Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sheba


[Click on the photo for a larger image]

Sheba, our eighteen-year-old tabby literally rescued from an alley when she was a starving and malnourished kitten, is "off her feed" as of yesterday As you can tell from this photo taken a few years ago when she was spry enough to hop up to her blanket on the living-room radiator, Sheba is devoted to her food, so her not eating is a bad sign. Often with cats, loss of appetite is the only sign that something is wrong. Cats are masters at masking their ailments! For well over a year, Sheba has, on her own, confined herself to her mat on the floor. She has truly been The McGuffey Reader's "the cat on the mat." In her dotage, also referred to as cognitive dysfunction, Sheba has been more comfortable on her mat in front of the fireplace, whether the fire is burning or not.

This morning, I managed to coax Sheba into lapping up some tuna juice, but she wasn't much interested in eating the tuna itself. What's happening could be stomach upset or something more serious.

The Old Girl is still purring, but not very enthusiastically. And she's still licking my hand, but not as aggressively as usual. My husband and I will make the decision to have Sheba euthanized if she starts showing signs of suffering. For quite a while, she has had benign tumors all over her body; she may well have these tumors internally, in her digestive tract. We've known for some time that "the bad day" is coming, but the knowing doesn't make the day any easier.

55 Comments:

At 10/15/2006 10:03 AM, Blogger Romeocat said...

Oh, AOW... My hear goes out to you! I went through something very similar when Romeo got older. He's four years gone, and I still miss my fav furr purr...

Make sure you give Sheba the extra snuggles and skritchies, and then, do what you need to for her best benefit.

I'll keep you and Sheba in my prayers!

-- Kat

 
At 10/15/2006 10:18 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Thanks, Kat.

Sheba waddled outside for a graze this morning. When she came back in, she ate a bit of the tuna. Still, the situation is not good, and we know that. But if this crisis is related to the change in food (My husband tried a new brand, despite my cautions to the contrary), this might be simple indigestion. We should know shortly.

With a cat this old, not drinking enough water can bring on uremia. We're trying to encourage The Old Girl to drink from her bowl. If necessary, we deliver the bowl.

 
At 10/15/2006 11:25 AM, Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

Their kidneys are the first to go, usually. Recall, our Sylvester one morning was mewing in pain, I took him to the vets right away and he put him down. I buried him later that afternoon in my mother in law's back yard. I hope yours goes peacefully when it comes.

 
At 10/15/2006 11:36 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Steve,
I remember your Sylvester. Poor thing! He had wasted away.

In contrast, Sheba looks robust. And we had blood work done last year--no kidney issues. Of course, that could have changed.

Sheba hates going to the vet, much worse than any cat we've ever had. I'd much rather our vet come to the house if we need to euthanize--and she might. We've discussed the possibility so as to minimize the struggle. Sheba really struggles at the vet's office!

I lost one old cat to kidney failure, another to heart failure. But you're right--usually the kidneys go first.

 
At 10/15/2006 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A song fit for a queen by Sir Andrew Llloyd Webber...

The moments of happiness . . .
We had the experience but missed the meaning
And approach to the meaning restores the experience
In a different form, beyond any meaning
We can assign to happiness . . .

The past experience revived in the meaning
Is not the experience of one life only
But of many generations - not forgetting
Something that is probably quite ineffable

Moonlight, turn your face to the moonlight
Let your memory lead you
Open up, enter in
If you find there the meaning of what happiness is
Then a new life will begin

Moonlight, turn your face to the moonlight
Let your memory lead you
Open up, enter in
If you find there the meaning of what happiness is
Then a new life will begin

---------------

Get well soon!

Always,
Milo - The farmer's cat

 
At 10/15/2006 11:43 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Milo,
Thank you! I don't know why I didn't think of those verses from Cats. I was watching Sheba as she slept this morning; suddenly, her whiskers started twitching and her front paws started moving. A pleasant dream, I think.

Sheba is truly regal. The alley cat moved up and rules all the other cats in this household! She commands respect.

 
At 10/15/2006 3:24 PM, Blogger The Merry Widow said...

Of course, doesn't Proverbs have something to say about grey hairs? A silver crown(I'm working on mine, not enthusiastically) should be honored by the whippersnappers!
That is a very good age though, and she may be tired and ready to go Home herself!

tmw

 
At 10/15/2006 3:41 PM, Blogger Truth-Pain said...

thats why i cant bring myself to get a pet... their lifespan does not coagulate well with my expectations....

 
At 10/15/2006 3:59 PM, Blogger The Merry Widow said...

Truth-pain, then you are depriving yourself of a lot! Love always in this life costs, and if you aren't willing to pay it, you lose more than you can imagine. What pets bring you outweighs the sadness of parting!

tmw

 
At 10/15/2006 4:06 PM, Blogger Tom said...

The first cat that I ever had lasted 18 years before we had to put her down. I rescued her as a kitten abandoned by her mother - fed her our of an eydropper for two weeks before she would take solid food. Her kidneys went, and it was one of the saddest days of my life. She's been gone for 3 years, and we are still not over her - she was a part of our lives for so long. She loved to cuddle & purr.

Hope Sheba perks up soon.

 
At 10/15/2006 4:19 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I picked up some Gerber's baby food at the grocery store today--old trick for coaxing a cat to eat to get through a crisis. Sheba chowed down on that, right off the spoon. Later, she visited her water bowl, on her own.

Sometimes a cat can survive a crisis if food is attractive enough. If a cat goes for 48 hours without eating anything, some kind of fatal liver-disorder sets in. On the off chance that Sheba's present crisis is merely a case of indigestion, we're giving her the opportunity to ride it out. One reason we think that what's happening with Sheba MIGHT be indigestion is that the new food my husband purchased was rejected by all four cats when the food was presented to them. Sheba, however, has a voracious appetite, so she might have eaten some of that food anyway, later in the day. I noticed last night that she had vomited up some bit of that food, along with a bit of pink (Blood?). Red or pink blood indicates an upper-digestive-tract disorder, according to my cat-care veterinary manual.

Sheba has ridden out a crisis once before. The vet was convinced that her symptoms indicated bladder cancer. But two rounds of antibiotics proved the vet wrong. Sheba has simple cystitis. That crisis was almost two years ago.

Bottom line...Sheba is tough and a survivor. Of course, the inevitable day is coming, but we're hoping for later rather than sooner. At the moment, she's not suffering, so we'll coddle her. Life is always precious!

 
At 10/15/2006 6:15 PM, Blogger Brooke said...

At eighteen years, your granny cat has had a long life full of love!

Hopefully, it is just stomach upset after a bit of yucky food.

We have a dog that we adopted from the pound five and a half years ago. She is part beagle, part sheltie. They thought she was a bout three, but of course couldn't be sure.

Since, her face is turned grey, and she now sleeps a lot and tends to be a bit forgetful, but is hands-down the best dog EVER.

Adopted animals are always the sweetest; it's as if they know that they've been given a second chance.

 
At 10/15/2006 7:40 PM, Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

Aw so sorry AOW..hope she gets to feelin better hun!..I know the feeling..

 
At 10/15/2006 8:28 PM, Blogger The Merry Widow said...

One cat in England lived for 36 yrs.! Maybe it was just the food, usually it's dogs that don't handle changing foods. Cats are usually better, but their tummies know for sure! Tell your hubby not to buy anymore of whatever it was!
Hopefully she'll be her self again in a day or so.

tmw

 
At 10/15/2006 11:11 PM, Blogger nanc said...

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15
A Time for Everything

"There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heavenC

2 A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up.

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.

5 A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.

6 A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep, and a time to throw away.

7 A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; A time to be silent, and a time to speak.

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace.

9 What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils?

10 I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.

11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime;

13 moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor, it is the gift of God.

14 I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.

15 That which is has been already, and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by."

there is really never a good time to die - only good times to live - relish what this cat has brought you.

i don't know what else to say. so i won't.

 
At 10/16/2006 6:26 AM, Blogger The Merry Widow said...

But what you said!
Good morning, G*D bless and Maranatha!

tmw

 
At 10/16/2006 7:23 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Thanks to all who have stopped by here.

As "the cat of the mat" for the past few years, Sheba seems fine to the casual observer--except that she's vomiting, and not eating at all and drinking ver little. Her vomit seemed to be tinged with blood the few times I could see what she had thrown up, but it's hard to tell. As with most cats, Sheba tries to hide her illness; she goes back into the basement crawlspace, where I can't get to her. Of course, those symptoms I've seen are serious in an old cat. I can't tell that she's suffering, but she may indeed be. Cats are such stoics!

Actually, Sheba is my husband's cat because they have that special bond and because he literally found her in an alley. He's reticent to have the vet run loads of tests, only to have the inevitable outcome. It's not the money. It's the torturing of an animal toward the end. And Sheba so hates to be away from either of us! Even the idea of her being hospitalized for supportive measures worries my husband.

My view as to what's best for Sheba: run a few tests if necessary, do the supportive measures for a few days, then bring her home to be comfortable if no treatment is available. Both my husband and I want Sheba to die at home. She so loves her home!

I'm suspicious of cancer or some kind of digestive disorder. I see no signs of dehydration. Sheba can draw on her too-large, water-filled stores of fat for a bit, but not for long.

Funny thing about Sheba....Twice in her long life she's had serious health crises. She fooled the vet and pulled through. But now she is so old. It may be that her time for leaving us has come, as Ecclesiastes says. But knowing that Sheba's time to leave has come doesn't make her leaving any easier.

 
At 10/16/2006 7:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

18 years is a long time for a cat and that in of itself is a minor miracle. People are amazed that my turtle is 32 and still going strong. They are believed to be capable of fifty years in captivity
with recent advances in nutrition.

 
At 10/16/2006 8:11 AM, Blogger The Merry Widow said...

It's because we are the poorer without them! They take a piece of our hearts as their own, and never take their little paws off!
But it would be even worse without them!

tmw

 
At 10/16/2006 8:30 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Vet appointment at 10:45 today.

 
At 10/16/2006 10:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We'll keep our whiskers crossed.

-Milo

 
At 10/16/2006 10:05 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

We'll keep our whiskers crossed.

-Milo


Do that! I know that it smarts a bit, though.

Just a few minutes ago, Sheba drank a bit of water and ate a small bit of cat food. Hopeful signs, but not certain signs.

Thank you for your well wishes, Milo!

 
At 10/16/2006 10:38 AM, Blogger nanc said...

heaaaaayyyy - my hamster's name is milo...i'd better go see what he's up to...i didn't know he could type!

 
At 10/16/2006 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...he's probably a telepath w/telekinetic abilities too! I can nail a-nony-mouse at 26,000 miles... w/mind bullets.

-Milo (the farmer's cat)

 
At 10/16/2006 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...so watch you step, nanc-Hampster... and all you other a-nony-mouse posters!

-Milo (the farmer's cat)

 
At 10/16/2006 2:00 PM, Blogger cube said...

Aw, poor kitty and poor you. I know how hard it is to say goodbye to a beloved pet. All we can do is ease their suffering. So sad.

 
At 10/16/2006 3:18 PM, Blogger Gayle said...

I'm sorry about your kitty too, AOW. She's beautiful. She coincidently looks very much like one of my cats.

Bless you during this hard time. It's awful when our pets pass. They truly are members of our families.

 
At 10/16/2006 5:23 PM, Blogger Raven said...

My oldest cat, Georgette, is 14 yrs now.
She is hard of hearing but that is all I can see as far as changes go. She still eats and drinks fine; she climbs and jumps and purrs and argues with the other cats...I hate to thibk of the day when she needs to be put down.

 
At 10/16/2006 6:39 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

We spent about 45 minutes with the vet in the back room, for privacy and for immediate examination. She drew blood for analysis; results will be in early tomorrow. The vet also injected subcutaneous fluids (for dehydration), Pepcid (for possible indigestion in case Sheba ingested some tainted food), and penicillin (for a possible bladder infection). Sheba did not cooperate in giving a urine sample; she provided it too soon, right on her blankie. It is not unusual for Sheba to "let go" at the vet's office.

I'm supposed to try to get a urine sample here at home. That should be, um, interesting. LOL.

The vet does not suspect a blockage--not yet, anyway.

So Sheba is back home until the results from the blood tests are in. This evening, I'm trying to coax The Old Girl into eating more baby food. She will eat it only from a spoon, however, and feeding her is quite a process.

 
At 10/16/2006 7:16 PM, Anonymous Kathy said...

Poor puddy tat.. She is certainly a very handsome old girl!

Hope all goes well for your much loved pet, and she is back to her old self real soon AOW.

 
At 10/16/2006 9:41 PM, Blogger Elmer's Brother said...

AoW, I'm no fan of cats but I hope your friend gets better for her sake and for yours.

 
At 10/16/2006 9:43 PM, Blogger Warren said...

The world would be a sad place without our furry friends.

Their lives are so short compared to ours and I hate it when they start to grow old.

I can't own a cat, my wife is allergic, I had a cat when I was very young.

He was a tiger striped tom and more wild than not. He came and went as he pleased, sometimes dissapearing for a week or two. One day he left and never returned.

I was the only person who that cat would allow to pet and play with him. The dogs gave him a wide berth and he would only allow certain cats into his territory. He would kill and eat mice and small rabbits, ocasionally he would leave me one on the back doorstep. :^)

But those were simpler times.

I hope your Sheba does well.

 
At 10/17/2006 12:40 AM, Blogger David Schantz said...

We have three cats at this time. They are all cats that no one else wanted. Two of (Kanga and Latisha) them are 9 years old the other one (Kit) is seven. We recently found homes for four abandoned cats that stayed with us for a while. I miss them and their still living. We also have a five year old Siberian Husky and a six month old Black Lab (Nibbles). My wife says when they pass away thats it no more pets. I know better, I remember the empty feeling I had after my Rottweiler (Rest In Peace Patriot)died. We got the Husky (Sasha) to fill the empty spot. She is loved and a part of the family but Patriot will always be missed, not forgotten. I hope Sheba's health improves soon.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

 
At 10/17/2006 7:18 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

This is looking more and more like kidney failure, which is a terminal condition in elderly cats. But Sheba is still alert--purring and licking our hands. There are, so far, no signs of suffering.

We're still awaiting word from the vet about the blood analysis. Those numbers will tell us what we need to know.

 
At 10/17/2006 8:14 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Warren,
I can't own a cat, my wife is allergic, I had a cat when I was very young.

He was a tiger striped tom and more wild than not. He came and went as he pleased, sometimes dissapearing for a week or two.


I had one of those! Tom came and went for years upon years, at least from the time I was four until I was ten. He feasted at a local private school and was very nearly the mascot. The roads between our house and school were not heavily traveled in those days, so Tom came to us, most often during the times when the school was closed for long holidays. During one especially heavy snowstorm when the school was closed, I can recall his sitting on top of our garage to get our attention; he reached the top of that high roof by walking on the ice-crusted snow drifts, which reached nearly to the top of the garage. He got our attention, all right, with his raucous meow. And he got fed well. But I was the only one who could get close to him. That particular winter was brutal, so Tom actually moved into the house for a short time. We were glad to have him around. He was a superior mouser! We rarely saw him when the weather was good.

Their lives are so short compared to ours and I hate it when they start to grow old.

When we get a pet, we often forget that one day we will likely have to make the decision for euthanasia; over the years, I've learned just how important a part of responsible pet-ownership that final mercy is

Most times, owners live out their pets. That's as it should be, I think. Older pets--the senior ones-- don't adjust too well to new owners, though I've seen a few exceptions.

 
At 10/17/2006 8:28 AM, Blogger The Merry Widow said...

That is one of the reasons I had my late's cat euthanized. He was so depressed and getting worse, it was hard to let go, but I can't punish the animal to make myself feel better! I have to do what is right, even when it breaks my heart! I sure cried that day, I still do when I think of him, but, what is right?

tmw

 
At 10/17/2006 3:38 PM, Blogger Cubed © said...

Oh, boy, AOW, how sad, and what a very pretty kitty! She looks a lot like my husband's cat, Chuff.

I am always looking for that last little thing that can extend life with comfort. I guess this little bit of information is for everyone here, because it looks as if you and your vet have already taken care of so much - so here goes. I hope some commenters find it useful:

If Sheba (or any other kitty) doesn't have unrelated cardiac problem that could be affected by the treatment for renal failure, you might want to ask your vet about home care.

You probably already know that you can give Lactated Ringer's solution subcutaneously at home indefintely; if you go to a hospital-affiliated pharmacy with a prescription for it, a liter should cost no more than about $4.00 (vets will often charge around $15.00/bag or even more), and the needles - I use 18 guage because it delivers the fluids so quickly - cost around $0.39 each.

The usual dose of Ringer's for a kitty in significant renal failure is around 100 150 ml/day. It makes a big "bleb" over the shoulders (which is the usual place to give fluids), and sometimes the first time, when it is creating the "pocket," it is uncomfortable, but when it's given regularly, it is much better. The fluids get absorbed quickly, especially if the kitty is very dehydrated. Sometimes, when the absorption is a little slow, you'll feel a "bleb" of fluids migrate under the skin down one leg, but that soon disappears as it's aborbed.

You can test for dehydration in several ways; first, lift up the skin behind their shoulders. Does it "tent," coming down only slowly? If so, they are almost surely dehydrated. Are the gums dry and tacky to the touch? That's another sign. Are the eyes a bit sunken? That's a tip-off too.

In renal failure, one of the big problems is that the kidneys can't reabsorb the water that passes through them with the blood that's carrying the waste. Normally, the water in the blood dilutes the waste so that you don't get sick from it, and it carries it to the kidneys. The kidneys let the waste be carried to the bladder where the "concentrate" is called "urine," and there in the bladder, it can't hurt you. The water is conserved by being reabsorbed so that you don't have to drink continuously.

In renal failure, a lot of the water is lost, and so that's why people and kitties in renal failure pee a lot and drink a lot.

Many kitties (and people) in renal failure lose a lot of potassium, too; it's interpreted by the sick kidney as waste and goes out with the dilute urine.

Potassium is most highly concentrated inside the cells, including the heart cells, where it is needed for proper function. The potassium levels in the blood outside the cells is much lower.

In renal failure, the potassium normally in the blood gets swept out, and the body tries to maintain normal blood levels by getting it from inside the cells. Ultimately, this can cause real problems with everything, including heart, muscle, etc. If the vet tells you that the potassium is low, then you know that the cells are very depleted and can't function properly.

In humans, there are some blood pressure pills that have a "potassium-losing" effect, and so they have to take potassium supplements; much the same thing happens with renal failure, and in order to preserve heart etc. function, potassium needs to be brought back to normal inside the cells; when the potassium levels in the blood are normal, then you know that the inside-the-cell levels are OK.

There are pills and beef-flavored powder preparations you can give (always give pills to animals followed with a few cc's of water from a syringe! It's not only more comfortable, it prevents the pill contents from dissolving directely on the stomach lining. Aim at the roof of the mouth so that it doesn't go down the trachea, and give it in two or three gentle squirts of about 1 cc each.). The usual dose is 2 meq twice a day.

The Pepsid is great. When a kitty can't get rid of the build-up of nitrogenous waste fast enough, Pepsid helps the discomfort created by that; when the vet tells you your pet is "azotemic" or "uremic" that's what he or she is talking about.

Many kitties go on to live a long and comfortable time with this kind of regimen, but eventually, the kidneys shut down altogether, and can't even excrete dilute urine. That's what's meant by "end-stage renal failure."

In people, we do kidney transplants. It can be done at UC Davis for kitties, but that's about $5000 or more, and the criteria are strict - somewhat younger cats who are otherwise healthy, you must adopt the donor kitty, etc.

I have sometimes hung on to a beloved pet too long, and I regret that. There are times when "prolonging life" is a self-deceptive euphemism for "prolonging pain and suffering." I applaud your attitude towards euthanasia.

AOW, if I were a cat, I'd definitely go sit on your doorstep waiting to be adopted.

 
At 10/17/2006 6:34 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

A bit of progress today with elimination (of both kinds). There was a lot of hair in the one little gift (conveniently left on a plastic trash bag, as was my intention when I put it down). Unfortunately, the urine sample was left on the blankie--plenty of it, too; it was dilute, which I expected after all those sub cu fluids.

I also noticed a bit of belching, so indigestion is also possible. I'm convinced that one batch of cat food was tainted. It probably sat in a hot warehouse. Ick!

The numbers in the blood analysis look okay for a cat of Sheba's age. She sheds like nothing I've ever seen, so we're going to dose up with hairball med. The vet will touch base with us in a few days to see how Sheba is doing.

Sheba ate a little bit today. Her preference seems to be breast meat from a Perdue Oven Stuffer, which I recently cooked in the crock pot. But her appetite, obsessive for years, is nowhere near normal.

Cubed mentioned Sometimes, when the absorption is a little slow, you'll feel a "bleb" of fluids migrate under the skin down one leg, but that soon disappears as it's aborbed.

I saw that. And Sheba didn't like it. Now that the bleb has been absorbed, she's moving around the house a bit. She prefers her mat, as has been her wont for over a year now. But now she CAN move--and pretty fast.

You can test for dehydration in several ways; first, lift up the skin behind their shoulders. Does it "tent," coming down only slowly? If so, they are almost surely dehydrated. Are the gums dry and tacky to the touch? That's another sign. Are the eyes a bit sunken? That's a tip-off too.

All those were good this morning. I'll check again late tonight.

Thanks, Cubed, for your excellent advice! Also for this compliment:

AOW, if I were a cat, I'd definitely go sit on your doorstep waiting to be adopted.

 
At 10/17/2006 8:33 PM, Blogger The Merry Widow said...

So the Queen of Sheba is holding the throne, good for her! At her age, I'd be a little persnickety about my food too. I'm glad she likes the chicken and is starting to act like she's feeling more herself. Course this means you may be cooking lots of stuff in a crockpot for her, but I'm sure Her Majesty will approve!
I agree about the food, it can go bad sitting in a warehouse all summer! Nasty!
Good evening, G*D bless and Maranatha1

tmw
P.S. Did you get the pictures of my grandkitty?
And how is Cameo doing?

 
At 10/17/2006 9:36 PM, Blogger Brooke said...

I'm glad she seems to be fighting this one off!

I always heard that cats wouldn't eat spoiled food... But then again, ours rarely lands on his feet! :D

 
At 10/17/2006 9:40 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

TMW,
Yes, I saw that beautiful kitty. I should have replied, but I've been swamped. I'm sure you understand.

Sheba needs to eat more. We're trying canned kitten-food, which is tastier. I'm guessing on that tastier part. LOL.

Funny that you should ask about Cameo. Last month, she had an abscess/fistula on ther back lanced--quite a procedure because of the size of the inflammation. Last night, the site opened back up and seems to be draining. I guess there was still a pocket in there. So I'm doctoring her too--antibiotic ointment 1x a day and Melaleuca ointment 1x a day. Cameo is a more cooperative patient than Sheba.

Cameo WANTS to rule the house, but Sheba is queen. She's the oldest, and the other three love and respect her. Quite a phenomenon, as cats don't always coexist so easily.

Brooke,
I always heard that cats wouldn't eat spoiled food.

Usually they won't. Indeed, the other three refused that can of food. Sheba did a first, but her piggishness overcame her later. Big mistake!

Like elderly people, senior cats' systems are often delicately balanced. Once that balance is disturbed, trouble ensues. Sometimes they, both people and pets, recover, sometimes not.

 
At 10/18/2006 6:30 AM, Blogger The Merry Widow said...

Don't worry about it! You have enough on your plates, and trying to juggle too! My, I'm impressed!
Hopefully Her Majesty has learned a lesson, but counting on her memory...uhm, no. I guess the cans must be sniffed first.
Glad Cameo's body is doing it's job. How much fun can we have?
Plus your back, hope the new regimine is going well!
Good morning, G*D bless and Maranatha!

tmw

 
At 10/18/2006 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear AOW

She is a beautiful looking girl. I really wish her all the best. You and Your hubby as well.

Take lot's of care of her and know you gave her a good life.

 
At 10/18/2006 9:42 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Meredith,
Thank you!

Sheba is eating this morning, though I have to bring the food to her on her mat. She's not drinking water, but I just gave her a few cc's injected into her mouth. If she'll start drinking water, she will improve dramatically, I think.

Sheba may not have long to live--I know that. But she is not suffering at the moment, so my husband and I trudge on with the caregiving. We have a "cat fund" laid aside for such crises as out cats get older. Experience with older cats in the past: I had one live to age 19.5, so I know about expenses for senior cats.

When we first got Sheba, the vet warned us that she might not live past age 10. She had a rough start, with very poor nutrition which compromised her respiratory system and her liver. She's fooled us by being mostly healthy all her life!

Sheba is mostly deaf, so "communicating" with her is a challenge. I'm getting lots of exercise as I keep going to her. And if the weather is nice this afternoon, Sheba and I will go outside for a while. She loves to go for a graze. Plus, she does need to move around to keep her arthritis from flaring up.

 
At 10/18/2006 10:18 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

TMW,
You have enough on your plates, and trying to juggle too!

I'm a veteran multi-tasker. ;)

Plus your back, hope the new regimine is going well!

My new therapist is excellent! She confirmed what my massage therapist had already found. She is hopeful that I'll need only two weeks of treatment. We'll see.

The sad thing...Had this problem been addressed immediately after the car accident, I wouldn't have had all this suffering. The first PT therapist I had was a loser and did things which shouldn't have been done. Ugh!

Yesterday's ultrasound (deep-heat) treatment worked wonders. No pain for several hours. NO PAIN! I hardly knew how to behave. Living with uninterrupted pain for 1.5 years does something to us psychologically.

 
At 10/18/2006 10:41 AM, Blogger The Merry Widow said...

Isn't that a blessed feeling? I remember one year, I had no sinus headaches for 6 weeks, I nearly cried! I have lived with them for decades, those were some of the best 6 weeks I've had! PTL that Truth is a healer! And am I sorry you had to live through not only the useless(I know, I know, not a good witness)doctor, but a lousy pt too! Sheesh, why do some people go into something they are totally unfitted for?

tmw

 
At 10/18/2006 9:38 PM, Blogger benning said...

Poor Sheba, and poor AOW! I hope she's just suffering from food poisoning and a cranky tummy. Tell her I said, "Meow, Baby." (Just quoting Kojak, don'cha know?)

 
At 10/19/2006 11:47 PM, Blogger MonicaR said...

Chronic pain can mess you up in the head. I am glad that you have found some relief.

I am sorry about kitty cat. She is beautiful. As you know I understand where you're at with her. She is a lucky cat to be blessed with owners who care so much about her.

 
At 10/20/2006 7:12 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Monica R,
I remember when you had to have your cat put to sleep. It's so difficult. And the grief is palpable.

Sheba seems to have made a full recovery. Once again, she's fooled us all. And according to all the lab work we had done ($200 worth), she's in good shape. The tentative diagnosis: upset stomacn caused by tainted food and a huge hairball.

We're so relieved, and so are the other cats. They adore sweet Sheba.

As to chronic pain, unless one has endured it, one cannot have an appreciation as to the effect it has--both physically and psychologically.

Benning,
I hope she's just suffering from food poisoning and a cranky tummy.

Yup. But it was a close call because old animals dehydrate quickly when they stop eating. Good thing that the old girl has a lot of fat to draw on!

TMW,
All the unnecessary suffering I've had to endure! Makes me angry! I had to get an attorney to FORCE my HMO to pony up. And so many of the docs and therapists in the HMO just weren't responsive. A nasty taste of "socialized medicine"!

I'm getting my personality back now. Is that a good thing? ;)

 
At 10/20/2006 7:26 AM, Anonymous Kathy said...

Woo HOO !!! I am so happy for you AOW... Just so relieved that your gorgeous puddy tat is okay!!

I really love cats , and have had many over the years....They have their own little quirks and personalities, and they are part of the family!

I have been checking .. with trepidation everyday for news of your precious puss.

Go Sheba!!

 
At 10/20/2006 9:47 AM, Blogger The Merry Widow said...

AoW- That's why I'd almost rather do without and go the natural route/ with a healthy dose of trusting the Great Physician!
One thing about chronic pain, it will give you compassion toward others or a bitter, angry spirit!
Thankfully for myself and others, I choose Door #1!

tmw

 
At 10/20/2006 10:39 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Kathy,
I have been checking .. with trepidation everyday for news of your precious puss.

Go Sheba!!


Thank you so much. "Trepidation" is an exact description of how my husband and I felt as we waited to hear about vet's test results.

Had we not taken Sheba to the vet for hydration, I'm sure we'd have lost her. Expensive? Yes, but worth it.

Here's hoping to see you around more often, Kathy!

 
At 10/20/2006 11:05 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

TMW,
One thing about chronic pain, it will give you compassion toward others or a bitter, angry spirit!

This PT place was concerned that I meet need suicide watch after 18 months of unrelenting pain. The personnel there wondered how I "made it." Admittedly, I was depressed, with having to sit around all the time, canceling vacations, lack of concentration, inability to read, inability to go dancing at the VFW--until this new medication, that is. I'm still under orders "to take it easy" and "to quit torturing" myself by working when I shouldn't (those long rides to piano students; homeschool classes are closer to home). But I see a light at the end of this long, long tunnel.

I believe that the Lord guided me to all those helping me now with treatment. My massage therapist is a staunch Christian. I don't know what I'd have done without her! And, of course, many prayers have been offered up for me. Just think how bad this would have been without those prayers! Isn't the body of Christ a wonderful thing!

I admit to a certain amount of anger that this fight to get proper treatment has been such a drawn-out process. But am I bitter? No. Besides, being laid up brought me into the blogosphere. The Lord always provides a window. Do you know the saying "He doesn't close a door without opening a window"?

 
At 10/20/2006 6:26 PM, Blogger The Merry Widow said...

Exactlly, you were brought to a place and a group of people who can and would pray for you! G*D leads the steps of a man! Or woman. If this hadn't have happened, we all would have missed each other, I know I would have been the poorer without having "run" into all of you!

tmw

 
At 10/20/2006 7:52 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

TMW,
I know I would have been the poorer without having "run" into all of you!

Awesome how that works!

 

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