My dear friends:
I’m going to be gone from RB a bit longer.
It all started about 2 weeks ago when my best pal Wooly died. Or maybe the day before, when little Bandit passed away.
I took them to the vet, who said they were fine, but dehydrated. The next day, they died in our arms. The day after, the lab work came back. Nothing wrong with Bandit, but Wooly had general organ failure.
The following two weeks were spent in day and night battles for the other cats’ lives. Everybody indoors, I mean the remaining 8 cats, got sick. The vet gave us Amoxicillan, and super worm/flea meds, as I had found round worms (maybe heart worms?) as each cat got sick. The vet also sent me home with a tube of super sutff to feed them, an oral hyperalimentation.
For each cat, vomiting was the most visual start of the battle. I had to orally hydrate each cat once an hour day and night, cleaning the syringes between each cat. I used the soft rubber bulb syringes. I put as much as I could get gently down their throats, but the cats tried everything they could to ooze it out the side of their mouths or otherwise refuse any food or water. Nobody had the energy to bite, but I did get a claw here and there in my hand. After that, gloves.
Along with not eating or drinking, the sick cats ran fevers of 105 to 106 F, and each found a chair to flop in, and stayed there. They lost hair by the handfulls, and petting them with the soft brush seemed to soothe them as well as keep their hair from blowing around the room and stacking up in the corners… I thought it might help with infection control, too, as many of the cats will eat loose cat hair. (Might be instinctual to protect the nest, here.) Not everybody got sick on the same day, so they were in all stages of falling ill, being treated, and being in recovery.
I think Ground Zero on this infection might have been Shadow, whom we took to the vet about 10 or 15 days before we lost our Wooly. We found him almost dead on the porch, unmoving. Shadow who was so afraid of us that he was even afraid of our shadows! The vet told us to keep him inside after she doctored him. So we did…
Wooly actually died because he had something like diabetes, the vet said, and his organs were already weak. So the first thing that blew into the house caused us to lose him. We had been practicing pretty good hygeine between petting and loving the outside cats by always washing our hands well when we came inside, but we didn’t change clothes: After all, nobody seemed sick outside. At least, not until Shadow got sick and we rushed him to the vet a month ago.
During the seige here, and although he was only about half recovered, himself, Shadow stayed with his arms around his big sis/cousin, Opal. He’s just a little tiny guy, but he held and comforted her for the 5 day run of the whatever it is.
I had to hydrate and feed him at the same time as I hydrated and fed Opal. With a different bulb syringe, obviously.
After all but the lost two of our cats were on the mend and obviously going to make it, we lost one adult outside cat, Diamond Lil, possibly the mother of Shadow. One day she seemed kind of quiet, next day, blam! Gone. We had never been able to touch or get close to her, so we didn’t take it back outdoors to the carden (feral) population.
At about the same time, our caregiver, Wendy, came in to work and said her little cat (a year old) was sick. 105 F fever… So she followed the formula and is currently saving her. Since the cat’s starting to complain and shows fight when she’s fed and watered, we’re totally hopeful!
So I’m exhausted. I’ve got myself on the ‘night shiftf through all this, sleeping an hour at a time during the night, waking, sleeping, waking. Still walking out in the rest of the house and checking to make sure everybody’s okay. Daytime’s for sleeping, I guess, while Wendy and hubby Kelly are awake in case I’m needed.
So, everybody in the house now, human and cat, has nice flat bellies, so the worms are gone. Their eyes are bright, the young ones are playing and wrestling, and getting into trouble all night long. The elderly cats have had it and recovered, and are back to snuggling with us. Life’s going to be okay again.
Never ‘normal’ without Wooly, but okay. And I know we’ll be reunited with all our pets. It may only be a few minutes’ wait for them, but for us humans, long years in which we’ll get used to their absence, but never forget any of them.
I learned a great deal about the medical nursing my cats. I was reminded how it is to lose a life partner, even though a 4-footed one and not my two-footed one. And I learned something extremely important about cat food. Read here. Life’s very fragile, and very precious. Kindness, gentleness, nurturing; this is the utmost lesson to learn.