Some reflections – to force or not

Did you listen to the entire interview between Dr Karen Becker and Dr Lisa Pierson on feeding CKD cats?

Dr Pierson’s voice (over the phone) was quite soft, so I had to strain my ears to listen.

In the last part, they talked about respecting the cat and not forcing the cat into doing or eating whatever s/he doesn’t want.

Never force.

Respect the cat.

Both vets totally agreed on that.

I can’t say I disagree either. I do like the part about respecting animals. I really do.

So, it made me think of how we struggled and forced Vincent to take his medicines. Vincent is already such a proud cat and we had to dishonour him to that degree by forcing him to take medicines and even wrapping him up with a towel and the burqa. What that the right thing to do?

But what about Pole then?  We struggled with Pole and forced her in the first 2 days, which eventually led to her feeling so much better and now, she “understands” and doesn’t fight off our pilling attempts anymore. What if we hadn’t done all that forcing in the first 2 days? She would still be so sick now. She wouldn’t have been able to eat at all. What would have become of her by now?

So, to force or not?

I guess we have to just play it by ear then and don’t overdo. Maybe we have to know when to take a step back and say, “Ok, I have done all I can within reason.”

Listening to that last part of the interview also made me think instantly of old people. I often hear young people complaining that the elderly in their family “refuse to take a bath”, “refuse to eat”, etc. And these young people often force their elders to do these things. I also remember watching a video where an old person tells his son/daughter that “If I don’t want to take a bath, please don’t force me. Don’t you remember how you refused to bathe when you were young?” And, “If I say I don’t want to eat, don’t force me. I know how much I want to eat, or if I even want to eat.”

Don’t force.

Respect them.

We think we know better, but sometimes, we just don’t.

I suppose the same principle applies to old people and animals.

But the difference is, most old people can still express themselves and tell you what they want or don’t (unless they have lost the capacity to speak or they are just so fed-up with the nagging and forcing that they button up and refuse to speak), but animals cannot speak to us, so we don’t really know what they want or not. And we don’t know if they really know better or they are just acting out of a fear of the unknown (fearing the smell of medicines, fearing strange procedures done on them).

That is the difficulty. Where do we draw the line and say….ok, I shall respect what you want. No more forcing.

Vincent didn’t want to eat just now, but he came into the kitchen with everyone else. This is a little strange because it has been 8 hours after the subcut. He ought to be feeling really hyped up and well and he “should” be hungry and normally, would be eating like a horse. But no, he just stared at the food and eventually walked away.

But it’s okay. I didn’t force him. But I had to give him his antibiotics single-handedly. It was a bit of a struggle.

I also bought two cans of Fancy Feast just to try giving Vincent a change of taste. I bought the chicken in seafood sauce flavour. Unfortunately, not only did Vincent walk away from it and out of the kitchen entirely, even Ginger didn’t want to eat and walked away!

It just goes to show that ‘one cat’s meat is another cat’s poison”! But it’s okay because Tabs and Heidi ate it up.

After Vincent was turned off by this new canned food, he also did not want his raw meat anymore. I even prepared a fresh batch for him.

That’s okay too, Vincent.

As his vet had said, “Just leave the food there and if he doesn’t want, remove it.”

Vincent’s weight this evening was 2.9kg. I guess it is just going to fluctuate between 2.6kg and 3.0kg, depending on how much he eats. Well, as long as it doesn’t go lower than 2.5kg, we should be thankful.

For three days now, we have noticed that his sneezing was much less and what’s really good is that he was no longer sneezing out specks of blood. But this evening, he was sneezing a bit much and there were specks of blood.

Sigh…and just when I thought the nose bleed was under control.

A setback, but it’s okay.

There will be good and bad days.

That’s life.

On the bottom-most step.

It’s okay, Vincent.

Pole’s okay. Appetite’s back.

Why, that looks like one of the more difficult stretch we just learnt at Stretch Therapy!

Way to go, Pole!

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