HGregory
My soul mate kitty, Bittersweet, died on October 13th of this year and I'm nowhere near recovered from it. I foster cats for a local rescue and two days after my Bittersweet died I got a foster cat named Petey, a one-year old cat with severe behavioral problems but who was otherwise healthy as far as I knew. I've been a veterinary technician for seven years, worked in rescue for ten, including owning my own rescue for several years, a particular interest of mine is working with feral cats, and Petey has been one of my most challenging cats. She was poorly socialized in her previous home and is absolutely terrified of me, so when she first got here she disappeared. I thought I had gone crazy and there was never a cat to begin with. Eventually I found her behind the books on a bookcase. She stayed there for two weeks. When I decided she could handle having more than the one room and let her out of the library she went inside the recliner and stayed there for three days until I took her out. Once I put her in my bedroom and decided she could do whatever she wanted she started improving quickly. She would sit on the bed, let me pet her sometimes, she really started coming around. 

So last week on Monday I woke up and she was tremoring. She jumped off the bed, walked a few steps, then fell over, walked a few steps, fell over. I brought her to work, turns out she has severe heart disease (hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy). I took her home with meds to control her heart rate, but when I pilled her she literally collapsed. Same the next night and the next. Refused to take pills in food or pill pockets. I took her back to work, where she immediately went into respiratory distress and had to be on oxygen for five hours, we retook her chest x-rays and even though it was only three days later now she's in congestive heart failure. I still can't medicate her. I ordered one of her meds in a liquid, can't give it to her, and one in a transdermal gel, and I can't even do that. I'm a technician, this is literally my job, but every time I go anywhere near her she runs under the bed and goes into respiratory distress. She *was* comfortable for a few days on injectable Lasix, but she needs other things as well and right now she won't even come out from under the bed every 12 hours and I have an injury so I can't crawl under there to get her.

When she first started coming around and being friendly everyone was telling me I needed to keep her because she was "sent to me" to help me through losing Bittersweet. I still sleep with Bittersweet's urn and portrait in my bed every night. Petey is so sweet when she's feeling good and when I haven't terrorized her trying to medicate her. She'll get on the bed and lay on my chest and purr. I don't want her to die, she's just a baby, but I don't know if I'm strong enough to keep trying to help her. Even if we get her stable for a while, I know what it's like to watch a pet decline and die from CHF and I don't know if I can do it. 

I'm sorry, I don't even know what kind of comfort I'm looking for. I'm just so upset about being in this situation right after Bittersweet. Of course we never know what's going to happen when we bring a pet into our lives, but it feels so unfair.
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Mistysmama
I am so sorry about how you must feel....sorrow and frustration....and inability to do what you feel in your heart is right, to help her.

But there are two completely different things going on : one your perspective, and two: hers.
She's a feral. It's another "world" to be like that. It says so much that she has been able to make any connection with you at all, no matter how tentative.

The medicating puts her into fear mode. Cats are always like this, and ferals to the nth degree; seventy five per cent of their make-up is that of prey, not a predator. They are always afraid of being prey. Anything that makes them even the slightest bit uneasy or scared throws them right into that "I am prey so I have to get away" mode. They will be so scared they won't even respond to the ones they have known, loved and trusted prior to the incident. It is a fully "wild" response.

It seems that your only realistic hope of medicating her will have to be creative ways to put her medications in with food and/or tasty fluids like gravy or fish stock etc (water probably won't do for disguising medicine.) It doesn't seem feasible that you will be able to give her any injection.

If you can't get her medicine in with food she will willingly eat....or make it flavourable enough that she won't reject it....then it may be that you won't be able to medicate her.
Maybe there still are ways to provide her with medication which can be taken orally? Veterinary medicine is not very geared-up to treating feral animals successfully without placing extreme stress on them. The stress exacerbates the illness. To them, the stress is worse than anything.
Is there any lateral thinking you can do about that?

And when/if you come to the point you can do no more lateral thinking about ways you are able to help her....then there may come a point at which you will have to peacefully accept her ways may shorten her life, and you might be able to do nothing about that.  I know that is going to be unacceptable, and a heartbreaking decision to make if it comes to that point. But you cannot do what you cannot do. (when you've exhausted all options.)

To you, passing away is the worst possible terrible thing that can happen. To her, it is acceptable. No animal likes pain or suffering, but death, when it happens, is readily accepted. That is going to be really hard to take.

I am sorry and hope my words don't sound harsh or unfeeling. I truly hope not but they probably do. I can sense what you must be going through with her. Whatever the outcome please know this: it is not your fault. You have pulled out every stop to help her.
Hold the love like a little light. It is all you have, or will ever have, to find your way home.

Misty's Blog..a Dogfight with Cancer http://www.mistysblog69.blogspot.co.uk

Misty's life after death: http://www.dog2spirit.com
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HGregory
You don't sound harsh at all, you're realistic and I appreciate that. I've worked with feral cats for ten years and the rational part of me knows that there's a limit to what you can do for them. My mother lives with a completely feral cat that, when she brought him indoors, we had a talk about accepting that if he ever gets sick he both can't be treated and can't be allowed to suffer. Thankfully after two injections of Lasix last night Petey seems much more comfortable today and ate well, so hopefully I can start putting medication in her food. Otherwise I'm going to have to continue using injectable Lasix and maintain her on that as best I can. She honestly minds the injections better than anything else so far. I haven't thought of dissolving her pill in tuna juice, but I'll certainly give it a try. I just don't want to lose this little girl. I don't know that I believe she was destined to end up with me to help me cope with losing Bittersweet, but I have gotten very attached to her since she's been here. She's a unique and funny little cat. Not what I would have sought out if I went looking to adopt, but I'm happy to have her.
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Mistysmama
It's very good news that you managed to give her the injection. You must have made such a loving bond with her for her to let you do that. It's great.

Tuna juice is a good idea. Have you ever seen "cat soup"? I am looking after a cat at the moment and she adores that soup. You can usually find it in most supermarkets. It usually comes in tiny mylar-bagged pouches. I think cats love it. I can imagine getting a crushed pill into it might work?? (don't know but worth a try.)
Hold the love like a little light. It is all you have, or will ever have, to find your way home.

Misty's Blog..a Dogfight with Cancer http://www.mistysblog69.blogspot.co.uk

Misty's life after death: http://www.dog2spirit.com
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CK1991
I tend to think there is a purpose for everything and in this case I think that maybe Petey really was meant to be with you. Not for the reasons everyone thought in the beginning. Let me explain please. You had just sadly lost your soulmate Bittersweet and this cat (Petey) has obviously not had a good life so trying to settle her down is, I think, in some ways cathartic. You said she was terrified of you but when she is feeling good she is now drawing comfort and maybe even giving some comfort in return by lying on your chest and purring. It is unfortunate that she has these health problems but the truth we are all going to die someday. That's a given it's just a question of when. So in helping Petey with her medications, challenging as that may be it will give you a sense of purpose and you can have an immense amount of satisfaction from helping Petey. I think she will become more accepting of the meds as she trusts you more. I hope this makes sense. I'm not sure I'm explaining it the way I wish to but from reading your story I actually see a lot of hope. Hope for a cat who may not be able to find that with anyone else and hope for you because you've taken a cat who was traumatized and are giving her love and a secure home maybe for the first time in her life. You know she has CHF and you will have a limited time together but it can be a good time for you both. After just losing Bittersweet it may be too soon for you to take on a pet that would be with you long term so by helping this cat you will have love and her gratitude given to you along with company while you mourn your Bittersweet....but you will also have the satisfaction of knowing you are doing what no one else may be willing to do. Maybe in time you will be ready to look at another pet but the way I see it this may actually be the perfect pet for you right now.
I'm so sorry you lost Bittersweet! I know how much it hurts. Good luck with everything! You are a kind soul. Hugs to you!
CK
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Marie123
I remember hearing about Bittersweet. How awful to have this thrown at you now too!
It sounds like you're doing everything you can for this poor feral kitty. Many people would have just given up by now but not you! Because of you she's in a warm place with good food and lots of love, even though to her it might still be scary.
If you need to get creative with giving her her meds, there's a type of wet cat treats called Hartz Delectables that comes in several flavors in little pouches. Maybe you'll have some luck mixing it in one of those. Mine go absolutely bonkers for them and they're easy to serve. Wal-Mart Amazon and Chewy all carry them and they're reasonably priced.
Just remember, you're giving this kitty love she otherwise wouldn't have had in life. For however long or short a time, that's a beautiful thing to do!
Blessings 🐱🐺❤
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