Cleo's Progress

One Cat's Struggle with Feline Hepatic Lipidosis

Thursday, June 4, 2009

When fatty liver disease is fatal

Jack, a cat for whom fatty liver disease was fatalI state repeatedly throughout this blog that fatty liver disease is CURABLE. This is temporary liver failure and most cats make it if they are force fed and if the condition that caused them to stop eating it taken care of. Sometimes they stopped eating because of an environmental cause — in my cat's case she was afraid of the new dog. Other times it is because they are already sick with something else — cancer, for instance. It's also common for cats to hide when they are injured outside; by the time you find them (if you find them at all), fatty liver disease has already set in.

Unfortunately, not all cats recover from FLD, also called feline hepatic lipidosis. Months ago I was in communication with a young lady named Yiddle, whose cat, Jack, developed fatty liver disease. (Jack's picture is the one at the beginning of this post.) Unfortunately, Jack didn't make it, and died after a short hospitalization.

The story has an unexpected happy ending, though, as Yiddle soon fell in love again, with a tabby rescue cat named Toby. I'll put his picture and a picture of Yiddle's other cat at the end of this post.

In the meantime, though, I'd like to share the email Yiddle sent to me after Jack's death and Toby's rescue. This email really touched me, and made me feel that even though Jack didn't make it, everything happened for the best.

Hallo Katherine,

Thank you. We will always miss our Jack. I think by the time we noticed he wasn't eating much, it may have been too late. He was very overweight to begin with, but he had lost 4 lbs. already. Even though he was very sick, he fought the force feeding very hard. I would swaddle him up as tight as I could and then even wrap my legs around him and still he would struggle free. It would take several rounds of that to get through one feeding. At the end of each feeding, he and I were both exhausted and knew we had another one coming up in about an hour and a half. I tried to take care of him at home but he developed diabetic complications and a low blood count. I hated to have to take him to the animal hospital but he had several doctors and aids who fell in love with him and gave him the best care they could. They let me visit as often as I wanted for as long as I wanted, so I spent many hours just holding him and talking and singing to him each day. My son and his dad also visited him every day. I think he had more visitors than I did last time I was in the hospital! We are going to bury his ashes (and his blankie) on my grandma's farm when it is spring. He will have the company of generations of beloved family pets there.

I thought it would be a long while before my heart would be ready to love another kitty, but we were at the Humane Society this weekend with friends and we met one we knew we had to bring home. Toby was listed as "special needs" cat, so he had been at the Humane Society since October. He has "wool sucking syndrome" - he likes to "nurse" on blankets and his owners gave him up because he chewed a hole in a couple of their blankets. He was adopted a few weeks ago but his new owners found they couldn't handle the sucking behavior either so they returned him to the Humane Society. For us this was a perfect match - Jack used to do that too, since he was a tiny kitten! The moment I picked Toby up, he started to purr. Toby came home with us, we bought him his own blankie (which he adores, I haven't seen him nurse on anything else yet) and he has fit into our house wonderfully.

I will never ever forget our sweet Jack, but having Toby and his "blankie" is like having a little bit of him back.

Thank you for keeping up your website. Even though I lost my Jack, you gave me some hope during those dark days. I appreciate that more than I could tell you.

Thank you again,

Toby the rescue catTink


  • At January 20, 2012 at 6:49 AM , Blogger alawishas said...

    i found out my cat has liver disease my vet tried everything to get her to eat,force feeding hasent worked so i made the decision to have her fed by tube, my vet went on holiday and the locam was going to do it, he phoned me and told me she needed to be put to sleep i refused and she is having her tube put in as we speak,i am going to give her every chance, if she doesnt make it i know ive done all i can, i love her as if she is my baby.her name is Willow she is only 3. I hope she has some fight left,now its up to her. God bless you Willow,

  • At January 20, 2012 at 6:51 AM , Blogger alawishas said...

    This comment has been removed by the author.


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