Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sometimes a Bad Hand is All You've Got

I took our adopted cat, Spooky, to the Caloosa Humane Society Vet Clinic in LaBelle, Florida. We'd noticed back when Spooky was nothing but skin and bones that he'd had several ribs broken on one side. Someone had suggested that he'd been kicked. Unfortunately, that is a very likely scenario being that he'd been left behind in a campground. Since we've had him, he's never really breathed properly. It's always appeared to be a chore for him. Not long after we took him in he began sneezing, which turned into persistent cough. The cough has gotten less frequent, which is a good sign, but I'm sure it has exacerbated the issues with his labored breathing and his inability to cough successfully enough to clear his lungs. 

The Veterinarian could tell us just so much because they have rudimentary equipment there at the Humane Society and can only service the most basic of needs. But what he could tell me from the x-ray was that Spooky's breathing problem appears to be a type of hernia or a mass potentially caused by a hematoma. He speculated that Spooky could have a rent in his diaphragm. It makes sense considering Spooky's obvious history of some sort of trauma. The Vet seemed to feel this situation is an emergency. I agree that it is urgent, yes, but not a true emergency because Spooky's ribs had been healed for I don't know how long before we found him, and he seems to otherwise be doing well. He eats well, has gained weight, his bowels are normal; it's just when he coughs that he seems to be distressed (but, believe me, I'm more distressed than he). I read online that cats can be given children's Robitussen—the one that is only the expectorant—but I worry about loosening and liquifying the phlegm in his lungs and have him not be able to cough it up.

Spooky has proven to be a wonderful cat and companion and I've grown very attached to him. He is so easy going and good natured, and when I stroke his head he looks at me with such gratitude in his eyes. The Vet had a form as a checklist to note his observations of the patient and one of them was 'attitude,' to which he'd ticked the 'depressed' box. At moments I have to agree but at most times I don't. 

I'm considering taking Spooky to the emergency hospital recommended by the Humane Society Vet just to get a definitive diagnosis and prognosis.  If he requires surgery to repair him, I'll have a truly difficult decision to make. We just don't have the wherewithal to pay thousands of dollars.

It just seems a bad hand to be dealt—for both of us.


  1. Oh Linda...I am so sorry you might have to make this kind of decision. I know you love your animals with all of your heart. One thing you can know in your heart if it comes to have given this baby a home that is safe and full of love and he wasn't left in the elements to die. I'm thinking about you

  2. I really hope there isn't that kind of decision to make, Mom. If so, however, I am sure you will do what is right for him. I will pray that surgery isn't even put on the grid. Give Spooky love from me.

  3. Your story about your new cat brought tears to my eyes. My cat Grace has IBS and is old and skinny, just under 5 pounds. We take it day by day with her, never knowing how she will be. I think animals are a blessing and I thank God that I have had the honor of owning and loving 3 cats in my whole life. I will pray for you and Spooky.