From the time I saw her huddled next to the piano until she was in the carrier and she was in the car with us on the way to the emergency veterinary clinic spanned perhaps two minutes. That's how fast we react when we realize something really wrong is going on with the cats and wabbits.
We took her over, and within an hour, some tests had been run. She was showing abysmally-low red blood cell counts and strangely high values for a lot of other things. Quite a bit of what the vet told us seemed to point toward sudden onset of acute leukemia. Not "feline leukemia," which is a viral infection and manageable, but good old-fashioned bone-marrow-destroying leukemia. She's staying overnight there and being transferred to a specialist in internal medicine for more tests and some more diagnoses. She hasn't been out of this house in over eight years.
Mary was a strange kitten... I found her living under the porch of a bar that used to be over in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Knowing that living under the porch at a bar isn't the best place for a kitten, I lured her out with smelly food from the 7-Eleven next door, and she came home to live with us.
That was August, 1999.
She rapidly grew into an opinionated, kind of bossy cat who occasionally showed affection by biting you. She also sometimes showed it in those days by emitting a little foul-smelling love from her anal gland, usually onto whatever clean clothes you were wearing at the time. One drop was enough to make you take the shirt off and burn it. She stopped doing that fairly soon on, but for the last eight years, she's been grumpy and territorial, often smacking other cats for no good reason except that they looked at her.
In recent years, she usually spent her time lounging on the couch and wandering around the house growling at other cats. She still bites once in a while, but not that often once she figured out that I wouldn't let her get away with the old quick-bite-and-run-away stunt. I used to bite her right back. That pretty much slowed her down.
As recently as last week, she was curled up in a big five-gallon plastic bucket in the upstairs hall (a bucket that used to hold chocolate pudding or something) lounging around. Thursday, she was in her usual perch on top of the couch, bonking her head against mine while I was trying to watch television. Tonight, she was hiding next to the piano, barely able to walk around, and talking to me in a voice I'd never heard her use. Because I'd thought she was taking a dump back there, I'd yelled at her before I realized something was wrong and picked her up. She was unrealistically light weight, and within two minutes we were out the door.
It's possible that by this time next week, she'll be gone.
1. Turtle03/03/2008 11:46:19 AM
I suspect it'll get worse before it gets better. I'll post an update in a little while... I spoke to the specialist this morning and it'll be expensive, painful and possibly futile.
2. Todd Carpenter03/03/2008 09:30:02 AM
Sorry to hear about Mary's illness. Hope everything else is going OK.
3. Jason Hook03/03/2008 05:46:49 AM
We've rescued a few cats now and two were in very poor shape, both have survived and thrived. Alfie who was very thin and the 'runt' of his litter is enormous and in very rude health. Bootsy (Collins) was very ill and had the worst eye infection I've ever seen has survived and kept his eye (tho' we're not sure he can see out of it). I'll keep my fingers crossed for Mary and hope she has some of the same sort of luck Alfie and Bootsy have had.