I love watching these two when they think no one is watching. They are like kids playing make believe, free and unfiltered — until they are caught in the act. Spending the majority of my time with Kali, I've grown accustomed to the meaning behind her nickname, Special K. It's because I know her personality so well, that I knew something was off on that particular Monday night. On Tuesday afternoon, she was at the pet hospital, dehydrated with a temperature bordering on the fatal one hundred and five degrees. We got her in just in time.
I had chronic bronchitis pretty much my entire life up until I was pregnant with Marissa. I was in and out of hospitals and doctor offices. Dimetapp was my bitch. My daughter, however, never got a cold as a child. An earache, once. Stomachache, sure. But I don't remember her having a bad cold until her late teens. Of course when it happens to her now, it's a Very Big Deal and I can never sleep soundly while she is sick. But unlike my mom, I never spent long nights with someone completely dependant on me — listening, watching, worrying and waiting. Until last month with my baby Kali.
It was on another Autumn day, not long before Marissa started working for Disney, that I was feeling more adventurous than usual. So when Marissa suggested we cross the wrong side of the tracks while out on our walk, I was all for it. And that's when we saw it: Cottage Pet Hosptial. As cute as it sounds. Then my heart dropped. Why didn't we see this before we lost our beloved Bella? Maybe she could've been saved if we had spent less time driving to the other hospital. But I had the comfort of knowing from then on that it was literally around the corner if Kali ever needed it.
And when we took Kali to Cottage Pet Hospital that Tuesday afternoon, not only did she get everything she needed, so did we. We found an incredibly compassionate veterinarian in Dr. Sinhai, a man who understands both animals and humans and for the demographic economics of which his practice is located. He heals without hesitation. And it saved Kali's life.
I'm not going into details as to the financial discounts, because I am sure it's on a case-by-case basis, but we are so thankful Kali's survival wasn't jeopardized because we couldn't afford it. That's not to say the medical bill was cheap (and payment in full is required), but we know from experience it would've cost a hell of a lot more elsewhere and sadly, would have cost Kali her life. Also, thank goodness Marissa, who is far from being a cheapskate, knows how to manage her money and had it to spend without a second thought.
If you follow me on Twitter, you know this stressful situation went on for over two weeks. But today I'm happy to say that Kali is just about 100 percent better! The upper respiratory infection appears to be cleared up and we know from extensive lab work that she is healthier than any one of us reading this post. And allow me to clarify: the upper respiratory infection is a very common, hardly ever fatal, cold cats come down with (especially when an adopted cat from a shelter joins the family). In fact, Kali's URI was quite mild compared to all the "OMG My Cat Has An URI" YouTube videos Marissa and I reassured ourselves with by watching.
Here are a few things to watch out for:
1. Cats are made up of 80% water, but they are notorious for not drinking enough of it. If you've noticed your cat isn't much of a drinker and is only on a dry-food diet, you should really add wet food to the table. Yes, it's pricey, but getting fluids intravenously is way more expensive.
2. I guzzle water all day, but when I am sick even the thought of it makes me gag. So if your Evian-loving feline drinks enough to make her eyes float everyday, she may get all Prohibitionist while under-the-weather. When I bought Kali home from the hospital, she would not go near the stuff. And her wet food wasn't going to cut it alone in replenshing her fluid intake.
But she did have an appetite. So I went out and bought chicken broth (with NO onion-anything), canned tuna packed in water, and Gerber poultry baby food. I added a spoonful of baby food in with about a quarter of a cup of broth, and Kali went at it like how I stress-eat a banana cream pie after watching an episode of The Walking Dead. She also licked up the tuna water the same way I devour a Big Mac when having PMS. By the way, I kept adding fresh water to the can of tuna so it would soak up the flavor and last longer.
Remember, cats with URI will have stuffy noses, so smelly foods such as tuna and chicken broth warmed up will be more appealing. Just keep feeding it to your cat as long as she wants it, and keep it available for her to get to.
Once Kali started feeling better, she turned her nose up at all the "babying" food and started drinking more water a day than she usually does in a week — after I put it in a Mickey Mouse cup.
3. Unless your cat is me, it will not like having pills shoved down its throat. Don't believe those veterinarian-made YouTubes showing how easy it is — 'cause I'm pretty sure the cats in those videos were injected with a paralyzing nerve agent before pressing RECORD. Your cat will lose its shit (and so will you) when it comes to taking its medicine.
The best advice is to wrap your kitty up in a blanket like a burrito and secure with duct tape.
Seriously though, tuck 'em in and wrap up tight. Put your cat in a reclined position in a comfortable, but confined spot, like the bathroom sink. If you're giving her a pill, make sure the color of the pill doesn't blend in with the carpet or floor. You may think your cat is a bad-ass-pill-popper only to discover it on the floor 20 minutes (or month) later. Then force open her mouth and toss that pill in like it's the Precious being thrown into Mount Doom. Then hold her mouth shut and count your fingers. Rub her throat and blow on her nose to get her to swallow and don't think too hard about how weird all this is. (I'm so looking forward to seeing on Google Analytics which of these phrases brings the perverts to the blog!). Be sure to have antiseptic wipes close by to clean up the mess, 'cause your cat will slobber like a dog.
One more thing: after you bring your pet home from the veterinarian, call your doctor for a prescription for a bottle of Xanax.