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Health Update May 14, 2009

Posted by Mitchell in Home.

My toe is getting better, just more slowly than I expecteed.  I see the podiatrist Monday morning so hopefully we’ll get this situation fully wrapped up soon.  Sorry Lemur King!  You’re just going to have to find another use for your broken, rusty hacksaw blade – there ain’t gonna be no amputations.

The cat situation is unfortunately considerably different.  We finally got the results back from the culture test and they’ve identified the organisms we’re dealing with.  I didn’t write down the technical names but one is a bacteria usually found in the intestinal tract where presumably it usually does no harm.  Somehow, someway it managed to get in her chest cavity and it’s causing problems.  The antibiotics we’ve been using are apparently ineffectual against this.  The other organism is one that is considerably more dangerous though:  methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA.  This is very bad as anyone who’s ever had the misfortune to tangle with this evil shit can testify.  MRSA is very, very difficult to kill and the treatment course is measured in months not days or weeks.  This isn’t one of the strains that humans are susceptible to (thank God) BUT they have managed to cross-infect humans and animals with this in the lab (who the hell volunteered to be the guinea pig for that study??).  There is a medication out there that is effective against both of these but it seems to be difficult to obtain easily in the dosage that we need.  It may even have to be specialy compounded for us.  Unfortunately there is also a very bad side-effect that can occur where it reduces bone marrow.  Even just handling the stuff is dangerous as it can cause this in humans too and it absorbs readily through the skin.  The vet told me that there is another medication available too – but it’s only an absolute last resort option.

Of course none of this addresses how she got this crap there in the first place.  Isabelle is strictly a house cat and she never goes outside.  The vet was at a complete loss to explain this.  She said that normally this sort of thing would be a potential result of a deep, penetrating wound.  There are no wounds on my cat; deep or otherwise.  Personally I suspect that these infections are really symptoms of  another, perhaps more serious, internal issue (or issues) that we know nothing about.  I also suspect that antiboitics of any kind are unlikely to cure the underlying problem(s).  I also suspect that any further diagnostic efforts beyond what has already been done are likely to be very, very expensive.  I can’t afford any more “expensive efforts” much less “very, very expensive efforts”. 

Even beyond all this there is the basic fact that the cat either can not, or will not eat.  The reality is that I am not at home enough during the day for enough hand feedings to sustain her for the long term.  I also can not afford to put her up in the cat hospital on the days that I work.  The cold, hard calculus of her current health, the struggle she faces, and the lack of nutritional (and yes, monitary) resources  she has available to help her leads to a grim and nigh inevitble outcome.  Ever since she stopped eating this has been a race to find a cure and the hand-feeding has given her many more miles than she would have otherwise.  But now, she is nearly spent and we find that she still has a marathon to go.


For the second time today I’ve tried to hand feed her.  And she threw up for the second time.  I thought that this morning I was trying to feed her too quickly but tonight I was going very slow.  She can’t even keep food down now.



1. Lemur King - May 15, 2009

The one bacterial makes me think of clostridium difficile – when it goes out of check, it’s not good. MRSA is scary-assed stuff man.

I’m very sorry for little Isabelle. Hard for you to watch, too. You wish you could do something – anything – and finally realize that you can sometimes only be there to comfort the little critters.

I don’t know what your personal feeling is about the euthanasia route is, but I can say this – we should all go so peacefully – so if fear of the process being a harsh trial for the kitty is a deciding factor, it is very very gentle.

It’s harder on the owners, as we found out last summer, but it was an easier route than what Silver kitty had ahead of him. (renal failure and unable to keep food down)

Sorry man.

2. Enas Yorl - May 15, 2009

Thanks for the kind words LK. At this point I can’t really even comfort her – she’s uneasy about being held and petted now. She just wants to be left alone. I watched her walk to her water dish a few minutes and it’s like every movement is painful for her. Her voice is almost gone too.

I’m not opposed to euthanasia when continuing treatment is really just prolonging misery without any realistic hope for improvement or cure. Have we really reached that point? I dunno. I’m torn. Logic seems to dictate that we have but I can’t help but think that patience, dedication and persistance can still win out.

I already know what the vet will say. She’s abolutely dedicated to cats and will do everyting she possibly can to save each and every single one she encounters. She may not be a very objective when it comes to assessing this situation I think. The original vet I was taking Isabelle to see is on vacation for the next couple of weeks.

3. Lemur King - May 15, 2009

It is a HARD decision. We went on for a while, torn over whether he had enough quality of life that it was worth it. Ultimately when he was dropping weight, peeing on stuff, and finally urping, Cruel Wife made the call. He was her baby so I could not make the decision for her. Here you have a member of your family who you have dedicated a part of your life to that is totally dependent upon you – not far off from a kid if you’re mostly doing right by the critter.

He was a damn fine kitty with very little to be ashamed of. Annoying at times but a really loving kitty. Except for pills and brushing.

You’ll know when/if it is time. There’s very little doubt when you see the balance tip. And it is a good thing to know for sure, so don’t rush it.

4. Anonymous - May 15, 2009

My deepest sympathy. I hope she pulls through.

5. S. Weasel - May 17, 2009

Ugh. Terrible. Really, really sorry, Enas. I’ve had to do this calculus in the past, too, and verily it doth suck.

I swear, it was easier having Grandma put down. Horrible woman.

6. Enas Yorl - May 17, 2009

Thanks y’all. Isabelle has her good days and bad days. The last couple have been actually ok. She still fights me at every feeding but I’ve been getting better at taking her from different angles without having to force her and no throw ups! I can also tell when she’s getting urpy so I back off and wait a bit.

She actually hopped into bed with me this morning for head scratchies and purred a bit.

The vet still hasn’t rebounded back on the med side though and I’m really surprised. I will call her tomorrow and find out what the situation is and where we go from here.

7. Retired Geezer - May 18, 2009

Sorry to hear about your kitty, Enas. I’ve gone through that a couple of times, it’s never easy.

Mrs. Geezer and I are going to be in Vegas (first time in 3 years) probably on Friday and Saturday. I’ll buy you a beer or pie.

email me.

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