A candle in the wind

The tiny, flea-ridden orange ball of fluff was placed in my hands , As I held the kitten fleas jumped on my arms, evidence of someone’s neglect and/or ignorance. We shared an instant connection, her and I. She reached out with one of her polydactyl paws and tapped my arm. I sensed her message was “Are you someone who will pay attention to me now?” I held her up to my face and gently kissed her nose. I promised her that she was in a good place now and I would indeed take care of her. Then I whisked her off to the vet.

She was treated for anemia, dehydration, ear mites and parasites. Everyone there fell in love with her, but they were to late, she had already crawled into my heart.

From the beginning there was something distinctly different about this orange slice of life. She was instantly accepted by the whole crew and from the start she would curl up with them and sleep. She loved to explore and climb. Her favorite trick was to jump onto my clothes hanging in the closet, walk up the blouses and jeans and find a spot on the top of the hangers to fall asleep. She also loved to perch on the top of the bedroom door, and we got into the habit of not ever closing it, for fear of crushing her.

If you look in the dictionary for the definition of gatekeeper, you will see a sentence that defined Prowler’s role here. She was the first to mother the many orphaned kittens that came here. The first to put her paw around a new arrival, and the first to stand up to my Alphas and show them that even though she was tiny, she wasn’t about to take their guff.

Her extra toes allowed her the luxury of being able to get into places other cats couldn’t get to. She would open up the lower kitchen cupboards and climb inside my Tupperware salad bowl and sleep. Because of her midnight wanderings, I ended up naming her Prowler.

Early in the morning she would climb on my lap and bat at my coffee cup as it made it’s way to my mouth. I learned after several hot splashes on my lap, to limit the amount of the hot liquid I put in the cup, but I accepted her unlimited love.

And so she became my constant lap partner, and my bed buddy. Her furriness would snuggle against my chest and she would sleep as I read or watched televison or settled down for the night. Even when I showered, she would watch me from her vantage point, the top of the shower door and sometimes play with the sprayer causing me to get squirted in the face.

In Feb of 07 she came down ill. She was unable to eat, she was vomitting and would gulp repeatedly. She would sit bent over the food bowl but be unable to eat. High fevers plagued her and I would give her supportive fluid to help regulate her body. Even with the extra liquid, she stopped peeing. I rushed her to the vet where she was put on IV’s, they put a catheter inside of her, but she was bone dry. There wasn’t even enough urine to spin for analysis.

And so it went for eight long months with her having good days and then what I would come to call her Crash Days. It was suspected that she had FLUTD that was resistant to drugs, persistent in nature and she was put on pain management and a special diet.

Early this week she crashed again, and this crash was hard. Accustomed to her litter pan accidents, at first I just thought it was another episode of spasms, but as the days passed, her urine turned more bloody- drops left all over the house. She had been to the vet so many times, had so many tests and I had no answers. I had suspicions since I have (had) two other cats victim of pet food contamination, but she got ill long before the recall.

This morning she passed away. She is now prowling with the angels and I know they are as delighted to have her, as I am devastated that she is gone. The cats know she is gone as well. Her buddy Everest has been inconsolable since we laid her to rest in the woods behind our home. His cries for her break my heart and I tried to tell him she is at peace now, and would want him to be glad for her that she no longer feels pain.

The Prowler TimeLine

I just want to get this down. When my cats become ill, I try to keep a log of the illness. How detailed it gets depends on how sick the cat is. This is Prowl’s timeline-

2-9-07

inablity to swallow- bent over food bowl but unable to eat
projectile vomiting- white foam
gulping repeatedly
lack of appetite
refusing water
temp and resp normal ranges
withdrawn
hissing and growling

Vet visit-
complete exam including x-rays. Found the rugal fold shows up bunched up and thick near the opening of the stomach (not supposed to be so thick)
Nothing in her esophagus
full of stool

Treatment:
prednisone
metoclopramide
sucralfate
omep/azole
two injections- anti-inflammatory, antibiotic

Home:
hiding and hissing
whiskers drooping
dehydrated- supportive fluids given, no bubble in the skin appearing

2-10-07

Feline Specialist visit

fever
stool packed in her colon
bladder dry

Possible diagnosis:
hairballs
constipation
reflux esophagitis
virus of unknown origin
Bad food (I’d bet money on this one!)
Pancreatitis
Foreign Body Obstruction
f.b. lymphoma

Treatment:
supportive fluids (3 bags)
Anzmet
enema to go

Home:
enema administered, small return
no urine output
hiding, not eating, hissing and growling

2-11-07

Bloodwork is back!
whatever is wrong appears to be bacterial according the specialist
wants to see her immediately
WBC elevated
Neutrophils elevated
Lymphocytes elevated
Monocytes elevated

Treatment:
supportive fluids
Vitamin B Complex
Buprenex for pain
Baytril injection

Home:

Prowler is flat
eating but just barely
fever
shallow resp

2-12-07

she peed about a half of cup of urine!
active
fever broke!
still grinding her teeth when she eats.

2-14-07

Crash Day

appetitie decreasing
litter pan accidents, small drips of urine
blood in urine bright red
she does nothing but tremble at the vets office now
The specialist wants to run more tests but they are prohibitively expensive for our budget and when asked if they would supply the answer, I was told that this is an unknown. I am in a wait-and-see- mode.

2-16-07

medication finished
Prowl has rebounded

8-3-07
set back
peeing small amounts of urine with bright red blood
squatting with no results
clavamox started

8-10-07
Rebound!

8-29-07
Setback

antibiotic and muscle relaxer prescribed

9-6-07
Prowler has rebounded

9-9-07
Crash day

litter pan accidents
small drops of bloody urine
not producing enough urine to even spin

Amoxycillian 100 mg twice a day
prednisone 5 mg once a day

9-12-07
vile smelling vomit
peeing and pooping!
able to touch her belly for the first time in months without getting warned

9-20-07
Crash Day
spraying bloody urine all over the house :(
licking her rear and crying

9-23-07
increased appetite
sleeps a lot more than normal
when she sees the cat carriers she puffs up like a poison toad
litter pan misses all over the house
drops of bloody urine, or squatting with no urine passing

If anyone reading this has a clue how to proceed here, I would welcome hearing from you.

Ceta Drops
Prednisone

Emergency Vet Visit

Shimmer had to go to the vet today. She started vomitting and even though I can handle kitties vomitting, this was different. She would be dead asleep in my arms, bolt awake, scream this unholy meow, bolt over to the litter pan and deposit sticky bile all over the place.

The vet is puzzled (so what else is new?) He said she will either get better or she will crash. As a precaution, he dewormed her, and put her on a coating agent to help her tummy.

She was very loud when he handled her. She didn’t bite him, but she made sure he knew she wasn’t happy. When I got her home, she passed stool and it was part liquid and part formed. In the middle of the liquid there was this cluster of tiny white eggs? That is the only way to describe it. I have no clue what they were, just what they looked like. Never seen anything like it, but she seems better now.

Drinkwell Pet Fountain

My Drinkwell Pet Fountain gave up the ghost this morning. The cats love this pet fountain, and it performed for years faithfully. But today, the motor just burned out it gave two feeble sounds and quit. I now need to find another one.

Prowler isn’t doing well. She is back to just dribbling urine again. I don’t know what else I can do for her. I still strongly suspect it is pet food poisoning related.

Prowler is hanging in there

She had been spending an inordinate amount of time eating and then she would sleep for hours. One spot on the living room has been declared her territory and she will growl at any cat who dares to try and move her.

I found out the drug that the vet prescribed for her is dangerous for kitties! Diazepam *valium* causes increased appetite, drowsiness and can cause liver malfunctions in some kitties. It has been banned from use from Tuft’s University after a study showed that a cat’s brain function is impaired on this drug and they are unable to learn.

So for now, Prowler is on Cefta Drops and Prednisone. I have another vet to thank for the Pred.

It makes me cry to see this once normal, active, curious and sometimes funny polydactyl cat turn into one that sleeps most of the day and is still baptizing the house and growling when approached. Whatever has her, it has her pretty firmly in its grasp. If this last round fails her, I am just retreating and letting nature take its course, whatever course that might be.