Those of you who follow me on Twitter have heard some of this, but I thought I’d do a full blog post to bring everyone up to speed on Freya.
About a year ago, our cat Freya started looking skinny — the same kind of skinny that our cat Adwen started looking about a year before we lost her to kidney failure. So we took Freya to our vet, Dr. Cecilia Ho at Cat Care Hospital, to get things checked out. Freya’s blood tests and urinalysis came back fine, but she was a little underweight. Probably from getting older, Dr. Ho said. It happens. Freya’s at least twelve, and as cats get older they get less interested in eating and more interested in sleeping, so they lose weight. To counteract that, we started feeding Freya extra meals and, eventually, even gave Freya canned food twice a day in addition to her regular dry. That helped, but whenever she’d start looking a little skinnier than I liked, we’d haul her in to the vet for a weight check and, if necessary, blood work and a urinalysis to make sure everything looked okay.
I knew we were being cautious. But I don’t have a problem being cautious when it comes to my cat’s health. When we adopted them, I accepted a responsibility to care for them, and I take that responsibility seriously.
Because of all this with her weight and extra feedings, we decided to board Freya with our vet while we were in New York last week instead of making our pet sitter come over 4+ times a day to feed her. Not to mention that if anything went wrong, Freya would be right where she needed to be to get healthy.
I’m glad we did.
Nothing bad happened while we were gone, really, but either Dr. Ho noticed Freya looked a little thin or she automatically weighs all her feline boarders. However it happened, she discovered that Freya had lost several ounces since we brought her in for a weight check last month. Now, “several ounces” might not sound like a lot, but when you only weigh 8 or 9 pounds, it’s a pretty significant percentage of your body weight. Dr. Ho did another blood panel, and this time Freya’s white blood cell count was high. Not life-threateningly high, but enough to be a concern, and enough to warrant further tests. Dr. Ho’s suspicion: inflammatory bowel disease. (Yes, cats can get IBD, too.) My fear: cancer.
(They also checked Freya’s thyroid, which looks fine.)
We picked up Freya from boarding Tuesday morning. We took her back for an endoscopy on Thursday. In that time, she’d lost another 7 ounces, taking her to just under 8 pounds.
I did have to smile when we brought Freya into the office and the vet tech said, “Freya! I’ve missed you!” She’s that kind of cat. Come to my house, sit on the couch, and Freya will curl up right next to you wanting to be petted. But she isn’t bossy about it — well, not really. If you start petting her and stop before she’s ready, she’ll grab your hand lightly with the tips of her claws and pull it back. But if you don’t pet her, she’ll just fall asleep. She’s easy-going that way. She purrs at the slightest touch. And she gets along great with everybody — which is pretty much how our vet described how she was during her boarding stay.
The scope apparently went well. Freya’s esophagus and stomach look fine, but she has a few pink patches on the walls of her small intestine. Dr. Ho said that’s what they’d expect to see with IBD. If it was cancer, it’d be bright red all over the place. So that’s a good sign. And her Pyloric sphincter wasn’t swollen at all, which is a common problem in IBD cats that causes more trouble. So, good news there.
They did take biopsies, and those are at the lab now. We’ll get the results Monday or Tuesday. Hopefully they completely rule out cancer.
For now, Freya’s on Biomox (amoxycillian) twice a day for the next week, to help her heal from the biopsies. On Monday, we start her on Prednisone twice a day “indefinitely.” Which basically means for the rest of her life, although Dr. Ho is starting her on a very high dose and will work her down to what works best for her.
I’m just hoping that “for the rest of her life” is a very, very long time. Years. Like a dozen or more.
I also hope that the Prednisone perks up her appetite, because I haven’t been able to get her to eat for anything today. Not dry, not canned. All she wants to do is curl up on the futon in the den and sleep. (Which really isn’t that out of the norm for her, anyway.)
I’ll keep everyone posted on Freya’s progress and the results of the biopsies. Thanks to everyone for your good thoughts and encouraging words.
P.S. I just went down to the den to check on Freya. She’s still asleep on the futon, but she had rolled over to face the other direction. High activity for her, lately! 😉