- Jan 10, 2010For those of you who need a happy story --- today is 5 years since I got my precious little Tigger Too. Shortly after I lost my soul-kitty Pooh to a brain tumor back in 2004, I called a local Scottish Fold breeder to place my order for a little boy. Exactly a month after Pooh moved up to heaven, they had a litter of 4 gorgeous little red and white kittens. I had to wait 12 weeks to get my new little boy, but they brought him over on January 10, 2005 -- I was so anxious and excited, I went down to the lobby to wait for them.
Unfortunately Tigger was sick -- he had really bad herpes and also bordatella. I kept him separated in my bedroom for the first 10 days, and we had to treat the bordatella for 3 months. So our relationship didn't get off to the greatest start -- twice a day I had to wrap him up like a papoose in order to give him his meds. It was a constant struggle. But eventually that was over, and we started bonding.
Tigger also had a 3-4 heart murmur. We saw a cardiologist from NYC who visited Toronto just to see special cases. He was diagnosed with HCM and put on atenolol. But Tigger was successfully neutered without any problem. Since my vet knew Tigger had HCM, he used the smallest amount of the safest drugs on him, and he said he never worked so fast! But Tigg was just fine. A couple years later we got our own cardiologist close by, so I took him in for another echo & ekg, and he was exactly the same. She said that if that didn't change, he could live a normal lifespan.
At age two he had a partial blockage of the urinary tract, just drops came out -- so they fixed him up. I took him off all dry food and now he gets only canned Friskies with extra water, mixed with RC S/O urinary canned diet. He has stayed constant at 9-10 lbs, and looks great. I was warned that if he really blocked up someday, he probably wouldn't make it through an operation. I add extra water to his food to help keep him flushed out.
I did almost lose him once though. A couple years ago I took him to my own vet for shots, and while he was being examined, he was so unbelievably stressed out that his heart actually stopped beating. He had a near-death experience for 20 seconds, but then recovered on his own even before they could start working on him. He always freaked out when I took him out, but this was much worse. I promised him I'd never take him out again unless it was absolutely necessary. And I haven't. No more shots, no more exams, etc -- unless something changes drastically. He is just my precious little boy here, safe and sound, and as stress-free as possible. I work at home, so I'm always here with him, and he is always close by so I can keep an eye on him.
I don't know if Pooh picked him out for me or not, but he's wonderful! My only complaint with him is that he's pretty lazy, he doesn't play much. I want to play a lot more than he does. For a while I was afraid to play with him, but I talked to my vet about that. His wise words were that kitties are "here for a good time, not a long time, so have a good time, the sun don't shine everyday". So I try to get him to play and run a little everyday, good for his little heart. Getting the cat tree was the best thing, he climbs and plays on that, which is good exercise for his upper body.
I am able to give him his atenolol only because it comes in a beef-flavored liquid, so I don't have to catch him and hold him down to give him any pills. That would kill him for sure. I mix the liquid (and the lysine for his herpes) in a little bit of food, then after he polishes that off, I put the rest of the food down. My cats have access to canned food 24/7 so they can regulate their own blood sugar, they do love to nibble!
We have been very blessed, as Tigger shows no outward signs of his heart disease. You can't even tell that he's sick. But I know that can turn on a dime, and even my vet said that even though he seems just fine now, he could go at any moment. So we just take it day by day, and share as much love as we can. I am so glad that this group is here. Our collective experience and knowledge is mind-blowing!
HCM is not an immediate death sentence. There is a LOT that can be done, new meds, supplements, etc. Keep the faith and share as much love as you can.
Take care -- Michelle & Tigger Too in Toronto, starting our happy 6th year together
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