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Hand holding welcomed!

(73 Posts)
BuilderMammy Thu 01-May-14 15:46:38

Our gorgeous old Mittens hurt her leg two weeks ago. Yesterday the vet gave her a general anaesthetic to x-ray it and put it in a cast, because she seems to have torn her achilles tendon.

She came home last night panting really fast; we rang the vet who was concerned but said that she was probably hallucinating due to the drugs; she'd given her a slightly unusual mix due to her age (she's 10).

She cried a lot during the night, and this morning was still immobile. Her legs were all completely stiff, we couldn't flex them at all and she couldn't seem to move them, or her tail.

We took her back to the vet this morning and she said the anaesthetic seems to have made her have a small stroke, and the resulting oxygen deprivation seems to have caused brain damage.

She says she might recover, but there's nothing she can do to help other than keep her hydrated. So she's down there now on a drip, and we've to wait and see how things go over the next couple of days.

She's the darling of everyone who knows her, she's an absolute sweetheart and even loves the kids. She comes over to snuggle with them if they cry, and puts up with all sorts of manhandling from DS. In the evenings you never see DH without her, either draped across his shoulders or curled up on his knee, and when I'm on the couch she likes to hunch up against the back of my neck and purr (and dribble!) in my ear. When she jumps down off things she honks like a clown car and we're fairly certain she actually thinks she's a dog. We'd be lost without her.

And of course it's a huge reminder of when DS was born, when we had the whole oxygen deprivation-brain damage-wait and see scenario too. Thankfully he seems unaffected so far but this is bringing back some very unwelcome memories.

I'm feeling to much at the moment to make sense of.

thecatneuterer Thu 01-May-14 16:45:17

Oh the poor little thing. And poor you too of course. Ten isn't really old - just middle aged really. Cats often do recover from small strokes so hoping for the best for you both.

BuilderMammy Thu 01-May-14 16:57:09

I know ten isn't that old; my first cat was nineteen when she went so ten seems young to me! I was surprised at the vet even mentioning it.

timtam23 Thu 01-May-14 22:22:34

So sorry to hear about Mittens, this sounds very distressing for you

I also don't think 10 is at all old! (my cat is nearly 18)

Fingers crossed that she pulls through

RubbishMantra Fri 02-May-14 02:20:08

Just read your post Builder - wish I could say something helpful. My departed dog survived several years after having a stroke. She was a little confused sometimes, but nothing that caused her any distress at all, just a few 'senior moments' from time to time.

I hope she is back home with you soon thanks

BuilderMammy Fri 02-May-14 07:30:42

Saw her a couple of times yesterday and she seemed brighter each time. She's able to sit up (sort of) and support herself with her front legs, and she was sticking her nose into some soup and licking it off herself. So we're cautiously optimistic.

timtam23 Fri 02-May-14 19:01:12

That's better news, hope she continues to improve

BuilderMammy Fri 02-May-14 19:54:18

We had a little cuddle with her this evening. She's not using her paws properly at all; instead of her standing on the pads of her front paws, the paws just curl under, and she gradually sags till she's lying down.

She won't eat or drink.

I'm not happy with this at all.

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 02-May-14 19:55:52

What does the vet say?

BuilderMammy Fri 02-May-14 20:35:28

She thinks she's 'brighter', whatever that means. We didn't get much chance to speak to her because she wasn't actually open for business, she was in theatre spaying two cats while we were there.

She wants to remove the cast from her back leg tomorrow, in case that's affecting her, but I don't see how it would be causing the problem with her front legs.

We'll have a more detailed chat tomorrow.

timtam23 Fri 02-May-14 20:43:43

Sorry to read your latest update. Hopefully you will get a chance to ask the vet some more detailed questions. I hope Mittens has a restful night.

RubbishMantra Tue 06-May-14 07:27:30

How are you and Mittens?

Sending big ((hug)) to you both

BuilderMammy Wed 07-May-14 09:59:59

Mittens is home now. The vet thought she was too distressed there and would be better off with us.

She's able to walk, but very clumsily, and she falls over a lot. She's not silent anymore when she walks - her paws thud down quite loudly. It's oddly un-catlike.

She's still not eating properly so we're syringe feeding her. She's lost half a kilo so she's on high calorie food but she seems to be staying hydrated.

She's been able to use a litter tray - literally a flat tray, she can't step into a normal litter box. But at least the instinct is still there.

She's started to groom herself a little, which is good; she hadn't been at all, and was covered in wee and cat food. We're brushing her a lot too which is helping.

She can't see. Her eyes still respond to light so we think there may be a problem with her brain interpreting what she sees. Whatever the cause, she walks into things all the time, and is quite nervous when there's noise.

Unless she makes a spectacular recovery, I'm very worried about how we're going to manage her in a house with a 3 year old and a 2 year old. She can't see them, or get away from them. They're both very good with both cats normally but I wouldn't trust them completely and while Mittens has never deliberately scratched anyone, I wouldn't bank on that continuing now that she's so vulnerable (and I wouldn't blame her!).

I don't know what to do.

cozietoesie Wed 07-May-14 10:16:10

Ouch. What exactly has the vet said - any further information about what may have caused this and any prognosis?

So worrying for you.

BuilderMammy Wed 07-May-14 10:24:54

She doesn't know what happened. She say the sedative last week may have highlighted an existing condition, or may have caused a stroke. She may recover or she may not. She may regain her sight - or not.

There doesn't seem to be any prospect of getting answers to any of these questions - we're just to wait and see.

And if she does recover from the brain damage, there's nothing we can do with the original injury to her back leg, because it would need surgery and we can't risk another anaesthetic.

cozietoesie Wed 07-May-14 10:40:44

Ouch. Was your vet concerned for Mittens because she sounds just a tad off-hand from what you've said?

It's that last one that particularly concerns me. Does that mean that she's in pain/will be in pain and there's nothing you can really do about it apart from administer analgesics? How mobile will she ever be?

I'm wondering what quality of life she's going to have.

BuilderMammy Wed 07-May-14 11:03:58

She's very concerned and upset about what happened, I've no doubt of that.

I have similar concerns about quality of life and whether it's fair to let her continue like this, but we've seen DS survive and recover from massive brain trauma due to prolonged oxygen deprivation and he's absolutely fine now, so we know it's possible to bounce back (very unlikely, but possible). I know he had tonnes of medical help and she didn't but I can't help but feel that there's still a chance, and that we should give her more time.

If she came out of this with just one bad leg, we'd be delighted. I don't think that in itself would limit her quality of life too much - she was able to get around and do everything she normally did with it. She hasn't been a hugely adventurous cat these last couple of years anyway.

It breaks my heart every time she moves. I keep thinking it would be kinder to let her go at this stage, but I'm afraid that I'm just thinking that because I know it would actually be easier for me. Watching her stagger and clunk around the house is nightmarish.

cozietoesie Wed 07-May-14 11:20:40

I'm glad you have the vet solidly behind you then - that's something.

How long has she been back for? Not that long, I think. The difficulty with strokes and brain damage is that while cats (and some humans, indeed) can recover remarkably well, you just don't know. I've seen my own old boy (who just lost me half a post by the way, little blighter) recover pretty well completely from what I think was a minor stroke - but that was minor.

If she's not in pain, maybe give her a few days and monitor her pretty closely to see if you can see any improvements - such as attempting to eat on her own? (I think that's pretty crucial early on - syringe feeding can't go on permanently.) If recovery is going to take place, I would have thought that you would start to see early signs. (Took my own boy about 2-3 days to start showing improvement and then it was rapid.)

I think, myself, I'd try for that (a few days) under close observation and then re-assess her condition. Obviously if there was some significant deterioration in that time, you'd have to take a view then.

Just my thoughts though. Other posters will also have views.

OnlyLovers Wed 07-May-14 11:29:40

Has the vet anything to say about what her quality of life might be like? I think that would be the biggest factor for me.

I'm sorry, OP. Hand holding here and a scratch behind the ears for Mittens.

BuilderMammy Wed 07-May-14 11:33:28

We're definitely going to give her till next week, anyway, assuming we can keep her fed and comfy.

She's on Metacam for the leg injury. We didn't think she was in pain at all but the vet wants her on it. I don't know if that's suitable as a long term thing? We're due to bring her to the vet again tomorrow so I'll ask then. Didn't think of it before - we're a bit crap at all this, to be honest.

She's been home since Monday but whatever happened happened on wednesday, so it's been a week. On thursday morning her legs were completely rigid; she couldn't move them at all and neither could we. So the fact that she's walking (lurching!) now is definitely a huge improvement. We definitely need to get her eating though.

She was never a deleted of posts, our other one does that. Mippy just wants cuddles. Lots and lots of cuddles. All the time. Lovely warm fluffy cuddles, with purring and drool. I love that cat.

BuilderMammy Wed 07-May-14 11:34:45

Nothing about quality of life from the vet. I don't think she feels she knows enough about what's going on to hazard a guess.

cozietoesie Wed 07-May-14 11:41:54

He didn't mean to delete, I'm sure. (Well - I think.) He's just lying on me and stretches out catching the laptop on-board mouse.

Lone gave an interesting insight into long term use of meloxicam in this thread which you might find a useful read. My own old boy has been on it for coming up for two years and he's doing as fine as can be expected for an old cat. My own view is that if it improves quality of life, it's worth using even if the life might be a tad shorter - but you're right. It's something to discuss with the vet and in light of her other issues.

OnlyLovers Wed 07-May-14 13:28:54

I would have thought the vet might have some general thoughts, based on your cat's behaviour/symptoms/problems, about how good her quality of life might be.

But anyway, she's improved enough to groom and still uses the litter tray, and I think that sounds positive. Hope she continues to get better!

BuilderMammy Wed 07-May-14 14:09:50

I think the vet is waiting to see whether she improves. If there's no improvement and she's facing a life of staggering around the place, being fed from a syringe and walking into things, then I don't think we have much choice.

DH told me a few minutes ago that she took a piece of ham out of his hand last night. The previous evening she couldn't; she sniffed it and was interested but he had to put it in her mouth for her. Last night she was able to grab it herself. DH got bitten in the process but it's still progress!

cozietoesie Wed 07-May-14 14:17:20

It certainly is. That's one of the signs (I think I said this above) that I'd be looking to see if the brain's recovering and re-learning things. I think that that's the clue - this balance between keeping things calm and routine (well as far as you can with small children around) and yet teaching her to re-do things and reintroduce her to pleasures/necessities.

I'll keep my fingers crossed for her but if she's anything like my old boy there's just ('just') the possibility that she'll come on fast.

Best of luck to all - and well done DH.

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