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Pet Lovers

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28 Nov 2008

Hope this will soothe many of you today, how I wish I had their courage, what wonderful people, that beautiful woman, that beautiful man doing the impossible( or what I would have thought was not possible.) Interestingly, most commenters agree with the couple, this is wonderful.
23 Mar 2008
We all have different opinions about our cats and each one of us also experiences unique situations for each one of our cats. People should judge themselves, and help others, not judge others for making different but well considered decisions. Life is tough enough. Hoping this vet's article will help put things in perspective.
Happy Easter everyone and know that life goes on, each day is a new day and a new opportunity.

Guilt is a four-letter-word (and other musings after an unexpected diabetic death) ::
Yesterday was a rough one. I euthanized three cats (due to FeLV, FIV and a case of complicated diabetes). That’s more than usual. Though all were tearful, morale-crushing events, the last of these held out a silver lining for us to marvel at long after the end of this depressing day.

Meesy was a beautiful, undemanding, even-tempered Siamese girl only a decade old. She’d been losing weight over the past few weeks and diabetes had been diagnosed. In spite of the standard diabetic cat protocol, Meesy had suddenly begun to decline rapidly this week. She was no longer responding to the medications and she’d suddenly become seriously weak and dehydrated.

We’d hospitalized her for fluid administration and blood sugar monitoring, hoping to transfer her to an internal medicine specialist in the morning, but her condition had rapidly deteriorated overnight. Once a Siamese with a brash, tuneless voice, Meesy’s cries were now faint, plaintive and pitiful. She was too weak even to swallow food.

Meesy’s owners are pragmatic academic types. They’d been devouring the feline diabetes community website I’d recommended (felinediabetes.com) and had become well versed in the issues surrounding this complex illness. They knew what they’d be up against and their demanding family, work and travel schedule had already weighed heavily on them when deciding how Meesy’s care would be undertaken.

In most cases like this, a family looks at their resources (time, schedules and finances) and often decides not to take on the care of a diabetic. They understand that psychological devotion to their pet and her care is not enough. Their life, work and family schedules must also change—sometimes too dramatically for a family to undertake without life-altering stress.

That’s why guilt is often a huge variable in this equation. Hard-working, heavily-traveling families can’t always change their complex lives on a dime to begin treating a very sick cat, much as they dearly love her—not when the vagaries of a disease process render her care extra-unpredictable. And here’s where guilt wins out and families often reach beyond their means to stem the tide of their loved-one’s decline.

Meesy’s case was by-the-book on the guilt thing. The family tried to reach beyond their limits to start the insulin carefully. But her case was not responding to their ministrations as planned, ad now they’d decided to euthanize her.

Tearfully, they came to the hospital and sat by her cage-side in her final moments. Fatefully, though, they could not bring themselves to have the thoroughly good cry they came for. The stray kitten in the cage next door kept reaching out and grabbing hold of their sweaters with her outstretched paws.

In the end, Meesy crossed the Rainbow Bridge and Turkey Sandwich (yes, that’s her name) found her way to a new home. Predictably, however, guilt trailed the owners out the door:

“Do you think we’re bad people for leaving one cat behind and taking another?”

My take? Guilt is a four-letter word. It’s a social human construct which has no place in a veterinary hospital under any cir%%stances where adoption is the end result. I, too, adopted my Sophie Sue not twelve hours after my former Frenchie exited this world. Sometimes connections just happen and we’d be stupid humans to ignore them based on silly impediments like self-flagellating guilt.

Sure, I can understand the pain of loss and the guilt that attends euthanasia in so many cases. But in my book, rescuing a kitten from the daily boredom and confinement of an animal hospital automatically frees you of this self-imposed torment.

5 Dec 2007
I just read this article and I agree that probably the worst for a cat is the lack of activity because my cat ate mostly meaty canned food although he did like his dental diet dry stuff as well but I'm sure he would have been better off if he had exercised a bit more...wish I knew then what I know now.... www.chicagotribune.com/features/chi-cats_tuesdec04,1,5971915.story
For cats, living large can lead to diabetes
Sedentary lifestyles, poor diets blamed

By Jennifer Mann

McClatchy-Tribune newspapers

December 4, 2007

The growing diabetes epidemic is not just hurting humans: It is increasingly afflicting the kitties curled up on our overlarge laps as we have allowed our tabbies to get tubby.

While there is not full agreement as to the causes, experts say the soaring rates of diabetes in the pet population -- and cats in particular -- mimic the reasons it has become epidemic in the people population: increasingly sedentary lifestyles coupled with copious consumption of highly refined foods.

Francis Kallfelz, a professor of veterinary nutrition at Cornell University, confirms that pet obesity is burgeoning.

"The literature shows that there is a huge incidence of overweightness in our pet population that's getting to be a bigger and bigger problem," Kallfelz said.

While there is a debate on the cause of the rise of cat diabetes, one theory gaining traction is that much of the dry cat food is too high in carbohydrates and too low in protein.

University of Missouri-Kansas City biology professor Karen Bame was shocked when she found out her beloved black cat, Rachel, was diabetic.

Her veterinarian explained cats need diets high in protein.

"It sort of blew me away because I teach biochemistry, and I had just gotten through with a lecture with my students about diabetes in people and how they should stay away from proteins," Bame said.

But people and cats have different physiologies. People (and dogs) are omnivores -- they'll eat animals and plants. Cats are carnivores, and, left to their own devices, eat other animals.

Bame switched Rachel from high-carbohydrate kibble to high-protein canned food. Four months after the switch, 15-pound Rachel went from 3 units of insulin a day to 1 1/2 . And she is a much healthier 11 pounds.

Kallfelz, however, disagrees with the premise that high-carb dry food is the culprit.

"I have seen no published evidence to the effect that feeding cats dry foods is a risk factor for diabetes," said Kallfelz.

Kallfelz pointed to a recent study from the Netherlands concluding that indoor confinement and inactivity were the biggest contributors to cat diabetes.

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune
12 Oct 2007
Dear little Felix, Today is the one year anniversary of your death. You enriched our lives, you gave us so much, you lived your life to the fullest, you ignored the bad times and chose the good times, you were the best companion to your brother Yukon and to all your family. You brought us so much joy and comfort. We will never forget you, you live forever in our hearts . Love, Your mom, toonie.
2 May 2007
Yukon late summer 1993-November 2, 2006

Yukon, I miss you like I always knew I’d miss you if I survived you. Yet I wanted to survive you -- you needed me, depended on me and loved me so, I didn’t want you to ever feel any sadness or pain, an impossible wish. Already as you were growing older, I knew that when your time would come, to me, it would be traumatic. Having lost a soulmate cat like you when I was only 13, I knew what that loss would be like, thirty some years later.. I remember telling you last summer: “Yukon, I don’t know if you are my soulmate cat Minou come back to me again in this life or if you are another cat; whoever you are: my previous Minou or just you, you are THE cat that I have loved and will love more than any other, ever.” When I told you this, you seemed to understand and accept it, in fact, it seemed you were replying in your Garfield way:”Well that certainly makes sense to me.” At night, when you slept beside me I would find such comfort in reaching for you, still I was already dreading the day when I would so much miss that, that time is now. Your kind of love was unique.We had a marvelous life together, we were devoted to each other, I raised you with love and you responded in kind. Remember when you were little, I would rock you and sing you lullabies?You were so happy in my arms. .As you grew older you still loved to lay in the easy chair and listen to music, you were always moved by women’s love songs, as if you knew the words and all the feelings there. You were a lady’s man, you always preferred women and you charmed our guests with your rollovers and cute poses. Cute was your specialty.You loved all your family, I could see the affection in your eyes when you looked at them. In my arms, in that rocking chair, you learned to kiss the boys goodnight when dad brought them over to us. Later these teenagers would ask you for a kiss and you would always gracefully put your lips on their cheek. When dad would ask you, you would refuse, this was your way of teasing him, you loved him too but you were way too macho to kiss him!!! You loved your brother Felix, the playmate you first met at the pet shop. We bought Felix along with you and what fun you two kittens had, chasing each other from the basement to the upstairs, running all over inside the house. Felix was good for you, you were such a good boy and Felix would entice you to play, to misbehave, to escape outside along with him and stay up until 2 or 4 a.m. when your bell would wake me ( I had hung an old fashioned bell above the window sill for him to strike at with his paw). Felix never lost his feel for adventure right up until his last days but after 7 years old you had more or less retired to a more quiet house life where your pleasures were sunshine, lots of food, listening to music, lying on my lap or lying around with Felix when he would come in to rest from a hard night’s mousing. As you and Felix grew older you became concerned with each other, like true brothers. Once when you had a coughing spell Felix was so worried about you. When you saw Felix looking ill you became so attentive to him, licking him all over his face as if to say::“ hey what’s wrong, please get better I don’t like this at all .” You and your brother lived happy healthy lives, but as you both reached your thirteenth birthday, your days of reckoning came around. Felix broke our hearts first, he was more sick than we ever thought.. The vet recommended we put him to sleep. At first, you seemed allright though I noticed you were staying dowstairs every night. Were you waiting to hear Felix come back inside the house or were you mad at me for not having brought Felix back? We should have let you see Felix so that you would have known he would not come back., perhaps this would have helped you. But know that we were zombies ourselves when we just buried him in the backyard.. Ten days later, you became lame and shaky ,couldn’t even stay on all fours, we took you to the vet and they diagnosed diabetes. We then realized that you had hidden this from us for two and a half years, the twitches that you had at first that the other vet missed as a first symptom then the little bit of weight loss and a little less agility that we thought were because of your age. We started treating you with yucky oral meds twice a day , were told you had to change your eating habits, follow a weight loss diet and would likely need insulin unless the oral meds worked. Whenever I looked at you, you were in such pain, you were so unhappy...you miawed and would go looking for Felix despite you lameness. I also realized you were blind at times, this is why you would strike at your water bowl, to feel with your paws where the water level was. You kept to yourself and carried your burden. I honestly could not stand to see you so depressed and so sick . I knew that my work would soon take me away from you for long periods of time, you would be on your own for long days, alone in that big house that once was so busy with Felix and the boys. I decided that your future was too sad, that I would regret putting you through your last years with that quality of life. Perhaps this was because I saw my father live miserably from his illnesses for his last 10 years I had concluded that sometimes, it is worse to keep people alive than to let nature take its course. This was why I made the awful decision has marked my soul. I really thought you wanted me to choose that . You were so despondent. nothing I did had been of any help. I was far from cheerful myself,
I had been sick for a while and with Felix just gone, I was feeling so bleak about the future that I was afraid to get worse because I knew you would then be so lost. So I chose to let you go. I forever broke my own heart at the same time.

Today, it will be six months for you, six months and three weeks for Felix. You are buried with your brother and yesterday I planted two bleeding hearts next to your grave.
I hope that you are having a blast with this new life of yours, I hope that I did the right thing for you, and I am finally starting to accept this new life of mine though I will always feel you are missing from it, you were such a big part of what has been, It’s true that we are forever changed. There is always a silver lining they say; I know that like Radgirl, I have so much more sympathy for those who grieve. I think it has made me more gentle and less quick to react in anger about things that go wrong. Now I live with the hope that someday, somehow we will be together again. You will get to know all the new people and animals that will have come in my life and you will do the same with your new friends and family and we will have quickly forgetten all the misery that we had to go through before getting there. Yukon, Felix , you have made my life so much richer than it would have been had I not known you and loved you the way I did. Today will be beautiful, despite the anniversary ,because I must celebrate that I was so blessed to have known you and that you have left your mark on my heart and soul. My love goes to you my soulmate Yukon and to my beautiful Felix as well, so happy that we have had the joy of knowing such love. Bless all of you who know the feeling.
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