The cats have taken much longer to settle down than the dogs, but finally now they have all found their territory within the house, and are enjoying long naps in the afternoon sun. They have also taken possession of their new 'kitty kondos', which are keeping them active till we can build them a proper, 'coyote-proof outdoor' enclosure.
Unfortunately we've had more ups and downs with Jeffrey. After a battle with Spencer, who seems to be trying to become 'topcat', with somewhat limited
success (i.e. none of the others are really that interested), he got an ear abcess. As a result he started to feel ill and stopped eating, which brought on a second episode of acute renal failure on top of his already chronic renal failure (CRF). Another three days of IV fluids at the vet then. The vet was initially not at all optimistic, implying that the kidneys had stopped working altogether and that the bones were starting to weaken. We however knew that Jeffrey was not done yet, so requested another round of fluids. The vet was "game" to give it a go, but it was obvious he was not particularly optimistic. Lo and behold though, three days later, Jeffrey's recovery was "remarkable", according to the vet, "about the best" he's "ever seen". Elated though we were, we were not really surprised. Like I said, we knew he wasn't done yet.
Having said that, it was an uphill struggle again once we got him home. 18 hours after his return from the vet he started to crash again, having stopped eating and drinking and just sitting stock still in the 'meatloaf' position. It seemed like it could be the end after all, I was in despair. Our wonderful vet tech Vo saved the day and came round to administer a dose of sub-cutaneous fluids. Within minutes Jeffrey was up and about again, running around, demanding food. Enormous sighs of relief all round, as the reality of the rollercoaster ride that is looking after a kidney cat began to set in.
And so we began our struggle to encourage Jeffrey to start eating again. We bought just about every type of food in the shop and every flavour. Eventually we settled on two or three that he actually like, but he would only lick the gravy. He was so painfully thin by this stage, just a bag of bones. We went to the supermarket deli and bought fresh roast chicken and turkey, and were astonished to discover that he liked the turkey and would devour large quantities of it. One might argue that this type of high protein is not ideal for a cat with CRF. However, we were just thankful that he was showing an interest in food again. Gradually his weight and strength started to increase again, as did his interest in life. Now, two months later, he is looking the best he has done in a long while, and is showing increased energy by the day.
Pilling him twice a day and doing the subQ fluids is not a walk in the park by any means, but we are all getting better at it and refining our techniques with the minimum stress to all concerned. Jeffrey does not enjoy these sessions but the pilling takes less than half a minute and the fluids just a few minutes. So not too bad in the grand scheme of things. What amazes me most of all is that he never holds it against us. He still trusts us and never bears a grudge. Once it's done it's done and we are all back to a clean slate again. I hope he knows we're trying to help him.
(Pix from top: Loulou, Mini Me, Jeffrey, Curtis, Spencer & Finlay)
Jeffrey and Curtis wonder why they make these things so small