In October our cat Kinnie became severely ill and nearly died because of a brand of food we were feeding him. He ended up with acute renal failure (severe kidney failure). He was taken to the vet – twice – where he was misdiagnosed – both times – and when he became so severely ill over the weekend he was rushed to emergency care, where he finally received the correct diagnosis. He had to stay overnight at the vets for three nights. He has had several blood tests since then to monitor his renal function and has had daily subcutaneous fluid treatments over the last five months. Poor Kinnie has had to be quite a pin cushion.
But, Kinnie is a sweet kitty with a great disposition and tolerates all of this well. He was a rescue kitty and we acquired him at 6 months of age. He is now almost 2 years old. He is still very kitten-like. When he got sick he did not play or eat, but now he has resumed his playfulness and continues to get into mischief every chance he gets. Sadly, this incident has taken several years off of his life according to the vet, but we are still grateful he has survived and we look forward to him being around for a few years yet.
Unfortunately, the vet bills stacked up a lot faster than we could have ever imagined. We were already $2500 in the hole before he got a diagnosis. We did actually have an emergency vet fund set aside, but it was quickly spent even before he got to the emegency vet. Fortunately for us, our vet made payment arrangements with us. Though we have made payments every month, we have also had expenses every month like new blood tests ($113), lactated ringer solution ($30), plus all the tubing and needles…
In addition to our already stretched vet bills, we had another illness in another pet within the last couple of weeks. It was a painful and frightening trauma for our poor Clyde to go through. We spent two hours at home doing everything we could trying to help him, but it became apparent there was nothing we could do at home. Again, we had to rush him to the emergency vet, where they worked on him for several hours, to no avail. It became clear that no matter what they did, nothing was going to save him. It was heartbreaking watching him go through this and heartbreaking to make the decision, but there was nothing more that could be done and we simply had to put him to sleep. Clyde was a sweety, and we did our best for him, but in the end he just had to go to the Rainbow Bridge.
Edited: This article was written 3 years ago and I would like to add what is going on now…Oct 2016.
Kinnie was receiving subcutaneous fluids for about 1.5 years before the vet determined that he had maxed out his potential and the fluids were no longer needed. Our Kinnie had long recovered in terms of weight, energy and playfulness. He was off the fluids for almost 6 months before he became ill again. Back onto the fluids he went. This time he was diagnosed with final stage renal failure and was given about 1 year to live if we kept up the daily fluids and gave him a special renal support diet.
He was only on the fluids for about 3 months before the needle became too painful for him to quietly sit. The needle was also causing bleeding with every prick now. It was clear Kinnie was unhappy and was starting to avoid us when he knew it was time for the fluids. He had lost so much weight that he was nothing more than a bag of skin that held his bones. I began to worry I was going to come home, or wake up, and find him dead any day. We made a mutual decision to stop the fluids and let him eat whatever he wanted in his last days and just to let him pass in peace.
But, Kinnie being the miracle cat that he is, survived. He eventually gained his weight back and began to be playful and cuddly once more. It has been about a year since his diagnosis of final stage renal failure and he shows no signs of illness from what we can observe. His last set of tests were over a year ago, which read poorly, so I do not know what his tests would show now, but I am not worried about it. This miracle of a cat is on his 3rd life as far as I can tell and I am happy to say he is alive and well so far.
Edit: Oct 2018
Kinnie continued to be happy, playful, cuddly, loving, and funny until May this year when he suddenly took a turn for the worse. He just stopped eating drinking and using the litter box almost overnight. We just knew that this time he was saying goodbye. Though I do not allow pets in the bedroom, I made an exception for Kinnie just for one one night. He slept quietly on the bed the entire night between me and my partner. When I woke up the next morning I looked into Kinnie’s eyes and it was clear this was to have been his last night with us. I called the vet, made an appointment, then took him in to send him on his way to the Rainbow Bridge. Kinnie was my miracle cat. But besides being a miracle, he was a truly special cat in many ways…
He would stand on his hind legs and reach up to indicate he wanted to be lifted up and held. His favorite position to be held in was on his back as if he were a human baby. He had two favorite toys in his entire life: a little pink pillow and a little homemade “squid” with a bell in it – both of which he played fetch with and no other cat was ever permitted to play with. He was very communicative and expressive in the sense that he made it clear exactly what he wanted. He chattered at the crows outside our window, who loved to tease him. He would sit in the window and watch for me to come home and come running to greet me at the door when he saw me coming. He preferred to be held by me over anyone else. He had a beautiful dark and light brown marbled tabby coat with golden eyes. His purr penetrated me and brought me peace.
In the end, we spent about $7500 to save his life and I still owe $1200 after he is gone. He was worth every penny of it! I would never trade in the money for a shortened life. I am quite sure I would not do that for most of my pets, but Kinnie was special. He was my soul cat…my heart cat. I will forever miss him.