We just got back from vacation today and it became clear that our cat Abbey put up a good fight but she could not beat her liver disease. You can read the rest of the story on my personal blog charleshuss.com/2012/09/13/rest-in-peace-abbey/
Most cats hate to get wet so a handy spray bottle with water in it is a great tool for curbing bad behavior. At least that is what we thought when we bought one to keep Chris from getting on the counters.
Whenever he would jump on the kitchen counter, one of us would squirt him and he would immediately jump off. We thought after getting wet a dozen times or so he would stop jumping on the counter. Unfortunately, that idea may work with other cats but Chris seems to be immune to many of the behavior correcting techniques that you might read about.There were times when we had to squirt him three or four times within a five-minute period and still, he would come back for more. It was as if he had no long-term memory and would immediately forget what just happened. I know his memory happens to be fine though because many times he would jump off the counter when he saw one of us just pick up the bottle. I think the urge to be bad is just to overwhelming.
The problem got worse when we moved back to Florida because our kitchen counter was not only bigger but it was within jumping distance from the stairs. That meant that he could skip traveling all the way down the stairs and get off at the half way point. That worked in reverse too. He would jump on the counter and then to the stairs.
Then there was the new furniture we got shortly after moving in. Chris took a liking to Rose’s chair and started scratching it. I tried spraying it with a no-scratch spray but again, these “cures” were designed for normal cats. That left the old spray bottle as our only line of defense.
For some reason he would only scratch the chair while we were sitting in the living room. Perhaps he wanted to show us what a bad cat he could be. Sometimes he would scratch the back corner of the chair and other times he would lay on his back, dig his claws into the fabric, and pull himself around the perimeter.
Whenever he would scratch the chair we would squirt him which would end the scratching for about two minutes before it started again.
We even bought a mini spray bottle to keep in the bedroom so we could spray him when he would not let us sleep. That bottle didn’t last long.
I don’t know if it was a willful act of defiance but Chris would chew on the spray bottles. He chewed the small one so much that it was unusable a few weeks after we bought it. The larger one took more time but he kept working on it. After the small bottle stopped working we brought the big one to bed with us. I sometimes had it on the floor next to me and would grab it when Chris was being especially annoying.
When we were able to sleep, Chris was busy chewing on the nozzle. Once when I tried to use it he had turned it to the closed position. Another time he had completely unscrewed it and yet a third time he was able to unscrew the main filler cap without knocking the bottle over. I did that when I grabbed the bottle to spray him. The sprayer went with me and the water dumped onto the carpet.
Eventually he was able to chew the bottle beyond repair so we had to retire it. We never bought another one. It took awhile, but he won.
In other news, I got an email the other day from a british company named Parthenon Entertainment. They want to use a Video of Chris that I had posted on YouTube (http://youtu.be/iFnHCcrlrnI) in an upcoming documentary for National Geographic called “The Wild Side of Cats.” They are collecting more videos than they can use so he may not make it into the final cut, but if he does, that would be really great. Even if they don’t use the video, it is nice to know someone is interested.
I also want to mention that there is no change in Abbey’s condition. The vet said it is “irreversable liver damage” but I don’t have a high level of faith in today’s medical community, human or pet. Don’t get me wrong, I respect what they do but often if there is not a drug that can fix the problem, we are told the problem is unfixable.
I want to break from telling Chris’s story and mention that we took Abbey to the vet on Saturday. She has lost a lot of weight in a short time and has gone from overweight to underweight.
When we first noticed it we weren’t sure if we should be concerned that she was not fat anymore. She acted perfectly healthy. She even seemed more active than she had before. We found her on the counters more often as if she was learning bad habits from Chris. But the weight loss continued and we knew something was wrong.
It took a couple of days but when the test results came back it showed that she has liver failure and the prognosis is not good.
Abbey is a very sweet cat that never causes any problems and losing her would be hard on everyone. Tigger and her lay together all the time and she treats Chris like a mother. There are times when Chris will chase her around the house, jump on her and bite her neck and then five minutes later he will lay down next to her and Abbey will wash his ears.
I bought milk thistle yesterday because I read that it is used to treat liver disease. I don’t know if it will help but I don’t want to give up on her without trying something. If anyone has any other ideas that may help please leave a comment. Thanks.