A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Kitten is Dying

My longterm readers will remember the story of the kitten I found abandoned in a trash can inside an apartment building. The poor thing was at death`s door; blinded by an eye infection, seriously undersized and malnourished, and badly dehydrated. I gave the poor thing to my mother, who nursed her back to health and has given her a good home ever since. I have sad news to report-little Annabelle is dying.

She had always seemed underweight and too small, although the veterinarian hadn`t been overly concerned when my mother took her in for check-ups, so we all believed she was just small for her age. She hadn`t been an overly active cat, either, but nobody thought anything of that; we just assumed she had a more passive temperament.

When St. Louis was hit by that storm in August with hurricane winds and most of the metropolitan area lost power, Annabelle went into a funk. My parents were going on vacation, so they dropped her by our house for a week, which did not sit well with the poor cat at all, and she seemed to become depressed. (That she had recently been spade made us suspect a hormonal problem.) My mother worried that she was suffering from clinical depression, since she stopped wanting to go outside (my mother would let her sit in the yard occasionally) and just moped around the house.

Last week, the moping turned into complete lethargy, then Annabelle stopped eating and started hiding. My mother took her to her regular vet, who couldn`t see anything wrong so gave her some vitamins and sent them on their way. I told my mother to take her to my vet, who is very good, so she made an appointment for Monday.

It turns out that Annabelle has Feline Leukemia. Blood tests confirmed the diagnosis, and the vet gives her a month (at most) to live. He says she isn`t in pain, so my mother is not going to put her down just yet, but it seems fairly certain poor little Annabelle won`t make it.

My mother is absolutely heartbroken; she loved that cat dearly. (I`m pretty broken up myself because I saved the poor little thing from death when she was just a few weeks old, and never dreamed she would die after just a year and a half.) We are hoping against hope that some kind of miracle will occur, and she will go into remission-I`ve read that there is a slim possibility of that occuring, although I`m not going to hold my breath.

I had never heard of feline leukemia until yesterday, and the scant research I was able to conduct didn`t tell me a WHOLE lot; it is not just a cancer, as in humans, but is caused by a virus similar to HIV (although there is a feline Immuno Virus as well) and is passed from cat to cat via saliva. Outside cats tend to pick it up from strays or other outdoor cats carrying the infection. Kittens can get it from their mothers (which, I suspect, is how Annabelle got hers) and it can remain dormant for months or years. It is not communicable through any other vector than cats, and the virus dies very quickly outside of a cat, so the infection will not linger in a house.

I`m frightened; we watched that cat for a week at a time both last year and this, and my cats were both in contact with Annabelle. She pretty much kept to herself this last visit, but she had taken a shine to Blackberry on her first stay, and they had done lots of friendly biting and licking. I`m fairly certain both of my boys have been immunized, but I`m still worried; once infected, there isn`t a thing that can be done. I`m going to call the doctor today.

The symptoms of Feline Leukemia are lethargy, depression, infections-especially eye and mouth, weight loss, etc. Annabelle had a number of these, but we never DREAMED she was this sick!

If any of you, my wise and loyal friends, know more about this illness, I would appreciate a comment or two. Is all hope truly lost, or is there a slim chance at a remission? The doctor didn`t offer any hope, but I have learned that doctors are not God, and sometimes are wrong.

Prayers would be appreciated as well-especially for my mother, who is taking this very hard.

Anyway, I hope I haven`t ruined your day. I needed to talk about it; I love that little kitten, too!



Blogger BobG said...

How sad. I'm praying for you all.

6:44 AM  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Thanks, Bob.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Al said...

Thanks for the information Tim. I knew even less than you do. I do know that poisoning has many of the same symptoms and lost a favorite to that last year.
Al of Alnot

3:20 PM  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Thank you too, Al.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Brooke said...

I'm so sorry for both you and your mother. It is difficult to loose a pet under any circumstances.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Aussiegirl said...

Oh,you're breaking my heart. My prayers to your dear mom and the little kittie. I know how heartbroken she is. We lost our bevloved cat a few years ago and it nearly killed me. We went out right away and got two strays from the pound. It helped the grieving, and we saved two cats from sure death. Oddly enough, both cats had also lost their owners to death -- so we all grieved our loss together as we got to know one another. I hope Annabelle makes it, but if she doesn't -- she had a beautiful year and a half of life and love and comfort that she wouldn't have had except for your kindness and your mom and dad's love. That's a blessing too. I believe God has a very special place for our animal companions. In the Orthodox church we hold that animals have souls, and I believe they do. Prayers for one and all.

8:07 PM  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Thanks for your concern, Brooke!

Thanks to you, too, Aussiegirl! Your right; it is heartbreaking to lose a pet, and I`d forgotten why I hadn`t wanted to get another one.

I sure hope Orthodox teaching is right and the Catholics are wrong; the Catholic Church says that animals weren`t made in God`s image, so simply are gone. I`ve never agreed with that-the Bible says that all creation suffers for the fall of Man, and since animals did nothing to deserve this punishment justice requires some sort of restitution for their condition. A just God would have to offer some sort of paradise for them. Also, I wouldn`t be perfectly happy knowing my little friends had ceased to exist; that alone should guarantee their continued existence.

As an update, I learned that my cats have NOT been immunized, so I`m having them checked on Friday.

Thanks for the concern, guys!

5:31 AM  

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