Thursday, March 12, 2009
A cat very much mourned
This is Biggles' dad and I have to write with huge sadness that Biggles died between 6 and 6.30pm on Tuesday, 10th March 2009. It feels a bit strange to be writing on his blog without him sitting by the computer or my new laptop (well, shared laptop as he marked it several times a day to establish primary ownership).
Since last autumn Biggles had been losing weight and I suppose we had not also noticed that he was really slowing down and not playing with corky the cork wun, corky the cork won or corky the cork 1 (I have omitted the other cork as his counting was not that brilliant) nor was he playing with fishy on a string, which took a fearful beating from him. He was not there by the front door within seconds of it being open or coming out to guard the shopping while it was carried in. But he still seemed ok, one tends not to notice a slow decline or rationalises it in other ways.
In February we took him to the vet who said he was suffering from hyperthyroidism and that one of his thyroids (yes, cats have two too!) was huge. Medication gradually regulated him and on his last weekend (see photos above) he seemed in particularly fine fettle, his old self. The vet strongly advocated removing one or both thyroids and said that cats function very well without. Certainly, giving him tablets twice a day was not something he particuarly liked even though he was not that uncooperative, but I was not very keen to have to do this to him for the rest of his life, and it also made the thought of going away, even with leaving him in charge, very complicated. So, we agreed on surgery and Biggles was passed fit for it. I must confess I didn't really discuss it with him as I know he would have asked who Sir Gerry was and why Mr Josh was being called a Sir John.
He went in for the surgery on Monday, had both thyroids removed and all seemed to be fine for him to come home the following morning. I brought him home and he seemed really fine for the first couple of hours or so and then he began to decline. I wondered if he was just tired or in pain. I phoned the vet mid afternoon and spoke to the junior vet who rather fobbed me off and said that the blood tests had all been fine and maybe he had just eaten too much food; she did not ask any questions as to what my specific concerns were. I then phoned later and spoke to Mr Josh who did ask some questions and agreed that he should be seen towards the end of surgery at 6.30pm. Biggles then made his way upstairs and went under our bed right up by the headboard; I thought he has either gone to die or for a quiet sleep in a very safe place. He was very difficult to monitor there but I could see that he was breathing.
Around 5.15pm he came out from under the bed and gave two very deep yowls. He slumped on his side and peed on the carpet. He got up and moved a few feet. Now it was clear to me that he was breathing at 3 or 4 breaths a second, was glassy eyed and struggling to stay alive. I phoned the vet and told them that I was bringing him in immediately and that it was an emergency. He was at the vet's by 5.30. Around 6 o'clock I was taken to see him; he had an oxygen bag over his head and he was being given 100% oxygen and he was being given drugs to stimulate the heart. He was clearly failing. I went home and a few minutes after I had got home I was phoned and told he was dead. I phoned his human big bruv, Daniel, and his sister Zoe wot he yoosed to fite for forth plaice in der peckin order (as he would have put it) and, he would add; "I one!!!". I then went to the Tube station to wait for Liz and then we went to the vet to say our goodbyes to the very Best of the Best of the Best. We are both grief struck and I will write another blog entry about just what made him such a very special cat.
I was phoned Mr Josh, the vet, on the next day to be told that histopathology had tested some of the tissue from the very large thyroid that had been removed and found that it had been cancerous, which made the the growths on his spine possibly secondary tumours. Does this explain why Biggles collapsed after the surgery? Not entirely. But I suppose it showed that Biggles was not long for this world.