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My cat is very ill. I have to talk about it — 113 Comments

  1. Michael I’ve only just seen this post today. You mention an update post but I can’t find that. I hope by now Charlie’s condition has improved. This must certainly be a very trying time for you.

  2. πŸ™

    So sorry to hear. It’s a shame the antibiotics aren’t working. Do you have a cat specialist in your area? We have three cat only vets in our area. I wonder if they might be able to find something a regular vet wouldn’t know to look for. I would try a second vet just to be sure the everything that can be done is being done. Let us know how he’s doing. Poor kitty!

    • Thanks Dan. Well I have some more news so I’ll do a short post on it. I have been thinking about getting a second opinion. But for the time being I have ‘taken charge’. I’ll write briefly about it.

      • Im so sorry for you both at this time. I wish you both all the love and support for a speedy recovery and strength to you too Michael to get through such a difficult time. Please get a second opinion, you will feel heaps better and most importantly Charlie could benefit from that other, new vets opinion. All the best to you both Suzy

  3. I have taken Charlie back to the vet again. The antibiotics are not working so I have requested:

    swab test to isolate the type of bacteria to select antibiotic

    blood test to check for underlying illnesses

    biopsy on lump at base of spine

    pain relief instructions

    I am also moving to a different flat for a week in case there is something in their air causing sinusitis.

    • Excellent.
      I think that this is the first time I’ve heard about a lump at the base of Charlie’s spine.
      Please elaborate, ie. how long has it been there, has it increased in size, is it firm, does it feel smooth or bumpy, is it movable…

    • So sorry Charlie is no better, I hope you soon get some answers, if not you definitely should ask about a cat specialist.
      What a worry it all is for you.
      X for Charlie

  4. Sadly another post too long to hold my interest, especially as not much to do with cats. Michael is not alone in skimming posts of this length as I do it too.

  5. To Dee and Leah — It’s 8:30 p.m and just came home a while ago.

    It goes without saying I’m sorry for poor Charlie, and hope he recovers, though weight loss in a cat – from my own experience – is an indication of…but anyone knows what it indicates. If he’s young enough, though, he might recover. Maybe it’s only a viral infection. Here’s hoping, poor man.

    Actually, am in tears today – so what else is new? – and wondering in the name of Sam Hill how to bear still more sadness. (And yes, Dee – I can only imagine what you’ve gone through – both of you, far as that goes, with all your kids. We’ve all followed our fur-kids, as far as we could, through the V of D.)

    Be that as it may, since Insp. McWee’s death last Sept., I’ve driven up to the local graveyard – hundreds of acres on a beautiful hill – where there’s also a Pet Crematorium & cemetery. Both my kids ended up on the hill this past year, though I brought their ashes home.

    Since that time, every couple of months I’ve bought a great big toy for a dog – a black lab – who belongs to the young gravedigger up there. No, he doesn’t ‘dig’ in the old-fashioned way – he does it with a bulldozer or something (a post hole digger – whatever).

    But what was so touching about that dog, she had only three legs, like Charlie – though she still could outrun any featherless biped. How did she lose her hind leg at the hip? Her dad ran over her with his bulldozer while she lay sleeping. She went to work with him everyday,and was the cemetery’s ‘Mascot’ – everyone loved and admired her.

    Well…joy-bells. This morning my automatic garage door was stuck. After the handbag fiasco last week, am still wobbling in my tracks. And now the garage door is shot?? God have mercy. So I called a garage door repairman who came out here within the hour. I asked him PLEASE not to overcharge me, as most contractors do in this frontier town.

    Happy day! He took a quick look at the door, said it was in perfect working order except for needing some lubricant, whipped out a spray-can of wax & goose grease, squirted a bunch of hinges, and said the door was in perfect shape, and would last for decades.

    Before he turned to leave, however, my cider press, shoved up against the wall, caught his eye. I bought it seven years ago, used it only once when my sun room was knee-deep in apples, and swore I’d never again subject myself to that lunatic ordeal. The press is a masterpiece of craftsmanship. A few years back, Forbes magazine did a global survey of hand-operated cider presses, and this ranked first place: they called it the ‘Rolls Royce’ of presses. It’s handmade by a guy from Oregon ash, and cost $1,200 new, though I bought it locally from two retired schoolteachers for $300. And it’s sat in the garage ever since.

    Anyhow, the door-guy was starry-eyed, said his apples were breaking the branches, and wrote me a check for $300. As much as I wanted to keep the press, it was something I will never use again.

    A nifty little windfall, in short, which is why I dropped in to the pet store later today, bought a three-foot-long rawhide bone, and drove up the hill to the marble orchard (which dates from the 1870s: it has hundreds of pioneer graves).

    OMG…OMG….. Does the sadness never end?

    That gentle, lovable dog DIED last week, and her father collapsed. He hasn’t been back to work for days. His best little girl was only five, and she died of leukemia.

    So the bone and I wended our way down the hill, returned it to the pet store and exchanged it for a gigantic bag of cat victuals (‘vittles’) for Sidney Vicious – who in fact loves everyone, and hates only other cats.

    Yet the sorrow goes on – animal and human….

  6. If you haven’t already, get his mouth/throat swabbed and the bacteria properly identified. If antibiotics aren’t working then it either isn’t a bacterial infection or it is a bacterium that is not affected by whatever has been prescribed.

    Many years back we did this for a friend’s cat. I worked at a microbiology lab at the time and did the agar culture and drug sensitivity test (on the agar plate) as an apprentice-type project. The result came back as Staph xylosus and in the description of the bacterium (big, big encyclopaedia at that time!) the standard antibiotics given by vets were noted as not effective against that species of bacterium. The testing identified an alternative medication.

    • Thanks a lot Sarah. Last time I was at the vet’s I questioned whether they had prescribed the correct antibiotic but got no answer. I am watching this. If I have to go back I’ll ask them to do a swab.

    • Excellent suggestion, Sarah.
      Michael had said that Charlie is worse even after being on the antibiotic for some days.
      Minimally, the antibiotic should be changed in that case, but the swab result would nail what specific ABT’s would help Charlie.

  7. I have my own experiences with these tiny friends
    healing process in human body takes place with thw passage of time.
    We are dealing with non-human species i.e. cats or kittens.
    depending on several things here:
    1. nature of sickness
    2. the max time for healing according to the immunity level (which is different in every cat)
    3. Let the time pass it’s circle

    The basic problem, we as sensitive cat owners is:
    1. In our nature of being sensitive, we loose our patience
    2. We suffer the same (or maybe much) than the victim or sick beloved animal).
    3. We as not the VET are not used to circumstances, so we worry more than our vet.
    4. The VET knowledge about cats is maybe 10% of the 100% full knowledge which has to be discover yet.

    So, my friends and fellows, One side you can consult to the vet but on the other side never forget to pray, keep patience and keep loving your animal (pet) and have a deep eye on what the companion (animal) is doing.

    Insha Allah The lord of heaven will help us regarding our pet’s health but also cure will be there but it will certainly take it’s full circle of time. <3 <3 <3

  8. Healing thoughts & prayers for Charlie … poor little sweetie. Sorry he’s not feeling well and I hope some of the things suggested help him.

    • Thanks a lot. I wrote the post as therapy! I felt helpless and still do to a certain extent. I managed to get his antibiotics down him this morning and then he’ll be joining me in the bathroom when I shower. He’ll be at the end of the bathroom breathing in steamy air to try and clear his nose and loosen up some of that nasty snot.

  9. Michael I’m so sorry to hear about Charlie I do hope that its as the vet says and a really bad cold. Sounds a bit more positive that he’s come out of his basket and eaten something. When our furbabies are ill every positive sign no matter how small makes our hearts leap with joy.
    I looked at specialists for you and I found this just in case (but hope your own vets come good)
    To tempt a cats appetite usually smelly fish; Mackeral, Pilchard sardines? I am thinking of you and I will say a prayer for Charlie.

  10. Several weeks ago, I wrote something along these lines to Ruth.

    ‘Wait a little while longer for the thundering avalanche and cataracts of prayers and tender words to come pouring in as he suffers over the death of his cat. There’ll be none from this end.’

    Last spring, in memory of my boy, I wrote ‘ELEGY TO A CAT’ on your website. I was in tears when I wrote that post. (It wasn’t an ‘article,’ by the way. It was a PoC-post.)

    Two years prior to that, you described on your website — in weeks-long, suffering detail — the decline and death of your little girl. I didn’t know what to say, so sent you a copy of a poem by Christina Rossetti —‘Perhaps I shall remember, perhaps I shall forget…’

    For ten months I agonized over my boy as he faded away in spite of all I struggled to do to keep him comfortable. And every day, during that hell, I leaned my sodden dead weight on Ruth, who wrote me non-stop, trying her best to prop me up. Every day she wrote without fail, and every day she chose the kindest words anyone could think of saying to someone suffering life’s ultimate cruelty: death, and having to watch the death of someone you love.

    When you posted my ELEGY last spring, these were your words:

    ‘I published your article because it went against the grain, because nearly all web pages are quite succinct these days.’

    I’m sorry I went ‘against the grain.’ I’m grievously sorry for everything.

    I will never forgive you your heartlessness. Never. I couldn’t if I tried.

    Four days ago was the one-year anniversary of my boy’s death. He was my fur-child. He was my beloved, whom I think of every day. I wept for hours and into the night – as if he had died only yesterday.

    I feel sorry for Charlie. But do I feel for you? No. You say you’re in ‘agony?’ Suck it up. Your regulars and visitors will lavish you with post after post of melting sympathy.

    You have an exceptional website. You care about and contribute to the welfare of cats. For which I admire you. But as for your personal sorrow?

    To quote Rhett Butler: ‘I don’t give a damn.’

    • Sylvia Ann, what I love most of all about you is your honesty. I read your ELEGY and wept through your entire writing.
      I agree that Michael can never be forgiven for some of the heartlessness he puts forward to some. He’s a scanner as opposesd to a real reader. But, afterall, he’s a businessman.
      “I published your article because it went against the grain, because nearly all web pages are quite succinct these days.’
      I understand your sadness. I’m sorry. Your sweet boy has been shoveled into my soul as well as many others.
      You are there as well.

      • Michael is only human, humans can never please everyone all the time we can all only do our best as we see it. This is an unfortunate time to be picking at him when he has so much on his mind. We’ve all been in his position we know how bad it feels, give him a break while Charlie is so poorly…please.

    • That’s fine Sylvie. I don’t expect sympathy or support. I like it and if I get, great but I fully accept your comment, although I think you’re being harsh. I am always sympathetic. I can’t read all the comments word for word. I have too much to do.

      • Michael you deserve and you will always get sympathy and support from me, I feel your pain, I honestly do, there is nothing worse than watching a loved one suffer, whether they be human or pet.
        I feel for anyone in your situation and my heart aches for you and for Charlie as Babz and I have twice been through your plight with vets unable to diagnose and treat first Bryans, then Popsy’s, illnesses. We lost them both too young. I would have sold my soul to save them and I know that’s how you feel about Charlie.
        All I can offer is words of comfort. I offered words of comfort to Sylvia Ann for months I suffered with her, that’s just me, who I am.
        I would cry with my worst enemy if their cat was poorly. I have been hurt many times by thoughtless or unkind people, words can cut a person to the quick. Cats never let us down like people do, Charlie has never let you down and you won’t let him down either. That you have given up your holiday proves your deep love for him.
        PLEASE Charlie, GET WELL SOON xx

        • Thanks Ruth, I think I upset Sylvia by not reading all of one of her comments and I am sorry for that, I really am but I can’t read all the comments especially long ones. Also I criticised her articles as too verbose. I agree that no matter what, we should support each other and put our differences to one side when things are tough.

          Charlie ate poorly this morning but better last night. I think his weight has stabilised. I managed to get his pills down him this morning with a pill gun because he is quite weak and didn’t resist so much. I was pleased because if he is not interested in food I can’t use that as a method to give him pills.

          • I must admit to skimming long articles and comments too, if we read every word we’d have no time for anything else. When we have a lot on our mind we just can’t take long spiels in and it’s easy to miss something important to the writer.
            Hang in there with Charlie, every day he isn’t worse is a bonus, it’s a good sign that his weight has stabilised! If our love will help him recover then he has a good chance.
            x for his furry head

    • Sylvia after I read you comment I had to read your Elegy. I don’t think I have ever read anything more beautiful or more heart rending. I sobbed the way I have sobbed each time I have lost one of my family. I keenly feel your broken heart and your desolation and I sense you feel nothing but betrayal where Michael is concerned, you say you will never forgive him and of course I can understand that yet please try or this may eat you up. You are in my soul as well.

        • Michael I think Barbara has hit the nail on the head ‘You are only human and you can’t please everyone’ What I think has happened is that Sylvia is so full of grief, bitterness and a sense of loss that its clouding her judgement. I really feel that she feels betrayed by you when she needed you the most especially at a time when she must have felt just so desolate and vulnerable; she poured her heart out on your website because she was beside herself with grief.
          You didn’t read it properly so you dismissed it out of hand that’s all you’re guilty of, you’re not heartless in fact the complete opposite is true.
          I also feel that Sylvia chose the wrong time to attack you but for her it was the right time because she feels that you did just that to her when she wrote the Elegy and now I think she is paying you back.
          She isn’t to be blamed I just think that even a year after the death of her cat she is out of her mind with grief.
          It takes a man to step up to the plate and apologise which is what you’ve done and that’s all you can do and no more. Anyway this article is about you boy Charlie so all I can say is I hope in time that he makes a good recovery he’s in the best hands – yours!

          • Yes, Leah, you make a some very sensible comments. I think you’re right. It is just one of those things. I have to juggle quite a lot of things at the same time sometimes and so at these times I can’t delay or settle on a long comment which I regret in this instance. I understand the grief of loss. My God I do.

            • I can’t read long posts or comments either, especially if its particularly cruel or mindless and I can do nothing about it.

              The loss of one of our furry family members is the worst because we are with them so much and they give us everything they have; they make us so happy and when they’ve gone its just the emptiness πŸ™ I hope that today is a good day for you both and especially I hope it finds Charlie feeling better.

    • This comment is badly out of order Sylvia Ann, no matter what your private thoughts are, to attack Michael at a time when he is half out of his mind with worry about Charlie is really nasty. It would have been far better to say nothing than to say such unkind and unfeeling words. We were all sorry and sympathetic when your own cats were ill and died, surely everyone who loves cats is sad when one is ill and feels heartily sorry for the person or people who love that cat like family because we have all been there and suffered that fear and dread when a cat is so ill, so surely you could have dredged up a bit of compassion for someone else’s sorrow because at the end of the day this is about a cat who is poorly and surely he deserves you compassion. Coming shortly after your unpleasant email to my sister it makes me wonder what on earth is wrong that you have become so unfeeling.

      • Babz, I am not even sure why she attacked me. I think it is because I didn’t show sympathy to her when her cat was ill but the information was in a very long comment and I don’t have the time to read all of Sylvia’s very long comments. So I missed the information.

        It is a bit sad she made this latest comment. I’d rather she didn’t but it is important as you say that we are kind to each other so I’ll just press on as if it didn’t happen. Thanks for your support.

      • I agree Its not a very good time to mention stuff like this. We have all supported people in times like this. As our Cats are so important to us. Its important to share the good times as well as the sad times.

    • Sylvia. I am not heartless. What happened was this I suspect: I did not read all of the article. I probably skimmed it and didn’t get the real meaning. Sometimes I have to trust the writer that everything is in order and just publish it. If I had read the article and digested it I would have responded more sympathetically. It is a mistake not heartlessness and I am sorry for it. I am sorry you were and are upset. I don’t want that.

      • Your not heartless at all. I didnt think that was fair at all. Especially when your going though a hard time. I just hope Charlie pulls though. Keep well.

    • Sylvia Ann, I understand your pain completely. I read your Elegy 3X and wept 3X like so many others.

      And, yes, I know that you didn’t receive the support from Michael that you needed; and, I agree that he was wrong. He did the same heartless thing to a dear friend of mine who reached out to him in time of need. There really is no excuse.

      I know that you were deserving of so much more.

      But, you are one of the strongest and head strong (I think that means stubborn) women that I have ever encountered. You tackle life with such ease, and I admire that.

      Please find it in your heart to forgive those who have caused you pain and come back to us with precious cat comments.

  11. Charlie is anxious and restless because he is febrile and in pain. An easy fix to help him not to be suffering.
    I wish I could take him for 72 hours.

  12. There are times when the best professional is beat and one is thrown on one own’s resources. They don’t have the time or incentive to consider possibilities outside the usual ones. I only know about this new dangerous strain of calici because I am in contact with many cat owners and breeders. Good luck with his high nutrition diet. At least it will help keep his strength up and he may enjoy it.

    • There are times when the best professional is beat and one is thrown on one own’s resources.

      I feel that. I don’t feel they are truly committed to resolving his illness. He is being processed as fast as is reasonably possible and I am being milked for money. They are good but there is always the pressure of making sufficient money to run the practice. And they tend to think conventionally and in a formulaic way. What I want is genuinely keen thinking and commitment.

      • Sadly, I do believe that you may be being milked. For Charlie to be worse after 5 vet visits is unacceptable.

        As Harvey pretty much says, it’s time to become very proactive.

        I’m going to just point out some of the very best actions you may want to take based on your readers’ comments:

        Ruth AKA wrote to request a specialist
        Sarah wrote to have your vet swab Charlie in order to find the right ABT for him
        Dorothy wrote to ask your vet for the swab material so you can do it yourself and take it in, thus avoiding another costly visit.
        Susan and I suggested a $20 steam vaporizer that is cost effective to use and can free Charlie from the bathroom and stop his complaining. I would complain too in a tight space, alone, with that sort of sauna. I’ve been in saunas like that, and it’s even more hard to breath than imaginable.

        My personal opinion is that Charlie needs to be on an antibiotic that has been confirmed to be affective for him. No time for vet guesswork.

        • My thoughts exactly today. I will bring this up if I have to go back again. If these antibiotics don’t clear the bacterial infection it is the wrong one and that is a mistake by them.

          All that said they are good vets who seem very honest but…who knows for sure.

  13. So sorry to hear that Charlie is in a bad way. I have heard there is a mutated strain of the calici virus around to which even older cats have little resistance. (Systemic invasive calici virus). That’s just a guess. It’s a matter of keeping up his strength and hoping for the best. In this case I would feed him mashed chicken liver mixed with canned food and added water like a thick soup via a plastic syringe.

    • Thanks for the sympathy and advice, Harvey. I’ll give the chicken liver and cat food mix a try. He was really ill this morning and has been for several days. I hate to see him like that. In fact I can’t bear it. I have to do something to help (fifth visit to vet – they are probably sick of me).

      I have good vets but I don’t think they have really grasped this problem and provided firm confident advice and a strategy to defeat it.

  14. Hoping and praying that Charlie pulls through and starts to improve soon, so glad the vet seems to think that he will recover but it really is heart breaking watching your cat being so ill. Thinking of you both, please keep us updated how he is.

      • I remember the feeling of despair, you just can’t think of anything else can you. I was wondering if that food we got from our vet for the boys a few months ago when they both had that nasty virus would be helpful, it’s supposed to be very appetising so it might tempt him and they only need to eat a little bit, it might be worth a try to see if he will eat it, you vet probably has it or similar, this is what it is, you might like to ask at your vet practice

        • Thanks Babz. I’ll check that out. Strangely the vet did not recommend it. She recommended heating up food which we all know about. I feed him high quality cooked chicken for humans which just about works and if I have to I microwave it for 10 seconds to make it smell more.

  15. I hope he gets better soon, I know what you are going through, it’s very frustrating repeatedly going to the Vet and not getting a straight answer as to what the problem is. His remaining teeth are o.k? An infected bad tooth could cause such problems.

  16. Charlie has so many friends around the world wishing him well. I hope that can help you both get through this. We know how it feels. It hurts to see them suffer.

    Get well soon, both of you.

  17. Ohhhhh! Michael, i feel so helpless not knowing what to add to bring you some peace!! The fact that you are at the vets brings me some comfort, but as i have learned many times over, that being at a vet often times provides no answers … Just more questions.. It’s never easy watching our loved ones spiral downward. I know you must be mad with sorrow. I am thinking of you and Charlie at this difficult time!! We are here for you Michael!! Don’t forget that. Its ok if you need to talk whenever you feel .. We are here. Let us know what is going on ok .. We all care ..

  18. Oh Michael, Im so sorry this sounds like the worse possible news for you. Im thinking of you both too. Doesn’t sound like hes getting any better.:( Its good that you wrote and got it off your Chest. As, its good to share with us Cat Caring People. Its good to have someone else to talk to about it. He really doesnt sound that good at all. I hope all goes well at the Vets. I hope theres something they can do.

    • Thanks Kylee. I needed the support. I really did because it is hard emotionally to see your cat very ill and perhaps dying. I am told he has bad cat flu which can at its worse kill cats. Anyway, he has just had a steaming session (under a towel with steaming water to try and clear his nose).

      • Yes its Important for us to Share the Good Times and The Sad Times especially when times of not knowing whats going on. As our Cats are getting older its important to reach out. I hope he recovers well. Will be thinking of you both

  19. Michael I am really sorry about the condition of Charlie πŸ™ I think if he has not eaten for several days, the vet must add a drip of prevention of dehydration behind his neck or back. So he can add some energy for Charlie.

    I don’t understand why the vet is unable to diagnose the condition? The main illness.

    I wish and pray for you both because I can understand the paint which you are facing and I in this condition feel pain in my stomach. Hope everything goes RIGHT and Charlie come back to life my boy πŸ™

  20. Michael I’m so sorry, I know what agony it is watching a poorly cat and feeling helpless when you see vet after vet and they can’t make a diagnosis, just try treatments.
    Charlie does sound very uncomfortable and distressed, the fact he has stopped talking to you is very worrying.
    Have you asked about a cat specialist, is there any near enough to you?
    There is nothing I can say to help you and Charlie really, but I really feel deeply for you both xx

        • Phew, well I back from the vet and Charlie is still in his carrier with a saucepan of hot steamy water beside the carrier and a towel over the whole lot. The vet says he has a severe “cold” and that it will clear up in 10 days hopefully. Nasty bacterial infection. We just have to nurse him as best we can and hope. I’ll take that on face value and do as she says but as you can see I have doubts. The steaming is to clear his nose so he can breath better. I had put this off I confess but he is undergoing that treatment right now and complaining. Thanks for the concern.

          The biggest problem is me. Emotionally, I find it very hard to see him so ill and not knowing what is wrong.

          • I know how you feel Michael, I’d rather be ill myself than one of our cats.
            It’s good that your vet at least knows now it’s a bacterial infection and thinks 10 days will clear it, hopefully the steam treatment will help Charlie’s breathing.
            Your vet obviously thinks he will get better and you can only trust her now really, she hasn’t given up on him and you must cling on to that!
            Keep us posted, I’m sure your entire PoC family are thinking about Charlie and wishing him to get well soon.

          • I wish all the best for Charlie and you, hope this treatment will help him starting eating something and improve his health and immunity πŸ™ I am still in stress πŸ™ can’t even hear cats are sick πŸ™ God help you both <3

              • I feel like you do Michael when my fur friend is sick. I think because in my mind i have always built up the worse because the worse is usually what has happened to me in my life. So, i have little faith that things will go well. So, i begin to worry and worry and fear the worse. I know its me and that its my thinking that needs to change. But once you have lost and lost again, its natural to feel these feelings of uncertainty. You will do fine Michael and lets hope for Charlies speedy recovery!! Relax.. Breath deep… Think good thoughts.

                • I have the same fear. I don’t fear myself dying but when my cat is very ill I have almost intolerable unease in my head. The only way I can ease that emotion is by doing something positive to try and help, which is partly why I keep pestering my vet and which is why I wrote this page. It was therapy basically.

          • These situations are always hardest on us. It’s very possible that his mouth and throat are sore even if little inflammation is seen. Sometimes, with viruses like Herpes, there are miniscule blisters just below the surface and, usually, in the roof of the mouth. A lot of times, some will erupt, especially when eating, and are very painful.

            Did your vet prescribe something for fever and pain?
            If not, I can only tell you what I would do for any one of my cats with mouth pain, stuffiness, and fever.

            Aspirin (1/8 of an adult’s or 1/2 of a child’s)
            Continue with moist steam (a vaporizer, hot steam only, is better and safer than a saucepan of water and he can be with you in your room). Add a dollop of mentholatum to the water.
            Tepid chicken broth, either canned without any additives or boil some parts, drain off excess fat, and spoon feed or syringe feed.

            Now, for you Michael…
            A small glass of port.

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