Missing Bouncy Nuala

I miss my Nuala. I adore the little kitty who she’s morphed into, but I really miss all the magical behaviours that made her incredibly unique and special. Of course, I didn’t use this blog to gush about her level of amazing-ness. You all have kitties who are unique, charming and loving – you didn’t really need to hear about mine. I will say though, in many ways Nuala was different from any kitty I’d fostered or been owned by. She had a sweet charm and chattiness and a deeply loving nature mixed with just enough naughtiness to make her irresistible.

A lot of this has changed and I don’t know if it’s because she’s sick, she’s aging, or because the dynamic of the house changed and she adjusted to her ‘new reality’. Nuala is more quiet, withdrawn, not bouncy and happy any longer. She is hesitant. Her bouncy confidence is not there. She is a lot less chatty. She’s broken her beloved routines and also the house rules.

Nuala is sick. She really  hasn’t been herself since Cooper arrived. You may think it’s a shift of adjustment to a new cat – and I watched this closely thinking that as well. First of all, Cooper gave Nuala FHV – feline herpes virus. It’s a respiratory illness. She got it mid-level bad, and had trouble breathing and needed to have steam sessions to help her. It was a long 2 weeks. She was miserable and confused and deeply sad.

She never really bounced back. After the last effects of the virus ebbed away, she remained less bouncy and less engaged.

Over the past two months I noticed weight loss. At first it was a good thing – she lost the inactivity-pouch she was developing on her belly since she lost Mouci. That was strange: Mouci was barely active. 18.5 years of tired. They didn’t play: but they were bonded. But somehow, Nuala’s activity dropped when Mouci died. So she lost her excess tummy… but then she seemed to continue to lose weight.

She’s been lethargic, less chatty, less … herself. Try explaining that to someone who doesn’t know your cat! If you know your kitties on an emotional level, you observe things about them almost sub-consciously. That gives you a gut-feeling about them. My gut wouldn’t keep quiet. She was not thriving.

Then, about 8 weeks ago, I took her outside on her harness for 1.5 hours. Our backyard. She loved it. But within the next day or two the itch began. She was over-licking her paws, biting at her nails obsessively, and she developed a swollen lower lip a couple of days later. We watched her carefully, and the symptoms eased, but they were still there. Her paws looked fine, but she continued to lick and bite at them too much.

A couple of weeks ago we took her to the vet. He gave her a cursory exam and told us that she had ulcerated gums. The lower lip was also an ulcer. He felt it was a food allergy. He suggested changing her food. He said if it didn’t improve we could give her steriod pills: since it had been about 3 weeks and the licking behaviours were pronounced, we decided to give her the pills right away. So she’s been on a reducing dose of pills for about 3 weeks. And we put all three cats on a kitten food that we know Nuala has tolerated well. She’s still licking her paws. The lower lip bump is gone and she has a bit more energy. She’s still not thriving – I can’t put my finger on it.

I think it’s almost too coincidental that she was outside the day or so before the onset of this. Did she get bitten by something? Did she eat a bad bug? Is there some sort of toxic weed growing in the garden? Is she allergic to something? I keep thinking environmental agents.

I don’t know if it’s the food… our kitties eat a food-mix. We buy 3 or 4 foods and mix them for taste, variety, nutrition etc. I had mixed up a new ‘batch’ in our big food-tin about 2 weeks before onset I think. We put all that food aside. Could it be the new Wellness? Could it be Nutrience? The other food is one that’s been constant for ages – Whiskas for taste. Was there a 4th? It’s unlikely their treats since they’ve been getting these for about 5 months. It’s so hard to pinpoint.

I’m worried about her. I’m watching this as closely as I can. And a week after she’s done the steroids, she may need to go back to the vet. Send good kitty thoughts to our little girl.

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7 thoughts on “Missing Bouncy Nuala

  1. That is very sad. So many things happened in her life over the course of a fairly short time. Seeing the problem when they cannot talk to you breaks one’s heart and is albeit impossible to pin point. This brings tears to my eyes and fear to my heart. It all began with Mouci’s passing, she lost her Mum figure. My tears are of loss that has never really gone and these kitties of your whom I adopt in my heart point out so many memories….
    Thinking good energy and thoughts of course for Nuala, bless her.
    Robin

    • Vet has not recommended it yet. Thank you for this! I’d asked to give her a general antibiotic course – to address any potential lingering secondary infections from the FVR – or tied to something else. But with the ulcerated gums, he was sure it was food-related allergies. I have to watch my cash right now, so I’ll be careful to choose what to do next.

      • Chem 21 can rule out any kidney related diseases — I am a bit concerned that she generally has changed to be more demure. This probably has already be done. If she sees vet again, or you can do it yourself, thoroughly exam her from head to toe to identify any bumps or growths. Hope that everything is fine. Hugs!!!

  2. Do you think it could be stress from the addition of Cooper to the household or does it seem to be more than that?
    When Clove joined us two years ago Kaspars was unhappy and remains so. He quit coming to cuddle with me in bed and started over grooming his belly until he was missing a large patch of fur.
    Our vet felt he was stressed from having a new kitty and recommended Feliway diffusers and a special food that was supposed to help de-stress. Both seemed to help as his fur grew back and he has slowly started to come to get snuggles though still not in my bed. He was already diagnosed with kidney disease before and has regular blood work done, so she ruled out any other cause. Sometimes psychological stress can morph in to physical ones, but you are right in exploring and ruling out any physical ones first.
    Another thought I had with the inflamed gums is stomatitis. I have had two girls with it who ended up needing their teeth removed to get relief and end it, and while they suffered the horrors of it, both were not their usual selves. The pain and discomfort affected their eating and eventually caused them to stop, they were grumpy, stopped grooming, were less active. It started with mild inflammation but as time went on, ulcers formed, they had thick darkened drool and cried out in pain when trying to eat. She could be in the early stages of it- I would ask about the possibility. It is where they literally develop an allergy to the plaque on their teeth, and while not rampant occurring in cats it is not uncommon either. Just a suggestion. 😽

    It is ridiculous the vet won’t prescribe any antibiotics without seeing her again! Would calling them again and explaining money is an issue, and being she was recently there could they simply prescribe clavamox or something maybe make a difference? All they can do is say no again and then you would know for sure it is a sign to change vets.
    What a little whippersnapper your baby boy is! I have no doubt he will mellow with age and will continue to learn what is not good to do, although I know it is exasperating in the mean time.
    We are keeping our paws crossed and sending healing purrs that a diagnosis and treatment is found soon for sweet Nuala.
    Much love to you all,

    Clove, Kaspars, & Mom

    • I love your posts – always full of love and wisdom! Yes – you are right. I think part of Nuala’s personality change is having another cat (kitten) in the mix. It took me months to take her to the vet because it’s so hard to distinguish between medical vs environmental stress behaviours/behavour changes – and one can lead to another. I won’t pretend to know more than I know. But I do know my kitty – and something is really not right with Nuala. I just have a gut feeling that it’s not environmental stress – and I’m learning to trust my instincts.
      PS Gave the vet’s office a good chance to consider before I hung up – they have lost my business. I’m thinking amoxicillin – excellent general antibiotic – I have her weight and can buy it online I believe so it’s just a matter of calculating dosage.
      Sending love right back … to you and the whole gang! oxox T & Nuala

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