Thursday, May 30, 2019

Encouragement for the Princess

The news regarding Cammie is encouraging.

For one thing, her eyes’ appearance has largely returned to normal. The immensity of her pupils, completely dilated initially, has decreased, and they look to be about a normal size. I have no idea whether this means she can see or will be able to see at some point. She may still be blind, or partially blind. I have attempted to test her sight, but even when she was well, trying to stimulate her vision by some motion on my part would have been haphazard; she always tended to ignore my actions until they were close to her anyway. Her hearing is very good, so that, if she is paying attention - or wants to hear something - she will be ready for me when I come into a room or make a movement, without having to rely on sight in any case. She is, however, very comfortable with walking about the apartment. This could be due to familiarity coupled with acute senses aside from sight. I will simply have to wait to determine this point. (This photograph is from a year ago, and is my favourite of mine.)

The princess is eating better now, thank goodness. I think her appetite will improve further when she is weaned off the Perdnisolone she is taking right now. As well, the shock of the stroke may have to recede somewhat before she feels better, and not just about eating.

One that aspect of her health, I have noticed that she seems a little ‘off’, perhaps just more fatigued than she used to be. This, of course, is to be expected, with such a violent experience as a stroke. If her recovery from other effects is an indication, though, she will eventually come back from this, too.

Cammie will be going to the doctor for an evaluation on June 6th, the date of her intended dental surgery. Any kind of anaesthetic is out of the question right now; it may be so forever, though I hope not. I would like to have her teeth seen to before it is too late. It may be too late now, unfortunately; I should have arranged for an appointment earlier. Even a week sooner would have allowed the procedure to be done - though, come to think of it, being under anaesthetic may have triggered a stroke in itself, so perhaps she was lucky it happened when it did.

In one factor, we are very fortunate. Cammie hates receiving medicine orally. Liquids, injected into her mouth, are a tribulation to her, but are practicable. Pills are a torment for both her and me. She requires blood-pressure medicine; she will be on that indefinitely, though possibly not permanently. In any case, it will be for some time. I had decided not to give her the medicine if it could be delivered only in pill form. I thought it pointless to administer something to reduce her blood pressure, if the administration itself caused that pressure to rise. But now, I will be receiving the medicine as a transdermal cream, to be rubbed into the princess’s ears. I did the same with Tungsten’s hyperthyroid medicine. This is an immense relief to me, and means that I can give Cammie her medicine for as long as she needs it. It is expensive, however, the cost inflated, I think, by the compounding process.

All in all, I am pleased with events in the wake of her stroke. If such a catastrophe had to occur, then recovery could not be much better than it has been. I will continue to test her sight, but I suspect the results will be inconclusive; the truth may have to wait until her doctor’s appointment. Until then, I will simply be grateful that my princess is still with me and, considering what has happened, in remarkably good - or perhaps I should write 'lucky' - health.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

What I See When I Eat

While Cammie adjusts to her new condition, the other cats’ lives continue as normal, if you can call my cats normal. This, for instance, is my point of view during most meals at the dining table. Tucker keeping an eye on me - or, rather, on what I am eating.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Progress, Bit by Bit

I want to thank everyone for their kind comments on Cammie’s stroke. She continues her recovery. My princess has found the courage to jump up into the top saddle of the taller cat-tree in the bedroom; that is one of her favourite spots. A frustrating development, though, is her sudden aversion to the Z/D food she has been eating for months. I have given her portions from two different tins, and the result is the same. Sigh. Living with cats is like being in a pinball machine, bouncing from one problem to another.

However, I am grateful for the princess’s adaptation to her circumstances. As I mentioned just recently to a friend, she’s a marvellous little creature.

And I have reason to be grateful for other things. This is Raleigh at play. He likes to play, trying to scoop up the string-toy with his paddle-like feet. He has recently discovered that the boxes on the floor make excellent platforms for play, or just for rest.

I suspect he has been watching the other beasts. Tucker and Parker especially like decent boxes, and the former enjoys battling toys in a box-lid. But they too find the constricting limits of a cardboard box, in which the body is twisted or compressed, the head resting on a knife-blade edge, to be the height of relaxation.

But Peachy has been developing as a cosy apartment cat in other ways, too. His regression into timidity with me is easing a little. He will still run without provocation (at least provocation that I can sense) but, more often now, he allows me to rub his fuzzy head. And he has never minded the other cats.

Josie was a good choice for a couch-companion. My Chubs doesn’t mind other cats being near, as long as they aren’t too near. Any closer than this and she might have leaped away. But Raleigh is learning from the others, I am sure: the joys of boxes here, the comfort of a couch there. Bit by bit, he is progressing.

And as long as there is progression, whether by Cammie or Raleigh or someone else, then bit by bit is probably the best way to go.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Her Newly Dark Kingdom

After the terrible events of yesterday, Cammie’s condition is improving.

Once we had returned from the animal hospital, I felt that both she and I needed some rest, so I placed her on the bed, where she would relax a little, if she could. I lie down with her, and she purred. That purr was comfort to her and encouragement to me.

Hours later, she was better. She no longer walked in circles, and her rear quarters had strengthened to the point of being able to jump onto the bed from the floor. Cammie began exploring her newly dark world. It was familiar to her; she just couldn’t see it. But half a day after the stroke, she was walking about, avoiding obstacles by using her whiskers and nose. She was already adapting. She ate, and, more importantly, she used the litter-box, intentionally and correctly. Her bowels were under her control.

I realise there may be set-backs, problems so devastating that every optimistic thing I think now may have to be re-thought. I fear that the stroke may have damaged her brain, and that lucidity will not be permanent. But I am confident about the future. It’s true that she is blind, and will very likely remain so. She stays on the bed a great deal; it is central, relatively high, comfortable and well-lit; she can feel the sun and hear the outside from there. But she moves about when she feels she must, or wishes. I think mobility will increase as she grows used to her new situation.

Certainly Cammie’s world has shrunk. Some may think it constitutes a world not worth living in, for a cat. I disagree, but yet may revise my opinion. I will watch her and see how she acts, what she prefers, how she has changed. This morning, she crawled onto my chest and purred while I rubbed her chin. My princess has not changed so much that she cannot still enjoy her life, and if she enjoys it, I see no reason why she need leave it.

Sunday, May 26, 2019


Cammie has had a stroke. I woke at three o’clock this morning to the familiar sounds of Parker throwing up. After I had talked to him and cleaned up the mess, I saw Cammie off to the side. She was walking in circles, dragging her rear left leg. A stroke was the first thing of which I thought.

I called the emergency service of my veterinary hospital, and had Cammie there within an hour. The doctor called the occurrence a ‘stroke-like’ episode, probably because she cannot define it strictly. It could be a clot, a burst blood vessel, or something else. Cammie did not seem, either to me or to the veterinary, to be in pain. She was clearly distraught, however, and confused. There were hemorrhages in both eyes, and she did not flinch when a simulated threat was made to her sight. My princess is blind.

She may also have lost control of her bowels. Once I had brought her home, she wet all over the bathroom floor, then defecated on the store-room floor, where the litter-boxes are, and tracked it out. After exhausting herself with endless circles, Cammie wedged herself headfirst between a bookcase and chest of drawers.

The blindness will be permanent, the doctor believes. Cammie can live with that, though it will restrict her world mightily. The problem with her bowels may be part of the panic that she must be feeling right now. If it is not, it may have a more serious effect on her quality of life than sightlessness.

Just yesterday, she and I had a good cuddling session. I lie down next to her on the bed, and she started purring when I petted her. Then she bumped me with her head, and lie on my chest. How quickly a world can change.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Little Antaeus

Parker continues to do relatively well. There is a new development, which may be related to his cancer. A patch of hairlessness has appeared on his right shoulder. He has been licking at it, so I am not sure if that action caused the hairlessness or if it is in reaction to it. In any case, licking it is making it worse. I suspect that it is connected somehow to his ailment, in the same way that his nose has lost its hair. It may not be a coincidence that, despite his good hygiene elsewhere (eg. washing most of his face, cleaning his paws), Parker doesn’t clean his nose of food after he eats. Perhaps he has no feeling there anymore.

But, in terms of what could occur, hairless spots and obsessive licking are not the worst, and my orange boy is still eating very well. I remember writing to a friend in January that my foster-cat was not consuming much at all. How that has changed. I am certain that his appetite has contributed to his extended life-span.

Also contributory, I think, are his excursions outside. For the most part, they are enjoyable. He loves the feel of the air on his furs, and the smells that come to him on the breezes. He likes meeting people; when he sees one approaching, he will walk toward him, ready to make a new friend. There are exceptions to our good walks. Yesterday, I made the mistake of feeding him luncheon before the walk, rather than after. I am certain that this caused his desire to do nothing but lie down on the sidewalk, and become fractious at the notion of doing any walking. I won’t make that scheduling mistake again.

But by and large, Parker’s walks are a source of strength to him. Like Antaeus the giant, from Greek mythology, who derived power from his mother, the Earth, whenever in combat he fell, so too is my little Antaeus sustained by our version of nature. Time in the open air, whether warmed by the sun or dampened by the mist, invigorates Parker, and is one of his secrets of immortality – or at least a touch of it.