I consider myself to be a responsible person. I pay my bills on time. I take out my trash. I take care of my pets. Last week, however, I found myself very tested in my sense of responsibility. My eight-year-old cat, Sydney had simply not been acting quite like herself. She seemed a little extra grouchy and she had peed in the chair, on my desk, and I’m pretty sure in another place because it prompted me to clean the carpet. Sydney is sometimes the kind of cat who will just pee on things because she’s annoyed at the other cats or at me so I didn’t really think too much of it until I noticed that she wasn’t quite eating as always. Sydney, despite being tiny, is also the kind of cat that is first at the food dish when she hears the bag rattle. She hadn’t been doing that for a few days so I clued in that she wasn’t feeling well. I surmised that she had a UTI (because that’s her usual) and made a vet appointment for her.
Then, the night before her appointment I noticed that her coloring seemed off. Her ears and nose seemed dry and yellow-tinged. I thought it might be lighting, but the next morning the vet hit me with a surprise: Sydney was definitely yellow and jaundiced and she probably didn’t have a UTI. She was suffering something wrong with her liver. The rest of that appointment is still kind of a daze of the doctor explaining the various options for what might be causing it, followed by a list of tests and costs, and the horror of my realizing that I was behind on shots for Sydney and couldn’t get her previous medical record from a vet I had used at one point in the past. I ended up paying $300 for tests and some meds then went home and hoped for the best.
The next morning Sydney seemed a little better, but her tests came back that her liver was not in good shape, but her kidneys seemed mostly okay. They gave me a list of new tests and procedures to to try to narrow things down, but at $700 that was far above my price point. Instead we plotted a general course, I bought some fancy food for her, and set up an appointment for the next morning for a vitamin shot.
That next appointment was things got serious. Sydney wasn’t eating, she was almost orange from jaundice, and the doctor told me that she was at a critical juncture and to be honest they vet didn’t sound very confident that she would survive. She was also dehydrated so instead of just a shot, she ended up with shots, meds, special food, force feeding, and hydrating. I was sent home with a few things and told to hope for the best.
Force feeding an angry cat is really not easy. Worrying about your beloved pet is horrible. I spent nearly every moment of the weekend worrying about the cat, checking on the cat, shoving food down the cat. Saturday night I thought for sure she would be dead by Sunday morning so I spent an hour on the couch holding her and sobbing. But on Sunday she surprised me by being alive, and I adjusted my strategy for taking care of her: more water in between her feedings. It (thus far) seems positive. She also ate some treats today. I’m still crossing my fingers for a full recovery. We’re assuming that she has hepatic lipidosis (feline fatty liver) but we don’t really know because I simply can’t do $700 in tests. But right now? She’s being Sydney. And I have hope. Hang in there, kitten. Hang in there.