During September and October we lost two more of our rescue cats.
Mr. Dickens had been with us since October 2017 and he died around ten pm Thursday 19/9/19. It was a terrible night because Mr. Dickens had turned a corner, was eating by himself and had put on 400 grams that week, graduating from the feeding tube to independence but in just one day he worsened and was gone. The vet visit that day revealed nothing untoward but he had earlier vomited once and was hyperventilating when we came home from the shops. We rushed him to the surgery but by that time he displayed little of what we had witnessed. 'Bring him back tomorrow if he's no better' said our vet. A few hours later I recognised the glazed eyes and the coma like unconsciousness. Mr. Dickens was dying and all we could do was make him comfortable and accept it. All night I saw his face in my dreams, the regret and sorrow we experienced was acute.
His death was not without warning. He had been a patient for weeks, at first in hospital with the usual diagnostic blood tests, fluids and syringe feeding, antibiotics, two broken teeth removed (his last). and most recently at home with us in our lounge room where he was quite happy.
This Dickensian boy was urchin enough from his life on the streets back then in 2017. The stress of fighting other cats for territory and rights, finding enough food to survive on, hiding from humans in drains and lying under cars in the dark of night had taken its toll. Mr. Dickens was scrawny, dirty and one of the unfriendliest cats we had so far known. His fear of humans was paramount.
Once caught he was taken to our vet for a blood test, desexing and vaccination. He was very malnourished, and FIV+ He could not go back there to that life so we brought him home and concentrated on building up his immune system.
A year ago he had most of his teeth out, sailed through that and was back to his usual self.
Although he accepted me brushing him with the wand we never came close to touching him until his last illness.
Mr. Dickens was admitted to hospital this time with a temperature of 33 degrees, he was cold, lethargic, dying. I did not expect him to survive that day. A drip, antibiotics, a heat pad, syringe feeding, pain relief and pre-emptive strikes to any vet nurse who thought she could make him more comfortable! until a few days later when his whole demeanour changed and our vet said Mr. Dickens is friendly now!! He stayed in hospital for nine days.
We visited him as often as possible and he listened quietly as we spoke to him. He wasn't eating much but we asked if he could come home. He settled into a crate in our lounge room where he ate voluntarily at first but soon had difficulty with a mouth infection and so we opted for a feeding tube. Back home it was one constant round of feeding until he turned the corner and began to eat on his own. We could pat him, we could nurse him, we could even bathe him.
We miss you so much Mr. Dickens.
The above photo was taken around a year after he came to us. When Sandy (below) came in late last year they shared an enclosure and became mates.
Sandy lived in the street, slept under cars, lay in the middle of the road refusing to move for traffic. He had a lot in common with Mr. Dickens. . Luckily it was a quiet street with a dead end and he had some ladies looking out for him. They gave him food which he ate once they were a safe distance away. He sired quite a few families and we wondered where he found the strength! Sandy was infested with fleas and worms, his teeth were the worst our vet had ever seen and every broken blackened remnant was removed. He was anaemic, FIV+ and in a debilitated state. So he came back to us at Catmint Cottage. Sandy is still living with us but misses Mr. Dickens.
Sandy has fattened up and his coat is thick. He has beautiful eyes and always a mucky face from putting his snout in his food. He has an enclosure of his own and an aerial tunnel that he frequents as shown above. Moves are afoot to integrate him with some of the other cats.
Dash (above) came to us almost three years ago.. He died 11th October 2019. When he came in to care he was roughly two years of age and extremely timid. He was already FIV+ and never hurt a soul yet he was the focus of some nasty people who threatened to kill him. He resided in the garden and on the porch of the lady who was looking out for him. She fed him and had him desexed and vaccinated but when she needed to move urgently Dash had nowhere to go. I had shared his plight on facebook for months in trying to help. We could not take more in, his carer begged me over and over until I relented and offered him a few months of safety until she could work something out. He was such a good and humble boy that he was never a minute's trouble.
Dash could not be touched at the time so his education started here. He was such a shy, timid gentle boy, a thinker, a companion to other quiet cats and came to seek my lap too.
During the time of looking after Mr. Dickens I became aware that Dash did not look well. One morning I watched him drinking a long draught of water. We took him to our vet that same day. I thought perhaps a urinary tract infection as he had been urinating in places I was not happy about.
His kidneys were very enlarged. He was admitted for tests and found to have a condition he was born with., Polycystic Kidney Disease. He was FIV+ which did not help his immune system and also had a heart murmer. Some treatments were recommended, Renal food, daily fluids but this was after he came home from hospital and several days on the drip.
After Mr. Dickens died I thought Dash needed some kind of intervention as his kidneys seemed badly swollen. He was not eating much, did not like me giving him sub cutaneous fluids. Our vet was shocked when she saw him and said it was a case of euthanasia. I could not accept it that day. I cried when she left the room to get something. She did some things to make him more comfortable and gave us pain relief to give him. Two days later we took him back and I held his head in my hands and told him what a good boy he had always been.
The glass may never have been full for these cats and others that we have saved but it was never half empty once they came here. I know that much.
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