Special notice: Human is taking off next Wednesday (August 7th) and next Sunday (August 11th). She hopes to blog again on Wednesday August 14th.
Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday August 4th 2019
It’s Monday, and I’ve almost arrived at the Q.E. (Queen Elizabeth Hospital) with my original appointment letter and my reminder letter, as requested, when I’m suddenly struck by doubt. The appointment I’m aiming for is at twelve. But, for some strange reason, eleven-thirty flashes into my mind. Oh, hell, am I late? I retrieve the letters from my bag and look at them.
No, I’m not late. I’m early. The time is correct, but the appointment’s on Thursday, not today.
So the week proceeds apace. I make numerous mistakes, lose even more stuff than usual, and frequently forget what I’m doing.
I can’t blame Isis, who is being uncharacteristically well-behaved.
Six weeks ago, she begins leaving most of her food. Then, for three days she barely eats at all. She’s very thin. Her fur is dull. She’s lethargic, sleeping all the time and not demanding attention. Her faeces are loose.
What does the seasoned cat owner do? Yes, of course. Panic.
But I must be sensible. Daisy’s almost nineteen and a half. She’s closing down. I shouldn’t put her through the blood test which she is due to have for her thyroid condition. It’s not fair. I must accept that she’ll not be with us for long and just give her palliative care.
I dread telling her owner Polymath, who is unwell herself. She dotes on Daisy.
Then, after three days, she begins to eat again. It suddenly occurs to me that it’s been extremely hot. Perhaps that’s what has affected her appetite.
I’m still very apprehensive, though, when we set off for her blood test, and fantasise the vet’s response to our much loved and ailing feline: “Well, she is almost nineteen and a half now, you know …………………”
Not surprisingly, when she’s put on the scales, they register a significant weight loss. She’s given a very thorough examination, but nothing is found which can account for her condition.
We wait for the thyroid result in case her medication needs to be increased. The other results will be available on Monday. We leave with a large syringe of probiotics, and some antibiotics. This will be great fun. Not.
The blood test reveals only one anomaly: her calcium level is significantly higher than it should be. This could be indicative of a cancer, or just a one-off spike.
We do not enjoy our – very frequent – medication sessions. Daisy hates the regime. Of course she does. She’s a cat.
She finds the probiotics particularly distasteful. She knows that she’s being poisoned and does her best not to swallow any. Her little face, my tough calico smock, the duvet and the floor are bespattered with probiotics.
She also refuses to eat her thyroid pills wrapped in cheese, which she usually attacks with joy. So those have to be forced on her too.
After a few days of struggle and strife, I poke her into the bottom of a tight polo necked t-shirt and hold the bottom closed. Immediately she pops her little head out of the neck. She looks very sweet, but this is no time for a photo opportunity; it’s much easier to give her the medicine and tablets though.
After two fraught weeks we see the vet again. Daisy has gained one gram. Not much, agrees the vet, but at this stage, positive.
The vet thinks that getting her patient to eat and regain weight must come before the renal diet. She suggests that for two weeks I give her anything she’ll eat, then bring her back. We leave with a worming liquid, just in case.
Daisy enjoys two weeks of chicken, fish and Sheba luxury cat food.
Isis’s little spotty nose twitches excitedly while the food is being prepared, so she enjoys some chicken and fish too.
So Daisy is eating. But despite antibiotics, probiotics, worming, chicken and fish, her diarrhoea is not improving. It’s getting worse.
On Thursday, I am on my way to the Q.E. again when I have a call from Ja. who is at my house. She’s very worried about Daisy whom she has just observed expelling a stream of liquid from either end.
She has consoled Daisy and left her sleeping.
Oh dear, oh dear. Shall I get off the bus, return home and miss the appointment? I don’t, as I have to pick up medication. These appointments are always on time. I shouldn’t be out long.
Arriving home, I realise that I’ve forgotten to collect the medication.
I find little Daisy snuggled under my duvet. She greets me with a cheery ‘prerp’ and stretches out a front paw contentedly.
I make an appointment for her for the next day. And I think. Hard.
She’s not closing down, I conclude. Since the heat wave, she’s always pleased to see me. She pops into bed for a fuss every night. In the morning, when, after a shower, I wrap myself in a towel and lie on the bed to dry off, she hurries over to lie on my chest and purr. Her eyes are bright.She is very alert.
“She’s just like her usual Daisy self,” I explain next day to the vet, “but with a bad gut.” The vet concurs. Again, Daisy is given a thorough examination. No lumps are found. Her mouth, ears and temperature are O.K. Her heartbeat is strong.
She is given another blood test. We wait for the result, which the vet interprets for us. The thyroid reading is stable, the calcium count is now at the top of the ‘high normal’ range. The kidney function has deteriorated. This is not unexpected since her strict renal diet has been set aside.
The vet spends a lot of time with us, and carefully explains his thinking. Daisy’s kidney and thyroid functions are compromised and she has persistent diarrhoea. He thinks that at the moment we must prioritise stabilising her gut and increasing her weight.
He advises changing her over to a Royal Canin gastro-intestinal diet. If this does not help, the next step is to scan her, searching for cancers.
I leave feeling reassured. We have a plan. The diet may work. We’ve agreed to see what happens over two weeks, then, if there’s an improvement, gradually add in the renal diet over a further week. If all goes well, we’ll return in three to four weeks when she needs more thyroid tablets.
I try not to raise my hopes, but that’s difficult, of course.
We start her on the new diet immediately. She eats it, thank goodness. Amazingly, by the end of the following day, Saturday, there’s already an improvement.
I’ve not had to change her tray since yesterday. She’s eating her new food, seems comfortable and contented, and, after six weeks of worrying about her imminent demise, I am relaxing a little myself.
*Daisy was homed when she was six weeks old. Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk