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On his way -- Mr. Chandra...

 
 
Seizan
 
Reply Mon 28 Oct, 2019 01:20 am
This is about a cat. Those who have read my previous posts will not be much surprised. This one might get a wee bit schmaltzy, though...

Mr. Chandra came to live with – well, around – us about 10 years ago. He was already 5 to 8 years old, a big strapping fighting tom, black and white fur, and bulldog shoulders. His face was scarred and his ears were torn and crumpled from previous fights which I suspect he’d won. He never bothered our other outdoor cats, and they moved aside for him when he came around.

When he first saw me, he ran off around the corner of our home, then turned to peer back at me to see what I was up to, and whether I was chasing him away. After a week or so of watching me fill the food bowl, he condescended to simply move a safe distance off, and observe me as I went about caring for the cats that were ours, and those who were ... guests.

By then, we had decided his name would be Mr. Chandra – the name Chandra is Hindi, and means “moon”. Mr. Chandra was black and white, and made me think of the moon with one side in the light, and one in the dark.

He would come and go, sometimes staying around for a week or two, then disappearing for another few weeks, then showing up again at his own whim. I sometimes saw him down in the village, on the shore, at a neighbor’s house, or far up the street where I felt sure he could never find his way back to our home again.

But he always came back, and our cat food is expensive; the highest non-prescription quality on the local market (in fact, we order nutritional foods from Amazon.com now).

During the last year or so, as he grew older, Mr. Chandra allowed me to move closer to him as long as I was obviously playing the servant, and eventually I was pushing him aside (gently) with my ankle to avoid stepping on his paws when he apparently couldn’t wait for dinner.

Mr. Chandra disappeared about 2 months ago, and eventually I thought he must have met his end in the road, from snake bite (we have poisonous snakes on Okinawa and the animals sometimes tangle with them), or just decided to call it quits after 15 to 18 years.

Then two weeks ago, he returned.

His fur was ratty and patches were missing due to mange. He had mites, fleas, and other... His bulldog shoulders where thin and boney, and he had lost considerable weight. His ears were crumpled to begin with, but now he held them flat against his skull, which had more scars than before, or maybe the scars were just more visible in his thinning fur. His tail was nearly bereft of fur and he dragged it some of the time rather than hold it up. He was dirty, emaciated, and moved slowly.

Mr. Chandra was very ill.

We fed him up, of course, hoping that it was more a matter of malnutrition than viral or bacterial illness or parasitic infestation. But this time, his manner had changed. He allowed me to approach him and touch, then pet him. He seemed starved for attention this time. He let me stroke his fur, scratch his chin, brush the small twigs and dirt from his bony back. He let me put a dose of Revolution on him for the mites, fleas, and other. He rubbed against my ankles and even more important than food, he begged to be cuddled gently, petted, and touched.

He had become old. He was scared.

On our back balcony to which he has access, I made up a bed for him in a sheltered box since the weather is cooling down, and put food and water out for him alone.

But he didn’t seem to be getting much better. His fur began to show signs of recovery, getting softer and cleaner, with fewer scratchy lesions. But he seemed weaker and slower each day of the week.

With no big signs of improvement, Mr. Chandra and I paid a visit to our vet, where he ended up spending a week. Severe anemia, kidney and liver failure, dehydration, gingivitis, mange, and a host of (dying) skin parasites. And FLV...

The prognosis is not good.

Yesterday I brought him home, but the best I can do is maintain his health level and make him as comfortable as possible. Not much will improve except for his mange and skin parasites. He had a transfusion to help his anemia (slightly), but will need meds for the rest of his life.

Anyway, I fed him and made up his bed again with a clean blanket in a shielded location on the back balcony.

He expressed his gratitude for the food and closeness cat-appropriately, and it seemed to me that he was making up for years of holding back, staying aloof, and denying us the pleasure of his closeness.

Last night, after a good feeding and a short nap, and before I could give him his daily meds, he wandered off again. I left food for him, and fresh water.

By this morning, he had not returned; his bed unslept-in and his food untouched, he was nowhere to be seen. He is one day behind in his meds.

To make matters worse, I am in school teaching today, and at lunchtime the students played a song on the in-school PA system (they have sort of a “radio station” on which they may play adolescent-appropriate international music hits for their lunchtime).

While I am aware that I anthropomorphize greatly when discussing almost any living thing, I felt today that if one song could be his, if one song expressed the way he acted toward me last night, it would have been this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xKM3mGt2pE

It is depressing to know that Mr. Chandra, so recently finding himself in need of love and human touch, has a limited time left to him...

I hope he is back home on “his balcony” when I return from school today, and I will try to get his meds into him.

More as it happens...
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Oct, 2019 05:33 am
He knows that you care about him.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Oct, 2019 09:06 am
Reminds me of a cat I tried to care for, once. He was very nice, but he wandered more than he visited, until he just didn't come back. Spencer was handsome and friendly. His life was mysterious. Thirty years later I sometimes still wonder about him.
0 Replies
 
Seizan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Oct, 2019 12:32 am
When I got home yesterday, Mr. Chandra was waiting on the front porch with another of the newer guest felines (a creamy-orange lightweight teen kitten we call Peach). He wasn’t really hungry though she was, and she ate a whole can and two packets of food by herself...

I ground all 3 of Mr. C’s meds (pills) into fine powder and mixed them with a fish paste that’s sold as a cat treat in a squeezable packet. I added a wee bit of water, sucked it all into a blunt (non-needle) syringe, and squirted the obnoxious goo into his mouth.

Like a trooper, he accepted the rather foul-tasting meds and walked off to lie under my car (being a rather mild day yesterday). I hoped he would drink some water to wash the stuff down, but he didn’t seem to be much discomforted by his treatment.

Mr. Chandra was waiting on the front porch this morning when I came out to go to work. I gave him a few minutes of petting and scratching, and decided to buy a special brush just for him so I can smooth out his fur nicely. He was grateful for the attention and followed me back to the front door. I went back inside to get his food (perhaps 20 seconds) – and he just disappeared again. I searched all around the house but he was not to be found. I wondered how such a slow-moving old cat could just vanish so quickly – then realized that he was old probably BECAUSE he could vanish so quickly...

Hopefully he’ll be around tonight after I get home from school again, so I can keep his medicine levels up.
0 Replies
 
Seizan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Oct, 2019 06:33 pm
Mr. Chandra came around this morning and drank some water. My wife saw him and went back into the house to get his food, but when she returned after about a minute, he had gone again.

As I left the house for work, I saw him again by the kitchen door. He didn't seem interested in food, he wanted some scratching and petting. I went back inside to prepare his meds, but he was gone again before I could even open the cabinet where his meds are stored.

He needs another dose of Revolution or Frontline. I noted he has fleas again.

Frustrating part is that I can't really cage him because there's no place to put the cage (we have a couple of really large cages), and he can't be indoors because of his FLV (we have other cats indoors). I wash up pretty well each time I pet him, though I understand that FLV isn't transmitted that easily.

So this is 2 days without his meds. Maybe I'll have better luck when I get home after school today...

At least wherever he goes when he disappears, he doesn't wander off too far, and has been staying close to where he feels safe.
0 Replies
 
Seizan
 
  2  
Reply Thu 31 Oct, 2019 04:19 am
Yesterday he was nowhere to be found, but he was waiting for me to feed him today when I got home. I rushed to grab his meds from the 2nd floor kitchen, and get back downstairs before he could disappear again. But he was still there, waiting...

I find the best way to give meds is to crush the pills into a fine powder using two spoons of the exact same size. Top spoon crushes, bottom spoon holds.
I crush the powder into a shot glass, then pour it back into the bottom spoon and crush again -- a few times if necessary -- for extra-fine powder, and no loss of meds. I add some drops of cat-treat fish paste to the food, a few drops of water, mix with a swizzle stick, and suck it all up into the syringe. The slight taper at the bottom of the shot glass makes it easy to catch all the accumulated mixture for the syringe without wasting more than the thin coating on the bottom of the glass.

It takes a little practice to know how to open the cat's mouth and aim so he doesn't choke, or just spit it out (yes, cats CAN spit out their meds), but just swallow it and not get too much of the taste left on the tongue.

He allowed me once again to give him his horrible-tasting meds, and then waited patiently for another of our outdoor cats, Carol, to finish her meal before he moved to the food bowl. He used to be first, and all the other cats moved aside for him. Now he waits for the others to finish. I usually stand by with extra food...

After eating a good portion of special-nutrition canned food, he was gone again. I hope for the same good luck tomorrow.
0 Replies
 
Seizan
 
  3  
Reply Tue 5 Nov, 2019 03:39 pm
Quick update...

Mr. Chandra has taken up residence in a wooden box-shelter, one of several my wife and I had made at a local wood shop. About 18" high and 2' square, with a fair-size round hole for entrance. We made 6 of these and placed them around our home in discreet locations for the outdoor or feral cats to shelter in when there was rain or typhoon. We wash or replace the cushioning every month or so.

Mr. C was sleeping in the dirt in our driveway, up away from the road. He was sheltered by our ocean-side wall and he preferred the corner area. In that corner I placed one of our kitty homes on blocks (so it wouldn't get swamped when it rained). He took about a day to check it out, then he made it his home.

Getting meds into him was a problem though he tolerated having them squirted into his mouth via syringe. He had to be out of his home for me to get his meds into him, but he didn't come out at my convenience and I didn't try to pull him out...! I mixed his meds into his food, but they taste so bad he wouldn't eat his food. Plus he is reluctant to eat out in the open since he isn't much into fighting to claim his food bowl anymore.

However, after conferring with the vet, tweaking his meds took away the bad taste (mostly it was the iron supplement) and I now mix into some very soupy food made specially for older cats. I put the bowl in his house so he doesn't feel threatened by the other outdoor cats, and stand by until he finishes eating. He eats quite happily, usually double portions. I feel better knowing he had his meds, plus he gets a good meal in him twice daily.

He seems stable at this time. Though I know we can't actually improve his condition, at least we can prevent it from worsening for as long as possible, and give him a little more quality-life time...
0 Replies
 
Seizan
 
  3  
Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2019 08:49 pm
Monday morning. This past weekend, Mr. C ate a lot each feeding time. Sometimes 3 single-serving pouches, always the same food -- chicken and broth. After trying him on several soupy foods, it's the only thing he seems to like. Yesterday he ate four times -- he must have been hungry!

I'll keep trying other foods as I find them, to see if I can break the monotony of the same food all the time.

Last night he tapered off on eating, and this morning he barely touched his food. I think he may have been too full from chicken dinners all weekend. Maybe it's best that I'm away from home all day, so he doesn't get spoiled by being fed all day long...

His meds were in the food this morning; I hope he gets up an appetite this morning. If the food dries out, he won't eat it.

He spends most of his time in his box-home. When I approach to see if he's OK or to feed him, his first reaction to anyone's approaching noise is to hiss and take a defensive posture in his home. That's because he's not sure who or what's coming until he can see me. He relaxes at the sound of my voice saying his name, and waits for me to place his food just inside the entrance to his home.

This weekend I saw that some very tiny black ants had found his food dish and were invading. I coated the outside of his dish with mineral oil and I haven't seen any ants since.
0 Replies
 
Seizan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2019 01:35 am
Wednesday morning. Mr. C came out of his house to drink some water and get a scratch from me. He's somewhat thinner now, and his fur is dirty. I wish I could wash him, maybe with just a warm damp cloth next time I see him and if I have the time (I'm usually on my way to someplace else, like school or dojo).

I hurried to get his meds ready and when I returned, he was out on the driveway soaking up some sunshine. Rather than mix with food, I squirted them in his mouth, and he took about 80%.

I was told the stuff tastes horrible, so kudos to him for swallowing as much as he does...

He hasn't eaten since Monday morning. Actually he ate only a little on Sunday night, and as far as I can see, nothing since. He spends most of his time in his house, where he feels secure. I place fresh food dish in his house for him twice daily, but his food remains untouched.

This is the first time since Sunday morning I was able to get his meds into him.

Maybe since he's had his meds he'll feel a bit better tonight, and eat a full meal. I'll know in an hour or so when I get home from school...
roger
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2019 01:39 am
@Seizan,
My cat has an outside house, too. I usually let him out when he tells me to. So, it looks like he goes out and ducks into his cat house to get out of the cold. When I next open the door, he comes back in - whether it's 5 minutes or thirty. Nermal isn't real smart.
0 Replies
 
Borat Sister
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2019 03:57 am
@Seizan,
This is so very moving. Thank you for caring for this valiant old man and the other cats.

How lovely that he has let you into his heart at the end.

Seizan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2019 05:57 pm
Hi Folks. Thanks for reading this far...

This morning I placed fresh food in his house as usual, and he hasn't eaten. He is awake and alert, watches me change his food, and allows me to give him a scratch along the jaw and under his chin, but he doesn't come out "on command". He just isn't that kind of cat.

The other outside cats don't go near his house so his food is untouched unless he eats it himself.

I am taking tomorrow off work and I'll watch to catch him out of his house sometime during the early morning. The vet clinic opens at 9am, and if I can get Mr. C in a cage before then, I'll try to be first in line at the vet clinic. I have to meet my wife and go south to Naha tomorrow at 11am, so if I am successful in catching Mr. C, I'll see about leaving him at the clinic, and dropping by when my wife and I return from Naha in the late afternoon.

If Mr. C has to stay at the clinic for the weekend, at least they will get some nutrition into him, even if via IV.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2019 06:00 pm
@Borat Sister,
Borat Sister! Glad you found your password, cuz I haven't seen you since Napoleon was a Corporal.
Borat Sister
 
  2  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2019 06:18 am
@roger,
I’m dlowan

Lost my password when I cleared cache, though I excluded them from the clearance. Can’t reset because I no longer have access to the email address for my real account.

Sigh
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2019 06:03 pm
@Borat Sister,
I knew that. The subject came up years ago.

I do hope you can still post as dlowan.
Borat Sister
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Nov, 2019 09:03 am
@roger,
Not right now....I’d need tech help.

And I’m hardly here now.
0 Replies
 
Seizan
 
  2  
Reply Mon 18 Nov, 2019 05:09 am
Hi, update here...

All weekend I was pleased to see Mr. C eating the special-prescription dry food we give to our other indoor cat who has a urinary tract infection. He seems to prefer it over wet foods and even over mostly-soupy chicken. He drinks a lot of water and I make sure he always has clean fresh water. Getting meds into him is still a problem sometimes because he spends so much time in his house, or gone.

At least he gets 80% or more in him every day though sometimes we miss each other and he skips one day.

Today is rainy and windy, and he was out of his house and on our front porch when I got home from school. I have a ready dosage of his meds on hand, crushed into powder and kept in a sealed bottle so when I see him, it just takes a few seconds to mix and put into a syringe. I hurried to mix his meds, for the first time using kitty milk (I think it’s goat milk, or lactose-free cow milk). Though he let me squirt it in his mouth, he didn’t swallow much more than a few drops. Lots of foamy saliva (cat owners are familiar with this) and dribbling onto the porch...

OK, I won’t use kitty milk again. Meds turned it green anyway, and I guess it tasted much worse than the strong-tasting fish paste...

But I was alarmed at his appearance. Really ragged-looking, losing fur and skin all over. So I caught him up and put him in the cage, and we went off to see our vet.

The vet was surprised to see (and hear) Mr. C... He said Mr. C seems stronger and a bit heavier (and protested MUCH louder, which is good) than he was during his stay at the clinic. Maybe a bit dehydrated which might account for his slow walk, but he is apparently not arthritic. Plus, his anemic condition seemed to have improved a bit. Gums were no longer near-white, but taking on a slightly pinkish tinge. Slow but steady improvement...

However his fur and skin are in terrible condition. A quick analysis under the microscope showed he has mange, yes – and another fungus infection that causes his skin to be irritated and fall off in flakes and small sheaths...

He was prescribed one additional med, and will have to be on that for the next 3 or 4 weeks, along with the other stuff, all mixed together.

When we got home, he got out of the cage, gave me what I interpreted as a really dirty look, and took off across the street to weather out the rain in the neighbor’s always-open garage. They are farmers and the father is a fisherman, and they don’t mind since our cats perform mouse-removal services for them for free...
0 Replies
 
Seizan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Nov, 2019 10:29 pm
Well, after Mr. C’s Monday evening visit to the vet, I was able to get his meds in once (Tuesday morning) and haven’t seen him since he vomited it all up, then took off.

Because of the rain, I moved his house because the top end of the driveway is a little depressed, and a big puddle forms there. He won’t step through the water to get into or out of his house, so I moved it to the steps that leads up to the roof. They are fairly wide and deep, so the house really takes up only a corner of one step. I put him into the house the first time, and he seemed happy to stay there because he can still see down the steps and out to the road, and no one can “sneak up” on him. Then he vomited all his meds and left his house. I changed his sleeping cushion but he hasn’t been back for 2 days.
chai2
 
  3  
Reply Wed 20 Nov, 2019 11:06 pm
@Seizan,
oh.

I remember when Simi was dying, the vet gave me some meds for her. Forget what they were for.

It was supposed to be in a liquid form that cats liked.

She didn't, vomited all back up, and was in great distress afterwards.

I held her, apologizing for making her feel even worse and crying. I said to her "no more, no more"

Her last days weren't going to be spent having stuff forced down her throat that made her tremble.
0 Replies
 
Seizan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Nov, 2019 11:02 pm
Well, I haven't seen Mr. C since Tuesday morning, and it's Friday afternoon. He hasn't been back to his house to eat (food is untouched), and he hasn't been back to drink water as far as I can tell. If he went into the garage across the street, it might have been to find a quiet comfortable place to lay down for the last time.

It's happened before to a couple of our cats.

I figured I could break his meds into 2 or 3 servings, maybe each an hour or so apart. Much better chance of his keeping them down if they aren't so concentrated.

I'll keep hoping for his return until I know, or far too long has passed. I can't go into the garage and look for him, he wouldn't come out of hiding if that's where he is. Even if I found him, I could only give him a small dose of his meds, and he would just wander off again someplace else. Can't have him in the house with the other cats who don't have FLV, not even in the cage. I'll just have to wait for the neighbors to find him, or until he decides to show up again...
 

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