It seems like only yesterday we adopted Lily as a wee kitten, but in fact its been 13 years!
Lily was very petite when we got her and not much has changed over the years, she’s still tiny, no more than 7 pounds. Lily has always been a healthy cat, able to run quickly after her favourite toy, a ball of tin foil, and leap high and effortlessly onto window sills to chatter at the birds, and of course the bathroom sink – her preferred method of having a drink.
But in the past year we’ve noticed when Lily decided it was time for a refreshment, jumping from the floor to the bathroom counter wasn’t as easy. There had even been a couple of “misses”, of course this concerned us and we worried she could easily hurt herself. It was almost like she knew she could no longer jump as high or as easily as she once had, but being her persistent self, and determined to only drink from the tap, she had a new plan of action. Now instead of a direct route from floor to counter, she takes a detour of sorts, from floor, to toilet, to toilet tank, to counter top, and then the reverse route to get back down. So now our toilet lid is forever in the closed position so that Lily never has an unexpected bath!
Once Lily’s water consumption was worked out, we noticed she started limping a bit on one leg. It seemed to appear more when she first got up from laying down or sleeping. Deny as we might, we knew this wasn’t right no matter what her age. We watched as she walked, hoping she had just jammed her leg when jumping down from somewhere high, but his wasn’t the case. As tiny as Lily is, it seemed like she was loosing weight as well, something she couldn’t afford to do, and her coat not as shiny as it once was.
Off to the vet we went. Luckily for me, Lily does not mind the carrier, in fact the opposite is true, bring out the carrier and she’s right there, waiting to go in, check it out and have a very comfortable nap! Thank goodness for this, because the car ride to and from the vet’s office is a different story, “meow, meow, meow”, Lily’s version of singing to me as I drive.
As it turns out, Lily had lost very little weight, but had lost muscle mass, and her limp was not from an injury but from the onset of arthritis, otherwise she was given a clean bill of health!
So now what? Drops. Drops I would somehow have to convince Lily she needed everyday to make her feel better and hopefully help her move easier. Lily being Lily, there was absolutely no way she was going to take this liquid on her own, or mixed in with her food, a very fussing eater indeed.
There I was, armed with a liquid filled syringe, and a cozy blanket to “cuddle” Lily in while I gave her the medicine that hopefully would make her feel better. The first time it went reasonably well, I believe only because Lily had no idea what was in store for her. Next time and every time after that wouldn’t be so easy, Lily may be small and getting older but she knew what was coming and was going to have no part of it!
This is where you try to outsmart a cat – not an easy task, and not for the weak of heart LOL! Now I pre-fill the syringe, acting like I’m just hanging out in the kitchen, doing kitchen stuff 😉 , then I leave the syringe in the kitchen. I have her “cuddle blanket” at the ready, but not too close so that Lily knows what’s coming, then when she least expects it, when she’s deep in sleep, dreaming of catnip mice and catching birds, I show up. It starts off with a scratch on the head, then slowly but confidently I pick her up. Lily is not a fighter, but she does tell me off with a hiss, a growl, an unpleasant meow. Next comes the blanket to wrap her in, at this point Lily realizes she might as well just relax because I’m not letting go. As the syringe is brought to her mouth she holds my hand with her paw, I’m sure to help me guide the medicine into her mouth, not to push it away 😉
It’s been 2 months since Lily has been allowing me to giver her these drops, and we’ve noticed quite an improvement. She still uses the toilet to jump up to get to her water fountain, but she does it with much more ease. When she walks there is very little, if any indication of a limp. On occasion we get to see the younger version of Lily, the one where she takes off for a mad dash around the house. Her appetite has increased and her coat looks so much healthier. When I see the improvement it makes all her annoyance with me well worth it!
Of course what worked for Lily may not work for others. The medication that Lily is on was prescribed to her after a medical check up, and provided by her veterinarian for the symptoms she was having. I think it’s important to know that as your pet ages your veterinarian can provide you with options to help them along the way so they may be happy and healthy in their senior years.