Further to last week’s tribute montage of Max and Gus’ adventures from my historical Facebook posts, I have added an exerpt of what really happened with Gus on his vet visit which I didn’t go into at the time! AND the poo warning still stands… Enjoy!
What REALLY happened with Gus in the vet hospital
I showed up at the vet hospital to get Gus’ test results. The gauntlet of vet visits began when his breathing became so laboured, the sides of his little neck were sucking in with every breath.
Neither the emergency vet I took him to on the public holiday, or his regular vet we went to when those antibiotics didn’t work, had the specialist equipment required to send a camera down his little throat or do a cat cat (CT) scan. Because of the recovery process, the facility also needed to be open 24 hours to monitor his progress.
When I arrived, they took me from reception and into their treatment room. There, in the middle of the room, inside this oxygen chamber, was a very pitiful looking Gus, still with a drip strapped to his little leg. The vet then took me to his office to go through the results.
The camera expedition showed nothing at all obstructing his throat which perplexed everyone, until they got the results of the CT scan. The vet showed me the rest of his body was normal, but this issue was actually a growth in his nose that was so large it was obstructing his airways.
There were two possibilities: it was cancer, for which the treatment would be chemotherapy, or it was some other sort of growth, which they hoped could be treated with some sort of antibiotic. The only way they could be sure what it was, was to go into the nose and take a sample.
Cat’s noses are very small, hard, delicate things. This would be very painful for Gus, who was about 16 years old at the time. I had instructions from his parents in Europe that they knew he was an old cat, and didn’t want him to suffer unnecessarily just because they loved him and wanted to see him again.
There was no point in doing the biopsy, because if it WAS cancer, there was no way they were going to put him through chemotherapy. His Dad was on chemo at the time, and I had visions of them sitting side by side, hooked up to the ‘juice’. No chance. The most humane and the cheapest way would be to try some antibiotics, and hope it wasn’t cancer. The problem was, he had been on different antibiotics from the other vets, and they weren’t making him better.
It hit me. I was going to be putting Gus down. This tiny old dude who had been labouring with every breath for days now. Bloody hell. We tried calling his parents in Europe, but mercifully they didn’t answer because I wasn’t in any state to explain to them their options.
Did I want to spend time with Gus before I left? Of course.
They got sleepy old Gus out of the oxygen tank, and brought him to me in a little room. He snuggled up to me and curled into a little ball, with his drip leg sticking out. I was a mess. This drugged out little bag of bones was curled up, comforted by my familiar body (I think), and my heart was breaking at the prospect of ending his life. I was also mortified by the prospect of breaking the news to his parents on their holiday. I knew they would be devastated.
How the hell did I end up there? I had taken MANY PRECAUTIONS to not end up in that situation. I was single, and had no kids OR pets; I was not supposed to be sitting in hospital bawling my eyes out with some little bastard’s life in my hands! It wasn’t right!
I sat with him for about an hour and a half before I left, as it was quite late in the evening by that stage. He didn’t want me to let him go when I had to put him back in the oxygen tank. Arrrgh!
It was quite a few hours later by the time I connected with his Mum and Dad due to time differences. By then I had composed myself, and could actually talk through what the doctor had told me. I also THINK I was able to frame it in a way it didn’t sound like the certain death that I had heard it as. Of course I also then put them onto the doctor to chat with them.
They concurred about no chemo and to give the new antibiotics a go, and go from there. They were clear they didn’t want him to suffer, so if things started to get worse, they knew he was an old cat, and I should do what needed to be done.
No one was more shocked than I was, when they called me to take him home the following day. Apparently his breathing had improved, he had spent time out of the oxygen chamber, and he might as well come home and be comfortable while we waited to see what transpired with the lump in his nose.
It didn’t take long until he was back being a little terrorist with his brother, like nothing had happened. Well, almost… back to what I put on Facebook at the time…
Gus returns! – April 2018
All three of us could have lived without the last few days… But the little man is home again today.
<<removed diagnosis info to avoid repetition>>
After sitting with the little bastard in alien vet hospital for an hour and a half last night, while he still had his drip bandaged to his little leg, then having to put him back in his little oxygen tank, I was pretty happy to get the call to bring him home this morning.
After doing the sock thing, where I put my hand in a sock, rub it all over Gus and then all over Max, so they recognise each other’s scent again and don’t try to kill each other, they started to get along just fine.
Max was happy to see him and between the two of them, we now have quite the medication regime…
Don’t be like Max
This is Max.
When Max’s parents are away and his bro is in hospital, Max goes to the bathroom in the kitty litter (predominantly) like he knows he should.
When Max’s bro is back, he likes to poo indiscriminately around the house, and wee next to the kitty litter.
When Max’s Mum and Dad are back from their holiday, he pees all over their bed multiple times a day.
Max is going to a cat behaviouralist on Monday for some behaviour modification (don’t wee and poo on other people’s beds Max!)
Don’t be like Max…
Working from home with the lads
Lunchtime working from home with the lads. I want their working hours. Get up at lunchtime, likely because of the sound of the microwave, go forth and seek said lunch, and anything else that might be sufficiently annoying although outrageously cute… Then stalk Claire warmness once all food is consumed and out of reach…
You can get used to almost anything…
Those of you in Melbourne may be wondering what is so post-worthy about hanging sheets out on the line on a sunny day, other than the fact there is a rare full day of sun.
Those of you who follow my occasional foray into chief cat slavery may, quite rightly be suspecting, a routine sheet-washing day, this was not… Read on at your own risk…
I never dreamed that extending a limb in bed to connect with a cold log of cat poo was something I would get used to, but in the small hours of this morning when I did exactly that, my first thought was no longer “Holy crap get me the #$%* out of here!”
I had been lying on one side of the bed facing that side, and for whatever reason the little bastards like to sleep only the way you are facing. So they, and Max’s little presents, were contained to a small part at the edge of the bed.
I’m not proud of this, but it was BLOODY cold this morning, this ‘special gift’ occurred in the very small hours and I thought, “Maybe I can snooze a couple of more hours on the WHOLE other side of the bed that remains poo free?”
So I ‘encouraged’ the bastards to vacate the bed, made the long journey to the other, poo-free side, and went back to sleep. When I woke up, I was in the exact same position on the other side of the bed, cats snuggled up against me, again between me and the edge of the bed, but with a new, much more impressive log to contend with.
That’s right. I was now literally trapped by cat logs surrounding me, and the horror returned. It was now going to require some acrobatics to escape my feline faeces fortress.
I wasn’t quite ready for the visual and olfactory assault throwing back the covers would mean, so I backed up onto my pillows, pulled my legs out, and made the escape down the middle of the bed hoping not to compound the damage already done to the sheets.
Then it was straight to the shower where I stood in the steaming hot water, pretending I didn’t just wake up surrounded by animal crap and I was not going to have to deal with it when I got out, for a lot longer than I usually would, or was necessary…
After disposing of the solids and stripping the sheets from the bed, with cat murder on my mind, I left the room and noticed this picture for the first time.
Happy Saturday everyone…
Genuine fear of poo
It is with great trepidation I undertake this next few days of chief cat slavery. Our Max hasn’t had a good couple of weeks.
He went to the vet on Tuesday as he hadn’t had a bowel movement for about a week, and his Mum and Dad were worried. Firstly because of his most certain discomfort. A distant second I suspect, because they are going away for a few days and I’m sensing a little residual guilt over all the trips to the vet when they went away all those weeks, and would prefer not to subject me to another excruciating excretion explosion…
The vet had a bit of a feel around up there and said things felt pretty good! Sure there was some action in the bowels, but nice and soft, and not worthy of the dreaded, horror screech inspiring anal hose today. Perhaps he had been somewhere they hadn’t looked? Is there a spot outside we might have missed? Had we checked our shoes lately?
It was a mystery and for some reason he wasn’t as uncomfortable as he often gets, arching his back and shaking as he tries to dislodge the un-dislodge-able. Where was the food going? He is such a skinny man!
Slowly some little, and not so little nuggets appeared on the stairs one night. Yes! Go Max! Get that shit out (before Mum & Dad go away!)
Then one morning Mum had started working from home early. We were chatting and she told me about her evening.
“I woke up this morning and there was cat poo. It was just a little bit on my arm,” she added hastily.
Soon after came the look of horror, followed quickly by maniacal laughter from both of us that we were having this conversation. Apparently the DEGREE of being crapped on is something to be thankful for, or not, and this is what we friends chat about these days…
This morning I got the following message
“Morning Clairesy, there was poo explosions last night! So fingers crossed the backlog is now out and there will be smooth pooing for you over the weekend 😃💩😃💩”
I later found out they were up all night washing bits of Max’s morsels off various parts of their bodies numerous times, and didn’t get much sleep.
So here I sit, pondering this new feeling… I guess the last few times I have been chief cat slave for the little bastards, it has been a kind of Russian roulette with Max’s arse where I still went to bed not believing I was going to wake up in a feline faeces fortress. Those were the days. I had hope!
I have one more night of cat and poo free bed and sleep luxury, and I will be sleeping well tonight!
Their Mum and Dad reckon it’s all out now and I’m safe.
But how do I feel about almost certainly waking up at some point over the next few days covered in cat turd?
I will certainly be going to bed with the Russian roulette of Max’s slightly less loaded bum with WAY more trepidation than I have in the past…
I survived. Their Dad is back and I can now sleep again without the fear of waking up to an assault to my dignity and senses… How did it go?
This time I took precautions. Now I have a bit more behavioural awareness, I knew I could contain them to a certain part of the bed, just by choosing which direction to face. Then I got high tech and laid down a large towel covering that spot and beyond to mitigate the risk. All I could think of was a certain line in a certain song which you should never listen to if you are easily offended by anything disgusting, blasphemous, or just plain wrong because it is extremely catchy and will never leave your head (don’t YouTube God’s Loophole). But this time it didn’t make me smile…
All was going pretty well. I woke up the first morning and was feeling lazy. Of course there were two cat faces popping out of the covers so close their whiskers were brushing my face. There was a bit of cat breath, but nothing immediately confronting in the other department so I felt no immediate need to move.
I decided to call Mum for a chat before braving the freezing cold gauntlet run to the shower. It is not unusual for one or more of the little bastards to sit on your arm when lying in bed, and they feel like being half in and half out, so I thought nothing of it as I lay with my phone in the other hand.
For whatever reason Max jumped off the bed while I was chatting away to Mum and not paying attention. A few seconds later I was punched in the face by a familiar pungent odour, turned to my previously occupied arm, and there was a little leftover nugget where Max’s arse had not long ago been.
……… <<insert ample, colourful range of expletives you typically wouldn’t scream down the phone into your mother’s ear>>………
“Do you need to go and deal with that?” she asked supportively.
“No, I’ve got this.”
I had pulled back the covers and there, nicely contained on the towel, were a medium sized, and a small faecal friend of the one on my arm. No seepage through to the sheets and no contamination of the top sheet. We have a winner! Just wipe off the old arm nugget, strategically scrunch the towel in such away nothing will escape, put it on the floor, and I’m back in business for a lazy chat and further sleep in, in my warm bed.
It seemed like a foolproof plan as I chatted away to Mum until the little bodies appeared again on the bed. No… There’s no towel now… NO CHANCE you are getting back under my covers towel free after JUST crapping on my arm. That’s not how the world works Max. Not in this room and not this morning!
But Max didn’t seem to understand why his puckering poo-hole was not allowed back in, even if it was preceded by his cute little face.
I pinned my arm down on the covers on the side he was attempting to enter. Max assumed this was some sort of error, and decided digging would resolve the issue. This failing, he thought face first might do the trick.
FINE-NAH! You win! You are officially annoying enough to get me out of bed which you KNOW means feeding you little bastards as well-LAH.
Well played Max, well played… If crapping on my arm won’t do it, I guess you have to pull out the annoying big guns…
Saturday night went pretty well with a couple of nuggets escaping onto the new towel, but again not contaminating anything else so was reasonably ‘happy’ with that.
Monday morning I didn’t have it in me to look. I had shower and a busy week of work to think about. Cat crap would have to wait until later to occupy my headspace (yes, I know that is a terrible idea). Then when I was showering I heard cat retching noises. Perfect. What a cocktail of delights that is going to be… Please let this towel be especially absorbent for future Claire who is going to have to deal with that…
I got home after a LONG day. I had worked late and the train stopped for track maintenance. It was after 9pm so I decided to catch a cab, but not before being stopped for a routine inspection by the less than customer focused train police (showed me his badge and everything). I didn’t even end up catching the bloody thing!
Then it dawned on me. The rule of three! If ever there was a perfect cherry to put on top of this shit-storm of an evening, I had firmly in my mind’s eye what it might be.
I got in, cooked dinner, did some other chores and generally procrastinated for as long as I possibly could. It was time to go up and see what lay beneath…
There was one little bump in the bed, but it was time to uncover. Woohoo! No poo or vom! Maybe there is a God! There was however a little snag in the plan, and the bed. I couldn’t pull the covers right back because the bump was not under the covers, but IN BETWEEN the covers.
I took the top cover off to reveal Gus and one of his brother’s hard little nuggets. Could have been worse I guess.
But Dad is back and I am back to being occasional couch warmer for a bit.
Gone but not forgotten RIP Max
I have so many more special memories with the little one. I know by looking at the photos the brothers are hard to tell apart, but once you get to know them, they do have their personalities. Max was slightly bigger and had slightly different colouring. This was important so the right cat got the right medication! Max also liked to steal his brother’s food if possible, possibly because it wasn’t as medicated, possibly because it was brotherly ‘love’.
RIP Max, little buddy, and know that I will be visiting your Mum, Dad and Gus again when it is safe and give them some big scrungers for you. xx
Until next time!