Heart disease was a red herring afterall

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booktigger
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Re: Heart disease was a red herring afterall

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I'm so sorry to hear that
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fjm
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Re: Heart disease was a red herring afterall

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I am so sorry - what a terrible shock. I don't know about brain tumours in cats but have had some experience in humans - at the end came some confusion, then increasing sleepiness until sleep took over completely. Has the vet talked to you about what to expect, or is the shock still too overwhelming to take it all in?
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Mollycat
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Re: Heart disease was a red herring afterall

Post by Mollycat »

So sorry, can't believe what you've been through with these girls through these past months.

All I can say is make the last memories you make beautiful ones, and if you can't cope with the inevitable progression of her disease then never feel guilty about letting her go sooner than later. Sending love.
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Ruth B
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Re: Heart disease was a red herring afterall

Post by Ruth B »

Oh no, I'm so sorry for you. I have no doubt you will make her time with you as good as you can, and then when the time comes let her go peacefully. As long as it isn't causing her pain or distress then I'm sure she will be happy to carry on with life for as long as she can. Take care of her and of yourself, at times like this i'm sure our cats cope better than we do.
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Re: Heart disease was a red herring afterall

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Sounds like she is making the most of her time too and feeling more relaxed now that you are no longer frantically searching for answers and cures, but accepting and appreciating. Such an exquisitely precious and tender time, this ninth life.
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Re: Heart disease was a red herring afterall

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It's important and sensible to be prepared and plan ahead for the inevitable.

Unfortunately, how long is a piece of string. Some cats who were very close appear not to care, others who could barely be in the same room together pine terribly. All I can say is try to go through your grief together when it comes, it's easy to get wrapped up in our own and shut others out, or use them to avoid our own. Honey might drive you insane with neediness, or she might worry you sick hiding away, or infuriate you by carrying on as if nothing happened. Unfortunately there isn't even a reliable indicator of which way she might go.

Another thing to consider that you want to think about even less, is what to do at the end. The decision might be taken out your hands but it pays to think, would you take Jasmine to the vet, would you get the vet to come to you, if needed. If you have to take her there, will you bring her body home, and what will you do with her. One thing I do recommend is to show Honey so that she can understand rather than her sister just vanishing one day. I had planned to ask the vet for advice on this for Boo, but as it happened we reached the stage where he was ready, and his friends the dog and Molly new and were ready too, so I didn't need to bring him home for them and everyone was fine, we all adjusted to life without Boo quite well, though the household dynamics did change subtly over the next few months.
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Re: Heart disease was a red herring afterall

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Again, they all respond differently to illness, but I would say for sure Honey knows, and Jasmine knows too, and which one of them is generating the change in their relationship is impossible to know. In that case it makes it less important to show Honey the body, especially if you are ok with letting Jasmine guide you as to when she's had enough. Some people, like me, if this doesn't sound too bad, prefer to let them experience the dying process, and intervene if and when they begin to show signs of distress. Dying isn't always distressing, and sometimes there can be a distress phase followed by a deep peace - that is ideal of course and we never know if that will happen so for many people it's better to go before there is a chance of any distress at all. There is no one answer, only that we are left with memories and it's important to consider those as well as the actual experience for our pets.

I didn't think I'd be able to leave a garden with little graves, but I did, two were very special to me. I just never drive past. I have no garden now and as much as I can always find thousands to treat a sick animal I didn't feel the cost of an individual cremation was for me, especially as I would only have scattered them somewhere and there didn't seem to be anywhere meaningful. On the other hand I was troubled for years because I had buried Misha 'naked' without my favourite dressing gown after being so unsure what to do on the day. Rituals help us grieve, they give structure and meaning at a time when emotions tear us apart minute by minute.

End of life is my area, it wasn't always but I had good teachers.
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Re: Heart disease was a red herring afterall

Post by Mollycat »

Aw I am a sucker for torties and calicos.

Raych I am really sorry I didn't mean to cause you more upset. Animals have a very different relationship to life and its ending than we do. When we know, we worry, we feel sad, we are so bad at living in the moment as soon as we hear a diagnosis we're either in the future or in and alternate reality where this isn't going to happen. Animals don't think like that, all they know is I feel ok or I feel not ok, but they do often seem to know when they or their companion is not going to recover. They can react differently but some change in the relationship is very very common, so it's hard to believe Honey doesn't understand something if she is being funny.

But because they live in the moment, not in what-ifs and if-onlys, it's not the same as the way we would know. I believe, from Misha and Boo who I was very closely with through their ninth life, I believe it feels like a deep relaxed tiredness, even when there is physical pain as well. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross whose life work was with dying people including children, says, Listen to the dying, they will tell you what they need. If you can find a way to quiet your mind and listen, Jasmine will tell you what she needs from you, and later you can use the same skills to listen to what grieving Honey needs from you. Have faith.

Neither your vet nor your consultant can do any more than support and guide you, listen to Jasmine.
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Re: Heart disease was a red herring afterall

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I have no experience or advice to offer, but wanted to say how much I feel for you, and send a hug. The twilight times are painful, watching anxiously for every new symptom or slight deterioration, but they are also infinitely precious.
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Re: Heart disease was a red herring afterall

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There is no such thing as "automatic" euthanasia, the vet is either telling you utter rubbish or you're mishearing due to being in a state of high stress. My ex wouldn't let me take 23 year old skinny Purdy to the vets to have her ingrown claw seen to for fear they wouldn't let him have her back, so I had no choice but to cut it myself and hope the pad doesn't get infected, but he was adamant she was going nowhere.

Is there any way you can separate them for the time Jasmine has left? Honey must be feeling very stressed to be behaving so nasty and poor Jasmine deserves a little peace and quiet for her ninth life. Besides, you need a more peaceful atmosphere to give her good palliative care and maintain your sanity and sound judgement.

Think it through step by step.
What is the outlook for Jasmine?
Is this her ninth life, or her eighth?
Does this answer make a difference to your priorities with her?
What are your priorities?
What difference will test results make to her treatment options?
For each option, what are the expected gains in physical and mental health, and what are the costs to her psychological well-being?
Perhaps a very straight no frills conversation with the consultant might be in order. I know at the end of Boo's life with similar issues to your Honey I was able to have these kind of very frank discussions stripped of all sugar coating, euphemisms and eggshell diplomacy. It could have been very tough but it gave me the power to make big decisions with a clear head as I didn't have to try and translate the vet's cautious words or translate or pick out meaning between the lines. Cards on the table. Some vets have to be forced but they should be able to do this for you and even say things like, we can do these tests if you want but honestly it can only possibly do this at best ... that sort of thing.

You've been through so much with these girls, I really hope the consultant can support you with some sense if your regular vet can't.
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Re: Heart disease was a red herring afterall

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What an awful thing to have said, that can't have helped your state of mind. But you are in charge, don't let anyone bully you.

I think 8th or 9th life is an idea that came to me with a cat in the process of winding up and we still had some options, I thought this wasn't the final 9th life therefore it must be the penultimate, the 8th, where we still had other options. I guess it means whatever you feel it means to you. I think I've also felt it can mean when the cat has come to acceptance and is quiet calm and serene waiting for the end. Maybe it's more about our own frame of mind, and whether we are calm and holding their paw or still fighting the idea and anxiously searching for any sign of hope.

Wish I could offer anything helpful about Honey but sadly nature sometimes does have them become really horrible when their companion is ill, I don't know what else to suggest there other than Zylkene and plug-ins which may not do much.
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Re: Heart disease was a red herring afterall

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You mean will she hold a grudge one day when it's just the two of you?

No, you know they are not spiteful or vengeful. When the situation changes, the two of you will have time to grieve and rebuild a new relationship, and if you don't hold it against her, she won't bear any grudge against you. It's possible Honey's behaviour might be affected by the way you are feeling about her, understandably as you feel protective of jasmine and can't understand why Honey isn't on the same page as you. Be mindful of your anxiety levels. Try to focus on now, there's no harm in being prepared but be present with them both, and maybe set time aside to appreciate Honey and give her unconditional loving too. She might be very confused by what's going on and your emotions.
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Re: Heart disease was a red herring afterall

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It might be worth unplugging the plug in, I remember when my neighbour initially tried one, one of her cats became more aggressive, so maybe the pheromones are affecting her the wrong way?
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Re: Heart disease was a red herring afterall

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It is a hellish situation to be in, and I feel for you. Is there a treat Honey can have? Even just a lick of her usual food? Anything to make things fairer. I would also consider comfy crates with heating pads - I set up a small canvas crate for Poppy (toy poodle) who injured her cruciate ligament - she hasn't really needed it but Tilly-cat has adopted it as a favourite snoozing place. If the cats had one each you could when necessary close the doors to give the other some one-to-one time, or even to take a little much needed deep breathing and peaceful time for yourself.
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Ruth B
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Re: Heart disease was a red herring afterall

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I can't add a lot more than what the others have said, but I have had some experience with diabetic cats, one of my own and one of my parents.

The one I had developed chronic diabetes, we noticed she was drinking a lot and decided to get her tested as she was overweight as well. While i don't know the numbers, she was diabetic but after a chat with the vets and sitting down doing the timings for the food and insulin we worked it out that we could just manage it, but only just. My other half work a shift pattern and i was on 9 to 5 day job, if he gave her the injection just before he left, i would be back in time to give her her food, just, if the bus was late, or if i had to work over, there was a good chance i would get back and find her in a coma. In the end we decided to not go down the insulin route, with our vets in complete agreement. Katie's diabetes went untreated and she lived for 9 more months, according to the vets that was good, 6 months would have been the normal. For most of those months you would never have known anything was wrong, she went really skinny and drank a lot, but she was happy and herself. Until the last couple of days, she just lost interest in life.
Tufty was my parents cat, and she suddenly went into a diabetic coma for no reason, she just dropped into unconsciousness. My parents rushed her to the vets and the vets put her on drips and did tests and found her glucose levels sky high, they gave her insulin straight away. She wasn't really expected to last the night and the vets actually asked if my parents wanted them to phone if she did pass away during the night, my parents said no, either she would make it or she wouldn't spending the night waiting for a call would not help things. Tufty not only survived that night, she thrived for many more years. Every day, twice a day 12 hours apart she had to have an injections (treatment schedules had changed since Katie was diagnosed), but giving her the injections was far less trouble than giving her any other type of medication, she actually learnt they made her feel better and would go and find my parents if they got distracted and an injection was overdue.
I will add though that my Mum admitted afterwards if they had had time to think about it they may have taken a different course of action. Having to be there everyday to do the injections was tying for them, no evenings out, no lying in bed in a morning, even days out had to be planned so they could be home in time. They didn't know and the difference the insulin made that night was incredible, she went from dying, to being her normal self in a matter of hours. I have also never regretted the decision we made with Katie, I could not take the stress of coming home each day wondering whether she would still be alive when i opened the door, we gave her a good 9 months and then when she was ready to go we let her. She never really knew anything was wrong, yes she may have felt thirsty, but there was plenty of water around for her to drink so it wasn't a problem for her. In the end she had her full life time, maybe not as long as if we had gone down the insulin route, but she didn't know that and certainly didn't care about it, she lived her life as good as it could be and went peacefully when she had had enough.
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Re: Heart disease was a red herring afterall

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Just one change in the home can produce all sorts of odd behaviour changes.

I know you don't want to think about it but do you have any kind of idea what Jasmine is looking at, are they thinking days or months, weeks? There may be changes that can be made for the short term that you would never consider as a permanent thing. Believe me, in my flat with no space we somehow managed to squeeze in a large dog crate and a 5ft x 5ft admittedly flexible sided enclosure for the dog because we had to, and the bed isn't going to be put back up for the rest of the dog's lifetime which could be 5 years, meaning we have lost a king size bed worth of under storage and cat den. But we cope, because we have to.
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Re: Heart disease was a red herring afterall

Post by Mollycat »

For the sake of just a few weeks is there really nothing you can do to make everyone less stressed and more comfortable?
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