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Thank you for taking in this stray. I am sorry you are worried about him.
I am a veterinarian, and will do my best to help.
If he is drinking well, but eating little, he could have chronic kidney disease. He could also have cancer, or other internal disease.
As long as he is eating, I think it is OK to let him moulder.
If he stops eating, and especially if he stops drinking, I think it is kinder to have him put down. Once he stops eating and drinking, he will eventually die of dehydration but that can take days with some cats, and can be hard to watch, and they are suffering.
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If you look at his gums, do they look pink in color?
I forgot to mention that he found me five years ago and I don't know his history. He has always walked very stiffly with a bad action and cannot jump at all. I will look at his gums
You can check him for dehydration by gently pinching some skin over his shoulders and letting it go. It should go back into position in less than one second. If it takes longer, he is dehydrated.
He doesn't appear to be dehydrated - he has been drinking water constantly - I have put a bowl near him, but he has stopped eating anything but a few tiny bits of chicken in the night and nothing today so far
To me, the best judgement of quality of life is the appetite. When a cat stops eating, they have lost interest in life, or feel so bad/painful/nauseous that they can't eat any more.
Yes I was afraid of that. I have already been in to my vet to warn them of a possible home visit for euthanasia, but thought I would contact you for a different viewpoint. Thank you for your help
You are welcome.
Is there anything else I can help with, or answer?
You have been kind to this kitty.
Is there anything else I can answer, or help with? I am here for your questions, until you close the conversation by rating my answer.
He came in from the cold Christmas Eve five years ago when it was 20 degrees below. I came home from work and my son said 'there is a surprise on your bed' and he has been with us ever since. He had been living rough and I expect his regulars who fed him were all away for Christmas. He was very thin with an abscess under his neck, but we sorted that and he has been a very sweet cat. The vet said he was about 8 or 12 he wasn't sure how old he was but probably about 11 at that time.
I think that I will go with my instinct when I think he has had enough. Thank you for detailing the things to look out for when it is the right time.