I’ve just realised that there haven’t been any updates about Smudge since April.  Yesterday eleven months ago we found him crouched down outside the front patio – too weak to climb the stairs to the front door (http://www.nyasa.biz/smudge/a-smudge/).

The summer months have been interesting ones as we’ve watched Smudge explore outdoors on his own, for the first time since he arrived.  His strength was returning and he was feeling like chasing grass, butterflies and ants.  He developed a wonderful ‘skip’ across the lawn while crouched down trying to stalk something.  We would sit on the patio in hysterics watching his antics.

We watched him try to climb trees, gradually over the months getting higher and higher; until one day my partner (R) called me and said ‘where do you think he is?’  There he was looking down at us from the branches of an Elderberry tree in the garden.  ‘No’ he said, ‘I don’t need help getting down’ as he climbed higher and higher out of our reach.  Minx!

Eventually he climbed down and weaved his way between our legs just to let us know that he was ok.

Vet visit after vet visit … injection after injection … and still the gingivitus is hanging on.  A retired vet living close by suggested that the only solution was to remove ALL his teeth!  R spoke to our vet again and it was agreed that we should take out the teeth that looked infected – as was described to me ‘all his back teeth’.

We set the date and off Smudge and R went to the vet who did his eye operation.  Both our vet (A) and the other vet (L) were in attendance.  L performed the operation with A supporting.  The decision was taken to only take out the lose teeth and leave the rest in place.  L explained to R that taking out the others, which were so strongly in, might break his jaw.  That was 5 weeks ago yesterday.

Only this week did we start to see another decline – off his food!  Smudge off his food!  That isn’t heard of.  We’ve tried feeding him on his own, with the other two cats, as well as treats; but no … one mouthful … a second … then he walks away.

R took him to the vet on Wednesday and he has lost 1/2kg.  For us that’s important as the Feline Leukemia Virus could be draining his strength and his energy, while tackling his immune system.  Smudge was obviously feeling ‘ok’ (albeit not great) as he nipped the vets finger.  (He’s been getting more vocal about NOT going to the vet – running away when he sees the cat box, meowing when his picked up and put into it, as well as growling at the vet.)  Yesterday when R organised the appointment and I collected him from the garden – no argument!  Just shows how ‘unwell’ he is feeling.

It’s very difficult with a cat who looks so healthy in comparison to how he has looked, who has built himself up (over double the weight he was when we found him); to watch him slowly sink into decline.  As R walked out the house he said ‘we’d do anything for this one’; and although it’s true that we would do anything for all three of them – we are more aware of what Smudge needs and do run around after and for him a lot more.

I’ve spent a lot of hours over the past two days searching for homoeopathic remedies to build a cats immune system.  I can find a huge number of articles about cats immune systems, about the Feline Leukemia Virus, about the challenges that these cats experience; but nothing to tell me how I can  help him boost his immune system.  When R was at with the vet on Wednesday, A (the vet) explained that he was waiting for the pharmaceutical companies to come back to him with the right medicines.  They’ve suggested a few, but when you read the ‘small’ print (as A has done), it has been found that this medicine clashes with something and that one clashes with something else and that one may affect the work we’ve done to help him recover from the gingivitus.

Back from the vet!  Although he wasn’t fighting us about getting into his cat box, as soon as the vet turned around to get the bottle of medication off the shelf, Smudge growled at him.  Both R and the vet laughed!  R said ‘you aren’t an Alsatian … ‘!  One injection later he is back at home hopefully now with some support for his immune system.

‘Who me?’
‘I didn’t know you didn’t want me to sleep in the flower bed!’