Carpenter finds solution for ill cat and ill person

A good carpenter can occasionally solve some cat and caretaker problems. Here are two positive cat stories of the spirit triumphing over disability aided by a bit of nice carpentry.

tick

Engorged Tick

Lyme disease is nasty. There is a story in the UK press today about a lady who was tragically bitten by a tick while out walking. The bite caused Lyme disease, which has multiple symptoms and which left her wheelchair bound. Her life was made so miserable she decided to kill herself. She bought animal tranquillisers online from Mexico. She took them and they killed her.

Her partner of 15 years waited until she was dead and then called the ambulance. He was arrested on suspicion of assisting suicide, a crime in the UK. While on bail, 6 months later, he took his life in the same way. He couldn’t live without her. All because of an unfortunate bite from a damn tick. Ticks are those horrible parasites that become bloated when filled with your blood.

We know, therefore, how awful it is. Lyme disease affects cats too. Outdoor cats are susceptible. Let’s move to the USA. A women who cared for her two adored cats acquired Lyme disease in the same way. In the US it is usually transmitted by the deer tick (see ticks on cats and humans).

She was beginning to be unable to care for her cats. She feared that she would have to relinquish them. The symptoms of Lyme disease include joint pain and swelling and bone pain. She could barely feed her cats and couldn’t do the cat litter.

A plan was hatched: to build a platform with a stairway for the cat litter. This enabled her to manage the litter at wheelchair height. Here it is:

Cat litter on raised platform

Cat litter on raised platform with stairs.

The lady was overjoyed and burst into tears because she was able to cope and keep her cats. This must be a not uncommon problem; cat caretakers who love their cats who can no longer care for them. In having to relinquish them there must be a negative impact on an already fragile situation.

In another story, a cat with cerebellar hypoplasia liked to look out the window but was unable to jump up. This time a another platform was constructed with ramp underneath:

Cat on raised platform and stairs underneath

Cat on raised platform and stairs underneath

Is there are moral to these cat stories? A bit of imagination and modification to the household arrangements can reap unimagined rewards. Cat enclosures are another good solution under certain circumstances.

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Carpenter finds solution for ill cat and ill person — 7 Comments

  1. This post will be quite useful to me. Can I print that picture of the raised cat litter box to give to patients? I will credit PoC, of course. I have had this conversation with elderly pet owners who are going home. “Where is the cat’s food dish? Litter tray? Do you have to stoop or bend down to the floor to access either one?” If they can’t safely do it something has to be worked out. Usually, if the cat isn’t too elderly to jump up to a table, they feed the cat up on a table or countertop. The last time this was an issue a family member was going to come in to scoop the litter pan every couple of days– not ideal, but at least it would get done. Plus, someone would be checking in on the human living there at the same time. But we talked about putting the litter pan up on something and she couldn’t think of any way it would work well. This is ideal. Anyone who knows someone who is handy can get this little table and ramp built. It is a very good solution.

    A lot of older people don’t have adequate balance to be stooping and bending down to clean the litter box. Or they don’t move properly– spinal flexion can cause compression fractures. The ideal is to keep the spine in a neutral position and use a “hip hinge” motion– bending only at the waist, not rounding the back. Can you teach this to an elderly patient with osteoporosis? Yes. Will they follow through with it, using good body mechanics every time they have to bend down and clean the litter tray? Probably not. Old habits die hard. I like to drop to one knee while attending to Monty’s litter tray. Knee replacement patients are not supposed to kneel. Well, they can, but the weight must be shifted back onto the tibial tuberosity. Yeah, better just to build them this cat ramp and table for the litter tray.

    Residents with cats at the assisted living facility where I work have the staff to help take care of their pets, and it works. I once refreshed a patient’s kitty’s water dish when I noticed it was getting low. It’s easy to attend to the cat at the same time you are with the resident, and I’ve never heard staff complain about doing this. One resident told me that another resident’s cat visits her if she leaves her door open a crack. That might have something to do with the bag of cat treats I saw on her table.

    • Very interesting comment Ruth. There may be a bigger problem with respect to the elderly caring for their cat than I had thought. What is important is that it is the elderly who are potentially the best cat caretakers being around a lot and the people who most need cat companionship.

      There would appear to be a need to find devices to assist the elderly care for their cats and the platform is one. A simple device. I like simple but effective devices.

      The photo is not mine. It was uploaded from a site that I did want to link to because the person was asking for some funding to assist his carpentry and I didn’t want Marc to see that in case he donated more money. He has been very generous already and I don’t want him to be short financially.

      I am sure the person would not mind it being used by you to print out. You can’t right click download from PoC so I’ll email them to you.

      • I’ll share the photo and link with my rehab director. When the issue comes up again, which it will, we can actually have something to hand the person as one possible solution. I’m thinking the one built for the cat with cerebellar hypoplasia could be used for an older cat who can’t jump up onto a table to be fed. But he could walk up the ramps to access his food and water dishes. Just use the upper platform as a feeding and/or watering station instead of as a bed. Does that sound like it would work?

  2. This is great – very nice. I’d like to build a system of shelves and pathways so my cats are able to navigate my whole apartment without touching the ground.

    • You made me think of homes designed around cats. There is a need to design more into houses for companion animals. Architects should be building into homes some and dog friendly options. There none.

      Here is page on Cat House Designs that you may not have seen before and which may interest you.

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