Hep cats

My little loves were Scully, an 18 year old tortie who I just lost May 16, 2015, and Buddy, an 18 year old Maine Coone mix whom I lost in Oct. 2012.  I found both girls when they were kittens, 3 years and 800 miles apart, and they were each with me for 18 years.  Men came and went, but "the girls" and I were always together. They were such a big part of my life that it's hard to be without them.  Sometimes when I look at old photos or remember a "kitty quirk", the pain is still so fresh.
After Scully died I turned my focus to two ferals that we had been feeding for awhile. One was friendly and liked being affectionate, while the newest one was still very fearful, but soon after Scully died he started letting us pet him. Once we started he was all in, too. He would purr at the slightest touch, and would always flop over on his side and lay there to be petted. Once I could touch him I found out how horribly skinny he was under his fluffy gray and white fur.  I had him tested for several things which came back negative, tried feeding him the yummiest food... nothing worked. In October he suddenly became listless, was breathing rapidly, and wasn't eating much so I took him to a specialist and they found cancer spreading throughout his body.  So I lost another one, and although he hadn't been with me as long as the girls, he was so affectionate and sweet that it still really, really hurt.  I suspect he had a rough life, since he only had 1 eye, was missing a lot of teeth, and the X-rays showed that in addition to the cancer, he had a piece of buckshot wedged in his shoulders that the vet said had been there for a long time.  I felt so bad for him, and I wanted so badly to give him a safe, warm home filled with love.  I was only able to do that for a few months and that wasn't long enough.  2015 has been a bad year as far as losing things that I love.

Now it's just Max, my 5 year old black baby boy who prefers to spend most of his days outdoors but comes inside in the evening and sleeps like a Prince all covered by his blankie,  and Zeus, a semi-feral tuxedo boy who I've been feeding and befriending for almost 2 years now.  He has just started to come inside recently, and only if there's an open door to escape out of.  He doesn't get along too well with the other boys, so we have to watch them, but he's adapting to being inside better than I expected.  He's a love bug, too.
Anyhow, I've learned a lot about what cats like, what makes them happy, and what illnesses/symptoms to watch out for. I'll post info here that I think might be helpful to other cat lovers, as well as pictures of my cats and others that I see.

Scully rolling around on the deck, circa 2012, when she was still plump and healthy
Zeus, the still semi-feral boy with 1 bad ear

Isn't he a beautiful boy?  My youngest boy, Max
My sweet girl Buddy back in 2007. She was a BIG girl with long, fluffy fur, who of course slept on Mom's bed
Sweet boy "Gray" only had one functioning eye and was missing some teeth, but he was the most loving cat EVER

My sweet girl Scully again
I love this picture of Max because his tail is up and that means that he's happy.
August 2016 - just some cute kitty pics

Yeah, I haven't written much on this page since the deaths of my beloved Scully and "Little Gray". It was just too fresh.  But who can resist taking pictures of the cuties that you still have? Not me. Here's a few snaps of "my boys".

Boy Kitty sleeping. I know, we weren't too imaginative with his name. He was the first male cat we had, so we referred to him as "the boy kitty"

I couldn't resist a photo of my beautiful Buddy. Even in her last year or two, she was such a beautiful cat, and definitely Mama's girl

Little Gray was actually playing with the stuffed banana here. I'm so glad that we were able to show him love, care, and a little fun before he died. I don't think that he had much of it before he found us.

My little man looks sad here, but he was just sleepy. Cutest boy in the world!

Here's my sweetie getting one of his favorite things - a chin rub

Here's Zeus, the newest addition to our cat family. This is "his" chair

Zeus trying his best to squeeze onto the edge of the couch. He's a big boy

My sweet Zeus, a handsome boy despite his one bad ear. When he was still very feral he got a hematoma on it and since we couldn't get near him to help, it shriveled his ear up. But he's still cute as can be in my opinion

May 30, 2015. Rest in peace and joy, my tiniest baby girl

Two weeks ago, my baby girl Scully was doing great.  In fact, she had been doing great for months.  We had our little routine - she got her thyroid medicine twice a day, and I watched her like a hawk.  I was always listening to make sure she was going pee when she wanted to, I always knew where she was. That wasn't hard because she was usually wherever I was. If I left the room for too long, she'd come looking for me.  If I went somewhere for a few hours, she was sitting up in her little bed, waiting, when I got home and walked in the room.  Especially I watched any time she threw up.  As long as it was just here and there it was okay, but if it happened a few days in a row I'd get worried.  She had gotten in the habit of walking on me and meowing very loudly when she wanted me to wake up, which she never did when she was younger. She seemed like she wanted me to be awake and pay attention to her more.  When I woke up i'd lay on my back so that she could come snuggle on my belly and get her attention for the morning.
But after all of the problems last fall and winter, and since she was 18, I knew that our time together was getting shorter.  So I made a point to tell her that I loved her, to thank her for everything she had brought to my life, and let her know how blessed I felt to have found her.  I'd rub and scratch her in the spots she liked best, and I'd kiss her warm little head over and over.
I thought we'd have at least another year. I dreamt of us getting our own place again and how she could rule the roost, not having to be careful of the other cats because she was the smallest and the most frail.
And then one night I looked at her and noticed she was laying in her litter box.  She never did that, so I immediately knew something was wrong. I thought it might be another stroke or whatever caused her last episode of wobbly walking and falling. I picked her up and put her down outside of the litter box. She tried to walk, but her back legs wouldn't respond AT ALL this time.  She panicked and started dragging her back legs behind her, as she struggled to walk using just her front legs.  Then I got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that I still have 2 weeks later. I remembered an article that I had recently read about an aortic saddle thrombus (aka FATE, for feline aortic thrombus embolism).  I remembered a guy saying he had to put his cat down because of it, and someone linked to an article that said it wasn't always fatal.  I thought Scully might be comfortable in her bed while I got dressed.  I hoped it was just another mild stroke or something treatable. Then I noticed that she had peed all over the bed.  Another really bad sign.  She NEVER did that. I called the animal hospital and they asked if her back legs/feet felt colder than the rest of her body.  They did. They told me that I should bring her in as soon as possible.
To make this post short, and save me from another hour of crying, I'll sum up what happened.  The vet said it was a saddle thrombus, which is a blood clot in the aorta, right at the spot where it branches out down each leg and out over their tails. When the blood clots at this branch, they lose all blood supply to their legs and it causes paralysis. She said that the prognosis was very poor, and she recommended euthanasia.  The rest of our time there was spent debating on whether to try to dissolve the clot and see if she got movement and feeling back in her legs.  That was 1,000 to 2,000.00.  Even if she recovered, she had a higher likelihood of getting another one.  I knew losing her would devastate me in ways that no one else could imagine.  Without going into details, she was the cat who got almost all of my love, because I have very few people to give it to.  In return she gave me 100% love.  She gave me all of the love and acceptance that I'd never gotten from my family, from a boyfriend.  She gave me the love that I'd always needed but never got until I found her and my other cat, Buddy.  All of the other "love" in my life had strings attached, judgements and criticism where there should have been acceptance.
This is what animals do for you.  I knew I'd lose all of that, but I knew that I had to do what was best for her, not me. I couldn't let her suffer. When you love something you put it's well-being above your selfish needs. So I held her while they put her to sleep and then stopped her heart.  And I held her and held her and cried and cried.  I couldn't put her down, I couldn't give her to someone else. I walked around the hospital holding her in a blanket, crying, and seeing the pitying, "I'm so glad that's not me" looks that other customers gave me.
And now, every day, I'm alone.  No one is excited when I come in the door, no one wakes me up to get their food or attention, and no one contentedly sits by me every night.  I feel like I've been dropped into hell.
And for now, that's all that I can write if I ever hope to sleep soon.  Later, when I can, I'll write a post about these types of clots because I read all about them after she died.  They call it "every cat owners worst nightmare" because it comes on so suddenly.
For now, I'll just say treasure your fur babies. Don't ever be too busy to pet them, love them, and indulge them. Bless them like they have blessed you.

Scully shortly before her death, enjoying some warm weather with Mom
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
March 22, 2015-
Wow!  I didn't realize that it had been so long since I'd written in here.  Since my last post in December, Scully regained her vision and navigation/walking skills.  She took antibiotics because the neurologist thought it could be an infection in her brain.  When she got better I thought "yay! the antibiotics worked".  Then she had a problem where she wasn't able to pee.  Of course this had to happen during the holidays, so on New Year's Day I got ready to take her to the ER again. Before I could leave I started having debilitating pain in my back and side, and I felt like I had a urinary infection.  I couldn't even keep walking.  Then I got extremely nauseous, too.  It takes a lot to get me to go to an E.R., but I finally had to go.  It turned out that I had a kidney stone! What timing. They gave me IV fluids and pain medicine, and a bunch of other meds to relieve the discomfort. It kicked in quickly enough that I still took Scully to the E.R. the same night.  They couldn't find any problem so they assumed it was a urinary infection, but they were very concerned about her lab results for her kidney values.  They wanted me to hospitalize her AGAIN and have an ultrasound, but I couldn't afford it.  The vet made me feel HORRIBLE for not leaving her there. And I had told them that I'd just gotten out of the hospital myself.  Nice.  Fortunately Scully recovered, then a few weeks later she got another urinary infection. I took her to a different local vet who gave me antibiotics in a pill form.  Those worked great and she hasn't had another infection since.  She did, however, lose her sight again.  One evening I looked at her and noticed that she seemed to be freaking out, and her pupils were giant.  The rest of the night she was hyperactive and not able to navigate well because she couldn't see a thing.  I had no money to take her to the vet again, so I called the local vet and asked if they could give me antibiotics.  They did, I gave them to her, and by the next day she was much calmer and navigating well, but her pupils were still dilated completely.  Slowly, though, they started getting smaller and she was able to see again.  She seems to be able to see relatively well again.  Of course I realize that it's likely that this will happen again, so I have to do some research to find out what might be causing this.  I also want to take her to the neurologist again.
I'm remembering to treasure her and try to do as much as I can to make her happy. My biggest goal is to make sure she is living a life of good quality.
At the same time, I try to also give as much love and time as I can to my other babies. The weather has gotten a little better so Max wants to go out more, and Zeus is walking around more, so that requires more watching and mediating.  Zeus is still unneutered, so he's very aggressive toward our indoor/outdoor males.  It was a big problem last summer, and I've been working to get him used to being petted and handled, and I tried over the winter to get him used to being inside. Unfortunately he freaks out if he's in a room and the door is closed.  He meows loudly and is obviously terrified. The idea of putting him in a cage and taking him to a veterinary hospital, where he'll be confined the whole time, and then bringing him home and keeping him confined for another day or two while he heals.... I just feel too bad to do it. I'm afraid that he'll be so traumatized that he'll never come back once we let him out.  But it will have to be done soon.
And my baby boy Max, he continues to be a sweet little boy that I love to pieces.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
December 5, 2014 -
Life in kitty-Mom land continues to be busy and stressful. My little girl Scully was getting better from a bad cat flu (see my post on the main page of this blog). Then a week ago I noticed my girl was having trouble walking. Her back legs were folding under her, then her front legs started to do the same thing.  At first I thought it was because she was walking on the bed, so I watched her on the floor and saw the same thing.  Then she'd walk a short distance and just fall down.  I was terrified that she was about to die.  I got ready and took her to the emergency vet hospital.  They checked her vitals, which were fine, then did a few tests to determine what was happening.  All that they could tell me was that her 4 legs weren't getting the right directions from her brain. They couldn't find a reason for it, though.  They suggested that I leave her overnight and have a neurologist look at her.  As hard as that was, I felt it was best to leave her there.  Saturday morning the neurologist called and asked if I knew she was blind.   I felt sick.  No, I didn't know that.

Long story short, I don't have 1800.00 to run MRI's on her brain.  So I brought her home and gave her antibiotics and watched to see if she got better.  Honestly she is doing very well.  She has been walking and jumping normally since I brought her home, and I'm pretty certain that she can see a lot of things. She definitely can see moving objects (I've tested her by moving my arm or just a hand or finger), and she has been sitting in her window perch recently as if she can see what is outside. She also will walk around something that is in her path, even when it's something that isn't normally there. I am SO relieved.  I've read that blind kitties can navigate well and live normal lives, but I hated the idea of her losing her sight at 17 years old.

There were several people who thought I should have her put to sleep throughout all of this. I asked the vet at the emergency hospital if I should, and to my surprise she adamantly said "no". She said she hoped to be in as good of health as Scully when she got to be Scully's age (which is probably equivalent to a woman in her 80's).  Looking at Scully now, I'm very glad that I listened to that vet.  Scully is acting like her old self and getting stronger each day.  Don't ever let another person pressure you into a major decision like this. Listen to your gut and the experts.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments? Stories? I'd love to read comments related to the post topics.