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Posted on 04/08/2013 6:33:01 PM PDT by West Texas Chuck
My cat is sick, he is really sick, and may not be able to recover. As you might expect, this is a big shock to She Who Must Be Obeyed and I because he has always been in good health and had no sign of health problems.
Saturday, everything was normal and happy. Rocket begged for some of my pork chop, chased his sister, and humped the leg of She Who Must Be Obeyed when she crawled into bed. Sunday morning he would not come out of the closet. Not to stick his big dumb head under the faucet in her sink as she brushed her teeth, like always. Not for a snack, not for nothing. He must have a tummy ache, we told each other. No big deal.
Sunday evening he came out of the closet, dragging himself by his front legs. Susan freaked out and called me to come in the house. He was not right, by a long shot. We mounted up and headed for the kitty ER. Doc there said "saddle thrombosis," a blood clot from an unknown location had lodged itself in his aorta where it splits between the hind legs. His paws were cold and his hind legs useless. Out of the blue. The day before he was running up and down the cat tree as I climbed out of the rack and headed into the kitchen for coffee, like always, wanting my attention, and a head scratching.
Saddle Thrombosis. That means the blood clot is killing his back legs, or at least one of them. He'll never be the same. We picked him up from the ER vet this morning and took him to our regular vet. Same diagnosis, same prognosis, he may recover some of the use of his back legs, maybe not. Doc Carter recommended a specialty clinic over in Carrollton, so we took him there. Doc Lisa had the same analysis of his condition, she would take him and medicate him and do what she could. We left him there and came home. Got a call a few hours later, looks like the source of the clot is a mass inside his heart and the damage there is done. It is way worse than we thought.
I can't put that cat through open heart surgery and a pacemaker or whatever. Not for me and my wife to have him around a little longer. If we get the call tomorrow, after the radiology folks have a look, and it is really that bad, it is time for Rocket to go on. I don't want to watch him suffer and be paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life, not because I can't let him go.
The day we moved into this house, we were standing in one of the empty bedrooms imagining the office it would make when we heard the mews of a kitty, and both instantly knew what that sound was. We went out on the porch and there, under the old dishwasher the previous resident left behind, was a tiny skinny flea infested orange tabby kitten. Pitiful he was. A poor little baby and his mommy was nowhere in sight. His dice were tossed and his future cast, we took him in and dipped him in Dawn and killed the fleas and watched him bounce off everything in sight in the house. Rocket, that had to be his name.
Now, this blood clot thing is apparently not that rare. Cats don't show the symptoms of heart disease like a dog, or a human. They just die, suddenly, or become paralyzed. No warning, no tests to find this, nothing to do but pick up the pieces.
So here we are. I never took pets, I can't bear to part with something I love, but my wife is the pet lady. The cat lady, big time. Now my heart is broken and I'm going up to that clinic to bring him home tomorrow, and the chips will fall where they may. He may last a while, or he may be that poor little helpless kitten he was when we found him, and have to be taken care of.
If that is my choice, as the man, I will do what needs to be done.
Come home RockHead, I'll see you tomorrow my son:
I will always remember taking this photo of him several years ago, clearly a male cat and without a care in the world.
You have my sympathies. I hope he has an amazing recovery. If not, know you gave the little guy a great home with a loving family.
Lovely kitty. Wish I could rub his tummy.
He’s very blessed to have you...and vice versa. Praying for all of you.
What a beautiful cat! I’ve been where you are and it’s never easy. When they get to the point where I can honestly say, “They’ll never have a better day than today” because the decline is obvious it’s time. I still miss my “best cat ever” an old abyssinian I said goodbye too in 2001.
We’re needed here.
Here’s hoping your kitty will be OK.
I’m sorry. Losing a friend is just hard.
Prayers and tears for you and your wife and your kitty, whatever the outcome.
I am so sorry to read this. I am a fairly recent convert to being a cat lover but have loved many pets in my days. It is a difficult time in your life now. You must take comfort in knowing that you can do what is best for the little guy. He will need you now more than ever. It is a kindness to be able to alleviate his suffering. Rocket was a gift to you and you will always remember him, and you will miss him. I have been there with dogs that were my buddy. They don’t understand what has happened to them, but they trust you to help them. Be strong knowing that you will be doing him a great favor, as difficult as it will be.
It's amazing how attached we become...so I can understand the weight on your heart. Kitty-Cat was sick a couple months ago..temp of 104...I had to drag him out of his igloo bed and he didn't flinch. Terrible feeling when you see them like that.
But he recovered with some penicillin...and my first time Doctoring a Cat. My gosh it wears your heart thin waiting....I would have never imagined because the vet said he might not make it. It was a full week before he improved.
I am so sorry your Cat may very well not make it...but I can surely understand what your very heart is dealing with....it's just a very very sad thing to endure.
I feel for you.
I lost my black and white tuxedo 2 years ago on april 4th. He was 16. My sweetie. Found him as a starveling outside a restaurant. He was so close to death even the fleas had left him. Brought him home, fed him and gave him vitamins. He grew to a humonguous 20lb tom cat that was all muscle and no fat. He was huge!
When he turned 16, we thought he’d had a stroke. He started acting funny and had a balance problem. And one of his eyes clouded up. Took him to the vet. She said it was either a stroke or a tumor/mass of some kind. Offered tests to see which. Decided at 16 it wouldn’t make any difference. If it was a stroke he’d either live or not. If it was a tumor it would spread and we’d eventually have to put him down. He adapted to the loss of vision in one eye and resumed his busy schedule of eating, sleeping and sleeping on the windowsill in the sun!
Sadly it was a tumor. It spread to his throat and he started to have trouble swallowing. I pureed his food and babied him. He didn’t appear to be hurting, just not himself. When he looked like he might have trouble breathing we had to say goodbye. He’s buried behind my parents barn in the country where he can chase all the field mice and bunnies he could ever want!
I still miss him.
Prayers and sympathies for you both.
My father “changed” as a result of testosterone reduction therapy as a part of treatment for prostate cancer. He became very sensitive about his kitties. One day, his beloved, Winston... well same thing you described. He came dragging himself into Dad’s office. The whole thing was heartwrenching as you know. We tried... we tried so hard, but poor Winnie died at the vet on a Heparin IV. It broke my dad’s heart... although we had cats all through my life... he was never as attached to a cat as Winnie... how Winnie had dad “trained” to get up in the middle of the night and let him out or fill the cat dish... by walking into the bedroom and reaching up with his “hooks” from the floor beside the bed (always on Dad’s side) looking for tender arm or leg flesh to awaken the staff to tend to his needs... The Dad of my childhood would have thrown the cat outside Fred Flintstone style every night... but Prostate Cancer Treatment Dad found it endearing... Dad made a special perch for Winston in his office to sit and keep an eye on things coming and going through the front window... loved Winnie for growling when he didn’t want what we called “F.A.”(forced affection).
Winnie grew up in that house... we still have the video of his earliest years... running around, playing, a wide-eyed kitten, discovering the world.
Needless to say I understand your loss... if Dad were on FR... I am sure he would offer his experience firsthand... but he is not. I do have a photo of Win-Win Dad sent me right before I came home from Illinois for Thanksgiving... Winnie was on my old bed... and Dad captioned the text “Whadda ya mean, ‘move’?”... but my days of putting pictures up on the web are long gone when the one free file-hosting service I used packed it in.
Such a moving testimony to a cat who is obviously very Special. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. Your Rocket is obviously a terrific cat, and you’re lucky to have him. But it sounds to me like he has been equally lucky to have such loving owners.
Just one thought: I don’t know if you plan to let him go at the vet’s office (if that is what you decide should be done) or bring him home first. I will say that if it needs to be done, it really is best to let the vet do the job. The reason for this is that if they already have an IV in, they can just add the drugs, and the cats never feel a thing. They just slip off to kitty Valhalla to wait for you. I have had the misfortune to have had to put several cats to sleep in the last few years ... and I have discovered that the most peaceful and apparently painless way is to just have the vet add the necessary drugs to an IV that is already in place.
I am so sorry. I will add Rocket to my prayers tonight.
I am so sorry, praying for you all including Rocket.
If it should be that I grow weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this last battle cannot be won.
You will be sad, I understand.
Dont let your grief then stay your hand.
For this day, more than all the rest,
Your love for me must stand the test.
Weve had so many happy years.
What is to come can hold no fears.
Youd not want me to suffer so;
The time has come please let me go.
Take me where my need theyll tend,
And please stay with me till the end.
Hold me firm and speak to me,
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time that you will see
The kindness that you did for me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering Ive been saved.
Please do not grieve it must be you
Who had this painful thing to do.
Weve been so close, we two, these years;
Dont let your heart hold back its tears.
- Anonymous -
Rocket cat sure looks like a good one. Praying for the little fellow.
I wish for his full recovery from this dreadful condition. If G-d cannot grant that, then I wish for the remainder of his life to be painless and not a burden for him.
I have just come back from a Holocaust Remembrance program at my synagogue. I thought I was all cried out tonight, and then I read this.
#1, You have my prayers for your kitteh.
#2, I’ve never heard of a blood clot in the aorta of all places splitting in two and going to do damage down the road where arteries are thinner.
#3 Muscle tissue and the lot are possible of re-growing unlike brain tissue (see Biden) so if they get the blood flowing again AND there isn’t any necrosis or gangrene, kitteh may be slower but you’ll love him the same or more.
#4, You have my utmost sympathy.
Please keep us posted. Rocket may fly again.
Oh yeah, almost forgot. How well do you trust this vet? I took my Persian (I loved that cat) to the equivalent of a Mexican cancer cure center, they took one look at me and knew I would pay whatever it took to get her back (which actually happened by nothing the vet did and she lived 10 years longer) and it cost me a fortune. When I found an excellent vet, when I transferred the records, the notes said that my 5 pound Persian was a ‘bad’ cat and she had been declawed (not by me).
Rest in the comfort of knowing you did all you could to help him and that the life you have given him is one that he may never have had had you not found him when you did. Chuck, I really hope and pray Rocket has a miraculous and amazing recovery and many more happy years to live with you and that the Lord gives y'all the grace to endure whatever happens. Let us know, kai?
OMG!!! My cat could have been your cat’s twin. I’ll certainly ask St. Francis to put in a good word for him. If he does pass my Bubba will keep him company in Kitty heaven.
My prayers are with you, your wife and your kitteh. I pray that if she will suffer, you will do what will be needed with a heavy heart. I am about to lose my oldest,16yo. My son sent her to me via air when he joined the Marines. She’s gotten me through so much, as I am sure you kitteh has for you. May God Bless you all! You’ll see kitteh at the Rainbow Bridge!
I love how relaxed your boy is in that picture! Truly a well-tended master to his human staff, LOL.
Praying for a miracle of course. But if not, that you are comforted with the knowledge he had a wonderful life, & couldn’t have asked for better.
Rocket and your family will be in our prayers
I am sorry to hear this. Going through issues suddenly with two of ours. One is 17 years old. A loving Tabby of course and the other a young pixie bob. They are family like yours. I hope it works out. Take care.
I suffered the very sad loss of my Russian Blue named Bessie, her symptoms were very similar, the vet said she died of butulism.
It wasn’t. She had been bitten by a cattle tick!
I sympathize with you, most sincerely.
Since pets usually have shorter lives than us, the end of loving a pet will always be a broken heart.
Our prayers are with you. I had a great big orange cat just like yours, sweetest cats in the world...
Confucious (Fucia) was barely three years old, a series of small things (misdiagnosed) and others, all of a sudden she couldn't walk straight, couldn't jump to her recliner, and one eye pupil was significantly different size than the other.
We took her to a larger animal hospital within the hour (being on Sunday, the regular vet was not available), they knew something’s wrong but didn't know what. By evening, she would be temporarily paralyzed (both front legs stretch straight out, whole body went rigid) and cried. Backe to see the ‘new’ vet and they suggested a specialist.
So Sunday night at 11 pm, we went to see the specialist. By now we feared the worst as Fucia clearly was not doing well. We kept asking the specialist if she was suffering, and about her prognosis. A few tests later, he told us some (things) affecting inside her brain, and recommended UPenn Vet for ER neurosurgeon.
We opted to take Fucia home (her stiffening happening every 5 - 10 min now), made her a bed on the floor to keep her as comfortable as possible. Then both of us exhausted got some shut eye.
About three hours later, my better half went to check on her and I fully expected to be told Fucia passed away during the night. She was weak, but more alert, gone are the paralysis (!!). Whatever toxins or parasites in her brain simply ran its course. I couldn't believe it.
From that point on, Fucia made a slow but steady recovery. Took a few weeks before she finally was able to jump to her special chair. One thing in her favor was her relatively young age.
Now seven years later, you couldn't even tell she was THAT close to be put down. It still wringed my heart to think about it. Fucia still had her quirks, but that was a whole different story.
My long winded story is to let you know, we thought Fucia was CLEARLY suffering, but cats are mysterious creatures, and God works in mysterious ways. Keep your faith, even if Rocket does not recover fully, we hear so many cats live unusual lives and their love never change. And we love our special friend the more for it.
Cats are amazing creatures.They become your best friends, and they really do have nine lives when they are ill.
I will be praying for your beautiful boy and your family. I’ll make my kitty pray for yours as well. I think kitty to kitty prayers will be heard by Ceiling cat. Ceiling Cat must love the way you are doing everything for your fur baby
Sorry to hear about your fuzzy pal. The picture is priceless.
Great story (happy ending is always awesome) and it sounds like what happened to my Persian except you went to a vet that might have actually attended a veterinary school.
I’ve owned numerous cats and that pose means two things (pic is gone for some reason).
#1) They want you to pet them because they love you and belly rubs are awesome.
#2) Kitteh’s brain has done its normal switch from cute and cuddly to killing machine and that pose is to draw you in. They use their back legs to try to disembowel you (good things kittehs didn’t take anatomy) and their front paws and teeth to bite and scratch you. I’ve got an Alpha cat that if you overstimulate him by petting him (he even head butts you but this is possibly a diversion) once that switch is thrown, getting a ten pound killing machine off you is harder than it seems and both off my arms look like I went wild with a Ginsu knife.
Luckily, they only stay that way for a minute or two or going to sleep might be rather unnerving.
And I love that cat big time.
How is Rocket doing? More prayers sent.
BTW, a friend gave me some excellent advice after my veterinary run-in with Dr. Mengele. Unless it’s visible damage (broken bone), wait 24 hours until you go to the vet.
Obviously use judgement here before implementing the 24 hour rule.
This post made me grab a tissue. I’ll be praying for you, your wife, and that beautiful little tiger of yours.
I had a big tomcat who suffered a stroke at the age of 14; there was just nothing to be done, and he had to be put to sleep. It’s one of the hardest things in the world, but IF it comes to that, you’ll always know that you gave that cat a happy, well-loved life.
Praying Rocket will get well.
I am so sorry for your heartache. I know what you are going through. It is very hard to let them go, but having them suffer or have no quality of life outweighs any grief we will have. I believe with my whole heart they will be there in Heaven waiting for us....and I also believe think they come back as Angels .... at least in my experience. Again, so sorry for you and your wife and most of all for Rocket kitty...
So sorry to hear about this. Hope he recovers.
Mine is female, but I have an orange tabby whom I often find in more or less the same position Rocket is in your pic. Sometimes if I’m lucky I can get in three strokes on her belly before she takes a swipe at me!
Sorry bro. Cats are important to the family. They become family.
Thank you everyone for your support and sympathy. I wish I had good news.
Just when Rocket seemed to be improving and regaining use of his back legs, some more of that clot apparently came loose and lodged in his brain. Susan and I had just enough time to make it to the clinic to find him convulsing, and Dr. Lisa had to send him on.
It is always hard to say goodbye, but like with our calico she was old and we watched her decline until it was time to set her free from the pain of old age and kidney failure. With Rocket it was just so sudden. He was only about 7-1/2 years old, and seemed to be in fine health three days ago. I didn’t even get to bring him home one last time once he started his circuit of vet clinics Sunday evening.
It is over, he is gone, and life goes on. Goodbye dear friend, I’ll miss your head butts and trilling meow. You were a good kid.
I’m so sorry. Hugs to you and your wife.
EXCEPT in the case of our friend, West Texas Chuck's Rocket. With what he came down with, Saddle Thrombosis, it is critical that cats get immediate medical attention at the first sign of back extremity paralysis. According to the few websites I researched, this condition only happens to cats and it is caused by a blood clot that cuts off circulation to the back legs. It causes extreme pain for the poor dears and even though cats are known as great stoics who rarely signal they are sick (survival instinct) they cry out in pain. The faster they can get treatment (blood thinners and pain control) the better but usually the damage is permanent and euthanasia is the only option for most of them. I had never heard of this before seeing Chuck's post but it is a good things to know about for those of us blessed to have kittehs in our lives.
Chuck, I have been praying for Rocket and you and your wife. You have many FRiends here who will do all we can to lift you up and comfort you.
I hope you are comforted in knowing you did everything you could for Rocket and that what he got was something most kittehs don't recover from and euthanasia is the only option for them. Those of us who have faced losing our sweeties in the past share in your grief with you.
Apparently, Rocket did have heart problems, but they never showed up until the catastrophic event late Saturday or early Sunday.
All 3 vets told me the same thing, it is almost impossible to detect in felines. No cough, no murmur, just a sudden and usually fatal event. I have to hand it to all three, Dr. Triplett at the Emergency Clinic, our Dr. Carter at Springhill Vet Clinic and Dr. Thompson at the Center for Veterinary Specialty Care. Each was very sensitive to our feelings but steadfastly realistic about what we were likely facing. Each was professional and caring, and sorry there was not more to be done.
Rumor has it there may be some experimental testing in the near future that would have shown Rocket’s heart disease, but for now it hides in a very effective manner. If I was a rich man, I’d find a university somewhere interested in researching this and give them an endowment, but that is not the reality.
Doc Carter says he has seen this sort of trauma in about one percent of cats he comes in contact with. That may sound like a small number but that is a lot of animals. Susan and I are sad, we are faced with the fact Rocket is dead. Not sleeping, not missing, he is no longer here and won’t be back.
That is harsh, but that is the life of an animal lover.
I grieve for your loss.
I sure wish you had good news but if you believe in God, Rocket is there with him. I choose to believe this, backed up with some Biblical verses. I asked my Pastor this same question a long time ago and he seemed to think they are there as well. I’ve yet to find a verse that says we get them back but being with their creator is a wonderful thing. I’m of a mind that God put them here so we would have some tiny inkling of the love he feels for us, warts and all.
My prayers are for you, your family and for Rocket’s last journey.
Damn it all, this breaks my heart. You did the right thing and that’s all that counts.
Head butts are awesome, I can’t help but smile when they do it, it’s a privilege and if you look into your kitteh’s or doggie’s eyes, there’s definitely a high intelligence looking back at you. I’ve got one cat that I swear is analyzing everything she sees like most humans do. I don’t know why, but God has delivered numerous kittehs to my doorstep over thirty or more years. Even one that climbed to the second floor. They’re a gift of life and God has chosen you to be their caretaker although they could be our caretaker for all I know?
If you’ve never experienced infinite, unwavering love, undeserved, then you’ve never had an animal. And by undeserved I’m not saying you’re a bad person undeserving of love but animals know when people are ‘off’ even when you first meet them. The love only grows from there. My animals are family members second only to my wife.
I wish you and your family all the best.
I agree with what you’ve written 100%.
If your kitteh or doggie is lethargic and sneezing, it’s probably a cold (use common sense and if in doubt, get to the best vet you can afford). Anything that looks neurological (paralysis, unequal pupils, seizures) or blood in urine or stool or is unresponsive, get them to a vet as soon as humanly possible.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a vet you can trust, research is your friend as well as asking your animal loving friends who they use. Much like the joke about Doctors (what do you call the person in last place at medical school? Doctor), it applies to vets as well. Find this out before you ever need them in an emergency. My bad experience with a vet was because I’d only previously used them for vaccinations. When my prized Persian (to me) head started bobbing up and down like she was having a seizure, I’m sure I broke a few traffic laws getting her to the vet. I drove her blood to the testing facility around midnight and it was a long depressing drive but I wanted the results as quickly as possible. When I called the vet the next day the second they opened and she was still alive and better, I can’t explain the emotion (and I have no emotions) but it was powerful. Man, I miss that cat.
When the time comes and it always does, be there when the deed is done. Don’t wuss out, they were always there for you, take the last journey together. I was there when both of my parents died and while it was not the exact emotion it was in the same family and at least I didn’t have to sign the order that ended my parent’s lives and I also had the strength of my siblings (and God) to lean on.
The strange thing about death is, despite them being hooked up to a machine that displays heart rate, blood pressure, O2 saturation and respiration, it is obvious the second when the life has ended, I can’t explain it but when an animal human or otherwise dies, it is blindingly obvious that what made them, them, has moved on. I don’t want to trivialize death but when you’ve seen a lot of it, it really is an eye opener how the awesome miracle that is life, is over.
We had a dog, a magnificent animal incredibly intelligent although I don’t know what his pedigree was but he was big like a retriever but buff. He needed emergency surgery and unfortunately, he ended up having Myasthenia gravis as well as the stomach problem which required an extremely expensive medicine. The cost was immaterial but he was dying in front of our eyes, he would throw up many times during the day and the drug for his treatment at that time was only available orally. We had to hydrate him intravenously at first but we were foolish and selfish keeping him alive when he was clearly not getting better. Even as I took him for his last ride he had his ears up and never betrayed the immense pain he must have felt. My wife and I vowed to never let that happen again.
You can always count on your animals; God didn’t make them on a whim.
I don’t know what happened to America in the last fifty years but at the very least, besides being banned from the NFL, Michael Vic should be shunned, not celebrated and that goes for his customers or friends. Dogs will sacrifice their lives to save you and at least my kittehs will wait awhile after I’ve died before they start to eat me and I’m OK with that.
I feel pity for people who don’t like animals. You get a head butt from a kitteh and it’s a wonderful feeling; it’s like they trust you and animals are an excellent judge of character. I’ve had more than one person say that no one could pick up their cat and it made them angry that I was able to scoop them up with no problem. It’s also a good idea to keep their considerable armament neutralized gently; things like folding their front paws and being able to recognize when the kitteh is less than pleased, the ears being back is a good sign.
Oops, it’s feeding time, gotta go.
I am so sorry for your loss.
I’m so sorry for your loss.
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