Mimi has been quite an inspiration lately, but while her children are purr-fect models, Mimi knows exactly when to turn her head, or stand up from sitting, or simply ignore me when I implore her to turn around and look at me, the photo will be so lovely!
I think sometimes she doesn’t think she’s pretty, that leftover humility of a mama kitty taking the back seat to her beautiful children, and I also think she likes to play hard to get because she gets more attention. Of course, I am investing her with human motivations, but no doubt she invests me with feline motivations whose content I would have no idea. But for all those reasons, you see more photos of her children, and even fosters, than you do of her.
I have loved many cats in my life, but just as it is with our human friends and family, much as we don’t like to admit sometimes, there are always those we love a little more, or a little more completely, than others. In my first nine-cat family of beautiful felines Kublai was the man, the one who communicated with just a look, and that was that. After him, though they were younger than others, came Sophie, and then Cookie, who walked beside me, always happy to be with me, always vigilant and empathetic.
For all the love I have for each of Mimi’s children I still reach for Mimi and spend time with her not because she happened to settle on my lap, but just because. As much as I love them all as a unique and wonderful group of felines and cherish all the photos of them together, one of them really is special to me on a different level. Mimi owns my heart.
Mimi is not well this weekend, and hasn’t been for the past week. She needs your purrs and we may need a little help. In addition to how she is this weekend I’ve also been tracking some occasional worrisome activities for the past year or so. Now and then she would skip a meal, more often she would go off to another room at mealtime, but I would hold her food and she would eat later, most often in the morning. Perhaps the kittens made the room seem too crowded, perhaps she didn’t like the food but decided to eat it anyway. I made note of it and remembered the next time I served that food to see her reaction.
After seeing years of photos of the five of them lined up eating or waiting for their meal, it’s odd not to see Mimi there with them now and then, and more frequently.
I feed a primarily raw diet, occasional meals of canned or fresh cooked foods. I’ve seen these five beautiful black cats grow even more beautiful with glowing fur, bright eyes, clean teeth, no urinary tract issues or bowel issues, and never bringing up a hairball or vomiting for any reason. Except Mimi, who started bringing up hairballs in the past year. When we had our flea infestation she had a horrible reaction to it, losing so much fur and covered with little scabs all over her face and back while the others, with largely the same genetics, had no problems at all.
Mimi had a difficult early life giving birth to all those kittens and living largely outdoors with minimal care, and that early life can leave its mark on the way a body functions in later years. Also, because she was spayed at age four I have been vigilant at checking for mammary tumors, and thankfully have never found one.
But even though, aside from the flea bite allergy, the beginnings of her current condition were concurrent with socializing Smokie and Bella into the household, I didn’t really think the kittens were the problem. To keep stress levels low, I didn’t integrate Bert and Ernie, just in case, and because stress can make any health issue worse.
I’ve read for the past few years about the connection between hairballs and stomach and intestinal issues, the health of the intestines themselves and the flora living there. The probiotics in the food I feed them or which I add keep the digestive tract healthy. But that wasn’t happening for Mimi apparently, so I’ve been looking for other answers, thinking of the possibility of inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD.
At the same time, seeing interesting changes in pet insurance, I’ve been pricing out policies for the five of them before they get any older, considering this issue for Mimi as well as Jelly Bean’s historic urinary issues and Mr. Sunshine’s fondness for anything plastic.
So last week when Mimi didn’t eat on Tuesday morning I noted it but did not worry—I also knew she didn’t like the particular canned food I was serving that morning, and she had eaten fine the night before. However, when the evening meal was a raw food she loves, but would not eat, I was worried.
She did not eat Wednesday either, or even come into the kitchen, so it was time to start tempting her with foods to start diagnosing what was happening. She would eat nothing at all, and worse, began vomiting just fluid now and then, then more frequently, which pointed to either an obstruction or nausea from an underlying condition. I started famotidine Wednesday.
I talked to my veterinarian Thursday and consulted with all those others who answer questions for me. She had an acupuncture treatment with Dr. Michelle and a distance reiki session with Ingrid King. According to our vet I started giving Mimi fluids along with famotidine, but she couldn’t keep that down. Even presenting food choices to her made her vomit. So last Friday night we ended up in the emergency hospital/specialty clinic because it was a holiday weekend and we could not wait until Monday, and they have unique diagnostic abilities.
Blood work was fairly normal, xrays showed no obstructions, kidneys looked fine, she is in good shape but in addition to the IBD I’d been thinking of we are also considering pancreatitis. Only more specialized diagnostics, an ultrasound and possible biopsies, would tell me more. I could not afford them and wanted to talk to my vet, so I brought Mimi home with an anti-emetic and orders to keep up the famotidine.
She is home getting fluids and enjoying the outdoors, as you see. As for me, when I’m upset about something I turn my fears into creative efforts so I’ve been furiously photographing her, and she has been cooperating, all weekend. A second acupuncture treatment from Dr. Michelle using information from the blood tests and Ingrid’s reiki report made a noticeable difference and she is acting more like her normal self, did not vomit for most of the day and I was hoping to have good news to report today and hopes we could get her back on her feet at home, but she did vomit again, and she is still not eating. Broth or pureed food comes right back up. She does not willingly eat anything, though she is interested and obviously hungry.
I’m doing my best to arrange care for her either here or in a clinic where they can give her IV fluids and tube feed her, making sure her intestinal motility is still functioning. I’ll also need some of the diagnostic procedures and further blood tests. I’m applying for assistance related to costs of pet emergency care and I’m picking up a few extra small projects just for the cash.
The costs of her immediate care ranges from $500 to a potential $3,000 if we need to look at biopsies and possibly surgery, chemotherapy and other treatments. If you would like to help us, I would be ever so grateful and there may be actual rewards for you here on earth for your generosity. Just below I have a link to “support The Creative Cat“ where you can donate to my PayPal account, but you can also browse and purchase from my Etsy shop, Portraits of Animals on Etsy or contact me about custom artwork, framing, prints or gift items just for you.
By my best guess Mimi will be 12 this year. I want her to enjoy many more years of her rescued life. I also hope you enjoy the images she inspired as well, and I hope to have the time for the sketches.
I have posted an update on her condition for Monday, and will continue to do so daily. Thank you for your prayers and good wishes, and generous donations and purchases. She is stable though not eating, but tolerating syringe feeding and sub-cutaneous fluids for now, so we have a little time for other diagnostics and puzzling things out. I also want to share how wonderful her children were in the days when she first became ill, and some art inspired by her as well!
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For more information on Mimi’s condition and how this all started, read “Purring”, and the first update, “Feeling a Little Better” , “Another Update” and “Purr Therapy” about how Mimi’s children support her and others in illness.
Read more Essays on The Creative Cat.
All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!