We recently had to say goodbye to a very special cat. Fred found his owners Father Keith and Margaret in 2004. He quickly wrapped them round his paw and became the king of the house.
All had been well until they noticed him drinking more than usual. He had always been a very large cat and on his first appointment with us, Fred weighed in at a whopping 10kg. In 2005, he was diagnosed with diabetes and managing such a strong willed cat proved inherently tricky. Indeed, Fred was soon nicknamed ‘Freddie Kruger’ due to his desire to show the nurses and vets his claws!! Fred required several visits to have 2 hourly blood tests, enabling us to monitor his glucose levels. Stabilisation did not prove easy, especially with his daily desire for fresh cooked fish.
In 2009, Father Keith noticed that Fred was showing signs of lethargy as well as anorexia (he would not even eat his fish!) and further tests diagnosed him with triaditis. Feline triaditis is commonly seen in conjunction with diabetes and is a term used to describe the concurrent presence of inflammatory disease of the liver, the pancreas, and the intestines. He was admitted to hospital and it took a while to see an improvement in his condition.
Fred had extensive eye lid surgery in 2012 to remove a cutaneous hemangiosarcoma (a form of skin cancer). Although the cause of cutaneous hemangiosarcoma is unknown, we are aware that light coloured and short coated cats are more predisposed than others. In addition to his ailments, Fred also had treatment for dental disease, pancreatitis and further skin tumours.
Following a period of stabilisation Fred was subsequently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid glands) in 2013. This is a very common disorder of older cats, caused by an increase in production of thyroid hormones from the thyroid glands, which are situated in the neck. The affected thyroid gland was removed and all seemed well, until… Fred’s blood test revealed he had gone from a hyperthyroid state, to normal to subsequently becoming hypothyroid. Although hypothyroidism is a common condition for humans, hypothyroidism in cats is quite uncommon. The symptoms of hypothyroidism may come on slowly and be misinterpreted as signs of natural aging in elderly cats. Further medication was required to stabilise his thyroid hormone levels.
In the same year we also diagnosed Fred with chronic renal disease, which leads to a gradual and irreversible deterioration of kidneys over a period of months to years. Chronic kidney disease is commonly encountered following a period of stabilisation related to hyperthyroidism.
Sadly Fred also battled against acromegaly, a condition which results from excessive secretion of growth hormone. Acromegaly in cats is caused by a growth hormone–secreting tumour of the anterior pituitary gland. These tumours grow slowly and may be present for a long time before clinical signs appear.
Fred was blessed with fantastic, dedicated owners who along with our help, tackled eight different conditions! We were all grateful that Father Keith and Margaret’s daughter in law is a veterinary specialist in diabetes. He was one lucky cat.
On the 24th September 2015 at the grand age of 20, we all had to say a tearful goodbye to Fred. We all miss him dearly but look back with fondness in remembrance of his spirited and amazing character. We would like to pay tribute to Father Keith and Margaret for enabling Fred to live a life of luxury that he had grown accustomed to despite all his illnesses.