They say that a cat hides its pain very well. If it is injured or suffering from pain, it is very hard to recognise it in its early stages. Our 8 months old kitten Gundu, behaved no different. After his fall from a neighbouring building, he seemed to behave unaffected. It was only after a few weeks from the incident that we noticed his rapid breathing. He hated to be lifted or cuddled and avoided lying down sideways. This alarmed us of some abnormality. On his first visit to the Vet, Gundu was frantic. We were totally unable to control him during the drive. Out of fear and perhaps due to his unknown condition, he began to breath even more rapidly through his mouth. Doctor could not clearly tell if his breathing was an effect of anxiety or a disease so, she requested us to observe him for another week.
We got him back home and kept him on observation. He seemed to eat as normal but his breathing still remained rapid. When I returned from Mumbai, Gundu had lost his appetite severely and had turned skinny. While describing his symptoms to another Vet over phone, he suspected that Gundu might have hurt his ribs during the fall. However, he could not say that for sure without a X-ray or proper diagnosis.
Many of the Veterinary clinics in Bangalore do not have X-ray facility and that makes it harder for us to shuttle the cat from one location to another. Searching for a good clinic that has all the facility, we landed at Jeeva, in J P Nagar. Dr Nagesh Reddy seemed to be sensitive and gentle towards the animals. Doctor Vishal who observed the X-ray of Gundu suspected that this was something strange that they had not seen before. In the X-ray, the heart and lungs were not clearly visible. The doctors suspected that there was fluid accumulation around them. To verify if the fluid had passed from the intestine to the region around the heart, due to a ruptured diaphragm, they gave us some bromide powder that had to be fed to Gundu. The routing could be then traced in an X-ray.
That night, we had to sadly force Gundu to have those powder mixed in water. However, the next day, X-ray seemed normal. At least the diaphragm was not damaged. His blood test seemed normal as well. Antibiotic injected to him the previous day seemed to have improved his condition a little in terms of eating but he had severe constipation. A drop or two of Olive oil in water seemed to ease his excretion a bit.
At Jeeva, we were directed to CUPA in R T Nagar. They suspected this was a heart condition and could be genetic. CUPA seems to be the best facility you can expect in Bangalore with some modern equipments. Most doctors seem to suggest going there if they do not have the necessary service.
On a Saturday morning, I took Gundu to CUPA. He cried all the way, requesting me to open his basket and take him back home. He seemed very curious to explore the clinic but he had no strength to do so. So he kept looking around with great interest. Occasionally he looked at me and communicated with me. CUPA can get really crowded. After several minutes of wait a few doctors came in and performed an ultrasound.
That which masked the heart and Lungs of Gundu, did not seem like fluid anymore. The doctors suspected it to be some kind of a tissue. They still tried to rupture and try to pull out the fluid. They warned me that this could be dangerous and there is a possibility that he might collapse. We had no other go. No fluid came out confirming that it was a case of Lymphoma (Cancer). The doctor said that this is very rare in kittens. Generally, common in older cats. Unfortunately, they could not do anything more but manage it. One of the doctors told me that if the growth had been in the stomach, they do remove it but around the heart can be challenging and they did not have that expertise here. They wrote me some antibiotics and immunity syrups. With a heavy heart, I carried Gundu back. Sadly, that was all we could do. I felt miserable but to know what Gundu was suffering from was an important.
Gundu survived one week after that last visit to the hospital. In that one week, he craved for wet food, tried to eat as much as he could, drank milk when we fed him with our hands and responded when he was called. On Sunday, the 6th of November, when I returned from Jogging, Gundu was unable to move from his place. As we petted him with love, his soul departed releasing him from his pain once and for all.
I called Gundu a dog and not a cat. Because, he never behaved like a cat. Every morning when my alarm went off, he would come sit in front of our bedroom door, ready to greet me. He ate food and drank milk only when we sat next to him and sometimes when we held the bowl of milk in our hands. He hardly went out and whenever he did, he wanted us to accompany him. Which was unusual because, the other cat, very much like a cat, cared nothing but of her timely feeding.
Gundu had a short life, but in that short life, he brought joy to our house through his playfulness and his sensitivity. I hope, we made some difference in his life as well!
After all, animals are no different from humans. They hide their pain, we hide our pain too; if not physical, our mental dilemmas that we have still not successfully learnt to express.
To my dearest Gundu, You will be always remembered!