Little Mouse update
Little Mouse is blind. He is 100% blind. You’d not know it, I certainly didn’t know it (I really thought he had some sight), until I started moving things around this morning in an attempt to clean and organize. He runs, he jumps up on things, his favourite spot is on the kitchen counter but he does sometimes get really high up on top of the fridge, he spats with the other cats, he ferociously attacks cat-nipped toys…but he can’t see a damn thing. That became really clear today when I moved furniture out of its regular spot to clean behind it. Major Mousie collisions.
Right now he is in a feeling good mood, happy and feisty. He got a cortisone shot last week and I’m giving him 1.5 cc of antibiotics a day. The antibiotics let him go 6 weeks between steroid shots rather than just 3 weeks. The combination of steroid shots and antibiotics let him eat without pain — actually, let him eat at all.
I have been in a major argument with one of the vets up the street and so far I am winning and Mousie is flourishing. See, I know and accept that Mousie is on borrowed time. I know that being on steroids long-term will cause liver and kidney failure. I know that the antibiotics, used long-term, will cause a variety of really bad side-effects. I also know that every single day that Little Mouse is alive and happy and enjoying life is a major gift. It is a gift beyond a gift. Every day that Little Mouse is alive and enjoying life is a miracle. Here’s why:
Nearly 5 years ago I acquired Little Mouse and his siblings Flora and Flossy at the shuk Ha’Carmel just minutes after their more adventurist sibling was crushed to death by an unwitting customer who did not see the tiny kitten with just-opened-eyes toddle out from under a ware’s table. I’d gone to buy tomatoes and I came home with three sick little kittens needing to be bottle-fed. Flora and Flossy blossomed immediately with good care and nearly doubled in size, though Flora was really, really sick with kitten flu and she was my most immediate concern. Little Mouse seriously lagged behind his siblings, the runt of the litter half their size, and thus earned his name.
My heart of heart’s, Arie, took all three babies under his wing but he established a special bond with Little Mouse. Maybe it was because Mousie was an exact miniature of Arie in looks and, later, in personality. Maybe Arie knew instinctively that he needed special care. Arie often carried an adventure-seeking Mousie away from his adventure by the scruff of his neck and deposited him in my lap. Both Arie and his brother Gingi took over the mothering of this little brood of three. Gingi bonded especially with Flossy, Arie with Mousie, and Flora, kept so long separate with her illness, with me. When my beloved Arie, at only barely 4 years old died suddenly, and horribly, of a blood clot in his lower spine (indicative of an undiagnosed heart condition), I had two thoughts beyond my grief: his brother Gingi and my Arie-in-miniature, Little Mouse.
I had both of them tested with ultrasounds and blood tests and you name it, every test the specialists recommended. Gingi came back with flying colours. Mousie came back with good assurances but a caveat: He was still pretty little and problems might not show up this early. He underwent anesthesia to be neutered with no problems. But two years later, when the gingivitis he’d suffered since kitten-hood became really severe and he needed to have teeth removed — his heart stopped on the surgery table just minutes into the surgery. He quite literally died.
The surgery was aborted and all efforts turned to resuscitating him. Ronen finally got his heart going but he was in a non-responsive coma for a week and I was told he had less than 1% chance of survival. Tell that to the kitty who now perches atop my refrigerator. 100% miracle.
He had to re-learn how to eat, to sit, to stand, to walk (below is a vid of him in his early stage of rehabilitation). Now he runs, and jumps, and plays, snuggles and purrs. He can never again under-go anesthesia. He can’t have those teeth out. The meds that allow him to have a happy and fulfilled little life now will eventually, in 2-7 more years, tip the balance the other way. Ok. That is two to seven more years of happy life he will have than without them. I think both he and I can live with that. Ending his life now, because the meds will cause a problem years ahead, no, we can’t live with that.