Friday, November 05, 2010
Meet the Boo Kitty
This is Boo. Or, more commonly referred to as the Boo Kitty. We adopted Boo from a shelter in February of 2003, just after our beloved kitty Sahab died of feline infectious peritonitis. We wanted Shadow to have a brother to grow up with, and the Boo Kitty fit the bill.
Boo's adoption story is special to me. I found him through a shelter that places pets in PetCo stores. He was in a cage in the center of the store with his brother. I met Boo and his brother, and chose....his brother, who was friendly and happy and playful. I picked him up and walked to the front of the store, then changed my mind. That frightened, fearful, terrified kitty I had left behind would surely have a harder time being adopted. The happy one would easily find a loving home. So I picked up the Boo kitty and brought him home to become a part of our family.
When Boo first arrived in our home, he was a mess. He had no hair on his neck, because a too-tight collar had not been checked, and it was rubbed off. He could climb up onto the couch, but couldn't figure out how to jump off. A little pitiful.
Within days, Boo came out of his shell and got the hang of running around and jumping off furniture and became a very sweet little companion. He got his name from his scaredy-cat demeanor--he still to this day hides from us when we are walking around, and from noises (even not so loud ones) and sudden movements. He is very sweet and loves to sit on our laps and head butt us until we pet him.
Boo has always had his issues. He over-grooms himself, and pulls out the hair on his lower back, so he looks a bit mangy. He also occasionally overgrooms his 'elbows' on the front legs, and we have to put him into a kitty cone to protect him from himself, because the skin there is more tender and will weep or bleed. But he is the Boo Kitty, and we love him.
Boo is very smart. He opens cupboard doors to hide from Shadow amongst our pots and pans. When Shadow was acting up and peeing everywhere, we could put him into the bathroom with the door mostly closed, and he couldn't figure out how to pull the door towards him to get out, but Boo has that skill down. We have never been able to keep Boo out of our linen closet, despite piling books in front of the accordian door to keep him out. Ethan says he takes after his daddy, the locksmith. He never met a door he couldn't open.
Boo is also very athletic. He tears around the house sometimes, chasing nothing at all. He will take our steps 3 or 4 at a time (while Shadow can only manage 2 or 3 on a good day). He also jumps up and hangs out on our pot-shelves above the kitchen cabinets. Shadow can't do this, and that area has become a bit of a Boo-Kitty sanctuary.
Boo is very instinctual. He 'buries' anything with a hint of an odor. His food, *my* food....anything. It stresses him out to have odors in the house. He is also very particular about food. He will freak out and meow until the food dish is full to the brim, then go about his business. He is not hungry, just worried about the kibble level. This is why Shadow is chubby. We keep food out all the time for Boo, and tempt him with treats....but he is never that interested, and Shadow ends up with extra.
We started training the cats to use the toilet instead of the litter box. Boo got this right away. He was at the point where he would pee/poo directly into the toilet through the small training hole in the special over-toilet litter box. When we had to back up a step to accommodate Shadow's slower learning, Boo took things into his own paws and started balancing on the garbage can (where we empty dirty litter into) and peeing/pooing directly into it. He gets what we are trying to accomplish, and is totally on board.
We very much love the Boo Kitty.
Last week, we noticed that Boo was tired and listless, and had lost some weight. He has always been very skinny, and throws up a lot because he scarfs his food down too quickly. We actually have him on a special kibble diet with really big kibbles just to force him to chew them up and slow down his eating. The vets in the past said he was pretty skinny, but since he had such great energy and was feeling healthy, they weren't concerned.
I took him into the vet last Friday, and found out that he had lost about 3 poiunds--from nearly 9 pounds in February, to 5.8 pounds now. Not good. The vet was hoping (with his usual excellent energy and skinny body) that he had a thyroid problem. Great--a pill a day, and a healthy cat comes back. We drew some blood and headed home.
I go a call from the vet on Saturday, telling me that Boo was in kidney failure with a creatinine of 6.5, and needed to come in right away for IV fluids. We took him in, and they placed an IV and kept him the rest of the day. We picked him up in the evening when they closed, and took him home for the night, returning him to the clinic when they opened the next morning. Three days of IV fluids and some meds. They were very impressed with his great appetite at the clinic, which is unusual for renal failure cats. They had been planning to force feed him while he was there, but that was not needed. Boo came home with an IV in, wrapped up in coban to prevent him from messing with it. We had an orange camoflauge wrap the first 2 days, then a Husky purple one the last day. Boo HATED that wrap. He would take a step, then fling that leg around, trying to get the wrap off, then take another step and repeat. It would have been funny if we weren't so worried for his health.
After the 3rd day, we had Boo's blood drawn again. The results came back better, but he still showed kidney failure with a creatinine of 5.0. He also had a very low hematocrit of 18, but we think that part of that is a dilutional effect of all the IV fluids he had received that day. The vet recommended that we do an ultrasound on Boo the next day (wednesday), since he is far too young to be having kidney issues. We were hoping to see evidence of some sort of kidney infection that was not showing up in his urine, or something else (treatable) that we could work on. The final report comes out today, but what they found was just some small kidneys (congenital issue) with severe damage. No one is sure what this means long-term for the Boo Kitty. I learned how to give him subcutaneous fluids on Tuesday, and have been giving them each night since then. 100ccs of Lacated ringers in the scruff of his neck. I have only done it twice so far, but all I need to do is pet him and get him to lay on the floor for a belly rub. I slip the needle in and continue his belly scratching for 2-3 minutes while the fluid goes in, then remove the needle and tell him what a good kitty he is. He really is a good boy.
He had some diarrhea at the clinic, probably from stress. Today is his last day of flagyl, which is fixing the diarrhea. Already have normalish poo today, so it did it's thing. Boo feels much better this morning. He was hiding away and sleeping on his bed for most of the last week, but now he is roaming around his room and running up to get good belly rubs. They shaved his belly for the ultrasound, and I think he is really enjoying the extra sensitive belly rubs he can get now.
We have Boo living in one of our spare bedrooms. He has a litter box, water bowl, foods to tempt him, and several beds and hidey holes to hang out in. Shadow knows something funny is going on, and is having a hard time. Boo looks different, smells different, and is getting a lot of attention and special foods. So he wants to growl and slap at Boo, which is not OK right now. Boo needs rest and relaxation, so they are being separated unless we are right there to run interference. Hopefully their brotherhood will be re-established once Boo has his energy back and can defend himself again.
We love the Boo Kitty dearly, and are very happy that he is feeling a little better. He goes back for another blood draw in a week or so, and we will see how things are, but the most important part is how he acts and how he feels. Right now, it looks like we are headed in the right direction. As long as we can give him a good quality of life, we will continue the SQ fluids. If he can run around and play and enjoy things, it is totally worth it. We know that someday this will change, and we will have to let him go, but right now, things are looking up.