Regular readers will remember us taking in senior cat Nemo from Upper Hutt Animal Rescue as a long term foster. He was frail, paper thin and old, but we had hoped to keep him for several months, not the several weeks we had. He was, for his short time here – family.
A Celebration of a Senior Cat
May we invite you to join our celebration of Nemo’s time here, the joy he brought and the many things he taught us about senior cats, and the love he gave. We received a signal honour from an artist and writer whose book we reviewed, Paul Magrs who, moved by Nemo’s story, drew the superb portrait at the top of this post. Thank you Mr Magrs, it’s wonderful.
We loved our Short Term Senior Cat
We loved Nemo dearly and he became one of the family very quickly, barely a hiss between any of the family once he settled down. As I was uncertain how far he could wander Nemo was confined to his room overnight, but he came up on the bed for a cuddle when we had an early morning weekend coffee. He learned duvet = soft V. quickly! The sad bit was we had to encourage him, he seemed so used to a hard carpet.
Nemo had irritable bowel and one site that was recommended by several people that we found truly helpful was IBD Kitties, a web site devoted to helping cats with irritable bowel issues. We were able to check on do’s and don’ts as well as things he might be able to eat, thanks to this comprehensive and friendly site. I will post a selection of senior cat links in another post as we found them really helpful, but I want to share some Nemo memories as anyone with a determined IBD senior will recognise some of these!
- Turning around to find Nemo at our side every time we went into the kitchen, for anything. In his determination to see where the food came from he jumped onto the cat platform, then on the breakfast bar and then to the counter top!
- Nemo being so determined that the bedroom was not going to be his only ‘safe’ world and his prescribed food his only ‘safe’ food. The sudden worry as he was whisked off to the vet to be rehydrated after finally eating the ordinary cat food and dehydrating in our summer heat. The relief when he came home.
- Disappearing for two hours then wandering back with an “Oh Hai, you didn’t miss me did you?” look on his face.
- Coaxing Nemo to sleep on a soft blanket, or the Purrito, rather than the hard carpet. His first sleep on the duvet was a cause for quiet but heartfelt celebration. He spent one of his nights curled up in the bed sent by our dear pal @WallasEKat – much to our delight.
- Coming home from shopping to find Nemo sleeping soundly in the middle of our soft duvet. YES!!!!
- Raising the bins off the floor, his scavenging instincts would not be stopped otherwise!
- Seeing Nemo laid out on the deck, or on the grass in the garden, simply soaking up the summer sun. This filled our hearts to the brim with love for the little old guy. Picking him up was almost impossible, as we felt he would break so it was looping an arm under his front legs and behind his back legs to gently lift him up.
- Seeing him tottering up the drive towards the house, he wandered into the back garden then lost his strength and subsided against the house, so I picked him up and held his little purring body gently until he wanted to be left down.
- Nemo taking part in our #TeamCat entries to the Lucy Pet Foundation contest. We didn’t win but he was there cheering on the vital work that the Lucy people do.
- Learning so much about seniors, with the help of other social media friends and colleagues to give the best care we could to Nemo. We are grateful for all of the suggestions and help.
We lost Nemo too soon, but celebrate his time with us. We would do the same for him again – he was a joy and taught us a lot about older cats, and tender tums. Ave et Vale Nemo, an honoured member of our family.
I am adding our earlier post about Nemo here as a memorial.
FINAL UPDATE ON NEMO
Nemo passed away about 11.20 a.m. on Friday Morning 27th of February 2015. He had a lovely meal of organic free-range chicken last night and took a short walk out in the fresh cool air of the garden.
This morning after Paul said goodbye to him before heading to work, his breathing became very odd. With the Welfare Officer for the Upper Hutt Animal Rescue by my side, we went down to the rescue vet. The kind lady said he was deteriorating fast and it would be best to help him cross the Bridge.
He left us on a sunny morning during the kind of weather he had been enjoying in our garden.
Thank you, everyone, who offered advice and links about irritable bowel issues, and about geriatric cats, your prompt help allowed us to give Nemo even more help than that I thought we could.
Nemo was a spirited cat who worked out FAST that the kitchen counter was where the food was – that is just the most awesome thing. I do not regret a moment of us having Nemo in our home and would do it again tomorrow. Rest in Peace Nemo.
Introduction to Nemo
This is our long term foster, Nemo, he is old, fragile looking and spunky! He is our first entry in the Tuesday’s Tails blog hop. The alternative to ‘long term foster’ with us was Nemo languishing in the rescue, depressed and confused, for months or years. We took one look and said, “not on our watch“. Long term foster means he is with us until he crosses the Bridge, whenever that may be – and we are good with this. Technically not adoptable, but we hope acceptable as part of Tuesday’s Tails.
Mum is learning about geriatric seniors as she goes – and is a bit nervous – but is asking for help from various groups on FB and Twitter, and as many people she can find as Nemo is a paper thin geriatric gent with irritable bowel. We are very grateful for the help from blogging anipals so far, and have booked a supplementary trip to our own vet. We intend to learn what we can and gain reassurance about dealing with a geriatric old boy. We will keep track of what we learn on the blog in the hope it may help others in turn.
Learned so far:-
- Nemo’s poop smelled very odd on the Hill’s ID the Rescue provide for him (as he is a foster), but after a 24 hour break on plain fish, organic chicken and Feline Natural, a freeze-dried food with no additives or preservatives that might irritate his tum, this has subsided a bit. Feline Natural is made here in New Zealand and its contents tally with many of the recipes for raw food diets we have read so far and no additives.
- Being so thin, it is important Nemo has soft places to rest, or he may get pressure sores – these would not be easy to heal – forcing down antibiotics or more than one vet visit would, we feel, damage the quality of life we are working to improve. Nemo sleeps either in a soft bed or on the family Purrito Wrapper we got from the USA at LiveLoveMeow.
- One thing to remember is that in the USA the range of foods available for cats with bowel issues is much more extensive that here in New Zealand. I am currently looking to see what can be imported – not as easy as the information is so comprehensive you can’t figure out what you can or can’t bring in. More on this as I work it out!
I will update you on Nemo’s progress early next week guys!
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Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can shoot and edit wonderful pictures they love regardless of the camera they use.
She is a Professional member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.