April 22nd 2013 3:13 am
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Progress rarely ever consists of all forward movement. Instead, progress usually consists of making steps forward, backward, and sometimes getting stuck on a plateau for awhile. Lucy Liu's curled toes (also caused by her nerve damage) and her hyperesthesia in her right foot are hindering her progress in using her right rear leg.
Lucy's going to have to wear a padded splint on her right rear foot for awhile. I hope she will accept it without too much fuss and without trying to remove it. Otherwise, she may also have to wear an Elizabethean collar so she can't mess with the splint. Cats generally hate things like bandages and splints, usually making Herculean efforts to remove them the instant they get the chance. However they usually hate wearing such things as Elizabethean collars even more.
Lucy's already upset with me for having to give her antibiotics for her chin problem. The abscess has almost totally receded but she still needs antibiotics for a while longer. Being a typical cat, she hates having to be pilled. She's too smart for her own good too. When she sees me get out the bottle that has her antibiotics in it, she immediately does a disappearing act (one drawback of her having freedom of the entire house now.)
It's tough when you have to do things like subject your cat to having things done to them that they don't like, but that are for their own good. I wish it was possible to just tell Lucy that these things that have to be done are for her own health and quality of life. I wish she could understand that if she just tolerates these things that must be done, this difficult time of antibiotics and splints will be over with soon and the result for her will be more than worth it.
April 19th 2013 6:51 am
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On 4-12, Lucy Liu stepped forward, crossed her Rubicon, took her life into her own paws and changed it forever. She never returned to the crate again after that day. One of the very first things Lucy very quickly learned to do that day is to jump up, grab the top surface of my bed with her forepaws, and use the momentum of the jump along with the power in her front end to heave herself onto the bed. Once having worked this out, Lucy equally quickly claimed a spot on my bed as her new "security blanket" replacement for the crate and I moved her bed to this spot for her.
Several times I've seen Lucy rather ineffectively use her right rear to scratch behind her right ear. When her attempts didn't succeed to her liking, she came to me and talked me into scratching the itch behind her right ear for her. Still, the fact that she's even using her right rear to try to scratch her ear is a major gain in her progress.
An unrelated problem Lucy developed was an abscess in the bottom of her chin. Antibiotics and switching her from a hard plastic food dish to a stainless steel dish are effectively clearing this up.
Now except for really high places, Lucy Liu freely roams the house. She's learning very quickly how to get around and compensate for what her right rear leg cannot yet do. Although her toes on her right rear are curled under (and she has hyperesthesia in that foot, reacting in pain to any attempt to relax the toes with gentle therapeutic massage), she still is bearing some weight on the leg and using it. Her way of going is rather clumsy, kind of a 1-2-3- quick thump rhythm with her right rear only bearing weight for a fraction of the time her other legs bear weight in motion, but it is a 4-legged rhythm. In spite of the clumsy appearance of Lucy's movements, she can run fast too!
Lucy Liu continues to work on balance and walking across narrow places. She also continues to work on developing strategies for climbing. I'm sure that one of these days I will look up and find her on one of the highest shelves, prime kitty real estate for watching everything going on!
April 12th 2013 6:08 pm
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Today at approximately 4:30 pm, Lucy Liu came to the threshold of the Rubicon, the point of no return. Once you go forward, there is no going back. Lucy paused there at the threshold, clearly uncertain of whether to turn back or go forward. She started to take a step forward. Then she paused, turned around, went back to her bed, sat down, stood up, and again came to the threshold of the Rubicon.
It was as if Lucy Liu knew that this would be the very biggest surge forward her progress has ever taken. Once she took that first step forward, things would never be the same again.
Lucy Liu has already come a long way from the condition she was in when she was first brought to me. In the first photo I ever took of her, where she's curled up in her cat bed in her crate, her right hindleg is stretched stiffly forward. The muscles were so atrophied that her right rear leg resembled a stick more than a leg. In the picture it's difficult to even recognize where her right hind leg is at. The muscle atrophy at that time also is the reason her head and body proportions look strange in that photo. Compare that photo to her recent photos and her progress is obvious.
On 4-4-13, Lucy Liu made her very first leap since she came to me on December 4, a leap that sent her 19 inches up onto the lowest shelf of the new cat tree. While leaping a height of 19 inches is nothing for a normal cat, it was quite a feat for a cat who was hit by a car in mid-November, suffered a broken pelvis and peripheral nerve damage to her right rear and who:
First was able to sit fairly normally on March 15.
Stood on all four legs for the very first time on March 17.
Stood on her hind legs in her crate for the first time on March 29.
Now Lucy Liu stood at the threshold of the Rubicon. One step forward and Lucy's life would be changed forever, she would never be able to go back to the way things were before this first step.
Gathering her courage, Lucy Liu stepped out of the crate onto the top step of the stepstool. There she paused. Then she stepped down onto the second step, then to the floor. She'd done it!
Lucy Liu now has entered a new life of freedom to come and go between her crate and the rest of the house as she pleases. As long as she is still dependent on the crate as her "security blanket" and refuge, I'll leave the crate door open with the stepstool in front of it so Lucy can enter and leave the crate at will.
Lucy Liu walked over to the new cat tree, leaped onto the lowest shelf, and entered the treehouse there where she proceeded to curl up and stay until 8:58 pm. As I was writing this, she then jumped down off the cat tree, returned to the stepstool, and went up the stepstool back into her crate.
Today at approximately 4:30 pm, Lucy Liu bravely crossed the Rubicon. And her life will never be the same again.
April 4th 2013 10:39 pm
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Tonight at 12:53 a.m., Lucy Liu made her very first leap and reached her greatest milestone yet.
Earlier tonight, I put Lucy into the room I use for letting each individual newcomer cat exercise, run, play, etc. Lucy as usual immediately made a beeline to try to beat me to the door, wanting as usual to get back to her crate. She is secure in her crate and really dislikes having to come out of her crate for any reason. If she had her way, she wouldn't ever have to come out of her crate. After making Lucy spend a couple of hours in the exercise room, I went to return Lucy to her crate.
As soon as I opened the door to the exercise room, a small dark object flashed past me with what seemed to come close to approximating the speed of light. Evidently the height from the floor to Lucy's crate is higher than she wants to jump & evidently she wasn't inclined to try to go up the steps on the step stool either. After a quick glance at her crate, Lucy ran to the new cat tree & with a flying leap she propelled herself straight up onto the lowest shelf of the tree which is 19 inches from the floor, and ran into the little kitty house that is on that shelf.
Now 19 inches is a height that's nothing at all to a strong healthy cat with full use of all four limbs. But when a cat hasn't been able to jump at all for months now, this first jump of 19 inches is a major accomplishment.
As with Lucy's other accomplishments, her left hindleg supplied most of the rear power. However, she did bear some of her weight on her right rear in her mad dash across the floor and when she made her jump, she did move her right hindleg along in a weak imitation of what it's normal motion in a jump would have been. She also put some weight on her right rear when she landed on the shelf.
Now, approximately a half hour later, Lucy Liu still is laying inside the little house on the cat tree's lowest shelf. The step stool sits beside Lucy's crate. I decided at least for the next couple of hours, I'll just wait and see what Lucy does next. After that, or whenever I decide to go to sleep, I'll return Lucy to her crate for the rest of the night if she hasn't returned on her own accord already.
Tomorrow like it or not, Lucy will again find herself in the exercise room. When the time arrives to come open the door and let her out of the exercise room, I hope she will give me an encore performance of tonight's leap, her first.
March 29th 2013 4:22 pm
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Today Lucy Liu reached yet another miraculous milestone in her recovery journey. I don't know quite how she manages to keep progressing as well as she does when she keeps being so reluctant to exercise and use her body. I also don't know what motivated Lucy today, jealousy perhaps since Karina, one of the newcomers, is crated in the crate below Lucy's crate. Lucy's still in the the top crate although she still stubbornly refuses to even try to climb the step stool to get in her crate and insists on curling up at my feet and refusing to move until I either run out of patience or feel sorry for her enough to pick her up and put her back into her crate.
As Farrah and Moose have said, we acquired three new family members yesterday. When we have new family members, 3 or 4 times every day Mom closes off one of the rooms where some of our litter pans, food dishes, and water dishes are (we have other rooms with food, water, and litter in them so its no problem to us) and lets each newcomer have some time alone in that room to exercise, sharpen claws, play, and check out our family members scents, etc.
About an hour ago, Mom again let each one of the three newcomers have a turn in the room. Karina, whose crate is below Lucy Liu's was the last newcomer to go. When Mom brought Karina back to her big crate, Lucy Liu meowed and suddenly stood up briefly on her hind legs and tried to reach out to get Mom to pet her. True Lucy braced herself with one forepaw against the door while using the other forepaw to try to get Mom's attention and her left rear leg was supporting most of her weight, but the fact remains...albeit briefly, Lucy was standing on her hind legs just about an hour ago!
March 26th 2013 5:30 pm
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Lucy Liu thanks Catster, all her friends, & everyone else for your overwhelmingly touching appreciation of her diary, your beautiful DOTD & DDP pictures, your treats, your rosettes & gifts, & especially for all of your hopes, prayers, wishes, and interest in her progress toward recovery.
The caring and enthusiasm Lucy's many friends show us was especially heartwarming & encouraging when Lucy reached her two biggest progress milestones so far:
March 15 when for the first time she sat in a semi-normal position instead of her usual sitting position with her weight all on her left side
March 17, St. Patricks Day, when she stood on all four legs for the very first time since I got her, a giant leap in progress even though she only bore a little of her weight on her right rear.
(And no Lucy, sorry but you STILL must do your physical therapy! You especially must do your physical therapy now so you continue to gain progress & don't lose any you've already gained!)
Since December 4, 2012, the day Lucy Liu first came to me, in her healing progress she's come a long long way. I still have to massage Lucy's right rear foot to help try to encourage the toes to uncurl and to try to keep them flexible. I also still have to apply vaseline to Lucy's foot pads on her right rear foot daily to prevent her pads from getting too dry, cracked, or painful from lack of use.
It's still a battle of wills to try to find a way to get Lucy to walk around or try to climb something. I tried the idea of making her climb steps to get back into her crate. She curls up at my feet, looks imploringly up at me with the most helpless look she can muster in her big kitty eyes, and begs me to pick her up and put her in her crate. She can beg at me longer than I have patience to wait too. I've stood there as long as ten minutes waiting for her to give up waiting for me, take initiative, and go up the steps into her crate and she won this little standoff easily. When it suits them to do so, cats seem to have a natural gift for infinite patience.
March 17th 2013 8:20 pm
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TODAY, 3-17-2013 at 11:02 pm LUCY LIU JUST NOW STOOD ON ALL FOUR LEGS FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME!!!
As usual, Lucy Liu meowed at me as I walked past her crate.
As usual, I stopped to see what she wanted.
As usual, her food bowl was getting close to empty and she needed it refilled.
As usual, I petted her, took the bowl, and went and refilled it.
As usual, I came back, opened the crate door, and set down Lucy's food.
AND THATS WHERE "AS USUAL" PROMPTLY ENDED
Instead of beginning to eat her fresh food as she usuallly does, Lucy Liu turned AWAY from the food and looked at me. Then she meowed at me as she does whenever she wants me to pet her. And then....
LUCY STOOD UP ON ALL FOUR FEET and meowed again. Of course she got her petting, she had more than earned it! Lucy wasn't bearing a lot of weight on her right hindleg and she was using the entire area of the leg from the hock to the toes to bear what little weight she was putting on the leg but she DID it! Lucy Liu is finally is able to stand on all four legs again.
Interesting...it's St. Patricks Day, a holiday where good luck is emphasized, and Lucy chose today to finally reach a big milestone in her recovery, BY STANDING ON ALL FOURS FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE I'VE HAD HER!
Maybe now Lucy'll realize how good her physical therapy is for her....NAH! She's a cat. It doesn't fit her feline agenda to ever acknowledge being WRONG about anything!
March 16th 2013 11:13 pm
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But I'll let Mom tell my story...
Lucy Liu finally decided to "sit up & take notice" when she got her March 15, 2013 DDP.
I was standing several feet away from Lucy Liu's crate when she "spoke" to me the morning of March 15, 2013, the same day she got her DDP!.
When I turned around to look at Lucy and see what she wanted, I got a surprise even bigger than the DDP Lucy got on 3-15-13. I instantly saw that for the very first time since she's been here, Lucy Liu was actually sitting in a semi-normal kitty sitting position.
Prior to March 15, the closest Lucy's come to assuming any sort of sitting position was a 3/4 lying down position with her left side bearing most of her weight, her right foreleg partly helping prop up her front, the side of the crate providing something to lean against, and her right rear either stretched out or folded against her body, bearing no weight at all. It's taken Lucy Liu a minimum of almost 4 months to heal to this degree. Her broken pelvis healed quickly and easily-taking the usual approximately 6 weeks time. However, Lucy Liu's broken pelvis was only one of her problems. It also was the easiest problem to heal. The second injury Lucy Liu suffered from being hit by a vehicle was peripheral nerve damage in her right rear. Nerves take a long time to heal, months or even years.
In her day to day struggles, the three things Lucy Liu needs most is time, patience, and persistence.
IN THE SAME WAY, a shelter cat you adopt, a rescue cat someone brings you, a stray you take in, a feral cat you're working with, a gift from a friend, a Special Kitty, or even if you're buying the top show cat in the world-no matter where you're getting a cat from, be mentally prepared to give that cat a loving lifetime forever home, ALLOW THAT CAT A MINIMUM OF AT LEAST 2 MONTHS to adjust, settle in, and get used to everything before his real temperament will even BEGIN to START showing!
March 13th 2013 4:09 am
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Mom switched me and Gabe last night so he's now in the bottom crate and I'm now in the top crate. I was hoping that with my DDP and Gabe's FUS attack, Mom would forget all about that newest physical therapy idea of making me climb a step stool to get back to my crate.
I asked Mom what if I refuse to climb the step stool. She replied, "Then I guess you will have to sit on the floor in front of the step stool until you change your mind because the only way you're getting back into your crate is up that step stool."
Thing is there's no reason for Mom to even make me get out of my crate in the first place. I have everything I need right there, my litter, my bed, my food, my water. The things I love to do most, sleep and talk to Mom when she goes by (she always answers me too btw), I can do without ever stepping one foot out of my crate. Mom you have plenty of other kitty family members who run and climb and jump and play all the time so why not just let me enjoy being lazy in my crate?
Yesterday Mom got everyone a big new cat tree with lots of shelves and almost everybody is going crazy checking it out. I don't know why they get so excited over a cat tree. They have to climb it to get to the little houses and sleeping shelves on it. I can just curl up in my bed here in my crate without having to ever climb anything. I tell them they're silly to waste their effort. They tell me that I simply don't know how much fun they have and that they think I'm silly for wanting to stay in my bed all the time instead of coming and having fun with them.
Then yesterday, Lefty who usually doesn't ever embarrass anybody else, had to go and announce to the world in her diary that I had...uh....hmmm...a little...shall we say...gas problem. I complained to Mom about it. Mom just told me I need to exercise and do my physical therapy, that my gas problem is just one more consequence of my inactivity. Geez I can't get any sympathy from anybody lately!
March 12th 2013 3:55 am
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Thank you so MUCH for my DDP yesterday. It makes me feel better about myself. You see, I'm just an plain ordinary little brown mackerel tabby kitty with a screwed up leg that doesn't work right. My coat on my right rear doesn't look good. The hair hasn't totally grown in from when it was shaved to keep me clean when I couldn't stand up at all and had to use my litter laying down. Brown mackerel tabby is the most common color and pattern found in cats because it's the natural wild color and pattern. Ordinary brown mackerel tabbies like me sometimes have a hard time getting adopted because they are ordinary, although black cats have the most difficult time of all getting adopted. If you have room, adopt an adult brown mackerel tabby or black kitty from your local shelter. Do what my mom does, go in and ask what kitties have been in the shelter the longest. Then choose one of those kitties who otherwise may never ever have a chance at life.
Now my human mom's been having to keep putting vaseline on my right rear paw pads at least twice a day every day lately. My pads are thickened and tend to crack open and hurt due to the leg not being used. The vaseline helps soften my pads and the cracks in them are healed but Mom has to keep putting the vaseline on them twice a day to keep them from cracking again, at least until I can use my leg if or whenever that happens. I can't shake the vaseline off and when I try to wash it off, it tends to spread around and make my hair on my right side and leg look greasy.
My human mom says that another plus of the vaseline she has to put on my paw pads is that when I lick it off, I ingest enough of it that it's helping me with my constipation. I have mild constipation due to my inactivity.
Although my DDP didn't get me any time off physical therapy, I haven't had to go into a top crate yet because Mom put Gabe in there for now so she can easily make sure he's peeing ok. She told me don't think I lucked out yet. Gabe won't have to stay in the crate for long. He'll soon be able to come back out again although he may still have to get crated or put in the bathroom so he can eat his special urinary food without everybody else stealing it from him. Also, mom already has brought the step stool into the room, another sign she will soon start trying this new physical therapy idea on me.
How can I get Mom to stop worrying about me and just let me be happy curled up in my bed? I don't need to exercise. My water and litter are only a step away from me. I have my food right by my bed so I can eat it without even getting up. If mom doesn't put it by my bed, I just reach out my front paw, hook it over the lip of my dish, and drag my food dish up beside my bed where I want it!
Once again, THANK YOU SO MUCH CATSTER for my magical DDP day yesterday & thank you to all my friends who are so sweet and kind to me, who made me DDP pictures, who congratulated me, and all the rest of my wonderful friends, THANK YOU ALL! It was sure nice to get to feel special and beautiful and loved by so many for a day, I felt like a pretty princess yesterday!
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