Quirky

Jul. 9th, 2014 11:20 pm
ladysprite: (steampunk)
So my little orange weirdo cat has his share of... odd habits. Chief among these is his inability to eat in anything like a normal fashion. In particular, he insists on taking his food out of the bowl a mouthful at a time, carrying it to odd places to hide it, and then hunting it down and fishing it out to eat, one kibble at a time.

This has always been adorable, and amusing, but never anything too odd or troublesome.

Until now.

Because at the moment he has decided that he needs to hide his food *between my toes. And I love him, but this is bizarre and tickles like you wouldn't believe.

He is so very peculiar.....
ladysprite: (WorldSoBig)
Sixteen years ago, give or take, I went to the Assembly Square Mall to buy tomato stakes for my garden. They had a crappy pet store, and I saw a kit outside holding a couple of kittens. I was afraid he'd bought them from the store, and was ready to go on a tirade about the evils of pet stores, until I realized he was giving them away.

(Clever kid.)

Anyway, I went to pet one of the kittens and it held onto my hand and wouldn't let go, and that's how I came home with Percival. I had just gotten my letter of acceptance into vet school a few weeks ago, and I was looking at moving 800 miles away from everyone and everything I knew and loved, and I thought it would be nice to have a cat to take with me.

And he's been with me, through every milestone, since then. He was there for my first day of vet school, and for my graduation. He was there when I got my first job as a doctor; when I moved in with my boyfriend, when we got engaged, got married, bought our house. I can't think of anyone else who can say that. He slept with me, on my pillow at night, he kept me company when I lived alone and entertained friends and housemates when I wasn't. He shaped my world.

And today I said goodbye to him.

He'd been doing poorly for a while. After years and years of perfect health, everything caught up with him a few months ago. Heart disease, thyroid disease, kidney disease, lung cancer. All diagnosed the same week. I did as much as I could, but I realized this week that he wasn't eating; wasn't sleeping in his favorite places; wasn't doing much of anything except moving between the sofa and my pillow. He was having trouble standing and walking, and nothing I tried helped. And with [livejournal.com profile] umbran getting ready to travel for work, I couldn't face the prospect of keeping him alive, miserable and suffering, waiting for him to come home.

So I took him in to work this morning, and hugged him and held him and cried, and I did the last thing I could to bring him peace. And I know I should feel good that I could do that, and someday I will, but right now I just feel like there's a giant hole in my life where he used to be....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
So. Just so y'all know, things are starting to go better.

Percival started to turn around as soon as we got him onto some pain medication (and let this be a lesson to me - and to all pet owners - pain in animals doesn't manifest like it does in people; when in doubt add pain meds). He's still not entirely back to himself, and when I tried to taper off the pain meds his appetite started dropping again, but it's still better than I feared it would be.

The kittens are happily settling into the household. Harry (the orange one) is a lovable nerd who adores people and human contact; he purrs as soon as anyone touches him, and loves to be picked up and cuddled. Harlequin (the black/smoky one) is our little Manic Pixie Dream Cat - she's too pretty by half, can't hold still, and drags Our Hero along on ill-advised but hilarious adventures. I am glad beyond words that we adopted them.

And me? I'm hanging in there, and the days are getting better. In particular, now that the weather is warm I'm starting to come back to life. We planted our veggie garden today, I've been going for walks almost every sunny afternoon, and the longer days mean that I feel like there's just more time to Do Stuff in general. Tango classes, jogging, theater (in the past two weeks I've seen both Book of Mormon and Chess), dinner with friends...

Life is busy. It's not perfect - Percy's still sick, and likely terminal; my shoulder/neck pain is still bad enough (after six-plus months of rest, PT, and acupuncture) that I need to talk to my doctor about more invasive treatment options; I still have my own demons that I fight. But it's closer to good than it has been in a long time.

The Verdict

May. 4th, 2013 12:50 pm
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
....after a run out for bloodwork last night, x-rays this morning, and a stat referral to the local emergency/specialty clinic for an ultrasound shortly thereafter?

Pyelonephritis - his left kidney is almost completely destroyed at this point.

And probable heart disease, most likely secondary to hyperthyroidism.

And lung cancer.

But other than that, you know, he's fine.

I've got him on antibiotics and pain meds, and it seems to be helping a bit. He's not crying when he goes to his bowl, and he actually ate a few bites. Whether or not he gets better from here will depend on what's causing the bulk of his symptoms - the cancer, unfortunately, is pretty thoroughly untreatable, and the thyroid meds we can't start until he's eating again, since their primary effect is loss of appetite. No matter what, it looks like he's starting his final lap around the track. But at least I have a few answers, and I know it's nothing I caused. And that helps a little.

Thank you all for your support, and your thoughts; it helps a lot knowing that there are people who hear and care....

Up And Down

May. 3rd, 2013 10:27 pm
ladysprite: (steampunk)
On the one hand, the new kittens are fitting in just fine. They're healthy and happy and playful and adorable and awesome.

My old kitty, on the other hand? Not so good.

About 3 days ago he stopped eating. This is saying something, because he is obsessed with food. I can't remember another day in his life that he didn't eat, including the day he had a tooth extracted.

I thought it was just stress from the new kittens. But nothing helped. I tried anti-nausea meds; no help. I tried fluids to help hydrate him. No help. Appetite stimulants? No help.

I've got bloodwork running, but... checking him out today, he's also developed a heart murmur that wasn't there six months ago.

He hasn't eaten for 3 days now. He's 16 years old. Whatever this is, it's not good and it's not likely to be anything we can fix.

I've had this cat since before I went to vet school. I don't know how I'm going to live without him. And I can't help but feel like somehow, some way, this is my fault. If I hadn't brought these kittens home. If I had only rechecked his heart sooner. If... I don't know. If I had made different decisions.

My poor baby.....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
...wow, you guys are good.

Two months of searching, and no luck. 48 hours after lamenting and whining on social media, and your hopes and wishes and support apparently changed the tides of fate. Friday afternoon a shelter we hadn't previously encountered responded to our (unhopeful) phone call with the answer that yes, they had an entire litter of kittens looking for homes, and would we like to set up a meeting at 11am on Saturday?

So, in between morning errands and afternoon tickets for 'Book of Mormon' (which is the best show I've seen in years, but that's another story), we hurried down to the adoption center, and came home with two new family members.

Kitten pics hidden back here, for those who don't want to share in the adorableness.... )

They're brother and sister, about 10 weeks old. They haven't quite been named yet, though front-runners for names are either John Carter and Dejathoris or Harrison and Harlequin (and bonus geek points to anyone who can name all the sources). We're open to suggestions, though, if you have any ideas for awesomely cool geeky name pairs (while I love Kay and Gerda, I have decided that's just TOO obscure).

Elder Statescat is in a huff and a tizzy and a sulk all at once; he hissed and moaned at the babies for about five minutes before snorting a bunch of catnip and running upstairs to pout. So the babies are living in Moxie's old room for now, with supervised runaround time downstairs - I figure it'll take a few weeks for things to smooth over.

It feels so good to have more than one cat in the house again...

....okay, one more picture. )

Gone

Dec. 26th, 2012 10:53 pm
ladysprite: (WorldSoBig)
I couldn't make her wait.

She was worse this evening than she was this morning. She wouldn't eat at all, even when I held her, and when I picked her up she was so cold.... and she wouldn't either rest or wake up all the way.

I am blessed enough to have a good relationship with the staff of a nearby clinic, and when I called they let me come in and help her pass. It was quick, and at least she's not suffering now.

We only had her for a year and a half. It feels so much longer, and nowhere near long enough. I wish I could have done more for her. I wish I could have fixed her, instead of just worked around her problems. I wish she could have lived forever.

She was so tiny and so ridiculous and so dumb and goofy and she would run around the house in circles and leap into the air for no reason. She never figured out how to climb the stairs, or eat solid food, but what she lacked in functionality she made up for in love.

Rest in peace, Moxie kitten. I love you.

Poor little midget.... )
ladysprite: (WorldSoBig)
So I've told you all about my little brain-damaged kitten. How cute she is, and how goofy she is, and how she's really not the sharpest tool in the shed.

What I haven't mentioned is that, over the past month or so, she's started to go downhill. She's always been a bit dim, but when we came back from Italy we noticed that she just wasn't as playful as she used to be. I can't remember the last time I've seen her run or jump. Instead, she just spends most of her time curled up in a little ball. She lost her litterbox training, too - for the better part of a year she was using the box on a fairly regular basis, but not for a couple of months now.

And it's getting harder to keep her clean because of that. She doesn't know to get away from her messes. And she's being less and less... efficient about her eating, as well. Even bathing her twice a week and keeping her shaved, she's at a level of mess that's not sustainable. And I just don't have the time or resources to bathe her daily.

For the past couple of weeks she hasn't been eating very well, either. It's like we're back at when she was a baby - she'll cry for food, but it seems like as soon as she's had a few bites and doesn't feel actively hungry, she forgets what she's doing and just wanders off or stares into space. Yesterday and today, she won't eat at all unless we hold her head at the bowl.

She's having more seizures. My best guess is that her brain damage is progressing. And I can't do much of anything about it. She's not functional. Her life is down to just sitting, sleeping, peeing, and crying. Every once in a while she'll take a few steps, but that's about it.

At the same time, though... she's still my baby. She still likes to be held, and to be around people - if she's downstairs with us, she'll try to follow us into the kitchen or the living room. And I can't trust my own opinion on this - am I keeping her around too long because I don't want to acknowledge how bad things are, and I can't say goodbye? Am I letting go too soon because I'm frustrated at all the work and cleaning and mopping and bathing, and I just can't be bothered to give her the time and energy she needs?

I don't know what to do, but I need to decide soon. I don't know if she can continue like this much longer.

Stupid kitten.

Edited to add Tomorrow is the day. I took her in to work with me today and everyone there could tell she wasn't herself. She's down to 2.5 pounds, she's crying at any stimulus, and she's not eating. Damnit.

Moxie Christmas.... )
ladysprite: (momongo)
I was working at a new clinic today, so I didn't quite know what to expect - I had been there once for a meet-and-greet, but that doesn't necessarily tell me much about what I'm actually going to find when I get there. Like, what are the nurses going to be like? Or how busy is the day going to be? Or what animals will be in the hospital?

In today's case, the answer to the latter included a tiny, 3-week-old gray and white kitten who had apparently been found in a Dumpster yesterday (left behind while mama-cat was moving the litter) and brought into the hospital to be taken care of. A very loud, utterly adorable kitten, with a little sticking-straight-up paintbrush tail, a constant need to cuddle, knead, and purr, and a need for a forever home.

I don't need a new kitten. I wasn't looking for a new kitten. Except, in one very tiny corner of my head, I kind of was. I love Moxie - I always will - but she's not exactly a cat. She's an autistic tribble. And Percy is, honestly, getting on in years. He doesn't act like a 15-year-old cat, and I hope to all the powers that be that he lives to be 25, but.... he's older. And even if he weren't, it'd be nice to have two cats again. And a tribble.

The schedule was light enough that I managed to spend a significant chunk of the day with said kitten curled up in the crook of my neck, purring enthusiastically. I tell myself I'm not making any decisions yet. I tell myself that I already have a gray-and-white cat, and that I like orange cats. I tell myself that I don't need another pet.

I told the practice owner that if he doesn't have another home for the kitten within two weeks, to call me....

I am a sucker.
ladysprite: (momongo)
About 50 weeks ago, give or take, a half-pound of trouble came into my life.

She was two weeks old, brain-damaged, malnourished, and between the seizures, the hole in her skull, and her general level of debilitation and damage, I figured I was taking on a lost cause. I brought her home, with the understanding that I was opening up my heart and my life to something that would, ultimately, cause me nothing but pain at its inevitable loss.

And somehow, she failed to die. And there was a month or more of bottle feeding and daily bathing, and more months of tearing my hair out at her inability to learn to use the litterbox, or avoid getting lost in the dining room. There was near-death at the hands of an incompetent vet tech. There were semi-permanent changes to the structure of our house, and the transformation of our office into a nursery.

She's a year old, today. I never expected her to make it past a month. And then I never expected her to make it past six months. She's proved me wrong every time.

She still weighs four pounds; I doubt she'll ever get bigger. As far as I can tell, she'll never master dry food, or grooming; we've learned to just tie a bib on her whenever she eats. She still hasn't figured out to climb stairs or jump onto the couch, though she can scale four-foot fences with ease. She's never gone into heat, and I'm praying she never does, because the thought of putting her under anesthesia terrifies me. But, for better or for worse, it looks like she's sticking around for the long haul.

So today we had a birthday party for her. Because, overcoming the odds that she has, she deserves to be celebrated.

Photographic evidence behind the tag..... )

Happy birthday, Miss Moxie. I'm glad you decided to stay.
ladysprite: (momongo)
It's been a little while since I've updated Moxie's adoring fan club with her status, and I figure those of you eagerly waiting on the exploits of your favorite brain-damaged kitten are due for another hit. For the rest of you... um... cute pictures ahead?

She's nine months old, now, almost ten. Developmentally, she's still somewhere around 12 weeks, give or take. She's grown to a whopping four pounds, she's figured out (more or less) how to eat from a bowl, how to actually find her food when she's hungry, and (mostly) how to use the litterbox - as long as we put her in her room when it's time for her to go.

She can jump over barriers, and managed to climb one step once, though she then got very confused and couldn't make it any further. She plays with toys, and thinks my other cat's tail is the most awesome thing in the world; luckily he can escape her by hopping onto the sofa. She doesn't seek out human contact, but we've found she likes to be in line-of-sight with us. She'll tolerate being picked up, if she's tired; otherwise she squirms or yowls.

She scared the bejeebers out of us a couple of weeks ago when she started having seizures again, but that seems to have been an isolated episode or two - any tests I can do myself have all come back normal, and I have neither the money nor, to be honest, the inclination to pursue an MRI or CT - it's not like the results would change my plans or my love for her; brain surgery isn't in what I think are her best interests. She's happy, and that's enough for me.

The biggest change, at the moment, is her haircut. Last week, at the request of the staff, I brought her to one of the clinics I work at, where the groomer promptly whisked her out of her carrier and into her Groomer Cave, from whence she emerged about an hour later clean, whiter than she's been since I weaned her, angry as hell... and shorn almost to her skin.

Photographic evidence of how adorable this is hidden here.... )
ladysprite: (Default)
Apparently I have been remiss in keeping the divine Miss Moxie's horde of fans and followers up-to-date on her status, and for that I apologize.

So, how is the little lady doing? All in all, not too badly....

She's still little, for one thing. She's about 6 months old now, and when I last took her in to work a few weeks ago, she still weighed in at a whopping 2lb 6oz. [livejournal.com profile] umbran has started looking into what it would take to get her officially declared the World's Smallest Cat; apparently the current holder of that title weighs 3lb 1oz.

She's sloooowly starting to learn. Somehow, in the past few weeks, she has finally started to figure out what the litterbox is for, as long as we keep her more or less in her own room. She gets to run around the living room in the evenings, since that seems to be her most playful time, and the arrangement seems to be working out so far.

And she loves to run. Her favorite pastime, in fact, seems to be running in circles (clockwise, almost always) around the living room at maximum speed, jumping into the air at random intervals. Luckily, she hasn't figured out that jumping is a tool that could get her over the foot-high barriers keeping her out of the rest of the house. She's also, just in the past few days, started actually playing with items in the environment - instead of just flailing her paws randomly in the air, she now flails them randomly in the general vicinity of toys and (much to my other cat's chagrin) my other cat, occasionally even making contact. Alas, this new developmental stage seems to have come with the additional new interest of chewing on electrical cords; luckily her jaws and midget teeth aren't powerful enough to actually chew through anything.

Grooming is still a bit of a challenge. She's figured out how to groom her paws, at least a little, but she hasn't figured out what to do about her face, and she still eats by just face-planting into a bowl of canned food, and then dragging it around the room. So she still needs to be bathed at least once a week; luckily, she's still too small to put up much of a fight.

So. Still tiny, still not the brightest bulb in the marquis, still a darn good thing she's cute... but I still love her. I think she's just going to be a permanent kitten, and I can live with that.

What, you want pictures? Oh, all right.... )
ladysprite: (momongo)
First things first - thank you so much to everyone for your sympathy, compassion, and well-wishes for Moxie. It means a lot to me to know that there are so many people who care about her, and are rooting for her. Alas, I can't pursue any sort of action against the tech who was taking care of her; there's no law against doing a lousy job of taking care of a kitten; the most I can do is make sure I don't put any patient of mine or pet of mine in her care again.

Now, the better news. Miss Mox herself is doing remarkably well. Better than I would have thought possible. Friday night it was a little bit touch-and-go; she was weak and disoriented and having trouble with food. But she took a bottle again without any problems, and by the next morning she was looking better.

She ate more over the weekend than I would have thought possible for such a tiny animal, and we gave her a serious bath to get some of the staining and junk off her fur. And she ate, and she ate, and she ate. By Sunday morning, she was almost back to herself.

She's still emaciated, but she's starting to get a little bit of a full-belly instead of a hollow belly. And if she can't run laps around the sofa for a half hour straight, she's at least running, and playing, and trying to jump over my sneakers.

And hey, she used the litterbox for the first time today. It may just be random chance, but it's a start.

In one sense, I'm almost angry at this - it proves that it *was* just starvation that was causing her signs, and not some degenerative neurological condition like the other hospital was claiming. Which... yay, for getting better, but boo for confirming that my baby was nearly killed by negligence.

End result, though, happy healing kitten, and that's all I can ask for.

Y'all put out some powerful mojo when you try, you know that?
ladysprite: (Default)
As some of you may remember, I have a brain-damaged kitten. Said kitten was also doing remarkably well, all things considered. She was weaned onto solid food, she was growing and playing and learning how to irritate the heck out of my senior cat, she was overcoming most of her developmental obstacles, with one exception - she wouldn't learn how to use the litterbox.

I tried everything I could think of, and ultimately called another veterinarian who specialized in treating behavioral disorders. And the one thing we thought of that we hadn't tried was putting her to socialize with another litter of kittens - maybe seeing other age-mates use the box might get her to learn by following. And it turned out that one of the techs I work with at one particular clinic is a volunteer kitten raiser for a local rescue group, and had a litter of babies. And she agreed to take my kitten for a little while, to see if this idea would work.

And so began Moxie's trip to boarding school. That was about a week and a half ago. We called to check on her a few days in, and were told that she was doing well - playful, eating, not quite sure what to do with the other kittens, but overall fine. And then... nothing. We tried to call the tech a couple of times, but got no answer.

Today I was working at said clinic. I started to worry when the office manager greeted me with condolences on the poor, sad, sickly baby I had taken on, and then proceeded to tell me how upsetting it was that the kitten couldn't track with her eyes, wouldn't look at anyone, and just lay there all the time while she was in the hospital, and how they had all been concerned that she was blind. I explained, a bit shocked, that she had not been anything like that when I left her, and she responded with a careful facial expression that made it clear she thought I was deeply in denial.

(And for the record, I am ripshit mad that, when the kitten at the clinic did not match my description, health-wise, NO ONE there thought to call and tell me - apparently the opinion of the entire staff was that I must have just been exaggerating about how good she was, and was in denial about her state.)

I called the foster mom, and didn't get an answer, but an hour or so later she ran in, dropped off the kitten, and ran out again. And I nearly burst into tears.

My poor baby. When I dropped her off, she weighed almost 2 pounds. She's now down to 1lb 3oz. She is too weak to walk, and can barely stand for a minute or two, before shaking and falling. She's lethargic, minimally responsive, and, unless prodded, just lies on her side in the corner.

She's filthy - her fur is stained yellow and clumped, and her skin is red and raw. The tech assured me that she was bathing her every day, but... evidence goes against that claim.

When I suggested to the rest of the staff that I was concerned about malnutrition, they refused to believe me, and kept insisting that she had a degenerative neurological disease. I mentioned that it was awfully coincidental that the degeneration didn't start until I had let her out of my sight. But... I was willing to give the foster house the benefit of the doubt.

That was until I went to put her back in her carrier to take her home. The same carrier that the tech had brought her in that morning. And I found the bowl of food in there. Specifically, the bowl of rotten dried-up food, with two different kinds of mold growing on it.

I have no more words.

My kitten nearly starved to death. I can't, at this point, guarantee she's going to make it. I've been feeding her every couple of hours, and I've got her back on the bottle just to try to rehydrate her and get some extra bonus nutrition in, but she's pretty far gone. And even if we do get her re-nourished... she's still developing, and God only knows what this episode of malnutrition did to her already-inferior brain.

I'm willing to cut the foster mom a LITTLE slack - Moxie *is* a special-needs baby, and you can't just throw a bowl of food in with her and expect her to eat whenever she feels like it, like a normal kitten - she needs to be placed near the food, and watched to make sure she eats. Maybe we didn't make that clear enough to her. But still. She should have noticed. She should have recognized that she wasn't eating. Hell, she should have recognized that she wasn't MOVING. She should have recognized that she was losing weight, and going downhill. Someone should have called me.

I should never have let her out of my sight. She's nearly dead, and it's partly my fault. And even if she makes it, she spent a week suffering and starving, and I can't get that out of my head.

Please, if anyone has any positive energy to spare, I'd appreciate if you sent it towards a particular troubled, sickly, brain-damaged Persian kitten right now....
ladysprite: (Default)
If it has done absolutely nothing else, taking care of an infant kitten has convinced me, beyond the vaguest shadow of a doubt, that I should never, ever, ever reproduce. Because you know that instinct that tells most mothers not to eat their babies, that makes them actually enjoy dealing with poop and messes and all that? Yeah, utterly lacking here. [livejournal.com profile] umbran says it's hormonal, and if she were actually flesh of my flesh I would feel differently, but I think he's just trying to make me feel better.

Moxie is still adorable, of course, and I still love her. And she's getting bigger, and starting to look and act more like a cat. The only problem is that some of the things we think of as normal cat behavior - like, say, eating solid food, or using the litterbox - are learned behaviors. And with no other cats to teach her, she is in the process of failing to do either of these things.

Bottle-feeding a teeny, half-pound, semi-functional infant, and helping her go to the bathroom because she's too small to do it herself, is charming and pathos-laden and acceptable, at first. But after a few weeks, and after that kitten triples in size and is clearly quite capable of doing anything she darn well pleases, it loses both the charm and the pathos, and rapidly becomes both frustrating and frightening. You find yourself worrying whether she will actually ever figure either of these things out, and engaging in activities you never thought you would, like holding said kitten over the litterbox as your other cat uses it, saying, 'See? Uncle Percy knows how to pee in the potty like a big boy!' before realizing that 1) she can't understand a word you're saying and 2) you might just be going utterly mad.

There is also the small problem that a longhaired kitten with problems that revolve around food going both in and out can generate more mess in less time, pound for pound, than any other life form on this planet, as I discovered last night. After a long, frustrating, and mostly unsuccessful attempt to get her to eat some solid food that left both her and I liberally coated in Science Diet Kitten Turkey and Giblet Entree, I washed her in the sink (much to her chagrin), cleaned her playpen and put down a fresh towel, and set her in there with a fresh dish of food for the night. She promptly walked through the food, then knocked it over, tracking it over her entire sleeping area. I sighed, wiped her feet, took up the towel and put down a clean one, then went downstairs to get a second dish for some formula for her. Then I went back to her room, bent over to set down the dish, and realized that she had, in the three minutes I was gone, peed right on the middle of her clean towel.

I believe that was when I started making strange noises, and commenting on retroactive abortion. [livejournal.com profile] umbran tried to placate me with some homily about motherhood being a tie that binds; I retaliated that that was only true because so many of the substances involved were unreasonably sticky and/or gloppy.

She's doing better today; she actually ate without one of us having to pry her tiny jaws open. If I can convince her that the little sandbox in her room is not, in fact, just a teething tool, we'll be golden. In the meantime.... it's a good thing she's cute.

Photographic proof of said cuteness hidden here.... )
ladysprite: (Default)
So it's been about a week and a half since the little as-yet-unnamed baby came into our house. And so far, she has not only failed to die, but, remarkably and amazingly, seems to be thriving.

We still haven't quite picked out a name for her yet - she's still enough of a baby that she doesn't quite have a personality of her own yet, and I don't want to saddle her with a name that doesn't quite suit her - but at this rate we'll need to pick something soon.

Watching a kitten grow is like watching time lapse photography. It's alarming how quickly she's changing and growing and developing. She's half again as big as she was when we got her, having grown from 8 oz to a whopping 12 oz; she can still curl up in one of my hands, but instead of just filling the palm, she takes up my whole hand. She's starting to look more like a cat, too, and less like a furry kidney bean.

When she first arrived, she spent most of her time sleeping or half-heartedly nibbling at the bottle. Now she grabs at the bottle to try to eat, and if we don't get it to her quickly enough she will start suckling at anything in reach - hands, pants cuffs, towels, you name it. And when she's not eating or trying to eat, she's starting to play and bat at things. She's more alert, too - now when I go to take her from her box, she's as likely to be sitting up and awake as she is to be napping.

The most drastic change, though, has been in her mobility. A week ago, she could barely sit up. On Tuesday she stood for the very first time. She wobbled, and seemed to not quite know what to do once she got there, and quickly flopped back onto her backside, but she stood up. By Thursday she was taking a few cautious, deliberate steps. Tonight she has been wandering enthusiastically around the living room. She still trips over her own tail, and when she's uncertain she's likely to just sit down and push herself backwards with her front paws, but she's walking. The progress, just over a few days, is mind-blowing.

Most importantly, so far, she seems healthy. I haven't noticed any seizures since the first day or two. Developmentally, she's as close to normal as I could hope for. She's clearly able to see and hear. Her open fontanelle isn't closed, but the bigger she gets, the smaller it feels.

I think she's going to make it. And while we wait, and watch, it's a hell of a lot of fun to see her grow.

Obligatory baby pictures, hidden for those tired of kitten details.... )
ladysprite: (Default)
Okay - once again, it is clear that I was never meant to be a mother. This whole taking care of a tiny baby thing? It may be cute for a day or two, but ultimately, it's kind of a pain in the butt. Waking up at 4am to feed it, cleaning its backside and washing up after bodily functions that it's not capable of cleaning itself up after, dealing with crying for no recognizable reason, not being able to go out because something else's life depends on you being there every few hours.... not so glamorous or fun. I'm okay with the fact that I'm going to have to do it for a few weeks, but years? So not for me.

On the other hand, the world is a little more open to people bringing their tiny humans out than to people bringing their tiny kittens out and about. And, for all that it's a challenge to my sleep and my social life, the kitten is truly adorable.

She's doing remarkably well, too. She has gone from 'reluctantly sipping from the dropper' to 'chowing down on the bottle like she has never been fed before and will never be fed again,' complete with wiggling ears and tiny kitten purrs as she suckles. Instead of fighting to get enough calories into her, I have to pace her to avoid overfeeding. And she's more alert and aware of her surroundings, she's starting to figure out how to move a little, and she hasn't had any more seizures since the first night. I still have no way of knowing just how severe her brain problems will be; that's the problem with developmental delays - the delays aren't evident until the critter starts to develop - but I'm starting to cautiously believe that she's at least going to survive for us to find out the answer to that question.

Wait, what? You want to see what she looks like?

Okay, then. Pictures, and a request, back here..... )
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
I've joked to my husband before that, if we ever get a new pet, it'll have to be one that fortune hands to us - most likely with three legs, one eye, and some horrible and obscure medical condition. Vets don't generally buy pets, we take on fixer-uppers when their owners can't handle them anymore. It's just the way the world works. But for the past ten years, I've been able to dodge this bullet.

So I'm at work this morning, and I'm waiting for my next appointment to come in, when someone comes hurrying in through our front door, holding something tiny and fluffy in their hands. Their kitten fell and hit its head a couple of days ago, and isn't nursing, and doesn't seem right, and can we help them?

And they can't afford to take it to the emergency hospital. And its head is all squishy. And the mother has rejected it. And if they can't afford the emergency hospital, and maybe not even basic care here, what can they do? And could they just surrender it to us, maybe?

And my cat is dying. And I'm not a big believer in fate or karma or destiny, but....

So now I am the dubiously proud owner of a two-week-old calico Persian kitten with a face so smushed-in it's concave, an open fontanelle (the bones in her skull never closed properly), and probable brain damage. She's already had one seizure since I took custody of her, but she's also demonstrated some impressive skill at drinking milk replacer from a syringe, which is about the only major life skill I can ask from her at this point.

I know I can't get attached. She's a lemon, and her odds of making it are slim at best. And a part of me feels horrible for replacing Tristan before he's even gone. But she's also adorable, and fits in the palm of my hand, and I couldn't just toss her out the door or euthanize her without giving her at least what little chance I can.

And, you know, she's not the only one with a soft spot. Just luckily, mine isn't over my cerebrum....
ladysprite: (WorldSoBig)
So Tristan - my sweet orange kitty - had his ultrasound this morning.

It's not good.

His liver is enlarged and irregular, throughout the entire organ, and there's a separate mass that looks like it's probably on his pancreas as well. He's starting to build up fluid in his abdomen.

The specialist was able to take aspirates from the liver and the separate mass, so we should have a final diagnosis by Monday, but... it's just a formality at this point. Odds are it's cancer; there's not much else that can do this.

And he's going downhill so quickly. It's only been a week from the first time he didn't finish his dinner. I can already feel his spine sticking out. He's still trying to act like himself, but I can see changes in how he walks, and how much time he spends hiding in my closet.

We're keeping up his meds, but I don't know how much they're helping. The big question I'm going to face, once we have our final diagnosis, is whether to put him through full-on chemotherapy or just try to keep him comfortable for a little while. I ask people this question every day, I ask them to make this decision, but somehow I'm not ready to answer it myself.

I don't want to finish my work day. I don't want to make dinner tonight. I don't want to go play in a LARP tomorrow and pretend to be all suave and witty. I don't want to be around other humans at all, except my husband. I just want my baby, and I want him to be better....

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