Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

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issiandarchie+68
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Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by issiandarchie+68 » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:46 pm

Hi Guys. I am feeling very upset today and need to offload. As regular Cat chat pals will recall, we unexpectedly lost dear Armand and sweet Cody in early 2016, leaving us with our much loved big grey cushion of a cat.. Gandhi. He is a character, not really the cat for us but we brought him into our home because he was 'languishing' and we could see 'something' in him. He is extremely intelligent, loving and we adore him. The problem? From the start, I have never been able to just go to bed and sleep. [10 years]. Despite taking all precautions, nothing stopped him nightly attacking our large Victorian walk-in cupboard doors, knocking stuff of shelves, leaping onto the bed, clambering over ..well, I think you get the picture. No such problems with the other two. He has always had trouble with his bowels, during painful episodes he has vomited copiously, defecated outside the litter, needed 2 washouts. But now, in our new home, he is getting worse. He has thyroid problems, although thankfully, his kidneys are still in working order. He will not take meds from anyone but me, needs vast quantities [Vet approved] of lactulose, the only med, after many trials that will work, to make him poop. But this is getting harder. Last night I didn't get to bed until 2.30a.m. cleaning up after him and today, yet again, I am stuck indoors performing the same act. He is very clingy, gets incredibly depressed since the loss of his pals, if left alone overnight, and even though our excellent cat sitter calls in,has an 'episode' on our return. My family are lovely, supportive, even my ex daughter in law is a great friend, but, unfortunately, they are scattered down South in England, further North in Scotland and have their own pets/health problems. Nearest one lives in Aberdeen, a 6hr round journey if the traffic is good. At 70 and 71yrs old respectively, we are utterly exhausted, trapped, no holidays, no visiting grandchildren/family, no weekends on our beloved Isle of Arran. We even have to have meals out mid afternoon and rush home or my poor boy gets upset. Gandhi is 14yrs old and in between his now frequent episodes is lively, loving, shiny of fur and bright of eye, but I am in despair, can see no end to this, live with the knowledge that we ourselves might not have many years left of good health, a chance to live the life we want. Tomorrow will be groundhog day. Help.

Issi

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MarySkater
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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by MarySkater » Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:01 pm

If it was me, I'd have him put to sleep. Maybe I'm naturally cold-hearted, but I accept that humans outlive pets, and I would not let a pet ruin my life and health. What I would not do is attempt to pass him on to someone else.

As a less drastic fix, I'd cage him at night, as far as possible from my bedroom, to give myself a chance of getting some sleep (using earplugs if necessary).

Sorry, I'm sure this is not what you want to hear, but I have no magic-wand suggestions. Maybe someone else will have.

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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by Ruth B » Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:37 pm

I am sorry to read this, and like MarySkater I do wonder if it might be decision time, there is no magic wand to wave to solve it. You need a happy life and so does he, I do wonder just how happy he is constantly having all these episodes, it can't be nice for him.

My only other suggestion would be, if you house has a spare bathroom or utility room that is easy to clean, try keeping him in there when you are asleep or out. As long as you can fit everything he needs in there with a bit of space in between he should be fine and it will reduce your cleaning time. You can let him out when you are there and hopefully he will accept it as a routine and not get too upset being shut in, he might even start to appreciate it and feel safe and happy in there. Start slowly, confine him with a bit of his favourite food or treats and go out for 15 to 20 minutes then come in and if everything is fine, make a big fuss of him, gradually increase the time until you can go out for several hours and then start confining him at night.

It might seem unfair, but you need sleep and a chance to get away during the day at least, once you are feeling better he will probably pick up on it and hit will make him feel better as well, which might even reduce the episodes, stress can do horrible things to us.

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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by MarySkater » Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:23 pm

For a lot of my life, I couldn't have pets because I was living in shared houses. When I got my own flat, I adopted two cats, one quite a bit older than the other. More than 10 years later, the older one started to go downhill - weight loss, vomiting. The vet said he had a mass in his abdomen that might be cancer, but they couldn't be sure without doing surgery. I felt that wasn't right for a 19-year-old cat, so I said I'd take him home, and bring him in to be euthanised when I felt he wasn't enjoying life any more. With hindsight, I think I kept him too long, and by the time I said goodbye, I don't think there was any pleasure in his life.

So the years went on with my remaining cat. She started failing when she was about 14. Weight loss, sometimes loss of balance, and I think her hearing was going as well. The vet couldn't pin it down to anything in particular. Mostly she seemed well and happy, but she would have days when she seemed distressed, she couldn't get comfortable, she prowled and cried. I didn't want to make the same mistake again, so I decided to let her go while she still had more good days than bad. Although it still makes me cry when I think about it, I have never regretted that decision, and I still believe that if I have to make that choice, too soon is better than too late.

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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by fjm » Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:09 pm

Is he hyper- or hypo- thyroid? I wonder how much of his anxiety, and even bowel problems, may be linked to the thyroid, especially if he is hyperthyroid. If so, and if he is insured or you can afford the admittedly hefty cost, I would seriously consider the radio-iodine treatment. Pippin had it 6 months ago and is transformed, despite his arthritis.

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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by Janey » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:03 am

It sounds very stressful for you and having been a slave to poorly cats myself and going years without holidays I know the feeling but - I definitely wouldn’t pts. Something is making him anxious and upsetting his stomach, it could be the thyroid and he could be picking up stress from you too, plus the loss of the other cats etc, a vicious circle. If things are getting too much for you, and you’ve no other option then I would rehome, it isn’t necessarily passing the problem onto someone else, if you’re honest about his issues, he may even settle down ok in a different environment, and I would give him that chance :cry:

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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by Kay » Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:21 am

I'd support Ruth's idea of setting up a dedicated space for him, cleared to make cleaning as easy as possible, and steel yourself to leave him alone there when you need to - if you think of it as a last resort, the only alternative to ending his life, then it will be easier to judge if his quality of life under such conditions is better for him than no life at all

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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by issiandarchie+68 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:16 am

Thankyou for your responses and helpful suggestions. Beloved Gandhi is a big, thick furred 7kg cat, who had been severely maltreated, suffered from being used as a football, hence the injured bowel. Because of his size and problems, he had difficulty being adopted. Last year, he developed thyroid problems, racing heart, lost weight, but at his last examination, he was pronounced healthy in every respect, even though we had previously been told he had early stage kidney disease. I couldn't put him in a cage, he hates being locked in anywhere, indeed we have never had a closed door since his adoption. We tried to put him in a large room in our last [large, Victorian] house, but he howled and scratched at the door so much, my neighbour called to anxiously check we were okay and his paws/claws bled. My darling Cody, tiny as she was, settled him down from day one, would look at him as if to say 'ya think?'. We have all been at a loss since she died. Despite the hard work over the years, he has proved a wonderful, very loving companion, given us much joy,but the past few months have not been good. We downsized, this house is much smaller so we get no respite. I couldn't give him away, I think if I had done that, he would have been pts sleep years ago. However, after my husband came home yesterday to find me in exhausted tears, the question of losing him had to be addressed. My husband is going to telephone our lovely Vet tomorrow, sure in the knowledge we will get an honest answer, all options weighed up, but the final decision will be left to us. I really do appreciate your kindness my friends, I know from following threads on CC and your own experiences, the final decision is never easy, but, to quote Monty Don 'When you take on a dog's life, you also take on it's death', this painful truth can be applied to any beloved pet.

Issi

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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by Mayday21 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:24 pm

Hi Issi just read your posts. You & Gandhi are in my thoughts. Whatever you decide Gandhi is truely loved. ((Hugs)) Vivian

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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by Sniper1 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:58 pm

No one knows him like you do or loves him like you do only you can decide what you all can cope with and whatever you decide it will be with love in your hearts and the decision can be only yours look inside your hearts you know the answer whatever it may be and let no one reproach you whatever you do best wishes and hugs to you all

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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by bobbys girl » Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:17 am

Oh Issi, I am sorry to hear of what you are all going through. It's a tough one. I have not been on here for a few days, so I'm not up to speed with many things. But some years back, I went through something similar with my dog, Bonnie. She was a whippet collie cross, sharp as a tack, loyal, gentle and had the cross bred vigour of a 'mut'. She had reached the grand age of 17 1/2 and was physically fine. But poor old Bon had lost the plot. She would go outside, stand there looking baffled, come back in and empty her bladder and bowels all the way up the hall or on the sofa.

I know exactly how you feel about this, exhausted and torn in two. I was tired and Bonnie was getting stressed. We called in the vet and Bonnie 'went to sleep' in her favourite chair.

Whatever you decide to do, know we are thinking about you and sending (hugs). Fusses to Gandhi. x

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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by issiandarchie+68 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:35 pm

Sniper1 wrote:No one knows him like you do or loves him like you do only you can decide what you all can cope with and whatever you decide it will be with love in your hearts and the decision can be only yours look inside your hearts you know the answer whatever it may be and let no one reproach you whatever you do best wishes and hugs to you all
Hi Guys, I was overwhelmed by your kind support and suggestions on how to handle a difficult situation, re-read and considered them all many times. I am quoting Sniper1 because in the end, this is what it all boiled down to. Although we were able to give poorly Armand 5 good years, we had no chance to say goodbye as he died unexpectedly while being prepared for xray. 3 weeks later, beloved Cody went downhill rapidly and died a hellish week after diagnosis, our hearts were truly broken. I mention this yet again to help explain our dilemma concerning dear Gandhi. However, I have good news. We talked for hours, decided part of our problem is the fact that losing Cody and Armand has taken some of the soul not only from our home, but also Gandhi's life. Although we are both very active physically and mentally, and told we only look about 55yrs old, we are 70yrs old and don't recover after lack of sleep quite so quickly, which doesn't help. After I recovered from a serious illness, I remember telling my GP that although I was very grateful for her continuing help and support, my gratefully accepted medication was simply a tool enabling me to take control of my own health and wellbeing, which I proceeded to do through diet and exercise, not ever increasing meds. We agreed to apply the same principles to Gandhi, what did he have to lose? I stopped giving him massive doses of prescribed lactulose,administered a half Senokat tablet daily and a small syringe of lactulose every 2nd day. In the evening, I give him a Dorwest herb tablet made up of ginger, peppermint, slippery elm, rhubarb and valerian. My dear husband bought boxes of a new Sainsbury own brand cat food, consisting of large fresh flakes of fish or poultry, cooked in it's own juices,some fat and jelly retained. It's twice the price of any other cat food but pales into insignificance with the cost of cleaning products, medication. Well, dear readers, it has worked a treat. Gandhi gobbles down every last scrap, has pooped easily on a daily basis, has only been sick once and..Oh Thank you dear God.. is happily sleeping on my husbands pillow all night. He has also taken to chasing his toys all over the polished floors of the house, giving him lots more exercise, and demands loads of cuddles, which we are happy to oblige him with. Now I don't have to tell any of you that this is not a cure for what ails him, you know from your own experiences that a cat's health can change on a daily basis, but we will take each day at a time, smother him in love until the inevitable day arrives...and that's not today. Thank you from us all for your advice and support.

Issi

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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by booktigger » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:10 pm

I'm glad you have found a solution that has made everyone happy

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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by Janey » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:18 pm

So glad to read this. Btw my neighbour started her cat on grain free food which has done wonders for him - just goes to show how diet can affect the digestion so much depending on the cat so it’s always worth exploring options and I do think sometimes too many meds make things worse. Great news :)

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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by issiandarchie+68 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:32 pm

Janey wrote:So glad to read this. Btw my neighbour started her cat on grain free food which has done wonders for him - just goes to show how diet can affect the digestion so much depending on the cat so it’s always worth exploring options and I do think sometimes too many meds make things worse. Great news :)
I agree with you about meds Janey. As well as inhalers for asthma, I took powerful medication after illness, but then had to ingest another pill to combat side effects. These gave me a really painful stomach and nausea so I was then prescribed summat else to combat this. This resulted in high blood pressure so along came another wee pill. After follow on serious depression, I was prescribed Trazadone to help me sleep. Side effect of these was very painful blocked sinuses, so I was prescribed hay fever pills and nasal spray. I hasten to add, my wonderful GP talked it all over with me, very supportive, offered group counselling with fellow survivors. Well, that brought me up short, going over and over what ails me, mentally scratching the wound with complete strangers is my idea of hell! I booked a consultation with GP and practice nurse, told them I was very grateful, knew I had to take medication for life but the rest could go. With the support of my GP and husband,I changed my diet, went back to digging my allotment, got myself a personal trainer, developed an aptitude for weight lifting, volunteer behind the scenes at Cancer Research and enrolled on adult day courses at Glasgow University. Yes it's been hard, I've sometimes wept buckets, the loss of Cody and Armand badly set me back, but I reason I live in a green and leafy place with everything I need not a 10min walk or short bus ride away, so why not take advantage? I still occasionally take a mild painkiller and one necessary medication, get regular blood tests, but so far, so good. Speaking of which, beloved Gandhi continues to thrive. He is now skiting a wee plastic lid all over the living room floor and, a wonderful sight, something I haven't seen him do in a long long time, leaping with all four paws off the ground like a snow fox after a mouse. Keep your fingers crossed it lasts. :D

Issi

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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by Mayday21 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:20 pm

Hi Issi lovely to read about Gandhi & his new lease on life. Vivian

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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by Janey » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:18 am

issiandarchie+68 wrote:
Janey wrote:So glad to read this. Btw my neighbour started her cat on grain free food which has done wonders for him - just goes to show how diet can affect the digestion so much depending on the cat so it’s always worth exploring options and I do think sometimes too many meds make things worse. Great news :)
I agree with you about meds Janey. As well as inhalers for asthma, I took powerful medication after illness, but then had to ingest another pill to combat side effects. These gave me a really painful stomach and nausea so I was then prescribed summat else to combat this. This resulted in high blood pressure so along came another wee pill. After follow on serious depression, I was prescribed Trazadone to help me sleep. Side effect of these was very painful blocked sinuses, so I was prescribed hay fever pills and nasal spray. I hasten to add, my wonderful GP talked it all over with me, very supportive, offered group counselling with fellow survivors. Well, that brought me up short, going over and over what ails me, mentally scratching the wound with complete strangers is my idea of hell! I booked a consultation with GP and practice nurse, told them I was very grateful, knew I had to take medication for life but the rest could go. With the support of my GP and husband,I changed my diet, went back to digging my allotment, got myself a personal trainer, developed an aptitude for weight lifting, volunteer behind the scenes at Cancer Research and enrolled on adult day courses at Glasgow University. Yes it's been hard, I've sometimes wept buckets, the loss of Cody and Armand badly set me back, but I reason I live in a green and leafy place with everything I need not a 10min walk or short bus ride away, so why not take advantage? I still occasionally take a mild painkiller and one necessary medication, get regular blood tests, but so far, so good. Speaking of which, beloved Gandhi continues to thrive. He is now skiting a wee plastic lid all over the living room floor and, a wonderful sight, something I haven't seen him do in a long long time, leaping with all four paws off the ground like a snow fox after a mouse. Keep your fingers crossed it lasts. :D

Issi
Exactly! it’s very often a downward spiral, like once you start going to the doctors you’re never away - so they say. I’m so glad things have worked out for you and so glad to hear that Gandhi is much better than he was, and he obviously feels it by how he’s acting. Fingers crossed things stay that way xx

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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by issiandarchie+68 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:19 pm

Hi Guys, beloved Gandhi continues to 'thrive' although he can still be a blooming nuisance at bedtime. Last night he settled down on my pillow, wrapped around my head, his soft cheek on my forehead. Lovely, thought I..until he started thoroughly washing his bum, slurp slurp slurp.. on it went. He then started on his baby bear like claws. Snap..ping..snap ping..every ping ricocheting off my forehead .. all this followed with a quick rake with said claws through my hair! He's a charmer isn't he?. Anyway, here's a puzzle. How come every time he is sick, he misses the wooden floors in all the rooms and barfs up on my Persian rug? Same in hall when he leaves a 'deposit'. Reasonable sized hall, large expanse of wooden floors, a small much loved wool rug acting as his receptacle. To quote Toyah Wilcox.. 'It's a mystery..'

Issi

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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by Nicky brown » Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:09 pm

Hi
I am new to this site and am sadly on because I lost my 21/2 yr old ginger boy Hendrick on Friday after he was badly injured by a car and we had the agonising decision of whether to put him to sleep or not. It's been a hell of a weekend but I've had comfort from kind thoughts by people on the site and from reading all the other pet stories recorded here. Many are sad but help because you know you are not alone but some are simply interesting and or heart warming. I enjoyed reading all about Gandhi, even though your journey hasn't been easy. Our 15 yr old black cat Hobbs came from a rescue centre when he was 8 months old. He was bald with stress from being abused. Sadly we lost his sister to the road within a year ( we were renting 2 miles away then and didn't even live next to the road), Hobbs has gone on to be a loving, happy cat though an awful hunter in his prime - catching many grey squirrels, moles and even a weasel and white stoat! However, in his more senior years I am sure he has developed dementia. He just acts very strange at times and will bite you (not hard) if he doesn't get his way. He also cannot retract his claws anymore and constantly hooks them to your clothes and belongings, getting upset if you try to unhook him. He has hyperthyroidism - diagnosed after rapid weight loss and thirst but successfully managed through a daily pill. He has become fussy with his food. He will eat anything he can lay his pawns on - even a loaf of bread if left alone with it and has gorged on chocolate until he is sick that he has scaled shelves to reach ( even ate an enormous chocolate reindeer in January after climbing on top of the piano and ripping it out of it's box) but he increasingly turns his nose up at various cat foods. He has become a very noisy eater, sleeper, scratcher and even his purring drowns out the TV. He can be hard work. Last year he also developed awful dermatitis all over his skin - fortunately quickly diagnosed and cleared by a simple injection. Having an old boy is definitely not the fun, laughter and snuggly cuddles of a baby (like Hendrick ) but when you think about what he has lived through with you, his loyalty and his trust, he is a good friend. I guess too that the time comes when in cat years, our cats are older than us so it stands to reason that we won't agree with their aging ways, knows best attitude and annoying habits. My 19 year old daughter told my husband he's just an old man tonight because he questioned why young people feel it necessary to take their mobiles into the bathroom with them. I am sure Hobbs considers some of our actions ridiculous and despite yourselves being in your 70's, Ghandi the senior is probably the same. For what it is worth - incase things go downhill again. We always shut our cats in the bathroom at night if they are not out. There's a heated towel rail and we leave bed(s), water and supper of biscuits - and a litter tray of course. There were objections to begin with but this didn't last long. Hope things remain settled for you.

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Re: Need support..I adore beloved Gandhi..BUT.

Post by issiandarchie+68 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:03 pm

Hi Nicky, thanks for your response. It was just a bit of whimsy relating Gandhi's night time grooming habits. He is still a blooming nuisance at bedtime and beyond, dear, sweet wee Cody was the only one who could settle him, but he has been a lot better of late and we can cope better now we are getting some sleep. Never had this problem in 50yrs of cat ownership. Gandhi cat is, at the moment, chasing a stick of liquorice , fizzing with energy but had a painful episode yesterday. I really miss sleeping with wee Armand on one side of my feet, Cody at the other side {oh the leg cramps I endured} and Gandhi plonked on my hubby's pillow, but we can't go back can we? Incidentally, I think I mentioned before, can never shut a door on Gandhi, too big, strong and loud. I was really sorry to read about your Hendrick, what an awful sad thing to have happened. Big virtual hugs. Speaking of Hobbs, my Cody used to get her claws caught, nearly ripped them out once on a sisal scratching post, even when very young. Turned out her claws had been cut into too sharp a point, once she got a blunt cut, she was fine. Gandhi is a BIG cat with claws like a bear cub, rarely retracts them, but I have noticed this trait in older cats over the years. As for biting, Gandhi wanted lots of attention last night, plonked on my chest, woke me up by biting..my actual eyeball!! Mad blooming cat. Anyway, my dear, I will be thinking about you and do hope dear Hobbs is feeling better.

Issi

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