Surprisingly sturdy China

Surprisingly sturdy China

China in the Community Room“China Doll” is one of our many pet names for the calico diva of the Community Room. But, this week, China reminded us that she is anything but fragile.


The feisty phenomenon that is China has been medically complicated for some time. In addition to a tricky-to-regulate case of diabetes, China has worried and frustrated us with recurrent diarrhea, weight loss, and a general case of being ADR (“ain’t doin’ right” – an actual, commonly used vet term). She’s seen her share of visits to the emergency vet for liver inflammation, scary-low blood glucose (BG) levels, and other ailments.

China outfitted in her e-collar and feeding tubeAnd, in fact, just around the time I was writing our recent post on China, she was fixin’ to worry us anew.

Now, we weigh every single Tabby’s Place cat every single month, so no kitty can gain or lose too much weight under the radar. But they – by which I mean China – can try. It struck us all at once during one recent morning meeting: China was looking a way those classy supermarket tabloids would describe as “scary skinny.” When you consider that China was a jumbo set of china when she first arrived at Tabby’s Place, it was quite startling to realize that her spine now jutted out, stegosaurus-like. That same night, China’s BG was dangerously low. As you know by now, we like to err on the side of being neurotic attentive at Tabby’s Place, so it was off to the emergency vet for our bony girl.

ChinaAlas, our skinny malink was about to give us another scare. The specialist vet discovered that China had stratospheric liver values, and China was diagnosed with triaditis: the simultaneous inflammation of the liver, pancreas and intestines. Aptly described by one source as a “triple whammy,” triaditis wraps together pancreatitis (itself a fearsome diagnosis), inflammatory bowel disease and cholangiohepatitis in one dreadful package.

But no sooner was the dreadful diagnosis discovered than China decided she didn’t want to be so very sick after all.

The emergency vet placed a feeding tube in our girl (as you can see in these photos)…but China clearly found it beneath her to be fed in such an undignified way. Her appetite rallied almost immediately, and she hasn’t needed to use the tube a single time. It’s coming out tomorrow.

ChinaAs for China’s scary skinniness? In the week she’s been back home at Tabby’s Place, she’s packed on nearly a pound (the equivalent of almost ten pounds on a human), and, by every measure, she’s feeling fine. Now that she’s putting weight back on and her diabetes has stabilized, we can tweak her medications and diet to keep those inflamed insides as calm and comfy as possible.

The next step, though, will be moving China back to the sunny, open Community Room and out of her Hospital cage. You may think this would be a happy day for China, but you’d be mistaken. One of the Great Mysteries of China is that she actually flourishes best…in a cage.

Yes, at a cage-free sanctuary.

You can’t make this stuff up.

ChinaFor reasons known only to the diva herself, China has the heartiest appetite (and, I might add, cheeriest personality) when she’s confined to a cage. We’ve joked that perhaps we should create a separate “cage-rich” sanctuary for cats like her, but in the meantime don’t feel too badly for our spunky survivor. Yes, she will have to move back to the Community Room (where she’ll face the hardships of being able to roam free and choose whatever bed/sunny spot/human company she likes – the horror!). But, clearly, our sturdy China doll is not planning to go anywhere anytime soon.

And, boy, do I thank God for that.

5 thoughts on “Surprisingly sturdy China

  1. If China needs some extra weight, tell her to come to Pittsburgh and I’ll take her to some of our finer pizza and sandwich places! A famous place here puts french fries in the sandwiches so I’m thinking we can help.

  2. Such a typical calico — always keeping us guessing! Look at how attentive she is even being ill — this cat has spunk! Please give her a big kiss on that beautiful head for each of us! (Oh, and Fred — I’m coming for my french fries…what’s the address?)

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