Monday, March 9, 2015

A River for Tungsten

This weekend saw the start of Tungsten’s subcutaneous fluid treatment. It went well technically, but I can’t say that I enjoyed it. I had to stick a needle into my tiny cat. This is part of her treatment for kidney failure, of which she is in the second stage.

I was shown how to perform this necessary task by one of the executive board members of the PAW Society, the cat-rescue group of which I am part. I ask indebted to her for her assistance, without which I couldn’t do this. That would have been fine with Tungsten, I’m sure.

The process is familiar to a number of readers, I’m certain, but for those who are not acquainted with it, I will show you the components. There is the solution, which is injected into the subject (i.e. Tungsten). Don’t worry, not all of this bag goes into her at once. In fact, it is a small portion that is used each time, just forty millilitres. But it represents a small river of life.

Then there is the syringe. This I fill with the aforementioned forty millilitres of solution. It looks like a terribly large instrument, but it is not indicative of the needle that is used.

This is the needle in question. It’s large enough, so far as I’m concerned. It comes connected to a very thin tube, the far end of which is attached to the nozzle of the syringe. The tube brings the fluid from the syringe, when the latter’s plunger is depressed, to the needle’s tip. The needle is then inserted into a fold in Tungsten’s skin. Fortunately, she has loose skin. The needle’s insertion caused a little ‘meow’ to escape the orange one yesterday. I felt dreadful about puncturing her, and will each time I must do it. However, it is literally for her own good, and will help her to live longer than she would without the process, and to live well.

All of these items need to be kept sterile. For that I will be purchasing some rubbing alcohol. I also tried some ‘kidney diet’ food. This did not prove a success. As with almost every type of nutrition a veterinarian suggests, my cat did not like it. I think the manufacturers of specialty food must make a profit from people buying their products for the first time - because I doubt that many buy it a second.

This is the amount of food that I had scooped from one tin after almost a week of attempting to get my top-cat to eat it. And of this amount, she barely ate a third each time. As other bloggers have suggested - as the veterinarian did, as well - a senior’s diet may have to suffice. For my part, I rejoice when my orange one eats any amount of food. She is not a big eater.

I will also be purchasing a supplement which will bind with the toxins in her body and carry them to their doom in the litter-box. This is another substance that is supposed to be taken with her meals. Flavourless and odourless, it’s meant to be sprinkled on her regular food. This does not sound promising; I know of nothing that is flavourless or odourless to a cat. However, I have my reserve plan of dissolving it - at least partially - in water and injecting it with Tungsten’s usual ration of liquid - which will be continued - into her mouth.

So my littlest friend embarks on a new phase of her life. I don’t doubt that this will make her feel better, but the initial stages, the delivery of the fluids necessary to achieve this goal, makes me feel worse. I hope I become as accustomed to it as I think Tungsten will.


  1. It seems that all too often this befalls all cat owners. As with all things the more you do it the less it will bother you or Tungsten. AND it will make her feel so much better. Dear sweet one for being so patient.

  2. Poor little one. Growing old sucks sometimes. Often. Lots of purrs and kitty kisses to her; good luck to you both.

  3. You are such a good Daddy to do all this and we know it will help Tungstan. i don't know many cats that will eat that special food. Good luck to both of you.

  4. injections are always harder on the people....

  5. The things we have to do for our cats are often hard on us and them, but we do our best because we love them. I worked for a vet many years ago and gave injections all the time, but I find it very hard to inject Flynn. He had some tins of Prescription Diet, the A/D to try and get some weight back on him. I am sure he thought I was serving up poison to him.

  6. Well done, John!
    Random Felines is right! The injections are always harder on the people. In fact, once we become calmer , our patients become calmer. You'll be a master at this in no time at all. Its really amazing; you'll get so adept at slipping the needle under Tungsten's skin she won't even react. With my Arthur, I'd wait till he fell asleep and "plug him in" for a 100cc infusion. (I Used an IV line from bag to cat.)

  7. P.S. Tungsten's really beautiful. But you know that.

  8. Poor Tungsten, though I feel sorry for you. It has to be tough to inject her even knowing it is good for her. Hopefully in some small way she understands.

  9. Mommy had to do this with one of her cats, and she made it a nice bonding time for her. Mommy hung the fluid bag over the shower curtain, and then there was sweet talk, gentle pets, and the kitty didn't move in mommy's lap- she was too busy purring!
    Remember to pinch the skin and it really doesn't hurt too much to insert the needle. Feeding is truly hard, sometimes. Try natural baby food?

  10. Hello! My name is Danielle. I am in Montreal. My 15 yr old cat has thyroid problems. I am considering giving her Thyroid Support Gold because she is allergic to methimazole and Felimazole. She will not eat the Y/D food. Did you try Thyroid Support Gold on Tungsten? Thank you for your help. And my deepest sympathies for the lost of your beautiful cat.

    1. I did try Thyroid Support Gold but found that it had no effect on Tungsten's condition. However, I have read on some blogs that this does help fight hyperthyroidism. I'm sorry the answer is so equivocal.

      If you would like more opinions, though, contact the Cat Blogosphere site ( and describe your problem. Most cat-bloggers read this site's posts. Also helpful are other cat-bloggers. Flynn (on my sidebar) has thyroid problems. Also, Daily Dose of Dogs and Feral Cat Behaviour are rescuers and have a great deal of experience with cats; the former's daughters are veterinary technicians.

      I repeated this response on your blog but noted it was marked as spam.

      By the way, is your cat allergic to the Methimazole gel that is rubbed in the ear, as much as to the oral medicine?