Two weeks ago, my 9-year-old cat, Fiona, was acting most unwell. She was very lethargic and didn’t appear to be eating, drinking, or using the litterbox. I took her to the vet and after a quick exam, some blood was drawn and an xray was done.
Her test results did not come back with good news. She had anemia and it wasn’t clear why. After another trip to the vet, she was admitted to an emergency hospital for monitoring, additional testing and a blood transfusion.
We waited several days for the test results to come back and they were very not good. Fiona was diagnosed with myelodysplasia which is basically blood cancer without being full blown leukemia from the Feline Leukemia Virus (FELV). The only treatment option would be chemotherapy which would be stressful, costly, and have a very low chance of success. Our action is to continue giving her pills until, basically, they stop working and she gets utterly beyond the basic treatment.
Last week was extremely difficult as we didn’t expect her to make it through the end of the week or even the weekend. Her anemia messes with her circulation and her extremities will cramp up and kind of stop working. When that happens, we soothe her by massaging her hips and shoulders until the spell passes. Basically, it’s Advanced Pettins. Pet a soft cat to make her feel better? Twist my arm, why don’t ya?
She eats, plays, and pesters us for attention, food, water, and treats. I don’t think she has a real concept that she is very sick. She gets very unhappy about having to take her pills, fighting it feebly. But they’re working, making her comfortable and able to enjoy her fuzzy life. Every extra day is a wonderful gift.
She will be the first pet whose loss will cause me actual grief. So, I’m very thankful that I don’t have to say goodbye, yet and that she’s still able to enjoy her life right now. She’s a good kitty and deserves to be happy and loved.
I did say two kitties. Our youngest cat, Luna, is a rock star drama queen. I can only assume, because we are hyper sensitive about Fiona, any sign of abnormal behavior raises huge red flags.
Sunday, Luna was acting funny, limping, and throwing up a little. She is the same idiot who swallowed a quarter diameter sized piece of leather that got stuck in her intestines and needed surgery to remove it. She wasn’t keeping food down, so I panicked and took her to the emergency vet.
Luna hates veterinarians. Hate hate haaaaates them. To the point that she treats all strangers like veterinarians — with hate. I warned the vet techs of her hatred and to also not stick anything near her bum unless they felt like losing an arm. They took my warning to heart and informed me that in order to examine her, she would need to be sedated. Great.
I could hear her yowling from the waiting room and the techs assured me that she was sedated, just bitchy and chatty. The x-rays came back and they didn’t find anything unusual in her guts that would be an obstruction and certainly nothing shaped like a fish hook that I was afraid she’d eaten. It did reveal that she was overweight and constipated.
Yup. Kitty needed to poop. An enema was ordered. (Ewww)
They also noticed that her knees will sometimes go in and out of joint, which would explain the limping. If she jumped and popped a knee out, that’d hurt for a little while, so limping is understandable.
So, I take my drugged kitty and rush her home to lock her in a room with a litterbox so she can feel better. Luna never made it into the litterbox that night. My rock star kitty spent the night stoned and covered in poop. (Ewww)
In the middle of the night, we heard another thump from her solitary confinement. She’d thumped around the bathroom a little bit and puked on the floor. I cleaned it up before she met the ultimate rock star fate and slept in her own vomit. (Ewww)
While still slightly high, she got a bath the next morning.
At some point in the recent past, she got a very small piece of string in her that made its way through her system without causing another obstruction and incurring additional surgery. That probably played a key part in her bowel discomfort.
We can only guess Luna was jealous of the attention being paid to Fiona and held off emptying her bowels to score some Special K and a heavy dose of sympathy. Instead, she ended up high and covered in her own poop, pee, and vomit and scored a truly dignity scarring bath.