house yesterday; as a family, we've been dealing with the two oldest ones since the early '90s and i trust them both - and they both agreed the tooth needed to come out. they said they'd take blood to make sure everything was good to go, take out the tooth, biopsy the growth thingy near the gum just in case, and handed me a RIDICULOUS estimate that made me cringe. but it's my baby.
about an hour after i got home, one of the older vets called about piglet's blood work. her kidneys were not functioning well. her levels were, well, bad. like two to three times higher than the high end of 'normal'. i asked the vet if we'd call this early stage kidney failure and she said no, it's worse than that. we kept our oldest cat taylor alive in early stage kidney failure for over five years with diet. this would be like late stage three kidney failure; piglet's kidneys have probably lost about 80% of their function.
the tooth has to stay in for now. we got a bit of info this morning about her urine - it's filled with blood and pus, but that *could* mean that she just has a really bad infection. maybe a bit of a diet tweak and some antibiotics can fix this. could it be related to the tooth? could she have cancer? could she be dying? i try not to think about it, but i think it's something i have to think about. i mean, let's get real - how much do i want to put piglet through? our rottie nibbler was peeing blood and that turned out to be lymphoma. with diet and subcutaneous fluids, we could probably keep piglet's kidneys functioning at or around 20% for at least a year or two. maybe longer. she's only nine and a half.
but she has other issues. piglet has herpes, feline calcivirus. she already has a kind of shitty immune system. she hates getting medication. she'll probably hate subq fluids if we end up having to do that at home. this is treatable, yes, but not curable. i love piglet, and i'll do what i can until she's no longer comfortable - the same we did with nibbler, the same i did with taylor, the same i'll do with any animal who trusts me to take care of them.
then i think about the supposedly positive diet changes i made for them - raw food and grain free. samantha and jake seem to be doing well. jake even lost weight and is a healthy weight now. but now piglet is in kidney failure. it's like, what did i do? we fed taylor bullshit food for the first 11 years of his life (i was not in charge of that) and he went into kidney failure at age 11. better food choices kept his kidneys functioning well enough for years. i feed piglet the best food i can find for her as i learn more - at first she was on purina, then it moved to iams, then it moved to wellness, now nature's variety and raw foods - and she goes into kidney failure before age 10. i know it's not my fault, i know it. i know it happens, it's really pretty common in cats. but what do i do? what am i supposed to do?
i read all the ingredients and think about what they'd eat in the wild. obviously we're not recreating that very well as humans. feeding crap diets of kibble and low quality canned gives cats diabetes and makes them obese. jake seems to gain weight on foods full of grains. but grain free diets will be too protein rich for piglet. the special kidney diets are filled with the type of crap i no longer wanted to feed my cats, but now it might be the best option for piglet. i feel like no matter what i do, it's not good enough for my cats.
so here i am, again trying to determine a diet that will be best for all my cats. trying to figure out where the money is coming from for all these tests and procedures and shit. trying to decide what is the best course of action; how much we're willing to put piglet through; what we're willing to treat without the option of curing.