Pole’s eating challenges

Every CKD cat is different. So very different.

Taking care of Vincent was very different from what I’m facing with Pole now. Firstly, Vincent’s creatinine readings was only around 240 or so. It never went any higher and yet, he was already in Stage 4 kidney failure when discovered. His kidneys were already “porous” and yet there were no signs or symptoms at all before that.

He only had those terrible mouth ulcers that made eating very difficult, and yet, Vincent was a fighter. He was a warrior in every sense of the word – despite those terribly painful mouth and tongue ulcers (almost had “holes” in his tongue), he ate. He was able to even tell me that all he could eat was chicken fillet cut in to large pieces so that he could swallow them and the smooth texture would be the least painful food to eat.

Vincent was a warrior.

Pole’s creatinine was only 155 (hence, normal) in March 2019. Her SDMA (the predictive test for CKD, it can predict CKD as early as 1.5 years before any symptoms appear) was only 10 which was completely normal. Because her readings were all good, she only needed a check-up in September but by then, her creatinine had risen to 251. It’s then that we started subcut for her. Her creatinine continue to rise steadily (with a few dips) and now, it’s at 426. Two weeks ago, it was 381. The vet confirms that her kidneys are deteriorating and as we know, CKD is not reversible.

The stemcell therapy currently available is only for dogs and not cats. Even then, it is only meant for early CKD dogs, not those in the late stages – this is what I was informed.

So, CKD for cats is, at present, not reversible. It will only progress. We just hope to slow down the progression. I think we managed to do this for Bunny, Cleo and Indy but not for Pole. I guess Pole’s case is made worse because she is also hyperthyroid and has high blood pressure.

Pole has had daily 150ml subcut since 16th May 2020. Before this, it was every alternate day. Despite the daily subcut, the creatinine is still rising. Sigh…

So, we are trying the renal diet now. She refuses to eat Hill’s KD with veges and with tuna so these two are out. She cannot eat kibble as she would vomit it all out (just as well since I wouldn’t want to give kibble to a CKD cat, or any cat unless I absolutely have to).

This leaves only RC renal wetfood (with tuna, in a pouch). I’ve consulted the RC vet at length (he was incredibly helpful) and the RC renal pouch is a complete food for CKD cats. I also learnt a lot from texting with him.

So, now it’s getting Pole to eat it. So far, she is willing to, if I add some AD to it. And most importantly, she can retain this food without vomiting. Most other foods have failed this. Well, except Avoderm canned, which she loves, but that’s out of the question.

I have to use all kinds of “tricks” to get her to eat. The important thing is that she eats. The next important thing (well, of equal importance) is that she eats the right food.

Pole formed this habit of eating very tiny amounts at frequent intervals ever since she had her gastritis and vomiting problem so this has become a habit now. She can end up eating, say, 12 times a day. Sometimes, as frequently as every 20 minutes. I don’t dare let her starve or go hungry since she has gastritis. I definitely do not want her vomiting problem to start again, so I have been pandering to her demands/requests.

But today, I’m trying something new. I’m going to extend the interval between her frequent meals so that she is hungry enough to eat the renal food. If possible, with less AD and less enticements.

This was yesterday’s video when, for the first time ever, she ate pure renal food (neat). That’s because she was hungry enough. Perhaps too hungry to make demands.

But it’s tricky because if Pole is too hungry or eats too much, she might vomit again. So it’s a tricky balancing act to achieve optimum results.

This was today. I was out at the bank for more than 1 hour today, so Pole was hungry enough to eat her renal food when I got home.

She was interrupted by these two fighting down below.

But I managed to coax her to continue eating. She would not finish the whole bowl, but at least it’s almost all eaten.

Pole also refuses to eat if the food is kept for later (it’s not “fresh” anymore). But any other cat would gladly eat up her food. They all love it, so I guess it cannot be tasteless, right?

I do understand that in having CKD, appetite is a problem and the main thing is, the CKD cat must eat. So this is my priority now. And hopefully, eat as much as the right food, as far as possible.

The vet has advised me to reduce the Mirtazapine to alternate days, so I’m doing that now. It could have been the daily Mirtazapine and daily Methycobal (B12) that was making her constantly ask for food.

Doing the best I can, for Pole.

Chronic kidney disease is common among cats, especially geriatric ones. I think maybe it’s because by nature, cats don’t drink enough water.

The water fountain didn’t work too – none of our cats knew it was meant for drinking. Smurfy thought it was for him to flick water to play.