Tuesday, 10 April 2012

An update on The Cat

Followers of Bassman's blog will know that our poorly puss Bess has been back and forth to the vet entirely too many times in the last couple of months.  We were briefly distracted from the initial tentative diagnosis of chronic kidney disease (CKD) by a diagnosis of mild hyperthyroidism, but the vet is now firmly back on the CKD track.  As if that isn't bad enough, Bess is facing yet another bout of dental surgery.  She only has six or seven teeth left (and three of them are her canines); the next to come out is one of the molars.

She was meant to have the surgery on Monday morning but a pre-surgery blood test revealed that one of her kidney markers (creatinine), previously in the normal range, was now elevated.  One of the other markers, the blood urea nitrogen (or BUN), had come down but was still in the high range.  And, since her visit to the vet the previous week for a scheduled CKD follow-up, she had lost yet more weight.  All of these together made a general anaesthetic unsafe so the surgery was rescheduled for next Monday and instead Bess was kept for the day, receiving IV fluids to try to flush the toxins from her kidneys. 

We collected Bess on Monday afternoon, with much praise from the veterinary staff about what a good girl she had been.  (Aside from when they went to take out the IV and Bess gave them a good thrashing with her claws.  That's our girl!)  She's been an incredibly subdued cat ever since which, for a cat who has always spent most of her time mooching from one sleeping area to the next, is saying something.  She continues to turn her nose up at her food and doesn't even bother anymore to try to eat from her bowl.  Hopefully this is because her mouth is sore and not because the kidney disease is worse than her blood tests make it appear.  But, because it is SO IMPORTANT that she eats, I have had to resort to emergency measures.

Bess is now hand fed, and it seems to be working.  I think that she is hungry but she finds it very difficult to bite into her food and to chew it.  It's easier for her to lick it from my fingers.  Plus, I think she associates being hand-fed with getting treats so it's a more appealing option.  So far today, she's had almost two full pouches of the special renal food and a half-tin of Applaws tuna.  That's the most she's eaten in a day for weeks. 

Hand feeding a fierce cat
It's very time-intensive and, because she is very much a cat of habit, I fear that she will never go back to her bowl.  But, to me, it's worth it if it keeps her weight up.  Whether Sue and Tony, our lovely cat-sitters who will be looking after Bess while Bassman and I are in London, will feel the same about being slobbered on by a mostly-toothless cat remains to be seen. 

We haven't told them about the hand-feeding yet, but I guess that they know now!


  1. Yes we do know, and of course it isn't a problem, we would do anything for Bess.

  2. That's lovely, thank you! Although you may feel differently when you're crawling after her on the floor, trying to convince her to lick your fingers!