Cat in Distress

All of yesterday turned out to be extraordinarily and unexpectedly stressful. All plans were derailed because Boudicca became suddenly quite sick. In one hour, she had one accident after another, and it immediately became apparent that she could not help herself. She cried as she had a big accident in my office and then threw up. Something was wrong, and it was my job, as the human mom, to do something about it. Queen B was clearly getting quite stressed, and the boys were also mildly alarmed, lying on the ottoman with big eyes and concerned faces. (“Mom, we didn’t make that mess but something is up with Her Royal Highness. Assistance please?”) I, of course, began to panic as I had to deal with a sick elderly cat while trying to clean up all the messes and sanitize everything.

In between sanitizing the floor, throwing various towels and blankets in the wash, and confining Boudicca, I called the vet’s office. Tuesdays are set aside for surgeries but pets can be brought in if they need medical attention. The vet was tied up and I could not wait for her to call me back so I insisted that I speak with a tech. When a tech came on the line, I explained what was going on with Boudicca. The tech, sympathetic to my growing alarm, offered me two options: bring her in as soon as possible so she could be seen before the office became very busy, or to make an appointment for the next morning. I opted for the former.

Then came the issue of getting a sick cat into a carrier. Sick cats can either be totally compliant, perhaps because they realize that you are trying to help them get medical attention, or, conversely, they become ANGRY because they feel so crummy (understandable). Because I was panicking, I wasn’t sure if I could wrangle Boudicca by myself so I called Tracey, my good friend and fellow ailurophile. She was barely awake but understood that I really needed help so she said she would come over.

Minutes passed; I did additional cleaning, cleaned myself up, and got dressed. In doing so I calmed down a little and began to think more rationally. I reasoned, albeit belatedly, that I could at least attempt to get Boudicca into the carrier by myself. I hauled the carrier out from under the living room end table (all the cats saw this and were mildly concerned but no one fled) and put it in the hall bathroom, standing it on its end with the door open. I gingerly scooped up Boudicca, who protested when I did so (another indication that she did not feel well), and, to my relief, managed to slide her into the carrier with minimal fuss. She meowed a bit once she was inside but did so with not nearly as much force as she usually does. I called a very sleepy Tracey back to thank her for her willingness to help early in the morning but I had Boudicca safely in the carrier.

I drove Boudicca to the vet’s office, which quickly became busy shortly after I dropped her off. I called Aaron to inform him what was going on, and later he texted me if I had any updates on Boudicca’s condition. That afternoon the vet called me. Apparently both of us had had busy, stressful days; I was relieved that my sweet girl had been in capable hands during the day and I told the vet so. In between surgeries the vet examined Boudicca, whom she noted was quiet all day with the exemption of making air biscuits for the techs when petted. Queen B had a very inflamed gut, which caused the diarrhea and multiple accidents, and the strain and stress of everything had prompted the vomiting. Oi. However, the vet was confident that this condition was treatable and she was not dehydrated because we caught the diarrhea early before it became severe.

The vet sent her home later that afternoon with an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory with instructions to give her both for several days. We should see marked improvement within 24 hours. If we do not see improvement, we are to bring her back on Thursday for more intensive diagnostics, such as an abdominal ultrasound, to determine if she has small bowel disease, cancer, or another condition causing her symptoms. I sincerely hope it does not come to that.

The antibiotic is a liquid (with a syringe) and the anti-inflammatory is a quarter of a pill. How do you give a cat these medications? There are several methods:

  1. Liquid medication. This requires finesse and adaptability on your part. In the past, I have also employed fellow cat whisperers, Sam and Tracey, to help me medicate Boudicca.
  2. Pills. Depending on whether your cat is food-motivated or particularly clever, getting said cat to take a pill can be either pretty easy or a challenge. We have had success using Pill Pockets but smarty pants cats may catch on what you’re doing and may spit out the pill.
  3. Shameless bribery or trickery. Since we had to give Boudicca two medications, both had a bitter taste (you’d think that someone would have invented tuna-flavored cat meds by now), and we did not want her to fight us or not take her medication, we disguised them in a tablespoon or so of wet food. We crushed up the pill and mixed it in, along with the liquid medication, with the wet food. Boudicca was SO EXCITED to be given permission to eat such a delicacy and licked the plate clean. She has done this for two doses. Fingers crossed, this will be our routine for a while until she finishes the medication and fully recovers.

Oh, and the vet instructed us to give Boudicca extra TLC. Obviously, as a cat mom who loves her girl to bits, I have to follow the vet’s orders and oblige. TLC coming right up Queen B.

Boudicca presented her head for a smooch this morning because she did not get enough yesterday.

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