Monday, December 26, 2016

Vale Willy, the Wilful One

Willy – 18/1/04 – 26/12/16

This morning we discovered that Willy, our dearly loved cat, had died overnight, most likely in the early morning.

We had spent Christmas Day at my brother’s place in Ocean Grove, but drove back to Melbourne in the late afternoon, anxious about Willy  who had not been looking all that chipper when we set out.

For the past few days he had been spending much of his time under the house and had ignored our cajolments to come out, though  he would eventually emerge, much to our relief.  He had not eaten a solid meal for several days and had refused breakfast Christmas morning.

Fortunately he appeared shortly after we got back from Ocean Grove, but looked very much the worse for wear after the extremely hot day.  He was thirsty and drank quite a bit before slumping under the bed.

One of the saddest things  I have ever witnessed was seeing Willy lying there with his front paws wrapped around the water bowl and his nose in the bowl. He was too weak to stand for long.

We’ve had almost a month of worrying about him and had hated forcing the medicine down his throat every day. Not that it did much good. After an initial hopeful period, it was obvious that the drugs weren’t working. We couldn’t stop giving him the cortisone as it’s a drug that requires a tapering off period. If stopped suddenly it causes all sorts of harm.

We had an appointment to see the vet next Thursday, but yesterday we doubted that Willy would last that long.  As it was Christmas Day our options for helpful advice were non existant.

B was so distressed by Willy’s state that he slept alongside him on the floor of the living room, where Willy had climbed into his cat bed. B missed the moment of death, having come to bed in the early morning, but got up at 5.30 am to discover Willy stretched out dead under the coffee table on the rug.

It’s a mercy really that Willy died in his sleep and spared us the additional agony of euthanisation. But terribly sad all the same.

So we’re tired and emotional today.

The only member of the household who is not in mourning is Talya who will now be the sole cat, a status she prefers.

Willy would have turned 13 years of age on the 18th January, so he had fairly long life in cat terms.

We acquired him on 21 March 2004 from a breeder in Toolern Vale – a wilful fiesty kitten with big bat ears.

Willy as a kitten at 12 weeks of age

Wild and independent as he was,  he nonetheless was a delightful cat, very smart, and a stunner to look at. He spent much of his kittenhood tearing around the neighbourhood with his female cat friend Pickle and we feared for his safety many times.

In those days  he would retrieve little balls of paper thrown for him, bringing them back to you and dropping them at your feet, though he forgot this trick as he grew older.

He always slept with us under the covers, regarding us as his litter mates no doubt and will be missed all the more.

A creature of habit, he knew our usual procedures by heart, and would always curl up on my lap in the mornings as I read in bed, sitting in expectation in my spot and obligingly moving off to allow me to get in the bed, before climbing on my lap. He hated any disruption of this routine and would be unsettled if it changed.

Being a cat with a strong personality and heaps of attitude, he was not easily ignored. His spirit still floats around the house as I write and I expect to see him appear at my side or walk in front of the computer monitor to attract my attention.

I’m glad his suffering is at an end as it has been a hard month watching over him with faint hope of ever seeing him back to his old wilful self.

He lies in a grave under the back lawn, dug by B this morning. Willy spent his entire life at this place so it’s appropriate that he will stay here forever.

Such was my Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas & A Worried Mind

xmas card
Old Wicked non PC Christmas Card

Where did the year go?

It’s a little over a week until Christmas Day, and I must admit I am not feeling all that merry.

The Cat Politics domicile has a sick cat, whose condition has been ongoing for the past two weeks.

The cat in question is Willy who went off his food at the end of November and refused to eat hardly anything for a couple of days, looking out of sorts and depressed into the bargain.

So off to the Vet we took him to try and discover what the problem was.  We feared it might be kidney failure and were steeling ourselves for the big decision.

A blood and urine test and thorough physical examination proved negative as far as kidney failure or diabetes was concerned, and the Vet couldn’t provide any answers as to why he was off his food, but he did give us a few appetite stimulant tablets to get Willy to eat.

These worked for a few days, but his behaviour was still uncharacteristic and it was obvious that he wasn’t improving, so another vet visit was called for.

We saw a different vet this time and she at least had a theory as to what his problem was. Her opinion was that he had pancreatitis due to his being overweight. He has weighed in, in the past, at over 8 kilograms and is a heavy cat.

She prescribed cortisone to reduce the pancreatic inflammation. Cortisone also acts as an appetite stimulus, though it took some time for it to kick in. For the past week, Willy has eaten well every second day, and sparingly on the other days.  Yesterday was one of his eating days and we were relieved when he showed interest in food this morning and ate a hearty breakfast.

I’m covered in scratches, as his lack of interest in food means that we have to give him the cortisone pill manually, ie shoving it down his throat as he struggles to resist. It’s much easier if you can hide it in food. but alas a cat without appetite has to put up with the stress of force feeding. It also leaves us shaking and stressed out as well.

Willy is showing some improvement, but is not back to his old self yet. He’s slimmer at least, but has given up climbing on the roof, which was one of his favourite places to be a fortnight ago. However, despite his spending most of his time under the house, he still recognises us as his litter mates and on cool nights still climbs into bed with us.

If the vet is right in her diagnosis, pancreatitis is curable in cats, so we  live in hope that Willy will be with us for several more years.

We are taking Willy back to the vet tomorrow for assessment, so cross fingers the prognosis is hopeful.

We’ve hardly dared to be optimistic over the past few weeks, so it has been very much doom and  gloom in our household as we slouch towards the festive season.

Anyway, if there are any blog readers left, I wish you all a happy Christmas and a stress free 2017, despite the new world order.