Archives » October 4th, 2005

October 4, 2005

Poor Yinny

Our poor kitty Yin finally came home last week after spending nearly 10 days in the hospital. She hadn’t been eating for a while, and when a cat doesn’t eat, their liver starts processing nothing but fat. But since feline livers aren’t equipped to deal with that much fat, it just builds up in there, making them lose their appetite even more. That then leads to jaundice and liver failure. It’s called Fatty Liver Syndrome, and it can kill them if it’s not caught in time.

Luckily, Yin’s condition was caught in time. But just barely. A couple weeks ago we noticed she wasn’t feeling well. She was losing weight, didn’t have much energy, and didn’t seem to be eating. It had come on so gradually that we hardly caught it, but one day we just couldn’t ignore it anymore. Out kitty wasn’t feeling well. So we took her in to the vet to get checked out. And surprisingly, she got a good report. The vet said she looked fine, just a little sluggish and low energy. Maybe it was a mild kitty flu, she said, and we’ve known this vet for years so we trust her judgement. She took a blood sample just to make there wasn’t some hidden illness, and sent us on our way.

The next morning, Sunday (Sam’s birthday, as a matter of fact), Yin had definitely taken a turn for the worse. Her body temperature was way down, like 20 degrees below normal, she was unresponsive, and she barely had the energy to blink her eyes. This was not good. So we called the vet to arrange an emergency off-hours visit, hopped in the car in our pajamas, and jammed down the road to the animal hospital, ten minutes away. Talk about a long ten minutes. A few years ago our pet rabbit died in our arms during that same drive, so you can imagine the flashbacks we were having as we sped down the highway, holding our poor kitty who seemed to be getting worse by the second. But Yin held on, just barely, and when we arrived the vet whisked her away to a heated blanket and an oxygen mask. Within minutes her condition had improved, slightly, but the vet pulled us aside with the results of yesterday’s blood work: liver failure. That kind of thing cuts right through you, especially when you’ve got a five-year-old cat who’s always been perfectly healthy, and you’re standing in the same hallway where you were just told, eighteen hours before, that the cat was fine. At that point, though, there was nothing else we could do, so we left the kitty to their good care and tried to still have a fun birthday with Sam. Which we managed to do.

For the next week and a half, Yin stayed at the vet. The threat of imminent death disappeared after that first day. Once they gave her an I.V. and started force-feeding her, her temperature rose and she got a little of her energy back. Enough to keep her alive, at least. But then she hit a plateau where she wasn’t getting any better. They still hadn’t reached a firm verdict of FLS yet, so words like “disease” and “cancer” were constantly floating over our heads. We went to visit her, and she was so weak that she could barely lift her head into our hands before she would collapse. It wasn’t until her second week in the hospital that the final diagnosis came back. There was no cancer, no permanent disease, just this fatty liver condition, and that was reversible. And her strength started coming back too, enough so that on Sept. 28th, just last Wednesday, she was finally able to come home.

So Yin’s back with us now, ruling the house and lording over her twin brother, Yang. But she has a long road of recovery still ahead of her. She’s still only at half strength, and spends most of the day just laying in one spot. And she still doesn’t have much of an appetite, so we have to force feed her a liquid diet four times a day. If you look at the above pictures, you can see the feeding tube sticking out of her neck. That tube leads directly into her stomach, and we have to pump 60cc of a specially mixed food through a syringe and into the tube. Four times a day. One of those times being midnight. But, we love our kitty, and she’s going to get through this. She just needs a little help from the monkeys she lives with to get better. And then she’ll be able to go back to being the queen of the house, just like always.

Hurry up and get better, Yin.