I hope October has you smiling like a pumpkin. Please do keep your candles and prayers glowing for Adelaide.
I’m afraid September was not Addy’s month. Blissful solarium afternoons slowly, slyly gave way to weariness and wariness around food. When our tiny girl lost weight she couldn’t afford to lose, we started giving her an appetite stimulant, first once, then twice each day. We provided more treats than ever (no easy feat among the prowling treat-monsters in Addy’s posse — I’m looking at you, Charlie). We bumped up Adelaide’s subcutaneous fluid regimen.
Addy was as blithe and sweet as ever…but her body was not really responding to all our interventions.
Our vet team scheduled an ultrasound. Unfortunately, this revealed a problem. Fortunately, it revealed a problem we could tackle: pyelonephritis. This is a severe kidney infection that can cause pain, weight loss and all kinds of chaos, especially with an already-fragile feline. (Not that we’re prone to thinking of our iron lady as “fragile”…but her little tricolor body tells another story.) In addition, the ultrasound showed nephroliths, also known as kidney stones.
We began treating our brave beauty with antibiotics, and Addy responded nicely. September seemed to have been saved…
…until one of our staff members, who shall remain unnamed to protect the well-meaning, took a close look at Adelaide’s ear.
This staff member — let’s call her Danielle Rice, Sanctuary Operations Manager — immediately recognized the crusty, scaly pink skin on Addy’s ear. Danielle didn’t want it to be what it was. She didn’t want to have to report it to the vet team. She didn’t want to set in motion the Terrible Things that would surely ensue.
But Danielle loved Adelaide — and her roommates — enough to do what she had to do.
Sure enough, Adelaide had ringworm.
All together now: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Drama aside, ringworm is in no way life-threatening. It’s not painful. It’s not even particularly uncomfortable…except that we have to make it uncomfortable. Ringworm is a skin fungus akin to athlete’s foot. It exists in the environment, and most cats (and people, and anteaters, and yaks…) are exposed to it regularly. Generally it doesn’t take hold and spread in the skin. But when you’re dealing with an immune-suppressed cat like Adelaide, who lives in a multi-cat environment, ringworm can spread like itchy, crusty wildfire.
This means that, when a cat contracts ringworm at Tabby’s Place, we need to quarantine her to our Ringworm Isolation ward for three weeks of treatment.
Three weeks…away from the solarium.
Three weeks…in a cage.
Three weeks…tumbled down from the top of the world, where Adelaide rightly lives her life.
Dear sponsors, I was heartbroken by the news. Adelaide, however, was heartbroken, horrified and wholly offended. She cried and went on hunger strike and became — for the first time since she arrived at Tabby’s Place — quite depressed.
I entertained fantasies of busting her out. So what if all 100 other cats got ringworm? Adelaide must go free!
Well, sponsors, I am immensely grateful to report that Adelaide’s quarantine period has finally ended, and she is now ringworm-free. She was spared the most rigorous ringworm treatment (having her entire beauteous self dipped in a stinky lime sulfur solution — the indignity!) because the form of fungus on her ear was not the worst kind of ringworm. (If you’re really curious, Addy had Trichophyton instead of Microsporum canis. Now you know.)
And today, Addy is back on top of the world, in the center of the sunshine, giving and receiving love by the gallon. I’m making up for lost time in loving on our girl — and delivering your love, too.
I’d like to say that Adelaide’s autumn is sweeter than pecan pie at this point, but honesty compels me otherwise. I’m afraid our girl has entered yet another battle, this time with anemia. Most likely due to her kidney disease, Addy suffered several very severe bouts of anemia as September gave way to October. We were all quite shocked by her blood test results: anemia this acute would make most cats lethargic, but Addy was bouncing off the walls with her usual jubilation. Our vet team treated Addy with iron supplementation, medication to stimulate red blood cell production, and heat support, and Addy and her blood work are now moving in the right direction.
At this point, I was fool/Pollyanna enough to ask our vet, “So now we have no reason to worry too much, right? There’s nothing terminal going on here, right?”
Dr. C gave me the pained look you might give a twelve-year-old begging for reassurances that the Tooth Fairy is an actual winged individual.
“Angela,” she said gently, “Adelaide’s kidney disease is pretty severe.”
“I know!” I chirped. “But she can live years! Years! YEARS like this! Right?”
Dr. C didn’t answer. But she didn’t say “no.”
Dear sponsors, I don’t mean to end this update on such an uncertain note. But it’s the beautiful, terrifying nature of loving cats to live with such uncertainties. Although her essence sings of youth and defiant, everlasting health, our Addy is 14+ years old and fighting ferocious kidneys. Every day, month and year — yes, I still believe in years — is a gift.
I trust and pray that we’ll be marveling at Adelaide together for years to come. At this very moment, Adelaide is happy, feeling great, and buoyed on all the love we have to give. Thank you for making that possible for our beautiful girl.