Thursday, December 8, 2016

Lessons I have learned from my cat - Penny's story

Penny is our local princess. She enjoys sittings on pillows, being part of the crowd, and being pet and paid attention to at all times. She has a pretty good life for a kitty with fur as soft as a rabbit and a nose and feet-pads as pink and perfect as any model kitty. When you first meet her, she comes up to you and stares at your lap and walks all over you until you realize she is waiting for you to fix your lap in to the way she likes so she may sit in it. Or she sits next to you and throws herself onto her back and looks up at you with a face so cute she must have learned it from a cartoon. She is spoiled, hates dirt, and has absolutely none of the predator instincts most cats are supposed to have.
Being around Penny, you would never know she is sick pretty much all the time. She has FIV and leukemia and lives most of her life with open sores in her mouth and in a consent state of teetering on the edge of some sickness or infection. She was born with FIV but wasn't diagnosed until she was about 10 months old, which was a couple months after we got her. The Dr told us we should love her as much as we could because she wasn't going to live much more then a few more months longer. Hunny was alone at the vet that day when they told him that and then he had to call me at work to tell me, he was a super strong dad for her that day and I can't image what he went through emotionally by himself. If you have ever been a pet parent, you know this sort of news was a special sort of heartbreak. We spent the week following that news both wishing we never knew and glad we knew so we could treat her the best way we could. We threw ourselves into the internet to find out everything we could, we went back to the Dr and asked a million questions, and of course we cuddled and loved her so much it is probably some of the reason she is such the entitled little princess she is today.
Thankfully that was almost 4 years ago and a kitty born with FIV who makes it past 3 years old has a very high chance of living a long life. Her Dr is wonderful and while she hates him passionately, we are grateful to him always. He has a million notes he keeps about her about everything, including the way she reacts to every medicine and every tiny change in her and all the things to look for. He has big bold letters on her folder about all the medicine he doesn't want going near her and the office is so polite about how they disinfect the rooms she goes in before and after her visits, since she is considered contagious and also so susceptible to other illnesses. We have found websites to buy her medicine from cheaper and the Dr gives us instructions about how to give her all her medicines and gives us nearly unlimited refills on the medicines she needs most often. The Dr always gives us credit about her good health these days, he is amazed at how well she is doing. We only go now to the vet around 2 or 3 times a year, which is amazing since the first year after diagnoses it was almost monthly.
It isn't just medicine we treat her with, its the food she eats too that keeps her healthy. While she hasn't eaten solid food now in over 3 years, she eats the best canned food I can find. I used to cook for her and puree her food, which was both smelly and time consuming. But now that we are good about keeping her healthy and giving her medicine before she gets very very sick, so she doesn't need the super vitamins that fresh food proves as much. Which is great because going on vacation is much more difficult when you need a person to come 2 times a day and cook your 8 pound princess kitty her food.
All these things and you wouldn't know any of if you met her and we never told you. She hides her pain under all of her fluff and cuteness and she takes all of the carting around to the vet and the medicines being stuck in her with a sass and courage that makes you proud of her. She has her "ow" moments when she yawns or opens her mouth and she cant bite people without hurting herself more more then you, but she can swipe and scratch like a tiger and keeps her nails sharp and immaculately cared for (just check out the ribbons Hunny's couch is in to see the evidence of that). FIV presents differently in all cats and Penny's mostly sticks to the sores in her mouth, but now she is starting to get ear infections in her left ear, so we have a new medicine on the shelf. But when you look at her cute face and watch her run around like a wild tornado and see her pretend to stalk her fuzzy mice like a (lame) tiger, you just wonder where all that courage is hiding under that soft bunny fur.
Things I have learns from my cat - Penny

  1. Pain may be present, but never let it bring you down.
  2. Take even the most annoying and degrading things with class and dignity.
  3. Live life with joy and happiness no matter what.
  4. Always look beautiful, even if it hurts, sometimes its the only reason to get up that day. 
  5. If they don't like you at first, sit on their lap anyway, they will give in eventually.
  6. Give kisses and cuddle often. 
  7. No matter how small you are or how sick you may be, be a fierce Tiger.

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