Posts Tagged ‘Gypsy Rose’

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are times when we, as bloggers, have nothing to say. That is rarely my problem. There are times when we have so much to say, we don’t know where to start. Getting warmer. Or so much to say and we don’t know if we should say it. Bingo.

So my main excuse for not posting is pictured at left.

Gypsy Rose, one of my cats, is not doing well. She has an incurable illness, something in her brain such as cancer, a tumor, etc. that only a $900 – $1800 cat MRI would reveal. We are treating her symptomatically, (as would be the case even if we did have a precise diagnosis, as brain surgery isn’t a viable alternative on a cat, or at least this one), and rather successfully, until recently, when she began to not do so well.

The vet and I are trying an adjustment in her medication to see if that will help her.

Either way, an animal with ups and downs every day is a reminder that we cannot control life and death; we cannot make any being stay longer than it is their time to spend, no matter how good our intentions; it is a reminder that we are human and have engaged in a relationship with an animal who looks to us to always make the right decision for them.

That time has not yet come for little Miss Rose, but I believe if she … and any of my other animals, past and present, could say so, they would say they always felt safest in my hands. Or at least I’d like to think so.

But so as not to be overly serious, (or premature), in what may come in the days, weeks or months ahead, I offer a favorite cat quote in a lighter vein:

The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer.  ~Paula Poundstone

But maybe to the heart of the matter …

The dog may be wonderful prose, but only the cat is poetry.  ~French Proverb

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Claude-UnderDRchair2Now tell me … is the sun really all that much better under the dining room chair?

One of the things we love about dogs is that they are straightforward. Pretty much what you see is what you get. But cats? they trump most animals in the category of inscrutable, the kings and queens of unfathomable motives. With a wide swath of carpet bathed in sunlight this morning, Claude chose to slink himself in between the chair rails and sat there for quite some time. After a bit, he curled up in that spot and fell asleep.

Of course, when he’s a wide open book is when he hears the electronic ignition of the gas stove click because that means cat food might be warming up. In this case, it’s a small breakfast for one of my neighbor’s cats whose day is not started without breakfast chez Jeanne. I also ponder … why, when Claude, for whatever reason, feels a need to throw up, must he make a mad dash to do so on the upstairs wall-to-wall carpeting? Is throwing up anywhere where I could easily clean it up never part of the equation?

Why has drinking water become an occasion for caterwauling at any time of day or night? OK – I might cut him a little slack on this one because he is in the beginning stages of kidney failure, and maybe his kidneys are aching for water? Sounds good, but I doubt it. When I lean down the stairs with a very loud SSSHHHHhhhhhhh! he stops immediately, as if Cher herself, a la Moonstruck, just slapped him and said “Snap out of it!”  My alternative theory is senility. But again … it may just be one of those things that cats do for reasons even they can’t fathom. Lucky for him, he has many other redeeming qualities including being cute as a button.

Gypsy-AtWindow2Now Gypsy Rose never shows her hand in the slightest bit. Whatever she’s thinking? You don’t know until she acts, like when, out of the blue, she just smacks Claude for apparently nothing. And then walks away.

So while he’s being silly under the dining room chair, she simply looks at him with disdain then returns her gaze to her kingdom, (queendom?), on the other side of the window. She has bigger fish to fry, like making our world safe from renegade cats that might walk across the porch. Lucky for them they’re beyond her reach.

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The Spot that Must Be Had

If you have pets or children in the amount of two or more, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. There is an item in your home. It could be a bed, a toy, a bone, a blankie … whatever it is, no one has expressed one iota of interest in it for eons. Suddenly, it becomes THE hot item and everybody must have it. Scuffles, fights, crying ensue … MINE!

Gypsy Rose, above, claiming The Spot for her own.

In the world of my cats, there is a particular bed in a particular spot in my office. No cat has lain there for so long I can’t even remember. I thought of putting it away, but you never know. Suddenly, it is the most desirable spot in my house. If one is on it, the other wants on and vice-versa. There is posturing, some occasional swatting, and that’s it. Usually Claude gives it up to Gypsy Rose. Sound like a familiar scenario?

Easygoing Claude just moves to another spot.

In this case, it’s probably a good thing, because after Gypsy’s last emergency trip to the vet, the dose of prednisone she needed to be on for a month left her quasi-comatose. She ate, went around the house a bit, upstairs to the litter, but was for the most part, a sad lump, and a lump who was gaining more weight which she didn’t need. It worried me; this was no life. After the month, we cut back the dosage to half for the next two weeks. With that, we saw her begin to brighten up. At the end of that two weeks, she gets that dose every other evening. And here’s where it gets tricky.

We, my vet and I, are trying to find the balance between the lowest dose possible she can take and her not having another horrible episode like last time. Her frightening symptoms are caused by inflammation which is in response to something in her brain – very likely cancer, a tumor, etc. So it’s a constant appraisal of how wobbly – or not – she is on her feet. Does her head shake more when she takes her treats from my hands? Such surveillance is not a job I enjoy, but it is how we’re going to keep her going as long as we can.

The bottom line is that Gypsy Rose – also known, BTW, as Bitchy Rose and Miss Bossy Boots – has brightened sufficiently to being back to her old pushy, dominant self. She’s alert and coordinated enough again to be jumping up on the sofa … even the window sill … without falling. I’ve assured Claude that her desiring that spot is actually a good thing. And he seems OK with it.

Me, too.

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Home, Sweet Home

This may not look much like Home, Sweet Home, but to this tired kitty it most surely is.

In what amounted to two sleepless nights and endless stress for mama, it was what looked like a near brush with death for Gypsy Rose. In the morning, she started staggering, falling over and had no focus whatsoever. She was not in control of any of her movements. But by the time I left for the vet, Gypsy was sitting, looking at me as if nothing had happened.  Despite a thorough exam, there’s not much to diagnose if everything checks out normal. Perhaps a petit mal seizure, considering Gypsy had experienced similar neurological issues about 9 months ago.

Back home. About 5 hours later, imagine that episode times 5. Unable to stand, nystagmus (rapid back and forth eye movement), and head shaking, Gypsy no longer recognized me. Panicked, with my vet no longer available, I called a friend who suggested her own vet. My friend, bless her heart, came and got Gypsy and badly shaken me and took us there. Gypsy Rose was admitted with no sure diagnosis. A brain tumor or cancer could not be ruled out.

Unable to sleep, I ran the gamut of possibilities – from finding Gypsy passed over in the night at the vet’s to her showing improvement. I was/am totally unprepared to lose another cat after having lost two in the last 5 months. But I couldn’t know if it was her time to go or not. I prayed for Gypsy’s highest and best and that I would know what to do for her.

This morning, two days later, I was told Gypsy was wobbly, but walking, the nystagmus had stopped, and she had begun to eat and drink on her own. I brought her home with her medications. As to what is really going on with her only an $1800 MRI will definitively diagnose. The vets and I have opted for symptomatic treatment.

Gypsy can’t be left alone too long right now. She walks a bit like a drunken sailor, but made a beeline to the water bowl in the kitchen and drank a good long time. She wanted to go upstairs and be under the daybed. I brought my coffee and the book I’ve been wanting to read for days.

So now, with a soft westerly breeze coming in the window, sunshine and blue sky, I lie about 2′ away from her on the floor, reading. Gypsy Rose has closed her eyes and is purring in her sleep. It’s the music I’ve been needing to hear, and in this moment, all is blissfully well.

Losing a loved animal is to lose a part of one’s heart. She and I have been blessed with another chance.

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