Sunday, November 18, 2007

A sick kitty

We've had a very sick kitty last week == I've been referring to McMurphy as the $6 million kitty, although the final vet bill WAS less than that. Slightly.

We think it started sometime a week ago last night -- he didn't wake us at the crack of dawn to get the food dish out, which is definitely not his normal behavior. McMurphy is a slightly rotund cat who very much enjoys eating throughout the day and preferably the night. We put him on a diet of sorts some time ago when we started putting the food dish away at night, and he has slimmed down some.

But I digress.

Sunday he slept on his purr pad on a chair in our office -- his usual day business -- but Tony commented before we went to bed that he didn't seem to be feeling well. When we got up last Monday, he was definitely a sick boy: glassy eyes, shallow, rapid breathing, extreme lethargy. I got him into the vet and they determined that yes, he had a rathr high fever, and was definitely a sick boy.

He was not, however, going to be docile about any prodding and poking. The only times Mac has been in a car has been for vet trips. He didn't much like being in the carrier, but especially did not like the resident clinic cat who came over to check on him, and MOST definitely did not appreciate the woofing doggies who also were waiting to see the vet.

We attempted to draw blood: I helped hold him and talked soothingly to him: "Goooood Mackie, that's a goooood Mac. It's okay, it's going to be over soon, you're going to feel allllll better."

One vet tech held him by the scruff of his neck; the other attempted to insert a needle into a leg vein.

He growled. He hissed. He showed teeth. His ears went flat. He undulated his chunky 12 pounds enough that it was impossible to hold him steady. He was a very pissy kitty.

They got one teensy vial. Not enough. They took him "in back" to get more help: probably enlisting the aid of three or four more techs to hold him down and away from my sympathetic eyes. No go.

Finally I agreed to let them sedate him a little so they could draw blood and do some xrays, which helped. And that began the sequence of tests for our poor little boy.

We do know he doesn't have feline leukemia, pneumonia, liver or kidney problems, heartworm, diabetes, or a couple of other potentially bad viruses. He didn't eat something that made him sick. He did wind up with fluid around his lungs -- not IN them, surrounding them -- but it wasn't blood and had no bacteria in it.

Best guess: an underlying heart condition. We don't know what caused the fever or why he got so sick, nor, for that matter, why the fluid built up. His heart isn't enlarged, his lungs are clear.

But most important is that after three nights at the vet, he is home and finally seems to be back to being McMurphy. He's sitting for hours in Tony's lap where he gazes lovingly into his eyes and rubs his head on Tony's beard. He's eating well again.

What's not quite back to normal is his relationship with Cheswick, who was very unhappy that he was gone, and did not like the way he smelled or looked when he came back. The boys have never been separated. In fact, Ches greeted Mac with loud hisses and many swipes with his paw -- which continued for the last couple of days. Mac just curls up in his bed and sleeps. There have been no altercations today...

Our inside boys are especially loved: we know these kitties so well, and they know us. They live quiet lives, few visitors, little excitement (other than when a new kitty joins the outside troops, which causes disturbance both in and out). When one gets sick like this, it is upsetting to everyone -- especially my dear softhearted husband, a complete marshmellow when it comes to animals.

When I met him, he proclaimed himself to be a complete dog person, especially loving German Shepherds, and allergic to cats. "Boring" was the way he referred to cats, as I recall. Probably also used such words as "undisciplined" ... "independent" ... "unfriendly."

And then he was chosen by McMurphy and Cheswick in 2004. You can read the story here.

Suffice it to say that he adores his boys, and they return his affection -- I refer to myself as "the servant lady" who buys the food and changes the litter, but am awarded affection only when the object of their adoration -- Tony -- is not available.

That's exaggerated. Some. (Actually, McMurphy curled up beside me this morning and slept for quite a while, purring delightedly as I petted him. But he's still recovering and isn't quite himself yet. We'll see.)

Nonetheless, we're very glad that Mac is back -- and are grateful for a kind, very thorough vet.

1 comment:

Alasandra said...

I hope Mac gets back to 100% soon.