Friday, August 24, 2007

The Cat Saga Continues

I never intended this to be a cat blog and I swear it isn't but that seems to be my life lately. If you must know I will be traveling again in September - details not yet worked out - and it is my priority to make sure the cats all have all their shots and thorough checkups before I leave which has put a dent in my pocketbook and frankly been a real pain since none of them cares for vet visits.

So anyway, I told you before about little Phoebe, the 15 month old baby of the family. I love them all so much but Phoebe really has stolen my heart. I've also told you about her waking me up in the middle of the night by tapping my mouth/nose so I will pet her/talk to her/let her under the covers. In the past couple of weeks she has a new trick. I've even tested it to make sure she is really doing it. When my alarm goes off in the morning I usually hit the snooze. Now, when the alarm goes off if I don't get up right away she is on the bed within a minute of the alarm patting my nose to wake me up! It isn't because she wants to be fed because they have a food dispenser and can eat anytime they want. She also doesn't do it on the weekends when the alarm doesn't go off. This is now her job and she takes it very seriously.

I also posted about 3 weeks ago that Phoebe has this strange thing called patellar luxation, which means her right kneecap slides out of the groove it is supposed to ride in. It also slips back in and my hope was that she would grow out of it/learn to adjust. 3 weeks ago Dr. A sent us home with prednisone for the inflammation and told me I would see great improvement in 2 weeks. Wednesday it was 3 weeks and she was still limping and my instinct was there was something in addition to the patellar luxation. I did know that was a true problem because my vet put my hand on her knee and then manipulated it so I could feel it happening. But my baby girl was still gimpy and so I took her back yesterday.

I didn't know if Phoebe had eaten so they had to induce vomiting, which was so hard to deal with as a mommy. Then they gave her anesthesia so they could get an x-ray and while it was developing they brought her back into the exam room where I was waiting. She was totally sedated but awake so her eyes were open and her mouth was slightly open but she was limp. It was so hard. At one point I thought she wasn't breathing and I was about to yell for the doctor when she just barely flicked the end of her tail!

So the thing is, in addition to the knee thing she also has a ruptured cruciate ligament. In humans this is a torn ACL. See I just KNEW there was something else. Always go with your gut instinct.

Phoebe will go in for surgery first thing Monday morning. They will have to drill a hole in her femur or tibia or one of those bones and insert an artificial ligament and tie it to all the other stuff and probably deepen the groove so her kneecap won't pop out. She will have to be in the hospital for 2 nights and I can pick her up Wednesday. So I expect I will oversleep Tuesday and Wednesday since my feline waker-upper won't be around. When she comes home she will have a splint on the leg and will need round the clock care. So lucky I can work from home. Splint off in a week, then gradual rehab. I know I won't fly until at least Sept 15 and my hope is it might be slightly after this so I can make sure she is literally back on all four feet.

This is not going to be cheap but it will be worth every penny to insure she has a good quality of life - and she is very young so she has a long life ahead of her. In fact, I could round-trip all four cats to South America for what this is going to cost. But this is why I keep my credit cards at a minimum of a balance. I once (about 16 years ago) had to have a pet put to sleep because I could not afford a surgery that would keep him alive and I still live with the guilt. Now I take very seriously this responsibility and won't go into it casually. I would love to live in a house where I stumble over cats but it's more important to me to adopt from shelters as I am able to provide a good home and the care that an 18 to 20 year relationship might require.

Vets are highly educated and trained and it ain't cheap. I can walk into a human doctor and describe my symptoms with big graduate school words in detail but vets have to understand a different language or no language at all and when you find one who can and does you have found a true gem. Never ever assume because a doctor administers to animals they should be cheap. When I see an hear about kittens left by dumpsters (2 of my 4 were found this way as 4 and 6 weeks old kittens - barely weaned and one other was just abandoned and found wandering on a highway - my Sonny who has been a joy to me for 16 years)) I get so angry that there are people who allow their pets to procreate. Guess it's mucjh cheaper to dump a litter of kittens than to spay or neuter. I know for every one of my four there are untold thousands and millions of pets who have as much potential as my Phoebe to be smart, funny, beautiful companions. Mine are all unwanted throwaways and I swear you wouldn't find more wonderful loving gorgeous cats anywhere. Love is the secret. Love makes beauty from trash.

Y'all send out good thoughts for my sweet smart little girl. I love her so much. I'll keep you posted!

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