Today's post is from our friend Gizmo and his human-slave, Leanne. Check out their blog, Kitty up the Curtain at https://kittyupthecurtain.wordpress.com/
It’s been a stressful festive period in my house. Not because of the pressure of Christmas, but because Gizmo, my beloved (and usually highly naughty) one year old cat, was quite poorly. And how did I know he was ill?! Well, he was being too well behaved; he hadn’t stripped my wallpaper or climbed my curtains for a few days and he didn’t want to play with his favourite toys. Those were the first things I noticed, but this rapidly got worse over the following days.
To cut a long and stressful story short, between 24th Dec and 29th Dec, I took Giz to the vets on four separate occasions because I was getting more and more concerned. His behaviour was getting more lethargic, he stopped eating and he was starting to lose weight. For the first three visits, the vets were unable to find anything abnormal, and I was told it was probably a tummy bug.
In true Gizmo style, (even though he was feeling very poorly and hadn’t eaten for a few days) he still managed to lighten the situation slightly on his third visit to the vet. I can only assume he was getting fed up of having a thermometer placed up his bum during each visit, and he was rapidly trying to get out of having it done again, at any cost…
Firstly, I struggled to get Giz into the wire cat carrier, despite him being quite weak and lethargic. Once I succeeded, I placed the carrier (with Giz inside) in the truck, on the passenger seat. I got into the driver’s seat and gently drove out of my street and started the short 5 minute journey to the vets. In the time it had taken me to drive out of my road (and without me noticing) Giz had somehow managed to slide out the long pin that fastens the carrier lid. The first thing I knew about it was when his head popped out of the corner of the carrier as he looked for his best direction to disappear in. I wasn’t quite sure what to do in this situation.
Before I really had time to think the situation through, he was out of the carrier and loose in the truck. I considered turning the truck round and heading home, but I didn’t want to be late for Gizmos appointment so I reluctantly decided to continue on our journey, driving even more carefully than before! I made it to the vets, having watched Giz avidly explore the inside of the truck, from the leather front seats to the boot, and ending up on the back seat behind me. When I parked at the vets, I knew I had to somehow get Giz in the carrier box before opening a door. As luck would have it, I was able to catch him quite easily, and put him back in the carrier within a few minutes! Phew…! His truck adventure must have exhausted him temporarily. Note to self…find another way to secure Giz into the cat carrier on journeys to and from the vets, and not rely solely on the carrier pin.
Once we got into the vet consultation room, it was decided that blood tests should be taken to investigate his illness further, as his condition wasn’t improving. The vet went to get the assistance of an experienced veterinary nurse, and let’s just say that between the three of us, (vet, nurse and myself) Gizmo was NOT happy about having blood taken. We tried for several minutes, in several different positions to restrain Gizmo the Gremlin, but still Giz was NOT going to allow anyone to take his blood. He even had a mask/hood put over his head in an attempt to stop him from seeing the needle coming, but that made things worse! The vet suggested giving Giz 5 mins in his cat carrier to calm down, and we would try again, but I had a better idea. I suggested keeping Giz at the vets and trying again once he had time to calm down.
I remember the vet clearly saying that they would contact me in about an hour, to come and collect Gizmo, but by the time I got that call, 5 hours had passed, and they still hadn’t managed to get any blood due to Gizmo's continued naughty behaviour. It was suggested that another appointment was booked in two days’ time, and Gizmo was to be sedated for blood to be taken, and possibly other tests at the same time, if his condition did not improve. But the very next day, Gizmo deteriorated again and was sick, so I immediately rushed him back to the vets, making sure that the lid was secured with additional reinforcements this time.
On this fourth visit, the vet immediately admitted him, sedated him, ultrasound scanned and X-rayed him, and diagnosed pancreatitis within a short time. Gizmo was hospitalised straight away, put on a drip, given medication and monitored closely. Despite being poorly, Gizmo was still living up to his reputation of being naughty, as the nursing team quickly realised. He successfully managed to chew through his leg bandage and chew through his drip tube in a short space of time. As a result of his continued chewing, he was made to wear the cone of shame… a symbol of naughtiness and defiance in his case! I was also told that he seemed to like the sound of his own voice, as he was repeatedly singing a strange rendition of a song that no one could identify.
After being on fluids and medication, he was starting to feel better, as he used every opportunity to try and escape…at one point, launching himself at a veterinary nurses head when she went to check on him. Thankfully, the nurse is not psychologically scarred by this experience, but Gizmos repeated naughty behaviour ensured he will not be forgotten by the nursing staff anytime soon.
After 48 hours of being on fluids and monitored closely by the wonderful veterinary team at Penmellyn Vets (St Columb), Gizmo was eventually deemed well enough to come home on New Year’s Eve and he continues to recover at home. (Personally, I think his repeated naughty and challenging behaviour got him booted out of the practice, but the nursing team were far too polite to say this…!). Since 31st December, Gizmo has been recovering at home, using me as a source of heat due to his current bald situation thanks to the shave he had prior to the ultrasound scan…
On the 3rd January 2017, I took Giz back to the vets for a check-up. Gizmo was NOT happy about going back to the vets, but he was VERY happy to come home again. Thankfully, the vet was pleased with his progress, and Giz is currently showing no discomfort from his pancreas, so fingers crossed we have found a way to manage the situation. Gizmo is now on a very strict (and expensive) diet for the foreseeable future. He always did have expensive taste in food, but at this rate, I will be considering selling one of my limbs each month to fund his food bill!
When Gizmo and I got home from the vets, he found the postman had delivered a parcel for him. It was a lovely blanket from his friends at Tillypops Toys! This lovely blanket has been keeping Gizmo comfy and warm ALL afternoon. Gizmo is such a lucky kitty. Not only is he feeling better, but he’s also getting gifts from his friends, helping him on his road to recovery.
Always trying to find a positive outcome in the situation, I just want to raise the issue of having pet insurance. Until I got Giz, none of my cats were insured, but when I got Giz I was encouraged to get insurance, and I’m SOOOOO glad I did. If I hadn’t taken out the policy, I would now be facing a bill exceeding £1000 which I could not have paid; these costs are from consultations, investigation, treatment and specialist care in the space of 6 days. I assumed Giz was a young, healthy kitty, but this experience has shown me that ANY cat can get ill for no apparent reason, and unless you have adequate funds to pay for ANY treatment your beloved kitty needs, insurance cover will be vital should your kitty need medical attention.
Between the time Gizmo was first taken to the vets, to this present day, I have been overwhelmed and touched by literally hundreds of messages from people on social media, wanting to know how Gizmo is doing. These messages are from people across the world who have never met Gizmo or myself, but have gone out of their way to send messages of support and encouragement to us both. The cat community have really helped me stay positive through the past two weeks, and I thank every single person for taking the time to contact me.
Cats have always been special to me, and as I’ve found out in the past 10 days, cat-loving people are pretty special too.
Wishing you and your cats a happy 2017.
From Gizmo and his human slave, Leanne x