blank'/> The Libe ob Don Estorbo de la Bodega Dominicana: State of the Feline Speech

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

State of the Feline Speech

Yesterday

This is not the cat. It is the Wooman. I haven't felt able to write because there has been no good news, but in the last two days he has been doing better.

These five weeks have been a rough roller coaster with the kitty. I know the date precisely because his health took a downward swing on September 6th, the day after a dinner party on the terrace. He was there with us, that night, begging for bits of lamb from friends, very happy. Later, walking through the dark bedroom on my way to bed, I collided with him accidentally, kicking him. He is black. I didn't see him. The next day (after some earlier warning signs) his litter box habits changed, and he stopped eating.

I reported that to the vet when we took him, but on examination they found no correlation between his condition and my kick. But I remember. On that vet visit he was X-rayed, sonogrammed and his blood was drawn, and based on tests a diagnosis of diabetes was given. We returned for a re-examination, diabetes lecture and instructions, and insulin was started.

The litter tray was a perplexing mix and match of painful constipation and diarrhea. Fun.

Really, really not fun.

I'll skip the excruciating detail of the inbetween bits of some weeks, where his glucose levels went from vaguely elevated to normal to super-high, where he was on-insulin, off-insulin, and fast forward to now, where he has not had it for a week, and glucose is fine.


As far as I can tell, his occasional diabetes is just a symptom of something else. True to form, Estorbo has something special.

What ails him may be related to the enlarged adrenal gland, and perhaps his low potassium levels (hypokalemia) are more causative than I realized - that last alone has a list of symptoms which fit Estorbo quite well. But initially we were all focused on diabetes. I guess you have to start somewhere.

He was rallying until a week ago, voluntarily eating canned food well (two small, 3oz cans a day! seems like years ago), and putting on some of the weight he lost. Then last week he stopped eating again, and turned wobbly on his legs after a few days. The most he would eat at the worst times would be 15 treats (only 1-2 calories each; somebody needs to develop a super-calorie treat for very ill cats).

I actually said goodbye to him a few nights ago. I thanked him for being such an excellent cat, and felt we could not go on like this. I realized how terrible it is to watch a creature suffer. Or perhaps, how terrible it is to feel helpless. I am a fixer, a doer, and when everything you do is not good enough and doesn't fix it, you feel despair.

I thought we would lose him. But I kept waking him up every few hours to feed him one treat, or one sliver of liver. I brushed him very gently, and that always made him purr. When he started to get up then, and and rub against furniture, I knew things were improving.

The last two days have been much better. He has woken me to help him get on the bed, then has put his nose in my face and has pawed me till I got up, with exaggerated purring. What has changed is that I have found I can give him his Tumil K - a potassium gel supplement - by syringe, in the mouth. He hates it, but I wish I had thought of this earlier; till then he'd have none of it. "Palatable," my foot. Or his foot. I had been rubbing it on his feet and he would just leave it there. Poor cat. He would not even wash it off.

Perhaps the supplement is helping. His appetite is returning, his coat is looking good for the first time in months. He blinks at us slowly and lovingly. He looks up, instead of at the floor, glassily, or lies stretched out, rather than hunching on the balls of his feet with his shoulder blades sticking out.

Chicken liver, piece by piece

Most of his meals are still fed by hand. One piece at a time. Chicken liver is tops. Fillet mignon is kaka. Ditto ground beef. Ditto every kind of top notch canned food imaginable. Today he ate some Hill's pellets, on his own (rejected Wellness: super-kaka). Frankly, right now we don't care what he eats as long as he eats. If he wanted buttery snails in their shells he'd get buttery snails in their shells.

He is seeing Dr Slade on Friday, for more blood tests. I have no idea what they can tell us.


This cat has been through so much (so have we! and you!). The broken jaw, before I adopted him; the urethral blockages and kidney issues (till I figured out that his pellets should be fed to him IN water - canned food did not help; the mysterious, obsessive licking where he made patches his arms bald and had to wear shirts (as well as some..uh, other interesting outfits); then the hyperthyroidism and the radiation, and now, this new...thing. It took us by surprise.

Forgive the long cat story.  He is my friend. And I love him. And I know some of you care about him very much, too.

It is pouring with rain as I write. It has been very dry, for very long.

Surely that is good sign.

31 comments:

  1. we love storbie and have most of us been thru the highs and lows of the aging feline.... it is hard... love you all and best wishes

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  2. My heart goes out to you, the Smoothman, and Estorbo. The rain is a very good sign.

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  3. Dear Wooman, I yam all choked orp. I lorb you guys and I doan eeben conoces you een real vida. Eets loco, pero there eet ees. Sendeen ebery beet ob get well bibes I can frarm tres mil miles away.
    Hugs to you all!!

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  4. Oh, poor baby and poor you! I've been owned by cat for years and I understand how you feel when your fur baby is sick. Our fur baby Jack (long-haired orange tabby) was very sick last January. He lost weight, wouldn't eat and I though sure we were going to lose him. He was into the vet for fluids, but they could find out what was wrong with him. We force fed him (very messy and not pretty) high calorie cat food and he slowly recovered. We still don't know what was wrong with him. Take care, cuddle Vince and Estorbo and take care all of you.

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  5. I cried in sympathy and empathy as I read this. Although my cat has been gone almost 16 yrs., it brought back so many familiar feelings. I remember so well the helplessness you write about. I lost my cat one year after my father and one year before my mother. I did not cry during either of their deaths, but I completely broke down when I had Oliver put to sleep. May you and Estorbo find your ways through this with peace and grace. Lynne in NC

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  6. Your heroic efforts to save your loved boy are admired and empathized all the way over here on the left of the country. I truly hope he climbs up out of this. I've followed him and you for many years.

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  7. Hola! Hermano, we send best wishes (you know that kind of gato-stuff) for you and your people. Dinah has a picture of you and we like to sniff it (what the heck had you been doing that it still smells of you???) and we hope that you are getting better. Geiger y Sporran

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  8. dios mio - my eyes are leaking. bless you for trying the best you can - we know you will do the best by him and we're here - his adoring fans. Me and my boys (Jasper, Pete and Armando) await updates. not surprisingly - he is handsome regardless. thanks for sharing.

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  9. When he does start eating well the tumil-k can also be given as a powder sprinkled over his food. My kitty Nikko seems to like the flavor.

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  10. So sorry, Estorbo. No words help the Wooman while she is going through this and only words of love for you Storby.

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  11. Oh, Marie. I am so sorry. I know that horrible feeling, when you would do anything for your kitteh, and there is nothing you can do. :( It is so hard to watch our furry friends age. Looking back at pictures of my Morgan, he looked terrible at the end -- but when he was alive, to me he always, always looked beautiful. Mah hart borks for you and Estorbo. Many hugs to you, the Smoothman, and of course for your beeg blagh cad.

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  12. jelli, lemon, jaffa, flora, zack, smudge and crazy-man piOctober 16, 2014 at 5:38 AM

    Oh,Marie...they break your heart, I know. So hard when lifespans don't match up and it seems unfair. My cads and I send our long distance purry best wishes for Estorbo's continued improvement and quality of life - have to say he's looking pretty handsome there! xxx

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  13. It's hard, watching a little animal you love, suffer like this. You'e like a hawk, watching every breath. We've been through it. Love hurts, as the song goes. Thinking of you.

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  14. Much love to you all. I am holding you and Storbie and Vince in my thoughts. I have been there, too.

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  15. {{Marie, Vince, y Estorbo}} I have no words to help and I am thinking of you all.

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  16. Sending as much love and good wishes as possible through the inturwebz. Thank you so much for telling us what was going on. We do love Estorbo so much.

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  17. Thinking about you Storbie, dayeen, dayoud.

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  18. Thank you for the update. He IS an excellent cat. No matter what happens, I think he knows he's beloved. That's important.

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  19. just adding my thoughts and hugs to the rest on here ....

    Vee
    xxx

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  20. Love and best wishes to all three of you but especially to the puss. Helen xxx

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  21. Wish there were words to help. Please know, as I'm sure you do -- and if you didn't, you would from everyone who has commented -- that those of us who love our animals understand so well all the emotion behind your words. I have never met Estorbo and have been reading your blog for only a year or two, but he is such a character; who would not care about him? Love your devotion to him, to doing what is best for him, and if good thoughts can be of any aid, just know they are coming from here.

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  22. Estorbo seems to have put on his winter coat. that is a positive sign. We love our fur companions so much and Estorbo is special to us even if we dont know him other than thru internet. I am also using the syringe for every medicine and it works wonder on my cat. And I found out that cats can be quite resistant. plenty of positive thought for you Estorbo and you Marie and Vince form myself and Tigrane my cat.

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  23. Adorable Storbito, lots of sunny love from Barcelona to you and muchos ánimos to Marie and Vincent, and some cosquillas in your billy to wake up. How cool and funny years reading your adventures. I hope you will be better very soon.

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  24. Estorbo, cariño, mucha fuerza.
    Thanks Marie for having the strength to write this love story that some of us have also experienced with our feline companions

    Pere, Agnès, Nit, Rafa i Antònia

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  25. he will tell you when it's his time for the rainbow bridge.
    he will know and he will tell you and you will, as always, do what is best for him.

    meanwhile, halloween wants me to say 'go well, stay well, hermano' and I wish the same for you and vince.

    old age isn't for sissies -- I believe bette davis said that. .

    -melanie

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  26. Thank you Marie for the thorough E update. So many of us adore him (and you & Beence) we've been thinking lots about our dear Storbie ... thinking, praying, hoping - sending tons of love from all of us here in Nova Scotia xoxoxoxo les chats de Rue LeNoire + Susan

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  27. Marie,

    How is it that a cat and his people that I only know through the internet mean so freaking much to me? That my heart aches for you as you search for a solution to your darling’s health problems? Is it because I’ve been through this with cats of my own, or because Estorbo is such a sassy, irreverent, handsome guy? Who the forghe cares??? Please know the three of you are in my thoughts and prayers and I’ve (honestly) asked Maren, Spenser and Keith to pray for sweet ‘Storbie, too. xo


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  28. Thinking of you - have been there with my own cats and you have all my sympathy.

    J x

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  29. I love you, Estorbo. Hang in there sweetheart.

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  30. I have followed you Storbie ever since I saw your photo - You won over my heart because my own black cad, Olive was with me for many years and I too shared ups and downs with her. She was black like you with a spot of white in front as all black cads have. Enjoy your times outside in Harlem. it is where I also grew up and had other cads too. You are lucky to be where you are and so well thought of by so many people. Gatos besos por Estorbo. You are one in a million!!!

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