My dear boy-kitty of 10 years, Minty Monroe has feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease a gastric disorder that attacks the small intestine, much like colitis or Crohn’s Disease in humans. We actually got the diagnosis last June. Minty was always prone to vomiting, but being a long-haired Maine Coon, I always thought the occasional “urp” on the floor was par for the course. Usually, it was a hairball. How could I know that he was brewing an auto-immune illness that would go from monthly vomiting to nearly daily vomiting and lately, diarrhea? There is no cure for IBD. At best, it is “managed” at a stage known as “stable disease”. It often turns into small-cell lymphoma and eventually effects the organs. Cancer is on the disease continuum for this illness as well as other secondary and tertiary afflictions.
Since his diagnosis, we have tried every remedy that is known of to help this illness. First one being a steroid known as prednisolone running through a medicine cabinet of drugs, supplements and foods over the past 9 months to our current experiment of a chemo drug, chlorambucil. Like so many parents of these kitties, I have become an expert on his disease. You name it, I’ve tried it. Recently, I feel he is slipping, but we are no where near the time when he needs to be helped to cross over. He has about 4 or 5 great days a week and one to two days of misery. The great days are still great. Bless him, he still makes it to the box even when you can see he’s desperate to get in there. He still tries to clean himself up. His appetite is good and the poops are sometimes solid. He’s a trooper through his twice weekly B12 shots and takes his pills without so much as a fuss or wimper. His personality has taken a hit, if anything has. He seldom comes upstairs to lay in bed with us like he used to. He prefers to be downstairs near the security of his food bowl and his heated bed. We sort of miss him already. But he’s still here, and those that follow me on Twitter know that I have made this my mission to get him to stable disease, if it can be done.
I’ve rolled up my carpets, and cloaked the furniture in towels. I made the microwave area of my kitchen his dispensary and feeding center (he eats every two hours since he is not absorbing well) thereby decreasing my circles all over the kitchen during feeding and dosing time. We have given in to the demands of the disease on its own terms and rearranged our house, routine and our lives to make it easier, and still it’s quite a bit of work. We have another kitty with a heart as big as an ocean who craves attention all the time. Poor thing has to wait for it most of the time.
So, that’s been my life. With so little time to do anything else, I have not had much to show for my creative efforts. But I do have a couple things to share with you and those posts will come soon, I hope.
In the meantime, if you have a furry child, feline or canine, I wanted to tell you about Lisa’s website in order to get all the support you need. If you have an animal who throws up more than 1-2 times per month, especially in the early morning, when the stomach is empty, I urge you to talk to your vet. Frequent vomiting, even with long-haired breeds is never normal and it’s not necessarily hairballs. Also, chronic inexplicable diarrhea is a symptom that must be looked in to. Many times, in the early phases of the disease, it can be treated like an allergy because the commercial pet foods we feed our pets are poison with inappropriate ingredients for the species (a discussion for another time and place). Sometimes a diet change is all that is needed. Sometimes, switching a cat or dog to raw food changes the course of the allergy, although not always. This disease is as random as there are animals who have it. Other than the above resource, there are many other places on the Internet to get help, and I am available if I can help in any way. Feel free to contact me.