You've asked what is the Vet's prognosis - the Vet doesn't have one. He and his colleagues are baffled by Ratty. Most of his neurological symptoms would be explained by a head injury - severe concussion - but there are some (unspecified) that would not. On Monday the Vet said if Ratty had been poisoned he would have been fitting or bleeding, (or dead) and he is not. The Vet said somewhere else he might suspect anti-freeze (apparently cats are quite attracted to it) which is highly toxic, but Ratty is most unlikely to have found anti-freeze here. I'm not sure that there is any in the country at all. The Vets are hoping that the 'head injury?' will resolve itself after a few more days. Sometimes animals recover completely from a similar position, after 14 days they tell me.
So, we don't know.
There are some small positive signs of improvement, milestones to recovery:
- Ratty licked my fingers yesterday, and later licked lumps of cat-food-fish-jelly off my fingers and 'fed' himself. This morning he ate a few tiny pieces of fish with his jelly.
- We were worried that he was blind but last night he tried to play with a piece of ribbon I was dangling (slightly lifting his paws and batting with them) and he tracks people and cats in the room. So we think his eyesight is at least partially returning.
- He can push quite hard against pressure on his paws.
- He lifted his head to get to the fish smell.
- Some of his reflexes are returning; when he was held in the air he managed to put a front paw down to the bed to stop himself falling (on Monday he just curled up in a pitiable way).
Are these important enough, positive enough to keep going? I think so.
He seems secure and content. The resident cats haven't bothered him (although Ming looks pretty fed up by all the new cats in her life). He does not appear to be in any pain. My cat-radar is not telling me all hope is lost.
We nursed our Siamese cat Lulu in a similar way while she was dying of a brain tumour. We had her at home for about three weeks, incontinent, paralysed from the waist down, needing force-feeding etc. We kept her comfortable, warm and cuddled. When she started having fits, several times a day and came out of them clearly distressed, we knew it was time to send her on her way. At that time, the Vet in Seremban only gave her a tiny dose to put her to sleep - she was so weak and ill.
I don't know if this reassures you that when or if the time comes to dispense Ratty we will do it, feeling it is the correct way. At this point, it doesn't seem the humane or ethical thing to do.
Ratty is at my feet on his portable bed snoozing. He's been licking his mouth in his sleep (another milestone reached yesterday) and wriggling a little. His coat is smooth and glossy, his eyes bright and shiny and his maow is getting louder.
We can only wait and see.