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One thousand posts and counting

One thousand posts and counting

This post is the 1000th entry on Y Ceffyl Du. It’s only taken seven years to get here. I’ve blogged the tales and tribulations of four cats, five horses, and major events in my life. Here’s to Isis, Basette, Stella, and Ambush, who have passed and are missed. Their antics and memories are chronicled here.

Here’s to Rajiyyah, Logan, Kasane, and Prize, two still in my life and two with other people who love them dearly. And Kiesha, the only furrball left of the original four.

It’s amazing to think that I’ve stuck with this blog enough time to last seven years and 1000 posts.

Pretty neat.

Seven years later…

Seven years later…

The first blog post on Ceffyl.net was on April 11, 2004. At that time, I had two horses (Isis and Logan) and four cats (Basette, Ambush, Stella, and Kiesha). Seven years later, I have only one kitty and three horses.

I started this blog as an outlet for dealing with the medical issues my cats and horse had. Basette, my sweet little black cat, was a diabetic who never responded to insulin treatment. She was a courageous loving cat who never complained even as the diabetes stole her eye sight, coordination, and eventually dulled her mind. A few years later, my same vet who struggled with finding a treatment Basette would respond to, diagnosed Ambush with diabetes. My yin-yang cases: the black cat whose diabetes was never controlled and the white cat who immediately responded to treatment and lived several years after the initial diagnosis. Ambush died just over a year ago from complications from the diabetes.

The two constant characters on this blog have been Isis and Stella. Isis turned 18 this past March. She has survived medical conditions that have killed other horses: laminitis, EPM, and colic. She has been the Miracle Mare (and may she remain so). Dear little Stella passed away this past December, after a long life of 21 years. She died from old age and was playful and happy up until the last day or so she was alive.

Kiesha is the only kitty still with me. At 14, she was the youngster. She has thyroid problems but it is relatively easily controlled. She has turned into an aggressive cuddle-cat and does her best to make demands equivalent to having four cats in the house.

Seven years and almost 1000 posts on this blog. Most of them written to catalog what happened with the horses and the cats, as a way of helping me preserve my own sanity. I’ve also used the blog to share details and pictures to my vets. I also hope that some of the topics I’ve written about will help others learn from what happened to my animals.

I also have a few techy-geeky posts, Open Office procedures, and archaeology-related posts. I have gotten a few thank-yous for my Open Office procedure. Every time, these posts make my day.

Thank you for sharing this continuing journey with me.

Young, Spry Basette

Young, Spry Basette

Basette as a young cat

One of the scanned pictures of Basette; she was seven. This is the Little Black Wonder Cat(tm). See the sparkle in her eye? That sly calculating look? She was purring when I took this photo. She posed for a series of five pictures. Such a photogenic little critter.

I took some of the original pictures to the vet’s along with a poem I wrote (which will be posted later). They were so delighted. The staff took the printed poem and chose a picture. They are going to frame it and put it up along with the photo they chose. Dr. Kris asked me how many pictures she could have. She took two and seemed delighted to have pictures of Basette in her prime.

It felt so good to share some happiness about Basette with other people. It never ceases to amaze me how much she was loved. How much she *IS* loved.

Basette’s ashes

Basette’s ashes

It seemed appropriate to post this picture today since Basette’s ashes have arrived at the vet’s. It was the last picture I took of her, minute before she was put to sleep. It’s painful to see how different she looks. So lost. She wasn’t there any more; her mind had fled the misery her body was in. (Yes, the picture is that small for a reason. Click on the thumbnail for a larger image.)

Basette’s ashes are in a small wooden box. The box is so tiny; seems so slight, like her. I lost it when the vet handed me a blue plastic moulding with impressions of Basette’s front paws. She was so dainty. I always told people that her paws were the size of my thumbs, and sure enough, my thumbs fit perfectly into the paw prints.

I’ll include a photo of it later, when I can type without crying.

One Last Purr

One Last Purr

Basette

Basette purred when I picked her up during the consultation with her vet this morning. We spoke candidly about the Little Black Wonder Cat(tm): treatment options, outlook, and chances for Basette to have a normal life. She had received regular fluids to flush toxins (side effect of the kidney disease). Her glucose levels, usually stabilized by her healthy eating habits, were spiking and dropping. She didn’t feel because she wasn’t consistently interested in eating. In fact, Basette’s illnesses might never be enough under control so she could come home.

While Dr. Kris and I spoke, we watched Basette walk. She took a few wobbly steps, stopped, and then walked slowly ahead — straight into a wall with a solid thud. After the second time wall-thud, I picked her up again. At first she purred, then squirmed to be put down (and she walked into walls again).

I sat with her for several hours. The vet and I both loved on Basette. The Little Black Wonder Cat(tm) seemed confused, only partially lucid, and in mild pain. I knew it was time, and told the vet so. She nodded, agreed that we had tried everything.

Basette was taken around to the staff so they could say good bye. The vet also spent some time with her. They brought her back in and placed her on a soft lambswool bed. They gave her the first shot so she fell asleep. Her head gradually lowered, eyelids half-closed, and nose buried in the wool. I crossed her legs in front of her, placed her head on them–a posture she frequently used when asleep. I petted her the entire time. They left me alone with Basette for a while, and I said my good byes to a very dear friend.

After a few minutes, Dr Kris came back in and gave Basette the second shot. Slowly, Basette’s breathing stilled and the Little Black Wonder Cat(tm) left this world.

I know in my heart we did the right thing. It doesn’t make it any easier. Every possible route to help her feel better had been explored. I firmly believe that to have kept trying would only have been torturing her.

It is a glorious humid east Tennessee day.

The Little Black Wonder Cat(tm) has made the final trip home. She will be missed by many people.

Especially me.

Sleep well, little Bast.

Visit with Basette

Visit with Basette

Basette

I visited with Basette for 1.5 hours today.

When I first got there, she purred, stood up in her cage, and walked over to me. Purring so loudly. So happy to see me. She seemed better at first. She cuddled under my chin, purred contentedly. After about 20 minutes, she became uncomfortable and squirmed to be put down. She walked around on the floor a few steps, stop, and wobble on her back legs. She took a few more steps. She didn’t turn her head when I called to her.

I picked her up again. She wasn’t comfortable being held: her tail flicked against me the entire time I held her. Setting her down on the floor, I curled up next to her, petting her lightly. She moved away from touch, which broke my heart. She was always a cuddle kitty. She had never moved away from contact like that.

After a while, the vet came in and talked to me about Basette’s status. My regular vet was off, so I met with another vet at the clinic. He’s been treating Basette when my regular vet is off. Basette had become hypersensitive to the insulin doses, and her glucose levels were dropping sharply and spiking because her eating (which helps regulate gluclose levels) was eradict. My heart sunk in my throat as he explained things.

I knew then that even if she did recover from this episode, the Basette I’ve loved for 14 years really wasn’t around any more. She seemed to have moments of lucidity while I sat with her. When she recognized my voice, she purred; when she didn’t she walked around a little, confused.

My poor kitten. She has been through so much. I don’t think I can put her through much more.

I’ve made an appointment to discuss options with my regular vet tomorrow morning. I’m not sure how things will go. Well, I do. In my heart, I know what needs to be done.

Basette update

Basette update

Quick note: the vet called this morning. Basette hasn’t improved. My regular vet wasn’t in today, so she asked another vet to call me. Her glucose levels had dipped low again last night, so she is still responding to the insulin.

I’ll post again after I visit Basette.

Bad news

Bad news

Basette

Basette spent the day at the vet’s for monitoring. We’d hoped that she would continue to improve Wednesday after bouncing back so thoroughly on Tuesday.

The vet called me this morning. In a long voicemail message, she said that Basette looked worse: lethargic, not interested in eating/drinking, didn’t want to walk around, and generally feeling blah. Why would Basette be worse when her glucose levels were lower and seemed to be finally under control? Just to be safe, we decided to run another blood panel to check kidney and liver functions.

The next voicemail a few hours later was very short. I had a dreadful feeling when I returned her call. The two items that show the kidney is functioning properly (BUN and creatinine) were 2-3 times the normal levels. Basette was diagnosed with renal failure.

We aren’t sure when the kidney disease came up. Basette’s last blood panel in February didn’t show any indications of kidney disease, so it must have developed within the last four months. The symptoms of kidney disease, like excessive water consumption and urination, are similar to diabetes. It’s very possible that the diabetes masked any kidney problems.

To further complicate matters, a diabetes maintenance diet is high in protein and low in carbohydrates and sugar (think low carb diet for cats); renal (kidney) failure diet requires low protein. Treatment options we might have had for diabetes are now much more complex because of the kidney problems.

Prior to the bloodwork, the vet’s outlook was guardedly optimistic, and now it’s not optimistic at all. Things aren’t looking good for Basette. The vet really isn’t sure if Basette will even return to an acceptable quality of life.

I’m going to visit Basette tomorrow. Maybe a pep talk, but right now I don’t know. Poor sweet kitten. She has been through so much.

Basette update

Basette update

The vet called this morning with some good news! Basette’s morning glucose was 405 (much lower then the prior day’s 500+), and her lunch-time glucose was 339. She’s edging back towards a normal glucose level finally.

The best news was that Basette was up and walking around the clinic. Not just a step or two — but the entire circumference of the back room. Her change in activity says more to me than the glucose numbers.

Truly a Little Black Wonder Cat(tm).

Bounce-back Basette

Bounce-back Basette

Basette

Every other day with Basette has paled in comparison with today.

When I took her in to the vet’s this morning, I fully expected to face a horrible decision. She wasn’t comfortable, and I did not want her to suffer. It’s a sad considering saying good bye to an animal you love dearly. How do you prepare? How do you know when it’s time to let her go instead of trying just one more treatment option?

I was in tears when I dropped Basette off. The vet told me to breathe and calm down. She held Basette for a few minutes, cuddled her, noted that the Little Black Wonder Cat(tm) wasn’t full-throated purring, and that she had trouble standing. The vet smiled patiently, gave me a hug when I started crying again, and reassured that she would do everything she could for Basette.

My bestfriend called me after I left the vet’s office to make sure I was doing okay. She knew how upset I’d been the night before with Basette. She even offered to come out and sit with me all night if I needed someone here with me. (She is such an awesome friend. She knows I’d do the same for her if her kitty was sick, or if she just needed someone there, for whatever reason.)

Dr. Kris called in the early afternoon. Basette’s morning glucose was over 500, and by the afternoon it was was down to 420, so the fast-acting insulin had some effect. Basette was resting, but didn’t seem to have much change. She had been given some fluids.

More waiting… Ever try to focus on work when someone you love is in the hospital? This felt about the same.

Midafternoon and another call. Not much change. However, Basette was drinking and eating a little.

Finally, a few minutes before the clinic closed, I called Dr. Kris and asked for one last update. Basette not only responded well to the fast-acting insulin–her glucose levels had dropped to 128! Dr. Kris was guardedly optmistic. Basette will stay in her kitty condo at the clinic overnight, possibly most of tomorrow too.

Thank you to Basette’s friends and the ladies at work who prayed for Basette (and for me). Every little bit helps, and it sure made a minor miracle happen today.

Go, Little Black Wonder Cat(tm)! Keep on fightin’, kitten. I’m routing for you.

Wondering about the little black cat

Wondering about the little black cat

Basette

After several days of feeling spry, Basette went back to the vet’s today to have her glucose checked. It was above 500 again. Her insulin dose has been increased two units, and she’ll return after a week for a checkup.

Some days it seems to be touch-and-go with Basette. She has a good day, and then an evening when it seems like her energy is gone and she just looks bone tired. It’s days like that when I wonder if she will tell me when she has had enough and she wants to be released from this life. Will I have the strength to grant her that?

She has been through so much. I don’t want to say good bye to my companion of 14 years. How do you say good bye to a kitty who inspired affection by scraping her claws down the wall (fingernails down a chalkboard sound) to gain attention? Or a kitty who rides on your lap in the car, purring?

Truth is, I don’t want to ever face a decision like that with her. Heck, I don’t think anyone really does. However, it would be better to let her go then to have her suffer, especially if the diabetes progresses to the point where she isn’t recovering. I want her to be as comfortable as possible for the time she has left.

Of all of my kitties, Basette is my favorite. She’s no longer the vicious mouser. However, she is still the purr-box. She still tries to walk into the refrigerator when I make breakfast. She still purrs and mrows for her morning treats.

May she always purr. The day she doesn’t will be a real clue.

Nastiness on the teeth

Nastiness on the teeth

Basette

Basette is back from the vet’s and has had her teeth cleaned. Apparently, they were really nasty. Not surprising, considering she has never had her teeth cleaned (bad Mommy!). I actually never knew cats were supposed to have regular dental cleanings until recently.

Basette grew up as a vicious mouser in the barn. She lost a third of her front teeth from chomping on rats, mice, rabbits, birds, and whatever else was slower than her.

Bouncin’ with Basette

Bouncin’ with Basette

Basette

Basette could drive someone (like her caretaker or vet) to being giddy and depressed on alternating days. For a while after the antibiotic treatment with Clavamox, she responded well to the insulin. Little by little, however, her glucose levels crept back up and over 500. It has seemed like every option has only provided a temporary solution which lasts, at most, two weeks.

My vet just came up with a suggestion: what if Basette was responding because we cleared up an infection? Maybe that infection wasn’t caused from a urinary tract infection but from a bacteria that lived some place else — like her teeth? Definitely worth a shot!

Basette will have her teeth cleaned and then we’ll start her on another round of two weeks on Clavamox with a slightly lower insulin dose.

Here’s hoping!

Doin’ the Basette Boogie 2

Doin’ the Basette Boogie 2

Basette

Some times miracles never cease to amaze! This might be overly optimistic, but Basette’s glucose was much lower today. She is actually responding to the insulin at long last. This morning when I took her into the vet’s, her glucose level was 444. This afternoon, her glucose was 290. Finally below 300! Party on, Garth!

Unfortunately, a second exam of her retinas confirms that they are detached, and one eye has had a little bleeding.

When I came to the clinic to pick “Basetters” up, several of the vet techs were quite excited about the Little Black Wonder Cat(tm)’s glucose levels. They all said their good-byes while Basette purred her content with the attention.

Basette’s eyes are also responding to light now. When she is in bright sunlight, her pupils respond to the light and shrink. Maybe this is good news for her retinas? Maybe they will heal?

Super trooper kitty

Super trooper kitty

Basette

Some good news, and some bad news.

Good news: Basette’s insulin dose is having some effects and appears to be helping her. She is feeling better and has been up and around more.

Bad news: She has lost more of her vision.

This morning I sat and watched her before going in to work. For 30 minutes, I sat and talked to her watching how she reacts to my voice. How she turns her head in my direction without looking at me. Every time I said her name, she mrowed in her half-purr, half-hoarse meow. She headed towards me, turned once too early and stopped just before walking into a cabinet. She continued out of the kitchen to where I sat, and sat in front of me, facing away from me, purring like an out-board motor.

Basette

I’ve situated things in the kitchen carefully so she can have everything where she needs it, and it won’t be rearranged any time soon. She seems to be adapting to using her other senses very quickly.

Every time I walk into the kitchen she purrs and mrows at me. She can’t see me clearly but she hears my voice and tells me to pet her. She is an amazing little kitty.