Saturday, October 02, 2010


Harley was in such bad shape last night that I did wind up driving him down to Animal Emergency, where they ruled out a blood clot and sent him home with subQ fluids and instructions for me to bring him back if he wasn't eating, drinking, and walking much better this morning.

I slept until ten -- obviously, I'm not at the hospital today! -- and couldn't get him to eat or drink anything when I woke up. I'm not supposed to give him his antibiotics until he's eaten. His gait's a tiny bit better, but not much. I called our vet only to learn that they aren't open today: they're open every other Saturday, and I guess this isn't it. I called Animal ER. The doc we'd seen last night had gone off duty, but another doc told me to give Harley pain meds and take a watch-and-wait attitude: if he wasn't better in a few hours, I should bring him back in.

In the meantime, I talked to my sister, who told me that one of their cats couldn't walk right for two weeks after an injection hit a nerve. My sister's vet said this isn't unusual.

So I gave him the pain meds. He's asleep right now, wedged between the toilet and the sink in our upstairs bathroom. He's been seeking out cool, smooth places during this ordeal, but cramming himself into tiny nooks that don't seem at all comfortable to me. My instinct is that sleep's the best thing for him, and to let him alone, even though he still, as far as I know, hasn't had anything to eat or drink. (I've offered him wet food, water, and a "broth" of water and dry food -- as per the helpful comment on my last post -- but he has no interest in any of it. I may try to tempt him with some tuna juice later.)

I know cats go downhill really quickly when they're dehydrated, especially with underlying kidney issues. I know his kidneys could be deteriorating as we speak. I also know that going back to the hospital would be inexpressibly traumatic for him, and that can't help his kidneys or anything else, can it?

When Gary and I moved to NV from NJ, we had our three cats shipped by air. The youngest was so freaked out by the journey that he climbed on top of the kitchen cabinets and lay there panting, refusing food and liquid, for days. He was fine afterwards, but he was a much younger cat without underlying organ issues.

On top of everything else, I have a non-negotiable speaking engagement in a few hours. I was supposed to attend a banquet afterwards, but I think I'm going to skip the banquet and instead come home to see how Harley's doing. If there's been no improvement by tonight, I don't know what I'll do. I'll be as torn about it then as I am now. The Animal ER people will want me to take him back down there. I don't want to have to do that. Please pray for him to be better.

Gary's furious at our vet for not foreseeing any of this, although I know enough about post-surgical complications to suspect that there's no way she could have. I'm furious at myself. Why in the name of all that's holy did I schedule surgery on an elderly, ailing animal on a Friday, right before a weekend crammed with non-negotiable engagements?

Aaaargh. Guilt guilt guilt.


  1. I'll be praying for him.

    Stupid guilt. It's so powerful - I hate it.

  2. guilt isn't good for you, susan.

    while it's good to take responsibility for things, it's not good to let guilt take you over, 'coz it will.

    as for squeezing himself into tight cool spaces, maybe it's his way of applying supportive pressure and an ice pack?

    and face it: he's a cat. cats don't like you to fuss over them and brush their hair back or bring them soup. they like to wedge themselves into a relatively comfortable place and be on their own.

    harley will not care if you go to your speaking engagement and quite frankly he may prefer to have the time to himself.

    they pick up on human stress, and he maybe wants you to get the heck out for a few hours so he can try to nap.

    i am remembering having my boys fixed and how they laid on their backs immobile for days with their legs in the air.

    i am remembering when little zoe was coming to her final days and how she lived a few weeks longer than she might have done simply because in her dying days we let her eat anything she wanted and as much of it as she wanted.

    and all of a sudden her ears perked right up and it is as if she was saying "salmon? avocado? cream cheese? why was i not alerted that these things existed? why am i just learning of them now? why have i been eating rat chow all my life?"

    (because it's nutritionally balanced and keeps your teeth trim, that's why. bon appetit.)

    so anyway. give yourself and everyone a break. you cannot change what's already been done and you know the value already of relax, forgive, move on.

    take a deep breath.

    and we'll all pray.

  3. We will indeed pray....poor little Harley.....all good thoughts and positive vibrations going his way. Post above is right, cats do like to hide away while they are healing. All you can do is provide the necessities and wait it out. We will be thinking of you.

  4. Susan, try unflavored pedialyte, maybe even by the eyedropper full. I think tuna juice might be a bit too concentrated for his kidneys-the pedialyte might be, too, and if he doesn't seem to like it, try it half and half with plain water. I've seen cats perk up wonderfully with pedialyte. Hang in there, he'll most likely be fine once the anesthesia is out of his system.

  5. Anonymous5:53 PM

    the sub Q fluids will hold him for a while, and they can teach you to do it at home.
    ill animals want to hide and be left alone, usually, so he may be happier if you don't handle him too much - watch to see if he is breathing regularly, coo a bit, and then back away. hard, isn't it, when what we want to give is NOT what is wanted or needed by the one we are trying to help!


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