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Catching Up With Giuseppe and Then Some

black cat in back yard
Giuseppe strolls on am unusually warm December morning, from December 8.

You can bet that if I disappeared for another week that something is up with cats here, and indeed I’ve missed sharing a good bit of news since my last post on December 1!

Giuseppe went to visit our regular veterinarian on Saturday, December 2 and had a great exam and we discussed the results of his blood tests from the previous Monday. As you can see, everyone except me was on the floor! That’s not the first time a veterinarian or a technician examined one of my cats on the floor, but it was the first appointment that was conducted entirely on the floor.

Veterinarian and technician with cat
The exam conducted on the floor.

And it was quite a lengthy appointment. We discussed Giuseppe’s condition and day-to-day details, and plan to go back this week along with Mr. Sunshine and Mimi so that everyone can have updated comprehensive blood tests.

black cat walking around room
Circling the exam room.

Giuseppe walked clockwise around and around and around the room the entire time we were in it, waiting and during the exam, keeping his left side to the walls and cabinets and sometimes walking under the chairs and sometimes in front of them. When Dr. Goodell and the veterinary technician came in and sat down he would occasionally walk closer to them but didn’t object when they pulled him from his travels to examine and interact with him. I described all I’d seen in his behavior, how he’d still join with meals but would just lick the food a few times then get back to his walking unless I kept moving a dish back in front of him, demonstrated how he would still hear and chase a treat if I tossed it in the right place in his path, but if I got it out of his range of vision he didn’t even react to it. And how he seemed to move more easily and naturally outdoors, and my guess was because there’s more light out there than there is in my house.

Some diagnoses about his condition(s)

She sees the seizure-like activity he’s had has been from cardiac activity and not neurological activity caused by an arrhythmia that causes a temporary lack of oxygen. He did not lose consciousness nor have the typical post-seizure period of incapacity. However, the persistent walking could be a neurological seizure, and when he doesn’t react to me or his surroundings, walking into a corner and stopping, for instance, that’s most likely neurological.

So it’s likely that he has two serious conditions to deal with: high blood pressure and something happening in his head, near or around his right eye. His high blood pressure is hot classic hypertension like Mr. Sunshine, it’s caused by another source. That could be from a few other types of heart disease, damage, or it could actually be caused by what’s happening in his head. What’s happening in his head could be a mass or tumor, or some damage in his brain.

three black cats outside
The three of them deciding what to do on Saturday morning.

The neurology and cardiology specialists, and follow-ups

We will see the neurologist on Tuesday this week. They won’t be doing anything as extensive as an MRI but they can likely rule things in or out by using his symptoms. That consultation will be $215. We can determine based on the results if we go any farther. I would not opt for any surgeries without a wild chance of curing what’ happening with minimal recovery complications, and that does not describe brain surgery.

Dr. Goodell also referred us to a cardiology specialist and though they had an appointment cancel last week, I didn’t have the money for it, though I still wish I’d taken it somehow—the cardiology consultation is minimum $800 and includes an exam and echochardiogram, but that would tell us a whole lot.

black cat walking
Strolling on December 8–he looks so much like Jelly Bean here.

Changes from last week to this week

I see Giuseppe’s condition changing, actually deteriorating, as the days pass. Last week to this week he has more time in the persistent walking and non-responsive condition and I’ve spent a lot of time each day following him around, assessing what’s happening, and looking for him when he’s walked himself into a corner.

Last week those episodes were brief, now they last all day or all night. Saturday we had a great morning after a kind of a bad night where he was mostly present for breakfast, we went outside, he had a nap in the kitchen. Then Saturday night he started into his persistent walking in the evening and went just about all night with only brief breaks. I put him in the bathroom earlier than usual and took his food up there later, but he never ate it, knocked over his water bowl and didn’t seem to be aware of his surroundings.

three cats in yard
Giuseppe is ready to be outside, Mimi and Sunshine not sure. December 9.

Over the weekend

Mr. Sunshine came up while I was in the tub and soon to head for bed (at 2:30 a.m. for time spent observing and making notes about Giuseppe), slid open the bathroom door and ate some of Giuseppe’s food. That was kind of funny and very welcome—Mr. Sunshine had started into one of his spiking fevers on Thursday and didn’t eat much on Friday or Saturday, but I started the usual treatments for him and his fever resolved fast, the appetite stimulant did its work (so there’s that too). Seeing him upstairs is unusual since Mr. Sunshine quit coming upstairs at night in mid October, Giuseppe about the beginning of November; I noted it because the two had been constant each night since the construction was finished in August.

But I was concerned when Sunshine wanted to stay in the bathroom with Giuseppe even though Giuseppe was annoying him with his walking, and sometimes walking right on Mr. Sunshine. Concerned because as I’ve described before Mr. Sunshine has shown up within an hour of a death and I was concerned about Giuseppe already. Sunshine was in there for almost two hours, after I went to bed even to just lie awake but get off my feet and rest. Finally Sunshine wanted out after a little scuffle and joined me in bed. I think he was concerned about Giuseppe and wanted to keep an eye on him as well as eat some of his food.

This morning Giuseppe was lying on his bed in the bathroom awake but had his nose in the corner. I have no idea if he ever slept. I carried him downstairs and got medications together, then sat down and set him on my lap, just holding him and giving him calming pets. I gave him two of his calming treats, but he doesn’t really chew anymore so I broke them into smaller pieces and put them in his mouth so he could swallow them. After that and his medication and herbal treatments, he continued reclining on my lap for a total of about 40 minutes, a record lately. It felt really good to hold him. He had a good breakfast. I found a fountain for the bathroom that he loved right away. Dr. Elgersma gave me some more goodies for him. But the rest of the day to now, 3:00 a.m. on Monday, has been very difficult. I considered running him to emergency to see what it was, blood pressure or other cardiac activity, pain, whatever might be in his head, hoping for some relief for him, and possibly he could get a referral to neurology and cardiology for tomorrow rather than waiting. I’m up this late because I’ve been trying to sit down and focus on this post for days and decided I couldn’t wait any longer.

Lots of care and monitoring for Giuseppe

Giuseppe does not eat or drink while he’s in those episodes, and I found that by today he was somewhat dehydrated, and he’s been steadily losing weight though I have been getting that plate in his face, hand feeding, and giving treats hoping to stop the weight loss.

Little Mariposa has a distinct role in this—keeping Giuseppe from harm! She guards the top of the basement steps to get in his way if he tried to go down without me. She rubs against him when he seems agitated. She even comes to the basement door when we are outside. And when he’s lost I can usually find him by finding her. For instance, he got tangled up in the bins and boxes in my office as I shuffle merchandise and was standing still not making a sound and out of sight, but Mariposa was up on the dresser above where he was and looked down at him then up at me.

I can’t leave Giuseppe on his own at all for fear he’ll fall down steps or walk off the edge of something, but I don’t want him to be isolated, locked away in the bathroom. I’ve identified all the spots he gets “stuck” so I regularly get the flashlight and check them all.

The worst for me is that he rarely makes eye contact, he rarely talks, he never purrs, and he rarely likes being held. He hasn’t been up on the cabinet in the kitchen where he demonstrated and purrformed daily all his years since November 5. All those things that I loved about him, that were so much a part of his day, and mine. I still feel a tingle of his big active, outgoing, overly affectionate purrsonality in there, but I don’t see it anymore. It’s very hard to watch him like this.

On Friday night, when he was too out of it to come to the kitchen for dinner, and Mr. Sunshine was still nursing his fever and had no appetite, I just fed the rest of them, Mimi and the five former ferals, six cats, down from 10, a taste of what’s to come.

Right now he finally settled down inside one of the cat trees and is resting and quiet. I will take him upstairs to the bathroom for the rest of the night, but for now I’m grateful the latest activity has stopped for now.

I don’t have much hope that he’ll recover from this and as things have been escalating we may not even have much time. There may be a miracle, but I may be making a decision about him after the neurologist and a return to Dr. Goodell this week. Dr. Elgersma has agreed to come here if it comes to euthanasia. I plan to try to keep posting here because I need to. I appreciate how supportive all of you readers have been through this year.

I have been making videos of his activities to show to veterinarians, so I’ll share one from December 5, just one month after the last time he jumped up on the cabinet and sat with the group, sniffed some blueberry muffins and had his senior lunch with Sunshine and Mimi, out in the back yard on a sweet warm morning with those two, feeling good.

Additional after I posted…

I have been watching Giuseppe’s behavior over the past couple of days and that wild circling of every room he was in, and then actually going into corners and standing there with his nose against the wall. I have been watching for any sign of head pressing because he was coming close to doing that.


So overnight, he did start head-pressing. About 5:00 a.m. Mr. Sunshine and I checked on him. He was lying on his bed in front of the furnace vent with his head pressed against the wardrobe. I leaned down and petted him. He got up and walked around the edge of the room to another corner, very definitely pressed his head against the wall.

So I called the emergency hospital which is also where the neurology specialist is with whom he has an appointment on Tuesday. They suggested if he seemed to be in distress or a change in behavior was abrupt to bring him in and neurology might be able to see him today. I decided to pack him up and go. He gave me a big fright, I picked him up and he was as limp as a wet rag, I checked for breathing and his eyes were open but he didn’t really come to right away. I put him down and messaged Dr. Elgersma about possible euthanasia today if necessary. Then I picked him up again and he was a little more formed so I got him in the carrier and off we went.

Then I checked him on the way and he was really limp again. Went back home and checked him thinking why would I do this to him? When I opened the carrier he tried to walk out of it.

He’s in the back waiting for the doctor. So we’ll see how this goes.

Thank you for any help…

How about this—the framed original of this sketch of Giuseppe is still available along with prints. Click the imageto visit the listing on Portraits of Animals.

"Waiting Around the Corner", black and white charcoal and pastel on toned paper, 5" x 8" © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
“Waiting Around the Corner”, black and white charcoal and pastel on toned paper, 5″ x 8″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski


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“Looking Out the Front Door”, cropped version, Watercolor, 6″ x 9″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Mewsette and Giuseppe frame Mimi in the middle as they look out the front door on an autumn afternoon. Read more, and purchase.


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9 thoughts on “Catching Up With Giuseppe and Then Some

  • That’s exactly right, Mary. It’s a mess, it’s time-consuming and it’s hard to watch him, but the decision is his.

  • I’ll share more in another post, but just briefly for now, Giuseppe likely has some sort of a tumor in his head that is affecting his right eye and may also be causing his blood pressure issues. It’s created some pressure in his head as well as inflammation. The treatments today included a couple of different medications that help reduce cranial pressure and inflammation. He’s home and we are hoping for the best.

  • Brian's Home Blog

    Poor Giuseppe and poor you. That’s so dificult. Love and hugs from all of us.

  • da tabbies o trout towne

    B, we have a saying here in TT, nothing good comes from an
    odd numbered year, may 2024 be MUCH better for everyone
    and as always, we ask St Francis to send his blessings…
    and to stay by their sides and sending hugs to you. L

    • I didn’t know about the odd-numbered years, but we will take the blessings and you hugs, thank you!

  • mcmcneil1

    It is so hard to watch them age and lose some of their vitality – especially as we are aware of our own aging (I will be 78 in 2 weeks…) And unlike dealing with other humans we ware tasked with trying to assess their “quality of life.” Are we considering “putting them out of their misery” or are we putting them out of OUR misery because of how hard it is to watch them struggle and decline?
    Sending you and Giuseppe purrayers and Power of the Paw as you both struggle through this stage of his life with you…and blessings on all who are his caretakers.


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