This week Carlin and Kathy started an automatic monthly payment through Paypal to help the Cats In My Yard. This compassionate couple are great friends of mine, and I can’t thank them enough. You guys rock in so many ways!
I can’t mention Carlin and Kathy without telling the story of Wally, a cat from the V Colony that they adopted from me last summer. I trapped him last May when I was trying to re-trap Zombie Cat, a TNR’d colony cat who was really sick.
Wally looked great.
I took him to the clinic for his TNR spa treatment, neutering and vaccinating, and recovered him for one night in my garage, during which he ate like crazy and did not respond to me at all. He just sat there politely.
I returned him without incident. It was classic TNR, or so I thought.
He showed up in the colony one month later sick and refusing to leave the yard. He was very skinny now, but he was still eating like crazy. The feeders easily handled him into a trap for me. He was missing large patches of fur from his back and neck.
He also ate like crazy in the trap, and this time he was purring and rubbing all over me. I took him to a full service vet, who literally took one look at him and said he should be euthanized. She said he was jaundiced and severely dehydrated, indicating liver disease, and that he was dying.
I found that diagnosis shocking because of the way he was acting. During this vet visit he was all over us, begging for attention.
I said I needed to think about this some more. I was charged $51.84 for this visit.
I left and started calling around. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I needed to talk to someone else. My TNR friend Erica R. recommended Dr. Silverman with Village West Veterinary.
I called and because of the situation, they told me to come right away.
Dr. Silverman agreed he was jaundiced, and with the missing patches of fur, it indicated haemobartonellosis, a blood disease transmitted by fleas and ticks. This is serious, but Dr. Silverman said that because he was still eating, it was in the early stages and could be treated. I asked to have him tested for FIV and FeLV first.
Wally tested FIV-, but, quoting Dr. S., “very, very faintly, like barely FeLV+.” I said, “Um, isn’t that like saying you’re a little bit pregnant?”
FeLV, feline leukemia, is fatal once a cat is symptomatic, and there’s still a lot of misunderstanding surrounding it. My first colony was a mixture of FIV+ and FeLV+ cats, so I believe it’s not as contagious as they say it is, but I don’t go around testing that theory on purpose. Also, I figured Wally was symptomatic and was indeed dying.
And I had never heard that FeLV can be reversed in grown cats. I had heard that it could happen with tiny kittens, but Wally was estimated to be almost a year old. And again, this was a “faint” positive.
I was a basket case during this visit. I figured I’d indeed end up euthanizing him. Dr. S lobbied hard for him, and said the haemobartonellosis was not a symptom of being FeLV+. He said he would look for a foster if Wally stayed FeLV+. FeLV+ cats are difficult to adopt out, and there are no local no-kill shelters who will admit them.
So, we decided to treat Wally. Mostly because during this visit, he again was all over us purring and rubbing, and did not want to leave my lap.
The vet did a CBC, complete blood count, and obviously his numbers were way off. We were sent home with prednisolone and zeniquen. And I started fostering Wally.
The first week was hard because I still had Zombie Cat in my foster space, who is completely feral, in a crate recovering and getting medications for a chronic Upper Respiratory Infection, URI, and dental (I had her for about six weeks). So I put Wally in another crate at the separate end, and kept things very clean and sterile to avoid transmission of anything between the two of them. After that week, I returned Zombie Cat back to her colony, and let Wally have free reign in the room.
He loved it.
Really loved it. He did not want me to leave him alone in the foster room. I started using the laptop in his room to keep him company.
Two weeks later I brought him back to the vet.
We re-tested him and he was FeLV-.
I could not believe it. Dr. S was right and I saw before my own eyes that this disease could be reversed – we caught him just in time.
His CBC this time was also a lot better, and we were sent home with more prednisolone and zeniquen.
Because he was negative, I started bringing him upstairs in my house, still separate from my pet cats. He loved that also, especially the couch.
Whenever I left his side he would follow me around the house, always at my feet.
During this time Carlin and Kathy decided they wanted to adopt him. They live in St Louis. In mid-August my boyfriend Jim drove Wally to Champaign to meet them half-way. Once Wally was settled in their car, he immediately climbed on Kathy’s lap.
He’s settled in ever since with them and their other pet cat. Whenever I see Carlin he just says that Wally is the best. Saving Wally’s life took about two months of care and fostering, administering medications, a day of driving, and two vet visits that cost $326.42 He deserves it because every life matters. Your donations help support cats like Wally.