What I left out of my previous post is that, in addition to the ointment, the cat was also getting prednisone each evening to help reduce the itching. As last week progressed, he continued to be an itchy uncomfortable mess. Wednesday evening, after I dosed him, he was dopey from the prednisone but also so miserable that he was skulking around the house with his head hanging down. We initially thought that it was because when he lifted his head up, his neck folds meant the fur from his shaved area was starting to grow in and irritate his raw skin. E arranged to take Thursday off from work so she could take him back to the vet.
Thursday morning he was beyond miserable, just lying on the floor and crying. When E got him to the vet, their initial thought was that he was in kidney failure; evidently cats walking around with their heads hanging down is an incredibly bad sign. And he’d lost an entire pound since his last visit 5 days earlier. At that point, I left work to meet E at the vet, and arrived just after test results showed it wasn’t kidney failure (hallelujah!), but his potassium levels were dangerously low, probably from the prednisone, and he needed to go to the animal hospital to be admitted.
So we headed over the to animal hospital. By now the cat was such a miserable little lump of fur in his carrier that when the receptionist peered into the carrier, she asked if he was a bunny.
They took him back and got an IV going while we gave the vet his complete medical history. (Comic relief moment: the vet saying, “So aside from the asthma, the constipation, and the heart murmur, he’s healthy?”) We discussed tests they would run and treatment plan. And then we got to see him before we left. He was absolutely pathetic, clearly wanted to come home with us, and yet so weak that all he could do was sort of flop forward in the cage and sag over the edge of the litter tray.
My son had been born prematurely enough that he spent the first 19 days of his life in the NICU. So I’m not a stranger to how heart-breaking it is to love someone who is tiny and completely helpless, and have to walk out and leave him behind overnight in the care of medical staff. And yet, in some ways it was harder to walk out and leave the cat than it had been to leave my son each night, because the cat had been abandoned and seriously abused before E adopted him, so he’s already got mental trauma from that, and we really didn’t want him thinking we were abandoning him too.
Thursday night, late, we got the call that he was doing well enough after IV supplementation they were going to try him on solid food. By Friday morning, the report was that he was eating very well and that a whole array of tests hadn’t shown any new reason for his problems. Friday evening he was able to come home, and we were all so glad of it!
Saturday he was maybe 75% of his usual self, and did a lot of sleeping. We have a potassium supplement that we need to give him for a month; it’s basically a goo that smells of maple, and he’s not all that fond of it, so trying to get it into him now means that our whole house smells a bit like maple. Whatever. We have him home, and although he’s used up another of his 9 lives, our beloved squawky little bugger is now squawking at the door, trying to convince me to take him out despite the fact it’s freezing weather and he has multiple shaved patches on his body, due to his initial neck problem and being shaved for tests. Sorry bud, you have to stay inside and take it easy a little longer. At least until the fleece hoodie we ordered for you arrives.