Vivre un échec est pire que lutter

After the joys of the weekend, which included a wonderful visit from some of the Sun King’s pilgrims, today was Steroid Shot Day. And this is how it went:

– Brutal wrestle getting Louis Catorze into La Cage: check
– Yowling throughout the journey: check
– Kicking, hissing and clawing during the injection: check
– Silence all the way home (apart from the odd moment when Cat Daddy muttered, “Disgraceful behaviour”): check

And it seems that Le Roi has lost weight and is down to 3.22kg. We had noticed his appetite reducing in proportion to his increased trips outdoors for Oscar-baiting and suchlike, and we’ve had no reason to be unduly concerned. But we’ve been told to keep an eye on him and not let him get too skinny (which will be a challenge for a cat who doesn’t like food).

Then, when we got home, we realised that we had locked ourselves out of Le Château, so Cat Daddy waited outside our door with La Cage perched on the wall whilst I dashed around retrieving our spare keys from Cocoa the babysit cat’s family. During the wait, Cat Daddy got chatting to a random passer-by who commented on Louis Catorze’s “lovely face” (although, to be fair, it was getting dark outside at this point), and who revealed that all his cats had come from the same rescue as Catorze.

The little sod sat happily and serenely through the key kerfuffle and the compliments. Maybe one day he will do the same with the vet.

image

(Thank you, Phil, for the fabulous photo showing my dear boy’s tooth impediment in its full glory.)

En (presque) parfaite santé

imageIt’s been a month and 2 days since Louis Catorze’s last steroid shot. Each shot is designed to last 3-4 weeks, but I have good news: it looks as if we may be able to stretch this one out for a little longer. His eye puffiness is minimal, he has barely any scabbiness on his chin and, best of all, the Greta Garbo mood doesn’t seem to have taken hold this time. Le Roi is still happy, dynamic, bothering the local urban wildlife and scenting the air with sweet, tangy lime wherever he goes.

So we have a few days’ reprieve until the next trip to the vet, and Louis Catorze will be spending this time mostly sleeping, chirping and meeting new pilgrims. He is very much looking forward to seeing tomorrow’s guests, who read about him online and thought, “An unphotogenic, itchy, stupid cat who does nothing? Yup, sounds worth a visit.”

Je suis légèrement moins drogué

Just a quick update on Louis Catorze’s most recent vet visit and steroid shot. (If nothing else Le Blog helps me to keep track of the dates of these things.)

We decided to take him today as we had noticed the skin around his inner eyes thickening, which is usually the danger sign that things are about to turn to merde again. Once again he yowled and whinged throughout the whole procedure, but we are happy to report that his ears have improved, so he doesn’t need the ear drops anymore. And, because we had taken him in before the itching had fully set in, the vet was able to give the little sod a reduced dose of the steroid shot.

We wondered whether the lower dose would mean less psycho behaviour. But we weren’t left wondering for long: the minute we got back, Louis Catorze dashed straight out to annoy Oscar the dog. Oh dear.

Le Roi nous fait chier

On dark, cold, moonless nights with howling winds, most people have the sense to remain indoors, especially if they’re not well. I, however, decided last night to leave the toasty-warm cocoon of Le Château and haul a protesting, itchy black cat to the vet for his steroid shot.

The vet is a lovely lady who is sweet to Catorze and talks to him gently in her cat lady voice, and, the last time we saw her, whilst he didn’t exactly behave impeccably, he did allow her to live. We were full of confidence about this visit as Le Roi is generally fine with injections; it’s the meticulous examination of orifices and membranes that he finds objectionable (can’t say I blame him), and that wasn’t on the agenda for the evening.

Luckily we’d got him there at about the right time, just as his condition was starting to turn but before it had reached the grimness of broken skin, weeping wounds and scabs. And that fact was pretty much the only positive.

Louis Catorze decided that, yes, he may well have tolerated les injections before, but that was before. This time he had changed his mind, struggling, kicking and hissing as if demonically possessed, with the three of us barely managing to contain him. The injection finally succeeded on the third or fourth attempt, with Louis Catorze fighting so hard that the needle came out bent at an angle. (I wanted a photo but refrained from asking in case it sounded insensitive.)

We couldn’t understand what had gone wrong. The vet suggested that perhaps Louis Catorze had been taken by surprise by the previous month’s shot, whereas this time he was recalling what had happened before and steeling himself for it. If this is true, it doesn’t bode well for what I had hoped would be dignified trips to the vet in lieu of thrice-weekly Atopica assaults. There is, apparently, the option of giving the injection under the skin as opposed to deep within the muscle (which is the painful bit), but it’s not as effective; if we’re bothering to drag his arse there and jab a needle into him, we may as well do it properly.

Little sod’s short-term memory appeared to work in his favour upon our return home; he trotted out of La Cage, up-tailed, and, ever since, has been happily pitter-pattering in and out of the house, annoying Oscar the dog, having cuddles on the bed and so on. I wish his treatment were as simple as his outlook on life.

Le diable en moi

Today’s trip to the vet was traumatic beyond belief. To be honest I could do with a week or two to allow my heartbeat to return to normal before writing about it but, if I don’t do it now, I shall wake up tomorrow and think I dreamed it all.

As expected, Louis Catorze needed another steroid shot – this time the longer-lasting one – and an antibiotic shot. But, after I reported seeing him shaking his head and shoving his back feet deep into his ears, the vet checked him as best she could under the circumstances* and said he would also need treatment for an ear infection.

(*I say this because the little sod really didn’t make it easy for her to check: he struggled, kicked and yowled so badly that I began to think we needed an exorcist, not a vet.)

The ear treatment process was twofold and, unfortunately, Louis Catorze writhed and complained like crazy throughout both parts, shaking the cleaning fluid and ear drops all over me, the vet and himself. And, because the whole ordeal had to be repeated on both ears, by the time it was over he was soaking wet and looked as if we’d tried to drown him. It was quite heartbreaking to see the fear and confusion in his face when the torment just didn’t ease up. The relentless attack of the cleaning solution followed by the ear drops followed by the antibiotic shot followed by the steroid shot terrified the poor sausage so much that he ran into his daddy’s arms and clung to him for dear life.

“How often do we need to give him the ear drops?” I asked, praying that the vet wouldn’t say “every day”.

“Ideally a couple of times a day …” she replied.

[Thudding sound from my sunken heart hitting the ground]

” … But I can see that it’s, erm, going to be a challenge,” she continued. “Maybe once the steroid kicks in and he’s a bit more comfortable, he won’t mind you doing it so much.”

Hmmm.

Anyway, Cat Daddy is now pouring himself a big glass of Merlot, Louis Catorze is having an apocalyptic sulk under the bed and I’m wondering how the heck I’m going to get the ear drops anywhere near him without him kicking me to death. We need to take him back to the vet in a week’s time so that they can check on his ears again, but I just don’t see them being able to do it unless they sedate the whole darned lot of us first.

Du bon comportement

Yesterday we took Louis Catorze to the vet because we were worried about the state of his poor, shredded chin.

Luckily he was in a docile and malleable mood because the builders had been over and he’d spent the afternoon trying to snuggle them, so Cat Daddy had no difficulty getting him into La Cage. And, whilst at the vet’s, other than a mild amount of whimpering, Catorze actually behaved himself. No staff were violently assaulted, no blood was drawn, no dignity was lost (this time).

He needed an antibiotic shot, as I suspected, but also a steroid shot to try and calm the itching and inflammation. I don’t like the idea of steroids – in fact, I don’t really like medication, full stop – but it was either that or increase his Atopica syringings to once a day for a few weeks. The process of trapping and medicating him every 2 days is quite horrific as it is, plus the results we’ve seen so far from Atopica are reasonable but not great, so we really didn’t see the sense in imposing further trauma on him (and us).

An alternative to the steroid injection, the vet said, was a course of steroid tablets. Louis Catorze and tablets? Non, non et trois fois non.

There was barely a murmur from Le Roi on the way home and, when we released him from La Cage, astonishingly, he trotted happily out with his tail up. He then spent the rest of the evening cuddled up on the sofa with us. (Cat Daddy just read that bit over my shoulder and muttered, “Yeah, but it’s not gonna bring that £60 vet fee back, is it?” I can’t argue with that.)

I really hope that being such a good boy is a sign that Louis Catorze is feeling better.