15 April 2006

Emily's Birthday!!!

(Be warned: This entry has nothing to do with art -- it's about one of my cats.)

Today, 15 April, is Emily's birthday. Yah!!!

Emily is one of my cats. She's a long-haired Persian cross and we adopted her from an animal shelter 16 years ago. And as somewhat fitting her age, she's also known as "The Cranky Old Lady" because she hates my other cats. Even when two of my cats were 5 weeks old, she hissed and spat and acted like they were an imminent threat to her life. So much for maternal instinct!

She and I have been thru a lot. She nearly died from FUS twice, while on special cat food from the vet. This was when she was 3 and 5 years old.

And then she used up a couple more lives when her liver shut down at age 7. She stopped eating and then became jaundiced. I took her to a vet who then said she had fatty liver disease and that I should put her down because it was hopeless. (The vet also suggested that if I didn't want to put her down that I should have her vacinated for several cat diseases.) I told the vet I wasn't going to accept that prognosis. So, I called and took her to 4 more vets -- all with the same diagnosis and prognosis. Finally, I took her to the local university vet hospital where they said there was about a 10% chance of her living, but it would be a good teaching case so they would go ahead and treat her. Treatment included putting a feeding tube in her stomach and instructing me to squirt this special food into it. At that time I had another cat who would eat anything. He absolutely refused to touch this special food, so I had my doubts about it. I tried following their plan, but it wasn't working. Emily continued to lose weight (got down to 4lb 8 oz) and seemed more lethargic. I was desperate. I found a magazine on natural cat care with an ad for a homeopathic vet who did phone consultations. I called him and we started to working together. He had me force feed her by mouth raw turkey and also sent me some homeopathic medicine. After a few days, I saw improvement. I then took her back to the vet school to have the stomach tube removed. At first they refused, but finally after a heated exchange with the director, the tube was removed. One vet said I just killed her. Well, I continued to force feed and after a while (about 2 weeks), she would eat it off my finger. Then off my hand. And finally after about a month, she would eat off a plate.

Today, 9 years after this episode, she's healthy and happy. (Okay, she'd be happier if I sent The Boys to North Dakota, but other than that,...) Her latest bloodwork was perfect. She has no arthritis, no bad teeth, and a magnificent coat. People can't believe she's 16!

But Emily taught me several important things:
  1. Cats thrive on a raw meat diet. Since this liver stuff, Emily has had nothing but raw meat (mixed with vitamins and vegies). So much for the idea that raw meat will kill a cat.
  2. Many vets are more interested in their ideas and income than in helping the pet. When I took Emily back to the vet school after 6 months, the vet couldn't believe it was Emily, but the moment I said anything about raw meat, she refused to listen to anything and said I was going to kill her. I would have thought the vet would have been interested in what I was feeding her. (Silly me!)
  3. Homeopathic medicine does work. I know that it can't rationally work, but after seeing what it did for Emily (and later instances with my boys), I know it works. It's also a lot easier on the animal -- one doesn't need a drug to counteract another drug's side effects.
  4. And most importantly, one needs to love those around you while they are still here.

So, today, she's gets a real treat for supper -- grilled salmon! (I'd feed it to her raw, but I'm planning on having the rest of the fish myself.)

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