Valuable quotes

"No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow." ~~

"The minute you start talking about what you're going to do if you lose, you've already lost." ~~

Cree Prophecy - "When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money." ~~

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Spencer - American Kitty Warrior...

Spencer on his favorite bathroom mat 
This is the story of Spencer. Spencer is a trooper. And a fighter. And utterly amazing!! Spencer is my hero...
Let's begin at the beginning, shall we?
The two original pictures from Spencers shelter spread sheet
Is it any wonder I fell in love?
I am an animal advocate. While I advocate for all animals, I primarily network cats in need of homes who are locked in shelters and who will die without rescue or adoption. Everyday I am sent dogs and cats who's time is running out and who need to get exposure so people even know they exist. Such was the case with Spencer. He appeared one morning on my cyberdesk and I knew I had to get him out or die trying! His chances were slim of getting someone to adopt him because after all, he wasn't a fluffy, playful little kitten...he was a robust...okay, obese adult 9 year old weighing 22.46 pounds!

He also looked exactly like I imagined my baby Dalton would look had he been allowed to grow up. You see, Dalton is now my angel. He was taken away from us at the age 6 months. Dalton had Lymphoma.
True, Dalton had a grey chin and true, his nose was completely pink, but it was still remarkable to me to get another chance to save a kitty after we weren't able to save baby Dalton. I needed to try...I needed to do it for Spencer, but I also needed to do it for myself...and for baby Dalton!  So, we decide to go and get Spencer.

When we were 3 weeks old...
Dalton, 5 months old  - Xmas Eve 2011

The shelter spread sheet on him said he was perfectly healthy and I wanted to get him out of there before that changed.
Unfortunately we weren't able to. He had already contacted the dreaded kitty cold...a

URI (Upper Respiratory Infection). No worries, said I. Having shared my life with cats since the age of 2, I knew how to handle these things. A URI was easily treatable so we went to pick him up!

Spencer - August 3, 2013 going home with a URI
He was a mess! But he was also a very mellow fellow, didn't fuss or whine, just rolled with the flow and purred his head off when touched. I knew right away this was a special boy, and this was meant to be! Had we known then that if Spencer had gone to anyone else but us, he likely would have died from his illness or at the hands of a vet. Someone or something intervened, sent his photo to me and we obsessed over his face and went to get him. We weren't about to let him die if humanly possible to save him!

The dastardly mat! This was one of five this size!
First though, we had to clean him up! He was a total mess...a body of clumpy knots and hard lumps! As with so many kitties who are primarily grey with a second coat, he was full of mats! They needed to be removed and he was very obliging...

 The first sign something was wrong was when his food bowl was left untouched. He had been a huge cat...definitely not finicky. So to see food go untouched day after day pointed to something being radically wrong. He had the master bedroom and adjoining bathroom all to himself so he wouldn't infect our other five, so we knew just what he was eating. And wasn't eating. Nor was he using the litter pan! Since he had to be checked by our vets anyway, we took him over early. They said just be patient, that he would start eventually. He was just suffering from trauma and stress and once his depression passed and he was happy with us, he would eat.

Not so, as it turned out.

After over a week, we were told to try syringe feeding with an added appetite stimulant added to the food. Without getting long winded, that didn't work and Spencer was developing a distinct dislike for us. We were accomplishing nothing but only providing him with discomfort and upset. So back to the vets again, this time for a more thorough exam. At which time it was discovered he had Triaditis and was borderline diabetic! To eat was causing him a great deal of pain and no wonder he decided to skip that part of life.

"I lufz yoo, Dad..." Spencer in his Kong bed beside Greg's desk...
 Now before I continue, let me say that he adores my husband. Me, not so much as I was the 'administrater of all things evil and awful'. I was the evil witch with the big fat syringe full of glop to shoot down his throat. It got so when I entered the room he made himself scarce and while I understood completely, it was nevertheless heartbreaking to me. I wanted to hold him and pet him and let him know how much I loved him and cared about him. I wanted to make him feel good, not fearful or dislike me.
All I could hope for at this point was that we could keep him alive long enough to win him over.

When things started looking worse and he began vomiting and gagging on the food I was giving him, it was time to move! Off to Hope Critical Care he went! They had another good look at things...blood work, ultrasounds etc...the whole gamut, to see just what they were dealing with. They inserted a tube running from a hole in the side of his neck directly to his tummy. And he didn't mind this at all! In fact, he strutted his cool collar and though wobbly from weakness he was otherwise unfazed.  I do believe that this boy can and will overcome anything tossed at him!
Spencer talks to Darius - downstairs walkies with tube 9-3-13
Gradually the family members are meeting and greeting with him. Milo is a bit jealous of someone moving in on *his* Dad. Trey, very mellow and much like Spencer is himself, is taking it all in stride...'another brother? Kewl!'
The twins, Dharma and Murray aren't quite sure what to make of it all so far. They haven't had someone come to live here after them...they are just a year old.

Milo and Dharma watch the 'new kid'....
Murray watches Spencer from the safety of behind the lamp

And so we come to yesterday, September 4, 2013. Spencer went in for his 'second look. The tube feedings, the nine different meds...the scheduling and measuring are all apparently paying off! The ultrasound showed a much improved liver. The pancreas, while still inflamed, is less so. His skin is losing it's yellow cast and his blood sugar levels are balancing. The only news that could have been better than this was that they were removing the tube! But that will rely on Spencer exclusively! Until he decides to eat on his own, the tube has to stay in place. We are very hopeful that he finds something yummy soon and we are able to put this whole ordeal behind us forever.

I will add more to this post as things continue to improve and I am very confident with our little warrior, that they will!

Friday, April 18, 2014
I thought it might be a good idea to do a proper update on our Spencer since we have reached the 8 month mark of his rescue and save. I'm happy to report he is doing remarkably well. He was taken off insulation altogether when the doctor declaimed the diabetes was a temporary strain brought on by his illness and he's no longer diabetic. In fact he is off all meds now with the exception of two for maintenance of his liver...a once in the morning thing in his gruel which he doesn't mind at all. No more tubes, no more needles. He has a good healthy appetite much so that the doctor has put him on lo cal food when he hit 22.08 pounds! But after all we've been through with him a couple of extra pounds to lose is almost bliss!

Spencer sits under the glass top table watching the birds

 With the nicer weather now I am taking him outside to enjoy the outside air and get a little exercise on the safety of our deck. He seems to know that he's not supposed to harm the birds, and so just sits and watches. He is so photogenic and is loved by all who meet him that I am always asked to take photos of him to send out to everyone. He's an easy subject as well, very calm and obliging when I get the camera out. 

Helping in the craft room - April 16, 2014
 When I go to the craft room to sew he is always right there with me, listening to the music which he loves and now with windows open, he's able to sit in the open window within inches of the Crab Apple tree, watching the birds there too.

He is so large he literally fills the window sill, making it difficult for any of the others to join him there. Again...a wonderful problem to have after nearly 8 months of illness.
Filling the craft room window April 16, 2014
His last tests came back two weeks ago -- no signs of anything wrong with liver or pancreas!!! No inflammation, no scarring, no nothing but pink health! There were times when I wondered if we were ever going to see this day. The thoughts were fleeting because I am naturally an optimistic person, believing that you can fight almost anything with a positive attitude. That belief has seen me through polio, cancer and stroke so it was going to see us through this as well! And as you can see by these photos, I was not wrong!

I guess the last photos I should put here are those from the Valentines pawty that Spencer attended at the hospital where everyone worked so diligently to save his life! Dr. Laure Prober and internist Tammy Perri especially took 'their' Spencer under their wing and fought to make him well again for us. Without them and the team at Hope Veterinary Specialists I don't know if we'd have Spencer today.
 I'll finish this post off with them and if there are any new photos to come, you will find them in my Nikon post gallery.

Dr. Prober said she was happy/sad to be letting her Spencer go, only to see him for checkups, but knowing that this was what everyone had been working toward for so long. A healthy kitty who didn't need to be looked at daily by doctors or fed through tubes or stuck with needles and ultrasounded. 
 So I decided to make her a little Spencer kitty for her office and Greg presented it to her on Christmas Eve 2013.

Fast forward to Feb and Valentines Day...the PAWTY! Spencer wasn't thrilled being the only kitty at a pawty made up of dogs so the first chance he got he made a break for the 'cat room'. One of the advantages of being a patient there so long is knowing the layout. But Tammy nabbed him before he got too far down the hallway and he eventually enjoyed the pawty...wonderful friends to visit and yummy pawty treats. I had to do a white collar and bow tie for the event and he looked ever the dashing gentleman that afternoon, I think you'll agree!

1 comment:

Ginger said...

Just an update on our Spencer. On Tuesday, he took food via the mouth for the first time. I was able to 'talk him into' some chicken with broth Gerber baby food. I had to hand feed it to him but he welcomed that and since that time has been tentatively lapping it from the dish! Yesterday afternoon he had some more human food, this time Hormel's chicken in water. To say we are elated is like saying the Pacific is sort of's been a long, long road but it looks like we truly are reaching our destination.

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