Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This post is mainly for my own benefit because I want to remember these interesting days of tube feeding my cat.  Also, I know I've appreciated every drop of information I've found, so maybe this will help someone someday.
As a brief summary, my obese cat ate a bunch of plastic which blocked his bowel.  He stopped eating and lost a lot of weight, which causes metabolic issues in cats that are often fatal.  He lost about 1/3 of his weight in a few weeks, even with syringe feedings.  As a last resort a tube was placed in his neck that lets us inject liquid food with a syringe for several weeks until his appetite returns.
At first this was a disaster.  The tube had a broken part that kept coming off and the tube had a kink in it inside the cat so that every feeding required 2 of us and food flew everywhere, including in hair, on glasses and in my mouth.  The walls also were thoroughly decorated.  The vet tried to fix it but it just broke again.  Finally the cat scratched the tube and the kink released.  So now feeding him takes about 5 minutes and is very easy.  Flush with water, squirt in food, flush again, put cap on, release the cat.  It's especially easy since we figured out that he does better sitting on a card table on some baby blankets.  We also keep cat wipes and baby wipes handy for rapid cleaning.
Cleaning the cat also has been a huge issue.  All the time he was sick he didn't do much for hygiene.  Then he got an enema and that was really cleaned up either.  He was horribly smelly for a while.  I wound up cutting the hair around his butt and some at his mouth where food had built up. 
After just 3 days of the tube working he's gaining weight, pooping (for the first time in a month), and showing a bit of interest in eating.  He's becoming social again, which is the best part for me.  I think this is going to work.  It's not easy, but I think we'll succeed.  If it doesn't he'll die.  Which may kill me.
So, I think things are going well.  I also was reminded of this very old forward, from back when forwards were sometimes worth reading/keeping. 
Cat Bathing As A Martial Art

 A. Know that although the cat has the advantage of
 quickness and lack of concern for human life, you have
 the advantage of strength.

 Capitalize on that advantage by selecting the battlefield.
 Don't try to bathe him in an open area where he can force
 you to chase him. Pick a very small bathroom.

 If your bathroom is more than four feet square, I recommend
 that you get in the tub with the cat and close the sliding
glass doors as if you were about to take a shower. (A simple shower curtain will not do. A berserk cat can shred a three-ply rubber shower curtain quicker than a politician can shift positions.)

 B. Know that a cat has claws and will not hesitate to
 remove all the skin from your body. Your advantage here is that you are smart and know how to dress to protect

 I recommend canvas overalls tucked into high-top construction boots, a pair of steel-mesh gloves, an army
 helmet, a hockey face-mask, and a long-sleeved flak jacket.

 C. Use the element of surprise. Pick up your cat nonchalantly, as if to simply carry him to his supper dish. (Cats will not usually notice your strange attire. They have little or no interest in fashion as a rule.)

 D. Once you are inside the bathroom, speed is essential to survival. In a single liquid motion, shut the bathroom door, step into the tub enclosure, slide the glass door shut, dip the cat in the water and squirt him with shampoo.

 You have begun one of the wildest 45 seconds of your life.

 E. Cats have no handles. Add the fact that he now has soapy fur, and the problem is radically compounded.

 Do not expect to hold on to him for more than two or three seconds at a time. When you have him, however, you must remember to give him another squirt of shampoo and rub like crazy. He'll then spring free and fall back into the water, thereby rinsing himself off. (The national record for cats is three latherings, so don't expect too much.)

 F. Next, the cat must be dried. Novice cat bathers always assume this part will be the most difficult, for humans
 generally are worn out at this point and the cat is just getting really determined.

 In fact, the drying is simple compared with what you have just been through.

 That's because by now the cat is semi-permanently affixed to your right leg.

 You simply pop the drain plug with your foot, reach for your towel and wait. (Occasionally, however, the cat will end up clinging to the top of your army helmet. If this happens, the best thing you can do is to shake him loose and to
 encourage him toward your leg.) After all the water is drained from the tub, it is a simple matter to just reach
 down and dry the cat.

 In a few days the cat will relax enough to be removed from your leg. He will usually have nothing to say for about
 three weeks and will spend a lot of time sitting with his back to you.

 He might even become psychoceramic and develop the fixed stare of a plaster figurine.

 You will be tempted to assume he is angry.

 This isn't usually the case.

 As a rule he is simply plotting ways to get through your defenses and injure you for life the next time you decide
 to give him a bath.

 But at least now he smells a lot better.

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