I haven't posted here in a while. I've been lucky in that I didn't
need to, and then when I did, it was suddenly all too late. And I
couldn't post, it's just too painful. I think I killed Claude.
Long timers may remember the story. I had a Maine Coon-looking cat
Topsy who died just a few days short of her 18th birthday from a dodgy
vet and a painful (and unnecessary) euthanasia. Didn't want any more
cats, but a neighbour was given two as pets, both un-neutered,
unvaccinated, and largely unfed and unloved. The female, a skinny
thing, started stealing the left overs we were putting out for the
birds. We took her in and she VERY rapidly fattened up - she was
already pregnant - and gave birth in short order to four beautiful
babies, all of whom had congenital heart disease. The shelters
couldn't find homes for sick cats when there are so many healthy ones
needing homes, so we took them on. In birth order, they were Buttons,
Patch, Claude, and Tuppenny. The momma is just "Momma Cass".
Buttons passed away in 2005 from saddle thrombosis, again under
suspicious circumstances (a charge for "euthanasia" on the bill that
we hadn't authorised - charge removed, but I still suspect the
euthanasia was performed).
Patch passed in 2007, also from saddle thrombosis. The night vet
actually had warmth and feeling coming back into his legs, but the day
vet (a different one again) placed him in a cage next to two
boisterous rotweilers. This was a critically ill cat who had never
been apart from us, his siblings, who had only ever seen a dog once
and had fled inside the house. They did no physio, no treatment --
that he survived the day was a miracle, but when we collected him his
legs were cold, blue and stiff - it was like half of him was already
in rigor mortis. He survived a couple more hours, it felt like it was
just long enough to see us again and say goodye.
Claude did okay. We had him on Nattokinase, and in 2009 he went into
CHF. Yet another bad vet diagnosed "asthma" in the face of the family
evidence I had presented, and gave him a steroid shot, but he survived
that too! Was put on Fortekor and Flusapex by a good vet that we
finally found, and we continued the Natto.
He started slowing down a little this year, but he was still quite
active. Loved going outside in the sun, chasing his sister Tuppenny,
play-fighting with her, chasing seagulls. Had to alter his Flusapex
to the same dose, but over 3 x 8 hours, rather than 2 x 12. Then
Tuesday 8th he went out at night - this was normal for him, he only
ever used the indoor toilet if he was really sick or if it was really
wet. But he didn't come back in again until about 10am Wednesday -
usually he'd be back before dawn. When he came back in, his breathing
was a little off -- about 36-40 bpm. What worried me more was that he
was off his food, which was EXTREMELY unusual for him.
I monitored him and upped his flusapex a little, but it just seemed
like he couldn't get comfortable. He drank water, but didn't eat. He
used the indoor toilet for ones and twos. He kept shifting to
different places in the house. It was very humid, I thought maybe
that was it. Wednesday night was stressful - it rained very heavily,
it poured in the living room through the tv, stb, pvr. We had to get
emergency services out. He didn't know these strangers with their
diesel generator, bright lights and heavy workboots. It wasn't ideal.
Thursday 10th he still couldn't get comfortable. He still refused to
eat. I made an appointment with the vet for Friday since his
respirations were stable, but I was still very concerned. I ended up
taking him to the vet at 5pm Thursday. They said he had a gallop
rhythm. An x-ray showed Claude's heart was the biggest this vet had
ever seen on a cat! He did an ultrasound and saw fluid around the
heart compressing it. He said Claude needed to be tapped, but he
couldn't do it right away because he had to do a splenectomy on a dog.
Thing is, Claude hated cars, but seemed to perk up during the trip.
In the examination room, he stood on his hind legs and looked out at
the garden. We were allowed to hold him for about half an hour out
the front while they were setting up for the splenectomy, and he
purred in my mum's lap -- not the "I'm sick" purr, but a genuinely
happy purr. He was bright eyed, alert. If he'd looked that well at
home, I would never have taken him to the vet!
Then we left him in the oxygen chamber during the dog's splenectomy.
I knew it was the wrong thing to do, I wanted to take him home, but I
didn't. He was definitely sick, but also relatively stable.
After the splenectomy, the vet sedated Claude a little to do the tap.
I'd voiced my concerns about the sedation already, but he said it was
necessary in order to tap him. The fluid came back bloody, but worse
- Claude's heart couldn't stand the procedure. When we came in, his
resps were through the roof, his third eyelid was showing, and his
gums and nail beds were so pale.
Yet when he heard our voices, he retracted that third eyelid. He
looked at us and saw us. The doctor said he was suffering, which was
obvious, and that euthanasia was the kindest thing at this point.
We took him outside to the garden, and the thing is, I think I made
the wrong decision here. His respirations slowed down considerably,
back to about 36 per minute. The vet said that he was already dying,
but I'm not convinced. I think that maybe it wasn't the tap, but the
sedation and the stress that sent him into shock. I think that maybe
by having my mum and I there, that it helped to calm him. I think
that the garden, rather than the chemical-smelling practice, also
calmed him. And I think maybe that he was working the sedation out of
his system. And then we euthanased him. And he died. And we brought
him home and buried him. And I can't stop crying.
I should have given him more time at home before taking him to the
vet, more time to get over this himself I should have trusted my cat
that I loved more than this vet who didn't know him all that well.
But I knew him. I know he was sick, had been sick for a while, but I
don't think it was his time. I think he tried to show me that by
perking up, being happy -- I have photos from just a couple of hours
before -- he doesn't LOOK sick.
I just miss him so much. And his sister won't stop looking for him.
And the pain isn't easing.
Topsy-Angel, Buttons-Angel, Patch-Angel, Claude-Angel
Momma Cass, Tuppenny.