So, how does she smell?

As you may know, I am the servant of a small, anarchic cat who costs me a fortune and generally attempts to add unhappiness and sleep deprivation to my life at every possible opportunity. My arms are covered with the marks of her displeasure. My bin is filled with the dinners she has refused to eat. She has spent her 19 years upon this earth firmly making a paw shaped dent in my forehead and I love her for it.

I don’t mind that she sits on the chair adjacent to mine at breakfast. Nor do I mind the insistent paw tapping me until she gets some butter to lick (but only from a finger, it doesn’t taste as good on a plate). I don’t mind her newly formed habit of sleeping on the doormat. I don’t even mind arriving home in the middle of a monsoon and spending ten minutes trying to wake her up through the glass so I can open the front door and get out of the wet. She is precious to me so I put up with these things.
It is somewhat troubling then, that over the last week she has gone from inhaling four packets of dinner a day to applying a cursory lick to whatever she is offered before wandering back to her doormat.

At first, we assumed she was being pernickety. Ever since she had her eyeball removed in the spring, she has developed a fondness for fish flavoured dinners; something she wouldn’t touch with a bargepole before. She became especially partial to the sardine Oh So Fishy meals which, being summer, we are all enormously grateful for, as you can imagine. Then, she began to refuse everything that wasn’t tuna fish, from a can, preferably covered in garlic mayonnaise even though garlic (and onions) can kill cats.
Such an all protein, fibre free diet is not good for a cat and He Who Knows Everything and I quickly became required to keep sheets of newspaper and some hygienic wipes handy every time she came in from outside. You’d have thought she would have been a little bit more grateful to have two people inspecting her rear end and making it smell of a spring meadow but there you go.
This unfortunate situation became rather more unfortunate when it became apparent that she was also suffering from impacted anal glands. While it is possible to evacuate them at home yourself, it was felt it would be best all around if she visited the Vets and had it done properly.

The Vets had a good look at her and decided that the dire-rear was not just caused by eating nothing but tuna for 24 hours but also by a bowel infection. Some antibiotics later and she was pernickety, but eating… for a short time.
A trip back to the Vets revealed nothing wrong so a steroid enlivening injection was administered and the advice to keep a close eye on her and bring her back a few days later. The injection got her eating a little more but still not much. Whenever she grew fond of a foodstuff, she would refuse to eat it the next day. I tempted her with meaty sticks, with Ocean Fish and King Prawn Flavour all of which garnered the same response; slight enthusiasm for a small moment before wandering back to her doormat.

It was when she showed no interest in butter that I began to twig what was wrong. If you showed her food, she was keen for it but between that moment and opening her mouth to eat some of it, something was going wrong. Some short experiments later revealed something intriguing; the reason she wasn’t eating was because she didn’t know there was any food there. The Cat had lost her sense of smell.
The interweb recommend waving an alcohol swab beneath a cat’s nose as a certain test but as I lack alcohol, I went for catnip instead. While not all cats respond to catnip, mine certainly does. One leaf is usually enough to make her go all soppy and vicious but at the moment, nothing.

Some research revealed that a cat can gradually lose their sense of smell as they grow older and that they may begin to prefer fish dinners due to their pungency. Hey, I thought, C’est Moi!

Eventually though, she wouldn’t eat at all and we took to feeding her through a syringe. She was not keen. She liked having the special cat milk but watered down dinner was not as popular. As it smelled identical to vomit, I couldn’t really blame her. Instead, I came up with a plan. I would make it taste better by mixing it with something tasty like Iams.
So, I soaked the Iams in water in the mistaken belief they would dissolve. When they had dissolved as much as it became apparent they were going to, I threw them into a food processor along with some of the special high energy, extra pungent Vet dinner.
This done, it quickly became apparent to me that if I managed to suck any of the, frankly delicious looking, mix into a syringe, trying to feed it to the Cat would be like attempting to feed Strider with a spud gun. Luckily, I watch a lot of TV chefs, mainly because I enjoy shouting abuse at them, so I pressed the mix through a sieve until smooth. It now looked, and smelled, like the contents of a baby’s nappy. I just knew the Cat was going to love it.

She didn’t. With a lot of effort we got her to eat 5ml and a further 7.5ml of Cat milk. It is not enough. The Vets did a blood test which reveal her to have liver and kidney problems. Tomorrow she is being taken for a last ditch anabolic steroid injection. If this doesn’t get her going then this will be the end of the road.

A little further interweb research reveals that we have been, inadvertently, doing the right things. Apart from letting her eat garlic mayonnaise that is.
A cat that doesn’t eat can quickly develop liver toxicity. It’s complex and as this is already falling into the realms of Too Long I won’t go into it here. Basically, if this happens, You Must Make Your Cat Eat Something. It’s nice to know my arsing around with the sieve and sticking the entire kitchen out wasn’t entirely in vain even if we didn’t manage to get much into her. Loss of smell can also be associated with this and with renal failure.

She seems bright and responsive so one would hope she will respond but on the other hand she is 19. With the best will in the world, this is going to be weeks, not months.

That, really, is all there is to say.

Keep safe people.


durdlin said...

I want to say something comforting and wise but my brain won't cooperate. Hope she is contrary to the last.

Theo said...

That is comforting and innumerably wise. Thanks.
I read your comment on Sunday morning and part of me just thought "Yes, she was entirely contrary." I don't think she could be any other way. :-)