Waldo's had a problem since last winter. On and off. He's been congested, with some sneezing. The problem seemed to wax and wane; some days he was better, some days he seemed worse. Although he's come a LONG way since his feral days, he's still extremely skittish/timid. I am trying to work on getting him more used to me picking him up, but he scrambles and leaps and is so darn wiry I've only been able to pick him up maybe 3 times in the 2 years I've had him.
So twice i was able to get prescription antibiotics from the vet without seeing the vet because it was such a challenge to get the cat there. But I didn't see any improvement, and I was worrying that he had some sort of drug-resistant bacteria, or a virus.
I hoped that like a human with a bad cold, he could eventually shake it off. I turned the heat up in the house. I started dosing his food with extra Vitamin C and Vitamin E, plus some homeopathic stuff. Didn't really do anything.
I knew I needed to get him to the vet, but didn't know how. If I put food or treats in the cat carrier, he'd refuse to go in there, or, he would take his paw and dab at the food, then eat it off his paw.
The night before last, his breathing got really labored. I didn't sleep at all, because his loud breathing kept me awake. He was totally congested, and didn't seem to know to breathe through his mouth. I could hear him whenever he walked into a room the previous week because of his wheezy breathing.
So the day before yesterday, I went to capture him. I knew I had but a single chance to do it because if I tried but failed, he would not trust me and wouldn't let me near him again for days. I knew the best chance was mid-morning, when he usually lounges in bed for a morning nap. I called the vet, made an appointment, then had to reschedule it when Waldo was wandering around downstairs (because it was sunny and warm.) I had to break the 2nd appointment as well when Waldo didn't go upstairs. (Believe, me, i tried before to corral him in a single room and then catch him, and it is still impossible. And he gets so scared.)
The last time I called the Cat Whisperer, I left a message asking for her help but said if she didn't want to return (she'd helped me once before), I would understand. She didn't return my call.
Yesterday, I decided to try to capture him first, and worry about making the vet appointment later. If the vet who's seen him before couldn't squeeze him in, I'd find another vet; there are several in the area I've seen before, though not with Waldo. Although the vet who has seen him is incredibly expensive (he charged me $400 for Waldo's ear infection in 2010), he seemed to handle him well and well, he has that degree from Cornell, a top vet school, hanging in the waiting room.
So I put on a pair of jeans and a heavy shirt to protect myself from possible scratches. I waited til Waldo was grooming himself on the bed in the sun. We got friendly, we snuggled, and then I grabbed him quickly and got him in the carrier in about 5 seconds flat.
Waldo was astonished, extremely frightened and unhappy, but he was in the carrier. The first time I have been able to do that myself.
I called the vet and they said, can you be here in 45 minutes. Perfect.
We took the harrowing 15-minute ride there, Waldo wide-eyed and meowing mournfully and loudly.
In the waiting room, there was a monster shaggy dog about as big as a pony. His owner said it was a Russian dog, and I guess this beast would do well in Siberia.
Anyway, when it was our turn, I immediately warned the doc and his assistant about how timid Waldo was, and let's make sure we keep the doors to the exam room closed becus if he escapes, we'll never catch him. Waldo was super scared. The vet opened the door to let Waldo out and he jumped down off the exam table and started looking for a hiding place, ending up perched precariously on top of the plastic waste receptacle with a large hole in the center used to collect used syringes.
I was really rather upset with the doc for letting him out of the cage like that. He said he wanted him to calm down a little. I told him he wouldn't calm down til he was back home again. So anyway, after that extremely stressful start, i managed to keep him still as he perched on the syringe receptacle container while the doctor listened to his heartbeat with a stethoscope.
In just about a minute, the vet said it was allergies, gave him an allergy shot and said his breathing should be improved in a day, maybe two. We got him back in his carrier and after paying $99 (what relief), I headed home.
Waldo's response was IMMEDIATE. He has breathed quietly ever since. I am amazed at how quickly the doc diagnosed the problem. I had no idea it was allergies. Doc said he's seen 10 cats with allergy problems in the last 2 weeks. The pollen count has been off the charts here in Connecticut this spring, though Waldo's problems started last winter.
When I got Waldo home, I brought him in the carrier to the upstairs bedroom and let him out there. I figured he'd go for the security of under the bed. Instead, he ran out and headed down to the basement. He likes to sit under the stairs on a piece of carpet padding I have stored there, but in the past I'd shooed him out of there because it's too chilly in the basement and I thought it wouldn't be good for what I thought was his cold.
This time, i let him be and i was surprised that after just about 2 hours, he was already upstairs and poking his head in the sun room where Luther and I were. Not much longer after that, he allowed me to rub his head and I knew he wasn't holding a grudge against me. I had worried that it would take him a week to trust me again!
Doc said the shot will last at least 4 weeks, and maybe up to 3 months. If he needs another shot, he said we can just keep him in the carrier, and he can inject him thru the carrier so it wouldn't be as much of an ordeal.
Anyway, I am SO relieved. I've been worrying about Waldo for a long time. Allergies, of all things.
Waldo's miraculous recovery
May 26th, 2011 at 12:39 pm