A few people have asked me about how our kitty, Yuki Is doing so I thought I’d do a bank holiday update for the kitty lovers out there!
Basically, a few weeks ago post honeymoon we came back to a straggly cat who before our week away had been pretty healthy, chubby and strong. Mr C noticed right away she looked quite yellow, that is on her gums, eyes and ears (later on she had orange pee).
This yellowness was jaundice, and after doing some Googling, we found out it is commonly related to liver problems and is due to elevated levels of bilirubin. Since liver problems are extremely serious we took her to the vets the next day.
Here’s where things got confusing – she was still eating and drinking at this point and the new vet suggested to get her in liver support supplements (such as milk thistle but for cats) and also to do a full blood profile.
A few days later we get the results which said that her liver was functioning fine and there were no problems detected in her bloods. So that meant she had to go back in for an ultrasound to make sure there are no other issues or tumours.
There wasn’t much urgency on the vet’s part on scheduling this next appointment, so it was booked in 10 days later. During this time, I noticed strange things like calling her name and although she was alert and running around she didn’t respond to me. Her food intake started to wane and her legs started to look weak so we got her in sooner rather than later for her scan.
The morning of her scan she looked weak and tired…it was a really worrying time, but of course the vets, we thought, was the best place for her.
Unfortunately I got a call whilst at work saying that she had been extremely aggressive and such they couldn’t do the ultrasound, not without anaesthetic, but she was too weak to have an anaesthetic…
When we went to collect her that evening after work, she was like a cat we didn’t recognise. It’s not something I talked about much at the time as it was very very stressful (as regular readers will know I’ve moved house, got married, am having a baby very soon and all in a short period of time!) so this was another worry.
The vet explained she had been very aggressive in her cage, and seemed to have head trauma as her pupils weren’t dilating (they were when we dropped her off in the morning). Yuki has never been good with changes or new environment, she has always been nervous as we got her from a couple who also had a huge dog that tortured her -at least they had the sense to get rid of her.
He said she had been given some antibiotics but it could be something far more serious, and that she would need monitoring through the night as there was a chance she wouldn’t make it. We got a number for the 24 hour vets and that was it.
When I saw her, her head was cocked to one side, like she couldn’t move it, her pupils large and not responding to light. Her back legs weren’t strong enough for her to pick herself up and she was just howling. She was not like this at all at home with us; she was weak, sure, but certainly not at death’s door.
Our goals at the point was to monitor her, to get her to eat so she could build up strength and forget about medication. The primary goal was building strength, if possible, so that she could take general anaesthetic to have a scan. Honestly when we took her home I didn’t know what to expect. Part of me was scared that we’d lost the cat we had, because the vet thought she as showing neurological symptoms.
So – the last few weeks have involved looking after a very sick cat! We weren’t really given a proper routine by the vet to follow, because I genuinely think he didn’t think she would make it through the night so he just said, ‘Feed her what you can’.
Perhaps if anyone else has a sick kitty the following ideas might help!
We refined our routine with her over time – as she wasn’t taking food herself I bought a number of feeding syringes of different sizes. Cat’s have quite small mouths so obviously you can’t give them anything too big and you have to be so careful to wrap them up in a towel, and squirt the food into the cheek. You do NOT want them choking or getting it into their airway so take your time.
We have been giving her a Hills Science Plan food called A/D Critical Care which is a pate texture and can be syringed – it’s high in fat and protein for recovering cats. We buy this from the vets but you can also buy this online for slightly less.
Feeding had to be several times a day and in small quantities so she doesn’t throw up. As me and Mr C work full time, this made things hard as there’d be a big chunk of the day that we just weren’t at home – so (this was one of the tough bits!) Mr C was feeding her at 5am, and we were doing late night, early morning feeds to make sure she was getting enough calories. We stopped going out in the evenings and staying out after work to make sure we were home to do her feeds and medication.
At first progress was slow.
We had a touch and go for a week where she seemed to be in a daze, and we put puppy training pads everywhere because she wasn’t able to use the litter tray but luckily, she’s a very clean cat and within a few days she wobbled into the tray.
During this time, she spent a lot of her time in a box re-couperating and keeping away from the other cats. She got a little bald patch on her arm which the vet said was possibly a reaction to antibiotics, and she stumbled when she walked.
We both decided that if she was to disintegrate, it would be better to take her to the vets and let them administer a general anaesthetic so she could be given fluids via a drip and have her ultrasound scans then watch her fade away slowly and suffer.
Slowly but surely kitty has been showing positive signs.
Firstly, her strength picked up. She began to hold her head straight, rather than cocked to one side. One morning I heard meowing by the bed that sounded like her, but I didn’t even look because she was so weak at one point, we ever thought she’d be able to make it up the stairs so soon. But it was her! She had done it!
Secondly, the colour started to return to her. Her skin which had gone yellow started to look pink, as did her nose. Her pee diluted and currently, is no longer orange. Her pupils reacted to the light and currently react accordingly. She responds to her name and is highly aware of her surroundings.
Then the next thing was jumping on to our bed. Our bed is pretty high in the new place and enough strength returned to her back legs for her to get on and off the bed!
And today, finally, she went to a food bowl and took some food by herself! Not a huge amount, but it’s the first time in a long time she had even tried to eat on her own. She was also helping herself to water from the fountain which was great.
After seeing how ill kitty got, I am no longer counting my chickens – but she is much much much better but we are still proceeding with caution and hand feeding her as she needs to put on more weight!
We’ve chatted to the vet who seems to think it was some kind of miracle she’s doing as well as she is and thinks it was just a gut infection, but we’ll take her back soon to see if she needs the ultrasound scan after all. Otherwise…I guess the short answer is, yes, Kitty is doing better, and has totally used at least 1 of her 9 lives!
Wow, that’s quite a post – but there you go, the perils of being a cat momma.
Has anyone else ever had a seriously ill pet?