The Medical Group of Sponsor Animals
Cats can suffer a number of chronic medical conditions just as people can. Babette and Bobbi Magee have diabetes. Cashmere has epilepsy. Cora is blind. Stitch was left incontinent after being hit by a car. Dexter and Forrest have hyperthyroidism. Shane has a low-grade heart murmur. Debbie has an odd gait and posture because of a birth defect that caused a minor malformation in her back. Debbie needs no treatment for her condition; it doesn’t slow her down. Other conditions can be easily managed with diet or medication. However, most adopters are put off by the thought of having to medicate a cat for life. Each cat is robust and contented, but they’ll make their home with us except for the rare occasion when one is chosen, such as Lizzie who took meds for her heart. Dainty Cashmere and hardy Shane revel in attention. Stitch never fails to roll over for a tummy rub. Forrest was born with only three legs and he hobbles over for some pets, never seeing himself as handicapped. Bobbi Magee and Debbie have the fiery temperament common to calicos and tortoiseshells. Each finds his or her niche at the shelter, establishing a place in the pecking order. For them, it is home.
Calico Bobbi Magee makes her home in the shelter hallway where there’s more space since she doesn’t like other cats.
White Cashmere has shown us her affectionate, playful side; and her seizures seem to have abated.
Gray Cora lost the sight in one eye and then in the other eye. Although completely blind now, she manages quite well.
Tortoiseshell Debbie is a pretty little cat whose deformity shows when she’s standing or walking. Poor Debbie would really prefer not to live with other cats.
Calico Stitch is a calm, quiet girl who is very affectionate and she always welcomes a tummy rub with pleasure.
Stitch had been confined for a few days so we could monitor her litter pan usage. Her bowels tend to get backed up which can be life-threatening. The vet can sort of ‘jump start’ them into working again by flushing her out. It seems to have worked again because we saw victorious results in the litter pan. So Stitch has been released to enjoy the summer from her favourite perches again.
One case we’ve taken on is Masumi’s. She was a farm kitten and we learned of her when she was injured by a cow’s hoof. She needed veterinary care urgently and it seems the farmer wasn’t going to get it for her. So we went to fetch her. The hoof sheered off her nose, most of her right ear and most of her left paw. There was also some damage to her right eye but our vet is confident that the eye will be fine. After the vet removed the large scab from her nose, she was left with a hole in her face that opened directly into the nasal passages. The only fear is that these will heal closed preventing her from breathing. (Cats don’t breathe well through their mouths.) We’ll get Masumi all the vet care she needs and pray for the best outcome for her. “Masumi” means “beauty and true purity” and this little kitten does indeed have exceptional spirit. She’s such a happy, playful, affectionate little girl. Her injuries certainly haven’t slowed her down! She’s living in a foster home where her foster parents dote on her.
Masumi was rechecked by the vet and is looking “good”. She doesn’t need to be rechecked for another month. So the prognosis for this little girl is much more optimistic than we feared.
Stitch was blocked again and needed another evacuation. We’re bumping her meds up to three times a day. However, her colon is starting to loose its tone. We can only evacuate her so often; she needs sedation every time. So if the increased meds don’t work we are faced with a couple of hard choices: surgery to remove part of her colon (which may or may not work and could cause her to have constant diarrhea) or euthanasia. We’ll keep a close watch on her eliminations over the next while.
Okie has been off her food for a few days. We found a hard lump under her chin which the vet checked out. X-rays were done. There’s a bone tumor on her lower jaw. These things usually appear suddenly (within one month, which is why it wasn’t visible four months ago when she had her dental). Unfortunately they usually kill quickly also. All we can do is make her comfortable. She’ll get special pain meds regularly. We’ll try coaxing her to eat. She doesn’t seem to be in any pain at the moment but obviously it’s uncomfortable for her to eat. So her time is probably limited. We may let her spend her last days in a foster home that specializes in palliative care cases if the move won’t be too stressful for her. It’s just sad for a small soul to end her life in a shelter. She’s an exceptionally loving little cat.
Dagobert has joined us. He’s a handsome older Bengal who has diabetes. He’s healthy otherwise and his diabetes is stable. He’s pretty glum right now but we hope he’ll settle in and feel at home soon.
Wobbles is a pretty gray-tabby-and-white semi-feral who is not suited for life in a feral colony since she appears to have a mild case of cerebellar hypoplasia. We’ll get our vet to check her over; she’s only just arrived at the shelter. We’re hoping she’ll warm up to us because she could be a wonderful companion in a home.
We noticed white Cashmere snuggled with blue-point Peter the other day. We were surprised to see that this quiet little cat had made a feline friend. We’re glad she has. Her epileptic seizures will be infrequent if she feels calm, secure and content. She and Peter certainly looked content, curled up together in a cubby hole.
Masumi is doing well in her foster home. She’s a regular kitten — full of energy and into everything. Her foster mom says she is “growing and growing, and her coat is not quite a medium-hair, but it’s fuzzy and not short. Where she was injured [a cow stepped on her face and paw], she seems to have white-coloured scar tissue but it doesn’t look wrong because of her beautiful torbie coat.” Masumi plays hide-and-seek with Foster Mom and when Mom stops to do some work, Masumi calls to her and zips around, trying to get her to play again. “She is such a happy little cat and is an absolute joy to be around.” She cuddles with her foster parents, purring contentedly. “All you have to do is look at her or call her name and the motor starts.” Foster Mom promised to send some photos and videos which we can post.
Debbie walks with a peculiar frog-like gait due to a brith defect in her lower back. But she’s fully functional and capable and she’s a loving little cat even if she does have sharp words for other felines who cross her path. She won somebody’s heart last weekend and was adopted at last. Best of all from Debbie’s point of view — she’ll be the only cat in her new home!
Dagobert went to vet and got his glucose levels checked. All perfect, so his insulin is the right amount. We had to move him to a different communal room because Hyacinth and Orion were intimidating the poor guy so much that he was reluctant to leave his nest. In his new room, the first thing he did was take himself out to the porch to lie on a shelf in the sun and look out at the trees.
The photo at left is the latest one of Masumi who was stepped on by a cow. It shows her nose (or lack thereof) after the scab was removed. Her foster parents are keeping the area moist with saline drops every few hours (which she hates). Foster Mom said, “The skin around her nose seems less raw, and there is definite healing. She is still sneezing and breathing through her nose which seems to be keeping her nasal passages clear.” Our vet is going to speak with a colleague at another animal hospital to see if he might be interested in doing an experimental surgery on Masumi’s nose once she has finished growing. (Luckily her palate was not damaged otherwise her outlook would be much more grim.) Meanwhile, the saline drops will keep her eyes and nose moist until she’s big enough to have a graft done.
According to her foster mom, Masumi seems to see better out of her undamaged eye but there seems to be some functionality in the damaged one. Foster Mom also said, “In the process of climbing the couch (and perhaps healing her paw by dropping parts too far gone to save?) she has lost all but one claw on her damaged paw (she only has her ‘thumb’). She remains undaunted. At first, when she tried to climb up after losing her remaining digits, she fell down because she couldn’t grab as before. She has learned to launch herself more with her hind legs and she is doing just fine, thank you very much! She still likes to use the paw.” Masumi plays with gusto and snuggles with her foster parents. She is a very happy little kitten as you can see from her photo at right.
We lost Sparrow. He had been under the weather and Foster Mom was going to get him to the vet on the next business day, but he slipped away in his sleep on Saturday night. Sparrow came to us from a barn with the worst-looking eye problem we’d ever seen; it was bulging and discoloured. The people who owned the barn never treated any of his ills and injuries because they didn’t like him (basically because of his appearance). A neighbour rescued him and brought him to us. He was a gentle, friendly soul. Our vet determined that his eye looked worse than it actually was and she figured it was damaged at one time or he had glaucoma. If the bad eye had been Sparrow’s only problem, we might have looked for a new home for him. However, the vet determined he was more than 12 years old, probably closer to 15. He was developing kidney problems and he was hyperthyroid. Forget about adoption! In early April (a couple of weeks after he came to us), Sparrow went into permanent foster care with a volunteer who specializes in elderly cats. Sparrow was delighted with this change in his circumstances. He was a confident, cheerful, trusting cat who soon made himself at home. We knew his time would be limited. Saturday, September 4 was his last day. We were glad his last months were happy ones.
Neesa had a domino effect of medical issues culminating in chronic diarrhea that our vet has been unable to cure so far. We thought she’d never be adoptable, so we were overjoyed when a volunteer offered to give her a chance at a home. That was a month ago. Unfortunately, the volunteer has now moved on and Neesa has had to return to the shelter. Poor girl. She’s such a sweet soul, but she’s unlikely to find another home that can deal with her digestive problems.
This last weekend was spectacular for adoptions for some reason. Eleven fur-babies went to new homes. Among those was white Dizzy who had mild cerebellar hypoplasia, like Wobbles. Only Dizzy’s case was a little bit more pronounced than Wobbles. When Diz felt anxious, his head would shake side-to-side as if he was vigorously saying “no”. Shelter life could make Diz anxious since some of the cats could get impatient and smack him if he bumped into them. So we breathed a huge sigh of relief when he found a new home. We soon had a report back from his new home, which was as nice as seeing him go to a loving new home. “We just adopted Dizzy and I just wanted to let you know that he had his first meet and greet with Dr. Cichon (his vet) today. He weighs just over 10 pounds and uses every ounce to give you loves. He is quite the character! He has taken to us and his new home well so far. He is not a fan of the dogs, but this evening the three of them all slept on the floor in a triangle pattern. Our dogs are patiently waiting for acceptance from him. Last night (his first night with us) he made his rounds from the girls’ rooms to ours and then settled on the bed for the night. He is such a great cat.” He really is an exceptionally affectionate boy. He just needed someone to come along who recognized that and recognized that his head-shake didn’t handicap him at all.
Masumi (mentioned above, July 15 and Aug 25) went to visit a specialist at Boundary Bay Veterinary Speciality Hospital. Our vet arranged it. The doctor feels that there is still the possibility that Masumi’s nasal area will heal enough for her to continue to function normally. It might not look like every other cat’s nose but it’ll work. He’s given Foster Mom some instructions on keeping it clean etc and he will look at it again in two weeks. He is doing this for us gratis which is really so nice!
Okie (mentioned on July 23) is still eating but she’s vocalizing constantly. The vet says it doesn’t sound as if she’s in pain. It’s probably just part of being an elderly cat. Her jaw looks big since the tumor is growing. When she reaches the point where life is more of a burden than a blessing, we’ll make the last trip to the vet.
Feather, a friendly little DMH black cat who lives at the shelter, had a biopsy done on some tiny bald spots on her face and ears. It turns out she has an allergy and it looks like an allergy to mosquito bites. (Who knew cats could be allergic to mosquito bites!) So it should get better now that the cooler weather has arrived.
It was time to let Okie go. (She had cancer — see July 23.) She got to live out her final weeks in a real home and she spent her last hour curled up in her foster mom’s arms while waiting for the vet to help her pass.
We have two cats with chronic diarrhea that the vets have been unable to cure — sensitive Neesa and mature Charlie. The vets’ latest thought was that it might be IBS. Whatever the cause, it’s worn them down. They became thin and depleted because of being unable to keep nutrients in their system for long although they eat enough. They’re constantly mucky due to the diarrhea. It came to the point where we had to consider their quality of life. Obviously they were unadoptable. Our chief volunteer in charge of animal health asked the medicating volunteers for their feedback. It’s a tough decision to make. Then on October 6, she sent another message…
“Charlie made a decision for me today. I saw him this morning and his eyes had that far-away look. I cleaned him up a bit and gave him fluids. But he was having trouble standing and wasn’t interested in food. So I took him with me to the vet today (I had actually booked his visit for tomorrow). He’s dropped a lot of weight but the biggest concern was that his temperature was already very low — a sign that things are shutting down. And his eyes were not focusing. It was his time.
Neesa (see Sept 9 above) was bright and perky today. Said hello. Got up and gave a big stretch. Polished off 4 or 5 small bowls of food. I gave her a bath. (She was very good about her bath even though she doesn’t like it, I even trimmed her nails while she was in the bath.)” Neesa is indeed responsive and cheerful with a robust appetite. Though she’s thin and raggedy looking, she’s not ready to let go, not yet. We’ll watch for her signal.
We lost Babette and Houlihan.
Babette started breathing heavily and seemed ‘off’ so we got her to the vet. X-rays found a suspicious spot on her lungs but the vets were unable to pin down the cause of her symptoms yet (although they warned us that it didn’t look good for her). This morning, it was clear to the vet that it was time to let her go. They said it was possibly cancer or some type of infection. Either way, there was no cure.
Houlihan was a chubby cat who was not eating regularly at the shelter so she was fostered for hand feeding. She had a vet check and they found other things going on with her, particularly with her pancreas. She went downhill quickly and the vet had to let her go. They said it was a bad case of pancreatitis which could have been brewing for a while.
This is the hardest part of rescue work, losing them and feeling helpless to save them. Experience has taught us that cats become fragile when they end up in shelter care. They’re creatures that hate change, and many have never lived with other cats. It’s all a shock to them, physically and psychologically. Most rally, but a few don’t. Houlihan was only with us for two months. We wrote about this in a newspaper article last April. We wanted people to know that if they have a “sensitive cat who’s been with them all his life, he’s at risk. If he’s overweight and older, his risk increases.” Houlihan was eight years old and very plump. She was also a loving little sweetheart, as was Babette. So sad.
Another cat with a medical condition arrived last weekend. Comet has diabetes. He’s easy to medicate though and he’s a handsome fellow. We hope he can find a new home. However, he’s also ten years old. So he might need a bit of extra luck.
Hyperthyroid Dexter went into permanent foster care. The poor cat was a loving soul but he was plain black and 15 years old. His odds of adoption were pretty much zero. Now he won’t have to end his days in a shelter. He will be loved as a family member.
Our little blind Cora (pictured on the right at the very top of the page) is just about as wide as she is long now. She’s not fat but she is as round as a ball! She had another vet check this last week and, overall, she’s A-OK. She’s gained more weight though and the vet thinks that perhaps her stomach muscles are weak and that’s why she looks so big.
Miss Muffet is a sweet young ginger tabby who is diabetic, as it turns out. This is easy to handle but it will make her harder to adopt out since she’ll need regular meds. However, she’s young so there’s a possibility that she may ‘revert’. She’s a lovely little cat who would certainly be worth the effort to her new family.
Some bad news. Comet, mentioned on Oct 20/10, was at the vet’s for the last few days being treated for a nasty cold. Today they let us know he took a turn for the worse. Hiis cold was under control but his diabetes became critical. The volunteers were devastated since he is a particularly good-natured, loving old cat. The stress of losing his home set his whole body on a crash course. He’s in the high-risk category, as we explain on this page. He’s older, he’s chubby, and he had the same home all his life. We’re behind him all the way and the vet is working hard to save him. As of this minute (early evening) we learned that his vitals are improving a wee bit. So he still has a slim chance, and the message was for everyone keep their fingers crossed and say a little prayer. We all love this trusting, affectionate old cat. We have a wonderful vet and she will do everything possible for him. She’s taking him home with her tonight to give him any care he needs through the night. So now we wait and hope.
Comet made it through the night. The vet said he seemed a bit better. It’s the diabetes which is screwing up his electrolytes, carbon dioxide output, oxygen intake, etc. which is causing his heavy breathing. But the vet sounded cautiously hopeful. So far, so good.
We think that Neesa is ready to let go (last mentioned on Oct 9 above). She’s had a rough time of it over the last several months. Yet she always remained cheerful, loving, responsive and gentle. She was coping despite everything and we loved her all the more for her courage. But over the last few days she’s lost her robust appetite and has refused food. She’s growled at us when we touched her (not like her at all), and she’s appeared restless and paced around. She seems to be in discomfort now, so it’s time. We’ll get her to our vet as soon as the weekend is over. There’s just nothing more we can do for our poor girl.
Today Neesa seemed much better and was “stomping around the shelter” (as one volunteer put it) with her usual energy. Was her low spell a passing thing? We can’t change our minds once a decision like this has been made and acted on. So we watch and decide for a day at a time. She’s now gone to a foster home specializing in palliative care cases where she can be watched day and night. She can enjoy a real home environment, even if only for a short while. Once the weekend is over, we’ll consult with the vet as planned.
Just an update on our two critical cases.
Neesa is doing very well in her foster home so far. “She’s wandering about a bit, scrounging for food. She’s purring, rubbing her face against the corners. Today she’s dribbled a bit around the lino but not too bad and at least it’s easy to clean.” So far, Neesa is thriving!
Comet (mentioned on Nov 12 above) was doing quite well as of last Friday. His breathing was good, blood sugar levels were good, temp was good, URI (Upper Respiratory Infection) was over. The only problem is that he isn’t eating on his own. We’ll know more soon.
Comet is doing very well although not eating as much as he should. But he’s doing okay. A volunteer will take him home. He’ll join her household as soon as she has a couple of free days to spend with him as he adjusts to the latest (and last!) change in his life.
Dexter is mentioned above on Oct 20 when he went into foster care. Today we took him off the list of pets advertised for adoption. He’s happy in his foster home, and his foster family is happy with him. There’s no way a plain, old, hyperthyroid cat who arrived with litter pan issues is going to get adopted anyway (although Foster Mom said there have been no litter pan issues so far). She said, “He’s a lovely cat, very affectionate — he loves to curl up with you on the couch. Still a VERY messy boy with water.” (Dexter had a habit of dumping the water bowls at the shelter. It got so bad that we put big rocks in the water bowls so they’d be too heavy for him to dump! It seems he’s dumping water bowls in his foster home now! LOL — good thing his foster family loves him!)
We had an update on Neesa from her foster mom. Overall, she seems to be doing better. “I’ve cleaned her up and combed her, and her fur looks good. I think she’s using her box better.” There are signs that her digestive system might finally be getting back on track. “She’s eating raw food only. I am also giving her several herbal things for diarrhea/IBD. Knock wood, it seems to be working for her so far.” Our fingers are crossed that this isn’t just a passing peaceful phase.
Comet’s new mom sent an update: “Comet came home today and has sniffed EVERYTHING in the house. He has pulled out and rolled on everything in the toy pot. The other cats seem fine with him. He is such a love bug!” …and later: “Comet is chirruping at the birds today and purring every time I look at him! He seems to have staked out a spot in a basket by the window. He’s fascinated with the snow today!” Comet will be okay now!
We had an update on Neesa (last mentioned on Nov 23 above). Foster Mom sought homeopathic advise. She said Neesa is “doing so well. She’s on raw food — chicken or turkey, some bison. Before every meal she gets Slippery Elm, Chlorophyll and acidophilus. She’s so good about taking this. Into her raw food I mix some alfalfa sprouts, wheat germ, sometimes grated carrot. Occasionally she gets garlic with tamari soy sauce and brown rice cooked in kombu seawood broth. (I’ve gotten all the ingredients to actually mix with the raw food. It’s supposed to simulate a freshly killed mouse!) When she came here two weeks ago she weighed 2.3 kg. This week she was 2.5 kg. She has a great appetite.”
We had almost despaired of being able to help Neesa. Her diarrhea was persistent and debilitating. Her foster mom is a special person.
From Comet’s new person: “We no longer have to worry about him eating. He eats everything he sees! I actually have to watch that I am not leaving anything (my dinner, for example) alone when he is in the room. He is getting into our routine and he and Spot (my other diabetic kitty) are actually getting along and will eat side by side.” He’s a lucky cat for one who was so sick that the vet took him home overnight!
This last weekend was a lucky one for two of our cats who’d been hit by motor vehicles. Both were adopted by different families. Calico Peaches had to have her tail amputated when she was hit by a car. Siamese Katja was hit by a motorcycle and some people saw the little cat drag herself to safety as the driver kept right on going. She was rushed to our vet’s but luckily hadn’t suffered any serious injuries. Now they both have new homes in time for Christmas.
Stitch went in today (last mentioned above on July 23). We suspected an infection but there was none. (She is SO good at the vet’s, she purrs like a dove.) Other than some diarrhea, she’s doing well these days.
We had a senior tabby and white cat named Kona in a foster home for palliative care due to a diagnosis of mouth cancer. She went to her foster home a year ago and we didn’t expect her to have much time left. However, she had a year (in which she bonded strongly with her foster dad). She passed away peacefully on Sunday. Despite the upheaval she endured in her life, her last year was a good one.
Dagobert (mentioned Aug 24 above) got a wonderful Christmas gift. He went home yesterday with one of our volunteers. Dagobert was a Bengal and although that should make him highly adoptable, he was a senior with diabetes and no personality discernable at the shelter! We waited for him to relax and reveal his character but he never did. He was unlikely to find an adopter. He’ll be living in the same house with Orion and if they don’t like each other, they’ll easily be able to avoid each other (harder to do in the shelter’s communal rooms). His new person (our volunteer) sent a note about both the old boys: “Orion is doing so well! I caught one of my guys giving Orion’s head a wash, and then Orion duly reciprocated. I just took Dagobert home today. He is by far the best Christmas present I will receive this year. He is still in my ‘integration room’ but he is purring up a storm and seems to have settled in well so far. What a sweetie!”
Dagobert “purring up a storm”?! He never did that at the shelter! Clearly he was lonely and unhappy and just needed a home. We’re crossing our fingers that no complications arise to jinx it.
We finally got a photo of Cora when she’s out of her nest and showing her girth (mentioned Oct 30 above). Compare it with the photo of her at top in which she looks slender. She’s healthy though. The vet believes her abdominal muscles are just lax — nothing a good girdle wouldn’t fix!
(sigh) Dagobert (mentioned Dec 25) is back. He was doing fine in his new home. But there’s another senior cat who followed him around until Dagobert’s nerves were jangled! So Dagobert lost patience with him. It escalated into senior-cat warfare and clearly it wasn’t going to resolve. Dagobert’s new mom was crushed but had to return him. The poor old fellow seems as glum as ever to find himself back in the shelter.
We have a beautiful new cat, a Snowshoe Siamese / Ragdoll cross named Dakota, who who presented us with a problem. He drank a huge amount of water — so much that we couldn’t let him join the communal room or he would have finished off all the water in no time. Our vet diagnosed Diabetes Insipidus. He needs ongoing medication for it. Without medication, he could develop kidney problems if he runs out of water for a period (i.e. 12 hours), and if he drinks too much water that puts him at risk too. We started him on the meds and were relieved to see an improvement (there’s actually water left in his bowl now). This condition will make it harder for him to find a home. Yet he’s such an exceptionally nice cat, we have hope. He calls to us when we arrive in the morning and he likes to cuddle in our arms — such a lovable cat!
We took in a sweet, friendly, 7-mo-old tabby girl named Zenith. We received this lovely little cat because she has a congenital heart disease. She has a grade 5 heart murmur, and an x-ray our vet did shows a very enlarged heart. Zenith only has maybe six months. She’s a lively, playful little girl; you’d never guess there was anything wrong to watch her. She’s gone to a foster home where she’ll have another young cat to play with. She’s on Lasix and Fortekor. When Foster Mom sees a loss of appetite or trouble breathing, she’ll know it’s time. Until then, Zenith’s life will be full of all the fun and love she can handle.
Masumi (last mentioned Sept 20 above) has grown into a gorgeous young cat in her foster home while foster mom maintained her injured nose until she had grown enough for any reconstruction needed. Foster Mom sent an update after her last appointment with a specialist:
“Currently, Masumi’s nose gets dry (and seems uncomfortable). When it scabs over, I have to put a lot of saline on it and I give her a bit of time to see if she’ll sneeze it off as my attempts to get if off with a damp cottonball are distressing for her. Putting drops on her nose several times a day is what is currently required. The specialist says while he’s happy with how Masumi has healed in general, there is too much tissue granulation (“granulation of skin instead of mucosa”) and scar tissue, so he needs to cut the septum back in hopes of getting down to cells where there is still mucosa. She’d have one larger nasal opening so it wouldn’t be so much of a worry that her nose might close as she heals and grows. It should be less uncomfortable for her, and likely less maintenance. The doctor is also concerned about her damaged eye not being able to close so he wants to do a “Z-plasty” to reduce the tension on the skin around her eye. Her eye will still water, but hopefully she will be able to blink because of the reduced tension giving her 20% more length. Her tear glands are permanently damaged so her eyes will always weep, and her blinking reflexes seem damaged – still, she uses that eye. It seems the surgery is experimental — probably the reason Dr. H has been seeing her free of charge [to our gratitude]. He’s hoping to schedule her in mid/late February.
Masumi is quite feisty and dominant. She and Mirage (another foster cat) get along well, likely because he’s a fairly mellow guy. Masumi will cuddle on the bed, and she likes to sit on my lap although she comes when she’s ready. She’s curious about everything. When I go out, she watches at the window and when I come back home, she dances back and forth and greets me at the door so she can attack my shoelaces as I take them off. Then she likes to be scooped up in my arms. She is happy and playful and enjoys the company of other cats (although she has to be the dominant one or she gets really grumpy). She’ll probably always sneeze a lot, and her eyes are always a little bit weepy, but the vet said that with her injury the steady, clear discharge is normal.”
Zenith is in the same foster home as Masumi so the two youngsters can play together. Foster Mom said, “Zenith is a curious little cuddle-monster. She and Masumi are almost inseparable. They follow each other everywhere, sleep near each other, and play and play and play. It’s super cute when they both stand on their hind legs and ‘box’ at each other. Zenith follows us from room to room and she is as curious and investigative as a healthy kitten should be. Last night, Zenith, Masumi, and two other cats were all zooming around the house playing chase with each other for about a half hour. Zenith is a cuddly, affectionate and interactive little cat. She cuddles on the bed at night, purring and grooming/licking me.” Someone else had a cat with Zenith’s condition, and that little cat lived for five years. So maybe Zenith will enjoy life for longer than predicted. We hope.
In the photo, Masumi is at the left and Zenith is at the right on the couch.
We took in an 8-yr-old named Helena because she was being aggressive with the toddler and others. The family also reported that litter pan issues had arisen too. We had her new-cat vet check done and the vet saw signs of stress-grooming on her belly. Clearly something was making Helena very anxious. A clue was when the family mentioned they thought she might be going blind (although she hadn’t seen a vet in a long time). Sure enough, our vet confirmed that Helena can’t see (further testing revealed no particular reason for this). No wonder Helena was aggressive. She couldn’t detect movement towards her until someone was on top her! She’s in an adult foster home now where she seems to be settling well.
We took a tiny, skinny mom cat with a large litter of kittens from a home unable to care for them (and this was the mom cat’s second litter in the recent past). The little mom was overtaxed and all the kittens had weepy eyes. A few of the babies died. The remaining four recovered nicely — except for Frasier. His next vet check revealed that the lids on one eye had fused, so the vet separated them and found a good eye. The little guy went back to his foster home with eye drops to be administered every few hours. However, the eyelid skin seems to be irritating the eye and has caused an ulcer. So we still don’t know if Frasier will grow up with two good eyes. The good news is that he does as well with one eye as any other kitten does with two eyes. He’s fast and frisky!
Ruby, an endearing little tabby, has joined us and she has some kind of problem with her eyes. To look at, they seem small and weepy. She doesn’t seem troubled by them, she’s very lively and cheerful. Her new-cat vet check will get to the bottom of it and we’ll give her any treatment she needs.
The vet determined that Ruby had an eye infection in the past which, left untreated, caused her eye lids to fuse partially together and left one eye sightless. Her tear ducts were also damaged so her eyes water a lot. But this is good because it keeps her good eye lubricated. She’s in no pain and needs no intervention. She’s adjusted well to her circumstances. While she was sedated for the eye exam, we also had a dental done which removed the last of her remaining teeth except for three canines. She had suffered from bad teeth for a while. Despite all this, Ruby is one of the most cheerful, confident, lovable cats we’ve ever met! You can see how delightful Ruby is in the videos on her adoption page. (Click where it says “Read More about this Pet” and scroll down to her videos.)
Little Frasier (mentioned on Feb 3 above) went back to the vet for follow up on his eye. The eyelids, which were surgically separated, have grown together again. However, they left a tiny hole through which he’ll have a kind of tunnel vision. The hole is actually a good thing if the lids won’t stay separated. It avoids the possibility of fluid build-up behind the lids, irritation and maybe infection. So he has one good eye and a bit of vision in the other. He’s happy and healthy, and he’s adapted to it.
Masumi (mentioned Jan 26 above) is booked for the surgery that will cut away the scar tissue and leave her with a more open nasal cavity for easy breathing. She goes in on March 7. Foster Mom says she’s become more of a lovebug who likes to cuddle in a lap, and “she is warming up to the idea of being brushed, but she is by no means a fan. Her tail still seems to be constantly moving and is a fun toy for Zenith to pounce on.”
Zenith (mentioned Jan 26 also) is doing very well despite her serious heart condition. At her latest check up, the vet was amazed at how well she’s doing. There’s still fluid in her abdomen, however there’s a lot less. She still has the heart murmur that will shorten her life but she is pampered and happy. Foster Mom said, “She is snuggly and affectionate, and she has a big voice (especially for such a teeny cat) when she wants attention.”
Cybil, a sassy gray tabby, didn’t seem right one day a couple of weeks ago. So she went to the vet. The diagnostics came back negative; she’s fine and she’s back to normal now. However, whatever put her under the weather a couple of weeks ago affected a nerve which causes Horner’s Syndrome (raised third eyelid). Anything can affect the nerve and it causes the eyelid to come up. It’s sometimes hard to determine the cause of the Horner’s Syndrome because there are so many probable causes. Anyway, Cybil seems to be doing better. But sometimes it takes a long time for the nerve to go back to normal and for the eyelid to go down. It might never go down if the nerve was damaged. It does not cause her any pain though. (You can see in her photo how her third eyelid on her right eye is raised.)
Masumi and Zenith Update – The girls have a cold. A cold is hard on Masumi with her compromised nasal passages. Her corrective surgery has been postponed until her cold is better. The vet said Zenith’s congestion is contained in her sinuses only (nothing in her lungs). Both girls will be fine when they recover from the cold. Meanwhile they’re both on meds.
Shane, mentioned in the introductory write up at the top, has a new home. It’s a unique situation. He was previously adopted into this home along with his best pal from the shelter, tabby Harley who has epilepsy. However, they weren’t best pals in their new home. Shane seemed to become more dominant and Harley seemed to become afraid of him. So Shane returned to the shelter. He is rather dominant by nature but he’s a nice boy at heart. They’d only been in the new home for about three weeks when Shane returned to us. Now, nearly a year after that first adoption, Harley’s person believes he’d like a companion and has decided to give it another try with Shane. We had a report back after Shane’s first night at home. The boys seem to remember each other, and Shane seems delighted to be in a real home again. So far, everything’s going well. We’re crossing our fingers that it works this time.
Shane’s update a day later is not so good. It seems that he’s absolutely lovable with his new people but he’s boisterous and rowdy with his former pal, Harley. Harley is a sensitive little fellow and that’s exacerbated by his epilepsy. If Harley gets stressed, he’s more vulnerable to having an epileptic seizure. Harley is unhappy now because of Shane’s sudden “wanna play buddy?” attacks. They’ll give it a week, but if Harley doesn’t recover his confidence with Shane around, our fluffy boy will have to return. The people are so torn about it because Shane is such a lovable guy.
You’ll see in Masumi’s videos below that she’s recovered from her cold nicely and is as peppy at ever!
Masumi and Zenith saw the vet today. They’re both over their colds, and both Masumi’s and Zenith’s lungs are good. The vet was pleasantly surprised to hear how active Zenith is (she’ll leap several feet into the air to chase a bug). Zenith has gained weight but plump little fuzz-bucket Masumi is almost twice Zenith’s size. Foster Mom said, “Masumi plans on growing to the size of a Golden Retriever and achieving world domination one day regardless of what I say.” The vet gave the ‘okay’ for Masumi’s reconstructive surgery on her nose, so she’s scheduled for Tuesday, March 22nd. We are so thankful for our vet and her connections, and for the generosity of the specialist who will be doing the surgery.
Cybil’s eye is back to normal (Feb 25 above); the Horner’s Syndrome cleared up. Yay!
Masumi had her surgery earlier than expected and it seems to have been successful. She’s back home now with a wider nasal opening. Foster Mom sent an update on Masumi and her BFF, Zenith: “Masumi is, of course, not quite herself, but she is chattering away and keeps trying to play and wrestle with Zenith. Masumi always comes up to me with her cute little chirps during the day, often running up to me for no apparent reason, stretching her front paws up on my lap and staying for a few pets before she’s off investigating the world again. It’s just her way of checking in to say ‘Hi.’ Zenith was gleeful to have Masumi back this evening. She was so lonely today (even though there are 3 other cats here) that she was clinging to me. When I lay down, she thought she was alone again and let out the most mournful, loud meeeeowrrrrr. As soon as I called her she ran up to me and flung herself under the covers (she usually stays atop the covers).”
Dakota (mentioned Jan 19 above) has been adopted. He’s such an exceptionally loving, laidback, handsome fellow. The only snag for adopters was that he needs regular medication. He went to a great family that has adopted from us before. We know he’ll be well looked after, and they be get all Dakota’s love in return.
Our animal health volunteers tested the blood glucose on all our diabetic boys (we have four cats with diabetes right now). Both gray-and-white Peter and tabby Sammy were very low, so we discussed it with our vet. Peter is coming off insulin totally at this point. Hopefully his recheck in two weeks will still be low which means we can assume he’s not diabetic. Sammy’s insulin has been reduced and he’ll be rechecked in one week. If it’s still low at that time we’ll take him off insulin completely for two weeks and recheck him too. If they prove not to be diabetic, they’re going to have a better chance of finding a home, never mind a better chance at life. The diabetic boys and three cats who originally tested positive for Feline Leukemia (FeLV) are lucky that we have diligent volunteers in charge of animal health and a wonderful veterinarian. The FeLV-positive cats may prove to actually be negative when a more definitive test is used. One (Kat King Cole) has already proven negative and has a new lease on life as a result. These bits of good news have made it a good week!
This week Zenith had a bad spell when her breathing became laboured. Foster Mom rushed her to our vet who prescribed diuretics to relieve the pressure of fluid in body. That had helped by morning. It’s only forestalling the inevitable though. We know Zenith won’t have a full life span. After the vet visit, Foster Mom said, “When the vet called me in to look at the x-rays, she was solemn, and I knew it was not good. It is nearly Zenith’s time and I will keep a close eye on her. I’m glad Zenith improved enough to come home, even if it is just for a day or two. When I had her in the kennel on the way home from the vet, she was happily lying on her side after I’d fed her some Temptations and salmon. She acted as she always does — she licked my fingers gently, purred, and rolled her head into my hand and blinked contentedly. She has been, and continues to be, a wonderful little package of joy, and I am thankful that I get to foster her for whatever time she has to offer.” The next day was a bit better for both Zenith and Foster Mom. “Diuretics seem to be helping somewhat. She was pawing at the laser pointer and watching birds for a bit. She just jumped up on the pillow next to the computer and is purring and kneading away. Her spirits and energy are up, so mine are too.” We’re only glad we could have her this long and that she’s never known anything but happiness.
Our new little elderly Nub, a medium-haired Manx, had her new-cat vet check and we learned to our dismay that she is incontinent for both solid and liquid eliminations. She simply has no muscle tone in her back end. This poses a serious dilemma. Obviously she’s not adoptable so we’ve taken her profile off the web. But her bloodwork results were good, indicating that this little 15-yr-old could go on for several more years. She’s alert and has an appetite. She’s interested, responsive and affectionate. Yet she can’t help soiling her own bed. It’s not just a matter of ‘letting her go’ — she’s not terminal. All we can do is watch her and try to determine if she has a good enough quality of life with us that she’d want to continue. This will be a tough one.
Elderly, half-blind Ruby (last mentioned Feb 18 above) has a new home. It’s one of those wonderful situations where someone kind was willing to give a chance to a cat who needs it. What a happy ending for a loving little cat who deserves it so much.
Peter (mentioned April 1 above) has been adopted! This is lucky since not only did he have diabetes but he’s also 13 years old. It’s a blessing to find someone willing to give such a pet a chance even if it turns out that he’s still diabetic. He is such a lovable cuddler though that it’s hard to resist him.
We’ve had cats with complicated medical issues before, but this one sets a record. Tasha has turned out to be a 14-yr-old, diabetic, blind cat with epilepsy or a brain tumor. She was only known to be diabetic when she arrived. However, we saw her have some kind of seizure on Tuesday. Our animal health volunteer gave her corn syrup immediately in case it was due to her diabetes and rushed her to the vet. They found her to be only mildly hypoglycemic. Meanwhile, she had also gone blind (which will hopefully resolve if the cause is hypoglycemia). She had a couple more seizures at the vet’s that day so our medical volunteer took her home to monitor overnight. She had no further seizures but she was quite ‘out of it’. The next day she went back to the clinic. After blood work, the vet determined that the seizure caused mild hypoglycemia rather than the other way around. Seizures could mean epilepsy or a brain infection or tumour. Tasha will be fostered by our medical volunteer. If she has a brain infection or epilepsy, the new meds she’s on should help. If they don’t help, it points toward a tumour. Sadly, that would be terminal.
Tasha is doing better. She’s not ‘out of it’ anymore, she’s calm and quiet, and she purrs. Her vision may be returning. When Foster Mom holds a finger to her face, Tasha seems to fix her gaze on it and she leans toward it.
We took in three new cats over the last week who have medical needs. Tortoiseshell Molly is a senior who has pancreatitis. She needs daily meds and a special diet. She eats a pumpkin-and-tofu mixture, poor girl. She’s an exceptionally sweet-natured cat. Black-and-white Hazel has a heart murmur. An ultrasound was done and although there is some valve damage, her heart isn’t enlarged so it’s not too bad. However, it is quite a significant murmur (4 out of 6). That means it is always possible she could fall over dead from heart attack one day (as could any of us really). Black Maxie is hyperthyroid and has a thyroid tumour. We’ll get her fully checked out by our vet and do anything we can for her. Hazel and Maxie are very loving and lively even though they’re both skinny, tiny little things.
Our vet checked all Molly’s blood work, biopsies, etc., and has determined that she appeared to just have a case of Hepatic Lipidosis (Fatty Liver Disease) which they get when they don’t eat. The liver is closely related to the pancreas and gall bladder, and in Molly’s case these organs were also unhappy when her liver became unhappy. She seems to be doing well otherwise. We’ll watch to make sure she eats.
Louisa was homeless and came to us from another shelter because she’s diabetic. And she’s skinny with a thin, coarse coat. And she’s a senior (10 years old). And she’s plain black. So her chances of being noticed and chosen by adopters is basically zero. But she’s such a loving, trusting cat. She went into foster care. At last report, she had a sore right hind leg which is being treated with antibiotics and Metacam. Her foster mom is experienced with special-needs cats and she’s already in love with old Louisa.
Tasha (mentioned April 20) is doing quite well after her seizure episodes. She can see, although her vision isn’t perfect. She’s on seizure medication which seems to be working. That rules out the posibility of a brain tumour. She probably has epilepsy.
Maxie (mentioned May 12) had surgery for her thyroid tumour. It was risky surgery for a skinny, older girl. However, the tumour was so large that it just had to be removed. Her surgery was done on June 7 and she came through it very well. Her thyroid meds have been reduced. Now we monitor her for any adverse reaction and to ensure that the incision site at her throat heals fine.
We’ve had to say goodbye to Dexter (mentioned Nov 22/10). At 16 years old, he had grown thin and frail. Yet he was still active with a good appetite. Lately though, he seemed under the weather and we took him to the vet. In the end, his time had come. His body basically wore out. A volunteer was with him and cradled him while the vet helped him pass, as is our custom with animals we must let go. He slipped away peacefully.
Nub (mentioned April 6/11) settled in beautifully at the shelter and rules the common areas. We haven’t assigned her to a communal room. We allow her the larger living space of the common areas since she’ll probably be a permanent resident. However, her incontinence problem doesn’t seem nearly as bad as feared. We don’t really see much evidence of a problem at all. She’s a lively, spunky old girl. One day, a cocky young cat with attitude darted out of his communal room when the door was opened. Nub gets along with other animals she’s encountered, but she lit into this guy and gave him a trouncing. He couldn’t wait to get back into his communal room and escape from our tiny, elderly Nub!
Masumi’s (mentioned March 23) septum has been scabbing up a lot and it seems to bother her at times, especially when she sneezes her scab off. She has a vet checkup scheduled. She and her BFF, Zenith, are almost connected at the hip. Still, Foster Mom must sometimes break them up (they’re both feisty little girls!). Zenith is on heart-strengthening medications in the morning and diuretics every eight hours. She’s as curious and lively as a ten-month-old kitten should be, but sometimes Foster Mom has to slow her down so her breathing slows to a more manageable pace. She’s the smallest in the house but she doesn’t take bullying from anyone. She bops the big boys on the forehead if they come near her treats or toys! Foster Mom says, “I love it when I am scratching her cheek and she closes her eyes, pushes her head into my hand, and holds my hand to her cheek with her paw, purring loudly all the while.”
Poor Stitch (last mentioned Dec 16/10) is impacted again. She had been doing so well for so long she was even off her meds. The vet will get her right again and she’ll probably have to resume her meds.
On a sad note, we’ve had to say good bye to Neesa (last mentioned Dec 3/10). This poor little Siamese has weathered a variety of physical problems but had been doing very well for the last several months on a raw food diet. Recently she went off her food and seemed under the weather so we took her to the vet who determined that her frailties finally caught up with her. She had been purring and contented with good appetite right up until Thursday the 9th. Our vet has seen Neesa through many other challenges but felt that she had reached the end of her road this time.
We welcomed a very special girl in Ell (Eight Lives Left). She was found, thought to be deceased by the side of the road. However, when the kind officer picked her up, he thought he felt a faint heartbeat. Ell was rushed to the vet where after careful treatment, she perked up within hours, even though she had a broken hip and suffered from pyometra. After surviving against the odds, she tested positive for Feline Lukemia and unfortunately, the shelter that had provided extraordinary care for her, didnt have the facilities for FeLV+ cats and wee Ell came to us. She is exceptionally sweet! We are going to have her re-tested in a month but in the the meantime, she is enjoying snuggles from the volunteers.
We are delighted to report that wee Ell was re-tested negative! She has also since been adopted along with Cat King Cole, another cat given new opportunity once the definitive DNA test was run.
More good news in our pretty girl Cashmere, who is prone to seizures, has also gone into a real home as a permanent foster with a former adopter. There are a few adjustment bumps, however, we are hopeful, and her new human is committed.