How Can I Stop One Of My Cats From Constant Howling? - Part 2

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AndiFlatland | 05:18 Tue 14th Mar 2017 | Animals & Nature
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If you can go back to my first posting under this heading, from 20th May 2015, you'll find the story of the 'new' cat who wouldn't stop howling, no matter what I did. As she seemed perfectly healthy, and was getting fed regularly, was eating well, and had no problem with toilet or the other 2 cats, it all seemed to be something of a mystery.
This would still be the case almost 2 years on from that posting, as she still howls just as piercingly and annoyingly as ever - except that I now seem to have solved the mystery: she is without doubt completely deaf! Clearly, the reason she howls so loudly and so long is that she just can't hear herself. Kittens are trained by their mothers to be as silent as possible, in order to avoid attracting predators. But if a kitten is deaf, well... what can the mother do?
It took me about 6 years to finally realise this. She never seemed to respond to my calling her name, but as she was always focused on me visually, getting her to come for her food was never a problem.
When the penny finally dropped, last July, I took her to the Blue Cross to see if they could run some tests to confirm my belief. Unfortunately, they didn't have any proper facility to do that, but said that it was highly likely that she was deaf.
But while we were in the clinic, the vet gave her a general checkover, as she'd not been in for a visit for around 4 years. She then gave me a sombre look, and told me that Wendy had a large growth in her abdomen, about the size of a small fist, that it was cancerous, and having already grown too large, was virtually inoperable at her age (now around 15-16), as it would by now have spread throughout her body. She informed me that she only had about 6-9 months left to live - and although we're now approaching the upper limit of that time, she still appears completely healthy, eats well, is lively and bright-eyed - and still howls just as loudly as ever. The vet said that she didn't think Wendy was in any pain, and so was not howling because of it, and didn't see any immediate need to prescribe any painkillers.
So maybe the vet's prognosis was more pessimistic than necessary, and was just putting me on notice that Wendy had a condition that would eventually lead to a swift and sad demise. All I can do is give her as much love and attention as possible, while her life hangs in the balance, and hope that it may have a calming effect that can help her to fend off the ravages that may be going on inside her.
Thanks for reading.


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I'm so pleased you found the reason for the howling and very sad to hear about her health. It's good to know she's not lost her love for life. May Howlin' Wendy carry on howling with gusto.
Bless her. Poor little sausage.
16 years is a good innings.

And as there seems to be no impact to her health by the growth, she could go on some more.

Hope you enjoy the remaining time and you will do the right thing if she begins to suffer.
Cats are both frustrating and fascinating animals.

I hope Wendy keeps well for as long as possible. I love her name.. :-)
Question Author
Many thanks to all for your comments. Cats are a gift from somewhere outside of our understanding, and we should treat them with the utmost respect and care.
wolf63, you'll love her full name even more: Wendy Wagtail - because she does! Whenever I stroke her, the tail just swishes from side to side like a ridiculously happy dog! Never known a cat to do that. And I have 2 others: Sindy Flagtail (fluffy black and white) - because when she was young, and her brother Sandy (delicate fluffy ginger - think of a squirrel's tail) was still with us, they used to chase each other through the long grass in next door's unkempt back garden, and all you could see above the top of the grass were these 2 fluffy tail-tops tearing about. And Lucie Lupintail (who is virtually blind) - who, although completely black, has a thick tail which is shaped like that colourful flower, the lupin, which has a wide display of florets at the base, but tapers off to a point towards the top.
I love giving cats great names - one which sadly only stayed a week or two before escaping, never to be seen again, I called Twinkle (my real name is Terry, so those of a certain age will understand why that was appropriate...) - but I registered her at the Blue Cross as Twinkle Twinkle Little Cat. You should have heard the wave of laughter when, sitting in the waiting room at the Blue Cross, the vet called us over the PA system, 'Terry and Twinkle Twinkle Little Cat to clinic 4 please'. Could it be that she left because she was embarrassed by her name?
And if I eventually get 2 more once my current trio are no longer around, and they are male and female, I may well call them Monaco and Andorra (though the second names are yet to be decided - depends on what their characters suggest. Possibly Babycakes?)
Meanwhile, Wendy soldiers on in defiance of the vet's prognosis, and has just today been enjoying the return of some warm sunshine with me on the front doorstep. No way does she look like a cat in crisis, still bright-eyed and waggy-tailed - and howling like she thinks she should have been born a different animal!
I prefer normal names - 'people names' for my furry kids. I try to get a name to fit a character.

My two thugs are brother and sister - Frankie and Princess Merlin. Merlin (she came with that name) is currently licking and chewing on the hair on her chest. By tomorrow she will have dreadlocks in her long hair. She can be pretty nasty when I try to tease out the clumps or even if I cut them off.

Perhaps humans were created merely to care for such important animals.

The biography of Felix the cat at Huddersfield station was seemingly in the Times best seller list a week or so ago.

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Question Author
Thank you for that, allen. No, I didn't know that one, so it's a nice little thing to welcome and remember whenever appropriate. The imagery is strange and often mysterious - like cats themselves, I guess, who often behave in unfathomable ways. They have their own inscrutable agenda, which we are sometimes privileged to be a part of, as and when they decide. I think Wendy may be the perfect example of that, as she spontaneously howls at the oddest moments, for no obvious reason, and she seems to be focused visually on a dimension beyond what we can perceive. Heaven knows what she's looking at! But for all that, she's a dear little thing whose individuality I failed to see at the start, and it's only in the last couple of years that her true character has emerged.
As she is clearly completely deaf (although one way of getting her attention is to bang on the metal case of an old clapped-out VCR near where she sits), I've been trying to get her to respond to hand signals - and I've found that during a howling episode, if I waggle my hand from side to side at her, she seems to get the message that I'm telling her to stop. She also seems to slowly be responding to me pointing at things, and she will follow the direction of the finger until she finds what I'm pointing at (usually food!) Perhaps this is an example of one lost sense being replaced by another being heightened.
Anyway, as of today, she is still apparently enjoying good health, with no sign of anything being amiss, had just eaten her morning meal with relish, and enjoyed a little wander around the back garden in the sunshine - though it's still a bit chilly and windy for her to stay out all day.
The clocks go forward tonight (hurrah!!! - seven months of summer time and long evenings). I often wonder if they notice the change? I suppose in many regimented households, where all the times are well organised around daily schedules, it might seem somewhat surprising for a few days. But my times are completely random (as a pensioner), so it probably doesn't have any impact on my little trio.

Thanks again for your good wishes, and for all comments so far. I'll try and keep this site posted on Wendy's progress occasionally.

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How Can I Stop One Of My Cats From Constant Howling? - Part 2

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