Daily Photo: Not Well

black cat on bed
Not even the The Pioneer Pet Nip Nibbler she swiped from the swag bag from the CWA conference helped her feel better.

I’ve been watching Emeraude for the past couple of weeks, tracking symptoms that might have only been part of the change in weather—less sunshine, colder temperatures, furnace running resulting in a less active kitty, slightly weepy eyes, a little sniffle, dry skin and a few small mats. Then this past week, the girl who loves her food wasn’t finishing her meals, even her favorite flavors, and just lapping up the liquids which may have had to do with dental issues or her formerly broken jaw developing a painful arthritic condition. But it was what wasn’t happening in the litterbox yesterday that had me concerned. This morning I decided to start some diagnostics, took her temperature (barely 99 degrees), and she collapsed in respiratory distress.

black cat in carrier
Emeraude at the emergency hospital checking out the scene.

We rushed to the emergency hospital, and she was a little perkier by the time we got there, but that doesn’t fool me or any veterinarian. Blood tests showed a high white blood cell count concentrated in lymphocytes, which indicates cancer rather than an infection, and dramatic anemia as well as a heart murmur, which may just be from the anemia or just weakness. She’s home and eating, but at this point even treating the symptoms won’t change her condition. She’s still moving slowly or not much at all, eating a little bit at a time, but obviously weak. One thing that hasn’t changed is that Lady Emeraude is still sweet and friendly, purring, and still has the brightest green eyes, even the veterinary technician remarked about them—though we all agreed to call her “Emmie” because no one seemed to recognize the name “Emeraude”.

black cat eating
Emeraude enjoys her foods even before I clip off her paper collar.

I’ve been giving her subcutaneous fluids, but she’s not staying hydrated, and I had tried to stem the anemia since she’s been here but the high-potency vitamins only upset her stomach and caused constipation. The acupuncture worked wonders in helping her digestive system relax and do its job, and I’ve been giving her a probiotic and supplements all along. I will be doing what I can for her, of course, but like Lakota in July, Emeraude also turned herself around after arriving here, coming back to health and holding off the inevitable for a period of time. And like him, there may be nothing that works for her, and even basic palliative care may not keep her comfortable enough if her body is finally letting go. Her conditions are inherently painful.

Emeraude is a very popular kitty on The Creative Cat and many people ask after her and share her photos and stories. I’m so happy to have been able to give her this chance, and I hope she and I have set a good example for others when senior or geriatric kitties come along and just need a little more time. It’s so worth it!

two black cats
Bean was really making progress—no hiss—and he hopes he has more time to work on her.

And Bean is finally making progress, purring loudly and putting his happy tail straight up in the air and squinting so he can barely see, and no hisses! Really, we know he’s mostly interested in her food, but he is the ambassador in the bunch and he likes everyone.

And I’ve been looking at my posts lately, including the one I posted today. November is a month of memories for me—two years ago Cookie and I were coming to terms with her decline, and three years ago I had lost Peaches and was preparing to lose my mother. It was in November that I lost Sophie, that Fawn had her brush with lymphoma and Sally decided to start eating again, and many other close calls. But last night as I prepared The Cavatina I remembered especially Kelly’s last morning and thought about Emeraude in that situation. This morning, the dark, the rain, the odd behavior, the decision to take some action, the rush to the same emergency hospital just left me a little shaken.

I will keep a close watch on Emeraude overnight and consult with my veterinarian first thing tomorrow. For now, I just opened another little can of food and she ate well, a little at a time, waving the tip of her tail back and forth happily. Emeraude makes the decisions, she’s come this far, and in true regal fashion she thanks her adoring fans for all the love and support they’ve given her in the past few months.

. . . . . . .

Thanks to everyone who commented before I even shared this on social networks! I thought I’d observe Emeraude a little more and then talk with our veterinarian today before I shared this, when I had a better idea of how she was. And she’s doing well today—eating pretty well, using the box though it’s still a little difficult, not lethargic but more active and talkative than before.

I discussed the results from yesterday with our veterinarian and what further tests might tell me better how to help Emmie, but anything further, a biopsy, further scans, might be something she couldn’t tolerate in her weakened condition. The enlarged heart is the most worrisome, and the biggest obstacle to even dosing her with fluids to keep her hydrated and comfortable, which will affect her renal issues. What I’d seen while she was eating in the past week or so really was some breathing difficulty because it’s hard to breathe while she’s chewing and swallowing, not necessarily due to her formerly broken jaw. The white blood cell count, 78,000+, is worrisome and the lymphocytes at 42%, but she has no fever and no sign of any infection, including a temperature, which is still below 100—which is not optimal, but not clinically a problem. The dark and heavy stool indicates internal bleeding, that and the anemia could point to leukemia, but we could never do a bone scan.

It’s all a bunch of clues and the one that I find most interesting is that she’s actually gained an ounce since everyone’s exams at the beginning of October, not what I’d expected and not typical of most suspected conditions, including cancer and heart disease. I’m accustomed to seeing a weight loss before a diagnosis, especially with both conditions. What’s happening is something she’s been holding off for a while and compensating for, and doing quite well, thank you. Her heart condition is serious enough that she might collapse again at any time, and suggested it was time to consider euthanasia, and I actually had it planned that I would get in touch with my veterinarian yesterday. But Lady Emeraude isn’t going down so easily and she has nothing I haven’t seen before, so I will be aware for increased breathing difficulty, problems in the box or lack of appetite or obvious signs of pain. She’s not bossing me around like a cat who’s ready to go.

black cat
Emeraude looking chic in trendy black and white.

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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

26 thoughts on “Daily Photo: Not Well

  • Pingback: The Creative Cat - Emeraude Today

  • November 18, 2013 at 7:51 pm
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    I think that Emeraude is lucky to be with you at this time. If anyone can see her through this, Bernadette, you can. You have tended and guided so many.

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  • November 18, 2013 at 7:07 pm
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    I’m so very sorry, Bernadette—she’s such a beautiful little girl. Molly and I send hugs and purrs and prayers to you and sweet Emeraude.

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    • November 18, 2013 at 7:22 pm
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      Thank you, Chris and Molly–Emeraude and I and all the gang here appreciate all the hugs and purrs and prayers from across the country!

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  • November 18, 2013 at 6:05 pm
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    Poor little thing! She has the best carer. Sending megapurrs for Emeraude xx

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    • November 18, 2013 at 7:21 pm
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      Thank you, Austin! I’ve had the best teachers.

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  • November 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm
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    emeraude; az all ways, de blessings oh St Francis two ewe…we hope by de time ewe reed this yur feelin WAY better N ya stay feelin
    WAY better…eat sum trout, drink sum toona waterz N snax on sum salmon 🙂 XXXXXXXXXX

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    • November 18, 2013 at 7:20 pm
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      Tabbies, Emmie has a smorgasbord of goodies! We’re doing our best to keep her happy.

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  • November 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm
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    Sending purrs. So sorry to hear Emmie isn’t well.

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    • November 18, 2013 at 7:19 pm
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      Thank you, Catwoods, all purrs are very much appreciated.

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  • November 18, 2013 at 9:24 am
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    Poor dear…I am always happy that you are able to give some of these senior kitties a health boost by providing a comfortable home…

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    • November 18, 2013 at 7:19 pm
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      Sued, it’s only right that elderly kitties be able to live their life until it’s done, thanks so much for caring.

      Reply
  • November 18, 2013 at 7:29 am
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    I am one of those who has followed her experience in your home.
    Thinking of you, both of you. Purrs.

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    • November 18, 2013 at 7:18 pm
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      Maru, you were one of Emeraude’s first fans, and ask about her all the time! We’re taking good care of her, and thanks for always checking up on her.

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  • November 18, 2013 at 7:17 am
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    Purrs and hugs to Emeraude, we’re keeping her in our thoughts. She’s been through much but she knows how lucky she is that she has you and the gang Bernadette.

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    • November 18, 2013 at 7:18 pm
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      Lynda, thanks so much for thinking of Emeraude. We are lucky to have her with us!

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  • November 18, 2013 at 12:31 am
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    Dear Sweet Emmie, I’m sending my most lovin’ tortie hugs, thunderous purrs and I will say a kitty prayer with one of my dearest friends, ST. FRANCIS. xox…Angel AKA Gramma Kitty

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    • November 18, 2013 at 7:17 pm
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      Gramma Kitty, thanks for the tortie hugs and the purrrs! We love our new old feline buddies, and I’m sure St. Francis has been hanging out by the window for years keeping these kitties healthy.

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  • November 17, 2013 at 11:32 pm
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    Sweet, loud purrs to you and Emmie and the rest of the gang. When we know the time is short, it makes every minute now more precious.

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    • November 18, 2013 at 7:15 pm
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      Sue, we love the purrs! Emmie is in good paws.

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  • November 17, 2013 at 11:12 pm
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    Thank you for loving and caring for Emeraude.

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    • November 18, 2013 at 7:14 pm
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      Debbie, it’s my pleasure to give her a chance to have her last months.

      Reply
  • November 17, 2013 at 9:31 pm
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    I can see her amazing green eyes in the first picture..what a beauty..Please give her a hug for me Bernadette!!

    Reply

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