By Princess Nellie Bean, (With Edits by Mama)
Mama says I have to starts by saying that I ok, so nobody is worried. I ok! Good mama? (That’s great Bean, I think all the pictures of you swinging from the freezer door probably gave them a good idea that you’re doing ok!)
Ok, so once upon the Friday afternoon of the long weekend last week, I was playing with my brofurs, Larry and Timmy and my sisfur Momo on the catio. We were chasing bugs and having super fun. But it was kinda hot outside and I felt a little bit funny in my tum tum. I decided I’d go sit just inside the door so I could be near everybody out of the sun. I sat there for a while, but my tummy still hurted, and all of a sudden I urped all over the floor. Mama and meowmy came running but I tolds them I was feeling a bit better so they cleaned me up and then let me take a nap under meowmy’s watchful eye. (Our big concern was that it wasn’t a hairball or even a food vomit, it was bile and foam, and nothing good ever comes from bile and foam vomits).
A few hours later, when mama was preparing dinner for us, meowmy heard me retching again, and I urped a whole lot more of the same stuff all over the floor. (Who knew something so tiny could spew that much liquid in one afternoon?) This time meowmy and mama sprunged into action. They tossed Larry, Timmy and Momo in our bedroom, and put me in my pink RV bag and then in the big blue roary machine and we went for a long ride. (To the ER, because in typical kitten style, Beanie waited until our regular vets office was closed for the long weekend).
I didn’t know where we were going, and it took a long time, longer than when we go see our awesome vet Dr. Yvonne. I cried a lot and my tummy hurt. I even bited mama by mistake when I was panicking. I didn’t mean to, and mama knows I would never bite her ever ever ever, but I didn’t feel so good and I didn’t know why I couldn’t stay home and sleep in my little princess bed. (I know you wouldn’t bite anyone Bean – you were scared and you don’t like your carrier and I made the mistake of putting my hand between you and the way out when I was trying to comfort you – chomp chomp! My own fault and I’m ok taking one for the team!)
When we got to the vet, they took me in and they did stuff. They said that my BP and heartrate and respiration were all really good, but I had a fever. So they were worried, and took me away from meowmies for some tests. I didn’t like that, and I didn’t know where meowmies were. I was confused and scared. After a long time, they brought me back to meowmies and tooked my temperature again. My fever was higher, and getting close to ‘dangerous’. The vet came to talk to meowmies, and said that it was very bad to have such a high fever and sickness in a baby my age and that they were quite concerned about what it could be. They wanted me to stay for the whole night to get fluids and try to bring down my fever, maybe with drugs and stuff if it got worse. I was scared. (Hardest thing we have ever done, leaving her there by herself. There were tears and considerations of sleeping on the floor of my office so we could be close by. I think one of the most difficult things was that the vet tech, intentionally or just without thinking, had made it clear that while it could be something ‘minor’, in a kitten that age it could also be something quite serious and/or life-ending. We’re thinking maybe a bit of a re-training there would be good, because that was probably not a helpful way to send parents off).
I was pretty scared, even though everybody was really nice, except my neighbour Peggy-cat who was grumpy. I tried to talk to her a bit, cuz I was pretty afraid and I thought maybe she would be like grampa mason, who also is old, and would have made me feel better. But she was mean and mama said after that she was probably in a lot of pain so that was why. We didn’t talk. They stucked a needle in my arm and tied it there so it couldn’t fall off. I didn’t like that. But the vets and all the techs came to visit me a lot cuz they said I was super cute and really sweet and I liked being snuggled and comforted. They all tried all night to make me feel better, but I missed my meowmies and Momo and Larry and Timmy. Some of the people knew all about Fuzzybums, and even about Space Program, so when they talked I knowed they knew all about me. One sat with me for a couple of hours and petted and cuddled me. They made it better. (Really really grateful to the vets and techs at the ER who spent so much time snuggling our wee one, and petting her and talking to her, when I know they were busy. True she is the cutest little thing on the planet, and hard to resist, but I know they also have a lot to do, and they made an extra effort to comfort her when she was scared. I hope you thanked them a lot Beanie!)
I was waiting for meowmies to come the next morning, but they didn’t. I started getting sad cuz I thought they wouldn’t come. (Beanie, we will always come for you, no matter what happens, or where you are, or if we have to drag ourselve bleeding from home. You’re silly to think we wouldn’t.)
And then one of the nice techs came and wrapped me in a towel and walked me through the hospital. I thoughted I had to have another ultrasound test, but then she said “I have big surprise for you Nellie Bean” and I looked through window into small room where meowmies were sitting on floor with blankies, and pillows and food from home. I so happy I started to meow and squirm. (This was such a fun moment for us. To look up and see her little face was everything, and then when she was still outside the door but realized we were there, the excitement and joy on her little face was incomparable.) Nothing felt better ever than getting cuddles from mama and meowmy and telling them all the stuff that happened. I showed them catheter on my paw, and told them how much I hated it. They stayed with me on floor for hours giving me cuddles and asking me to eat. Doctor person had told them that I wouldn’t eat and couldn’t go home until I did. Then the doctor came in and mama picked me up and fed me with her fingers, and I ated almost a whole can of food. The doctor took my temperature which was a bit better, and cuz I ate, said I could go home after she took the awful needle pokey out of my paw. (Never mind how happy she was to be cuddled, never been so happy to snuggle this little squirmy body and know she was going to be ok).
So I home now and I really really happy. I have some bald spots and stuff where they shaved me. I pretty proud to show my injuries to Timmy and tell him about it cuz he never had any special shaves or bandages or pokeys in him for a long time. I a hero! He wasn’t so happy to see me cuz he thought I smelled funny. Momo came right away and she was extra helpful in giving me baths and Larry gave me snuggles. Mama slept in our bedroom with me for two nights and we had lots of snuggles. Meowmy slept with Larry, Momo and Timmy (or well, she maybe didn’t sleep so much as napped between supervising their adventures). Timmy is fine now and we’re back to our usual consipirating and last two nights we slept in our own room and meowmies finally got sleep again.
It was all very scary, but I ok and I not going to get sick again because no more ceiling fans.
Oh, did I mention how this all relates to ceiling fan monster? Mama, you explain this part. I gots to go play now. Bye bye.
That damn ceiling fan monster… WHO KNEW???
After a million tests, and lots of discussion of her history, the vet team at the ER believes that quite likely all six of the Canada kittens were exposed to a virus very early in life when they were weak and unprotected babies. They may not have gotten sick at the time, but they may all (or some) have picked up a virus at that time and it’s been lying latent for the last year or so. This is apparently quite common in kittens who suffer trauma when they are small. And god knows, the Canada kittens sure fit that bill.
Apparently, a virus like that can be activated when there’s a trauma at an older age – enter ceiling fan monster, which I swear to god, even though it’s sitting on the floor of my bedroom, I am taking a sledgehammer to and having a ceiling fan murder ceremony. Bean was so freaked out by the ceiling fan, that this stupid virus reactivated and nearly took her down. I cannot believe the grief that thing has caused us. We’re just thankful she survived this – and we are never, ever, ever changing anything in the house without pre-approval from our littlest one.
I’m not going to lie, this whole experience was terrifying. We left the hospital on Friday absolutely gutted and worrying we might never see that little face again. Unbearable.
We’re sharing all of this because it is a good cautionary tale. First, if you aren’t as paranoid as us, you may think “well, I’ll give it 24 hours or so before I take them in to the vet.”. This is pretty normal, and the vet’s said they see that a lot with young kittens – people don’t believe a barf or two is that worrisome so they wait a few days. And by then it can be too late to save them. So please, please, please, if your kitten or cat is acting unlike themselves, don’t wait a few days ‘hoping’ they will recover. Bean is alive because within half an hour of the second barf she was at the vet.
Second thing, if you end up in the hospital with a sick baby, and you have no idea why, think through the history, think through the last few weeks, and don’t automatically rule out things that make no sense to be connected. Who would have thought an old virus could be kicking around waiting for Bean to run into the ceiling fan monster?
So to conclude this chapter – no one else appears to be ill (because a virus can be contagious), but we’re watching them like hawks and we’ll be back in the ER if we have even an inkling something is wrong. All the vets feel if anyone was going to get sick they’d have it by now. And yes, we have ridiculously expensive pet insurance for all four of our beasties (have you met Timbit?) so not to worry about the money. We are very privileged to know that even if we didn’t have insurance, we could and would have spared no expense to make her feel better.
We have chatted with Lucy and Puck’s meowmy so she is aware what to look for, and should she ever run into something like this, we will happily share Bean’s medical records for her wee ones as well.
Last thing to say? Huge thank you to the people who support us and who stepped up (unsurprisingly) when all this was going on. So aunt Beth, uncle Mike and aunt Julie. But also the TK adopters group who we kept informed throughout and provided much needed prayers, positivity and support. And lastly of course, the amazing folks (vets and techs and reception) at Vancouver Animal Emergency Clinic. We adore our vet, but when she is not around, it’s a long weekend, and things are bad, we are so very grateful for the excellent support this clinic provides. I know some of you at VAEC follow the fuzzybums page, so if you’re reading this, let us just say from our whole family of six – meowmy, me, lar, momo, timmy and bean – we are so incredibly grateful that you saved our baby girl’s life this weekend. We cannot imagine a single moment without her and you are heroes for not only helping her feel better and making sure she pulled through, but for recognizing that she also needed snuggles, love and comfort when she was scared. THANK YOU BEYOND ALL WORDS! Love, the Fuzzybums