Thursday, December 5, 2019

Our Best Laid Plans

The results from Tucker’s veterinary visit came back yesterday, and they didn’t bring good news. My roly poly has late stage-two kidney failure. He is also offering from an slight inflammation in the pancreas, which may be the cause of his continued vomiting, as well as his loss of appetite. In addition, his blood-glucose numbers have been increasing, suggesting that his diabetes is being adversely influenced by his other bodily troubles.

To counter these developments, the doctor wants Tucker started on a kidney-friendly diet. I will be buying some tins of that today, though, considering the finicky attitude he has toward food, I am not expecting great things from a change of diet. No cat I know seems to like the special renal food. But I will research the products available and see what may be obtained.

The doctor also wants to put Tucker on a short course of Cerenia, to ease his stomach and reduce the vomiting. She thinks he may be suffering some pain and suggested a very careful application of pain-killers might be in order - she is reluctant to prescribe these, considering Tucker’s kidney failure - but I don’t think my little sausage-cat is in too much discomfort. His behaviour is in many respects normal. However, pain-reduction remains an option.

My boy’s diabetes, which was being managed adequately, if not as strongly as I would have liked, has been disarranged by the intrusion of his kidneys. His insulin dosage is therefore going to be increased, though not by much. Rather than two units in the morning and one in the evening, Tucker will receive two units at both instances. This dosage will be tried until the results of his next ‘curve’ are known, in a month’s time.

Tucker has been through a great deal in his life. Given up by his family of five years due to wetting problems (brought on by the stress of a newborn human), he has suffered severe urinary blockage (requiring surgery to cure), diabetes (with its attendant poking and prodding), bad teeth (and the removal of every tooth he had) and now kidney failure. In all of this, Tucker has remained my purring boy. He purrs so readily that when he doesn’t, I know something is amiss. He has been purring normally these past few weeks, so I am hopeful that he is not feeling too greatly the effects of his relatively new condition. In any case, we have plans in place. But, as Burns wrote, “the best laid schemes of mice and men often gang a-gley.” I hope he wasn’t just being optimistic when he excluded ‘cats’.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Tucker Under the Microscope

Tucker went to the doctor on Monday. I am worried about a several things, including his constant weight loss and the bald patch on his back. The doctor was puzzled as to the causes, the bald patch not seemingly due to excessive grooming - I have not noticed Tucker licking that part of his body at all, nor have I thought that he is grooming himself overly much - and the diminishing weight not the fault of any superficial problems. I think the latter may be caused simply by the roly poly not eating enough, so an antidote may be just to make food available to him more often. The loss of hair is not through an allergic reaction, the veterinary believes.

Tucker is developing cataracts, not an unusual corollary of diabetes, but they are not annoying him. His vision is likely not as good as it has been.

Blood and urine samples were taken, and a complete range of tests for a senior cat will be run. I will know the results tomorrow or the next day.

To be honest, I sometimes wonder why I take my cats to the doctor. The veterinaries help in many cases, but in some, they seem just as uncertain about symptoms as I am. Oftimes, I think tests simply rule things out, rather than confirm suspicions. The doctor was pleased that Tucker is receiving salmon oil; I have noticed that my cat’s coat is smoother and he has less dandruff. That, however, is a minor victory compared to what I want accomplished with his other problems.

But I will await the results of the tests, and then discuss the matter more fully with the doctor. Hopefully, there will be some answers to the questions my boy is posing.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

The Way She Hears It

My cats are growing old, even the young one. I dislike that, but will probably be unable to reverse the trend. I am thinking in particular about Josie, my eldest. She is 15. To be truthful, my Chubs appears to be in good shape. She is no longer actually chubby, and is a pretty good weight for her size. She eats well, her litter-box visits are untroubled, she climbs the stairs to the bed without signs of strain and she even leaps from the cat-tree by the window over to the bed, and vice versa, when she wishes to take a short-cut. She does make ‘old-cat’ sounds, though I make ‘old-man’ sounds now… But I think she is becoming deaf.

Today, after a long while without them, I decided to give some Temptation Treats to the beasts (except for poor Cammie, who can receive nothing but her Z/D food). I shook the bag and cats came tumbling out from every crevice in the apartment – except for Josie (and poor Cammie, who knows she won’t get any). Josie remained on the bed, slumbering but not asleep. Renn, who had been unconscious in the bedroom, heard the inviting sound and hurried out, but not the Great White.

I then realised that there have been many instances recently when I had announced ‘dinner’ or ‘snack’, and Josie had ignored me, until I came up to her and repeated the words at close-range. She is also startled more often by my approach, or, rather, by my appearance near her, since I wonder now if she can hear my approach.

But deafness is, perhaps, no surprise. I am dubious of the oft-reported age-equivalency of cats and humans. According to Catster, Josie is no longer even a ‘senior’, but a ‘geriatric’, having reached the equivalent of 76 years for a human. I figure that if the average cat lives, all things being equal, to be about 18 or 19 years (splitting the difference makes it 18 and a half), and a human’s expectancy is about 80, then Josie is 65, which, given her health, seems a better estimate to me than 76.

In any case, I think that some difficulty in hearing, or even complete deafness, is a relatively minor complaint for an old cat, considering what she could be suffering. There is much to beware, and my guard is always up for my beasts; however, I am thankful my Chubs is not facing worse. Besides, she may be ignoring what I do and say due to deafness, or simply because she’s a cat. I may never know for sure…