Back in May, the Tiny Cat was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.  We were told she might live 6-12 months with treatment.  So we started treatment, mainly diuretics, plus some other drugs that were added to the regimen once it was clear that the last one wasn’t causing problems.

To our great relief, she made it through the summer; both the humans were afraid she would die while I was in England.  She gave up on going upstairs, and pretty much lives in the living room now.  But she kept eating pretty well, and spent a lot of the summer in the front window, watching the butterflies who visit the butterfly bush.

I think it must now be four weeks ago, over the weekend, that she threw a clot in one front leg, which was the cause of our first late-night visit to the emergency vet.  We were warned of possible dire consequences if it didn’t resolve . . . but it did, and the next day she was using the paw just fine.

The following weekend, Sir John woke me at 3:00 a.m. because she was having trouble breathing; he thought we should take her in, and feared that this could be the end, because she hadn’t responded to the extra dose of diuretic he had administered.  The vet gave her a shot of diuretic, and ran oxygen into her cage for a little bit, and then we got to take her home again.  The next day she was better, and the day after that seemed better still, not just watching butterflies but playing with various toys.

She made it through the long Labor Day weekend just fine, but then on the Tuesday we spent all day going back and forth to our regular vet, again because she had trouble breathing; but again with extra diuretic and some oxygen she started feeling better.  (Most of the trips were for us, not for her; she just stayed put, although the final trip there was because when we got her home we discovered that she still had a catheter in her leg, so we went back to have it removed.)

Years ago, we went through similar ups and downs with Sir John’s father, who had congestive heart failure and was on his deathbed at least three times before he finally went down for the count.  So we know that in between acute episodes, quality of life can remain pretty good.  But over time, the heart gets weaker and weaker.  Obviously, we won’t let our Tiny Cat be miserable for an extended period; if, for instance, she gets to a point where she can’t breathe comfortably without oxygen, or if the diuretics do her kidneys in, we’ll have to let her go.  However, we do hope that she may manage to die peacefully at home, without a lot of discomfort, and that in the meantime there will be sunlight, butterflies, her favorite fishy kitten food, snuggles with her brother (the Grammarian), more bouts with the ring toy and the electric mouse toy, and the loyalty and adulation that she expects from the servants.

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15 thoughts on “About the Tiny Cat

  1. However, we do hope that she may manage to die peacefully at home, without a lot of discomfort, and that in the meantime there will be sunlight, butterflies, her favorite fishy kitten food, snuggles with her brother (the Grammarian), more bouts with the ring toy and the electric mouse toy, and the loyalty and adulation that she expects from the servants.

    This is the bargain that was made when cats and humans domesticated each other. PhysioCatte sends his best to Tiny Catte.

  2. You two are wonderful kitty parents. Captain and Queen send their regards. (I almost wrote “send their love” but I’m fairly certain Queen doesn’t love other cats.)

  3. Just a spectator here, enjoying your blog very much, but oh, I know those terrible cat crises and the brain space our feline companions take up, and even though we’re strangers, your entries about Tiny Cat and Company make me feel quite fond of you and Sir John. May TC have exactly the peaceful, butterfly-filled denouement you envision…

  4. This post made me choke up a bit – I can’t imagine going through this with my two ginger ninjas. I hope Tiny Cat has plenty of days of butterfly-chasing and sunshine dreaming left to enjoy with you.

  5. Furball sends good wishes – although she doesn’t ‘get’ the butterfly thing, she understands that there are many kinds of cats in the world and not all of them understand that bat-watching is the ONLY worth-while spectator sport. This is the flip side of loving a pet – the many challenges both logistical and emotional of giving them the best end-of-life period possible – and I empathise!

  6. Oh, Dame Eleanor, I still remember all too clearly those late-night/early-morning visits to the veterinary ER with one of my family’s dogs. The oxygen-enhanced cage is an especially vivid image for me. Sending my best to all of you.

  7. Thanks, everybody. It is so nice to hear from you.
    Bavardess, I’ve been smiling about the phrase “ginger ninjas” all week, with its marvelous euphony.
    Pym Fan, delighted to meet another Excellent Woman (that is, if you are a woman!).
    JaneB, I wish we had bats. I love bats. At least the butterflies come very close to the window, though, and that’s very good for the Tiny Cat.
    Dr Koshary, I hope you’re enjoying your new town.
    aepva, I know you know exactly what this is like.

  8. Oh, I didn’t know a clot like that could clear up. That’s what happened to my beloved Delphina when she was suffering heart disease, and when I took her to the vet, they recommended putting her down right then and there because otherwise she’d need surgery (?!) and probably wouldn’t survive that. 😦 I now hate that vet. They weren’t very cat friendly to begin with (but they were near and I didn’t have a car) and they didn’t even comfort me when I left sobbing, without Delphina, because I did, in fact, take their advice and say goodbye then. Damn them.

    But for your sake, I’m glad your vet knows better, and I hope that Tiny Cat continues to enjoy the butterflies and the love of her feline and human family, and has very peaceful remaining days.

    And *hugs* to you, Dame E.

    1. Heavens, Dr V, that’s awful. This is why good vets are a major reason we live where we do, and why I put up with the commute. The people we see keep up with research and know what’s what. Your vet may have thought s/he was making it easier for everyone considering the state of knowledge at the time, but time to say goodbye is important.

      1. Believe it or not, this was in Los Angeles, though even a vet in a big city could fail to be up to date. Then again, this was 10 years ago, so maybe they didn’t know this then? Still, they could have at least offered me Kleenex for the sobbing, for pity’s sake!

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