And then there were four

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Ruth B
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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Wed May 02, 2018 7:42 am

I was so glad we had taken Stroppy into see her the Sunday before. There was no way it was a case of her saying good bye to Stroppy, there was no sign then of what was to happen. She always loved the visits and all the staff at the home said how much brighter she was after one. Stroppy may not have been quite as happy with the arrangements, particularly the 20 minutes in the car to get there, but she seemed to accept it and normally settled down fairly quickly when let out of the carrier.

We had got my Mum a 'breathing, purring life like toy cat' to have in her room, while it was no real substitute for the real thing it did seem to help, particularly the sound of it purring on the bed with her at night. Within days of her having it several other residents had been in to see it and it had been take to some of those who couldn't get around, it sounded like there were going to be a few orders placed for them. When we cleared her room out we decided to leave it at the home and hopefully it can give comfort to some of the other residents as well.

The worst part now is I've got to wait for the hospital to let me know the paperwork is ready. As Mum was in the hospital for less than 24 hours it has to be refereed to the coroner and they seem to be dragging their feet a bit with that. I not a very good when it comes to sitting and waiting for someone else to do their bit, and i think the cats have picked up on it, yesterday I was sat on the bed reading with Tiggy stretched out full length on my legs and Saturn stretched out beside me with his paws draped across my ankles, with out even a hard stare passing between them. No one who has ever had a cat would think that they were always aloof and uncaring.

Thanks for all the thoughts and wishes, it does help to have somewhere where i can talk a bit about it.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:12 am

Stroppy has settled in fairly well now, it may not be the home she would prefer, but it is better than the other options available. Unfortunately it seems she may be following my Mum in the not too distant future. Not long after we got her we took her to get her registered and checked at our vets. Today she was booked in for her booster jabs and a general checkup. Unfortunately in about 4 - 5 months she has gone from 2.9kg to 2.5kg, she is still eating well, even in this heat, and while I may not see her drink that much the amount that fills the litter tray tells it's own story. The vet thinks it is probably a kidney problem, but might be a thyroid one or even an abdominal tumour, even though she couldn't feel anything. Stroppy is booked back in on Thursday night to have bloods done on Friday so hopefully by the weekend we will know what we are dealing with.

It's already decided that we aren't going to be giving her any aggressive treatments, easy to administer medication is as far as we will go, after that she just has as long as she is happy and not suffering.

On the other hand, Freyja should have joined Stroppy for her boosters as well.
Unfortunately she was laying on the bed with her head curled forward so when I went' to scruff her I got mainly fur and too little skin, when I tried to improve my grip she managed to turn, sink her teeth into my arm and then disappear under the bed, before making a break for it down the bottom of the garden. Even the vet staff took one look at the punctures in my arm and made sure i had cleaned it well and knew to go to the doctors if it started to swell etc. It has been cleaned out well with peroxide and I'll be keeping a close eye on it.

I'll see what state she is in by the end of the week and if I think i can get her then I'll see if they can fit her in too.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by booktigger » Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:27 pm

Sorry to hear Stroppy has lost weight, I do hope it isn't too serious. Good like trying to get Freyja for her boosters, hope your arm doesn't get infected

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Lilith » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:16 pm

Ruth I think you need a whip and a chair :o Naughty Freyja! :o

Very sorry to hear about Stroppy not being so good, but my Emily was diagnosed with ckd last February, and though she's lost weight too, she's still a force to be reckoned with, enjoys life, enjoys her food, a right madam.

Do hope you have some time left with Stroppy and that your arm's ok ... perhaps you should have called Freyja 'Clawed-ya' ...!

Edit - oops sorry, got that wrong ... 'Bitya'? Sorry was having senior moment :oops:
Last edited by Lilith on Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:35 pm

We have this battle every year with Freyja, if i can get it right i can get her in the crate, but one mistake and that is it, over for at least a few days, possibly weeks. We did manage to wrap her in a towel once, we couldn't pick up even an item of clothing for months afterwards with out her panicking, and she stills get ready to run when ever we think of having a shower.

I'm sure the arm will heal fine, at the moment it looks like i have had a run in with an anatomically incompetent vampire, two neat puncture wounds half way up my forearm. I made sure they were well cleaned out and know the dangers of cat bites. The odd thing is I don't even remember her biting me. I know she turned around when I was trying to get a better grip, but don't remember the actual bite.

Stroppy is an old girl, the first thing is to try and find out what is wrong and then what the options are, I'm not writing her off yet, but I'm prepared for the worst, she reminds me a lot of what Blue was like in his last months, while she is happy and wanting to live she will. In a way one thing i'm glad about is that Mum has already gone, I dreaded having to tell her that Stroppy had something terminal.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Mayday21 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:50 am

Hi Ruth sorry to read Stroppy’s off colour & as for Miss Freya reminds me of Miss Pebbles the Oriental I’m fostering. I have to towel her to flea treat her ... once done the looks I get. They say Orientals’s talk with their eyes. As for cat bites, I’ve been told tea tree oil. My mum, when I was looking at nursing homes as she had heart probs, only concern was for her cat Tim Tam. She was worried she’d have to be pts but I told her as Timmy originally lived with my sister she could go back to her. Oddly Timmy left us nearly a year after mum left us. She adored mum. Fusses to both Freya & Stroppy from Vivian & the Famous Five from Oz.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:59 pm

Well it seems like Stroppy is being as contrary as ever and not giving a definitive answer through her blood tests. Kidneys, Liver, Thyroid, sugars etc are all fine, perfectly good levels, her red blood cell count is low, and her white cell count is high, and the vets can't feel anything in her abdomen that might be the cause.

It was suggested that it might be an infection, although there are no other pointer to an infection, or it might be something more serious. She has had an antibiotic injection to try and help if it is an infection and a steroid injection to help her put on weight. It was suggested that she could go back in next week to have another set of bloods done to see if they showed any change and if not she could have an abdominal scan to see if that could pick anything up. In the end we decided against it, it had already been decided that we wouldn't be going along the lines of any of the more aggressive treatments, so while the scan might show what was wrong, I doubt there would be anything we would be willing to do. We'll be taking her back in a month to see if the steroid and ABs have helped her put on some weight, and are happy to repeat those if they have helped, but in the end we are prepared to be looking at palliative care rather than trying to find a treatment.

In the end she is 17 - 18 years old which is a good age and I'm prepared to let them die of old age rather than fight to have a few more weeks of low quality life. i want her to be as happy as she can be at home rather than stressed out with repeated vet trips and overnight stays.

In a slightly odd case of deja vu, when my Mum was ill around Christmas, her problem was she was anemic and at the same time had a high white cell count, after a load of tests including a bone marrow puncture they put it down to a rheumatoid arthritis flare up, Stroppy has had osteo arthritis for several years... it just make me wonder.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by booktigger » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:22 pm

Oh dear! I agree about not putting her through more trsts

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Re: And then there were four

Post by alanc » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:39 pm

Sounds very much like what next doors Tay has been going through - lots of tests which never seem to come up with a conclusive answer. Tay is also on steroids, to try and cure his anemia - not to get him to put on weight (he is quite fat enough already).

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Lilith » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:10 pm

Ahh, that's a bummer ... but I've known it happen, to cats and humans both.

Trust Stroppy to be awkward bless her! And good luck :)

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Sat Jul 28, 2018 7:52 am

Thanks everyone.

If she was younger I would be happy to have the tests done to try and find out what was wrong, but at her age, I think it is just that, her age. I'll give her the best twilight days, weeks or months she has left and then let her join Mum again, peacefully.

It's always nice to hear that other understand and back up my reasoning, no matter how confident i am that it is the right decision there is always that small doubt in the back of the mind.

Hopefully they can find out what is wrong with Tay and it is treatable.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by booktigger » Sat Jul 28, 2018 7:54 am

Yes, at her age quality is better than quantity.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:51 am

Stroppy did really well over the weekend, eating everything put in front of her, yesterday it seemed to tail off a bit, she ate most of her breakfast, but then wasn't bothered about tea just wanting to sit quietly beside me on the sofa, by supper time she had eaten about half of it so we put some new down for her overnight. I went to bed thinking that if she had lost interest in food then I would be calling it a day today. This morning, her bowl was clean and she was up and insisting on fuss and then tucked happily into breakfast, so it looks like she has a reprieve for however long.

The number of times i have sat here sagely typing and giving advice to people about how you will know when when the time comes, how you take every day one day at a time, and weigh the good against the bad. Now I have to take my own advice, and it is far harder to do than giving it out ever was.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by booktigger » Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:21 pm

Ruth B wrote:Stroppy did really well over the weekend, eating everything put in front of her, yesterday it seemed to tail off a bit, she ate most of her breakfast, but then wasn't bothered about tea just wanting to sit quietly beside me on the sofa, by supper time she had eaten about half of it so we put some new down for her overnight. I went to bed thinking that if she had lost interest in food then I would be calling it a day today. This morning, her bowl was clean and she was up and insisting on fuss and then tucked happily into breakfast, so it looks like she has a reprieve for however long.

The number of times i have sat here sagely typing and giving advice to people about how you will know when when the time comes, how you take every day one day at a time, and weigh the good against the bad. Now I have to take my own advice, and it is far harder to do than giving it out ever was.
Some cats do make it really hard!

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:52 pm

Well Stroppy is still plodding on, and last week I spotted some of the Sheba Creamy Salmon Sticks in Asda and thought she might like them. She does, so does Saturn, the others haven't had a chance to try them yet. However when I checked the price I think I could be feeding her caviar and it would be as cheap. So checking the label, its fish and fish extract, meat and meat extract, and lactose free milk pretty much, how hard could it be to make something similar.

Gelatin is a meat extract and will help to gel it, I have some cod portions in the freezer and cream is a constant in the fridge.

First problem the fish portions are all stuck together so I end up defrosting all four. Microwave them for a couple of minutes and then carefully make sure that one portion is separated and checked for bones. Measure out an amount of water that is well under the max amount for the blender cup and soak the gelatin sheets, then realise that the sheets are stuck together and I have three not two, manage to separate one off as I transfer them to the water to heat up, hoping that the other wasn't also a double one. Melt the gelatin and transfer it to the fish in the blender cup. Then I add the cream and just afterwards think I really should have let the gelatin cool first. Never mind, plunge in the stick blender and turn it on, and get covered in creamy fishy liquid as it goes everywhere. Stay smelling fishy while I finish it off and put it in containers in the fridge to cool. Then wipe the side and the floor and go and get changed.

The rest of the fish is now in the oven as a cheesy pasta bake.

If it works it will be worth it and worth trying again, the fish isn't as blended as I had hoped due to not wanting it to go everywhere again.

The things we do for our fur babies.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by booktigger » Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:07 pm

I think I'll stick to buying them thanks!

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Re: And then there were four

Post by alanc » Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:42 pm

And there I was, thinking it was just a male thing to make such a mess!
Glad Stroppy is still chugging on.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:09 am

An update on the fish jelly experiment.

It appeared to have set by the time we went to give them supper last night. The tubs I had put it in were fairly tall and thin, but were what I had available, so I knew that the fish bits would probably have sunk to the bottom while it set. Not knowing how well it had set I decided to see if it would come out in one lump and then I could cut it into two and divide it up. It wasn't wanting to come out so I put it down to get a fork out so I could mix it in the pot and then get half out. My OH was standing there and the moment I put it down took it as a challenge, with brute force and a lot of shaking he managed to get half out, the top half all in a splodgey mess in a bowl leaving the more solid fishy section still in the pot, and then looked smug that he had succeeded where I had failed.

So i used a spoon to get the rest out and mix it in the bowl, the tub was now covered in creamy fishy mess and there was no way I was going to put half back in and put it in the fridge, so it all got divided between the four cats, with Stroppy getting the largest portion. Saturn and Tiggy both tucked straight into it, Stroppy took a couple of sniffs and then went back to the Gourmet pate that was on offer.

I half expected to get up this morning to puddles of fishy vomit, fortunately that wasn't the case. However while all that had been put down for my three in the kitchen had gone, Stroppy's looked untouched, though all the pate had gone. They can intermingle and get at each other's food, she has just got used to having it in the lounge and I can't see any point it forcing her to change for the limited time she has. I guess none of the others were bothered enough about it to hunt her's down.

I guess it was semi successful, but not quite in the way I wanted. I think my liquid to fish ratio was far too high. I might just see what is going cheap in Asda later this week and if there is some fish there i might try again. May be i'm just a glutton for punishment.

I will also add, if you gave my OH a pot of paint for his modeling he would spend a good 10 to 15 minutes shaking or stirring it to make sure it was thoroughly mixed, but the idea that a food preparation could separate out seemed beyond him.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Lilith » Tue Aug 07, 2018 10:18 pm

Lol - gourmet stuff! Julia Kitten or Franny Haddock or Purry Berry?

You could use a tin of salmon and make them fishy gummy bears? :lol:

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:43 am

I do have a mould for doing shell fish shaped ice cubes, maybe I could use that.

Unfortunately (or may be that should be fortunately) Asda didn't have an fish in the cheap section so I forked out on some of the Sheba sticks for her, I don't know why but I never think of tinned so don't go down than aisle. I don't really need to temp her to eat she is eating well enough just not putting any weight on.

They did have a Chinese Aromatic Crispy Duck that needs using today so that is destined for our tea, although no doubt certain furries will have other ideas.

First time since i had her she had had an accident at her litter tray this morning, hopefully it was just an accident where he bum was hanging over the edge. I've already got her a bigger deeper one to try and prevent her doing this as i'd noticed she does try and go right at the sides, and I don't think she would manage an even higher sided one. She can still get in and out of it alright, I saw her use it after breakfast, and jump on the sofa, so her legs can't be giving her too much problem. She has arthritis for years, but now seems a little unsteady on her back legs, particularly sideways balance, so I'm concerned about muscle wastage.

At least here I can put into words all my thoughts, feelings and worries and know that everyone understands and it does help sometimes to talk about it even if it is only by typing.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Lilith » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:45 am

Yes, this is a good forum; we're all like-minded people; I'm grateful for it myself :)

I've had cats who've done that, dug their hole and then squatted with all four paws in the hole and ... :o In the days of wall-to-wall cats the cellar coal-hole was lined with at least ten trays, just open ones, and one particular black cat was expert at digging her hole in tray one and scoring a bullseye in tray two ... usually it's a one-off but it was her speciality lol.

Hope you manage to fight for your rightful portion of crispy duck :D

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Re: And then there were four

Post by fjm » Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:26 am

Love the tale of your fishy experiences!

I make treats for the dogs, some of which the cats also like. The absolute favourite is liver cake/biscotti, and the recipe works well with a tin of salmon or tuna in place of the liver. Basically you puree around 120g liver, raw or cooked, (or a drained can of fish) with an egg in a food processor, pulse in enough flour (plain, SR, wholemeal, rice - whatever is to hand) to bring it to dropping consistency, and bake in a loaf tin - medium oven, around 40 minutes till a knife or skewer comes out clean. Let it cool a bit and slice into strips - mine all love it soft, so I put a few pieces in the fridge, then put the rest back into a very low oven till it is completely dry. It then keeps for ages.

I also do dog/cat ice cream - Greek yoghurt simmered for a few minutes with a little cornflour, optionally a banana whooshed in, and frozen in ice cube trays. I let the cubes soften for a few minutes before giving them - nothing worse than having them freeze to the tongue!

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Re: And then there were four

Post by bobbys girl » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:34 am

Oh the things we do for our fur babies! I am yet to start baking for them but last week I made some vanilla ice cream for us and I had plenty of help with the 'washing up'! ;) As I finished with the mixing bowls, there were a couple of helpers on the kitchen table waiting for our own version of Lick-e-Lix.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Lilith » Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:35 pm

Oh lol, I've already told of the prank I played on my ex, when I hid his icecream in the fridge when his back was turned and he returned to find a small Siamese, apparently licking the dish out ... She was a devil for icecream, loved Loseleys' strawberry, can't get it now ... :(

And the time I was walking my two wirehaired Jack Russells in the 90s, at our local beauty spot, infilled opencast mine with lake and countryside ... there was an icecream van and it was a hot day and I right fancied a cornet - but not fair in front of the dogs. So they got one too. It drew quite a crowd as they licked and slurped and crunched to the last crumb. With gummy beards! :lol:

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:06 am

Ice cream isn't too much of a problem in this house, unless it's been had with fruit and real cream, Saturn will do anything for a slurp at cream. Mainly it's the dinner plates that end up going through a rough tongue cycle before washing, Asda's Chicken Lasagna being a favourite.

Stroppy is still plodding on although I did have a odd experience with her on Saturday. We had been out most of the day dropping some bits and pieces from my Dad's model railway that we had found during the house clearing at a model railway club. I was rather wound up about it, not know if they would really want it or if I would just have to bring things home and bin them. They were over the moon to have it, I wasn't after cash for it, we just need to get rid of things and I wanted it to go where it might be appreciated but really didn't have any idea if it would be. So when we get back i'm tired but happy. I decide to spend some time just sat in the lounge with Stroppy as she likes company but doesn't seem to want to come upstairs and find us.

She comes and sits on my knee as normal and settles into a loaf position, then she just seems to start to drift off, not like she is falling asleep but like something is leaving her. I honestly thought that I would end up sitting there with a dead cat for a short while, and I didn't mind, I know she hasn't got long and if that was how she was going to go I was happy to let her, my only concern was what to do with the body. She then suddenly seemed to give a mental shake, not a physical one, but something happened and she suddenly got off my knee and sat bolt upright beside me on the sofa, looking at me as if to say 'no, I'm not going just yet'.

I've always felt that when Katie was put to sleep I felt something leave her, she was ready to move on. With Blue what ever it was had already left when we took him to the vets, he was still breathing but the life had gone out of him.

I'm not into organised religion but I do have my own spiritual beliefs and while some might think I was imagining it and my own tiredness and state of mind were responsible, I'm sure that Stroppy for some reason decided that Saturday wasn't the right time and she wanted to stay a bit longer. It might also be her way of letting me know that she will tell me when the time comes and she wants to leave.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Lilith » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:37 am

I'm glad the model railway stuff was so welcome - it's still a huge cult :)

I know exactly what you mean - I've read about that and heard about it from someone who saw it when his wife died (and a more prosaic guy you couldn't wish to meet) but I've never been privileged to see or sense it personally, although I've often known cats come back after death.

I've always felt that the body after death is an empty shell; whoever inhabited it has left and gone into that region that we can't know until we go there ourselves. But they live on.

I hope Stroppy has some good life yet with you but when it's time I hope she has a peaceful passing, bless the old lass x

Edit - afterthought. If she does die naturally at home, don't worry, the body will take some time to develop rigor mortis and if you catch it before, just arrange her curled up in her carrier or a box whether you're planning on cremation or burial. If rigor has set in, it will wear off and she'll become limp and floppy again. Make sure there's plenty of puppy pads/kitchen roll under the rear end in case of accidents.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by booktigger » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:43 pm

Aww, bless her. Lucy helped herself to a leftover Yorkshire pudding yesterday! I normally let mine go early, so don't see that look in their eyes, but I've had a couple that I've known by the look in their eyes they have had enough, but one of my first cats I knew halfway through the injection that she had gone, I felt her go.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:20 am

I am now on tenterhooks, i have made an appointment for Stroppy (and if possible Freyja) for Friday evening and it may be decision time for Stroppy. If she has maintained or put on weight then I'll keep going with her, but if she has lost any then i think it might be time to call it a day, or if the vet finds anything that has developed in the last month, i know things can change rapidly from my experience with Patch.

I don't know if i'm looking for signs of trouble, my OH seems to think as she is still walking around and taking an interest in things she is fine. I'm noticing the little things, she ate well after the last vet visit and the steroid injection, but over the month that has tailed off, she used to clean her own plate at night and then go and finish anything the others might have left, now she eats about 2/3 of what is put down for her. She still uses her litter tray and there hasn't been any more accidents but she doesn't dig like she used to, just a half hearted attempt and not always covering it up. When I first had her and she used the litter tray it was like she was digging for Australia. The vet was also happy when i mentioned that the solids were solid as when they become sloppy it can be a sign of problems in digestive tract, I've now noticed that they are far less firm than they used to be. While she doesn't have much problem moving forward, she does totter at times on her back legs as if they are about to give out under her, and i have to be very gentle when stroking her sides as it feels like I'm going to knock her over.

I always swore that I would never let one of my cats suffer, but I don't know if she is suffering. She seems to be all skin and bone now and I'm not sure just how much more weight she could lose, she was 2.5kg at the last check up, but Blue was 2.6kg when he finally was pts, but he was a big cat to start with, Stroppy has only ever been a small cat.

Sorry for rambling but it helps to get my thoughts in order. I really hope the vet can tell me something decisive on Friday, one way or the other, I've always said you know when the time is right, this time i am really not sure.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by booktigger » Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:35 pm

Aww, I do hope the vet can give you some pointers, it is hard when they are just declining with no obvious cause to decide when they are tired of life.

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Lilith
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Re: And then there were four

Post by Lilith » Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:25 pm

Yes, me too. I felt like this about Finn, the tomcat who left us a few years ago. In the end I took him in and the vet said, 'he's ready.' If there's no obvious collapse it's so hard to know.

From what you describe, it sounds as if she's just pootling along, living life ... I wouldn't worry too much about not digging in the tray much, or appetite - as long as she still has an appetite. And believe me, I'd rather an elderly cat was on the loose side rather than the hard side; it comes out much more easily. As long as it's not nasty diarrohea that just oozes out anywhere of course. Awful for a clean cat. Sometimes they change and stay on a plateau for a while.

But you do get a sense of them failing, without any concrete reason or sign. A tiredness.

You've got experience and I think you will know.

Fusses to them all and all the best for Friday, thinking of you both x

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