Note: Serendipity seems to insist on adding escape characters for every apostrophe at the moment. I\’m not sure why but I don\’t want to take the time to deal with it at the moment . . .

I just got back from picking Cat5 up from the vet. I have a bad feeling we might be at the middle of the end for her. I guess she\’s starting to get old for a cat. I recall the cats at my parents\’ home living for a long time with nothing more than benign neglect. I mean, my parents took them in to the vet once a year but that once it, they had very minimal intervention. I\’m sure they never got their teeth cleaned or anything like that. I could be wrong, but I\’m pretty sure Midnight lived to at least 15. Nimrod* might have been a little less but not by much. They both wandered off into the woods one night and never came back. Five is probably 11-12 years old. We got her at the Humane society about 7 years ago. This doesn\’t seem old to me but I was reading a couple of sites online that said cats tend to average living 12-15 years.

Several months ago I noticed that Cat5 was having litter box problems. I thought she was just being picky so I was more careful to clean the litter box. Then, I tried adding an additional litterbox in case she just wasn\’t wanting to share with Willow or wanted different boxes for different purposes. This seemed to help temporarily but that could have been my imagination. After Christmas, things got noticeably worse. She was having messes all over the house. I took her into the vet. He tried to get a good feel but couldn\’t without sedating her because she was so swollen and sensitive. So, he gave me some antibiotics with hopes that would hope any possible infection and asked me to come back in a week. During that week, it seemed like she was getting worse. She started leaking pudding-like consistency whenever she sat down somewhere.
When I went back the following week, the infection, if that is what it was, hadn\’t gone away. The vet told me that he really needed to sedate her and get a good feel inside because he was afraid she might have a tumor, possibly cancerous. I can\’t remember exactly what he said but I\’m pretty sure he was trying to gently prepare me for a bad scenario. He said something about not treating colon cancer (I think that\’s what he was talking about anyway) on cats because they have such a poor survival rate. When I came to pick her up that evening, the doctor said that he couldn\’t feel anything that indicated there was a problem and he preferred not to do a biopsy without a specific reason due to infection risks. So, basically he cleaned her all out, injected her with cortisone, gave us a 2-week supply of antibiotics and told us to call if she wasn\’t better after that.

Things seem to improve a lot during those first two weeks. She stopped having messes and seemed to be doing better. However, just this last week, things started going down hill again. She started going places other than the litter box again. Saturday night, I happened to glance at Five when she was cleaning herself and noticed she had a sore right above her anus that was bleeding. I got her an appointment for this afternoon and took her in again. The vet took one look at her and said, \”yes, that look like a tumor\” and told me he wanted to try to feel her again. However, as he picked her up, she squawked and so he looked at Five again and said it looked like there was something weird going on with her tail also (a structural problem of some sort). So, he wanted to do x-rays to double check she hadn\’t had a break or something that was the root cause of this problem. After the x-rays, he didn\’t say about seeing any breaks so I assume those where fine but he said she was so backed up that it was pushing her anus out. He recommended giving her an enema and another cortisone short. If that seemed to help, we might need to give her monthly cortisone shots. I left her, because he suggested I didn\’t want to deal with the aftermath, and was told to call in a couple of hours. I picked her up a half hour before they closed for the day. It turns out they had to sedate her again because she was so sensitive there was no way they could get the enema in her otherwise. She obviously had been through quite an ordeal.

I have a follow-up scheduled for 3 weeks from now (unless she doesn\’t improve or gets worse in the next couple of days, of course). If monthly cortisone shots fix the problem, that\’s great. However, she\’s been so miserable these last couple of weeks that I\’m not sure what we\’ll do if that\’s not the solution. I\’m starting to worry about her quality of life.

I\’m afraid we may be near the end for Five. Five is much better with Calvin than Willow is. Willow is still, perhaps wisely, afraid of Calvin. Though, I\’ve never caught Calvin purposely abusing the cats. In any case, Five lets Calvin pet her sometimes which he really enjoys doing. In fact, when we were at the vets office I told Calvin that Five was kind of scared to be at the doctors office just like he is sometimes and Calvin immediately started petting Five, presumably in some sort of mutual sympathy. Intellectually, I know that Five is old enough that we\’re going to have to explain death at some point to Calvin. However, I cringe at having to do so soon.

*Yes, that was really his name. Being the naive Adventist I was, I named him after the great hurter in the Bible not realizing that was a derogatory term.

8 thoughts on “Cat5

  1. Yanthor

    I was sorry to read about Cat5 when I first read this and I forgot to ask you about her at the Megafest. How is she doing?

  2. Kiesa

    Well, no one knows how she’s doing. I’ve taken her back to the vet multiple times since without any good. They’ve put her on various medicines, most of which don’t seem to make a difference.

    Currently, she’s either getting better or much worse and I can’t tell. At the moment, we’re not getting messes in the basement like we were. However, I suspect she’s just not eating enough. I’ve taken to locking her in the basement with her food and not letting Willow back into the basement until 5 has eaten all she’s going to so I have a better feel for how much she’s eating. It doesn’t seem like enough to me. I don’t know …

  3. Yanthor

    Regarding food, I suspect Cat5’s appetite be guaranteed to be good if you fed her canned food–or at least if she turned her nose up to it you would have more clarity on the issue.

    Jaden and Kira’s favorite brand is: Friskies Select. It is expensive, but they vastly prefer the flavor to any other canned food we get them. The greens that are added to the Selects appear to act as a spice and, based on smell, give the food a more complex flavor than basic canned food.

    and others in the same line.

    If the cost of Friskies Select (around $0.75 per can) is a concern, Jaden and Kira liked regular Friskies in the $0.40 range too, they just got tired of them after 7-8 years.

  4. Yanthor

    Another thing about feeding our cats canned food: it is obviously the highlight of their day and the thing they look forward to more than anything else.

    Sometimes any creature–human or pet–needs a reason to keep wanting to live. As simple as it might seem, I would suggest that Friskies Select might do the trick.:-)

    And canned food couldn’t hurt other than costing a few dollars.*shrug* The vet always commented what good nutrition Jaden and Kira had and she thought our strategy of giving them half a can of canned food each (whole can split between the two of them) and dry food from a good brand the rest of the time seemed to give them very balanced nutrition.

  5. Kiesa

    I have been trying to feed her canned food because the vet wanted to get more water into her. She kind of nibbles at it and then wanders off without making much of a dent. I’ve been getting the Duck & Green Pea one for her but maybe I’ll try the Friskies. Maybe it just tastes better 🙂 Thanks for the suggestion.

  6. Kiesa

    Well, I think she’s stabilized for now. The weather getting better and her going outside appeared to help a lot, not sure why exactly. I’ve been trying various varieties of canned food, including the Friskies you mentioned, but she just doesn’t seem interested. Willow usually finishes up her portions (I keep Willow away until 5 is obviously interested because Willow is a glutton and will push 5 away otherwise).

    In any case, at the moment she seems fine so hopefully it’ll stay that way. In other news, I feel kind of bad about moving them at the moment. Just within the last month or so a neighbor boy (maybe new?) has been hanging around our fence waiting to play with the cats. I see him 3-4 times a day and he’es always very excited when the cats, mainly 5 but sometimes Willow, come out and greet him. I suspect he has no pets at home because he also hangs out at the neighbors behind us who have dogs (though obviously the dogs don’t leave the neighbors yard).

    I know 5 really needs more attention than we give her now. While she’s very good with Calvin, I think she’d be happier in a home where she’s the sole baby and doesn’t have to compete with a human child. At least I mainly work at home and she can snuggle up with me when no one else is around. We were doing interviews for an IT position at the library* and I was connecting via video conference at home. The rest of the IT team got the biggest kick watching 5 walk back and forth behind my back while occasionally butting in and demanding I pet her.

    * If you know of anyone who loves Microsoft servers and is interested in moving to Colorado we’re still looking: http:–

  7. Yanthor

    I’m glad to learn that Five is doing better with going outside.

    When I mentioned the different food earlier I was thinking of giving her something to look forward to – live for. I forgot you let your cats go outside, so I agree. An even better thing to look forward to – live for would be the adventures to be had outside.


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