A couple of weeks ago, Sagwa came down with something. Lethargic, loss of appetite, loose stool. I gave him fluids and made sure he was comfortable and in two or three days, he was back to normal, but I was worried about him. Usually, I wait three days before heading to the vet because a lot of these little things are like us having a cold or the flu.
Then it was Lorelei's turn. She didn't show the exact same symptoms as Saggers, but she was definitely under the weather. She spent most of her time outside, where it was cooler than in the house. And she slept a lot.
Then last Sunday (November 27), it hit Bernie. And it hit her hard. The first indication was she didn't finish her breakfast. Monday, she ate even less and she had explosive, watery, poop. Hardly any color to it at all. Very scary. Tuesday, she didn't eat hardly anything. She wandered from water bowl to water bowl, not drinking. Tuesday, she learned the cat door. After all these months, she learned the cat door. She went outside and would try to drink from the fountain and a tub that Brian uses when he cools off welds. We'd had an inch and a half of rain over the weekend and I'm sure that water wasn't decent. I had to start blocking the cat doors. She couldn't wander around at will, for one thing, the pool was a concern because she was so very weak. After dealing with an overnight of blocked cat doors and cats who wanted in or out, I asked Brian to get the dog crates down and I'd set up the kitty pokey. (He asked me today why I called it "the pokey" and I said because it was kind of like a jail.)
My first thoughts went to kidney failure. Dehydration. I gave her 30cc of lactated ringers (subcutaneous fluids). Usually, an adult cat can take 120cc, but she's so tiny. I syringed A/D into her mouth. I called the vet's office on Wednesday to see if there was anything I could give her. Loperamide (like imodium) was given to me and I bought metronidazole and a case of A/D. I had to use a credit card because sales have just sucked the past three months (they've since picked up). And I was told I could give her 60cc of fluids (based on a weight of three pounds...she's tiny).
The first night in the pokey went well, until I didn't completely close the bottom door Thursday morning when I checked on her at five. I found her outside on a blanket. The temperature was in the mid forties. She's skin and bones. Luckily, it wasn't for more than a half hour or so. But I vowed to not make that mistake again.
While her stools got better over the next three days, what I would consider normal stools, she became more lethargic. She wouldn't purr. She walked drunk (typical of kidney failure).
I googled metronidazole side effects in cats on Friday morning after the final dose of loperamide was given and with four days worth of metronidazole to go.
Side Effects of Metronidazole
- Neurological disorders
- Loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Dry mouth (licking or pawing at the mouth)
- Drop in white blood cell count (neutropenia)
- Liver failure (hepatoxicity)
- Bloody urine (hematuria)
- Toxicity in Metronidazole
That was her last dose of metronidazole. She obviously wasn't a candidate for this med.
Over the weekend, we watched for signs of improvement, but if there were any, they were so slight we didn't notice them. Yesterday, she wouldn't even purr. We discussed our options. Or her options. I would keep doing what I was doing as long as I thought she'd get better. But it was taking a toll on both of us. Friday and Saturday night, I took a sleep aid so I would finally get some sleep. They worked. Even after I got up to pee a couple of times (and checked on her), I fell right back to sleep. And when I'd go back to bed, Brian was always awake. "How is she doing?" he'd ask.
So, last night we made the decision. If there wasn't marked improvement this morning, we wouldn't drag it out. And she wasn't better. She had eaten some of the food in the pokey during the night. And she peed and pooped, but didn't make it to the litterbox level. She went on the blanket where she slept. I let her out to walk around, even followed her into the garage and let her go outside. She pooped (a nicely formed one) and walked around the side of house. I brought her back inside when she couldn't hold steady to drink out of the fountain.
He sat with her for a while on the sofa, actually getting her to purr. Then I held her while he took his shower. She purred for me. It was a really sad time. I held her against me and she was just too thin.
So, he gets dressed, I'm dressed, he gets the cat carrier, puts in a clean towel, puts her in, then we go out to the car. Our regular vet's office was closed today, so we headed the another one that we use for emergencies. There was roadwork and he turned right to avoid the roadwork. He realized he wasn't on the right road, but we stayed on it.
Then she cried. And she cried again. We looked at each other. I said "we don't have to do this". He said "are you okay with doing what you've been doing?" Yeah. Yeah, I am. I'm tired, but if it's not her time, it's not her time.
We get to the next intersection and he makes a left turn.
We're going home. With Bernadette.
Amazingly, not long after we were home and I'd given her fluids, I looked at her face. Her eyes were clearer than they'd been in days. She ended up on the loveseat next to Rory and she stayed there for hours, sleeping more deeply than she had in over a week. A couple of times when she got up and was restless, I'd put her in the pokey, where she had food and water. She drank. She ate.
This evening, she was on the bottom floor. I let her out. She went into the garage, then came back in. And jumped up onto the loveseat. And she's asleep again.
And we're hoping for continued improvement. She's not out of the woods yet, we know that. But if she can keep eating and drinking, I think she'll be okay.
And life can get back to normal.