Princess Bubblegum came to Tabby’s Place with a plea: Save me. Find out what’s wrong with me and save me. I will love you forever.
Princess Bubblegum, or “PBG” to her friends, came to Tabby’s Place emaciated, weighing only a pound. She could barely walk. Her back legs kept sliding out from behind her.
She had come from a shelter, where the staff tried so hard to get her to thrive. PBG ate, but didn’t gain weight and kept having diarrhea. What to do with a scared smidgen facing medical mysteries?
Call Tabby’s Place. As a haven for cats in the most hopeless situations, we were just the place for one perplexing Princess.
When a kitten as fragile as PBG arrives at Tabby’s Place, she always spends her early days in a staff member’s home, so she can receive ’round-the-clock care. PBG’s foster mom brought her to Tabby’s Place during the day to see the vet staff, then brought her home at night to keep giving her lots of love and attention.
Diagnosing Princess Bubblegum was a towering challenge. Our wonderful vet team tested her for many things, but all the results came back negative. We tried different medications and physical therapy. It seemed to work a tiny bit, but she was still scarcely a pound. She still had diarrhea. She ate with a ferocious appetite, but did not gain any weight. It was heartbreaking that we couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Would Princess Bubblegum be one we couldn’t save?
The vet team decided to test for a rare disease in cats. Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) is the inability of the pancreas to manufacture and secrete the necessary enzymes required by the body to digest food and absorb nutrients. Left untreated, EPI causes the body to starve, no matter how much food the cat eats.
EPI is typically seen in dogs. When it does appear in felines, it is usually older cats who have had pancreatitis. There has only been one other known kitten with congenital EPI, so this was a long shot, but we had to save PBG.
Our brave kitten’s bloodwork showed that she did, indeed, have EPI. Finally, an answer. There was something we could do to make her thrive! We could save her.
The only problem was that the treatment for EPI is not just a pill. To live with EPI, an animal must have a food supplement made from pork pancreas. This contains the enzymes needed to digest food and absorb nutrients. PBG needs these enzymes mixed in with every meal. She cannot have treats or any other food unless the enzymes are in it. The enzymes themselves are tricky, too; they cannot be cold or heated, just room temperature. Most cats will not eat them at all.
Thankfully, Princess Bubblegum ate her food, enzymes and all. Within 24 hours, her diarrhea cleared up. Within a week, she started putting on weight. She began playing, running, and being the happy-go-lucky kitten she always wanted to be. She has no trouble walking anymore, because her body is getting the nutrients she needs.
Because of PBG’s dietary restrictions, she can’t live in a typical Tabby’s Place suite, where she might get access to non-supplemented food. She will mostly stay at her foster mom’s house, with regular visits to the sanctuary. Tabby’s Place will continue to provide and pay for all of PBG’s medical care and dietary supplements, including biannual blood work and a prescription diet.
Please help us care for this sweet, beautiful girl. She will love you forever.