Memories of family cats who have gone over the Rainbow Bridge

Having a No Good, Very Bad Weekend

My no good, very bad weekend actually started on Friday. I did not realize I was suffering from fibro fog until the next day. What I did see was that C. P. Pirate did not look like he was feeling well. Early in the evening, when Jim told me Pirate had just gotten sick to his stomach, I got dressed again and took him to the vet.

Dr. Core gave Pirate a thorough examination. Pirate was x-rayed, had blood and urine samples taken, and got two shots to settle his stomach. His ears were cleaned as well; the compounded cream I applied daily tends to build up. Pirate’s temperature was normal, and there was no blockage revealed by the x-ray. Although I had suspected that Pirate has lost some weight, I was shocked to learn that he had lost 12.5 ounces since late September. I took him home.

Feline Farewell

Saturday morning, Pirate would not eat, no matter how often I presented his usual food. Even Spot’s Stew did not entice him. I called the veterinary hospital to get put on the call-back list for his test results. Something told me it would be a good idea to shower and get dressed. Dr. Core called me about 2:00 PM. Although his red and white blood cell counts were normal and he still had only a slight case of anemia, the other blood test results were very bad. Despite his every-other-day fluids and an adjustment of his anti-thyroid medication, both his kidney and thyroid values had risen to alarming levels. I knew it was time to say goodbye, so back we went to Gasow Veterinary Hospital. Pirate crossed the Rainbow Bridge lying in my arms as I kept telling him what a good boy he was and how much I loved him.

C. P . Pirate
C. P. Pirate in Happy Times

Fibro Fog

I was pulling into the garage at home when I got a call from my sister Melissa. Our pastor had contacted her about the location of the bulletins for Sunday. Melissa wanted to know if I had run them and where I had put them. It was only then that I realized that I had totally forgotten to run them off on Friday when I was at work. I had never forgotten to do that before, so it hit me that I must be pretty deep in fibro fog or having a VERY long senior moment. I headed over to church and reproduced the bulletins.

When I returned home again, I faced the unhappy but necessary job of interring my beloved Pirate. I found the perfect spot, right next to his best buddy, Patch the Pirate. I spent the remainder of the day and evening trying to divert my attention to less painful matters, without much success.

Today I discovered that the fog has not lifted. There was a check that I was supposed to get cashed as I worked with the team processing the morning offering at church. I had forgotten all about it until the deposit was complete and on its way to the bank. I opened the file cabinet to store the loose coin, and there was the check.

I hope and pray that my no good, very bad weekend ends today. This is not the condition in which I am able to offer my best service to the Lord and to my church. Missing Pirate is enough of a drain on my mental and emotional resources.

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Two Cat Tales

One day. Two Cats. Two Vets. Two Cat Tales.

A Happy Tale

It has been three months since Pawscar Awesome’s last visit to the veterinary ophthalmologist at BluePearl in Southfield.  I took Pawcar in for his check-up today. Although he was not thrilled to be in the car, Pawscar made it all the way to the hospital without vomiting or losing control of his bodily functions.

Once we were escorted to an office, Pawscar quit complaining and got very quiet. He tried to make himself as small as possible. Weighing in at 8 pounds, 15.8 ounces today, he already is my smallest male cat.

Pawscar Awesome
Pawscar at the Ophthalmologist

I am happy to report that Dr. S. found no new inflammatory activity in the back of Pawscar’s eyes, and the inflammation at the front of his eyes remains controlled. The pressure in his right eye is “stable.” Pawscar’s dose of the “chicken slop” (compounded prednisolone with chicken flavoring) is being reduced, but he must still get the drops in his right eye twice a day. If his condition remains stable in two more months, he may be able to stop taking the prednisolone.

I headed home, rejoicing over the good news. Pawscar made it almost all the way home before he lost a bit of lunch. He must have been pretty happy, too.

A Sad Tale

After taking Pawscar home, I paid a brief visit to Patch the Pirate at Gasow. Dr. R. had received the results of Patch’s culture, which showed only normal bacteria and no overgrowth. There was still no word on the other test results. I promised to return later, after teaching my Greek class.

Shortly after my students left, Dr. R. called me with some alarming news. Late this afternoon when she checked on Patch, she felt something like bubble wrap under the skin of Patch’s head when she petted her. Upon further examination, she discovered this strange texture under the skin of Patch’s neck and upper shoulders, caused by air under the skin. A couple of x-rays revealed free air in the chest cavity as well. These symptoms were NOT present earlier; even I would have noticed the strange feel of Patch’s head when I was there at 2:00 PM had it been present then. Before calling me, Dr. R. e-mailed the x-rays to a lab to get some speedy additional analysis. She was afraid that–because of the sudden appearance of the symptoms–Patch’s chest might fill with air overnight, causing pain or even collapsed lungs.

I had planned to make another visit this evening anyway, but the ominous news cemented my plan. I headed to Gasow to spend some time with Patch and try to reach some sort of decision with Dr. R.’s help. Patch was sitting quietly in her cage, not as feisty as usual in her reception of me because she had been sedated for the x-rays.

Patch the Pirate
Last Visit with Patch the Pirate

I petted Patch, speaking softly to her. After caring for other clients, Dr. R. came in, and we discussed the options. The new symptoms were definitely not caused by any viral condition that the awaited test results might reveal. There was a strong likelihood that Patch would face a difficult surgery and recovery–or no treatment option at all–if we pursued more testing (CT scan) with a specialist. Finally, there was a real danger of Patch’s lungs filling with free air during the night. We reluctantly agreed that it was best for Patch to let her join her “best buddies” Possum and Brave and Purrin’Dot on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. Patch the Pirate, you will be missed!

P.S. The results of the additional tests came back the following day. Although Patch had been exposed at some point in the past to the feline herpes virus, it was not a factor in Patch’s current ailment. This means we made the right decision, since the problem was neither viral nor bacterial.

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It wasn’t exactly what I’d envisioned a homecoming to be. I arranged with Dr. L. to pick up Patch the Pirate this evening from Gasow Veterinary Hospital. Patch is not completely well, but there is little more that could be done for her by keeping her caged and angry.

I was not surprised to receive a hefty vet bill for Patch’s eight days in the hospital. In fact, I was expecting a higher total than I actually got. Cats are definitely worth it.

On the way home Patch made not a sound. Perhaps she could not believe she was finally coming home. Since she wasn’t talking, I admired and photographed a lovely rainbow created by the setting sun shining through the raindrops. I am hoping it was an omen that all would be well.

Rainbow on Woodward Avenue for Patch’s Homecoming, April 21, 2015

I lugged the large carrier, which was much larger than Patch needed, down the stairs and into our “living room.” I opened the door, and Patch promptly ran under the bed. I have not seen her since. Happy Homecoming!

P.S. I should note that Patch’s vet, Dr. L., was supposed to be taking this week off work in preparation for moving. Instead, she cared for Patch both Monday and today.


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Vet Bills

Vet Bills Past

One of my ten-year-old kitties, Patch the Pirate, has been a cause for concern on and off throughout her time with us. She occasionally has a dry, hacking cough, which the vet says may be chronic bronchitis or asthma. Twice she has had to have several teeth removed because they developed “cervical neck lesions,” also called “dental resorption lesions.” The lesions, which are NOT cavities, begin as a loss of tooth enamel, usually at or below the gumline, and can eventually spread to the dentin and then the pulp canal, which contains the blood vessels and nerves to the tooth. The lesions ultimately cause a great deal of pain.

Vet Bills Present

Earlier this year, Patch seemed to develop symptoms of a cold: a bit of sneezing and runny eyes. I obtained a prescription from the vet for azithromycin, which has twice worked wonders on my mom’s cat, Toshi Purrs-a-Lot. The human version has a cherry taste, which Patch refused to take when mixed with food. I know better than to try to medicate her myself, so I asked the vet for a compounded version of the antibiotic with chicken flavoring. That worked no better than the cherry-flavored one. The condition subsided, then returned, then seemed to subside again…until I noticed a strange sound.

Three days ago, when I first heard the sound, I thought my oldest cat, Googlie Girl, was snoring in her sleep. The next day I realized that it was Patch the Pirate, and she was wheezing with every breath she took. My major dilemma: how to get Patch to the vet for treatment. She had been a stray for too long to be fully socialized, although she allows petting at her own discretion. She has been known to draw blood (mine) with teeth and claws (hers).

Yesterday, I began to feel desperate. Patch was clearly miserable. I had to work from 1:30 to 8:00 PM. I asked my mother to join me in praying for God to put Patch in the cat carrier. We keep a couple of them sitting open in our living area so the cats will not be alarmed by them. In the classes I taught last night, I asked my students to pray, too.

When I arrived home, Patch was not in the carrier. She and her buddy C. P. Pirate were sleeping on the table, keeping warm under the lamp. I approached Patch, startling her a bit when I petted her. Suddenly the idea popped into my head: grab her (gently) and rush her into the carrier across the room. Immediately I did just that. Patch made one feeble attempt to bite me, but she “gummed” me instead. Into the carrier she went, and I slammed the door closed. Off to the vet we both went. Thank you, God, for speedily answered prayer!

Vet Bills Future

After a 45-minute wait we saw Dr. L., who had treated Revelly during her finally illness late last month. Dr. L. was very patient with Patch, and eventually was able to listen carefully to her lungs. The good news was that Patch’s lungs are clear. Patch has a very bad upper respiratory infection. I already knew what the bad news would be: Patch would need to be hospitalized (remember my utter failure with the azithromycin?).

I have to admit that I am relieved that Patch is finally getting some care. She is on antibiotics and IV fluids. When I visited today, her wheezing was greatly reduced, although I could see her runny eyes and tiny, congested nose. She even let me pet her–after a few half-hearted hisses–if I went slowly and talked sweetly to her.

Patch the Pirate
Patch the Pirate is not happy about generating more vet bills.

After two previous feline hospitalizations in the last month–Revelly’s final illness and Pawscar Awesome’s two-day stay–I know I will not enjoy another hefty vet bill. Far more important, though, is the restoration of my little Patch the Pirate to health. Please pray for healing!

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