Archive for the Malarkey Category

Wow, 4 months already?

Posted in Diesel, Malarkey, Recovery with tags , , , , on May 5, 2010 by arbitrary

What can I say? I should have updated sooner, and thanks for all the questions about how Diesel’s doing.

First of all, he’s doing GREAT – although the fur hasn’t all quite regrown yet. He can now jump everywhere he could jump before, cat towers, sofas, laps, even the beanbag sofa isn’t phasing him (and before he avoided soft and squishy surfaces because his balance is a bit off). He’s generally a much happier cat, he grooms Larky and they play together now, when previously they had a much less happy coexistence. It’s obviously to do with the removal of pain, rather than the removal of his leg, but we were commenting last week about how he’s just a much happier cat all round.

He pleads to go outside, so he gets to toddle around our back yard every day with his little minion, he dashes downstairs for food and he comes for cuddles about as regularly as he used to. Of course, the worst thing about the whole incident is that he’s now FAR more used to being spoiled than he was, and we have a few ‘brat’ moments where he cries to be carried down from the cat tree, or to his food… I do this for him about once a week, the rest of the time he has to work for it.

On reflection, one of the hardest things about the whole situation was making sure Larky didn’t feel left out, but lavishing Diesel with attention and whatever help he needed. I don’t think we’re the world’s best cat owners, but I like to feel we did a good job by them, and I make sure she gets lots of cuddles now and is never locked out the bedroom again.

It took Diesel the LONGEST time to go back into our bedroom, and that broke my heart for a while (the bedroom was where his post-op care was and he left it the moment we let him). He goes back in there now, and even jumps onto the bed – but that’s kind of rare. Also, his vaccinations are due, so next week I get the interesting trip to the vets, for the first real time not associated with the foot/leg. We’ll see how much he likes the cat carrier.

Of course, I still have panic moments. He cried when I touched him tummy twice in the last few weeks and started to swipe at me. Immediately I started the ‘pain’ check of touching him to see if I could get the reaction again. But each time, the next day, there was no such reaction. We still keep an eye out, we’re painfully aware of how he acts when in pain now, and what it might mean if such pain returns.

But I have never regretted our non-decision once (I say non-decision as the vet pretty much told me they were amputating, not that I would have argued with them anyway!). I love having Diesel back so much, and I love that he can now appreciate the companion we originally got for him but who has now become a firm fixture in the house!

I’ll do some more thoughtful updates about how it feels this many months on soon. I am well aware we’re approaching the 5 month mark, and that’s when I originally read cats return to ‘normal’ so we’ve always given him 5 months to be totally himself again.

Recent pics

Posted in Diesel, Malarkey, Pictures with tags , , , , on February 24, 2010 by arbitrary

6 weeks already?

Posted in Diesel, Malarkey, Recovery, Stitches with tags , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2010 by arbitrary

I’ve lost count a bit, but I think we’re at 6 weeks now since Diesel had his left fore-leg amputated due to bone cancer in his paw.

We’ve had some massive ups and downs, in his mood, in our mood – even in Larky’s mood. He’s gone from hiding upstairs, to hiding ON the stairs, to his latest hideyhole – behind the sofa. But now he spends most of his day downstairs, in the corridor getting sun from outside, or in the kitchen awaiting food.

His last stitch fell out last weekend. That’s been massive in helping his mood I think. Before he’d be constantly licking it and snarl a bit at his own inability to get rid of it, and obviously it was pulling on his skin. Now he’s a lot more free and easy, neither of us have been bitten while stroking in a couple of weeks either.

He wants to play with toys, but his muscles are still learning to be as agile with one leg missing. He can jump on both our sofas, but the bed eludes him, as does the coffee table (though he can vaguely clamber there from a sofa). But he’s about 80% on range of movement now. He was never a big jumper, never went on kitchen surfaces, only jumped on lowish things – now he just thinks more before even attempting a jump.

But his mood is very improved, and that means a lot more to me that anything else. Although we weren’t given a choice about the operation, I would never have chosen an alternative to the amputation!!

Challenges still await us – keeping his weight down is, I hear, a big deal now. Luckily he’s always been on the average/small weight side, but I do see him wanting to be fed more to comfort himself already. We have to watch that, because the last thing his legs need is extra pressure that’s not needed. We have to see how things settle down with Larky – he can already bat her away quite professionally, and they tussle a bit, I hope they continue as things return to normal. It gives them both a bit of exercise and we’ve never even found scratch marks on either, so they don’t really GO at each other hell for leather. I’m sure he’ll also have some bad days, we can’t assume it’s all over and done with now, and, of course, we have to keep an eye out for any signs of cancer returning – something I’m currently avoiding thinking about.

Days lost to hiding

Posted in Diesel, Malarkey, Pictures with tags , , , , , , on January 25, 2010 by arbitrary

So we’ve had a few worried days. Not over his scar or recovery physically, but because Diesel went from hiding out in plain sight or in our bedroom and wanting to be stroked, to hiding in the very back of our spare room, under a futon and definitely out of reach. The room’s a bit of a junk pile, as it’s where we’re storing all sorts of things that had to be moved recently out of the study (which I’m now using as a computer room – make the connection!). Diesel really wanted to get into the spare room. He lay across its doorway for a couple of days. When I was happy the stitches were secure, I let him in – thinkinf he’d have a look round and come out again (it was the only room closed off to him, due to junk!). So he spent most of friday-sunday in there, only emerging to eat, and only if lured out with treats, tuna, or cat food RIGHT by the edge of the futon. And meanwhile, Larky (who usually sleeps in the spare room ON the futon) has been kind of hounding him, rushing in to see what food he’s getting, trying to eat it, jumping RIGHT next to him, etc etc.

So I was getting more and more worried about his mental state, and not being able to comfort him, and whether he’d be scared of us from now on. And then, in-between catching up with Lord of the Rings Online, I popped into the spare room and saw this:

And Diesel spent the rest of the evening under the radiator, allowing strokes and not getting too freaked out by Larky’s presence.

Of course, this morning he’s back to hiding in his safe place. But I’m more satisfied that he will leave when he feels he wants to.

Oh – and here’s another of them, just because:

Adapting

Posted in Collar, Diesel, Malarkey, Pictures with tags , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2010 by arbitrary

Last night I snuck off to play some Lord of the Rings Online and went to an ‘instance’ with my friends. During a brief drink break I popped in to see Diesel and noticed a certain lack of collar around his neck. Oh yes, our boy had learned how to wriggle out of it. No small feat with only one front paw and the floor for leverage. Scar looked quite sore and angry, so administered some anti-inflammatories (he’s strictly off meds now, but vet said we could give him some if he needed it). Collar has been tightened a little – we were a bit wimpy about it at first.

But despite the little scare, I feel an enormous sense of pride that he worked it out. If he can manage that, he can adjust to anything!

And now,  here’s a picture of Malarkey who I know I only ever refer to as Larky, with her ‘baby’ –  the company she’s keeping while Diesel is separated (for the record, I keep the door open for him unless he needs to eat, cos otherwise a helper comes to assist with the food!).

They're not related, they just look it!

Day Five

Posted in Collar, Diesel, Malarkey, Recovery, Stitches, Vets with tags , , , , , , on January 15, 2010 by arbitrary

So one of the stitches has come (or been pulled out). We’re now being very vigilent with the collar, letting him out of it when supervised so he can eat. Then it goes back on.

Had a nice cuddle on the bed this afternoon when he napped and I watched TV until the phone went off. Diesel, by the way, DESPISES the collar. He flipped out this morning when we put it on, but he’s now far more resigned to his fate with it. We’re not going to let disaster strike because we were too weak to look after him properly.

Larky went to visit and ate his biscuits again, but, to her credit, she also popped up onto the bed and licked the back of his head. She’s nervous of the collar too, but told her we have an astronaut in the family – hey, it amused me.

Also took some photos of the scar, so I can post them here to show how things are developing.

Next vet appointment booked for Monday at 10:40am, so will see what they make of his progress, and also see if he’s forgiven them at all!

Origins

Posted in Diesel, Malarkey, Vets with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2010 by arbitrary

Diesel (our oldest cat, at 5 years old) has been labouring with a limp for the last few months, he’s been taken to the vets regularly while they tried to find what’s wrong. And on Monday 11th Jan 2010 he was going in for a final X-Ray before we all could come to the conclusion that it was something un-X-rayable.

He hates the vet. The vets are a little scared of him, despite his soppiness and nerves at home. But, in pain, he became close to feral. Yesterday he got to see the best vet ever, who looked at him, heard my tales of his behaviour and said ‘shall we just leave him in the carrier since we know we’re admitting him for an X-Ray?’. Less trauma for my baby.

Went home with neighbours who were valiantly supplying the ride to the vets, and then popped home to eat something and wait to ring the vets at 1pm, sure they wouldn’t find anything again and his mystery limp was going to be with us for a while. At 12:40 they rang. It started badly, with them saying they’d found a bone tumour in his paw that was really painful for him (and that had barely been noticeable by X-Ray. We were in luck at their chief orthopaedic expert was coincidentally in that day and had been snapped up to check mystery limp cat!!). Anyway, apparently it’s pretty rare in cats…

In Diesel, it meant a chest X-Ray to see if there was any sign of spread. None so far. And then amputation of his front left leg. I don’t quite know how I held it together to speak to the woman on the phone, but I took some details including when to ring back. And called my husband, in tears and made him tearful also. Then my neighbours who have been a rock of cat support to us, since we’re fairly new to the gig (before we fostered a little and found Diesel that way) and they told me to drop everything and come over. Being around other people meant I could re-discover the famed British Upper Lip, and took a hot drink and started to let the shock settle in.

We’d always said that losing the leg was worst case scenario. But even in my pessimistic leaning, I never thought he’d have to lose it to save his life from much worse.

He was supposed to stay at the vet’s overnight. But when I rang in they said he was getting stressed and would we like him to come home. So, with another really kind offer of a lift, we all set out to get him, knowing we’d soon see the cruel evidence of his bad luck. And with a heady mix of guilt, sadness and hoping for him to be ok.

He’d been given 3 different sedatives. He really wasn’t happy at all. And there’s no promise that it worked in the long run. They can’t give that, and we can’t expect them to, but I’d hoped it would be over.

And although we set up the bedroom for him to hide in, he’s not taking it well. He’s never liked being shut in. Not cat carriers, not rooms, not outside the house – he hates closed doors. And as he’s been waking up from the doping, he’s been increasingly upset about it. He’s even done a runner (which at least means he can tackle stairs already at full pelt). He’s also had his first fall. I’m warned we should expect many as he re-learns how to land.

Malarkey (commonly called Larky) is the baby of the house. She adores Diesel, though he’s been very stand-offish of her since the foot pain. She was down in the dumps while he was at the vets and now she’s camped outside the bedroom. When he cries, she comes calling. And he cries by the door every hour. I slept from 8pm-midnight, then husband went in to take care of Diesel and I’m up, making sure Larky feels loved.

I know things will return to normal. I know cats can be very happy on 3 legs. My uncle has a 3-legged cat. I’m worried about this week. Getting him to eat tablets, and take his meds (due to his ‘temperament problem’ they gave him dissolvable stitches at least! The vets really ARE scared of him, but they’ll see a nicer side of him when the pain is gone, I’m sure). I don’t like to keep him trapped in when he might be happier outside. I don’t like to make Larky feel unwanted. And I want it to be the end of my poor baby’s woes.