Saturday, April 18, 2015

P is for Princess

Well folks, this post just got a lot harder to write.

Those of you who have been following me for a while probably know that my sweet kitty Princess was diagnosed with pretty significant kidney disease back in November.

Princess with her beautiful blue eyes
Yes, they're crossed, but no less beautiful!
At the time the vet also found a heart murmur, but we weren't sure whether it meant heart disease or not.

Anyhow, Princess has been doing fabulously - she's been eating well and gained back almost all of the weight she'd lost.

But in the past day or two I started to notice that she just didn't seem like herself. Yesterday her breathing was really fast, and seemed a bit labored, so I took her in. An x-ray confirmed that her heart is enlarged and she's got fluid in her lungs. Heavy sigh.

I'm not entirely sure how this is gonna pan out. It's complicated because the treatment for heart problems (which involves giving a diuretic) makes kidney disease worse, and likewise, the fluids that help kidney cats do better make the heart problem worse.

At the moment we're taking her off the fluids and putting her on a diuretic and some blood pressure medication. It's been about 24 hours and her breathing is back to normal, so I'm hopeful that she'll be OK - at least in the short term. It's sorta doubtful that there's much of a long term to worry about at this point.

Princey-Pea enjoying a sunbeam

I have such mixed feelings about all of this.

I mean, to be completely honest, I never in my wildest dreams expected her to make it this long.

Princess first appeared in my life back in the fall of 2010 when my neighbor asked me if I knew that there was a cat living under the pine tree in my front yard. I'm not sure where she came from - there was a woman down the street who used to feed a colony of feral cats, and I'm guessing that she was attracted by the free food.

But the lady either died or had gone to a nursing home, and the cats all dispersed - so Princess ended up under my tree - that's my theory anyhow. I don't think she was truly feral in the sense of never having had human contact, but she wouldn't let me touch her or get closer than about 10 feet.

This picture was taken from inside because she
wouldn't let me get close enough outside.
She looks huge, but that's because she was totally
covered with mats that were about 2 inches thick.

But there was no way I was gonna let a cat starve to death in my front yard, so I brought her food and water and gradually got her to trust me. That winter was long and cold, and I thought for sure that she was gonna freeze to death. I spent the entire winter coming up with crazy contraptions to help keep her warm, and every morning I would hold my breath when I'd go out to feed her, sure I'd find her frozen little body under there.

But Princess was tougher than she looked, and by springtime I finally was able to get her to trust me enough to bring her inside. I took her to the vet for a checkup, and from her teeth it was clear that she was not a young cat. But miraculously she tested negative for FIV and FeLV, so I got to keep her.

Princess looking a bit shell-shocked a day or two after coming inside. You can't really see from
this picture, but her whole body had to be shaved to get the mats off.

But then, little Princes either had some reaction to the rabies vaccine or was just totally stressed out by her new environment, and she had several major seizures. I thought for sure she was a gonner, but she managed to pull through.

Then when she was diagnosed with kidney disease I figured it was all over but the shouting, but with a few changes to her diet and feeding routine, along with fluid therapy and some supplements, she was doing great. In fact her bloodwork yesterday showed that her kidney function hasn't deteriorated at all since she was diagnosed, and the vet said her right kidney feels completely normal.

Stealin' Jasper's spot looking out the back door

So here we are. Things look fairly dire, but you know, things have looked dire for her many times before, so I'm not gonna count her out until she gives me a pretty clear message that she's done. The vet says we should know in a few days whether the diuretics are helping or not, so for the moment it's just a wait and see game. But the fact that her breathing has returned to normal seems like a good sign.

In the meantime I'm just gonna spoil her as much as I can. She's getting all of her favorite foods and treats - I'm not worrying about ideal kidney diets for the moment, just trying to make her as happy as possible. And she's also getting as much lap time and snuggles as she wants - oh yeah... that means she gets to sleep under the covers with me even if it means I won't sleep a wink.


I feel very sad at the prospect of losing her, but at the same time, I'm so utterly grateful that I got to have 4 and a half wonderful years with her. I mean, I didn't think I'd ever get to even touch her, let alone cuddle her under the covers! All along my goal was just to make her happy and give her as much of a life as I could, and however this turns out, I think we've succeeded in that.

Anyhow, here's a little video that I took of her a few weeks ago doin' her marchey dance. The voice singing is her, BTW, not me! :-)

27 comments :

  1. She is such a cute cat! I hope she will survive this and live many more years. So hard to have to say good bye to those pets we loved no matter how many years they were part of our lives.

    betty

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    1. Thanks Betty. Anyone who would choose to live in a home they didn't particularly like for the sake of a beloved elderly pet... well, I know you understand. :-)

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  2. Oh, this is so hard. There's not much to say except I'm glad that her breathing is back to normal. It's so hard to see them suffer. I know you will do whatever to continue to give her the best life you can.Who knows? She's a fighter. She may hang around for a while longer.

    I had two cats to the vet this week who have lost a lot of weight. So far, the tests are good news in that one of them has thyroid disease that can be treated. As you know it's usually failing kidneys in cats that start the weight loss. They are both 15 years old (litter mates) and I know that I am very lucky to have had them this long.

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    1. It's so hard when you get to this stage in their little lives isn't it? I'm so glad that at least one of your kitties has something easily treatable. Maybe the other is just suffering from sympathetic thyroid disease? :-)

      Anyhow, I think little Princess is probably on life number 8.5 here, but at the moment she sure seems back to her regular spunky self. Even swatted me in the kitchen to be sure I wasn't gonna forget her breakfast! :-)

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  3. Beautiful Princess, please get well.
    I am so sorry, it is so hard when our kitties are sick.One day at a time and you are right about all the bonus years you had with her, I hope you get to spend more time with her.
    Marieann

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    1. Thanks Marieann, She's certainly a little trooper and I sorta figure every day with her is a blessing.

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  4. I can't believe such a beautiful kitty was abandoned outside. No kitty should be abandoned, but Princess looks like a show cat. I like the cross eyes, that is a trait of the Siamese. I will pray that the meds help her to have a lot more time with you.

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    1. I know, it just boggles my mind - how did she end up out there fending for herself? I wish they could talk, or at least dictate, so she could tell me her story!

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  5. A sweet kitty. I'm glad that she found your yard to wander in to, back then. You've given her a good life and home.

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    1. Thanks Lili, I'm pretty sure there's a neon sign hanging over my house, one visible only to felines, which reads "the sucker lives here!"

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  6. She looks like a princess! Enjoy her!

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    1. She is indeed a princess - probably the most accurately named cat ever! :-)

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  7. Fingers crossed for Princess! I know she's getting the best care and love. Our animal friends are such a privilege to have in our lives. Your video was cute - Princess has a nice singing voice.

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    1. Glad you liked the video. Princess has a lot more songs in her repertoire, but I don't know if she'll get around to recording them or not. And getting to have her in my life is indeed a privilege!

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  8. So sorry she isn't doing well. Hoping for the best.

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    1. Thanks Sue, Part of me thinks it's all a plot to get me to feed her kitty junk food - and I have to say it's working marvelously! :-)

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  9. Sorry Princess is having so many health issues. You never know how things will turn out. I lost my sweet Dixie, my 16 year old cat, back in November, after several years of various health problems. However, my 11 1/2 year old dog Ginny was in decline at the same time but she's still with me as I made some drastic changes to her diet (after the vet said it shouldn't make a difference). Our 4 legged friends are so special - glad you and Princess have one another.

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    1. Thanks Cherie, Given everything that Princess has faced in her life, I sorta think it's a miracle she's doing as well as she is. I mean, if she gets to die safe and warm and loved - I think I have to count that as a win.

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  10. What a beautiful cat! I can so relate to your feelings. You don't want her to suffer, but not ready to let her go. I hope everything works out for the best.

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    1. Thanks so much. I figure she'll let me know when it's time to go. Sigh.

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  11. Sniff. What a beautiful story. I'm really touched.

    I wish all the best for Princess!

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    1. Thanks for the well wishes. It's so hard to give your heart fully to a little animal, knowing full well you'll have to bury them one day.

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  12. I don't know what to say, Princess was doing so well. I hope she improves. She was lucky to have decided to pick your front yard to live in not everyone would have gone to the extremes you did to save her.

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    1. Well, she chose the right tree, that's for sure! She actually seems to be doing great at the moment. She's eating like a horse and totally thrilled that mommy's letting her have all the junk food she wants. She was even climbing on the kitty tree tonight. I guess I just have to keep my fingers crossed and hope she continues to amaze us all!

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  13. Beautiful girl. So sorry to hear about Princess. How lucky that you found each other, she needing to be adored and you the perfect person to adore her!

    I really hate CRF and heart disease. We've dealt with both. Alex had kidney disease that eventually was hard on his heart, and Mikko had heart disease that eventually was too much for the kidneys too. It's amazing what they can do with drugs though and a good sign that her kidney values are holding steady. Thinking of you both!

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    1. It does totally suck doesn't it? But she's doin' great at the moment, so hopefully that bodes well. I have to decide if it's worth hauling her to a cardiologist to get her on some more specific heart medication or not. I guess we'll see how she does over the next few days.

      Thanks so much for your well wishes.

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  14. I'm so sorry to hear about her health issues. I hate it when pets get sick. Hopefully the good blood work was a good sign. I hope her next check-up brings good news. I'm glad she seems to be feeling better and that you're spoiling her. I do think there's a point when you just need to give them the treats and food they want whether or not it's technically good for them.

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