23 January 2011


I'm somewhat upset at myself for not getting any art done, not writing sooner, and not doing much of anything except worry about Maggie.  That's basically what I've done since my last posting.  Now I said 'somewhat upset' because there's a part of me that could care less about anything else except Maggie.  So, since I have no art to write about, I'll write about Maggie.

I adopted Maggie on Oct 13, 2010 from the San Bernardino County Animal Shelter.  I actually adopted Maggie, a blue Persian, and her sister Maya, a black Persian.  Both girls were in horrible shape.  For starters, they were emaciated.  Not thin, not scrawny -- emaciated!  They looked like cats who had survived Auschwitz.  Maggie weighed 3.5 lbs and Maya 3.25 lbs.  I honestly don't know how they could walk as they had almost no muscle left.  They both had been shaved by a 5-year old, or so it looked.  In spots, whoever had shaved into the skin and down to the bone of their tails.  And to top it off, both had an upper respiratory infection (URI).  These two girls had been used in a backyard breeding operation and when they could no longer produce kittens, they were tossed over some one's fence as garbage.

Since neither was spayed, the shelter sent them to a vet for spaying, despite my concerns about their health.  The spaying went okay, but both had infected uterus' and Maya's had begun to rupture.  I brought them home not knowing whether either one would survive the night. 

With snotty noses and huge amounts of antibiotics, neither one would eat and both had diarrhea.  This meant I had to force feed both of them, which I did.  After about 2 weeks, they were perking up and were exploring the house at times.  Both were super affectionate and loved nothing more than to sit on me and be scratched.

The one Friday, Maya looked off.  Her tummy was swollen.  I took her to a local vet who thought she may have rupture an internal suture.  He did emergency surgery and found that the ruptured uterus has caused massive damage to her kidneys and urethra.  As there was no hope, she was put to sleep then and there.

Maggie was lost without her sister.  I was lost too.  But I was also determined not to lose Maggie, so I carried on the best I could.  She was still being syringe fed.  She was moved into the bedroom to sleep with me at night.  And I spent as much time as I could with her.

About a week later, she developed conjunctivitis.  This led to ulcers on both eyes.  As the cause was probably herpes, I started her on antiviral eye drops at $140 a bottle.  Then one Sunday morning, I walked into the bedroom and the right side of her face was wet.  And she was in pain.  It hit me like a punch in the stomach -- her right eye had ruptured.  After a few calls, I found an emergency vet clinic and drove her there.  The vet was wonderful, but very concerned about her weight -- 4.2 lbs.  To me it was great, because it was up!  So after a number of tests and with lots of extra warnings to me, he removed the eye. 

After she came home on Monday, I called and made an appointment with an eye-specialist vet.  The bad news was the left was deeply ulcered and she estimated we had a 50-50 chance of it rupturing.  Well, 10 days later, on a Saturday night, it rupture.  This time I drove like a maniac for 2 hours to get to their emergency eye vet clinic for a graft on the eye.  I've had blind cats before, but Maggie deserved a shot at sight and happiness.  (Okay, this is me projecting onto her, but so what?)

She came home and was doing well, and even adjusted to life in a plastic cone.  There had been a chance that the retina was detached, but it became obvious that she had sight.  And then deja vu.  On the day before an appointment with the eye vet, Maggie started to act  like she was in pain.  Then there was a lot of fluid from her eye.  The bottom line was the graft had perforated for some reason -- probably because the blood supply didn't penetrate it fast enough.  So, we were back to the question of blind cat or another graft.  The eye vet worked with us on the money side, so we went for a second graft.

When she came home with her new graft, she was basically blind.  The vet had sewn part of her eyelid shut to help support the graft.  She had tons of mucous in the eye.  She was in pain.  She also needed various eye drops about 15 times a day.  Plus she had to keep wearing that cone.  The end result is Maggie got depressed, very depressed.  If she was human, she would have killed her self.  You could just see the spark of life draining out of her.  My vet, who does alternative medicine at times, estimated Maggie's life force at 30% or less.  Maggie was giving up and didn't care if she lived or died.  But I cared!!!  I wanted her to live so I could spoil her.  The only thing I knew to do was try Bach Flower essences.  They don't make any rational sense, but I have used them before on depressed cats with success, so I tried them on Maggie. 

And they worked!  A few days after beginning to use them, Maggie perked up.

Since then, Maggie has gained weight -- all the way to 5 lbs 2 oz.  She tiny and I don't know how much she'll ever weigh.  She still won't eat on her own, but she will eat chunks of raw beef.  She grooms herself.  Her coat is slowly growing back in.  She plays with balls and mice like there is no tomorrow.  She even bops all the other cats and dogs, because she is the queen of the house.  And best of all, she can see -- the second graft is healing well and we are down to only 3 eye drops per day.

Unfortunately, she still has minor problems.  For example, she was eating a lot for a while because her system wasn't processing it well.  Once her digestion became more effective, it slowed down.  She kept eating and ended up get backed-up to the point of vomiting.  We have now settled on the amount of food she needs to slowly gain weight without digestive problems.

But every time she has a minor problem, I panic.  I go into 24hr worry mode.  I know it's not healthy or productive, but it's hard not to obsess over her.  She is such a joy in my life!  She has also made me seriously question the importance of a lot of things in my life and even what I want to do with my life.

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