Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Cone of Shame
Hakuna sports the Cone of Shame - a plastic Elizabethan collar that keeps her from chewing up her IV lines whilst lodging at the Veterinary Hotel. As you can see from her sour expression, she is not happy about it.

Hakuna, alas, is ailing.

She is an elderly kitty, to be sure, having turned seventeen in April - but until recently, she still managed to have her Sprightly Moments despite spending more and more time snoozing about the house.  A few weeks ago at her last annual physical, though, there were some ominous portents.

Her weight and appearance were all normal, her only outward problem being a bad tooth that was going to have to be removed.  But her bloodwork showed elevated BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and creatinine levels, the first signs that her kidneys were beginning to fail.

Bare-Legged Hakuna
Heart of Lion, Legs of Poodle: Home from the vet, Hakuna strikes a familiar leonine pose, apparently unconcerned about her vaguely poodle-like appearance.

The dental work would have to wait until her kidney function improved: first things first.  But she rebelled against the soft Good for Kitty Kidneys food the vet prescribed, showing her displeasure by barfing it up all over the house... and a recheck of her kidney functions showed an alarming decline just eleven days later.

A three-day stay in the Kitty Hospital followed, complete with intravenous fluids, a special low-protein diet that (happily) she tolerated well, and the dreaded Cone of Shame, by the end of which her numbers had improved somewhat... but not nearly enough to allow her to undergo sedation or anesthesia.  Nevertheless, she could come home.

Life is different for her now.  Once every day or two, we jab her with a hypodermic needle and jack her up with 200 cc’s of lactated Ringer’s solution.  We’ve switched her to a low-protein, low-phosphorus diet that supposedly is easier on the kidneys.  And we wait.

In the best of all possible worlds, Hakuna’s kidney function improves after having had some of the load taken off.  She has her bad tooth extracted and goes on about her life.

We really don’t want to think about the alternative.  The subcutaneous fluids are a pain in the ass for us and no fun for her, but she seems to put up with them, howbeit unwillingly.  The true test will be whether she resumes her normal indolent activities, or whether she hides under Elder Daughter’s bed and generally makes herself scarce.

I’ll be happy if only she’ll play with the Elusive Red Laser-Dot.


Rich said...

You are not alone. Our elder statesman "Spazz" (he was utterly bonkers as a kitten) is 14 1/2, and he's in about the same place.

He kept my better half sane during terrible times, abuse and sickness.

We try to keep our eyes from tearing up when we hear the bad news, and we keep cuddling them, and caring for them, knowing that they love us back.

We know that one day, probably not all that far off, we'll be told that he's suffering, and that he's given us all that he can.

Even after that day, even though he will no longer be here, he will always have a place in our hearts.

So, from a similar place, I salute you, and your beloved fur babies.

Pammy said...

Sending only good thoughts for beautiful Hakuna....and her caretakers.

Kris said...

Gentle skritches for the lovely ladycat.

Kevin Kim said...

Best wishes to Kitty.

DogsDontPurr said...

I had to give my kitty IV fluids for the last 5 years of her life. It was hard, but so worth it. She made it to age 23...much longer than anyone expected when we first started the fluids.

With kidney disease, you also need to keep an eye on blood pressure. Hopefully your vet is on top of that. Keep watch on Hakuna's eyes. If they seem to always be dilated, it could be a sign of high blood pressure. But that is easily treated.

((Big Hugs))

Rahel Jaskow said...

Great big hugs to you guys, and to Hakuna. Refua shlema.

lotta joy said...

You are going to be SO shocked at the intensity of how you are going to feel. It's no less then having your heart ripped out through your nostrils. But in the meantime, I heartily refuse to lose any remaining days by leaving a pet at the vet's, enduring too much fear and feeling abandoned.

Make the decline for your furchild as free of fear and pain as possible and full of nothing but love.

I've been there. Each pet opens your heart fully, then life throws rocks into the opening.

Did I make sense? I hope so.

Elisson said...

@lotta - Shocked? I don't think so. This ain't our first rodeo... which is not to say it's any easier.

I suppose if you never open your heart, you need never fear those rocks. But what a rotten way to go though life, eh?