This is an interview with Karil Kaylor about how her cat, Boomer, has had significant improvement since his initial sobering kidney failure diagnosis.
Ever on the lookout for encouraging cat health stories we might learn from, and painfully aware of how common kidney failure is in cats, I was eager to let Karil share her story here.
Can you give me some background on your cat’s health story — when and what was the diagnosis + what were his/her symptoms?
Boomer, a domestic long hair male, was diagnosed with early stage renal failure in November 2013, at age 10 1/2.
He had a full wellness check up with blood work in April 2013, and everything was fine. He weighed 11 pounds at that time.
I took him to the vet in November for a weight check because he seemed thin. He is normally a picky eater, but his appetite, litter box habits and behavior were the same as usual. It turned out that he had lost 2 pounds in 6 1/2 months. Blood work and urinalysis revealed early stage renal failure.
The vet said the goal was to prevent further weight loss, and maintain current kidney values. There was no reasonable expectation for improvement, just stability before the disease gradually progressed with age.
What did the vet recommend?
Dr. Meekins recommended a prescription kidney diet, so we tried Hill’s k/d. Boomer absolutely refused to eat. He because so adverse to the attempts to make him consume k/d that he began hiding from me, and would tremble when I found him.
After a few days of this, Dr. Meekins suggested trying another brand of food. I obtained a prescription for Royal Canin Renal LP, and bought it at another vet’s office.
He would not eat the modified (shredded variety in small cans) or the pate type. But I found that I could blend the pate type with warm water and feed him with a 5 ml syringe. I had to cut the tip off, and could insert the tube in the wet food, pull back the plunger and have a ready mouthful of food for Boomer.
Initially he gagged and cowered, but gradually I was able to force feed him several times daily, getting about 15 – 20 ml per feeding. He was completely averse to food at that point.
So what did you do then?
During online research, I found Pet WellBeing Kidney Support Gold. I ordered a bottle, and took it and a list of ingredients to our vet. She said there were no ingredients that she believed would harm Boomer, and that it was worth trying.
So about 3 weeks after his diagnosis, I tried administering a few undiluted drops of Kidney Support Gold, but he couldn’t tolerate them directly. He gagged and foamed at the mouth, and shook violently. So I mixed a few drops with his food, and fed him with the syringe.
He was able to get his supplement drops down that way?
Yes, and his appetite began to improve. He began nibbling on the other cat’s canned and dry food. He will not voluntarily consume Royal Canin k/d or the Kidney Support Gold, but tolerates 2 or 3 daily feedings of 40 – 50ml with the syringe. He nibbles throughout the day on whatever he chooses.
That is good news – a real improvement over being completely averse to any food. Are any other treatments helping him?
The other significant treatment for Boomer is the administration of subcutaneous fluids every other day. I started the subQ fluids immediately at his diagnosis.
The vet taught me how to administer regular fluids at home. Fortunately, Boomer is a very docile and loving cat, and tolerates this well. Many times he purrs throughout the procedure.
What is Boomer’s condition like now?
Astonishingly, Boomer’s kidney values have improved. He has gained 1 pound, and seems to feel great. He is active, playful, loving and very forgiving of the indignity of force feeding and fluid administration.
He chooses to eat the food he likes, but I still feed him at least twice daily with the syringe so that I know he is receiving the Kidney Support Gold and the prescription cat food he requires.
Boomer’s regimen of care is high maintenance, but he is well worth the effort, and I am glad to take the extra time and effort needed to keep him healthy. He gets along with the other pets in the household, greets every guest, and is a wonderful, loving and again healthy cat!
That is so good to hear! Thank you very much for sharing your story.
UP NEXT: Stay tuned for another post where Karil shares her best tips about subcutaneous fluid administration — a vitally helpful treatment for sick cats, especially cats with kidney disease! Meanwhile, be sure to check out Dr. Hofve on what to feed a cat with kidney disease.