Today my sweet boy Digit went Home to be with Angel and all our other beautiful rescues that only graced our lives for a very short time. Digit no longer struggles to breathe, he is no longer full of fluid, and masking his pain with his constant purrs.
My dear sweet Digit, I love you with all my heart. No one will ever compare to you, no one will ever steal kisses from me like you. No one will ever touch my heart quite like you did.
I'll never forget how you chose me. It wasn't in my mind to keep you as excited as I was about every single one of your 23 toes. You were persistent and would grab onto my ankles the second I tried to leave the room. You followed me everywhere and insisted on being my baby. You loved it when I carried you and soon it was a competition between my toddler and you. You usually won, 5 pounds is much easier to carry than 30 lol. I remember the snuggles at night, you cleaning my dishes in the dishwasher, and your gentle nature. I wish I'd had more time to enjoy you, however I'm grateful for our last couple days. I've never been so distraught over losing one of my own fur babies, but you, you just stole my heart and ran with it. Your eyes always looked deep within mine and you always knew when I needed you the most. Knowing all that I do now, I'd do it all over again.
Thank you for being mine for four months. I love you my sweet Digi, I love you to the moon and back. You'll forever be in my heart ❤️
Yesterday I got devastating news about Digit. He doesn't have much time left here with me. Despite his negative genetic testing, the radiologist believes his findings "may be compatible" with FIP. I'm dumbfounded, I'm in shock, and my heart is just shattered.
I honestly don't understand. His ultrasound showed ALL organs as normal, including his liver. He also has a mesenteric mass measuring 1.7 x 2.3 cm. The mass combined with his abdominal fluid build up is the reason for the suggested diagnosis of FIP.
I've spoken to Dr. Sharon at length and researched for hours on end since his X-ray November 3rd and can share these things with you:
• FIP is NOT contagious
• FIP is a genetic mutation of the coronavirus which IS contagious
• FIP only occurs in approximately 1:5000 felines and is more common among kittens, cats with compromised immune systems, and senior cats
• FIP happens only to felines who are genetically predisposed to it
• FIP is "random"
• Most cats will have been exposed to the coronavirus at some point in their life with either no symptoms or mild diarrhea and will recover without any further complications
• A positive genetic test to coronavirus most often means your cat has been EXPOSED to the coronavirus, not that it HAS the coronavirus
This is something I'm continuing to research due to fact that a negative genetic test to coronavirus usually indicates it is impossible that your cat has FIP, hence my confusion. The only explanation I have found for this is Raina.
Raina came to me on October 29, 2015. That same day, Digit was in for his third set of vaccinations. He was in perfect health and a great weight. Raina was in an enclosure in my room at my bed level. Digit sleeps with me every night. If Raina had coronavirus or FIP and Digit was genetically predisposed, it would explain why his genetic testing came back negative from bloodwork done on November 3 as his body may not have yet even had time to produce the antibodies for it to register.
With all that being said, I don't believe this is what Scarlett is living with. Scarlett has always been tiny and dealing with URIs and mild infections. Digit had always been in perfect health. Raina declined almost over night and passed away in pain, she was with me for only a week. Her belly was also distended and swollen, she never gained more than an ounce. It seems too much of a coincidence that Digit declined so rapidly in just one week. I don't want to believe it and with all my reading, I've found out FIP is one of the most misdiagnosed diseases out there. So with that in mind, I'm doing my best to find another answer. Cats and kittens with FIP stop eating. Digit is still eating, drinking, peeing, and pooping. FIP can only be confirmed through an autopsy and I believe a liver biopsy which I don't have the funds for.
Because I am an honest and responsible person, this is not something I feel is right to "hide" I have seen "others" hide things from their followers but that is not me. I will always tell the truth and give full disclosure.
That being said, I am taking precautions and am taking Marty, Passion, and Mookie off the "adoptable" list for the time being.
Because I isolate my cats and am cautious with when and who I allow to "free roam", I can assure you the following cats and kittens are "safe":
• Lacey and her 5 kittens
• Babe Ruth
• Chance (pending adoption)
• Caramel and Toffee
• Luna and Dottie
Also safe are:
• Cleo and her girls (I want to X-ray Selene before I put her up for adoption with her little sister, Aurora)
• Amber (pending adoption)
• Maeve and her 4 kittens
• Arabella and her 2 kittens
• Victor and Vaeda
• Boots and Charlotte
• Bella (pending adoption)
• Bert, Ernie & Delilah
Before I run bloodwork on Scarlett I am withholding adoption of the family.
As I get more information I will update all of you. Please feel free to ask any questions or express your concerns. I will post useful and informative links in the comments.
I do apologize in advance for the lack of activity in the past three weeks. I will likely be quiet this weekend as well as I love Digit as much as possible.
My rescues are my world and I'm crushed. It's very difficult to think of the 99 I've rescued in less than a year and instead look at all I owe and think of my losing Digit in the near future. I'm tempted to shut down, I fear of what the FIP "possibility" will do to my rescue in regards to future adoptions. Please know I have always done my best and got my felines the best, personalized veterinary care. A veterinarian that wouldn't listen to me last night as I sobbed over Digit and fearful of his suffering to the point where I thought the kindest thing to do was to give him peace last night. She refused and said he wasn't ready and to bring him home and love him. Of course when I went to him, he came running to me purring. So until he's ready, I'll love him as much as possible.
To finish, I don't like to "push" my beliefs on anyone... Many of you know my faith in Jesus is strong and today my daily verse just so happened to be one of my favourites:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
It has always been the scripture that pulled me through difficult times, so reading that today reminded me that God's plans are always perfect. Whether I like them or not. There is something that needs to be learned from this, I just wish it didn't hurt so much 💔
Every Life Matters Cat Rescue began unexpectedly with a tom named Charlie. I pulled him out of a frozen dryer drum during a bitter cold Arctic freeze. I had him neutered, vaccinated, and tested his stool for parasites out of my own pocket. He shared a room with my older son and showed us just how grateful he was to have a warm, safe place to live.
Of course, because "excitement" loves me, I get a text at 10 pm last night from my mom about Raya (now Tammy) apparently missing in my mom's 3rd floor condo. I head on over despite thinking she's just found a really nice and comfy spot to sleep. I actually found her exactly where I thought she'd be. Under my mom's large reclining couch. She was sleeping so I offered her some canned Royal Canin which she loves... She didn't budge. Strange. I went behind the couch in the hopes I could lure her out that way.
This already was completely unlike Tammy at all. Tammy has always greeted everyone at the door, followed my mom around 24/7 since the day she came home, plus she always came when her name was called.
I managed to get her out and hand her to my mom. She was quiet and not purring. I was certain her face even looked swollen. My mom put her down and she ran to the litter box to relieve herself, but then she just sat in it looking uncomfortable. I wasn't liking this at all. First Angel's passing on the 28th, then Spanky's diagnosis of DCM, then Digit declined rapidly and was diagnosed with an acute liver infection. Then I lost Raina... I wasn't prepared to lose Tammy too.
I picked her up and palpated her stomach, feeling for lumps, and checking joints for breaks. Nothing. I put her down and she ran and hid under my mom's bed. I went to her, saw Tammy's face and told my mom to get her shoes on.
To say I was filled with dread is an understatement.
We were seen at the emergency clinic rather quickly and it was discovered she had a fever of 104° (normal for cats is between 100°-102.5°). Because of her history, the vet believed she was having another relapse of her URI despite having next to no symptoms before that day. She got sub-q fluids into her back, a steroid injection, and some antibiotics. By the time we got home, the fluids and steroids alone had her back to normal. What a shock from just two hours prior.
So, with that I'm sharing common symptoms to watch for in your feline as this could have had a very different ending than it did. I'm just happy everything worked out and Tammy is 100% back to normal now.
What are the symptoms of fever?
Reluctance to move
Loss of appetite
Pain and tenderness when touched (hyperalgesia)
Hunched over appearance
Increased breathing (hypernea)
Okay, here we go. Grab a coffee, glass of wine, or water... This is long lol
After Angel passed away, I made the decision to have Spanky, her brother, x-rayed to have a look at his lung function as Dr. Sharon said that would have been the only way we could have known Angel's lungs were so diseased. I've been suspicious of Spanky's health for over a month now and what I heard wasn't good. His heart was twice the size it should be, plus he too had some form of lung disease. Spanky's heart ultrasound was today and what he has is actually rare, however more than likely curable. He has DCM, or, dilated cardiomyopathy. The reason why this is a rare heart condition is because cat food manufacturers now put taurine in their products.
Lack of taurine in a pregnant mama cat will lead to fetus reabsorption, abortion/miscarriage, low birth weight of full term kittens, still born kittens, and fetal abnormalities.
There's a simple answer. A taurine supplement. Thankfully, Spanky is in the early stages of DCM and the radiologist believes that Spanky's DCM will actually be gone after six (6) months of medication and taurine supplements. So far what little research I have done, it explains the following:
Regarding Passion's litter: Dorothy's passing, Angel/Darla's abnormalities and passing, Spanky's DCM.
Regarding Gracie's litter: The abortion/miscarriage of all her kittens.
Regarding Dottie's litter: The abortion/miscarriage of her one kitten
Regarding Cleo's litter: The stillbirth of Adonis, the passing of Langley, and quite possibly Selene's "mineral deposit" in her eye (need to clarify this with Dr. Sharon).
Needless to say, many of our rescues that came from the streets are now on Taurine supplements, including Neo, who also came from the street and likely a mama that didn't get enough taurine while pregnant.
It's shocking how the passing of one beautiful feline has led us to so much information. I am beyond heartbroken over Angel. It's somewhat reassuring her death has given us so many answers.
Which brings me to some more sad news I can only pray will be fixed with the taurine supplement. Digit is quite sick now as well. Within the past couple days he has become run down and his coat no longer shines. His stomach has been quite upset and he too has been sleeping more than he should. I brought him in with me today and one X-ray later I'm hearing that his abdomen is filled with fluid and his heart is also larger than it should be. I'm not sure how many more times my heart can break. I should be getting most of his bloodwork back tomorrow. I've cried so much in the past week I just don't know how many more tears I can shed.
I have a fairly large running tab with Dr. Sharon who has been beyond gracious and generous with her services. We both want what is best for these rescues and we both want all of them to have the best life possible.
Along with Dr. Sharon, our amazing vet tech; Melissa, and myself, we have all agreed that it's best for us to stop intake at this time so we can focus on the health of who we have in our care.
I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist and do go the extra mile and spare no expense for my rescues. ELM has been commended by other veterinarians for the care we provide to our rescues. We don't do it for praise or recognition, we do it because we are passionate about what we do. I'm not someone that can grab kittens off the street without their mom and adopt them out the next day. I need to learn about their personalities. I need to check their stool. I need to keep them isolated for 10-14 days to ensure there isn't some kind of infection brewing. I take pride in what I do and I'm a very sensitive person. If a cat or kitten gets sick after I adopt it out, I feel responsible. I want to guarantee the health of my felines and in doing so, I've run into a fairly large bill with my vet. I run tests "others" may deem unnecessary or even frivolous. The thing is, I don't want my adoptive parents to run into exactly what I have this past week. Clearly there will never be enough one can do to ensure a healthy cat or kitten.
I'd be lying if I said I've considered shutting down. I've been absolutely crushed over Angel, then Spanky, and now Digit. I get angry as well. For many reasons. I worry so much about my rescues I often think I'm not cut out for this. I love every minute of it and I know this was just an extra bad week. Thankfully I can still find joy in Honey doing great without her cone, only one Teeterville kitten left to adopt, many praises and thanks from others, and of course, my two latest baby girls; Mookie and Raina. I don't want to give up which is why we are currently saying "no more intake" until we get more of our rescues adopted and our vet bill paid off. I'm not one that likes to owe money so it's a heavy burden on my proud shoulders.
We will be setting up a YouCaring fundraising campaign to help pay off our vet bill. We would appreciate any and all help, even if you are only able to share. Every little click helps.
Thank you all for being my rock and my family.
"Increased resorption of fetuses, reduced litter size, and increased incidence of stillborn kittens was observed in queens while on taurine-deficient diets"
"The reproductive performance of female cats is severely affected by dietary taurine deficiency resulting in excessive reproductive wastage, including frequently resorbed or aborted fetuses and stillborn or low birth-weight live kittens. These studies were performed using female cats fed a completely defined purified diet (taurine-free) alone or supplemented with taurine for greater than or equal to 6 mo before mating, and their breeding performance was monitored for several years. Diets containing 0, 0.005 or 0.01% taurine produced severe taurine depletion and poor reproductive performance. Those containing 0.05, 0.2 or 1% taurine resulted in no apparent abnormalities and a normal breeding performance. A diet containing 0.02% taurine resulted in no apparent abnormalities and a normal breeding performance. A diet containing 0.02% taurine resulted in modest taurine depletion and a partially compromised reproductive performance. Kittens from taurine-deficient mothers have a poor survival rate and grow at a slower rate than kittens from females fed an adequate taurine diet. The brain weights of kittens from taurine-deficient mothers are significantly smaller than normal, both at birth and at weaning at 8 wk. Surviving kittens exhibit a number of abnormalities. The differences in maternal dietary taurine are reflected in the taurine concentrations found in the milk of lactating females. Our results strongly suggest that a certain amount of taurine is mandatory for survival and normal development in the cat."
"Taurine deficiency occurs in a large number of cats fed unfortified commercial diets. Deficiency arises because cats are unable to absorb all the taurine in processed diets and/or are unable to synthesize the deficit between absorption and requirement, which makes taurine an essential amino acid for cats. Taurine-depleted cats develop retinal degeneration, cardiomyopathy, altered white-cell function, and abnormal growth and development. Taurine deficiency is best estimated from the plasma-taurine concentration, with values less than 30 mumol/l considered deficient."
My darling Raya who came along with 7 other litter mates was by far the one I was most worried about. Not because of her health, but because she was so antisocial and timid. When potential adopters came over to meet her and her siblings, she did nothing but hide. Her tail was always between her legs. She always hid from me. I was so sad for her thinking no one would want her.
Two weeks ago, she started coming around purring, loving, cuddling, and never leaving my side. Ironically, it was around the time we had any sort of indication there was something wrong with my mom's cat, Angel.
After Angel passed away on Tuesday, something inside me guided me to Raya. It was a gentle voice, soothing, and yet encouraging. Each day I heard my mom more discouraged and empty. She even talked of how her older cat, Stella, was missing Angel. On Thursday I discussed Raya with Dr. Sharon, our vet, and we both agreed she would be a great fit for my mom.
She was. I had brought her over for a "visit" and I went home empty handed and leaving my mom seeing her smile once again.
We don't know why things happen the way they do. What I do know, is that Angel's passing may have saved three other kittens. As devastating as it is, I'm so grateful for Raya. She bonded immediately with my mom with purrs, head butts, and kisses. She is even giving Stella the most respect I've ever seen a feline give to another. She will look for her, check on her, then walk away. There has been no hissing, no growling, and has my mom completely relaxed (that's huge!). The most amazing thing of all is hearing my mom happy again. I'm not one to push animals on others right after a loss, but I know my mom and what she needs. I was happy and comfortable picking out Raya for her as she looks nothing like Angel. I could have given her Adalyn but I don't want to take Angel's memories from her or make her feel as though I'm trying to replace her, because I'm not. With Raya, now Tami, my mom has a new companion to help ease her pain of sudden loss. I don't feel there is anything wrong with that... Everyone grieves and copes differently. My mom can now grieve Angel while getting a reassuring purr and head butt to let her know she isn't alone.
Thank you Raya for being all that my mom needs and more ❤️
A mom of 3 that loves Jesus Christ, my children, cats, and of course, all that God created. Thank you for checking us out here at ELM!