Archive for tripod

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.

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.

Quickie

Posted in Diesel, Recovery with tags , , , , on February 4, 2010 by arbitrary

Diesel is still well on his recovery road. Only has 1 stitch left in now, and I need to put up some photos of him exploring the back yard. He’s desperate to go out, though he never was beforehand. He just putters around the back yard, looking for grass to eat, so I don’t mind the odd few minutes – but it’ll be a while till I let him out unsupervised. Still, he’s never shown any desire to leave the back yard, so I always know he’s safe.

He’s also rediscovering his desire to play, hampered by Larky’s youthful exuberance and extra speed and bravery. We start playing with Diesel and then Larky pounces on the toy mouse/rabbit/frog and puts him off. But he didn’t play at all with the sore foot, so this is a definite improvement and return to form.

He’s also always first down for food, which is some feat in this house. But still not brave enough to stay downstairs for long.. and he hasn’t come back in our bedroom since he was shut up in there. I hope he gets over that, because I love being woken up by him – he’s very gentle compared to Larky with her LOUD purr.

Return to the Vet

Posted in Collar, Diesel, Litter, Vets with tags , , , , , , , on January 18, 2010 by arbitrary

Oh dear, how much did he not want to go back in the cat carrier today? But using the ‘cruel to be kind’ methodology we’ve had to adopt over the past few days, he went in backwards and gave me some pitiful mews. I feel like Capt. Hard-Hearted these days, but I know it’ll get better once the collar gets removed  forever. We walked over to our friends/neighbours’ house and I took him in to see them and get cuddles pre-vet trip.

Into the car, he was nice and quiet and only gave the occasional mew while in transit, but he was already looking scared, and we both reassured him that this time the vet wouldn’t be doing anything mean. Not sure he believed us though!

Bizarrely, he got to see the very first vet he’d seen in October. ie. the one that made the first attempt to touch his sore paw and saw him go ‘feral’. She gave me a wry grin and asked what his mood was like. I commented that he was pretty happy the collar was off while in the carrier but could make no promises. So, gingerly we took the top off the cat carrier and Diesel went back to his old self, scared of vets but not about to attack them. She said it was like he was trying to blend into the blanket! But, he let her examine the scar while we talked about his progress – hell, he even let her prod it a bit – something we’ve not dared to do. And she said she was really really happy with his progress and we could now remove the collar when he was supervised (ie. when we’re home).

I tried that once we got home and found him a bit later on with a very red looking scar. So the collar’s back on for a day or so, but with big long gaps while we watch him. In a few days he shouldn’t need it anymore, and thanks to some advice from Bella’s family, I now think perhaps he was annoying scabs rather than hassling the scar too much. But, I’m still too chicken to remove the collar altogether just yet.

He’s doing great with adapting, but is still a lot better without the collar on (it really affects his balance, unsurprisingly, and he also can’t see Larky sneak up on him). Just saw him manage to cover his litter – something he barely did on 4 legs! It was quite a feat of determination for him, as he has to balance on his back legs while he does it. Very proud of him!

The pictures post

Posted in Collar, Diesel, Pictures, Stitches with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2010 by arbitrary

I’ll do a brief vet summary in a sec, but here’s the pictures. I don’t have any really gross ones, thankfully!

Diesel's bad leg, day before the operation

The boxes we put his food on post-operation

Day 4 (I think), showing how much was shaved and the scar

Taken today, pre-vet trip. Scar & collar and still wants tummy rubs!

Day Four

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

It’s been quite a quiet day for Diesel (Thursday 14th January). I let him out to see what was on the other side of the door, and he came out slowly and cautiously. He walked a foot down the hallway and then flopped for a rest, before he finally made it to the top of the stairs and wistfully gazed down them. And slumped again and just watched them. Such a change from his first day back when he was so drugged up and so scared he managed to hurtle down the stairs with no problems at all. Now, he has to regain his courage to try new things, and it’s painfully obvious that his other legs are a little weaker than they could be.

Diesel’s always had fairly weak legs and when we first adopted him at 7 months old we had to spend many hours making him run and jump (with the aid of a tape measure) to try and build them up. Best guess, is that he’d been closed in a fairly small space at his previous home, and not had the ability to run around and develop normally. He has never jumped on kitchen worktops in his life, and his jumping limit is definitely lower than other cats before the loss of the leg! Told you he’s always been our special boy. I will devote a post to how we came to adopt him some day, once the recovery is a bit more complete.

So after the Great Stairs Incident(TM), he went back to his room and back to his safe hiding zone (he used to hide in this spot when he was in agony, so it really much feel safe to him). And we let him be for a while. He perked up again later!

Malarkey was allowed in again, and this time they had a head nudge before she noticed the tuna! She also jumped on the windowsill, on top of a 5ft chest of drawers and over Diesel. Show-off! But in general he’s not shown any concerns about having her near him as he did a week ago. This is good to see.

He’s not repeated his jumping, either to the windowsill or the bed, but he does now roll over onto his back when he wants his tummy rubbed. He has also started to battle me at pill-giving time. Damn! But I’m heartened that he’s learning to use his remaining front paw for battle – just in case he needs it. We’re lucky because he’s never been much of an outdoor cat. He likes 5-10 mins in the backyard chewing grass, but not if the door is closed, so his forays are always limited to summer – but at least that’s something he isn’t missing right now.

His check-up with the vet is now going to be monday. I think it’s supposed to be between today and sunday, but I’m going when I can get a lift. His recovery isn’t worrying, and he’s doing as well as I think we can realistically hope for. I worry about leaving the house for too long, unattended, though – especially as we’ve had a dinner invite. I think I’m going to refuse it. Bad enough I have to go to work tomorrow (though he will have my husband’s loving care!).

Day Three

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

He’s doing a lot better since wednesday when he started to eat. He’s even being picky about food, showing signs of becoming a real prima donna. Found him on the windowsill in our bedroom which shows signs of learning to jump, better than he managed on 4 legs. We also let Larky in to see him and she gave him a nudge and went straight to the food. But, more importantly, he didn’t flinch from her as he did when he was in pain.

The scar is horrific to look at, it’s also twitching a lot as nerves deal with what’s happened to them. But, he’s on the mend, and is even starting to get used to taking pills. Maybe some of the relief of not being in pain is starting to get through to him. Of course, I may have to be a good cat owner and actually put the collar on him soon (you know the ones, conal and plastic), because don’t want him to be bothered by the stitches.

Also, seclusion and being locked in upset him more than anything now it seems. I snuck away to play some LotRO last night and felt really guilty. But went to bed to find him completely sprawled across it! First time he’s jumped onto a soft surface successfully, and he did NOT want to share the bed. Unfeelingly I got in, and slept with him begrudgingly at my feet. Woke up and he was on the floor again. Major guilt!

We switched nursing shifts at 4am when I woke up, and husband went to bed. Diesel had some biscuits off the raised boxes we’ve had to install to help him eat without toppling. Although I can’t explain without pictures, he leaned diagonally over the box, actually utilising the lack of limb to get to the food. This made me happy. He’s adjusting! And so are we.

Aside from raised food, we’ve made no other changes for him. And the raised boxes are going to be lowered day by day, although they’re really no bother – it’ll just help him go fully back to normal. However, the idea of him staying in that room for 10 days is bleh, so we may let him sneak out a little today and see how he goes under heavy supervision and with friends to help out.

Thanks for all the well wishes, we’re doing a lot better now he’s eating, and now the shock of monday is beginning to subside. We still have quiet moments when we sit back and think of what could have been, but once he’s out the room I think things will really start to return to normal around here.