Maurya and I
You will probably find all this ridiculous if you cannot think of your pets as family. Regardless, I believe I owe it to my family to publish certain things…
This is Chew . His two sisters and he came to us when they were about two months old. Their mom would come to our garden with them and leave them there to play and pick them up later. Once she realized they would be safe in our home she left them with us. Chew was a gentlemanly cat. After he grew up, when other kitties crowded our home, he would stay away for long periods. He simply could not bear the divided attention, and was too dignified to ask for any.
We never realized he was sick until it was too late. We could see that he had lost weight, but he looked and behaved normal. Once, he did not come home for two days. This was about two months back, in May 2008. On the third day my mother went out looking for him, found him too weak to move and carried him home.
We never took him to a vet. We had our reasons – which I intend to enumerate in a separate article. We could have taken him to Moitri but he looked too weak. Instead, we took him to our family physician, Dr. B. K. Roy who is a homeopath, and had treated many of our cats successfully in the past. My own research on the Net revealed Chew had symptoms of diabetes. Dr. Roy assured us it was a recent case of paralysis that was affecting both dogs and cats. We were reassured. Chew’s health appeared to improve. He did not leave home again. Sometimes, he would walk outside to the patio or the garden and sit quietly in the sun..
Around the last week of May his condition deteriorated rapidly. I still did not want to move him because he was too weak. We called Dr. Soumen Chatterjee who came highly recommended. He found nothing particularly wrong with Chew and told us that he was merely in shock, probably because he may have been in a fight with other tomcats.
Chew was prescribed Resource Powder – a high protein supplement. He did not want to eat that – in fact he resisted the extra protein. We force fed him: surely it was good for him – didn’t the Doctor say it was? He seemed better for a while. After that we were forced to call Dr. Chatterjee again. A whole week was wasted already. He could not understand what was wrong and lamented that this was the problem with animals: they could not tell us about what ailed them. Indeed. He prescribed fluids to take care of the acute dehydration and anemia that was now apparent even without Chew having to ‘tell’ us anything. One of the fluids he prescribed was Haemaccel®.
I somehow managed to find someone who could administer the fluid. This very competent man held Chew like he was cattle and put in the needle and expected us to keep him still while he took a call in the middle of the procedure on his mobile phone. The needle slipped and then he tried poking it in again. We decided Chew was better off dehydrated than tortured. We paid the man Rs. 200 for his troubles. I had brought him home on my scooter. He expected me to reach him to the main road so he could go home easily. I gave him clear directions and bid him goodnight.
The next day we went to Moitri. Strangely, Dr. Sourav Banerjee understood what was wrong with him even before the blood tests were done, and even though Chew still could not tell him about his problems, and prescribed the proper medicines and fluid.
When the test results came out we found Chew was suffering from diabetes, chronic renal failure and accompanying non regenerative anemia. He was NOT supposed to have been on a high protein diet.
Apprently, Haemaccel® would have killed him sooner because of its crystalline nature. It is contraindicated in case of renal problems. ( Here is a page that provides relevant information on it).
Dr. Banerjee was almost apologetic and nodded his head while looking at the report. ‘ I don’t know what to say’, he said. And i could see that he regarded his patients as patients, and that he was a doctor, not a businessman, and a competent one, unlike some.
Chew passed away two days later, at five to four in the morning of June 12, 2008. His eyes had lost focus and remained still, looking at nothing in particular, for the last four hours of his life. I don’t believe he recognized any of us any during those final hours.
This is Two . Why he has such a curious name is a different story. Two had not been well for a very long time. He had been treated by so called doctors, including Dr. Soumen Chatterjee, when he visited us for Chew. Two was prescribed an antibiotic and a mouth gel and a spray which I could not locate in any of the Medical Stores that I searched in. There was apparently nothing seriously wrong with him except for some mouth / tooth infection, and ‘it was possible’ he had also caught a bit of cold.
After Chew’s death we did not delay further and took him to Moitri. Dr. Sourav Banerjee, as before, did not need a blood test to diagnose his condition. The test results were less unfortunate than Chew’s: Two was suffering from chronic renal failure with a creatinine count of 10.4 (Chew measured above 14) and acute anemia (5.8). Two was kept on medication and fluid for a month. I took leave from work during the last phase to look after him constantly as also to turn the Net upside down for some kind of remedy. I went to work on July 11, 2008 after having taken as many days off as was possible and called home at around noon. Two had passed away at quarter to eleven in the morning.
He would put up a fight whenever we tried to administer the fluid. The solution to this problem was simple and we should have found that out earlier than we did: we only had to put him in my mother’s lap – or should I say, his mother’s lap, and he would be quiet. He was on her lap when he died. He had looked around, just before death. My mom believed he was looking for me. Guests, who heard him call her were always surprised to hear him say ‘maa’ and not ‘meow’. He was four and a half years old when he died. He had never really grown up. he liked to sit with mom in the kitchen, would sleep beside her with a paw placed somewhere on her. He was the big healthy baby who did not like his human mom talking on the phone. He would keep complaining whenever she did, and would even try to take the receiver away from her.
I am glad Chew and Two died the way they did. It could have been worse. They could have drowned, like Meemee, or been poisoned, like Lomba Lej was. Or stuffed inside a sack and dumped somewhere – possibly tossed into the canal nearby or into some pond – by our neighbours, like at least four others. I am thankful they died amongst their family members knowing always that they were loved and cared for.
On Diagnosing a Doctor
A very important symptom when you have to diagnose a doctor: a real doctor will not lament that animals can’t talk , that they cannot tell us of their grief. A real doctor will know. And in spite of their knowing they will insist upon tests just to make sure that the diagnosis is correct. Both Dr. Chatterjee and Dr. Banerjee were associated with Moitri. I really have no idea why Dr. Chatterjee could neither diagnose the problems nor bother to get blood tests done when he could see that his patient could not talk to him. A real doctor doesn't lament that animals can't explain their ailments. A real doctor knows. Click To Tweet
I have just got myself this website. There is much that I would like to put in here, including a review of vets that I have come to know personally, and where one can find decent facilities for animals in Kolkata, as also places and people to avoid. I also intend to publish my own experience with Alternative Remedies and their efficacy as far as animals are concerned. It shall be a privilege if my site is able to provide any kind of help to a human distressed over their fur baby in any part of the world.
(Originally published in kapush.net, July 30, 2008, 11:09 am).
Addendum and Disclaimer
I have a small group of friends who help me run my self-funded stray animal shelter. I failed thrice to create a non-profit organization but I am going to try again. I have a regular job and before my human children were born, half my income used to go to the maintenance of this shelter. The amount is down to one fourth of my total regular income now. No, the shelter animals are not starving, but we could always do with a bit of extra income.
Perhaps, some day, we shall have to Crowdsource but right now, earning is preferable to asking for donations. It is likely that most of our visitors make online purchases, especially from Amazon. If you click our links and buy, we receive a small commission (4 – 6%) which is paid by Amazon, not the buyer. There may be other affiliate links as well and in every case, the commission that we receive upon your purchase (if you’ve been kind enough to have used our links) NEVER COMES OUT OF YOUR POCKET.
In other words, it costs you nothing to buy using our links but is of immense help to us if you do. Everything goes towards providing food, shelter and medication for stray animals (usually dogs and cats). Thank you for that in advance.
I am a Content Strategist and specialize in creation of SEO optimized content especially for websites that depend upon Inbound Marketing. There is a portfolio section, and there is the site itself to serve as a sample of my work. If you think you could do with my services, please feel free to drop me a line at services.content(at)kapush.org .
About the Title
In case you’re wondering, Maurya is a character in J.M.Synge’s one act play Riders to the Sea . I could not find a decent summary but anyone who has seen too many deaths of loved ones will understand the significance of the title. I can only hope there aren’t that many of us around.
More of Kapush
There are three sub-directories right now: KapushFolio that has my portfolio or writing, painting, illustrations and a bit of photography, Kapush | Cat Litter, that you might want to read if you have a cat and use litter – especially since the wrong litter can very well kill your cat, and, KapushContenT , where you can hire my services as an SEO Content Writer and Content Strategist.