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Update re: Spain the Cat

Before I give you the full kitty update, I must hereby take a moment to plug the Elliot Bay Animal Hospital. When not one, not two, but three closer vet's offices cried, "No room at the inn!" The folks at Elliot Bay went out of their way to work Spain into the line-up. Everyone there -- from the folks at reception to the doc herself -- was perfectly amazing. Also, they had free coffee in the lobby. Two thumbs, two paws, and a couple of tails up to their entire crew, especially Dr. Tregarden and a very calm nurse(?) named Quinn.

Anyway. Spain the Cat is now out of surgery, which she passed through with flying colors. She's awake, alert, upright, and grouchy. These things are very good signs.

Here's the short version of how and what.

Ever since we first brought Spain home from the shelter, she's had a morbid hunger for inappropriate objects -- particularly string, hair ties, shoelaces, thin ropes, etcetera. Knowing this, we subsequently did our best to "baby-proof" our home. Shoes stay in the closet at all times unless they are on feet. Corsets stay in high drawers or in suitcase. Hair twisties stay in boxes or in bags, never out on counters or tables.

But if you've got a cat, you know how it goes. By magic, she's gotten her jaws on twisties before; and by luck, she's gotten all of them up again via the yak method. However, since I don't like taking chances, I got rid of all but three or four twisties -- which I keep stored in a box -- and I mostly put my hair up with sticks, clips, or combs. No shit. I changed my hairstyle for this cat, and it was no problem.

However, once in a blue moon, she finds another one -- even though I could honestly count on one hand the number of twisties in this entire house, and until I saw that x-ray today, I thought I knew the precise location of every single one.

The trouble began Sunday night, when she started doing the HORK HORK HORK chorus around 11:00 p.m. This chorus continued off and on throughout the night, and then kept up through Monday at lunchtime. Perhaps a dozen times she tried valiantly to throw up, but produced nothing. And she wouldn't eat breakfast.

I'd never seen her have such trouble with a hairball, but rather than panic, I pestered graphxgrrl for the use of her cat lube (read: laxative) and dosed up the kitty. It didn't work. She didn't use the box, and she was behaving oddly, moving slowly and "hunkering" a lot -- crouching like she thought she was going to yak at any moment. So I told myself that if she hadn't passed the blockage out one end or the other by this morning, I'd whisk her off to the vet. Well, this morning she seemed worse -- more lethargic and uncomfortable. And most telling of all, she still wouldn't eat.

And now I'm going to skip the abject horror of trying to find a vet in Seattle who would take a look at her, because no one wanted to assume responsibility for a "new patient" without an appointment -- and I didn't want to resort to the emergency clinics because even if they're great, they cost twice as much, and that's when the Elliot Bay people called me back* and said, "If you can come down right now, we can work her in." I will also skip the bits about how my brakes don't work very well but Elliot Bay AH is about six miles away and so I drove anyway, hoping and praying the whole time.

Instead, I will tell you that after some very personal examinations and a couple of x-rays, Spainy's condition was made clear. The twistie was blocking a chunk of her intestine, where it had kinked around a corner and made a resolution to stay.

On the upshot, she is otherwise 100% healthy, and she's even lost almost a pound since her last vet visit, bringing her down to a smidge over eleven pounds. And, since she hadn't had anything to eat (and no water either, since yesterday), they could go ahead with surgery pretty much right away.

Since the surgery went so well, the $bill$ will work out to be near the lower end of the office estimate ... which still sets the total cost around $1600, and that's going on the credit card which I just paid off a few weeks ago. Remember? I was all excited about it? Yeah. Two steps forward, one step back. But at least the money is there (sort of), and if all goes well, I can pick up my munchkin tomorrow afternoon.

I meant it, by the way -- when I said that I don't really care how much it costs, as long as she's okay. It costs what it costs, and we'll scare up the dough somehow. I didn't really need new brakes anyway, right? Heh.

Actually, I'm thinking about taking up some joking LJers on their suggestion to create a Spain the Cat calendar via Flickr, or something like that. I don't know yet, we'll see.

But there you go -- that's the update on the Doom Beast's condition. Now you know as much as I know, and it is to be fervently hoped that she'll be home by tomorrow afternoon. Thank you all times a thousand for all the lovely emails, posts, and shows of support. They were greatly appreciated, each and every one; and later on tonight I'll try to respond to them.

And did I mention that she's going to be wearing a cone?
Oh yes ... there shall be pictures ...

* The receptionist at the Capitol Hill Animal Clinic was also really helpful, despite the fact that their doctor wasn't in for the day and they couldn't fit me into their scheduling. I was panicking, on the verge of crying, and starting to wheeze ... but she made a bunch of phone calls for me and helped me reach the EBAH.


( 127 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 18th, 2007 11:46 pm (UTC)
i am quite relieved that she's okay. this is very good news. :)

(i think this icon is oddly appropriate here... hehe.)
Sep. 18th, 2007 11:46 pm (UTC)
I'm so happy she's gonna be okay and that you caught it in time.

Sep. 18th, 2007 11:46 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad she's gooing to be OK, and that you've found a really rockin' vet!

But poor Spainy- collar and all. I'm looking forward o the pictures. :)
Sep. 18th, 2007 11:47 pm (UTC)
*hugs* I'm *so* glad to hear the Doom Beast has triumphed over the twistie -- I was very worried.
Sep. 18th, 2007 11:47 pm (UTC)
holy shit, cherie, i am SO GLAD you posted an update.

the sentence "it doesn't matter what it costs" is so true. jeff and i had a discussion and agreed that if one of ours was in a similar situation that all credit available would be pooled.

you are an amazing kittymom. she's as lucky to have you as you are to have her.

::hugs:: SO GLAD everything/one is ok.
Sep. 18th, 2007 11:48 pm (UTC)
I am very very glad that Spain's come through her surgery.

And, yes, a good vet is a treasure beyond rubies. Our vet is a half-hour drive each way, and I DON'T CARE.
Sep. 18th, 2007 11:48 pm (UTC)
Yay Spainy! I'm so glad to hear she's OK. I'd freak if my furbabies got sick. We had a scare in the beginning, right after we adopted Guinness, and after $250 at the emergency clinic* she just had a simple stomach bug.

Crazy cats. Money-sinks, indeed.

* - You're right - it is about double. Bastiges.
Sep. 18th, 2007 11:48 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad your kittyface is OK. It's really a horrifying feeling when a critter you love is in trouble.

My Schiller used to eat inappropriate things, too. I lived in fear of him getting his yap on something fatal. He never managed, and was with me til cancer took him at the age of 20.
Sep. 18th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)
i'm so glad she's going to be ok!!! My cats love to chew on weird things, mainly plastic and strings. i'm gonna be extra careful now!!

And i feel ya on the $$. Our dog had to have emergency surgery a few years ago for a ruptured hernia. let me tell you, $1600 is cheap!! LOL. we had to pay i think $4600!!! my parents finally paid off the vet just so we didn't have to pay interest. we're STILL paying off my parents!

damn pets! little bundles of love!
Sep. 18th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)
I am so glad that the Spainy cat is ok! And I can't wait for cone pictures. :)
Sep. 18th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)
* whew *
Sep. 18th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)
Glad to hear everything went well. And I'm going to definitely relay this to the family, because both kittens love to play with bread ties and ribbon.
Sep. 18th, 2007 11:58 pm (UTC)
Be really careful with thread/yarn/string. Cat's tongues are barbed in such a way that once they start swallowing something like string they have to keep going until it's all gone. Thread can cut through the intestines and kill a cat if it's not caught in time.
(no subject) - stevenagy - Sep. 19th, 2007 12:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 18th, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, I can't tell you how happy I am to hear that Spainy's going to be OK! It's horrid when they are ill, but a good vet makes all the difference in the world. Ours is about 20 minutes away from home, which is horribly inconvinent for Baby who gets so nervous he poops on the way home every time, but they are the best vets I've ever been to.

David and I have the "no much how much it costs" attitude for our babies too. When Baby had his seizures, I didn't know how I was going to afford to get him care, I didn't have that much credit at the time. David was lovely and said he'd pay for everything (we weren't married at the time).

Pebbles likes to eat string and ribbons. I keep things picked up as best as I can, and every time she's gotten ahold of something she's harked it back up (several FEET of ribbon once!). So far anyway.

Best wishes to you and Spainy, I hope she feels better soon!
Sep. 18th, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC)
Oh yay yay yay yay yay! I was so worried when I saw that X-ray. I've had a cat do exactly that -- can't eat, can't poop, and can't throw up -- and it is Just No Fun. I'm glad she's out of surgery and will be all right.
Sep. 18th, 2007 11:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad the kitty is okay.

Sep. 18th, 2007 11:58 pm (UTC)
So glad Spain is doing better!

Sep. 18th, 2007 11:59 pm (UTC)
Chiming in with being very glad that Spainy is goin to be all right!

And when I first saw the X-Ray, the shape of it gave me the fleeting impression she'd managed to eat a Wii remote, and I was going "How the HELL... wait, no, that's way too small..."
Sep. 18th, 2007 11:59 pm (UTC)
I meant it, by the way -- when I said that I don't really care how much it costs, as long as she's okay. It costs what it costs, and we'll scare up the dough somehow.

Yep, been there, done that - I have a very good vet surgery who take the view that treating the animal comes first, and we'll sort out payment later. I've never had an animal put to sleep because it was cheaper than treating it - including forking out about £500 on a pet rat.

Really glad to hear Spainy-cat is on the mend.

And did I mention that she's going to be wearing a cone?
Oh yes ... there shall be pictures ...

She's gonna get you for that one, just you wait!
Sep. 18th, 2007 11:59 pm (UTC)
I am glad she is ok.
Everytime Stupid Head (aka Tyler) eats something I wonder if I shouldn't have is jaw wired shut. I'm so paranoid about plastic, I don't know where he finds it. I think he can open doors.
Sep. 19th, 2007 12:01 am (UTC)
OH thank heavens. I just went through this with my Fizgig, only it was just that she was dehydrated and the Out was all backed up. And yeah, freshly paid off credit card goes right back up. But who cares. She's my child. Don't care how much it costs, MAKE HER BETTER.

~sympathies for you and scritches for the Doom Beast~
Sep. 19th, 2007 12:02 am (UTC)
Got a PayPal account where I can hack up $20 to a "Heal Spain the Cat" fund? It's the least I could do for the hours of entertainment both you and Spain have provided me over the last year or so...
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Sep. 19th, 2007 12:37 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 19th, 2007 12:03 am (UTC)
Do you have a paypal account? You helped so much by getting the word out about my Schro a while back...it's only fair I pay it forward a little to Spainy.
Sep. 19th, 2007 12:03 am (UTC)
So glad to hear that she's going to be all right.

It's funny. My dear friend pendamuse told me about the surgery (I'd been buried in a work project and hadn't logged in to LJ today), and it struck both of us that we could be so concerned about a cat that neither of us know personally. Yes, we both love practically all cats, but this was a different situation. Yet, it does seem like we know her, which is really a testament to your posting skills.

I'm very relieved that Ms. Spain is going to recover and continue bringing many things to your life - and to the rest of our lives as well.
Sep. 19th, 2007 12:04 am (UTC)
YAY Spain being okay. Thinking more good thoughts.
Sep. 19th, 2007 12:04 am (UTC)
I have been obsessively hitting refresh on my friends page hoping for an update on sweet Spainy. We are doing happy wiggle-butt dances here to hear that things went so well with her surgery.

We will, however, continue to keep her candle lit and keep y'all in our thoughts and prayers. Just to be on the safe side. :)
Sep. 19th, 2007 12:43 am (UTC)
Oh yah and PS--I wouldn't have much use for a calendar but I would totally buy (and wear) a Spain the Cat t-shirt. Dunno if you can make those through Flickr, but you definitely can at CafePress...
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( 127 comments — Leave a comment )