So, yesterday, we finally made the difficult decision to return Aimee to the rescue centre and I drove her up there this morning.
Aimee had settled well with us in some respects. She is the sweetest and friendliest cat ever, but she did have problems right from the start as she just wasn't eating properly. Initially I wasn't worried because I put this down to problems with her teeth. I could see when she yawned that she had some teeth missing and so when I took her into the vets for her injections, I asked them to look at her mouth too.
She had a short course of antibiotics for 3 days and then had an appointment to have her mouth sorted out under a general anaesthetic. Before I collected her, the vet phoned to say that they were concerned about other health problems and asked if they could take a blood sample, while she was unconscious. I agreed, naturally, but when I went to collect her, they had some bad news. It turns out that Aimee was suffering from kidney failure. They also put her age considerably higher than 7 years, which was the age the rescue cattery had been given by the husband of the former owner (who had died).
Anyway, the blood levels weren't too bad and the vet prescribed a new drug called Renalzin, which is supposed to slow the deterioration of the kidneys and Aimee was on that for a few weeks. Other aspects of her behaviour now made sense. From the start, she was constantly jumping up onto the sink to drink from any pans or dishes put to soak (the nice clean water that was always available in her bowl wasn't tasty enough, it seems!) yet she always seemed to be thirsty. She was also peeing in her cat tray far more than is normal.
For a while, it looked as though we might have had the condition stabilised, but on Wednesday, after I'd been out all day visiting my Dad, she seemed to deteriorate considerably. She was a desperately unhappy cat all evening, yowling and yowling, yet whatever we gave her -- food, water, cuddles -- made no difference. Then, yesterday morning, she was sick and there was blood in the white foamy vomit.
To cut a long story short, I went to talk to the vet yesterday about the prognosis and unfortunately it is not good. She remembered Aimee from the day she was in having her teeth done and said that she thought she was considerably older than I'd been told, probably at least 10. She also examined Aimee's throat and said that she might have thyroid problems, which would explain why she wouldn't settle and why she was so vocal. Aimee has been a rather hyperactive cat and even though she sat on my lap all day yesterday, she didn't sleep once and only dozed for a little while. As anyone who has ever lived with cats knows, they are normally very good sleepers. The thyroid problem could be treated, but that would mean another blood test and then further medication. When I explained that we'd only adopted Aimee eight weeks ago, she sympathised and fully understood that we'd ended up with far more than we had bargained with. After discussing the options, I said I just didn't feel that I could cope with her, so would contact Freshfields and see about returning her.
So, this morning I drove Aimee back to the rescue place I got her from. Thankfully she didn't seem at all distressed to find herself back in the pen with one of her sisters, merely surprised. I was so sad to part with her though, because when she's well, she's a lovely friendly cat. However, if I'd known her true age and problems when I went looking for a cat, I wouldn't have taken her home in the first place.
I decided to adopt an adult cat because I know that most people want kittens, so they're easier to place, and there are lots of lovely healthy mature cats who get overlooked. And that's all we wanted, a healthy cat that had a good number of years of life ahead. If she had been 7, as I was originally told, and healthy, then, all being well, she would have had another 7 years of active life before the ailments of old age started to creep in. That would have been fine, but right now I cannot take on the care of a cat that's already ailing. I don't go away often, but our daughter and son live in South Wales, so a visit entails an overnight stay. A fit and healthy cat is fine being left overnight with a neighbour popping in to change the litter tray and put down fresh food, but if the cat has a complicated regime of medication, it's another thing entirely, and though it might sound selfish, I cannot be tied to the house all day nursing a cat. I think that Aimee might have been so poorly on Wednesday because I'd been out and therefore unable to make sure she drank enough, or perhaps it was the stress of being alone? The shelter did say that she'd be fine as an only cat, but I'm now not so sure because she came from a house with 4 cats and a dog and while she was with us, she never just took herself off to find a warm comfy place to sleep, like our other cats did. She always sat with either G or me and would always jump up and follow me, even if I just got up from the computer for a minute to go to the bathroom or make a cup of tea.
Anyway, that is our sad news and the reason for my silence over the past few days. For the moment, I'm not going to rush into anything, but I think we'll be looking for a kitten in a little while. I don't think I want to risk another older cat, unless it's obviously a juvenile.
In happier news, our daughter and family are arriving in North Wales this evening and will be staying nearby for a week. It will be nice to be able to spend time with them all. I might actually manage to get out and about and take some photos.