Inconsolable

Yesterday was a very sad day and a lot of tears were shed over poor Lomax. The vet was coming to put the old horse, Sovereign, to sleep. He had been on loan as a companion for Talisman for the last few months but at 36 (which is an exceptional age for a horse) he had reached the end. At the same time, I wanted the vet to see the feral cat Lomax, as I felt it might be the end for him too. (My previous blog tells his story.)

I had a sleepless night beforehand, planning in my mind how I would get Lomax into the cat carrier when he came to feed in the morning, as I had never picked him up. I would only have one chance and I couldn’t blow it. There was also the issue of how to lift him without inflicting pain as his body was covered in large open sores. In the end, all went well and Lomax was installed in a padded cat carrier by 9am, waiting for the vet to come in the afternoon. As he had escaped from the carrier on the way home from the vet after being neutered a year earlier (and leapt around the car while I was driving), I took all precautions to ensure there was no escaping this time.

T5

I then went out each hour to spend some time with him. He settled quickly feeling safe in the enclosed space, ate well and purred as I talked to him in between bursts of sobbing. It’s amazing how attached you can become when caring for a sick animal who totally depends on you. Lomax was wild but he knew he had to surrender and accept my help and I loved him for that, as well as his bravery coping with such an awful condition for the last three months.

Though I felt for the horse, he wasn’t mine and I couldn’t make any real connection with him, partly because he seemed to have already ‘checked out’ due to the dementia I was sure he had. Nonetheless, I prepped him as best I could and affirmed how loved he had been and how much his family had appreciated his service over such a long period of time.

But I was pre-occupied counting down the hours to what I was sure would be Lomax’s final ‘release’ that afternoon. To distract myself in between visits to the barn, I did what any country girl would have done and baked a cake, which is now called Lomax’s cake. It’s very good and if you would like to try it, here’s the recipe which is a variation on a theme of the weekly cakes I make (some of which are in the ‘Food’ section of this website). Feel free to adapt the ingredients to suit:

  • 200g gluten free self-raising flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder
  • 175g melted goats butter
  • 175g unrefined raw cane sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 heaped tablespoon cocoa powder dissolved in a little hot water
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1 handful of peeled and chopped fresh ginger

I cook the cake slowly (only just into the ‘bake range’ of the Rayburn) for 1 hour and 10 minutes. In a normal oven that’s probably around 150 degrees.

cake

The vet arrived at 2pm and I ushered her into the barn to deal with my beloved Lomax who even managed a purr for her. I was surprised at how many tears I had shed that morning and to my embarrassment, blubbed uncontrollably when the vet agreed that the kindest thing to do was to put him down. I know from experience that the soul of an animal you’ve loved can return in another animal (I have talked about his in my blog called “What animals have told me”) but even so, I couldn’t stop the tears. I asked Lomax, that morning, to come back to me quickly – in a healthy body, of course!

In the evening, an email exchange with wonderful local vet Sarah ensued, which I will share with you….

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for everything. I have a question re Lomax. I was soul-searching before you came today and doused with my pendulum to see if I could gain some insight. I have doused several times this last few months (since he returned in a dreadful state) regards veterinary intervention ie. should he have drugs (apart from trying to keep him comfortable with anti-inflammatories which we did initially and last week, pain killers) and I kept getting a ‘no’. I think you thought from the pictures I showed you originally that he might have an extreme allergic reaction; then I researched online and felt he might have ringworm. So I used homeopathy in his food as well as putting lotions and potions on his skin which seemed to help briefly. However, as ringworm clears itself after 3-4 months, when he got to that point, I realised there must be something else going on – instead of, or as well as an allergic reaction and / or ringworm. That was when I spoke to you last week.

So this morning I doused again and got that he had a form of feline aids which was always going to be terminal ie. not respond to drugs. Did you say today that the Pox you diagnosed he had does not respond to drugs in some animals because they may also have FIV? Is this a feline version of aids, ie. a broken immune system? It would be interesting to know because I concluded from my dousing that he had come back to the barn as this was a safe haven and it was only going to be a question of time. So I didn’t need to feel I had done him an injustice by not opting for treatment.

Please let me know your view as I was too upset to take in all you said. Many thanks.

Hi Fiona,

I think you are right he came back to somewhere safe. Pox virus causes severe skin lesions and as a virus affects the internal organs. A cat’s immune system may clear this with time. However this should have occurred by now. I suspect he may have been carrying the FIV virus which causes an immunodeficiency that is untreatable. This is in itself a virus but even giving antibiotics will not help in these cases.

He was a beautiful cat and I could see you cared for him deeply. He came back to a secure place where he ended his days loved.

Hi Sarah,

Thank you. Lomax was such a brave little soul to cope with such a vile condition. He couldn’t even lie down and sleep on the various beds I put out around the barn, or in the hay in the last few weeks as the sores were so open. He just sat higher and higher in the rafters until he was at the apex of the roof where he felt safe, day and night except for feeding twice a day.

He was very talkative and from the minute he let me touch him (about a month ago) he loved being fussed though the only place I could scratch him where there we no sores, was on his head but sores developed there too in the last few days. He also let me put lotions all over him, even on the most exposed sores when the creams and gels were cold and he never once flinched. From totally wild to completely tame, he was a remarkable little cat. This last week or so, he was very weak and struggled to get down from the rafters to eat – I had to tempt him with milk and raw eggs but he still took a lot of encouragement to come down. I would go around the barn with a torch to find out which rafters the squeaks were coming from when I called his name, as he was black in a dark barn and so invisible. When he was hurting most, he sounded like he was crying.

On reflection, I realise I had a connection with him the first time I saw him before I trapped him to bring him to you to be neutered. He sat in the barn at some distance just looking at me while I talked to him. He gradually came closer to eat but never let me touch him until recently and that was when he touched my heart, in turn. I have counted the hours until you came today in this last week, as I felt so badly for him. But he’s free now.

Today is new day. I feel fine and relieved and I look forward to seeing how Lomax re-appears in my life in the not too distant future. Perhaps, another time, I will write more about the wonderful tool that dousing is and how it works, also what I have used it for over the last 35 years.

***

Pic: Talisman ‘at home alone’, looking into the part of the field where Sovereign had been. Hopefully, he will have another friend soon.

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