It’s me, Commander Timbit, and I have a whole big story to tell you guys. Mama says that I should start by saying two things that are important. First thing is, we are sorry we haven’t posted much at all lately (but you will understand after you read about my big adventure). Second thing is, mama always says that it’s silly to skip to the end of the book and read the ending before you read the beginning, or check out spoilers for Amazing Race before you see the show. It’s immediately gratifying, but spoils the fun. That said, she also thinks that maybe sometimes it’s better for the hearts of the people reading a worrisome, scary or sad story to know in advance that it turns out ok. So you need to not be scared when you read this, because the story has a happy ending.
Let me backtrack a bit. You might remember on November 9, me and Mo and Larry and Beanie went to see the vet for our yearly checkup. We like our vet, and they laugh at us a lot because we sing a mighty chorus when we are together there. This time, we all got really good clean bill of health, and not even one of us got told we were chubby. Not that anyone would ever really say I’m chubby, but you know, those other three like their cookies a whole lot! Only one little problem, I needed to have my teeth cleaned. Booooooo.
So teeth cleaning was scheduled for November 23, and I had to go by myself. The mamas were a bit nervous because you know, anesthetic and all that stuff that can be problematic for a little guy like me. But still, I am three, so I’m pretty young, and of course, with all my astronaut training I am in peak physical condition. No problem. And honestly, there was no problem. My teeth are now all shiny and things went really good. I didn’t even need pain drugs when I came home (vet took away one of those little extra teeths that some of us cats have). I got to come home at the end of the day and everything was good. Momo snuggled with me all night long and the Mamas thought it was because she knew I was sad – but now they think maybe she knew something wasn’t ok with me.
Because the next morning I started to feel a bit funny in my tummy. I told meowmy and she watched me for a couple of hours. Then she and mama decided to call over to the vet and see if maybe I needed some cerenia (cuz I was licking my lips a lot, although I didn’t urp) or some painkiller. Mama went and got some bupenephrine and some cerenia, and I took that and went to sleep in the corner of our bedroom.
At 6am the next day the Mamas came charging into the room because unbeknownst to each other they had both been watching me on camera at various times throughout the night and as mama said “he hasn’t moved even once!” I felt really icky. We all got up and they wanted me to eat. I was trying to be a good boy so I licked some food off of mamas finger, but it made my tummy feel worse and mostly I just wanted them to go away and let me go to sleep. The mamas didn’t like the way I was acting though and decided I would be going back to vet the moment they opened, appointment or not. So off we went back to the vet to see if maybe my mouth got infected and I needed some more drugs. I didn’t have an appointment and the Mamas can’t go in the clinic with COVID, so they dropped me off and the vet on duty checked me out. Nothing wrong in my mouth so she decided to do bloodwork.
The mamas had only just gotten home when the vet called to say that I was really badly sick and needed to go to the hospital immediately because bloodwork showed I was in acute renal failure. The mamas were panicked and terrified – I had perfect bill of health a week ago and now suddenly vet was saying my prognosis was ‘guarded’ and I may not survive. The mamas came fast and we raced to Canada West who were waiting for me. But mamas couldn’t come in with me, and so they had to say goodbye to me outside. It was very hard for them because they didn’t know if they would ever see me again.
Here is what had happened. There is a drug that lots of vets give during a simple procedure. It called Onsior. Nothing wrong with it. It is a NSAID (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) like Ibuprofen. It is used all the time (thousands of times by our vet even) and no problem. Except for small Timbit apparently because I had a very adverse reaction. So my normal creatinine level is about 122 (and in cats the acceptable levels are between 89 and 189). Stage four (last and baddest) stage of chronic kidney disease is anything over 440. I was more than 1000. MORE THAN 1000!!!! At that level, kidneys die, other organs fail and Timmy goes kaput forever. Thank god I have mamas who are over-panicky when they think one of us doesn’t feel good. If they’d waited even a few more hours…
So Canada West said that they were going to try to fix me with supportive care (IV fluids) but that if it didn’t come down they would consider dialysis as last measure. They would do an ultrasound to rule out any other problems, and they would get me on anti-nauseants so I would feel better. But they were very worried and told the Mamas that they weren’t going to be able to give hope of a good prognosis.
I got settled into ICU where I stayed for six whole days. Dr. Enberg (he is most awesome guy ever) called mamas later that first day to say I was holding my own and they would pull blood in the morning to see if measures were working. He was hoping my creatinine would be in the 600 range next day. Still too high, but trending down would give some optimism, otherwise it would be dialysis for me. I didn’t know all this stuff was happening, I just knew that I was scared and I didn’t like everyone watching me. The staff at the hospital said that I was super sweet, but they knew I was panicked, so they built me a little castle where I could hide in a box, and they put in a curtain so I could use the bathroom privately. I love them all very much.
Next morning Dr. E called mama and said, “well he missed the 600 range by 1”. Mama was about to say “well at least he’s going in the right direction right?” when doctor Enberg started to laugh and said “he’s at 599!!!!!!!” So then he said he wanted me to be at 400 the next morning. He also let the Mamas know that he had discussed having an ultrasound with me, but I made it clear I wasn’t so interested so he decided to not do that. He didn’t think it was clinically necessary anyway and didn’t want to upset me more. He cuddled with me instead (I call this a good trade).
400 the next morning he’d said. Well I’m Timbit, I knew I could do better than that! I came in at 245!!! Doctor actually WOO HOOD with excitement when he told the mamas. This was way better than anyone had ever even imagined. By then I was feeling a bit better, and they had let me zoom call with the Mamas (mostly that was me causing trouble in the exam room while mamas watched me and laughed at the tech who kept having to chase me around). Here are some pictures of zoom call. I really wanted to know what was behind that silly chair. Tech said she was out of breath chasing me. Of course she was. I was sick, but I was still Timbit.
The mamas visited on zoom every day (thank you Canada West for making this possible) and they talked to the doctor two times a day and the nurses every night. Pretty soon I was famous. They would call and say “Timbit” and everyone would be like “Oh Timbit! He’s such a sweet boy!” They also knew I was feeling better because I would snuggle and purr and ask for love from the doctors and nurses and techs. Whenever anybody came near I would squish my nose against the cage. I a social guy. Everybody was pulling for me.
The next morning I was 171. Still high, but now in the normal range and the doctors were so surprised at how well I was recovering. That night they started to wean me off all the fluids and stuff. The test would be to see if my kidneys had a lot of damage or if they would function on their own. The mamas were committed to doing fluids at home if needed and the doctors wanted to see what would be required for long-term care.
But I did great! And then after six of the longest days of the Mamas lives, I came home. No supportive care required. I just have to get weighed every 12 hours (which makes me mad) to make sure I’m holding my own. I went back to my vet this week for a blood draw, and I’m down even more to 144. Easy within normal range. They actually don’t think I will have any long-term problems from this. I am MIRACLE TIMBIT! GO ME!
When I came home, my first job was to check the rocketship for structural integrity and to ensure the crew had maintained it properly in my absence.
After that I inspected the dishwasher, because I was starving and I wanted to make sure that we had all the processes in place to clean my dishes and get dinner ready.
Then after dinner I had to check the cupboards to make sure the Mamas had laid in an appropriate supply of cookies.
Ultimately, I climbed up to the highest heights to make sure I could oversee the entire kingdom and check for any problems.
Of course, the mamas are watching me like hawks and driving me kabonkers. And at first Momo, Beanie and Lar were really mean and hissy at me cuz they said I was stinky. And they were suspicious. We are all friends now again though.
I feel really good everybody. I’ve been a little more tired than usual, but am starting to be a lot more active. The Mamas are like “oh right, here is our attention deficit Timmy back again”. I am playing, watching out the window, climbing on stuff, and getting totally back to normal. First few days I slept a lot more, but now I’m pretty much the way I was before. Only better of course.
Vet says I won’t be having any more NSAIDs ever again, and because there isn’t much research there is no way to know if this could be genetic, so no other Fuzzybum will have NSAIDS either. There will be whole plan in place if, in a million years, I ever need to have anesthetic again. And for next six months I will be monitored pretty carefully. And pretty sure there will be no dentals for any Fuzzybums unless our teeth are falling out of our heads. The Mamas? They are still pretty freaked out.
Two really important things to take away from all of this everybody!
- If you don’t have insurance on your fur babies, you should get it if you can. Even though sometimes people think “oh, my cats are young and don’t need it” you never know! We are all insured with highest rate possible, and that means the Mamas won’t pay out of pocket for this. They would have, and told Canada West to just do whatever had to be done and they would pay regardless. But not everyone has that option. So make sure you get insurance while you can. We know that many guys like me would have had to be put down because their people wouldn’t have been able to afford this care. And even with insurance, keep a credit card with lots of space (Canada West took 75% deposit, so minimum of $5250 for me to be there and would have increased if I had to have dialysis or ultrasound).
- MOST IMPORTANT LESSON – We guys, we need you to be our stewards and to be the ones who are watching us all the time. Nobody knows us better than our mamas and papas. No one. If we seem off, don’t wait, don’t watch – get us help right away. It is because the mamas are totally helicopter mamas who are paranoid if we sneeze funny that I got to the doctor and got helped when I did. A lot of people would have said “let’s watch him for a day or two and see” and I would be dead if the Mamas had done that. So listen to your gut. Listen to what you see us doing. We are telling you what we’re feeling and we need you to act fast if we are in trouble, because we can’t do it ourselves. This is most important thing – you know us so well, so go with what your gut and your heart are saying if you think something is wrong.
The last thing I have to say… thank you endlessly to the team at Canada West – Dr. Enberg and Dr. Bandt saved my life. They were awesome and snuggled me and praised me. They called the mamas with updates. They cheered and ‘woo hooed’ every time I did good. Also thank you to Alex, the long-suffering (that’s mama’s word not mine) tech who chased me around during zoom calls (she never saw the likes of me before she said). And to all the nurses and techs and people at Canada West who were really nice and gave me snuggles and hugs, me, the mamas and all the fuzzybums are going to be indebted for eternity. If you ever have an emergency, go to Canada West!!!!! (We sent them boxes of Timbits as a thank you!)
And thank you also to the TK Adopters community and the Adopters page. Mama says to say that she does know she could have posted on Facebook or here while this was happening and all of you would have been really concerned and sent lots of support. But she was just not up to it when things were really tough. This whole thing was really hard on the mamas. But the TK adopters and Shelly were amazing, and they sent prayers, and vibes, and thoughts, and love and cheered me on the whole time. They are awesome. This community is awesome. I am a lucky guy to be a TK alumni. Thanks TK!
So there you have it. My story, and how I became Timbit, the Christmas Miracle!
Gotta go. I have an appointment to chase Beanie around the house. 😉