A challenging but fascinating part of traveling as we are is the fact that one can never plan very far ahead. Weather, marina or anchorage availability, and various other things must be considered. As a result, we rarely truly know where we are going to be more than a day or two ahead. Indeed, it is often said that one of the most dangerous things to have in a small boat (or a small aircraft for that matter) is a schedule!
This past week we were reminded in a rather frightening way of the fact that things can change, as last week our long, tuxedo cat Admiral Roswell von Longencatunschtilkittenstein, suddenly fell ill. Since it was Friday night and the only vets within miles would only be open for a few hours on Saturday morning (and not at all on Sunday), we quickly took him into town to a local vet office. After an exam and some blood work, they came back to us with the frightening news that our kitty had a very compromised kidney situation. So often we are reminded that small-town folks are great: Dr Mike Boley at The Animal Doctor and his assistant agreed to take turns coming in over the weekend so that Rowell could be hospitalized and cared for, even though they were closed.
On Monday they rechecked his blood work and found out that not only had Roswell not improved, his condition had worsened significantly. At that point there was nothing else they could do in their clinic, so they referred us to an emergency specialty hospital in Nashville, about 2 hours away. We quickly packed a few clothes, put Supreme Commander Scully in the back seat of our rental car, and headed off down the road. It was the longest two hour drive I’ve experienced in a long time, and I found it very difficult to drive while on the verge of tears, listening to our normally energetic cat make sounds that could only mean he felt horrible.
At the hospital they immediately went to work assessing Roswell’s situation, and after more tests and an ultrasound, informed us that one of his two kidneys was effectively non-functional and the other one appeared infected, had at least one stone in it, and a stricture blocking its exit. We learned that a cat’s ureter (connecting the kidney to the bladder) is smaller than a strand of angel hair pasta, and hence it is very easily blocked. More tears from your author as we considered options that at the very least included multiple days in the hospital, on towards a possible expensive surgery in Indiana or Alabama, or even worse…
I’m not sure I have words to describe the pain seeing our little friend in a cage, IV’s taped on his paws, wearing a “cone of shame” so he couldn’t pull them out, and barely responding to our loves, touches, and hugs.
But then a bit of light at the end of the tunnel! When we talked to the doctor the next morning the Admiral’s blood numbers, while still way out of the normal range, we’re headed in the right direction. A day later, even better, to just outside the normal range. You can only imagine our elation the next day when they said his blood numbers were back into the normal range, the blockage appeared to be gone, and even the other stone in his one good kidney had dissipated and disappeared! This time the tears we shed were of joy and praise to God, yet at the same time it seemed too good to be true.
But after one more night in the hospital, this time without any meds or IVs, everything held as it was supposed to. You could say he had passed his final exam, so that morning, Roswell was released to go and resume his duties as an admiral aboard Joy Girl!
Our wonderful big black and white guy is now on a special urinary diet to prevent any sort of relapse of the situation, and he will need several blood checks and another ultrasound down the line just to make sure everything is going as it should. And we’ve stayed 11 nights in a marina where we had originally planned to spend three or four, but now, none of that matters. We are absolutely thrilled to have our long, loud, and most of all love cat back with us as we continue on our journey!
We’ve got that lovin’ feline,
Oh, oh, that lovin’ feline,
We’ve got that lovin’ feline,
And he’s long,