Thursday, September 18, 2014

For Long-Time Readers

Those familiar with this blog will recognize some furry faces that haven't shown up for a while. I feel like I've kept you all out of the loop. I've featured a number of animals so far on the blog, and I must share an unfortunate update about two of them.


Ashe and his half brother Jen, who treated him like a matress
My brother's cat, Ashe, one of the sweetest little creatures I have met, was also quite sickly the last time I saw him. He was a tiny cat, believed to be a pseudo dwarf due to his small body and outsized ears and tail, giving him an eternally kittenish appearance. Though he had checked out okay with a vet, his appetite was poor for some time, turning him into a rather thin creature. After my brother moved away, Ashe's condition worsened. He limped along for a while on only one functioning kidney, but when the other failed in September of last year the decision was made that it was his time to go.

He was eighteen. He was a lap cat. I love lap cats.

Ashe begging for attention while he still lived with me. 


New Years 2014
As it so happened, a leak at my condo meant I was staying with my parents for a while and was present for the next set of events.

In better days, 2007
Albus, my parent's cat, ever the fighter, dealt with urinary problems for several years. A special diet and low-stress life helped him a lot, but he still had to be hospitalized multiple times due to blockages. This was not what was his undoing, however. He began vomiting with increasing frequency and losing weight rapidly. He was taken to the vet where it was discovered through a barium swallow that he had pyloric stenosis, a narrowing of the opening at the bottom of the stomach. I was startled when I saw the x-ray and realized how small the opening really was: less than one quarter of an inch in diameter. No wonder he's been having so many issues! His own body was starving him. We changed his diet to try to get some weight on him so that he could make it through the required surgical fix. He was eating kitten food, due to the hope that the high caloric content would make it more likely he would get enough nutrients trickling through. He perked up and seemed to regain some of his vigor.

His ear tips started drooping as he lost weight. Ginny, his housemate, is still doing well to this day.
Then, we woke up one day to find Albus's ears tinged yellow. After rushing him to the vet, our fears were confirmed. He was jaundiced. He had also lost more weight, a half pound in a little over a week, taking him down to 10.2 pounds. Being a big cat, he was scrawny. You could feel most of his bones. The vet deduced that he had feline hepatic lipidosis (a fatty liver), which is caused by sudden weight loss. Hepatic lipidosis has a fairly good recovery rate with proper treatment, which involves getting a lot of food into the cat so that their body stops using fat as an energy source. Tube feeding is often necessary.
In his last week

We had a very lengthy discussion, asked the vet numerous questions, and had a good cry. Considering everything surrounding Albus' pyloric stenosis, including the fact that the liquid from the barium swallow stayed in his stomach for four hours before they could get a good x-ray of it trickling through the constriction, it didn't look like the treatment for the fatty liver would work. Without proper treatment, hepatic lipidosis does not have a very high survival rate, and he was already weak from the weight loss. Even if he did somehow make it through that hurdle, there was still the pyloric stenosis, and if he continued losing weight at the rate he had, it wouldn't be long before that did him in. Being so weak, he probably wouldn't make it through an attempt at surgery to alleviate the constriction. It seemed like his own body was against him. We decided he had suffered enough.

It was March 14th. He was thirteen.

 I miss snuggling with him.

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