Adventures with Amelie

A large chunk of my afternoon was spent over at Ellen‘s place, swinging by to take care of her cat, Amelie. I mentioned the other day that a friend’s feline was having some health problems; well, here’s the story on that — the poor kitty has developed feline hepadic lipidosis, and her liver is failing. At least, it was failing. Ellen seems to have caught the problem fairly fast, and there’s a healthy (no guarantees, but better than 50/50) chance that Amelie will be okay after a few weeks of medication and 4-times-daily feeding through an esophageal tube.

We still don’t know what caused the liver failure and things are still uncertain. But Amelie survived the surgery to insert the tube and she’s been taking her feedings pretty well, even when they come from yours truly. For although Ellen takes the morning, afternoon, and evening dining duties … the lunchtime event has to fall to someone else while she’s at work. Starting tomorrow, Ellen’s parents are going to take over; but today it was my turn.

The process is fairly simple. You unwrap the tube in her neck (which is affixed via a sturdy, sterile collar) and pinch it to keep the air out between deliveries. First, she gets water to flush the line, then she gets a runny mixture of cat food and water about the consistency of baby food, and finally she gets another dose of water to rinse everything down. But all must be delivered very slowly. Her full lunch took over an hour.

The feeding actually went pretty well. She even got bored with me at one point and decided to go walk-about … with me trailing behind her and holding the huge syringe aloft while trying to keep her from tripping over the feeding tube, simultaneously begging her to sit down, please, anywhere, I didn’t care where, just … no … don’t walk away while I’m trying to stuff you with nutrients, what the heck is wrong with you, you crazy cat, I thought you were supposed to be a freakin’ invalid or something auuuuuugggggghhhh okay FINE I’ll put you up on the bed if that’s what you really want, I mean, will you sit still there? Please? Okay. GOOD.

Things this cute and pitiful invariably get their way, and when I left she was resting at the foot of Ellen’s bed on a heating pad, snoring softly until I scritched her ears one last time before going — at which point she gave me the ol’ stink-eye and buried her nose back in the blanket.

Hang in there, sweet wee girlie. We’re pulling for ya.

* * *

I’ve been chronicling my adventures in amateur veterinary services over on Twitter today, where some questions have been accumulating. In order to answer them here, and in quick succession: Amelie is a Washington Long-Haired Random Cat, which is to say she came from animal control a few years ago and claims no formal breed; there is no guarantee that this medical intervention will work, but it was either this or make the decision to put her down, and Ellen couldn’t do that while there was still a shot at giving Amelie a good life on the other side of all this treatment; Amelie is only 6-7 years old; her “big brother,” Java, is confused and upset by the whole thing and he’s being kept away from her for now, in order to give her time to recover without his … shall we say … aggressive snuggling.

And as one last point, to those who asked about how much this was going to cost, the answer is that the final tally isn’t in yet. There will still be at least 3 follow-up appointments (one tomorrow morning), but we’re talking a couple thousand dollars.

If you’d like to throw a few bucks in the Amelie’s Medical Fund Jar, those bucks would most definitely be appreciated. Ellen’s never asked for anything like this before and wouldn’t do it herself, but I have no shame and also I really like Ellen, and I know that times have been tough going for her this last year or so. Furthermore, since it’s on behalf of Amelie, with minimal badgering I conned Ellen into letting me post a tip jar.

The paypal button below goes to Ellen’s account, but if for some reason there’s a problem and you’d like to send something directly to her email, you can do so through this address:

Obviously if you find this distasteful/don’t know me or trust me/think that cats aren’t worth this kind of money/whatever … then that’s okay. Scroll on by. I don’t take it personally, and I totally understand. The internet is full of open palms and paws, and this is just one more. Except it isn’t just one more to me. This is a friend of mine, and a cat I love — whose wee little tummy I, personally, have filled with gooshy food via a very slow tube.

But I promise not to harp on it, and this will be the last I post of it except for the occasional Status of the Cat update as information becomes pertinent and/or available. So thanks for reading, everyone. And if you’ve got any spare prayers, good vibes, or friendly thoughts for a small, sick cat in Seattle, then Amelie and Ellen would be happy to have those too.

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