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[–] gazillions 0 points 22 points (+22|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Sick cats can get very bedraggled looking and she doesn't have that look in the photo.

Whatever she got into she would have tried lick off so it may be temporary and she just needs to rest and recuperate.

I'm not sure about the milk. A lot of people swear cats shouldn't have milk.

A piece of raw liver will help build up her red blood cells and her immune system. Cooked chicken for the taurine and the love of getting bits and bites of good treats from you is healing.

Good luck. I hope for the best.

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[–] TheRealMaestro [S] 0 points 6 points (+6|-0) ago 

Thank you for your best wishes: we appreciate them!

The photograph above was from before Harriet fell ill; here is one of her taken to-day. My parents trust that she should recover on her own with rest and loving care; she has indeed been a very resilient cat until now, with hardly an issue. We had considered chicken to-morrow for dinner anyway; a bit to the side for her would do her well indeed.

Though we have heard conflicting voices about cats and milk, Harriet drinks it more readily than water, and has had it before without problems. My parents say she had refused water, though I watched her this evening drink a small bowl of milk empty.

Again, thank you for all of your advice!

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[–] gazillions 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

She's a beautiful cat. Maybe that run in with the oil hurt her pride more than anything else.

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[–] NoRagrets 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Cooked chicken

I thought cooked meat was not good for cats.
From memory: They have the shortest gastrointestinal tract of any animal, they do not need to break down meat before their bodies can utilise the proteins contained within it.

Do you know that cooked chicken over raw is specifically beneficial to cats?

Edit: On the water thing, cats don't usually drink much water, they get the majority of their hydration from the food they eat.
You can test if a cat is dehydrated by grabbing a handful of it's skin, pulling (not hard), and seeing how quickly it springs back to its natural state. If it slowly flattens out, there is a dehydration problem.

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[–] gazillions 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

I never fed raw chicken to mine because didn't want to deal with raw chicken bacteria. Commercial cat food is cooked, & it's very probable that OPs cat reached 19 eating that stuff.

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[–] Charlez6 0 points 9 points (+9|-0) ago 

She looks beautiful for 19!

Insist that she is taken to the vet. I don't want to hear any of this "geography" or "wait and see" excuses. She has given you two decades of companionship and is very unwell, you owe it to her to check that she is doing ok.

Hope that she is not in any pain, and she can go back home with everyone comfortable in the knowledge that she's just very old but happy.

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[–] TheRealMaestro [S] 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

You are absolutely right. I care too much about her to let her die if there is anything at all I could do to prevent it. I have told my parents that I am willing to pay any and all expenses related to getting her the care she needs. We are washing her again to-morrow to see if she had indeed wandered into an oil puddle; if she shows any more signs, I shall not hesitate to bring her the care she needs. Thank you for being so firm.

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[–] Charlez6 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Cat pee can be very greasy as it dries (there's nothing unhealthy about that in itself). Is it possible she's wetting herself, maybe as she sleeps?

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[–] badbear 0 points 8 points (+8|-0) ago 

19 is damn old for a cat. Sorry she is having a tough time. If I were in your position I would take her to the vet, if it was clear she was in pain/ill. They can help you make an informed decision about what to do.

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[–] TheRealMaestro [S] 0 points 6 points (+6|-0) ago 

Thank you for your support. My parents find she should probably recover yet on her own with our care, and currently prefer a 'wait and see' approach. I would take her on my own if not for outside factors (mostly geography.) Hence this post asking for anything else which I can do beyond what we already do, short of an official diagnosis.

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[–] midnightblue1335 0 points 7 points (+7|-0) ago 

"My parents find she should probably recover yet on her own with our care, and currently prefer a 'wait and see' approach." Are your parents doctors? I don't mean to sound rude, but if you truly care for this cat, maybe you shouldn't entrust her recovery to the same people on whose watch she fell ill?

This isn't just a "sickness", Harriet came into contact with tainted water or something like that while outside. She may be poisoned from trying to groom the crap off of herself; waiting will only give time for the poison to do its work. I imagine she is in agony right now. Please, don't let your foolish parents decide the fate of your cat.

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[–] I_Would_Gas_You 0 points 7 points (+7|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Pet her and show her you love her. There are also cat massage videos on youtube but I don't know how that would go over with an elderly cat. You could switch her to tuna exclusively if you think the end is near I know she'd appreciate that. She looks good for her age!

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[–] TheRealMaestro [S] 0 points 5 points (+5|-0) ago 

Thank you very much. We give all six of our cats wet food as well as dry, and Harriet far prefers wet; we make it a point to let her have as much as she wishes every day before the younger cats have their turn. We show her lots of love; even now she still enjoys to bump heads with her hoomans. (I know that cats holding their heads against walls or such is a warning sign; Harriet has never done anything like this: only a friendly greeting with men.) Currently Harriet has gone to sleep on my father's bed; she seems to warm to us again, while in the first few days after this started, she had been more reclusive. We hope she should yet recover.

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[–] I_Would_Gas_You 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

Hopefully she has a few more years in her.

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[–] sometimessage 0 points 6 points (+6|-0) ago 

Cats are really good at hiding their symptoms. My cat (17) was constantly twitching one of his ears and I took him to the vet to be "safe". I was shocked to learn that he has been hiding a cancerous infected mass in his mouth for at least six months. Thankfully my vet is really understanding and is helping me to keep him as comfortable as possible.

I would recommend that you find a cheap/decent vet (call around and ask the price for a senior blood panel + base appointment fee, book with the cheapest one and run if they try to upsell product). Next thing, keep your cat indoors and offer her a buffet of foods and snacks. Keeping them eating and a little bit fat is a good thing in their old age. Personally I have had great success with watered down wet food and temptations cat treats. Keep fresh water available at all times and keep an eye on the litter box, it is a good way to diagnose issues before they get out of hand.

Recently my vet explained to me that cats metabolize medicine much differently than humans. She told me that an over the counter medicine for humans will kill cats and that they really do require prescriptions (with the exception of benadryl...for some odd reason). Pain medication from the vet is currently running me $15 per week and has made a huge difference in my cats quality of life. I couldn't live with myself if I didn't.

Good Luck!

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[–] TheRealMaestro [S] 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

I agree entirely. I have let my parents know that I am happy to pay all related expenses out of my own pocket, and in addition to the wash to-morrow I shall research nearby veterinarians. My parents mentioned that one recently (this week-end, after Harriet took ill) let us have two cat beds, one of which Harriet has already grown fond of; I shall keep them in mind for this appointment. We provide her with wet food as a matter of course; we realised years ago that a good, diverse diet does Harriet very well in her age. I change the cats' litter anyway when I am home, so can easily monitor it. We know not to self-prescribe for our cats; I shall be adamant in receiving professional guidance. Thank you!

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[–] midnightblue1335 0 points 5 points (+5|-0) ago 

Taking your story as a whole, here's my guess- She somehow came into contact with a chemical fluid. She got coated in it, and then tried to groom herself, thus consuming a large quantity of whatever that oily substance was. Now her body is reacting as if poisoned, possibly because she is indeed poisoned. If you haven't already taken her to the vet, do so immediately, you may only have a few days.

"she often will rapidly shake or twitch an individual leg as though trying to shake off water." My cat developed these symptoms suddenly when he was about 3 years old. It's called "Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome". Not much is known about it, but I'll give you my experience with it, maybe yours matches up:

On a Monday, my cat is fine. He's his normal self, playing, eating, using litter box, etc.. Then on Tuesday, he's running around the house like a madman, as if something is chasing him. He occasionally would pause and twist his head back to lick at his lower spine area, then he'd take off running again. This was funny at first, but then he began hiding- completely uncharacteristic for him. I was throwing out old mail, had a trash bag on the floor with papers in it, and he hid in it for hours at a time.

I started paying close attention. These incidents would come at random, I started calling them "attacks". They always begin the same way- his back will suddenly twitch, the skin appears to "roll", his pupils dilate, and then he takes off running from an unseen assailant. The first vet I took him to put him on Buprenex, which calmed him down and decreased the frequency and severity of the attacks- this was one of the worst decisions possible, because it's a fucking opiate painkiller. I didn't know that at the time, so after about 2 months, my cat was fucking ADDICTED to the shit. He had withdrawal symptoms similar to that of a heroin addict.

I took him to a different vet, who was stunned that Buprenex was given to him. I weened him off, and the attacks still happen, roughly 1-2 times a day. The only known treatment for FHS is barbiturates such as phenobarbital; but I'm not about to get my cat hooked on another drug.

FHS manifests very suddenly, at any age. There may be an association to lead poisoning. This "oil" you speak of is not present in my case, either, but the "phantom wetness" you described fits perfectly with my experience. My best guess is seizures.

"she returned from outside as though she had fallen into oil"- Chances are that she DID fall into some kind of fluid. This is one reason you shouldn't keep outdoor cats as pets, they go off on their own and something can happen to them without you knowing, thus you'll be missing crucial, potentially lifesaving info when you try to address the problem.

Taking your story as a whole, here's my guess- She somehow came into contact with a chemical fluid. She got coated in it, and then tried to groom herself, thus consuming a large quantity of whatever that oily substance was. Now her body is reacting as if poisoned, possibly because she is indeed poisoned. If you haven't already taken her to the vet, do so immediately, you may only have a few days.

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[–] Octocopter 0 points 5 points (+5|-0) ago 

If she tried to lick the oil off she probably ingested some of it and it will be very hard on her liver to deal with that. She might just need time to recover but I would still recommend a visit to the vet.

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[–] 6double5321 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

dawn ultra and hydrogen peroxide to get the oily crap off. then indoors to moniter

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[–] TheRealMaestro [S] 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

My parents say that they had indeed used the same to wash her the first time, and we are keeping her inside. Before we got her aged eleven she was an indoor cat, and she mostly seems to wish to stay in now anyway. We keep a close watch over her. Thank you.

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[–] 6double5321 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

Wash until clean.

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