Near-death cat while cat-sitting ... what to do if it dies? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-31-2005, 06:16 PM
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I am taking care of my neighbor's cats (there are several) while they leave town for a few days. The oldest cat is not sick, to my knowledge, but is very old. Usually when I enter the house, the cat jumps off the couch to greet me; however, when I went today (the first of three days I will take care of them) this cat was sitting on a chair he usually does not sit on and would only lift its head to look at me with hazy eyes.



He did not come down from the chair for his food, so I put it near him on the chair, and he ate a little bit but soon curled up again to sleep. Quite honestly, I know a dying animal when I see one, and I have a feeling this one might not make it through the time he is in my care.



If the cat does die, what should I do with it? I assume I should put it in a box and isolate it from the other cats, but should I freeze it or something (that sounds so weird, but I've done it with smaller animals, and I'm not very well-versed on cats)? I don't want to leave the body out with the other cats around, as I don't know how they will react (i.e. will they try to move it, eat it or something).



The cat was alive when I left the house a little while ago, and maybe the cat was just having a tired/listless day or something. I don't know for sure that he is dying but it seems that way. The owner did not mention any problems with the cat when we spoke yesterday. I just want to be prepared in case I encounter such a situation, which actually seems quite likely.



Thank you if you read all the way through this, I know it's long
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#2 Old 12-31-2005, 06:19 PM
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Is there a way to contact your neighbor? That should be the first thing you do. I would certainly want to know if one of my furbabies was acting strangely. Secondly, if it starts showing signs of illness, don't hesitate to call a vet.



Also, are you sure it's not just missing it's people?
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#3 Old 12-31-2005, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TangledUpInBlue View Post

Is there a way to contact your neighbor? That should be the first thing you do. I would certainly want to know if one of my furbabies was acting strangely. Secondly, if it starts showing signs of illness, don't hesitate to call a vet.



I don't really want to call them because I don't want to worry them while they're relaxing, but I guess that would probably be the most direct thing to do. Personally, I wouldn't like to get a call saying one of my dogs was sick or something (I don't have cats so that's how I'll relate ) but it would be better than coming home to a dead dog, as bad as that sounds!



Quote:
Also, are you sure it's not just missing it's people?



I'm pretty sure it's not a separation anxiety type thing because I've taken care of these cats over several days at least 4 or 5 times before, and he has been fine each of those times. I am mainly concerned about death because he is so old



I think I'll check on him again in a few hours and call the owners if he is still listless. Maybe they'll tell me something reassuring that they didn't mention before.



Thank you, TangledUpInBlue
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#4 Old 12-31-2005, 07:30 PM
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If you're pet-sitting, you should have authorization from the owner to either contact them in case of illness or take the cat directly to their vet. In fact, you should already have their vet's contact information in case of emergency. He may be suffering from a treatable problem, in which case, prompt medical attention could give him years of quality life. Please call them! I'm sure any caring pet owner would rather get a call from the petsitter letting them know that something's wrong, possibly in time to make a decision about treatment that could save his life, rather than coming home from their holiday to hear the pet sitter say, "Oh, your cat died on New Year's Eve, but I didn't want to disturb you."
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#5 Old 12-31-2005, 07:34 PM
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I agree with tess, if it were my cat I would want him/her at the vet ASAP. Call the owners and get the kitty to the vet if he needs to go.
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#6 Old 12-31-2005, 08:17 PM
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I'd want to be called if it were my cats. Call them, and fast.
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#7 Old 12-31-2005, 08:27 PM
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If I were in the States and heard one of my babies might be dying, I'd be on the first plane back home.



Tell your neighbor. Final goodbyes are important and if there is any kind of decision to be made regarding the cat's health, the neighbor should be the one making that decision.
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#8 Old 12-31-2005, 11:06 PM
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I agree with Tess. I would prefer:

Sitter: Hi, Marcie (my cat) is really sick. What should I do?

Me: Take her to her vet at ____ location.

Sitter: Oh, all right, thanks.

Than:

Me: *upon arriving home* Where's Marcie?

Sitter: Oh, she died on New Year's Eve.

Me: What?!?! Why didn't you tell me?

Sitter: I didn't want to interrupt you.

Me: Wait a minute... how did she die?

Sitter: Marcie got really sick on the second day of your vacation.

Me: Why didn't you bring her to the vet?

Sitter: I didn't bother because I didn't want to worry you. Now, give me my money!!!!!! (that would never happen in real life, the whole money thing)
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#9 Old 12-31-2005, 11:37 PM
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you can refrigerate it, but if the owner wants a necropsy, a vet won't be able to do one if the body has been frozen.
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#10 Old 12-31-2005, 11:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meatless View Post

I'd want to be called if it were my cats. Call them, and fast.



Ditto!!!
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#11 Old 01-01-2006, 01:36 AM
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Thank you, everyone, for putting it in perspective - not calling them sounds pretty foolish right now



And thanks ynaffit, in case the dreaded has already happened (haven't been there since several hours ago).



I will call the owners in the morning. I would call them now, but it's 1:45 a.m.



Thank you again, TangledUpInBlue, Tesseract, meatless, DMZdogs, megveggie, ynaffit and carnelian! I appreciate the quick and concise responses.
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#12 Old 01-01-2006, 10:50 AM
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I worried all night about the cat and almost called the owners in the middle of the night. But I waited until early morning and went to feed the cats; of course, he was fine and greeted me at the door



Last night when I checked on him again he was still sleeping, unmoving, on the chair and wouldn't respond to anything. There were three other cats "keeping watch" over him. I was so sure that he would have passed by the time I saw him again.



But apparently he was fine. Very very hungry and crabby from not having eaten last night, but fine I think it may have been the weather or something; today is the first sunny day in a while and the weather has just been downright nasty lately.



I'm definitely going to ask the owners about this when they get home. That was just weird. But again, thanks to those of you who offered advice I can always count on the VB folk. And happy new year, too!
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#13 Old 01-01-2006, 11:02 AM
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Well, that's a relief, but still keep a close eye on him until they get back. Glad we could help.
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#14 Old 01-01-2006, 02:27 PM
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Yet again, I agree with Tess. Have fun cat-sitting!
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