Kitty scare

Almost exactly a year after I lost my adorable big, old cuddlepuss Pandora so suddenly (see here) I’ve had quite a scare with her sister, my gorgeous wee Cassandra (usually shortened to Cassie). I had the sad duty of going home to Glasgow this morning for a family funeral after my elderly uncle, who has been ill for some time, passed away just before the weekend. He was married to my wonderful aunt, big sister to my mum and of course I had to be through there for her as she means worlds to me. I’ve also been worried about Cassie – the last couple of days she has been making funny wee noises, quite nasal grunts and odd breathing sounds from time to time. I got home from the funeral today having arranged to take her to the vet on Saturday morning for a check, only to find that her breathing and noises were much louder and more frequent than they had been even just this morning before I had to get the train. Bending down to listen closely to her hearing I didn’t like it and got very, very worried, called the vet and she was kind enough to let me bring her right along then and there.

 

Cassie on bed

Cassie, of course, does not like the travel box and it was a struggle to get her into it. She yowled loudly all the way there then at the vet she freaked out and ran yowling again around the examination room in a panic. The vet let her settle down until she would let me pick her up to be examined. No runny nose, no discharge so not a virus – pretty unusual for a cat her age (especially a home cat) to get a virus anyway (she’s now around 16, old for a kitty). So she suspects either an inflammation or a growth or polyp. She’s getting enough air okay but it is worrying. The rest of her behaviour is normal which is good, but if it is a growth then there’s a problem – it requires special techniques available only at the vet school, which is not only costly but is simply not recommended for a cat her age by the vet. Even the very specialised endoscope they use to determine if they are there is expensive and requires her to be put out for the procedure, which the vet thinks is not a good idea at her age.

 

Cassie by fireside 1

She’s been given some meds and antibiotics meantime to see if it is an inflammation that they can reduce and I take her back in a couple of days to see how they are doing. Hoping they do the trick, because if it is the growth then from what the vet said, as gently as she could, there would be no point at her age attempting anything involved as she might not be able to take it and then I’d face the same bloody awful decision I had to make this time last year for her wonderful sister, about what was best for her, not for me. Hoping very much that I am not in that situation again very soon.

 

Cassie on the sofa

Right now she is in the huff and also stressed so since we got home she’s been in her favourite hidey hole when annoyed, on a soft, old suitcase lying under the bed and won’t even come out for dinner. Hoping she comes back out soon and joins me again, doesn’t feel right not having my warm kitty snuggled up against me while I type. And I wouldn’t feel right without her leaping onto the bed at night and settling down on top of the duvet next to me at night and purring me to sleep. We leave ourselves wide open to this kind of emotional upset when we decide to bring animals into our homes and lives; we know it right from the start, but we still do it because they bring so much richness and happiness into our lives. I can’t imagine how much harder these last years since we lost mum would have been without my beautiful furry girls keeping up my morale. Losing Pandora last year was awful, losing my gorgeous Dizzy just a few weeks later broke my heart again, but at least I still have my Cassie. Please don’t take my girl from me, world.

My darling Dizzy

MultiDizzy

Mel just called me to tell me that we lost our gorgeous wee Dizzy, the precious, petite puss, with her huge, shining eyes, tiny, almost kitten like build and lovely, soft grey and white fur. I know she was 17, a good age for a kitty, but she was so petite and still so lively and perky that many people first seeing her assumed she was just a year or two old and not full grown. She’s been a part of our life since she was just a few weeks old, a tiny little kitten, back in our student flat days; afterwards she lived with Melanie near my flat so I was round regularly and looked after her all the time. Unlike my big cuddlepuss Pandora she didn’t really care for being picked up, although she always let me do so, picking her tiny, light body up so she could then drape herself over my shoulder and around my neck, like me wee furry, warm scarf, and she would then purr that hugely loud outboard motor purr right into my ear, utterly content because she knew she was loved and adored. Maybe she wasn’t mad on most people picking her up, but she always let me, she was my special wee girl.

Skateboarding Kitty 2

We lost her big brother Zag several years ago to an evil motorist who never even stopped and of course it’s even harder for me to accept losing her just a few short weeks since I lost my wonderful Pandora. The fact that it comes on the same week that sees the third anniversary of losing my mum so suddenly (this Thursday marks that evil day) doesn’t help my frame of mind much either, as you can imagine. Not that I am equating them, but emotional loss is an emotional loss and they all hurt. Pandora, Dizzy and Cassie have all been so important in keeping up my morale since losing mum – no matter how much you are hurting it is always a bit better with a warm, purring kitty snuggled up against you. It’s horrible to realise I’ll never have her draping her tiny body over my shoulder again or using my legs as her personal pillow. You made us so very happy, little darling, I hope you’re curled up now against your cuddly cousin Pandora wherever you went to. You were so tiny but you leave such a huge hole in our lives.

Dizzy in the tulips 2
(I shot so many photographs of Dizzy over the years, she was so beautiful and so photogenic, her pictures have been admired so often on my Flickr, but I think this one is one of my all-time favourites, her with the flowers and the look on her face that clearly says she knows she is more beautiful than the flowers or anything else)

tired of reading

Dizzy monochrome 2

me and Dizzy 3

Dizzy and her cushion 1
(I took a picture of Dizzy dozing on a blanket in the garden and had it printed onto a cushion as a present for Mel; for months I waited for her to lie down on the sofa next to it so I could get her in the same shot as the cushion with her own pic on it and finally I got it)

Goodnight, my sweet girl

It’s been a very rough couple of days for me and my Cassie cat. Towards the end of last week I thought her sister, my gorgeous big Pandora puss, was acting a bit out of sorts. At the start of the week she was acting as normal, jumping up on the bed for a nap, happily munching some sliced chicken. Towards the end of the week I thought she was seeming a bit off her game, a bit lethargic maybe, still eating, not being sick or anything, wasn’t sure if she was just having a couple of off days or if it might be something more and I was thinking okay, next week we better get a vet’s appointment for you to be on the safe side. On Saturday she seemed a bit more off, atlhough still eating, still ambling around the flat and even jumping up into my recently vacated seat to steal it. Well, actually not to steal it, when Pandora grabs your seat when you move she isn’t actually stealing it, what she really wants is for you to sit next to her and snuggle with her.

Pandora on the rug 1

But then came Sunday morning. Cassie woke me with alarmed mieows and as soon as I sat up in bed I thought she was trying to alert me to something and right away thought Pandora. Then I heard a terrible whimper from under the bed and Pandora was there, had come through at some point during the night and curled up underneath the bed as I slept – not unusual for her, the girls long ago claimed an old suede suitcase under the bed as a kind of kitty hammock for their Secret Dark Hidey Hole Spot. But she was barely moving, I had to pull the case out to get her, she couldn’t move out herself. I picked her up and she was limp in my arms, head lolling and panicking carried her through to the living room and gently lay her down on the sofa. She couldn’t even move her head or paws enough to make herself comfortable and I had to arrange them for her. I couldn’t believe how much she had faded since bedtime last night and was terrified she was dying on me right there. Phoned the vet and got the emergency weekend number which turned out to be in a surgery on the far side of town, but luckily my friend Gordon came right round with his car and drove us up. Poor Pandora was so limp it was hard to get her in the travel box and at the vet we had to tilt it and gently slide her out, she just lay there not moving.

After a lot of checks the vet told me her temperature was dreadfully low, barely above the bare minumum for a living cat, her blood circulation was poor although her heart was beating strongly and she was dehydrated even though I had seen her drinking water and kitty milk. They put her on drips to get her hydration and blood sugar back to normal and put her into an incubator to warm her and told me to phone in a few hours. I went home worried sick but when I called later they said she was responding to treatment, but it was as well we came when we did, she had been only an hour or so from slipping into a coma then death. Thank goodness for Cassie waking me to help her sister, or else I might have found her later in the morning already gone and that would have been even harder. She said we’ll keep her going on this and keep her overnight, get her tomorrow all being well and take her to your normal vet. Call back in the evening she said. I did and she was now keeping her temperature herself without the incubator and fluid and sugar levels returning to normal, but her eyesight was gone, but the vet said this was because of the sudden low sugar and hydration levels and should return in a day or two as she stabilised. But they still didn’t know what caused it, although she noticed a lump under her ribs in front of her heart, but she thought that was something to check later. So I called Gordon to say we’d get her back in the morning as he has already kindly said he’d give me a lift again. And I had gone from thinking I was losing her in the morning to thinking great, get her home tomorrow, more to check out but she’s doing okay and coming home.

Pandora closeup 02

Pandora yawns
(I was trying to get a close-up of Pandora when she opened her mouth in this jaw-stretching yawn!)

Then the vet called again. A complication, that lumps was full of fluid and the drip she was on was making it worse, they would have to stop or she’d suffocate from it, but if they stopped she would slowly slip back in her weakened state to the coma like state she was in when I found her. Either way she was going to decline slowly during the night and she would begin to suffer as she did. We have to think what’s best for Pandora, the vet told me, which was a gentle way of telling me I had to let her be put to sleep to spare her suffering. Thank god Gordon didn’t mind being dragged back out late on a wet, dark Sunday night and drove me back there so I could be with my gorgeous girl for a little while. Her sight was still wonky but she knew it was me holding her, talking to her, stroking her and I could hear her purr so very quietly. Then it was time and they made her sleep so she wouldn’t feel the final injection. I held her and stroked her lovely, autumn coloured fur until her heart stopped and my adorable Pandora was gone. The vet was very nice and left me with her for a little while. She looked like she was sleeping on her little rug and I felt so guilty having to leave her there, even though I knew it wasn’t her any longer. And I felt so guilty at signing the form to let them put her to sleep, even though I knew it was the only mercy I could give to her and was the right thing to do. God knows how anyone ever makes a decision like switching off life support for their human family members, it’s agonising enough with your beloved cat.

Been off the last couple of days and feel shattered, all happened so fast and I can’t quite process that my gorgeous, lovely, warm kitty of over 13 years has been taken away and I never get to see her again. When I don’t see her here I keep thinking she must be sleeping on the bed in the other room and expect to see her come trotting through to the living room at any moment. Then I remember and realise that will never happen again and it’s awful. Pandora is such a huge, huggy puss – she loves being picked up, lies back in your arms like a big furry baby purring against your arms. Sometimes when I held her like that she would raise one of her enormous creamy white paws and gently pat my face. Adorable. Every night when I came home she would wait patiently for me to pick her up like that and cuddle her. I never met a cat so damned cuddly, I am sure she must have been a teddy bear in a former life. No matter how bad a day I had I came home to a big Pandora hug and I felt better. Even in the dark days after we lost mum so suddenly both my girls made me feel better. And now I’ll never come home to my little darling ever again and that’s awful.

pandora 2
(those big, shiny eyes, those gorgeous colours like an autumn forest. And those huge white paws. As soon as I brought her home as a kitten I saw those paws and knew she would grow into a huge puss. And she did. A huge and cuddly puss)

Not slept much last couple of night, Cassie normally curls up with me at night, but she is curling up for a while then she goes off round the flat mieowing and looking for Pandora, then comes back to me in bed, then goes looking again. During the day she’s been snuggling up to me all the time except when she goes looking for her sister again. She doesn’t understand what happened, but she knows Pandora is gone and that something bad happened and she’s clearly distressed. I worry about Cassie, she’s never been alone in her life, never been parted from her sister. I brought them home as 10 week old kittens from the cat shelter years ago, they were so small they could fit in your hand and I loved them right away. The cats made the flat into a real home, not just a place to live, but a warm, living, welcoming place;’ they’re not pets, they’re companions, friends, family, your girls. And believe me, when you live by yourself they are such a hugely important part of your emotional life support. The girls and dad have been what kept me going since we lost mum and I’ve been dreadfully afraid of this kind of thing happening as they got older. You know when you have pets one day this will happen, you trade the many good days and years off against the bad days when you lose them. And painful as that is, a pain that goes into your heart and soul, it is still worth it for the brightness they bring into our lives.

Pandora and Cassie on bed
(Pandora with her sister Cassie lying behind her,she liked lying on the end of the bed, big paws out in front like a Sphinx. Some nights she would lie there while I slept, as if she was keeping guard so no bad dreams could get to me)

Goodnight my adorable Pandora, you made me happy, you made me smile even when I was miserable and in pain like I had never known before, you snuggled up to me and purred against me, you made me laugh as you played with the ball of wool. You brought life and love and warmth into my life and made the flat a home along with your dear sister. It’s only been two days and already I miss you dreadfully and so does your little sister. I don’t know where we go when it ends and I don’t believe the fairy tales of any religion, but it’s also hard to believe we just stop. If we go somewhere afterwards then mum, please look out for my wee girl, she’ll be lost and wondering where I am. She loves to be held and stroked, please look after her and love her for me. Goodnight, my gorgeous girl, I love you and life is so much darker without your light beside me.

Pandora in slatted sunlight

Deadly felines

New research indicates our ancient human ancestors lived in fear of the mighty, ferocious sabre-toothed tiger, a hugely powerful ancient predator. This morning, last day of the hols, I spent half an hour administering tummy tickles to both my kitties. Now, both moggies clearly exhausted by all this tummy tickling, have sauntered off, Pandora to snuggle up under the bed for a nap, Cassie to stretch out on the rug in front of the fire. Clearly while they may have shrunk from sabre toothed size and no longer try to eat us the felines still rule the roost…

Put that book down and pay attention to me

Tidying up some files on my external hard drive and found some photos I hadn’t gotten around to uploading, including some of my gorgeous wee Dizzy who sadly I don’t get to see these days, which is very upsetting. Reading a book outside while she plays in the garden, but obviously she does not approve of the book as it takes my attention away from her, which is not acceptable to any kitty cat and especially not to Queen Dizzy:

I am bored of reading, entertain me

Having interposed between me and my book she now decides since I was foolish enough to move, she will just have my seat:

actually I'll just take your seat 02

Ohhh, what’s that over there? I am intrigued and considering investigating, but am loathe to give up the still-warm seat you so foolishly left unguarded:

what's over there too?

black and white cat in black and white

Cassie, my plump little black and white, soft-furred puss, in, well, black and white…

time for a nap 4

And yes, her fur is even softer than it looks here and having her belly scratched is one of her favourite pastimes; she is the Tummy Tickle Tiger and often manages to curl up next to me in such a manner as to make sure she’s in position to have aforementioned portly tummy tickled, which is, of course, just a pure coincidence she tells me…

time for a nap 2

Supercute!

Dizzy, queen of all she surveys

I’ve taken a lot of pics of the petite puss (you’d be hard pushed to tell she is 13 years old here, wouldn’t you? Still acts like a wee kitten too) but this one taken on Saturday afternoon as she decided some recently delivered packages were obviously there specifically for her to play with and lie on has to be one of my favourites.

Fireside kitty

Outside it is freezing; crisp, sharp, cold air, breath misting in front of passers-by as if it was smoke and their mouths the chimney for the furnace of their body, trying to warm itself against the winter night; clear sky above and a large, crescent moon hanging in the darkness. But not inside, oh no; in here it is warm and comfortable. The fire flickers happily while the candles cast amber shadows across the room. Pandora has the sofa to herself and settled down for a semi-snooze, her huge eyes opening from time to time as if to make sure everything is okay and to see what I’m doing. Her sister Cassie has settled herself down on the new rug right in front of the fireplace and is purring away, her plump little furry body settled down in the prime warm spot of the room in that way that cats do so well.

Cassie tries out the ‘Andy Capp’ position but prefers the new rug in front of the fire to Andy’s normal sofa.

Yes, she is indeed a portly puss, being both middle-aged and an indoors kitty, but that fur is even softer than it looks and warmer than usual as she toasts herself by the fire. I can feel the vibrations of her contented purrs right through her little body; that’s one happy cat. Which of course makes me very happy and relaxed too; all the problems of life slip away for a brief spell because it is all but impossible to worry or feel down when you’re tickling a happy kitty’s warm, furry tummy. One of life’s simple pleasures, curled up next to my girl.

Ahhhh, pure contentment… I just couldn’t take pics in such low light without a flash with the old camera, but this new one seems to handle it quite easily.Funny how on the first night of winter when I lit the fire for the first time since the previous winter the cats somehow knew, even though they were asleep in another room and came trotting through right away and promptly curled up in front of it. Just put down a new rug from Ikea the other day – obviously it has already obtained the Cassandra Seal of Approval. She looks so sweet and innocent here, but tomorrow it will be totally different as she jumps on my head to wake me up in the morning… Wouldn’t have it any other way of course.

Dizzy in the dark

Dizzy in one of her little hidey-holes, happily curling up in among Mel’s clothes partly for comfort and partly to make sure even freshly laundered clothes are still covered in fur. I was surprised this even came out – my wee old camera doesn’t have a low light setting so I improvised with the penlight on top of it and it worked.