Sleep Tight Sweet Tiggy

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Ruth B
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Sleep Tight Sweet Tiggy

Post by Ruth B »

To those of you who have seen my posts in the past, when Tiggy has given us a one of her scares, it will probably come as no surprise that we have had to finally say goodbye to her.

Its been one of those weeks, my computer had been playing up for a bit, and over the weekend it took me several attempts to get Chrome loaded as the computer kept shutting down. i'd already got a monitor program loaded so I started watching that a bit, and the CPU, the main brains of the computer, were overheating, at about £1200 to replace it with something of a similar standard, i decided to see if I could get it repaired, I know some basics of computers, but when it comes to that type of thing it is time to go to the experts. So it was collected Monday, and I didn't get it back until yesterday evening, fortunately it seems to have done the trick, for quite a bit less than replacing it would have cost, but that is why it has taken me till now to say what i want to say.

Tuesday morning Tiggy was a bit subdued, but pretty much her normal self. By teatime, she was sat out n the back step enjoying some afternoon sun, I have no idea whether she actually came in for some food or not, she was always a bit of a grazer, so we had left her to it, she did however manage to get in the cat flap by herself. Then 8.00 rolls round and it is time to clean the litter trays and lock the cat flap for the night, while the other cats aren't coming as frequently now, we have kept to keeping the flap blocked at night, Saturn and Freyja seem to have got used to it, so there doesn't seem any reason to start letting them out at night until they start to insist they want to. Anyway, I go downstairs to find Tiggy on the bottom stair sitting in a neat loaf position, but she is totally unresponsive. I pick her up carry her upstairs and sit her on my knee on the bed (with no pc, I've been watching a lot of stuff on my IPad while sat on the bed). She just sits where she is put, i can just about make out shallow breathing which is the only sign she is still alive. Even rubbing her ears evokes no response, normally that risks a back paw shredding the hand rubbing the ears, it was just a very strong reflex with her. I heard her lick her lips once during the 2 hours we sat together and that was the sum total of her movement. We got her into a cat bed for the night really believing she wouldn't be with us come morning, she was warm and comfy, and if she went to sleep not to wake up, then there are worse ways to go.

Much to our surprise, she was still with us in the morning, and had actually turned around in the bed during the night, I don't think she had done more than just circle a little, but it was more than I had expected. So I got her up, and she was responsive, she wasn't good, but far better than she had been the previous evening, I put her by the water bowl and she had a few laps at it, but it was more an automatic response, her nose was by water, so she drank, rather than she was drinking because she felt thirsty. She then turned, the bowl was close to her Igloo bed and she just went in there and curled up. That is then where she stayed all day, In the 24 hours, I don't think she used the litter tray, had more than a few licks at the water, and nothing to eat, she just wasn't interested in anything except sleeping. So that night she went to the vets.

I think we both knew she wasn't coming back, but she did seem to pick up a bit while at the vets, walking in circles on the table, not herself, but more life than we had seen in 24 hours. The vet then started talking about tests, they could do a blood test while we waited and they would have the results Wednesday morning, the bloods would then show if there was any treatment that would help her and we both started to waver. In the end we both decided that it would just be prolonging it for her and us, and the improvement we were seeing was likely just to be due to the adrenaline from being taken to the vets. So we said to call it a day.

They took her to put the catheter in and when they brought her back i think the adrenaline had worn off (they might have given her a sedative), either way she was back to the state she had been in all day, sitting in a loaf position not caring about things, and then was peacefully helped on her way.

While I'll never know for sure, i'm fairly certain she had some type of stoke or fit Tuesday afternoon or evening. Her unresponsive state, the way she moved, I noticed thinking back that when she was out she was always leaning to the right, always turning right, on the vets table she was almost pirouetting, her back legs were wobblier than ever which might have contributed to that, but I also noticed her head seemed to have developed a permanent tilt to the right as well, not much but noticeable.

I know I can over think things and I'm looking for answers I'll never get. She was old and we knew her days were numbered for quite a long time, and that number was finally up. I have no worry that we should have looked at further treatment option, she was already on 3 types of medication, none vital that she had every dose, but just trying to get them into her when we could with out stressing her, I really didn't want to add another couple to that list. Wednesday daytime, she was alive but not living, so we did the kindest thing helping her on her way, but I will always wonder just what did happen Tuesday evening.

As for the future, i know some people are better waiting, needing to get over the loss, for me it is the opposite, while i know I want to give Freyja some time to get used to Tiggy not being around, I'm already 'window shopping, with a Ragdoll kitten high on the list of options, but willing to see if anything else shows up. I'm over 50 now, and my family has a history of not getting much beyond 70, so if i'm going to get a Ragdoll kitten it has to be this time, if I wait until one of the juniors time is up, then the kitten will likely outlive me, and that is not what I want to happen if I can help it. Part of me has a bit of a guilt feeling with considering buying a Ragdoll (or other really fluffy kitten) rather than another rescue, but while I'll happily take on a rescue ball of fluff if a suitable one shows up in the next few months, I do know the probability is against it, so the money saved on not having to replace the computer, may be getting spent on something rather fluffier.
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Mollycat
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Re: Sleep Tight Sweet Tiggy

Post by Mollycat »

So sorry to read your news Ruth. It feels especially odd as I have been put in charge of a Tiggy to look after for the weekend, and a name can be so evocative. Tripod Tiggy, whom I saved from a dog last year.

I don't know if I'm reading you right here - you have quite a facty writing style - is there something about "no more worrying, no more scares" in all the mix of sadness and questions? A sense of peace after all she has been through?

Yes everyone's different but every one is an individual way to grieve, and if yours is to invite a new young life into the family, then that is ok, as you know. People with a different way are different, nobody's wrong. And Tiggy will always be the wonderful memory of Tiggy, no matter what. The way I look at it, you have a vacancy and a kitten will certainly keep you busy - and a Raggie doubly so cleaning up fluff! I am still finding Boo fur in nooks and crannies as I go about redecorating my kitchen, 3 years on.

Rest in peace Tiggy, whatever it was, it sounds like she had reached her time and respecting that is the greatest gift we ever have to give a little soul in our care. Gentle thoughts with you all today.
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Re: Sleep Tight Sweet Tiggy

Post by fjm »

Goodnight, Tiggy. A long life, much loved, and a peaceful, easy passing at the end. It is always sad when we have to say goodbye, and the hole they leave is there forever, but there is comfort in knowing it was the right time to let her go and that all the days and years that came before were as good as you could make them.
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Ruth B
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Re: Sleep Tight Sweet Tiggy

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You are right Mollycat, I think due to the scientific background I have, it has given me a tendency to go very factual when writing things like this, I think it is my way of getting it clear in my head, as much as writing it for others to read, a way of recounting for myself what happened and why decisions were made, should I have spotted something earlier, should we have rushed her to an emergency vet, should we have gone along with the tests the vet mentioned, writing it in such a way makes me remember it with my head, not with my heart. Yes, it is a bit of a relief as well, no more scares, we had the respiratory disease several years ago, the possible tumour which then seem to vanish, and most recently her bladder and kidney problems, each time she was a little worse than the previous one, and each time I wondered if she wasn't coming home, it wasn't helped with the tumour and bladder issues being during the pandemic, giving the added fear of whether we could both be with her if we did have to say goodbye during those months. It was also hard seeing her not being able to do what she liked to, she was always a high level cat, in her youth she would scare us silly by getting on top of a 6' glass display cabinet, by the end she could barely manage to get on the bed, and our bed it on the low side, she would get on the windowsill using chairs and her hammock and then fall off. I was scared she would hurt herself while I was alone with no transport to get her to a vet. My biggest fear was, would i know when the time was right to say goodbye, physically she had deteriorated a lot, but personality wise, she was still herself, I have been scared this last few months particularly as to whether i would know when her time was up, whether i would keep her going longer than was kind to her, I've been constantly watching her, trying to make sure she was eating and drinking, doing everything I could think to make sure I didn't miss any signs of her being ready to go. So while it was heartbreaking to make the decision, I do feel happier now its done, but that relief brings its own guilt. It is something I suffered from badly when my Father died. He had been bed bound for several months, and even though he was on morphine you could see he was still in pain. So many weekends I came home and cried after visiting him as he really wasn't the Father I knew any more. When he finally died, I had the initial shock of his passing, but that was it, all I felt was relief that it was over, which only made me feel guilty and that I wasn't grieving for him properly. It was only after many months of soul searching did it dawn on me, I had grieved for him, but I'd done it while he was still alive. So, yes, I think I'm the same with Tiggs, I've faced the possibility so often, that now it is finally over I do feel relieved, and I'm trying desperately not to feel guilty about that part of it.
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Re: Sleep Tight Sweet Tiggy

Post by Mollycat »

Though nothing anyone can say can wipe out guilt, which is after all part of the process, I can tell you my old Boo went through a lot less than Tiggy before I called enough. It's too easy to get swept up in tests and try and see-ifs when we already know and a kind professional who should know better puts a match to the tiny tinder of doubt in our guilt drawer.

How have the other cats been? Out of sorts, searching, or calm and a little subdued? They know as well as we do when their companion's time is drawing near. Perhaps they can tell you the time was right, it certainly sounds like it was. But it's ok to work through the guilt too.
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Re: Sleep Tight Sweet Tiggy

Post by booktigger »

I'm so sorry to hear you finally had to say goodbye, after all the scares, but I think you did the right thing by not putting her through that test to see if you could buy her more time, it would have only been prolonging the inevitable. I think relief is natural when they have had a prolonged illness, as it is relief that they are free from whatever suffering they had. RIP little one
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Ruth B
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Re: Sleep Tight Sweet Tiggy

Post by Ruth B »

Saturn is being his normal self, he just couldn't care less. About the only thing he is going to be upset about is the fact that the chicken supply is going to dry up a bit now we arent' needing to give Tiggs meds in it every day. We were buying 1 to 2 chickens every week to make sure we had a constant supply for her, it will be nice to be able to eat something different for a while.

Freyja was always the one I was worried about, she used to be Tiggy's little white shadow, following her around and knowing it was safe when Tiggy was settled. She has been about but is a bit more skittish than she was, and is spending a bit more time under the bed. it probably hasn't helped her that my routine has also been shattered with the loss of the computer for a while as well as a stranger invading when he picked up and dropped off the computer. I'm sure she will settle soon enough, but I have a feeling it might be a while before she will settle on my legs again without Tiggy to tell her it is safe to do so. Letting Freyja settle is another reason for me only window shopping Ragdolls, I don't want to try and introduce another cat, even a kitten, before Freyja is feeling a bit more confident.

I don't know if it is a sign of me getting old, but the vet did seem fairly young, and it does seem that the knowledge of when to push for the tests and when to call it a day, is something that comes with experience rather than book learning. The vets we go to is a small hospital so I think they do get a bit more of a turnover of vets than some places do. It has its advantages, tests can be done in house as well as quite a bit of treatment, but it does mean that there are trainees that come through at times. I can't say anything against him once we had made the decision, but I do wonder if they learn so much about what they can do to help an animal, they don't learn enough to know when it is best to accept the inevitable. I'll never forget one of the best ones we saw there, it was when Katie was diagnosed with Diabetes and we were trying to work out what to do. The vet was obviously getting on, she had some problems walking and was peering at the computer screen even more than I do, but her mind was as sharp as a knife, and her experience meant she understood out problems and was willing to share her own opinion not just what the books might say. We were inexperienced then, and i'm so glad we had her to lead us through it, now we have the experience to know what was really the right thing for Tiggs, we may not have wanted to do it, but we knew it was the right option really.
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