Losing a Loved One #PetLoss

On Tuesday we lost Tinky. This time last week she was fine. She went off her food at the weekend and lost her energy on Monday evening. Tuesday morning it became clear to us that we had no other treatment or management options and although to us she still seemed determined and herself that veterinary science had little to help her in its arsenal. 

Tinky has had renal failure since 2013 and we were told that the condition can be monitored and changes in her diet made to prolong her wellbeing but there’s no cure. Considering the effect the condition had on her she was remarkably well.

For us Tinky was the first kitten we ever reserved. She was mislabelled a he when we first met her and was pretty much the ringleader in her litter. She was always the loudest with the most to say and somehow led other cats to do her bidding. 

She was a tiny baby when she came to live with us but she had a huge personality and a will of steel. Headstrong, stubborn and extremely vocal we soon learned to do things her way. She was undoubtedly the smartest cat we ever had as well as the most bossy and authoritative when we bred kittens.

Tinky was scrupulously clean and she wouldn’t tolerate any cat or kitten eliminating where they shouldn’t. She kept us on our toes when it came to making sure all our littertrays were acceptably clean.

We learned early on that she would do almost anything for prawns and her special renal diet meant she had to give up a lot of her favourite foods, but she was so smart she knew eating anything other than her kidney food would make her unwell, so used to just watch the others tucking into things she loved. 

If she needed anything she would let us know, not too subtly, but most of all what surprised me most was just how empathic she could be. She used to come and sit next to me leaning against me if I was upset or feeling depressed. When I was ill before my pulmonary hypertension diagnosis she used to sit on me for hours and just purr. 

In 2012 when I was admitted at my local hospital for two weeks I was allowed home at weekend’s on day release and she used to tell me off for being away then sit on me refusing to budge as she knew I would have to go back to the hospital. 

She had a special meow just for me and without her constant companionship since she came to us in 2006, my life would have been considerably poorer. My first morning without her was unbearably quiet and despite the five cats outside my bedroom door there’s an empty space we all feel that cannot be filled. 

When you say you’ve lost a cat, people who don’t love cats can’t begin to understand that loss, so to put it in terms that can more accurately convey how I feel I will say I’ve lost a constant bestfriend and probably the closest being I will have to a child of my own. 

I knew she wouldn’t be here forever but losing her is hard on an already broken heart. 

Christmas Tranquility

I wrote and posted my Christmas cards out early December as well as sending gifts to my friends, so I could relax and just soak up the season which is my favourite as it brings back memories of belonging, partaking and childhood glee. Despite winter weather there’s a warmth to this time of year that unites and I totally love it. Feeling happy and positive lately has inspired me to take in all that I can locally, so I booked to go to The Lantern Festival but drew the line at sitting on Santa’s knee (maybe next year?).

My mood starts to fall on Christmas Day when the countdown to all things good about the festive season starts to end and we go back to a bleak existence without the lights and tinsel. It doesn’t help that I’m essentially alone for Christmas Day as my husband works the extra long shifts that take him away when families are together, but I have the cats and sole possession of the remote control. However, if it was the festive season continually we would no doubt find it less special when it comes around. 

Being well organised this year and finding myself not pressured, but relaxed and open to positivity and possibilities, not even my dwindling exercise tolerance and erratic peak flow measurements make me want to stay in. I might walk at a snail’s pace fighting for my breath but I feel excited and alive. I’ve taken the pressure off myself to enjoy myself and it’s definitely worked. What’s really gratifying is seeing my husband laugh and crack jokes rather than look at me with concern and anxiety.

I hope others too who have struggled with depression and anxiety catch the positivity and warmth of the season and no matter how you feel, know you’re never alone. Now it’s time for cheesy Christmas films.

In Case of Emergency…

Even though, we are extremely lucky with our cats and (touch wood) have few cat related emergencies, we find ourselves keeping up with what to do if a cat escapes or is unwell, for the sake of cat owners who homed kittens from us years ago.

Last night saw serial escapee, Baba, doing a moonlight flit and worrying his family. It concerns us greatly when a cat gets out as we live in a city and most of the kittens we homed are local. To our knowledge we have lost one beautiful bengal, homed locally to a traffic accident several years ago. However, fortunately Baba came home safe and sound this morning.

The advice we give when a kitten gets out is to leave a pair of recently worn shoes and socks outside by the front door or a window where the cat can get back in. Contact insurance company, who will advise and help with costs of fliers depending on your policy and local vets in the morning. In Baba’s case he likes to frequent a nearby school, so his owner has links with the school caretaker to keep an eye out for him.

Baba is microchipped, as were all the kittens we homed, to allow easy identification if they are found away from home.

We are relieved this errant explorer returned safely this morning and hope all the beautiful Bengals we bred stay safe.

Here are some more practical tips on what to do and how to ‘ve prepared if your cat goes missing: https://jenniferbarraclough1947.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/lost-and-found-how-to-search-for-a-missing-cat/
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Baba home safe and sound this morning

Book Quote Challenge: Day Two of Three

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Continuing from yesterday’s blog post, thanks to Adventures in Thirty Something for nominating me in this challenge. Today my theme is Shakespeare I read in school. If you’re not a Shakespeare enthusiast, I hope you enjoy our past kittens instead.

The rules are:

Post for three consecutive days
Pick three quotes per day
Challenge three different bloggers per day

My First Quote: 

“The course of true love never did run smooth; ” (Act 1, Scene 1)

Misummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare 

My Second Quote: 

“For never was a story of more woe [t]han this of Juliet and her Romeo.” (5.3.317-318)

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare 

My Third Quote: 

“I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano, A stage, where every man must play a part; And mine a sad one. (Act I, Scene I)

Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare 

Today’s Nominees:
I hope you take your time and go on a nostalgic journey of books read when life was a bit simpler and remember the joy reading brings you.

Arwen Free Bird
Booklover Circumspect 4
Garcia Talks About…

Life With Tinky: Update

We had our struggles with Tinky earlier in the year when she was diagnosed with chronic renal failure, however on her current diet of Hills r/d she is thriving and has doubled her weight. We changed her to dry food as she tolerates small frequent meals better.

From a frail feline who barely moved and did so reluctantly to get up and eat or drink, Tinky is now a frisky feline, who plays with toys, something she hasn’t done for a long time. She’s been running around playing fetch as well as running up and down stairs. She had a brief, “should’ve gone to Specsavers,” moment when I threw one of her mice for her to fetch and she returned with a ball of wool, but other than that has been pretty spot on in her activities. She’s still not a huge fan of Basil, but tolerates him, despite some very salty language and seems to be getting on with everyone else.

We have to feed her separately as the others would gladly finish her food off for her and she has taken her separate feeding in our bedroom as confirmation of her elite status, which routinely involves screaming in my ear at 6 am to wake me to throw mice for her to wrestle. We had one, “Twilight,” moment when she couldn’t help herself and lunged for some fried chicken, but we managed to intervene before any real harm was done.

Despite the slight adjustments we’ve had to make we couldn’t be more grateful for the progress she has made as I honestly thought we might lose her this year, but she reassures me there’s mileage in her yet.

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Tinky Doing Better

It’s been about a month since Tinky was diagnosed with chronic renal failure and she’s now a completely different cat to the waif that lay on our bed and would hardly move a month ago.

Since Tinky has been on her new kidney diet she has gained weight and got her appetite back. She’s much more interactive with our other cats and is back to growling at them when they encroach on her territory.

It’s nice to see Tinky once again obsessed with food and she has been known to blackmail us into feeding her 5-6 times a day. We have restricted her to three meals a day as we don’t want her getting an upset tummy and she’s still gaining weight.

It’s nice to see Tinky looking so much better.

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Tinky Update

It is a precarious road to getting well for Tinky and she definitely got worse before she started getting better. After her diagnosis of chronic renal failure Tinky suffered with loose bowel movements, lethargy and depression. We decided to isolate her in our bedroom. For a couple of days Tinky eliminated outside the litter tray, I think it was her way of telling me how awful she felt.

After further precautionary investigation, Tinky looked so small, skinny and helpless, I wondered if she would make it. She stopped washing herself so I took to cleaning her with baby wipes, something she tolerated. I held her in an attempt to share body heat and whispered in her ear, “don’t go, Tinky.” I think she heard me as she started drinking by herself and slowly took to her new food. Our vet suggested Hills a/d as a supplement, which seems to have made a huge difference.

Tinky has rejoined the other cats and Bridgette, Fluffy and Victory take it in turns to wash and keep her warm. We need to feed Tinky her special diet separately and we hope she will gain some weight but we are ever vigilant of her. It’s amazing how even Sally and Basil, who are heavy and robust cats are being gentle to Tinky. Each day she seems a little more like her old self and I have a feeling this headstrong stubborn girl isn’t done with me yet.

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Elderly Cat Issues

Over the past few weeks we have been nursing Tinky, one of our earliest and elderly Bengal cats. Tinky has uncharacteristically been off her food and underwent a weight loss that alarmed me. It has been a very long time since we had an ill cat, as touch wood, our cats seem to be in good health on a raw diet.

Dreading the more fatal diagnoses, we took a very reluctant Tinky to the vet to get her checked out and discovered she has chronic renal failure. This is not an uncommon condition in cats and our course of action was to give her a special renal diet and monitoring regularly.

As always, Tinky impressed me with her co-operation at the vets and her willingness to be a good patient by taking to her new food. She has moved into our bedroom with us and chooses to let us know when she needs to use the litter box so we can let her out, she point blank refuses to use a litter box placed in the bedroom.

I have been worrying about her and dreading her condition worsening, as unlike humans there’s no extensive treatment for chronic renal failure and even if there was she would hate it, but Tinky seems to be putting on a bit of weight, is well hydrated and apart from being just a little more tired than usual, is getting better slowly but surely.

At 9 years old (52 cat years, I’m reliably informed), Tinky has a successful way of communicating with us and has been a model patient. I hope we can keep her well for as long as possible.

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Tinky making herself at home in “her” bed.