|Ratty this morning|
Ratty went to visit Dr Rhett last night. He had a thorough going over, a blood test and his temperature taken. The Vet thinks his 'head injury' has somehow recurred - or rather the effects of it. Maybe scar tissue, maybe a small bleed. Maybe, maybe. An MRI might answer some questions but that is not available (or choke, choke, financially sensible if it was available). Dr Rhett thinks a biological or metabolic cause is unlikely. Having a diagnosis would only be valuable if it could help us look after Ratty better or force us to make an informed decision about his future. We've ruled out diabetes and ruled in 'something neurological' for what it's worth. The Vet's given him some anti-inflammatory syrup to help with inter-cranial swelling.
Dr Rhett said he was optimistic, given Ratty's recovery previously and given continued devoted care. No guarantees, of course.
So we've brought him home for more TLCC (tender loving cat care) and hope.
Ratty can hold his head up (which he couldn't last time) and when he's taken to the litter box he uses it, which suggests he has control over his bowel and bladder, both encouraging signs. However his eyesight is 'variable' at best and once again, he has no motor control of his paws. He's also not licking around his mouth or doing any other grooming.
He can feed himself cat-crunchies - the brand he has always preferred - but refuses to drink. This means I have to syringe water into his mouth regularly and try to get him to swallow. I've also got some more tins of 'recovery' diet which I can mix with additional water and also syringe into his mouth. He accepts that more willingly than the straight water.
I worry about hydration. Last night Dr Rhett told me cats need about 2ml/kg/hour, which works out to about 240 ml per day for Ratty. This is quite a bit to syringe in, 2 ml at a time ... when he is not enjoying the experience and spitting half of it out.
Now I feel I am caught on the horns of a moral dilemma, twisted up with my own stubborness and sentimentality. There is no confidence that if Ratty recovers again, he will not have a further 'turn' in the next weeks or months. Clearly our dream of letting him return to his former swaggering street-cat status is dashed. That is fine, we've made a home for him and he has his place here. But how many more episodes of neurological meltdown does he need to endure? Can I keep up the 24 hour care he needs? Am I, in some bizarre way, putting my needs ahead of his?
He is not in any discernible pain. He is responsive. He loves having a snooze on my lap - that always seems to calm him so he can sleep. He is dry, safe, comfortable, fed.
It is a beautiful clear day and quite cool for the time of year (16). This morning LG had her breakfast alone in the sunshine.
I loved seeing Ratty out and about, having picnics with LG and washing her face. On Monday morning I sat with them while they ate together and watched. Ratty gobbled for a bit while LG (his little sister) steadily munched. Then Ratty stopped, sat himself up and watched her eat. When she had finally had enough - she signalled this by backing away from the remaining crunchies and washing her face - Ratty tucked in and finished the rest.
Lately they were waiting together for us in the morning when we set off for Marius's bus. When I got back from my walk, they would have 'seconds' and Ratty would come inside with me while LG went off to neglect her kittens some more. In the afternoon LG would sit on the door step and wait for Ratty to come out and then they would entwine their tails (really!) rub heads and weave themselves around to the empty carport next door (we have stopped feeding anybody outside our house, it was causing too many problems) for tea.
I think their relationship is unusal for street cats (or any other litter-mates). Precious. No doubt I am anthropomorphising again, wanting to preserve it for them.
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I saw this chap looking for handouts: