We need to bathe Shelley today, and we’re hoping it’ll help her skin (it has in the past).
She has gone beyond making small sores all over herself from nervous biting/picking—we realized this morning that she has removed all the fur from the underside of most of her tail, and the skin there is raw and nasty. She got into a similar cycle right after she moved in with us (after the death of Katie’s father), though it was her flanks then. Apparently, cats will scratch and bite when they’re anxious, which promotes the release of histamines, which lead to more itching. The vet treated her with antihistamines which worked nicely, so we need to take her back.
I can’t figure out what would have been a trigger this time, though. There haven’t been any major changes in her environment since May.
I am worried about her quality of life. She seems stiffer and has more and more episodes of what seems to be senility. Frequently, she won’t (can’t?) get up on the couch or a bed unless she can use something else as a stair. She’ll stand right next to a dish of fresh food (a variety she likes), and wail as if she’s starving. Sometimes Katie just sits down with her, and then she’ll eat. She isn’t eating much no matter what we do, though, and she’s throwing up a lot. She gets very upset if she can’t find one of us immediately when she wakes up, and then she cries like she’s been abandoned. She absolutely freaks out about closed interior doors, well beyond the typical feline talent for always being on the wrong side of any closed door.
I don’t want to have her put to sleep, but I don’t want to have her suffering because I’m selfish. The only times I’ve had pets euthanized in the past, there’s been a very clear “it’s time” due to acute, obvious suffering. I’m just not sure of where that line is with Shelley.
She’s 14. I’ve never had a cat live anywhere near that long before. She’s been with Katie all of her life. Part of my reluctance to let go of her is concern for Katie, part of it is simply that I’ve raised Shelley from a kitten and don’t want to lose her for me, either.