Little Changes

Mimi playing hide and seek.

Since 2015 when Mimi developed a strange and still unknown condition but fully recovered, I’ve kept close watch on her. The condition recurred the following spring at about the same time, but I was prepared and my regular vet and Dr. Michelle jumped on her symptoms with all that had worked previously and she recovered before anything serious developed. It seemed seasonal, recurring at the same time each spring, but I’ve not seen a sign of it since then.

Still, I watch. She lost a pound and a half that she didn’t gain back. She is a small cat and weighing six pounds is not a problem, but if she suddenly fails again with the same combination of vomiting and anorexia that didn’t respond to medications she doesn’t have any body fat in the bank to fall back on. We know that she has some deficits from giving birth to litter after litter of kittens as such a small cat, developing a lymphoma-like condition in her intestines that her team has worked to heal over.

Her appetite has varied over the years so I feed her at mealtimes and any time in between that she wants to eat. Occasionally I find she’s somewhat dehydrated despite all the water bowls and her love for the fountain, and her appetite wanes, so I call in the fluids and reiki and Dr. Michelle and her electromagnetic treatment and acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Those treatments restore her and we haven’t had to resort to any standard medications.

I’ve noticed some occasional cognitive deficits with her lately, and her physical energy wanes at times. Mimi has always been completely alert and sharp as a tack, as we used to say, in the moment at every moment. I see her half-closed eyes and wonder how well she really feels. I would swear she’s lost her hearing because I couldn’t even walk near a door that she wouldn’t waken from a dead sleep and be right there before I opened it. When she doesn’t, is it her hearing, or her energy at that moment? Because other times, there she is when I put my hand on the doorknob. Sometimes her eyes don’t seem to focus, and sometimes she very occasionally passes over foods she likes in a way that I associate with the sort of confusion I saw in my geriatric cats. Well, she is 17.

She can still leap four feet straight upward onto a tabletop with apparently no effort. Her movements, especially outdoors, are so spare but graceful; cats have a lot more control over their physical bodies than many animals because it’s a biological imperative, but even with that she fascinates me. But every once in a while she just seems weak and tired. She often doesn’t eat with the family and I think it’s just the amount of energy in the room with everyone eating, and she is small and feels overwhelmed. She comes by after everyone else is done and eats happily with no other cats around.

Just the other day I picked her up and her energy felt so good, her body strong and muscular, as it did when she was younger. I’m happy she’s in good shape.

Mimi races me down the path around the house.

A few months ago she “wet the bed”, I found wetness on her when I picked her up from one of the baskets, and on the blanket in the basket, and it was urine. I told my veterinarian and we talked about seizures, possibly strokes. Since Basil was diagnosed with toxoplasmosis, when Mimi’s weaker moments came I wondered if that’s been an issue all along.

Last night she had a much clearer and longer incident that had me almost running to the emergency hospital with her. When I came home and began feeding dinner, she was moving normally, but in jumping on the table she nearly missed. Later I saw her almost stumble and wondered if she’d injured a paw, but when she swayed a little standing on all four paws I knew it wasn’t one hind paw. After that, sitting in one of the napping baskets, she was attempting to wash her face but couldn’t keep herself upright balancing on one front paw. I checked her vitals and checked her movement and cognition by having her follow me around and follow typical requests from me. She seemed to weaken physically but was mentally fine, settling down with Mewsette, later joined by Giuseppe and Sunshine. As I reviewed my current finances with the idea of an emergency hospital visit, I debated if I was seeing what I really was seeing, but when three of her big soft kids curled themselves around her I felt prickles on the back of my neck.

Mimi with Giuseppe and Mewsette

But before I resolved to just pack her up and go, I put her uneaten dinner in front of her which she at first ignored as if she didn’t recognize it, then she sniffed it as if she had finally perceived it, licked it, then ate a good bit of it. Then got up and, still a little wobbly, went back to acting like herself again. I observed her until 4:30 a.m. when she had eaten the rest and got back to acting and moving normally and I felt I could get some sleep. I tucked her in the bathroom with a soft and fluffy bed. When I got up just a few hours later, she was on the windowsill absorbing the early sunlight.

She came down the steps on her own, and just to see how she would act we went out onto the deck even before breakfast. She was thrilled, alert, affectionate, responsive, and just a stumble now and then through the day, though she hadn’t eaten much she loved dinner. We had several other visits to the yard throughout the day. A reiki treatment found her tired and pulling a lot of energy around her brain. I will call my veterinarian on Tuesday unless something comes up before then and we’ll plan out how to discern what’s happening and if we can do anything specific for her. I’ve asked Dr. Michelle to stop by to see her too.

I’ve been holding my breath for a while with Mimi. I’ve known something was up intuitively, but aside from things like this there’s been nothing to explore. I am here most of the time, and Mimi is with me most of the time, but she quit sleeping with me when it grew hot in early summer and only after the recent few cool nights I find her on my bed in the morning. She had been sleeping on the old computer tower, on its side, in my studio, nice and warm and purring as it was, but I had to change that out for a newer used computer because it’s ready to retire. I’ll have to figure out another warm and purring bed for her!

Losing Mimi is something I don’t want to face, but I can only give her the best care if I do face it. I’ve done this so many times before, I am grateful I at least know what I’m in for and feel I have some skills that will help. Outside of that, I’m a little scared, and a lot sad. But Mimi and I and all the rest of us will have the best days we can, as we always do. I hope they are still many, many, many.

Mimi hiding.

Read more Essays on The Creative Cat.

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AfterDinnerNap-Etsy~~~

Feline Photography from Portraits of Animals

black cat in Mimi walks through the buttercups and forget-me-nots.
Mimi walks through the buttercups and forget-me-nots.

Mimi is never so happy as when she’s out in the yard, as you can see by her “happy tail”. She’s so short that I can’t get a good photo of her face without flowers in the way, but perhaps that’s how she wants it. Click here to read more.


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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

13 thoughts on “Little Changes

  • September 9, 2020 at 5:29 pm
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    Susan, one of these days I may learn not to plan on breaking my heart, but for now it all belongs to Mimi and my feline household without reserve.

    Reply
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  • September 8, 2020 at 9:32 am
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    My heart is with you and Mimi as you journey along, wishing all the best.

    Reply
    • September 9, 2020 at 5:24 pm
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      Thank you so much, Lynda. She is asymptomatic and back to general good health, and getting in my way at my desk. My veterinarian and I will start some tests.

      Reply
  • September 7, 2020 at 5:09 pm
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    It is so hard to watch our kitties age and begin to fail – even as we watched our parents and older relatives, and as we maybe watching ourselves (I am 74). We send purrayers and Power of the Paw to you and all your clowder.

    Reply
    • September 9, 2020 at 5:25 pm
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      Thank you! Yes, it was difficult to watch the entire generation before me fall apart, and several beloved cats too. I think Mimi is good for now, but I’ve still been aware of changes for a while. As for me, just hoping for the best!

      Reply
  • September 7, 2020 at 4:15 pm
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    mimi, the blessings of St Francis to you, we are sorry you’re not feeling well and hope this
    was just a passing episode that doesn’t repeat itself. be well, be happy, be healthy and here’s
    to many more days with mom B, the kids and sunshine on the sill…♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

    Reply
    • September 9, 2020 at 5:26 pm
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      Thank you, Tabbies! We are hoping it’s something easily treatable, like an infection, not something more dire. Someone needs to boss me around too.

      Reply
  • September 7, 2020 at 11:22 am
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    Sending purrs and hopes and hugs for you and Mimi, Bernadette.

    Reply
    • September 9, 2020 at 5:28 pm
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      Thank you, Leah, so far so good. Her vet and I have plans and that alone makes me feel better.

      Reply
  • September 7, 2020 at 7:47 am
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    Purrs for Mimi.
    Some cats pass through our lives and others make a big impression on us.
    Mimi is your heart kitty. I hope she does not have serious issues and can be with you for a good while yet.
    Sending lots of love and the power of the paw.
    Nancy and Julie

    Reply
    • September 9, 2020 at 5:29 pm
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      Thank you, ladies! She’s completely back to normal today and we are hoping for the best.

      Reply
  • September 7, 2020 at 12:12 am
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    Bless you for this post, Bernadette, and bless you for knowing Mimi so well and being so close to her.

    Reply

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