While I had my complete-black-out-nap, my phone rang. It was on the table in my office. I didn't hear it ring. If I had, I would have answered the call. It was none other than “Cat Daddy,” Jackson Galaxy. I awoke to discover a voice mail from him, which of course made me swoon with glee. Through the fog of the nap, I tried to activate my over-stressed brain so I could call him back.
My words got caught up in my mouth, but somehow I managed to have a somewhat logical conversation with “the man.” Initially I called to discuss a secret thing with him, but we veered off topic and started to talk about cats. Even though I spend 99% of my day doing something with, to or for cats, talking with Jackson was pure delight. He told me how thrilled he was for all the support he got for the Premiere of “My Cat From Hell” and that the ratings SHOCKED the folks at Animal Planet. Not only did MCFH do well, it BEAT OUT ALL THE OTHER SHOWS for the entire 4th Quarter of last year!
Now we just have to help Jackson keep it up…her hee..so to speak.
As we spoke, Jackson, graciously offered up an idea that will be a surprise I'll be sharing with you in a week.
But what about Bobette?!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Drugged up. Not happy and wanting OUT!
Bobette got out of her e-collar and ripped out her IV at the Vet. She was a “bad” patient. I was supposed to pick her up in the morning, but I ended up not getting her until well into the afternoon. Before she left I had to help hold her down so her leg could be bandaged up again. Dr. Mixon had to use many layers to wrap her leg so it would stay in one position for the next 12 days (or years as it's been feeling like). She complained and growled during the bandaging, clearly she did NOT care to be touched and who could blame her?
Also, Bobette was being given Buprenex, which made her pupils dilate and act very lovey-dovey, but was too weak to stand. I got her home and awkwardly positioned her into her crate. Of course she started to cry and roll around. I begged her to sit still and rest. She was very agitated and, I'm sure in a lot of pain. I felt about one inch tall.
I covered her crate and let her rest, but the second I got downstairs to my office, I heard her banging around on the floor above. I went up and checked on her. She'd made a big mess of her cage. I straightened everything out and left her to rest. Again she started banging around. This went on for a good hour. I was to the point of losing my mind. I already felt bad even looking at her, but I quickly realized she couldn't even use her litter pan. She was just too weak and I was irritated that I had to keep running up to check on her every few minutes. How was I ever going to get any work done? I know that's selfish but I have to make a living!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. First night-bandage is coming off already. Now what to do?
I helped her get into the pan, realizing the sides were way too high. I held her, hoping she would do her thing, but she just wriggled away and I freaked out thinking she was going to break her leg again. I tried to carefully put her down, but she fought me and fell over. She just rolled around, not able to get into any position that would quiet her down. I felt completely overwhelmed, not having a clue as to how to properly care for a cat in such a sad state. This was nothing like caring for a cat with an upper respiratory infection.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette is such a good girl as we assess what to do about fixing the bandage on her leg.
Then I noticed her bandage. It was slipping down her leg. She was going to be able to bend her knee, if she didn't do so already. I called out to Sam, asking him to help me with her. I ran into the bathroom, looking frantically for some first aid tape. We had about an inch left in the container. I gently tried to pull Bobette's bandage up, but she screamed in pain. I started to cry and shake. I didn't know what to do. Dr. Mixon's office was closed.
I asked Sam to go the store and get more tape and anything else that would work. It's just a bandage. We can deal with this. I held Bobette in my lap, careful that her injured leg would fall over my knee. She calmed down some, but the adhesive on her e-collar was coming off. Oh boy, what luck.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette in her tiny recovery “suite.”
We tried in vain to repair the bandage, but nothing stuck to her fur. I was beyond worried and in truth, I flipped out. Looking back on it, I realize I had PMS. Oh joy. That always helps me be calm, damn it!
It was nearly midnight the first night Bobette was home. Sam and I decided to take her to the Emergency Vet to re-do the bandage. They told me the cost for an exam was $90.00 IF we got there BEFORE midnight and $145.00 if we got there AFTER midnight. Are you kidding me? I asked for a rescue discount and they did not provide one. Nice. It was going to cost almost as much to re-do her bandage as it did to do the SURGERY!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Finally, some rest after a long few days.
We got to the ER at 12:02am. The woman who met us at the door, looked at her watch and said with a mischievous smile; “Just midnight now. Good timing.”
An HOUR later, Bobette finally had her bandage adjusted. We decided to just get it so it would stay on during the night because the other option was to sedate her and re-do the bandage completely, which odds were, she would just shake it off anyway; plus it was going to put the total damage to $400.00!
The Vet replaced just the top portion of the bandage and Bobette relaxed in her crate. We drove home in silence. I imagined this was the beginning of a complete nightmare of trying to keep her from undoing the bandaging and ruining any chance she had for the repair to heal.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. This is how you fall in love with your foster cat.
I also realized that her crate was too big. She needed to be confined to a smaller space that forced her to either sit on a cat bed or use the litter pan and that was it…and the litter pan's sides were far too high. I needed something with barely an edge on it. Fortunately we had a large baking sheet that fit the bill. And no, I am not going to re-use it after Bobette heals up! Really? Do you really think I would do that?
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. This is your cat on drugs.
I got everything set up in a new crate. Bobette flopped over. We left. It was about 2am and I was going to get up in a few hours, but I passed out cold and slept until 8am. I was afraid to look in on Bobette.
She was sitting in her crate, looking at me. She cried. She hadn't made to much of a mess. She was still goofy from being drugged up. Her bandage was still on and so was her e-collar. She has to be held in someone's lap to be fed, so Sam volunteered. We took off her e-collar so she could reach her food. She didn't eat very well for a few days, but she did eat.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. No more drugs on board!
Sam kept her company while I tended to clean up and providing for whatever Sam needed. I brought him his glasses, his book. I made coffee for him-anything to keep him in the room. Bobette relaxed and later that night she slept during my turn to care for her. She passed out on the bed, the last of her drugs wearing off. I did me a lot of good to see her like that.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Stretching out on Sam.
The next few days were difficult, but not as bad. We developed a new routine. Sam and I both had to provide care for Bobette because one person had to hold her while the other cleaned up the many messes. Bobette's aim wasn't the best and I went through a box of “wee-wee” pads and had to do a lot of laundry. As Bobette began to feel better, I offered her a scratching pad which she eagerly dug into. It was very endearing to see her do something normal, only have to sit like a human to do it. I secured a small scratcher to her cage in case she would use it there, as well, but mostly we just give her “scratchy-time” during each break from her cage.
©2012 Robin A.F Olson. Scratchy time!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. How to sit in a lap when your leg is bandaged.
What's really nice about this experience is that I've finally gotten to know Bobette. She's a doll. She has no problem sitting in my lap for hours. She purrs, eats well and her nasty contusions around the upper part of her bandage have healed. She loves Sam and I think the feeling is mutual. She also is a bit of a Houdini because she managed to get out of her e-collar for a few hours. Thankfully she picked at her bandage but didn't do much to it. It's still in place a week after it was re-worked. We only have three and a half MORE days to go until the bandage comes off. I cannot WAIT.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Watching crappy TV.
It's a lot of work and takes a lot of time to care for Bobette. I'm glad the worst days may be past us and I hope good days are to come. I had to remove Mikey and Jakey from the room early on. She just couldn't tolerate them any more and they were afraid of her. I don't often see a Mother react so angrily towards her offspring, but we must keep the peace, so the boys are in the bathroom for now…well..the boy…one of our Pumpkin Patch babies got adopted last night and one is coming back to us. It's all a bit of a mess, but it will be worked out.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Feelin' pretty good now!
It's late Friday and Bobette seems a little better every day and a little more accepting of having to wear the cone of shame and a clunky bandage on her leg. Dr. Mixon said there's no way to know if her leg is dying under that bandage. If it's too tight from re-bandaging, she will lose blood flow and lose the leg. The only way to know is to take off the bandage! So now, of course, I'm very worried. We can't take off the bandage, Bobette seems fine, but what is going on under that dressing? It was bad enough I had to worry that the surgery was a failure, but now what if her leg is useless? I don't believe I signed up for this. Nope.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette this morning.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. A week since the surgery-doing just fine.
I'm going to decide that her leg is all right. Walking may not be easy, but if her leg was necrotic, I really hope she'd show some signs of feeling lousy or crabby or something. For now she is sweet as can be and so easy to love. I want to provide the best for her and I hope I've made good choices to help that happen. Sam and I have a crush on this girl and we can't let her down.
It's like anything else. I just have to give it time. Bandages come off in two and a half more days..tick tock!
THIS IS PART ONE SO YOU'RE SAFE.
It's rather ironic that there's so much going on in my life to write about, yet I don't have time to write any of it down. Meanwhile the days slip by and the details become a bit fuzzy around the edges.
Last week marked the first time I'd ever witnessed anything more than a spay surgery. It was time for Bobette to have surgery to (hopefully) correct her luxated patella. The poor girl couldn't walk without limping. Her kneecap was so far out of place it was a wonder she could run or jump at all. She mostly used her other legs for jumping and if she got really inspired to go after a toy, her back end would slip out from under her when she ran. Clearly, she needed help, but there was no guarantee she would ever walk normally again. Getting a kneecap back in place is one thing, but to get it to STAY in place is another.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette's future home while she recovers with commentary from her boys, Jakey & Mikey.
There was much to do to prep for Bobette's life after surgery. Dr. Mixon, her Vet, wanted her to have cage rest for three weeks, so I got out my biggest dog crate and set it up, not realizing I was making a big mistake. I'd never had a cat with an invasive surgery on a limb to recover from-of course I'd cared for Bob after 1/2 of his liver was removed just a year ago, but all I had to do for him was make sure he was eating and staying quiet on his heated bed. With Bobette, I'd have to keep her from moving at all costs. I hated to lock her up in a cage, and force her to wear the “cone of shame,” but she had to rest.
In the first week, should Bobette be able to bend her leg at all, she would ruin the surgery and her kneecap would pop back out. We had to give it time to set in it's new position and that meant a lot of sitting around. For a year old cat, who wants to play, that was a lot to ask for.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The welcome committee at Dr. Mixon's practice. Look familiar?
The morning of the surgery I was feeling hopeful, but scared. I thought I'd be sitting in the waiting room until they finished up, but Dr. Mixon came out and asked me, or was it told me?, I should come back and see the surgery. My heart dropped into my pants. ME? Watch? Even though I watch all those ER “reality” shows on TV, I ALWAYS look away when they get into the gory surgery scenes. There was no looking away from this, but could I handle it without throwing up or fainting?
I didn't realize I'd have to help out, which is not a problem at all, especially considering Dr. Mixon was doing the surgery for about $2000.00 less than an Orthopedic surgeon would have charged. Dr. Mixon is a General Practitioner, not a specialist, but he admittedly enjoys doing orthopedic procedures and another friend said her dog did well after Dr. M. did a similar surgery on him.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Last pets before surgery.
Bobette was sitting in her cat carrier, her pupils dilated. She hadn't had breakfast-of course-because anesthesia can cause the cat to vomit and you don't want her to aspirate anything into her lungs and get pneumonia. It's better not to have a full tummy (but you tell that to the cat!). Two days before we'd been in this same waiting room together, but only to get Bobette's pre-operative blood work done so we could make sure she'd be healthy enough for surgery. With three people holding her down, there was no way to get her blood, so we had to hope that being so young she'd be fine under anesthesia-this is not something I'm happy to report. I'm sure as we sat together, Bobette was getting very tense, probably reliving what happened those few days prior and I wondered if she'd become so fractious that we'd be able to do the surgery at all.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. After being given something to relax her a bit, Bobette and I share a few moments before her surgery prep begins.
I brought her into the back of the Practice and sat her on an exam table. The Vet tech was getting supplies ready and I asked her to walk me through what was going to happen next and what she'd want me to do. Mostly I had to just hold Bobette down and not lose any fingers in the process but I kept thinking' “I'm a Graphic Designer! I'm a Graphic Designer. I'm NOT A VET TECH! WHAT AM I DOING HERE?!”.
I took the lead and spoke very calmly to Bobette. I didn't restrain her very tightly. We were very quiet as we worked on her. It wasn't difficult at all to give Bobette a few shots. One was to relax her so we could insert the IV, which would be in place during surgery and provide her with fluids. The other was the dreaded Metacam, which I challenged Dr. M. on giving her because it's known to cause renal failure. He quickly pushed back and said it was safe if she was kept hydrated. I was really tweaked that he gave it to her after all I'd heard about it killing cats more than helping them, but what could I do? Now I'm thinking we'll have to do a post op-blood test to see if she's ok.
I held Bobette down so the Tech could insert an IV into her leg. I was really feeling like a traitor. Here is this sweet cat. I don't know her very well, but I still care about her. She's scared, drugged up and only at the beginning of what is going to be a very awful day. I couldn't blame Bobette as she pitched a fit and shrieked as the Tech tried to shave her front leg. Try as we might, we couldn't get her to settle down so it was decided she needed to be gassed so she would just konk out.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. I will never look at another storage tub the same way again, ever. I was not a happy camper seeing this.
The Tech grabbed a plastic storage tub with holes cut into either end. One end was taped up and the other was open. She attached a hose to the open end, then had me place Bobette inside the bin. She barely fit. I started to realize maybe this is what they do to kill cats at shelters? I wanted to grab the box, get Bobette out and RUN for it. This just seemed inhumane, but what do I know about this---nothing other than it really bothered me to see this happening.
The Tech snapped down the lid and turned a dial allowing the gas to enter the box. Bobette didn't fuss at all and in a few minutes was slumped down, oblivious to the world around her. It's VERY UNNERVING to see an unconscious cat. They might as well be dead, because it's not much different. I kept wondering how anyone could do this to animals every day and not have nightmares each night.The Tech told me she was going to remove the lid FAST. I had to get Bobette out of the box, then run with the box into a back room and NOT BREATHE ANYTHING IN OR I WOULD PASS OUT, TOO.
I told her to do a countdown and on…“1” we jumped into action. I couldn't be distracted by Bobette being so limp. I put her down, grabbed the box and ran off, making sure the lid didn't come back off. I was weirdly tempted to open the lid and take a big sniff so I had a reason not to see the surgery, but I figured I would hit my head when I passed out, too. Probably not the best idea.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. After being intubated, the IV is set. Bobette is completely out of it, thankfully.
Then began a very long process of preparing Bobette's leg for surgery. I kept wondering how long she could be unconscious without it doing her harm. The Tech asked me to adjust a light or hold something or get this or that. She began to shave Bobette and we discovered she has very odd fur. It grows in different directions and was difficult to trim down close to her skin. I noticed that Bobette has a tuft of fur on her neck that reminds me of Alfalfa from the Our Gang show (It's probably before your time, so here's a link )
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette gets a furcut.
Poor Bobette. I just wanted to take her home, but the surgery hadn't even begun. She looked so helpless laying on the table. I whispered to her that it was going to be okay. I hoped it wasn't a lie. A monitor nearby beeped every time her heart beat. As long as we heard the beep, she was okay.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Aww..Bobette!
Bobette's leg was wiped down a few times. Dr. Mixon saw what the Tech was doing and stopped her. She missed a spot on Bobett's leg right under the tape that held her leg in place. She had to shave it down and re-do all the antiseptic wipes, which again, Dr. Mixon corrected, making certain that the area where the sugary was being done was NOT getting wiped over twice. Even though it took a lot of time, I was glad he was a stickler for keeping things clean.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. iping down her leg. Make it nice and clean.
So far, so good. I was on my feet. I hadn't passed out. Okay, no blood yet, either. Sheesh! I got this far, I need some credit.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. All set. What's next?
Bobette was fine so far. I was fine, too, but was glad I wasn't attached to a heart monitor because everyone would know just how scared I was. Bobette's monitor kept beeping along…beep…beep…beep.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Dr. Mixon begins his part of the prep work.
Then Dr. Mixon began draping Bobette with layers of cloth that would allow him to focus only on her leg and also to keep the surgical area cleaner. I kept thinking that surely he was done, but he'd add another layer. Then he slipped a small sock over Bobette's leg and cut a hole into it which was over the area where he'd be making the incision. After he created the opening, he quickly sutured around the edges of the opening so the fabric would stay in place. This was the final task he had before he could get started.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Paging Dr. Robin! Does this mask make my face look fat?
He was very focused and there was little talking. The only sound was the beeping of the monitor. Dr. Mixon looked up for a moment and said; “Now you know why these surgeries cost so much money.” And even before he made one cut, I understood. The prep work took at least an hour if not more. When he was done, Bobette the cat was gone and in her place was an alien leg sprouting from a field of pale green sterile sheets.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Where's Bobette?
…stay tuned for Part Two: SURGERY…next.
the DOOD started coughing three days ago. At first I thought it was a hairball, but quickly realized it was something far worse. This sort of cough is not a "hairball" cough. I got the DOOD to visit with Dr. Mixon yesterday morning, a few minutes before he began the surgery on Bobette. Because it was a last minute appointment there wasn't time to run any tests. He suggested we put DOOD on clavamox and see how he did, but something didn't sit right with me because he said it might be an obstruction, not illness.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. the DOOD, not feeling well at all…
Last night DOOD continued to have coughing fits, but he ate well and seemed quiet, but not completely out of touch with the other cats. I made an appointment for him to see Dr Larry at 9:30am. The morning couldn't come fast enough-even though I knew it was going to cost a lot more money for this Vet visit. I couldn't let DOOD suffer or possibly get a lot worse and need hospitalization.
DOOD was great at the Vet. He let everyone handle him without complaint. Dr. Larry thought the DOOD was adorable, but was concerned after he heard DOOD cough-which thankfully he did so Larry could get a better read on what was going on. I know the look on Larry's face when something isn't right and clearly DOOD didn't have a minor issue.
They did chest X-rays and blood work. The blood work didn't give them any additional information, but the x-rays showed an interstitial pattern in the top of his lungs. It might be pneumonia or something else. It's too soon to know. Right now DOOD has antibiotics on board via a shot but tomorrow I'm to start him on 2 weeks of clavamox and hopefully that will help him feel better.
1. I'm worried about the DOOD, of course. I love that boy to bits and I worry we will lose him if he gets worse (which he was doing this afternoon so they gave him a shot instead of wait for me to start giving him meds when we got home)
2. I'm terrified that this is contagious. A few of the cats have a very mild URI. What if they ALL get this? It will bankrupt me, in addition to completely causing me to fall apart. I'm so close already and with Bobette's care-which has to be 24/7 right now, I'm just whipped, broken and beaten.
3. And what will happen to the cats…Spencer has breathing issues already. Gracie is going to the Vet tomorrow to begin the process of having a big cyst removed from her abdomen that might be cancer.
4. Bobette's kittens, who have had the runs for weeks-who we started on a de-wormer and flagyl have WORSE stool now…worse than ever!!! So I had to run to the vet for the 4th time today to drop off a stool sample for them to be tested.
There's just too much going on all at once with no one to help. I really need a volunteer foster home for Kitten Associates so maybe some one can foster the two kittens while I focus on their mom-who can't walk at all and who is whacked out on buprenex and falls over and can't get up-so I have to be with her all the time.
I have so much to catch you up on, but this is all I have time for. I need to raise some funds to help offset the costs for the DOOD. I hope to GOD he doesn't need to see a specialist and I know we just did a fundraiser for Bobette. If you can't help out, that's completely fine, don't feel bad. Every little bit helps right now and I appreciate whatever anyone can do.
Last night foster mama-Maria, called me, worried about Jackson Galaxy, the cat we rescued last week who was named after the uber-cat-listener-of the same name. We'd already discussed that Jackson has been aggressive, biting Maria's hands and clawing her legs. Because he was just neutered a week ago, we thought we'd give it time and Maria was going to adjust how she approached him. Jackson had almost 2 years of being an intact male and probably had plenty of hormones still working through his body. We needed to give him time to adjust and get rid of all that testosterone.
Because Jackson's in a small bathroom I also asked Maria to be observant about where she is in relationship to the cat. Did he feel cornered? Was he attacking out of fear?
Very slowly Maria saw some improvements. Jackson could be petted and he did purr, but last night something was not right with Jackson-not right at all. Jackson was lying in the bathtub, pale smears of pink-BLOOD-were on the porcelain. Jackson was licking at his scrotum and when she looked at it, it was red, slightly inflamed and she saw some blood. She called “Doc” Thomas, who runs the Spay/Neuter clinic at Noah's Ark and asked her what to do. Doc said to bring him in in the morning.
©2012 Maria. S. Jackson, last night.
Jackson wouldn't eat. Maria had to force feed him after trying many different tempting options. I asked if she could take his temp, but she said he didn't feel hot. She tested his blood sugar and it was normal. I thought he was getting an infection or brewing the dread shelter-virus, but his eyes were not watery, only his coat looked unkempt.
Maria took the day off so she could rush Jackson to Noah's Ark, where Jackson was neutered. Jackson's temp. had risen to 104.4°F-high normal is 101°F. Jackson's scrotum was enlarged-an obvious infection was brewing. In four years of doing neuters, Doc had only seen this happen ONE other time.
©2012 Maria. S. Jackson getting prepped for surgery.
Jackson was sedated and Doc opened up his scrotum. She said it was good to see blood, that it meant the tissue was not dead. She could drain it, then give him a course of strong antibiotics and he should recover. I asked Maria if he'd have to wear “the cone of shame” (an Elizabethan collar), but she said no.
©2012 Maria. S. It's tough to look at, but now his painful, swollen scrotum will be healing up and feeling better very soon..
Jackson's waking up from the procedure as I write this. He's already gotten antibiotics. Hopefully this was just a bump in the road and from here out he'll not only be feeling better, but perhaps acting more calm with Maria, too. It's possible he's been in pain, first from the surgery and then from the infection—and what guy wouldn't lash out if his scrotum hurt?!
Another reminder to all of us that if your cat's behavior changes you should get him or her to the Vet, first. You never know what may be going on and it's important to rule out illness when you discover a behavioral problem.
As for Jackson, I see a lot of treats in his future!
Tomorrow is Bobette's orthopedic surgery. I'm thinking the theme for this weeks' blog may be "graphic photo warning-week." I hope it will also be, “cats who were feeling lousy but are on the road to recovery week”, too.
I've been getting to know Bobette since she and her boys arrived last month. Right off the bat, I noticed Bobette angrily going after her kittens and I asked my Vet about it. He suggested it was due to her being spayed and the boys being big enough to leave and that in the wild, they would have been cast off to prevent them from in-breeding with the colony. It made sense, but it troubled me to see her doing that. The boys were not being injured, just scared off.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette getting some love from her boys.
But what I've come to understand is that Bobette is in pain and I believe that's what makes her lash out. She can be a warm and affectionate Mother. Her boys often come over to her and rub up against her, but if they try to play or get too close to her leg, she growls and swats at them.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette often sits with her leg stretched out. I hate seeing her like this and can't wait for her to get better!
Bobette's limp, which used to be almost unnoticeable, is now pronounced. She wants to chase after toys, along with her boys and some times she does, but her back legs go out on her and then her limp gets even worse. She doesn't jump much these days and she sits awkwardly on the bed. At times she extends her leg, stretching it out, trying to pop her sublimated kneecap back into position, but it won't go.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. This is Bobette standing, not walking.
Her injury is rated a 4 out of 4-the worst it can be. Although the Vets in Georgia told us she didn't need surgery, our Vet, Dr. J. Chris Mixon, feels she would do very well and have a much more comfortable life with it. I asked if her kneecap would pop back out and he said no and that he often does this surgery on much smaller patients and those stay in place (those little pocket-pal dogs), so this should go fairly well.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Mikey waiting for his forever home.
After surgery Bobette will have to have THREE WEEKS of cage rest and THREE WEEKS of mild exercise. I will HATE crating her, but I know it's nothing compared to a lifetime of being able to run and jump like a normal cat. Bobette was either struck by a car or hurt by a human. However she got this way, I'm determined to help her be whole again.
The cost to repair Bobette's leg is not going to be $100.00 as I first reported. I don't know if I misunderstood or the other factors, like a pre-op blood test, weren't taken into account. Dr. Mixon, is still giving us a tremendous and very generous discount. Instead of paying $2500.00, he's only asking for $500.00. One of our friends already donated $100.00 to her surgery so we only need to raise a little bit more.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Mikey (right) and Mom (left)-hard to tell them apart and Mikey is about half Bobette's age.
If you can help, your donation is Tax Deductible as the funds go to my 501(c)3 Non-Profit Corporation, Kitten Associates. To donate, use the ChipIn widget, above or you can mail a check made out to "Kitten Associates" and mail it to:
P.O. Box 354
Newtown, CT 06470-0354
Every dollar counts and if you can't donate, then if you can share this info on FB or Twitter that would be just great! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP!
©2011 Maria S. Bobette and family etting ready to leave for Connecticut.
I can't believe it's been over a week since the Pumpkin Patch family arrived from Maria's home in Georgia. This time of year, it's always more hectic and I had much to do before this family arrived. Even after picking the family up off the transport, the boys only had an hour break before I packed them up and brought them to my rescue group's Home for the Holidays Adoption Event! (I left mama, Bobette home to rest. She was very cranky with the boys and I thought some alone time would do her good).
©2011 Maria S. The transport awaits.
The planning and setup for Adoption Events always leaves me knackered. Someday I hope to have volunteers able to help me get these things done. My car isn't very big, but it seems as though there's an endless supply of “stuff” that has to be crammed into it. Things need to be packed, washed, organized, then I have to figure out how many cats there are plus how many crates needed, plus where is this all going to go and how is it going to get to Choice Pet Supply where the event is being held?
©2011 Robin A.F Olson. Would you adopt me?
Irene is my right hand woman. She shows up. She helps. She fills up her car with whatever I ask. She jumps in and chats people up and tries to get us a few sales or donations. Sam will load up his car, too and help us get the tough things set up, then he scampers off to work on his own projects. I end up having to design flyers, send out notices to the newspapers-the online ones, the printed ones. Then the flyers have to be hung up around town, if I can get away long enough to do that. There's just an amazing amount of work to be done. Meanwhile, there are cats to care for and all their paperwork to fill out, what vaccination they need, getting them to the vet, vetting potential adopters. No wonder I always seem to be stressed out and feeling like I don't have enough time in the day.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Cutie!
We got some applications and I met with folks who had emailed me about stopping by to visit the kittens. It was all going well when all of a sudden, I heard one of the Angel Babies furiously meowing and scratching at the plastic tray bottom of their crate. As I lifted the cover off the back of their cage, my nostrils were violated by a powerfully nauseating smell. Then, I saw it-diarrhea! Ugh.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bananas are good fun.
Irene and I quickly started to clean up the mess. Thankfully the poop wasn't on the bedding in the cage so the cleaning wasn't difficult. The smell, however, was not going away. I had a small litter pan ready to go. It was too soon into the event to offer it to the kittens, or so I thought. If one of the kittens had the runs, I figured I'd better give them the litter pan. Seconds after I placed the pan in the cage, two of the kittens started digging around in the litter. At first I thought they were just bored and playing with it, but after a few minutes it was clear that another kitten had to let it rip-and so he did.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Jakey the sneak-attack biter!
I truly believe that the U.S. Government should use mooshie cat poop smell as chemical warfare. There is no way troops wouldn't be quickly offended by the stank and run for the hills! Did we manage to clear the store? YES! It was great at keeping the crowds down. Just what we needed.
The orange boys did fine. They were bouncing around, having fun. They laid on each other and the three of them started grooming each other. It was so cute that it made everyone forget the lingering stench, as they crowded around the cage, “ooo-ing and ahh-ing.”
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Hello! This is Teddy or Mikey. I think it's Teddy.
People would ask me questions about the boys, but like the white kitties, I couldn't tell the orange kitties apart (I am starting to a week later, though).
Meanwhile, poor Mazie sat forlornly in her cage. She growled a bit so we covered her up. I bravely stuck my hand into her cage and she started to purr. She forgave me from locking her in a cage by giving me her belly to rub. I felt very guilty about having her at the event, but she's GOT to find a forever home! She's been with us for a YEAR already and she's such an awesome cat!
I was grateful when 4pm came so we could pack up and get home. I wanted to lay down and go to sleep right then and there, but I knew that once we got back I'd have to feed the foster cats, make sure they were all right, then unload the cars and put things away.
I got the cats fed, but after that my body complained to the point where I just had to sit down for awhile. Unloading the cars could wait.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette a few moments after arriving.
I also wanted to spend some time with Bobette and the boys. I didn't have a chance to get to know them that morning, so now was the time.
I let the boys out of their carrier and Bobette looked at them and hissed. She's barely bigger than they are and at certain times I can't tell which one is the kitten and which is the mother. A few of kittens foolishly went over to their mom and she attacked them. I don't think she had her claws out, but the sound she made was one of pure rage. I made sure the boys were fine. They were scared, but ok. I got them all fed. I kept Bobette away from the kittens. I worried that she might attack me, as well, but she seemed relaxed around me or was it because I was feeding her?
What happened on the transport? Bobette was fine with the boys when she left Georgia, but now she was clearly not interested in having them near her at all.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette (far right) screams at her boys to get away.
The boys picked at their food, so did Bobette. They'd been eating dry food, softened with water, and I knew I'd have to break them of the habit; better now than never.
After they ate, the boys ran around. I called Bobette over to me. I was sitting on the bed. She came over and let me pet her. She climbed into my lap and got comfortable. I cautiously petted her. She relaxed until a kitten would come near her. As that happened, she'd alert, then growl. She'd lash out if the kitten dared to ignore her warning. I didn't want to lay there with an angry cat in my lap, but she went right back to relaxing and enjoyed my company. She even rolled over with her belly up in the air. I took a long look at her. She's very much got an Oriental Shorthair body with a classic orange tabby coat. She's long and lean with a wedge shaped head, dainty long legs and a long, delicate tail. I didn't see her limping, that would come later. Right now she was content-if I could just keep the boys away from her.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Weeeee!
I'd seen this behavior before, but never so severe. I wondered if I should crate Bobette, but with her painful leg issue, I realized that maybe it was her pain that was making her lash out? I asked Dr. Mixon, one of our Vets, about this and he said it might be typical behavior of the mother pushing the males out of the colony to keep the colony from having inbreeding issues or...well he wasn't sure. Even after almost a week, she's still aggressive towards them.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Da boyz.
The boys are doing well according to Dr. M. Mikey has a broken tail tip. We don't know when or how it happened, but it's already healed. Teddy was all right and Jakey was a nightmare getting his vaccines; what a screamer!
Bobette is another story. I see her jumping with some difficulty. She wants to play, but the boys get in her way and she gets angry. Some times she'll run around the room, clearly having fun, but after a few moments, she starts to limp very badly. Her drive to do more is hampered by what happened to her leg. She was in an accident of some kind and it's badly dislocated her kneecap. Dr. M rated it a 4 out of 4; 4 being the most severe. He feels he can correct the problem with surgery and that the patella (kneecap) shouldn't pop back out. I remembered when we first rescued Bobette that the folks at Henry County said they couldn't get her to eat for four days. Perhaps she'd just been hit by a car? Perhaps that had something to do with her inability to provide for her six kittens? I can't seem to let go that we lost three babies. I want to know why they died so we can prevent that from happening again. I know I'll never know why they're gone, but maybe the trauma their Mother suffered had something to do with it?
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Lanky, lean and lovely-Bobette.
The surgery would cost $2500.00. I'm NOT going to ask for donations. What I really need is FOOD, LITTER and some NEW TOYS for this family and for the Angel Babies. I'll be setting up a ChipIn to ask for donations for our Food & Fun Fund soon. I have to wrap my head around what Dr Mixon told me the rescue price would be for the surgery, first.
Anyone want to guess?
He's going to charge us $100.00. That's not a typo. ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS! When he first told me, I thought I was going to cry. I knew we have no where NEAR $2500.00 in our bank account and I was guessing he'd charge us around $1500.00. When he said, $100.00 I asked him to make sure that's what he wanted and he said to just put the word out about his Practice and help folks get to know him. After the surgery is done early next year, I'll be writing more about Dr. Mixon and his practice. For now, I'm very grateful we have his services to depend on and that when we do have money, it will last us much longer. Dr. Mixon also doesn't charge us an exam fee for rescue cats as long as we don't take advantage of his time. We just keep it to a few hours a month. So far, it's worked great.
Without the burden of a huge Vet bill, I can focus on helping Bobette recover. She'll have to have three weeks of cage rest and three weeks of low activity. Instead of going to AID, which was the original plan, Bobette will have to stay here for awhile, until she's better.
This poor girl; she's barely a year old and what hell she's been through in such a short time. You know me, I'll do whatever I can to help her go from “Meh to MEOW!”
In the meantime, I have about 12 other kitties I need to find forever homes for!
Note from Robin: CREEPY PHOTO BELOW, BUT NOTHING GORY! You have been warned.
Terri Royal has a big heart. She loves cats and has been particularly touched by the plight of feral cats in her community of northeastern Georgia. Terri's not one to look the other way when a cat needs help. She and her husband, Warren, always seem to have a foster cat in their home, in addition to their five cats, all of whom were rescues.
Terri is the caretaker for a number of feral cat colonies. She makes sure they get fed and that they're all spayed or neutered. Once in awhile a friendly stray comes along and she helps that cat find a good home, too
A few weeks ago, Terri spotted a tiny kitten when she was putting food out for the feral colony. From her husband, Warren's email to me, he described the situation:
©2011 Warren Royal. Used with Permission. Dexter, so sick, but what is wrong with you little guy?
He lived in the bushes behind Target and today when she went to feed them, he walked out and was very lethargic- horrible respiratory infection, dripping from nose, mouth, and eyes. He was blowing bubbles from his nose, and sneezing terribly.
He was too weak to eat, or to struggle, so Terri just picked him up and put him in a small box. He's very young- 6-8 weeks, and starving. We think he has 2 more siblings in similar condition.
©2011 Warren Royal. Used with Permission. Just after surgery.
She [Terri] took him to the emergency vet, who gave him fluids, vitamins, combo test, and antibiotic shot, and some milk replacement. I had to leave to catch a flight (on it now) but he's in great hands with Terri. She took him home, set him up in a bedroom upstairs, with water, a little warm bed, and plenty of food and the milk. (she just told me he LOVES it!). He is resting very comfortably and is purring when she pets him- he seems to love affection.
Dexter wasn't doing so well. Although he loved affection and wanted to eat, he had constant, severe breathing problems. He had great difficulty eating. It would take him 30 minutes to eat a small amount of food. Terri gave him milk replacement, which he could eat more comfortably, but the poor little tabby was very ill.
Warren writes: And he would start sneezing - I mean REALLY sneezing - sometimes 20 times in a row, violently. We would find blood spots afterwards. The vets thought that his nose was just really irritated from all the sneezing, maybe a tiny vessel rupture, and that was causing the bleeding. But also he could barely breathe - he was always breathing very loudly, and sometimes mouth-breathing.
The Vet said to let Dexter rest. Give it time. Thank goodness Terri and Warren didn't heed the advice. They'd seen cats with upper respiratory before. After another day passed, they were sure something else going on, so they took Dexter back to the Vet.
©2011 Warren Royal. Used with Permission. THE WOLF WORM.
Warren wrote: It was so big that the hardened vet techs cried when they saw it and what this poor kitten had endured.
This little kitten had a 1-inch+ WOLF WORM living in his nose.
It was so big that the hardened vet techs cried when they saw it and what this poor kitten had endured.They could not believe that something SO BIG had been in this poor kitten's nose. They saved it for me in formaldehyde so I can see it when I get home - but they're saying it's like the size of a large garden grub-worm, they have never seen anything like it. He must have filled up his sinus or partially gone down his throat, his nose was so tiny -
No one expected that Dexter would have to have surgery, especially to remove a Wolf Worm!. Simply tugging it out was NOT an option. Wolf Worms are Bot Fly larvae. Removing just a piece of them results in a horrific anaphylactic (allergic) reaction and terrible infection which could easily go to Dexter's brain.
Warren writes: But since we didn't know this, Terri had fed him that morning, before the vet visit. And when they figured out what it was, they had to anesthetize him, which was very risky because he had eaten. (We have lost other ferals during routine spay/neuters under similar circumstances and had been heartbroken). But we felt that it was an emergency, and we had to go ahead and cross our fingers and hope for the best. They waited a few hours to make it a little safer - and while he was down, we went ahead and neutered him.
©2011 Warren Royal. Used with Permission. Getting some rest.
The Vet carefully removed the Wolf Worm. It was no longer Dexter's Dark Passenger. Now it was safely preserved in a jar while Dexter began the long road to recovery.
Warren writes: He is much better now, his breathing is completely clear - but there may be some residual damage. They say he may always have issues with sneezing, and his nose may be permanently enlarged. But we just don’t know. He is very happy, and playing, and eating like a HORSE.
©2011 Warren Royal. Used with Permission. Squirrel!
Since he has been with us, even with the worm, he has gone from 1 lb 4 oz to 2 lb 4 oz , mostly on the milk replacement. But I think now the will really start to thrive...
©2011 Warren Royal. Used with Permission. Making friends with Abby
Dexter will be ready to find a forever home in a few weeks. Though they struggle with the idea of keeping Dex, Terri and Warren know they can't help more cats in need if they have too many cats of their own. It's not an easy decision to make, but with Dexter's loving personality and winning ways, we feel sure his family will find him soon.
©2011 Warren Royal. Used with Permission. .
The Wolf Worm is not available for adoption.
Have you ever seen something, then couldn't erase the image from your mind? This often happens during a tragic, high-stress event, like seeing your dad naked (by accident, of course!) or when you see a woman on the subway wearing stretchy leggings. She has a REALLY BIG BUTT. She's tired, standing in the subway car, so she leans her back against a metal support pole. Her huge buttcheeks part slightly, as she presses against the pole, which forces the metal support into her butt-crack! (This is why I avoid touching ANYTHING on the subway). I'm sure some scientist could describe why our memories lock down certain events, but all I can say is I just witnessed a kitten being neutered and now I can't unsee what I saw!
The event keeps looping over and over in my head. After all the cats I've had neutered over the years, I finally got to see it done. After the shock of watching it wore off a bit, I realized, WHY DO VETS CHARGE SO MUCH FOR THIS? It took all of a MINUTE to do the surgery! SHAME ON VETS FOR CHARGING MORE THAN $50.00 for this procedure!
Connie and I arrived at the Vet's office nice and early. She brought all five kittens, even though only the three boys were going to be neutered. Neither of us were positive we HAD three boys so better to bring them oll, just in case-plus they all needed a booster FVRCP shot, so now was a good time.
It was really lovely to see the kittens again. It'd been only a few days since they went to Aunt Connie's but I was missing them. They all sat serenely in their cat carrier, wondering what was going on, no doubt. I blurted out; “You're gettin' your balls cut off soon!” and the Vet tech scolded me for letting the “cat out of the bag.” She hissed; “Don't say that out loud! You'll upset them!” The kittens gave me a dirty look. I just shrugged and tried to look innocent.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The gang just before surgery time.
Dr. M came out and said hello. Connie and I looked at each other. I knew what she was thinking. She didn't want to go in the back room. Neither did I. My heart started to race and my hands got cold. This wouldn't be so bad. We didn't have to watch. We just had to help a bit, then wait for the Vet to do his part, then we would help the kittens as they woke up.
We were taken into a long room that was a combination of shelved storage-a stockpile of drugs, syringes and other things. I mostly kept my head down, afraid to look around. The room was worn, the building was fairly old and this back room needed an update. There was a small, elevated table with a towel over it at the end of the room, parallel to the shelves. The Vet indicated that we could put the cat carrier on the table. I thought this was the prep area and that we'd be going into a surgical suite with a stainless steel operating table with bottles of magic knockout gas nearby.
Dr. M took one of the kittens out of the carrier-Ruby, the boy cat with the girl name. The Dr. weighed him, then made some notes. He opened a safe and took out a small vial. He drew some of the contents into the syringe. Then he told Connie to hold Ruby down tightly and to “karate chop” the cat's back leg to keep it down and force the vein to appear. Then we both realized he was going to do the neutering RIGHT NOW, RIGHT HERE ON THE TABLE. Did he wash his hands first? I had just put hand sanitizer on my hands, but what the heck? Connie looked like she was going to panic and I didn't blame her a bit. We both thought we didn't HAVE TO SEE the surgery and here we were about to SEE THE SURGERY! We couldn't RUN AWAY! This was the agreement. We help the Vet, he gives us a big disount.
Connie turned away. Dr. M injected the fluid into Ruby's vein. The kitten quickly went limp, his tongue hung out of his mouth. I petted him and said it was going to be OK. Then before I could turn away, Dr. M made a tiny incision across Ruby's scrotum, then pulled the fur down, exposing his tiny little testicles. At first I was amazed at seeing them, but then, he grabbed one of them and gave it a TUG. It stretched out on a flesh colored tether about FOUR INCHES LONG! He twisted it around. Did he put a knot in it? I felt woozy. Then, just as quickly, he took an object out of a sealed package and sliced the tether at its' base. WOAH! One nut down, one to go.
I held my hand up to help cover Connie's eyes. I didn't realize I was talking until Connie told me later, but apparently I was saying; “WOW! Look at that! Oh my GOD! Connie, it's not that bad, but WOAH! WOW! I will NEVER EAT CLAM CHOWDER AGAIN!”
Dr. M quickly repeated the procedure on the other testicle. In a few seconds he was done. Connie let go of Ruby and I picked him up. I began to gently rock him and pet him. In a few moments he began to wake up. His tongue hung out of his mouth and Connie said he drooled. He felt so limp in my arms. It reminded me of the day Bob died. I didn't want to cry. I just focused on Ruby. He was ok, but WOW...I did not think I could help do this two more times!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Sweet Ruby, who may be renamed Inky.
It turns out we didn't have to watch two more times because we have THREE GIRLS and TWO BOYS! The girls got their booster shot and Spot was the only other male. Sadly, Spot was very difficult to knock out. Dr. M had to try a few things-finally we had to bring him into the surgical suite and I had to hold a tiny gas mask over Spot's face until his body went limp in my hands. It was very unnerving. Dr. M. went to work quickly and in a few moments Spot was done, too. I was told it would take a lot longer for him to wake up, so I just held him so he could breathe easily and tried not to freak out over him being so very limp in my arms.
Ruby was still weak, but awake. Then Dr. M said he was interested in ADOPTING a kitten! He had two cats and one died a few months ago. He had plans to adopt another cat, but it didn't work out. He was looking for another black and white cat! BINGO! We had THREE! He asked which one was the most outgoing? Friendly? Sweet? They all were great, but he focused on Ruby, though it was tough to know how friendly he was based on him being wobbly and out-of-it. Then I showed him photos from my blog post about the Flying Zombie Kittens. He LOVED the photos and when he realized Spot was jumping more often than the others, his attention turned to him.
In the end he decided to let both kittens recover in his office, then he'd take them both home and see how they did with his two kids and his other cat! We said we would take back the one he didn't want, then he said he'd probably end up with both since each kid would probably want their own cat.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Spot before his surgery.
We didn't ask him to fill out any application. We didn't do a home visit. We didn't even ask how old his kids were! We just numbly nodded our heads, yes. We were both in a trance. I kept seeing tiny testicles getting chopped off and Connie was focusing on remaining cool even though I found out later that blood freaks her out! I was a bit jealous that my guys didn't get adopted, but I was really GLAD these two had a good chance. My goodness-a VET for an adopter? Does it get any better?
As we walked out of the office, Dr. M. said thanks for helping him neuter HIS cats! Geez, maybe he could have decided to adopt them BEFORE we had to see him do the surgery? Now my brain hurts and I'm really glad Sam didn't see that surgery! He better keep in mind that now I know HOW to do a neuter so he better shape up.
As for Connie, she never wants to do this again! I can't say I blame her one bit, but I know I'll be back. The price is too good and Dr. M is two hours closer than the low cost S/N clinic. I hope I don't have to see him do a spay surgery, but I have this feeling it will be the next thing I see that will be featured in my “greatest hits of stuff that freaks me out that I've seen and can't unsee.”
Bridgeport, Connecticut has lots of rough and tumble neighborhoods. No one knows how many free roaming cats live there, but there's a never-ending supply of them in the local pound, their numbers reflect just the tip of the iceberg compared to the ones trying to live on the streets.
One of my friends, who owns a few rental properties in the area, is constantly trapping, vetting and trying to save as many cats as she can. It's a very hard life for cats in this part of the state. It's very urban, there's plenty of crime and not enough welcome places for a cat to find a break. There are some kind souls who feed the cats what they can or cal for help when they find a litter of kittens under a rusted out car.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Hanna, left and Macy, right
Two little kittens, barely two weeks old, perhaps not even related, were found by my friend. She knew they needed care right away, but didn't have a foster home for them. She called someone she knew who might be able to help-who had lots of experience caring for neonatal and very young kittens. The friend said yes, but on one condition, that a rescue group take ownership of the kittens, provide future vetting and eventually be responsible for getting them forever homes.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.
That's when my phone rang. As long as the woman could provide a foster home, I'd do the rest. The littlest of the two kittens, a tiny dilute calico named, Hanna, was in bad shape. Both kittens were so flea-ravaged that we weren't sure they'd make it through the night. Macy, the larger of the two kittens, was weak, but due to her size, it was hoped she'd be able to pull through.
©2011 Jessica Roque. Please doggie, do not FART!
The foster mom and her daughter cared for the kittens. Hanna survived the night and both kittens showed signs of improving. A few weeks later, I brought the girls to the Vet. It was my first time seeing them. They were huddled together, their eyes a bit runny. No one even knew if the cats were related due to their difference in weight-it was so different that it was thought that either Hanna was a runt or they were not blood sisters. Regardless of their parentage, they are very bonded. They've been through a lot. The upper respiratory they're flirting with could kill little Hanna. For now, they're basically all right. They need better nutrition-which I already took care of, and they need time to rest, recover and get back on their paws.
Along the way, they made a new friend-a huge dog who is part of the foster family's home. The kittens don't know the difference between a dog and a cat. They just know it's a safe place to sleep. The dog just had surgery, so maybe they can all recover together?
In time, the girls will be big enough to be adopted. At least they have a new friends to watch over them until they're ready to move on with the next chapter of their lives.
When what ails your cat isn't clearly defined, it's easy to lean on your Vet and assume they know all the answers. They can decide what should be done next-that's their job, right? What I'd like to suggest is you don't let them call the shots-ever-without being your cat's biggest advocate. You know your cat better than anyone else how your cat behaves-how well they eat-if they are using the litter pan and their output is normal or not. Your Vet has MANY other patients to deal with, a life to live, other distractions. It doesn't mean they don't know what they're doing, but it does mean that they don't have the time to spend endless hours on your cat's case, alone. When it comes to your cat's health care, you must be prepared to push back, ask questions and offer reminders and suggestions to your Vet to help him/her solve the case.
The longer I do cat rescue and experience health issues with fosters as well as my own cats, the more I realize that it helps my Vet if I understand the pieces to my cat's health “puzzle” as much as I can. Overlook something and that might be the one thing that ties everything together. I may not understand cat's physiology the way my Vet does, but I can provide anecdotal information and I can be the one to remember my cat's health history when my Vet might miss something while reviewing my cat's file.
Before we visited Dr Weisman this morning, I made a list of every question I had, plus I thought about Nicky's past health issues. Dr. Weisman didn't have a complete picture of Nicky's life and it was up to us to provide that to her because whatever is ailing Nicky is not blatantly obvious.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Waiting for Dr. Weisman to arrive.
It made me think of a few suggestions to share about going to the Vet. Maybe some of them will help you when you have to bring your cat to the Vet.
1. Keep a folder of your cat's health records. Sounds obvious, but if you have to look something up, it's there. If you want to compare blood work from one year to the next or can't remember if your cat was ever tested for Bartonella it's there. Yes, you can call your Vet and they should know, but what if your Vet is closed and you need to go to the Emergency Vet?
2. Do your best to understand and be able to recall every treatment and condition your cat has ever had. If you have to make a cheat sheet of notes, do that. I seem to have a good memory for what each cat has been through, so I just sit quietly and think about it and jot down questions for my Vet based on the cat's past history and include the details of his or her past I think are important to underscore.
3. Don't let your Vet tell you what to do without clearly understanding the pros and cons of what is being done. It's nice when they offer to give your cat a shot of Convenia so you don't have to give it pills, but is Convenia the RIGHT antibiotic for your cat? Should your cat even GET an antibiotic? What about other medications other treatments? Understanding is so important. In the heat of the moment, some times you don't have the luxury of looking up what side effects or dangers are in a certain medication, but if you do have time, then LOOK IT UP. Be smart. Ask a lot of questions. Make sure your Vet remembers those details about your cat that he or she may have missed.
4. Take time to think about what is best. IF YOU CAN. There are many situations where time is a luxury you do not have. There are other situations where if you take a day or week to repeat a test or see how the cat does, it's perfectly acceptable. Sometimes rushing into a treatment or surgery makes it worse or makes the case more complex. Try not to do too much at once or you won't be able to understand what changes were the ones that made the difference.
What happened with Nicky today is a very good illustration of the points, above. Sam and I were expecting that Nicky would be having exploratory surgery today. He has too many test results that show some sort of problem-and we needed to know what was going on.
We had our list and because we had spent time thinking about it, we were able to give Dr. Weisman more information about Nicky that ended up being crucial to his care, today.
Nicky has a growth on his spleen-it is likely it is benign. Older cats can get these growths, but the ultrasound Vet didn't describe the growth well enough so we know if it is a tumor. Cats don't need their spleen as they get older so if it had to be removed, Nicky would be fine.
Although Nicky's blood work does show early signs of renal disease, what Dr. W didn't know was that Nicky is in DIRE need of a DENTAL!!! Some how that information was not passed on from our Vet to Dr. Weisman. Nicky has a cervical line lesion on at least one tooth and some mild tartar that needs to be cleaned. That, alone, could be the cause for Nicky's kidney issues and that his mesenteric lymph nodes are swollen, but that wasn't the possible smoking gun.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. I DO NOT CARE TO BE IN THE CAR! WAHHHHH!
Before we knew any better and Nicky was being fed GRAIN (in his dry and canned food), Nicky's urethra would get blocked up. Eventually we spent many thousands of dollars having surgery done on Nicky to remove his penis (which can be referred to as a PU surgery) so he'd have a bigger opening to urinate through and not block up any more. Right after that we learned about diet and got him off grain. The surgery was done years ago, but once we mentioned it to Dr. W. she perked up. That one thing could be what is causing some of Nicky's symptoms and that his immune system is constantly being taxed from having that larger opening.
She also felt that possibly Nicky was having a reaction to being fed a raw diet. Sam and I aren't sold on that, but we're open to the idea that if Nicky's immune system is weaker from his bad teeth and the PU surgery, that perhaps the mild bacteria he might encounter on his food just adds to his problems.
We also showed Dr. W. Nora's blood work. She's Nicky's sister and she has no kidney issues whatsoever. Of course this is not comparing the same cats, exactly, but between Nora and Gracie's recent blood work there are no signs the diet is hurting them-rather helping if anything.
It became clear that doing anything other than a dental on Nicky wasn't necessary today. Nicky doesn't show enough clinical signs to tell us he's in crisis. None of his tests are so bad that we MUST do surgery NOW. We decided that after the dental and dose of antibiotics and some time to recover from both, that we'd re-do the ultrasound and see if anything has improved. It's possible many of these issues will lessen in severity OR get WORSE. If so, we move forward with surgery.
We're giving it a month. Right after Thanksgiving we'll re-test and see how he's doing. If he starts to show clinical signs before then, he has the surgery done sooner. It's really not a case of not going it at all, it's a case of when it's done. Sooner or later we will be facing this procedure, but today is not that day.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. My boys last night.
Nicky is on an IV for the next few hours to protect his kidneys before surgery, then they do the dental..and they remove and biopsy a growth I found on his leg while we were IN THE CAR, on the way to the VET! After that, Nicky goes back on the IV and tomorrow morning, with any luck, we'll bring him home.
I can't say we lucked out, but I think I can say we feel better about this choice. Nicky may still have cancer or renal disease or both or hyperthyroid or IBD...we just don't know yet. Maybe we caught it VERY EARLY or maybe not. We'll find out in time.
And all this happened because we saw Nicky peeing on the floor in the kitchen...