During a life that was much too short, my friends' cat had many health challenges. But the feline leukemia was an unexpected blow, and they were desperate for information.
When they asked me, I didn't have much information to share because I've had very little experience with this dreaded disease. So I suggested my friends do the same thing I advise everyone with a very sick cat to do: "Go online and do a lot of research because the vets don't always get it right."
They're Not Vets, But...
Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against vets. Well, maybe I do, but that's not the purpose of this post. And not everyone who writes online will give you reliable, correct information. As the saying goes, "You can't believe everything you read on the Internet." It's always a good idea to discuss the information you find online with your vet. I'm very fortunate that mine is open to new ideas and considering things she hadn't thought of. If yours isn't, I'd urge you to find someone else.
For many of the chronic health issues that plague our cats, there are laypeople who have done, and continue to do, endless research because they're passionate about helping cats. Usually, they're people whose cats had the disease they're writing about. When their vets' treatment plans didn't work, they struck out on their own to find the solutions they needed. The result is huge bodies of knowledge gathered from many sources and sometimes after some trial and error.
To put your mind at ease, there's usually at least one vet in the background to advise and fact check. But unlike the veterinarians' own websites, these sites are written in language we all understand and provide information in actionable pieces. Some of the sites I like best and rely on most include...
- Feline Diabetes.com
- Tanya's Comprehensive Guide To Feline Chronic Kidney Disease
- Feline IBD
- FIV Therapy.com
- Feline AIDS: A Pet Owner's Guide
- Feline Leukemia Support
- AssistFeed.com. (Go here when your sick cat won't eat.)
Cat Info.org. Look here for everything you need to know about feline nutrition. This is important information and well worth the read.
- 2ndchance.info: I just like the way this doc writes. He manages to avoid vet-speak while providing lots of information, and he usually sounds optimistic about what to do to help the cat.
- Veterinary Partner.com: This site is written by the experts who contribute to the Veterinary Information Network, a veterinary database and community for vets. The articles don't bog you down with all the teeny, tiny details, but provide all the information you need about specific conditions and treatments.
- DVM360: DVM360 is a group of publications for veterinarians. The articles for owners are written by professional journalists and veterinarians who are experts in their specialties. There's no vet-speak here, just articles that are well done and provide information you need and can use.
- Little Big Cat: Holistic veterinarian Jean Hofe writes this site. Look here for alternatives to conventional medicine.
The Office Is Always Open
Online, the office is open 24/7, so if you have a question or need reassurance in the middle of the night, someone on the list will be there to help.
These are some of the email lists I read and use. Over the years, some of them have saved my cats' lives.
- The Feline Diabetes Message Board. This is a must for anyone with a diabetic cat.
Feline Hyper-T for hyperthyroid cats. This is where I learned about the side effects of tapazole that were making my hyperthyroid sick.
- Tanya's Feline CKD Support Group for cats with kidney disease.
- Support Group for Feline Hearts. Learn how to care for your cat with heart disease.
- Feline Asthma & Respiratory Diseases. If your cat has asthma, this group can help.
- Feline Stomatitis. I learned so much from this list when we had a shelter cat with stomatitis.
- Discussion of Feline Lymphoma. When I had a cat with lymphoma, I learned a lot from this group, too.
- Feline Herpes Virus. And this one suggested treatments for my cat with herpes that hadn't occurred to my vet.
- Feline IBD
- Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
- FIV Cats
- FeLV Talk for cats with feline leukemia
Feline Assisted Feeding. If your sick cat won't eat, this email list can help.