What a week it’s been!
Last weekend Sally, our 12.5 year old cat, started puking all over the house. No, that’s not fair. Not all over the house. Just on the carpeted places.
By late Sunday she was acting like she was in serious discomfort. Sunday night she just stretched out on a blanket on the living room floor for the night. This was not normal.
Monday morning, suspecting this long haired, shedding like crazy cat, must have a hairball blocked somewhere, I loaded her into the cat carrier bag, and headed for the vet clinic in Whitehorse. She was so weak and felt half dead when I picked her up to put her in that bag. I knew our local vet was off on Monday, and he doesn’t have diagnostic equipment, like an x-ray machine, in his small home clinic.
Whitehorse is a good 6 hour drive away. Usually 6.5 to 7 hours for me. I take my time, look at the scenes, stop to pee. On Monday I made it in under 5.5 hours, including 5 stops to pee. My truck’s rarely used 6th gear got a nice work out!
Sally was still and quiet beside me in her travel bag. A few times I even checked if she was still alive.
The road was decent on the way. Well except for that stretch an hour south of Dawson City where they were doing construction last summer. It was so soft and so rutted. I’m talking 5-6 inch deep ruts, that tossed my truck around the road. There I was, tires sinking in the mud, when The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald came on my Spotify shuffle play. Nope, not sinking today, we had a vet to see!
Jeff had called the Alpine vet clinic in Whitehorse so they’d expect our arrival. With Covid, going to a vet is so much different. Basically you sit in the parking lot, call them on the phone, get permission to enter, hand over your pet, sign permission that they can proceed with tests, and get out. There wasn’t a step in this covid procedure to even share her symptoms, aside from what Jeff had told them on the phone.
The vet called me within an hour and asked to meet me outside the clinic. He had done urinalysis, blood work, physical exam, and everything seemed fine. I explained her symptoms, and my hairball suspicions and he said he’d do an x-ray and let me know.
When he called back with the x-ray results, he asked me to come inside to see them.
Uh oh. This is exactly how Zeus (our last cat) was diagnosed with that big tumor in his chest. I remember being called into the back room with the x-rays showing on the screen.
But this time, Sally didn’t have a tumor. She had a big dark looking stomach, full of gas, with gas in her intestines, and some sort of.. something.. blocking things up. The vet wasn’t sure it was hair, but thought it was moving and not stuck. He gave her fluids subcutaneously (back of her neck) to help her out, and an ulcer medication to help coat the stomach and intestines.
He hoped we would stay in town over night and he could check-in in the morning.
So Sally and I went to find a hotel room. And it took me 3 hotels to find a room! The hotels in Whitehorse are finally busy, not for tourists, but for mandatory 14 day quarantining of all the miners and summer staff coming up for the summer.
I had stopped at Walmart for a litter box, and some soft food. Sally immediately hid under the bed. I started thinking of just how I was going to get her out from under that bed in the morning. Remember Sally was a feral kitten, she can sure play shy and hide! I had visions of tossing both beds over, upending mattresses, blocking her escapes.
In the middle of the night, she perked up and woke me up to visit! And she peed in the litter box, and drank some water! YES!
But no poop.
The vet was pretty confident these were all good signs. She had perked up and was drinking and peeing. So he decided we were safe to go home. And I was able to easily coax Sally out from under the bed! Where she was hanging out with an empty 2 litre bottle of wine cooler. Ewwwwwww. That was not mine!
The drive back was uneventful. I had stopped at a grocery store before heading out of Whitehorse, and picked up some grab and go food, including a sandwich, some apple slices, and some sushi (when in the city!). I’ve been on this 2 month good eating and exercising kick (18 lbs down now!) and then as I was leaving the grocery store, there was a lady standing there and said “Free cake? Want this free cake?” Oh my, the temptation, but what am I going to do with this enormous free cake, and why is she giving it to me? Turns out the store’s bakery gives away all food on its last day before expiry. That’s kinda neat! I refused the cake (yay me!) saying I was driving back up to Dawson, so she handed me some berry squares instead saying they’d travel better (and I only had one spoon full, yay me again!).
That sandwich I grabbed was a treat from heaven. It was a fresh cranberry bread with turkey. But what I didn’t know until I was parked by an outhouse in Stewart Crossing in the rain, was there was dressing hiding in this sandwich! And a layer of cranberry sauce. This was an ammmmmmazing sandwich.
So that was Tuesday. We made it home late in the afternoon. It was great to bring her home alive. I had fears!!
By Thursday though, she still hadn’t pooped. The last time she went was Saturday. But she would lick the gravy off of wet cat food, and was acting fairly normal, just weak and getting thin.
I called our local vet, John, and asked for advice. He had me come out to his place outside of Dawson for some hairball medication/laxative and more of the ulcer pill, if she were to start puking again. He said I did the right thing rushing to Whitehorse, since he would have sent me there anyway. He said cats are different than most animals, and they need calories every day. The fact that she would at least consume a bit of gravy from the cat food cans was a great sign.
So twice a day I’ve been opening a new can or container of cat food and letting Sally lick up the gravy.
Today, Saturday morning, there was a fresh, full of hair, poop in the litter box.
That took an entire week!
Sorry Sally, yes I’m talking about your poop on my blog. This is a story of what happens if you don’t brush your long haired cat enough. Oh the guilt!!
And the whole experience cost only a thousand dollars or so.
But worth it to have our Sally cat.