Goodbye old friend

There’s an empty place in the House of Chaos, a Loup-Garou shaped place. Our eldest feline denizen, who has been residing here for 15,5 years, has passed away in the night of 26 to 27 October 2013.

It wasn’t unexpected. Any cat who regularly goes outdoors and faces the dangers en perils thereof doesn’t have the life-expectancy of your average indoor-kitty which can go up to 30 revolutions around the Sun. Yet the Man In White has noticed in the recent past that our senior kitizen has a rather healthy ticker and adequate bellows working inside of him so we weren’t too worried about his imminent demise. Until October 19th that was.

On that day he had his first seizure.

Now, we have had instances in the past year or two when our Lou-Lou would crash into the House of Chaos in real big panic, screaming at the top of his aforementioned still healthy lungs, and panting like crazy. Immediate trips to the MIW resolved in nothing more than “he must have been spooked real hard by something” and some tranquillizers. His tiny heart fluttering like mad, the poor kitty hyperventilating… all because he’s been beaten by a bigger neighbourhood housetiger or a similar scary occurrence. Poor Lou. Growing older wasn’t easy, was it ?

Likewise the deteriorating state of his dentistry did cause the poor dearheart some concerns as he was no longer capable of chewing or biting his way out of a prickly problem, which was how we discovered claw marks on his… tonsils. You read it: way back in his throat he sported an impressive collection of claw marks. And subsequently he had come home in the throes of a panic attack which caused us to race to the MIW again, and of course the marks had gotten inflamed and medicine had to be administered. He must have been in a fight, thinking to bite his opponent’s paw real good an’ hard, and had forgotten his lack of tools to do the biting with. A situation which, when his at that point really happy opponent realized it, quickly turned nasty. Yet he was coping. The good news as far as he was concerned was that with his lack of teeth The Mistress was obliged to dish out the Stinky Goodness for him – much to the chagrin, annoyance and right-out jealousy of the other feline denizens of course !

But yes, he was getting older and the signs were there. He couldn’t jump as well as he used to anymore, having given up to scale the kitchen tops in one go after a few painful missed jumps and now resorting to props like kitchen chairs in order to reach the coveted heights. He could start to walk one direction, stand still suddenly and seeming to reflect on something, then go into another direction as if he had forgotten his original purpose. He could walk over to the food bowl which I had just filled with his special kibbles and then sit there staring at the food as if he had forgotten the use of it (when I would point out to him that it was food by rubbing a piece of it into his nose it would suddenly dawn upon him what to do next and he started to tuck in). We also noticed that Loup-Garou had been getting shockingly thin lately, despite his still vigorous appetite, normal thirst and feisty appearance. His grooming had to be assisted with by the use of brush and nail-clipper. But despite all that he would also still take a walk outside, checking out the latest news, terrorizing the neighbourhood birds and bugs, taking a leak. The dump however was since recently utterly reserved for the litterbox, which has become a permanent fixture near the cat-flap in Grumpy Man’s Den of Chaos ever since we have welcomed the two Coonies in our midst who are still unused to -and still refusing to accept- the concept of the Great Outdoors as the Great Litterbox.

Until that fateful Saturday afternoon when everything suddenly changed. Loup-Garou was lying sleepily on one of the couches when he suddenly sprang down to the floor, circled a few times whilst batting with his right paw against the right side of his face, started panting, laid down on the floor, panted real hard with lots of drool, and then shook. He continued to shake for a minute, during which he didn’t respond to any stimulus, like The Mistress gently prodding him or Rikishi trying out a sneaky swipe (much to his surprise and delight getting away with it without any swift and sharp retribution). But then slowly the panting got less, our old kitty started reacting again to what was happening around him, and his first conscious reaction was to start howling like a banshee. He was really really scared and frightened, his heart racing like mad… like his old scaredy-spells in fact (which causes The Mistress to suspect that he might have been having smaller seizures before – and we had never understood it !). It took 5 minutes of gentle hugging, soothingly muttered endearments and overall petting before he was more or less calm again, but he was apathetic and listless for hours afterwards. Poor baby.

When it happened again the next day The Mistress was ready to film it. We did miss the part of the circling and batting with the paw to the face but got the full shaking/drooling scene, followed by the waking up and howling part. Later that night he had another seizure as well and we decided a trip to the MIW was in order which was the first thing we did on the next morning. The MIW praised the modern convenience of tablets which can record and show things he would else only have had a confused narrated description of – it helps a LOT with diagnosing and is therefore absolutely recommended !!! At watching the images the MIW muttered “a classical brain tumor seizure that one…”. When he subsequently shone a pen-light in Loup-Garou’s eyes he got a confirmation: the right eye dilated a bit, but the left eye not at all. When you add this up with the pawing at the right side of his head it was deducted that he must have a brain tumor in the right hemisphere. And given his age it was untreatable.

Much to our surprise our senior kitizen also suffered from upper respiratory inflammation (the “sniffles” for us simians) which could cause problems given the heavy panting during the seizures. He was prescribed cortizone pills (against swelling of both the airways and the tumor) and antibacteria nosedrops (against his sniffles). His listlessness after a seizure is due to sore muscles from the spasms and shaking. But apart from all that his ticker was still tick-tocking fine, his lungs were still in prime working order, and his appetite was still as good as ever.

During the next week he was given dutifully his meds and suffered from no new seizures at all. The nosedrops were a problem at first: he had to get used to them. But his recent weight loss had also made him a lot weaker so he had no choice and no recourse but the accept the nose drops like a, well, like a fine upstanding senior kitizen should. (Chucky also had to undergo the nose drops but that’s another story entirely.) The pills were administered as part of a chunk of Stinky Goodness, kindly proffered to His Nibs from the very hand of The Mistress Herself. He kept eating well, drinking normally, and going to the litterbox for all his ablutions now – making sure to pee over the border, aiming for the floor. *sigh*

Saturday the 26th the cortisone pills had to be halved in dose. The entire afternoon he spent on the lap of The Mistress, who was reading and meanwhile cuddling the blissfully purring kitty for hours on end until evening set in and she had to get up for dinner and then to bed. That evening Loup-Garou had a new seizure. Later that night he had another one, even losing control over his bladder during it.
And the next morning he was found in the after-kitchen, seemingly in gentle repose on the floor but it was the Eternal one. He was buried by Grumpy Man next to Frankinneke. And that’s the story of Loup-Garou.

Say hello to Critter from us when you meet her over the Rainbow Bridge old friend… and to your brother Zorro, and Misj-Masj, Franky, Frankette, Frankinneke, Frankeminneke, Frankendrolleke, Frankenschwartz and Gorgor… yes, your tribe awaits her leader.

Picture below: No, I’m not going to show the movie of his seizure. I prefer to remember him as he was in his splendour at the age of 9. Read the rest of this entry »