Friday, April 2, 2010

Fly Free, dear Kitty

Goodbye Kitty, November 25, 2010--Kitty died on Thanksgiving morning. Here is what Missy wrote about Kitty's final days.
Last Tuesday, Kitty stopped eating. But even before that, I'd noticed some other changes. She didn't growl at cats who dared to enter her (my) bedroom. She tried out different chairs and beds and cat baskets in my apartment. She asked to go outside. She still sat at the entrance to the kitchen and watched me with disapproval written all over her face if I gave her the wrong food. But she seemed slower, calmer, slightly less engaged. I wanted to think she was finally settling in and had decided she wanted our home to be her home forever. But a tiny part of me wondered if she was okay, or if something might be wrong. Tuesday night, I took her to the local emergency room, and blood tests showed she had severe unregenerative anemia. When I spoke to my vet the next day, she agreed with the ER doctor that Kitty needed to see a specialist. I chose the referral hospital in Towson, although that might have been a mistake. After three days of testing and imaging and living in a cage in a brightly-lit room surrounded by barking dogs, Kitty was diagnosed with pancreatitis and possible, or probable, lymphoma or mast cell disease. The tests showed no signs of cancer, but the doctors were sure it was there, lurking, waiting to be found. But they agreed that I shouldn't subject my precious Kitty to more tests just yet. At home, she didn't eat on her own, and she rarely left her bed on the vanity in my bathroom. I gave her fluids and what seemed like truckloads of pills and liquid medications and syringed food into her three or four times a day. But nothing seemed to make any difference at all, and although I tried to be optimistic, I felt that the end was near. On our last night together, I sat with her and told her how much I loved her. I congratulated her on getting adopted again, this time by me, and promised that she would never, ever again be "returned" to a shelter. She purred, but I sensed that the Kitty I knew and loved was no longer there. The Kitty I knew talked nonstop and always let me know exactly what was on her mind. She sat on the pillows beside mine and purred me to sleep every night. She loved to dip her paw into her food and lick the food off the paw (messy, but cute). And she did the same thing with water. Her larger than life personality always made me laugh. Her story doesn't have the happy ending I envisioned. But for her, maybe it was a happy ending, after all. She was in her forever, really forever, home with someone who loved and respected her. For a cat who had been kicked around by heartless humans her entire life, maybe that was a happy ending. I hope so, but I wish it hadn't come so soon.
************************************************************* Update, 6/16/10, from Kitty's foster Mom--
Kitty and I have been working on trying to find her perfect insulin dose. I think we’re finally close with 1.5u of Levemir BID. She’s nice about testing. But then she knows her reward for being patient with me will be a can of Fancy Feast. Tender Liver and Chicken is her favorite. The other thing we’re working on is getting used to cats. My sweet and gentle Honey Cat is helping with this and could sit for hours just a few feet from Kitty blinking at her and trying to convince her she wants to be friends. So far, Kitty’s not seeing those blinks as a gesture of friendship, but she now allows Honey to be in the same room. That’s real progress! Although I think she’d be happier as an only cat, she could probably live comfortably with one or two other mellow, friendly indoor/outdoor cats. Kitty does enjoy her outdoor time. She’s a quirky, fun cat. She loves to dip a paw into her food and lick the food off her paw. She does the same thing with water. She touches me very softly with a paw when she wants attention, talks nonstop when we’re together and purrs me to sleep at night. I enjoy her company, and I know she’ll be a wonderful companion for the lucky person who adopts her.
******************************************************************************** Update 4/16/10--Basic Bio from Missy, Kitty's foster mom:
I am dropping all mention of Kitty's "Jasmyne" name. It was a shelter-assigned name; her family name was Kitty. There's nothing elegant or delicate about her. She's all feline, or Kitty. Kitty was diagnosed with diabetes more than two years ago. At first, her family took her to the vet often for curves, and her Lantus dose went up with each vet visit. She was up to four units (eight units a day) when the folks she lived with stopped taking her in for curves. She got the same dose for two years without ever being tested. As far as I know, she has no history of ketones or DKA. The only hypo incident I’m aware of occurred here on Wednesday when she went down into the 20s and stayed there for several hours despite mini-meals of high-carb Fancy Feast. Adding some Karo to the Fancy Feast finally brought her up to safe numbers. She showed no signs of hypo (though she was a bit growly, could have been from all the ear sticks) during either of her incidents. Her teeth need to be cleaned, and she’s had some bouts with both constipation and diarrhea since she’s been here. Otherwise, she has no health problems. Kitty was turned in to the Baltimore County shelter when she was six years old. She was adopted and returned six years later because her family’s new baby was allergic. They moved Kitty into the basement, where she was not happy and stopped using her litter box. Her litter box habits have been perfect since she’s been here. She’s never lived with other animals and is afraid of the cats who live here. She’s created her own “cat-free zone” in a bathroom and adjoining walk-through closet. Kitty is an indoor/outdoor cat, and according to her shelter intake records, enjoys being outside. The shelter vet did a complete blood panel when she arrived, and all of her values except for her blood glucose levels were in normal range.
********************************************************************** Initial post, 4/2/10--This is just a quick update to a post I put on the DCIN Yahoo Group. DCIN is working with Sara of the Baltimore Humane Society and a member of the FDMB, Missy and Little Grey, who is in rescue in Howard County, MD, to get more information on this little girl. The basics on Jasmyne from Sara so far are that she is 12YO, was DX diabetic in 2008 and hasn't seen the vet since then, although she has been receiving insulin BID. Jasmyne is active, friendly, eyes and nose are clear. She is on Lantus. Sara says if she can't get Jasmyne into a foster situation in the next couple of weeks of weeks, she is at risk of euthanasia, due to the costs of treating a diabetic. Sara agreed that if a local foster could be found, Jasmyne could receive her vet care at the shelter, and I agreed that DCIN would handle the insulin and diabetic supplies.

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