I wondered why Velcro wasn't on her usual kitchen counter perch begging for food when I woke up this morning. I went upstairs to check my e-mail, read some blog feeds and play with Trillian and Dr. Jones until it was time to shower and get ready for my volunteer shift taking care of the adoptable cats at Petco.
As I was crossing through the kitchen, I heard Velcro meow from the living room. She was lying on the floor on a flattened shopping bag, which is unusual for her because she prefers the furniture. I picked her up gently and noticed that her fur felt moist. When I tried to stand her on her feet, her back legs collapsed beneath her. She lay down, tucked herself into a tidy, upright position and looked up at me as if to ask what I was going to do to fix all this.
Well, so much for taking a shower. I threw on a random assortment of garments, put Velcro in a cat carrier that was still in the kitchen from Xena's routine vet visit a couple of days before, and took her to the emergency vet clinic conveniently located less than a mile away.
Velcro is almost 18. She's a breast cancer survivor and over the past year or so she's gotten terribly skinny and her fur is clumpy and unkempt. She's completely deaf and her ears seem to bother her. Every time I walk by and see her sleeping, I stop to watch and make sure she's breathing because although she seems happy and energetic most of the time, I can't help but worry.
As I made my way to the vet, I was hoping against hope that today wouldn't be Velcro's last day with us.
When I walked in the door to the clinic, two vet techs swooped in immediately and took the carrier to the exam room while I filled out paperwork.
While I waited, I came to regret not having had breakfast or coffee earlier, so I ended up buying a Pop Tart from the vending machine.
Finally, the doctor called me in to talk about Velcro's condition. She didn't seem to have anything wrong with her back or hips, so she probably hadn't had a fall. She was dehydrated, so they were going to give her I.V. fluids and keep her overnight. They wanted to run blood tests to check her kidney and thyroid function. I'd just had those tests done sometime before Christmas, but apparently an elderly cat can undergo drastic changes fairly quickly.
The office staff showed me the estimate for services and asked if I were willing to pay 75% up front. Well, of course. That's what credit cards are for, right? I couldn't help thinking that if Velcro could have waited until Monday, I'd probably be paying about half that amount at my own vet, but what can you do?
I paid a visit to Velcro before I left and she seemed as happy to see me as always. The vet tech said she wouldn't stop purring during her examination, which is typical. Of course, cats purr when they're upset, so that's not necessarily as positive a sign as it might appear.
Now I'm just waiting to hear if the blood tests reveal anything actionable. The vet said that the I.V. fluids alone might very well perk her up. Let's hope so.
This is the hard part of being a pet owner, but I'm trying to stay hopeful. Velcro's a tough little thing and I'm betting on her to pull through once again.
Early Evening Update: Vet called and said Velcro's electrolyte balance was way off (potassium very low), so now that she's had fluids she's "climbing the bars of her cage." Yay! Also her blood sugar was quite low. They're still waiting on further blood test results, so no hard conclusions yet, but it's nice to know she seems better. I may go visit her this evening, weather permitting.