Saturday, November 14, 2015

Friday Catblogging - Requiem In Pace

Since the last edition of Friday Catblogging, there has been a lot of change in the cats of the Oubliette. We have lost McCullough, Eep, and Noah due to age and illness. Callie went to live with a neighbor, who liked each other and where she would be an only cat, as she always wanted.

McCullough had hyperthyroidism, and was on medication for it. We had the option to have part of her thyroid removed. The procedure is to introduce a radio isotope that goes to the thyroid then perform a scan to see how much the thyroid absorbs, indicating how active it is and how much would need to be surgically removed. This requires a specialist, since the cat must be boarded at the clinic for about 3 days in isolation while the radio isotope is excreted in the urine, which is mildly radioactive. By the time we would have been able to send her to Georgia for the surgery, it was too late.

In February of 2013, I found McCullough lying on the floor one morning, gasping for breath. I immediately loaded her up and took her to the vet, who only works on cats. She was immediately put in an oxygen chamber before an x-ray was performed. She had a lot of fluid in her chest, making it hard for her to breathe. She had to have a needle decompression (inserting a needle into the chest cavity but not any organs to remove excess fluid) and it was all hands on deck. Usually, as the owner, I would not have been allowed in the procedure room, but since I let the doc and the techs know I had medical experience as an EMT, the allowed me to help. I gloved up and assisted in restraining her, keeping her calm, and after one side had been decompressed, placing my finger over the puncture to prevent air from entering her chest cavity until it sealed itself (the doc was using a small gauge butterfly needle, so the puncture was very small). In total, 300 milliliters of fluid was drained from her. The vet said she had never seen a cat have that much fluid removed and the cat living more than an hour.

We decided the best course of action was for me to take her home and nurse her there. I was given a prescription for oxygen so she could be in an oxygen chamber at home to ease her breathing. An oxygen chamber sounds elaborate, but it is simply a clear storage tub with a hole drilled in the lid for the tube from the cylinder to fit into and fill the tub with oxygen, and the cat is placed in the storage tub with the lid on. I made a larger one than the emergency chamber the vet had, since McCullough was going to be in it for several days.

I picked her up from the vet after I had assembled my own oxygen chamber, so McCullough would be as comfortable as possible for the ride home.

We nursed her for two weeks, keeping her on oxygen the entire time, but she did not respond to her medications. We decided to let her go instead of keeping her in a box for any longer. We gave her the best possible chance for recovery, but she was beyond saving. Her final resting place is in our back yard, in a small glade among the trees with wildflowers growing in the spring and a stone cairn marking her resting place, age of approximately 15.

In 2012 we discovered Eep had breast cancer. She had gone into heat before she had been spayed, which increases the chance of breast cancer in cats. The vet had to remove all 4 mammaries on her left side, plus two lymph nodes. It was thought we had caught it in time and she came home without needing chemotherapy or radiation.

In March of 2013, one month after McCullough's ordeal, Eep was lying on the floor gasping for breath herself. I loaded her into the smaller oxygen chamber I had and rushed her to the vet. My car was jokingly called the "Cat Ambulance", since I already had her on oxygen when she arrived.

An x-ray showed that the cancer had metastasized to her lungs, with a couple of tumors as large as a quarter. She was terminally ill at that point, so we (myself and Hubby) decided to have her put to sleep immediately. Her resting place is next to McCullough with her own stone cairn, age of 12.

Noah's story is both the longest and the shortest. In 2013 he was diagnosed with a serious heart murmur, initially rated at 4 of 6 in severity. There was no medications we could give him, no treatment available. His heart would eventually fail.

Over the two years after he was diagnosed with the murmur, we watched his behavior and patterns, looking for any sign he was in distress. He wasn't, although he slept more than usual, because of the murmur.

 By October of this year, his heart had grown significantly worse. He had no energy since his heart wasn't pumping blood properly. Hubby found him on the floor one morning, not moving, and thought Noah had passed in his sleep. When he touched him, Noah finally responded, but stayed lying on the floor. He stopped using the litter box and would spend the entire day and night sleeping on the floor. On 10/10/15 we had him put to sleep. He rests in the same glade with McCullough and Eep, age 18.5. We have not yet been to the nursery that sells decorative stone to pick out the stones for his cairn.

In 2014 Callie went to live two houses down the street. She and the owner liked each other, and with him she would be an only cat. I would see her occasionally wandering the neighborhood, and she still liked getting skritches from me, but she had chosen her new home.

Earlier this year, S asked me if I had seen Callie. I hadn't and he said she hadn't been home in a few days. We never saw her again. There is a pack of coyotes in the area that occasionally come into the neighborhood. I'm afraid she was killed by a coyote, since we never found any trace of her. Callie was approximately 12 years old.

Right now the Oubliette has only two cats, Freya and Freyr. Both have become more clingy towards Hubby and me. Right now Freyr has attached himself to my hip while I type this. Freya is probably asleep in the window in Hubby's room. Both are healthy and happy now that they've adjusted to Noah's passing. Freya is enjoying the peace of fewer cats and Freyr just wants a warm human to snuggle with without  having to compete with anyone.

The Oubliette is quieter now; no herd of cats running around. There's still the sound of the rats in the background, but the colony of rats in the Oubliette is another story.

For more cats and other critters, go visit The Friday Ark #545 at The Modulator. Or you can head over to the Catblogosphere to catch up on cat related news on the blogosphere.

Edit: I genuinely thought it was Friday when I posted this. I was a day behind, since the trash collection is on Thursday, trash collection happened today, so it must be late Thursday/early Friday when I started typing. I'd forgotten that the trash was a day late due to Veterans Day. So, Caturday then?

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