On February 23, I wrote this in my Wednesday Scramble:
On Friday, Feb. 11th, the kitten we adopted from the animal shelter about three weeks earlier became very ill. We've been through a very scary time with Katie, putting her through multiple visits to the vet and some tests way too tough for a cute little kitten less than six months old. It's been hard on her because she was suffering so much, and hard on us because we were so afraid we were going to lose her.
Katie is a trooper, though, and she has an astounding desire to get better and stick around to humor her humans. Since Sunday, she has been making daily improvements. It's enough of a heart breaker to almost lose a pet (and if feels as though she's been here forever instead of a mere six weeks), but to see her try so hard to get better and regain control of her people brings tears to my eyes.
I'm happy to say that Katie is improving. Our wonderful vet considers her illness a mystery and a challenge, and he even calls us to check on her and discuss what we should do next. To his credit, he has even told us the next step, if she were to get worse again, would be to pull in the well-known Colorado State University Veterinarian Hospital team to apply their diagnostic expertise to her case.
This evening, however, Katie is even better. She not only ate her own meal, she conned me out of a few bites of my baked chicken. And then she wanted to play.
So keep your fingers crossed for Katie. She's a keeper (and she seems to think we're keepers, too).
As it turns out, we did take the kitten to the CSU Veterinary Hospital for some tests. We've been working with a wonderful veterinarian there who is so involved in Katie's progress that she gave me an e-mail address so I could send regular updates. Katie was diagnosed with a mega-esophagus and a possible hiatal hernia, and we've been treating her with medications and a special feeding regimen that requires her to eat like this:
After feeding the kitten, husband Bill or I must keep Katie in as vertical a position as possible for about thirty minutes. When she was sickly and sleeping a lot, she was docile and easygoing about being held. As she became healthier and the pain went away, she became more feisty and began to resist the forced holding period.
All within a thirty-minute period, she glares:
enjoys herself (note the position of her paws):
or demands to be put down right now:
Most of the time these days she feels really good, plays energetically, and eats like a little pig. Tomorrow she goes back to the CSU Veterinary Hospital for more tests. We still don't know whether the mega-esophagus can ever resolve itself, or if a possible hernia is repairable, but we sure are learning a lot about cat anatomy during this process.