Easter Emergency

Well, this has to have been the most stressful Easter Sunday I’ve had in my whole life…

This morning, around 11.30 or so, my old cat Columbo (whose 15th birthday was on 31st March) suffered some kind of a seizure while I was sitting out in my garden reading the newspaper. It’s been warm and sunny over the holiday weekend so I’ve been trying to make the most of it, including having breakfast al fresco.

Columbo suddenly had a funny turn, cried out and then simultaneously evacuated bowels and bladder onto the garden path.  He staggered off into the house, alternately mewing and hissing, and proceeded to half-pace half-crawl around from room to room. Hoping he would settle down in due course, I just kept an eye on him and tried to let him find somewhere comfortable to recover from whatever bad thing had happened to him. He  didn’t seem to recognize me or the house he was in.

After about an hour of this, I gave up and called the emergency line and the vet. Such things always seem to happen during holidays when the vets are closed. Anyway, I managed to persuade the vet on the other end of the line that it was indeed an emergency, and rushed the sick moggy there in a taxi. The emergency vet arrived and opened up the clinic about ten minutes later.

Columbo hadn’t really improved in the meantime and he behaved very strangely in the vets, pacing around the examination table and sniffing everything repeatedly. The vet examined him thoroughly, including testing his eyes. It appeared that he had lost most of his vision, probably very suddenly, and although he wasn’t completely blind this could account for his disorientation and obvious discomfort and stress.

There could be a variety of causes of such a seizure for an old cat (stroke, toxic shock, neurological disease, etc) but the vet pronounced it unlikely to be directly connected to his diabetes as all the signs suggested a neurological problem. He had probably lost his faculties when whatever it was happened, and evidently lost control in  other ways too.

After lengthy consultations she (the vet) gave him a series of injections including antibiotics, an anti-inflammatory drug, and a sedative to try to calm him down a little.  She also gave me three diazepam tablets – which I initially thought were for me, as I was panicky too – in case he needed something later on to help him sleep. I was going to suggest that Mog-adon might be better but thought better of it.

It was clear that Columbo had experienced something that had completely deranged his mind, left him unable to see things properly, and put him into a state where he hadn’t the faintest idea where he was. The poor thing was obviously terribly frightened and confused. I think the vet knew that I knew how serious this could be and what I would have to do if the situation didn’t improve. I couldn’t allow him to suffer like that indefinitely.

But, the vet said, take him home, give him some rest, see if he’ll take food and bring him back tomorrow. We’ll see what state he’s in then.

So then I got him home. He carried on as before for about an hour and then either the sedative took effect or he was just knackered, so he climbed into his basket and went to sleep. I had some work to do so I left him on his own for a couple of hours, closing the kitchen door to give him some quiet. All the time I was thinking about soon having to make the decision to have him put down so I didn’t concentrate on my work at all well.

Eventually I went into the kitchen, where his basket is. I half-expected to find him dead. But as soon as I opened the door he climbed out of the basket and came directly to me. Clearly he was regaining some idea of where he was and could even see me. He purred when I reached down to stroke him. I went into the kitchen and he followed, still a bit groggy, but much better than before. I tried him with a bit of food and he wolfed it down quite happily before plodding off back to his basket. Not 100% by any means, but much better than the state he was in a few hours before.

So that’s where the story is so far. With  Columbo tucking in, I realized I hadn’t eaten a thing since breakfast so I’m warming something up now as I write this. I think I could do with a drink too.

For the time being, the emergency appears to be over, but we’ll see how he gets on at the vets tomorrow.

7 Responses to “Easter Emergency”

  1. So sorry to hear about that Peter. We went through related things last year. Fingers crossed for Columbo (and for you). Cheers, Mark.

  2. Poor Columbo, sounds like had quite a horrible experience. But doing the more usual cat-things (napping, purring, eating) sounds promising. Best wishes for the two of you.

  3. Anton Garrett Says:

    I hope he makes a full recovery. I’m an ailurophile but have not heard of this before. If it happens again then I suggest you talk to him, as he will be familiar with your voice, and stroke him, as reassurance. If I lost my sight catastrophically (no pun intended for once) then I think that’s what I’d like.


  4. telescoper Says:

    UPDATE: 11.15am on Monday 13th April. Back from the vet, Columbo seems to be much better, although a little groggy from the sedative. He’s also ravenously hungry (even more than usual), which is a well-known side-effect of the tranquilizers. Still no real idea what happened, it is even possible that something simply scared him very badly…although I don’t know what that might have been because I didn’t notice anything. For the time being the situation is under control.

  5. What an awful shock for you! Glad to hear that Columbo’s feeling better. These little creatures have a way of worrying us…

  6. […] his scary Easter seizure Columbo has recovered extremely well and is doing fine, in fact. I don’t know what caused his […]

  7. […] morning when I heard a screaming sound from the garden. Thinking that Columbo had suffered another funny turn, I raced back into the house. There he was, sitting in the kitchen, pleased as punch, with a small […]

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