Saturday, August 28, 2010

Another sanctuary cat falls ill

I guess you find out which one you really love when they fall ill. Bugsy is doing well in her cage, happily consuming baby food, but still unable to walk on the floor without rolling sideways. She's not suffering, but she's not improving. Part of me wishes I had had her put down right away. The other half is glad I have given her her chance to improve.

If she were a pet cat, especially an "only" pet cat, this really wouldn't be an issue. If Ivan were rolling sideways (my pet cat), but still loved his baby food (and me) and could be coddled and loved and helped, it wouldn't be such a devastating illness. But Bug doesn't like people. She likes cats, and she like her wet food. She can't stay trapped in a cage, and she can't jump up to her high places that she loved so much. Am I keeping her in a cage to give HER a chance, or just to make the humans involved feel better because THEY gave her a "chance?"

She misses her buddies. When they are "at liberty" in the evening she comes out of her den and meows. I think I'll give her some down time in the cat room with them tomorrow, but I'll need to keep an eye on her, so hopefully she won't just hide in the corner if I'm there.

Tonight I went into the cat room to give everybody their Wednesday-Saturday comb-out, and figured since they'd heard me pop the top on a baby food jar for Bug, I should give them a treat as well. I opened another jar and went from cat to cat, running my hand down those that permit petting, and combing each one as they ate. When I got to Buttons he was on his usual spot on the window ledge, flirting with me. I ran my hand down his back...

and slightly pudgie handsome Buttons felt like bones. Like old cat bones. How could a cat lose that much weight in just four days since his last combing? Did I miss him because I was concerned about Bugs? I cracked open his mouth and checked his teeth. No red gums. No abscessed teeth. Was he bonded with Bug and had stopped eating entirely because she was gone to the other room? I put a dab of baby food down on the shelf and he went right for it. Lick, lick, lick, lick...but then after about 45 seconds he stopped, gave one last lick, and turned away. "Hey, I'm hungry! That smells good! That tastes good! Oh...I don't want to eat anymore. Something doesn't feel right..."

I petted him and he purred like nothing at all was wrong. He let me open up his mouth again and poke around. This wasn't just a little weight loss. This was serious weight loss. A few weeks ago I had been wondering if maybe I should put him on a diet. Last week I had thought how he was looking good (but maybe was already losing weight, going from pudgy to normal)and wondered if I should bring him in he house as a pet. Now here he was, way too thin.

And all the sudden I found myself in tears. I had been prepared for Bug. I have even prepared for Fluffy, since he has entered his senior years (he's doing fine). I wasn't prepared for Buttons. I pulled up on Buttons' fur and he was a bit dehydrated, but not too bad. I tried some more baby food and he just turned to face the other way. Still purring. But not willing to eat any more.

You know, it's hard enough when they are pets, but at least they had a full and loving life when they become old or ill and pass over. When they have been stuck here in a building all their lives with no special ONE PERSON to love them... I realize that they came in here before TNR was an option. They are the in-between cats. I always was prepared for the day when they would become ill. I expected it would be earlier than a pet cat, given the stresses of living in an adoption facility. Still, I can't help but feel that their lives have been stolen. They never had a home and alternatively, they never were allowed to be free. They were warm, well fed, and had the company of other cats. But there was never that expansion to their lives. A home. Their own home.


2Vamp said...

I'm really sorry to hear of these cats. It's quite rare that you blog like this and, well, I wish there was something I could do from here :(

I hope things work out; will send positive thoughts and energy.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could give you a hug.

Strayer said...

What do you think the cat has, Laura, was pudgy, now isn't, rapid weight loss, diabetes? Hyperthyroid, not if not hungry. Drinking lots of water? Giardia, coccidia, diarrhea? hairballs? temp, no tooth problems, no dehydration? Not severe anyway, urinary blockage? Intestinal blockage? Lymphoma. Kidney failure, any mouth growths, sores, consistent with that? Oh boy, I've exhausted my list. I hope it is the least serious of all things that could be wrong.

Laura, I finally checked my mail. I really don't check it much because it just is bills and junk mail.

Not this time, got a package from you. Eye ointment and boy do I need it! I have 8 kittens here and two are having eye troubles and conjunctivitis, including little Brutus, the latest add on here, born unwanted in someone's backyard once used not anymore boat.

What I'm trying to say is THANK YOU!!!

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you a zillion million times over. I could not believe all that you gave me. I was telling my cats, showing them, exclaiming "Can you believe this? We are rich in teramycin!" I immediately scruffed Brutus and applied. Anyway, am trying to tell you I am drop on my knees grateful!!!!

Jody in Oregon

Wildrun said...

Hey, Jody, you are the beneficiary of a gift that was given to me. It was far more than I would ever use, way way way more, and most of my local rescuer friends have access to eye meds via the shelters they foster for. All the sudden I thought "Ah ha! I bet Jody could use some of this!" I'm glad it made it there safely!

I'm thinking either kidney failure or cancer. I'm going to have to take him to the emergency clinic tomorrow. He won't make it til Monday. That's the problem with them being in a separate facility instead of in my house. Things like how much they are drinking, or little behavioral changes, can be missed. But Buttons is one of my favorites among the shy cats, and I always spend time with him because he loves being combed, so I'm almost questioning my sanity that he has lost weight so quickly.

I'm going to talk to my vet about coming out on a set day once every two months to examine everyone, even when they seem healthy.

georg said...

Sassy lost weight that quickly, and that led to her diabetes diagnosis. And she was petted regularly. She dropped 10 pounds in about six weeks. But she was still eating.

I wish I could afford another cat, but realistically I know I can't. I'm having trouble making sure my tribe gets proper medical care when they need to, and therefore won't take another one home.

c and g said...

oh, susan, i'm so sorry.

but you're an angel- they still have a better life than many, many humans on the planet. they have a home, tho maybe not a perfect one. and you have loved them. they have much more than many people can claim.

please let us know if there's anything we can do.

Anonymous said...


I am so sorry. Please remember how much good you give back to the universe! I'm also sorry for not stopping by yesterday on my way home from Light on the Hill--I couldn't remember the way there.

I heard this at LOH: and it is amazing!

Original_Wacky said...

Aww, so tough to deal with kitties aging, no matter how long or short a time you've had them. AM sending well wishes and warm vibes from here.

meowmeowmans said...

We are so sorry. Thank you for caring so much that it hurts, and for giving these cats a place that is so much better than what they would have had otherwise. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Strayer said...

Sorry Susan,

Had someone else's name in my head when I posted.

What happened with the sick cat?