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This month I brought my 15-year-old silver blue tabby cat Mistie into the veterinarian because she was not urinating, not eating well and throwing up everything, even water. I was told she was full of stool and her bladder was swollen. I had to leave her for three hours while the veterinarian gave her an enema, IV and did blood work. My husband and I gave her the antibiotics they sent us home with, and she was put on a low-protein diet for kidneys. A week after the antibiotics were finished, she started acting the same way. We brought her back in and found out she was full again with a swollen bladder, and this time she was having mini-strokes as well. The veterinarian gave her six months to two years to live but said with a little luck and a little spunk it could be longer.
I'm writing not only to tell you about Mistie but to thank you for all the information in the articles you have on kidneys in cats, it was very useful.
I heartily agree with Ms. Smith's letter (Feb 2007) concerning FIV-positive cats. Many of them can live a long healthy life with little extra care. However, I have something to add.
Three years ago, I decided to adopt a stray from my sister's neighborhood that I named Spot. This was the sweetest unaltered male stray I had ever seen — when I performed unpleasant but necessary care (flea treatment, ear mite medicine, neosporin to sores) he purred and licked my hands. My heart was crushed when the vet diagnosed him as FIV-positive. I cried for days. Unable to bring him home to my other four cats but not yet ready to have him euthanized, I put him in a kennel while I searched for an owner. I visited nearly every day.
After nearly two weeks without any luck finding a shelter or owner, one of the kennel attendants asked me if I had considered the vaccine for my other cats. I was astounded — no one else had mentioned a vaccine to me.
After research, I discovered the vaccine has drawbacks. It isn't 100 percent effective, and the cat tests FIV-positive thereafter, making it impossible to tell if an illness is due to FIV. It's also somewhat costly. But after much thought, I determined to give it a try.
First, I brought Spot home to test the other cats' reactions to him. I kept him isolated in a spare bedroom with all necessary supplies but able to smell and interact with the others under the door. After several days, I let Spot come out at his own pace with me present to supervise. I continued to gradually increase supervised exposure and no one acted perturbed, so after a week or so, I had the other cats vaccinated and they have all lived together in mostly unsupervised proximity.
I could hardly believe that the first veterinarian I brought him to didn't even mention the vaccine. It may not be 100 percent perfect, but it is safe, and I think individual cat owners deserve to know it's an option.
It bears repeating regarding Ms. Smith's previous letter — the FIV-positive cat is no danger to any other species, has a good chance of living a normal life and may even be able to live with other cats depending on the temperament of the cats and the loving owner's good judgment.
I would like to point out a couple of errors regarding my letter in the May 2007 issue on page 7 (“Tower Cat”): The Ceremony of the Keys has been going on for 700 years, not 100. It began in 1078. Our tuxedo kitty is Figaro, not Tigaro.
Thank you for your delightful magazine. We have four cats, so you're a big help.
I Heart Sadie
Even though I love all the information, helpful tips and heartwarming stories in CAT FANCY magazine, my favorite part is the Sadie comic strip. I chuckle every time I read it. David Enders Tripp does an excellent job of creating such comical expressions on Sadie's face! Some of Sadie's pictures are proof that “a picture's worth a thousand words.” As long as you keep publishing the Sadie comic strip in CAT FANCY, you will have one happy reader here!
DIY Cat Furniture
I really enjoyed your article in the May 2007 issue on building your own cat furniture. As the owner of six that are unwilling to share their resting spots, I've discovered a few very inexpensive ways to let everyone have fun.
Large cardboard boxes with holes cut in each end are a real favorite. I can use two or three and connect them by lining up the holes or stacking two boxes. They love the noise when they scratch them.
Also, large paper bags are a big hit, and if company comes, I can fold them up. Cost: next to nothing; Fun: priceless.
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