I'd announced I was having Tucker's teeth removed. To those unaware or requiring reminders, Tucker is the black and white enigma, a desperate and hungry cat who showed up a few years ago. He kindly adopted us, granting us permission to let him into our house and onto our laps, deigning to eat the food we offered. We were grateful, as we always are when others demonstrate preference in our company and delight in our companionship.
Beloved Scheckter the Ginger Bear had just passed away. We'd battled gingivitis stomatitis with him. Then Lady began suffering the same. Such heartache we endured, commiserating with their pain, bleeding and swelling as their gums, teeth and bodies betrayed them. Now Tucker has it. That's it, I thought. What can I do about this curse. I removed Tucker from unhealthy foods, especially those with gluten. Kibble was taken away from him as it tore up his swollen, inflamed gums. Like other cats with this affliction, he began associating his food bowls with his pain. I worked around that, feeding him on paper plates, paper towels, by hand. Pain, food and I became synonymous in his view. My wife fed him by hand. I combated his anxiety with aromatherapy. His trust of my wife soon evaporated as well. It was a rolling ocean of pain, suffering, bleeding, fleeing, weight loss and miserable. Cortisone shots and cleaning his teeth provided temporary relief and we'd begin with fresh hope. Sadly, though, I saw little other choice than follow the vet's suggestion and have teeth removed.
No, my wife said. Try other things first. Fried with frustration, I grimaced and agreed. Truthfully, I didn't want to do it but I was tired. I was already providing him probiotics and had changed his diet. Raw diets sometimes worked but are work and time intensive and cause other issues. Lysine worked for some.
I would try lysine.
Lysine tastes bitter to humans and salty, they say, to cats. Cats aren't fond of it. I bought 500 mill capsules. Breaking them open, I mix about a third of a capsule with a teaspoon of water and fill a syringe. Then I hold him between my legs, seduce him with strokes and soothing words, and shoot it into his mouth.
Astonishingly, after several weeks of this, combined with the probiotics and an all 'wet food', gluten free diet, this appears to be working. Tucker hasn't bled in weeks. He's not drooling. His breath remains foul but food, bowls and I are no longer the enemy. He's going through four to six small cans of cat food a day, gaining weight and relaxing, and he still has his teeth.
It's not over but I'm pleased with his progress and glean reminders about life from the venture. Try, try, try, and then try more. Learn, think and attempt something else. Although weariness can overtake me, I shouldn't let it force me to yield. And, of course, trust my wife, she who must not be named, she who must be obeyed.
Time to go write like crazy, at least one more time.