Botchok’s respiratory infection

It was on October 30 when I noticed that Botchok had trouble breathing. I gave her food, and she didn’t eat. Her breathing was noisier than usual. She was lying on her side and breathing through her mouth.

I observed her for a while, and she didn’t seem to be getting any better. It was so worrisome to see her struggling for breath. It didn’t help that I knew how she felt, since I have asthma too. Finally I brought her to Saint Joseph.

Dr. Archie Yap was there, and he examined her but found no obstruction. He took an x-ray, but all he saw was bloating in her stomach, probably due to her mouth breathing. He drew some blood for a test, and tested her for FIV as well. She was positive.

Dr. Archie recommended confinement, so they could put her on an IV drip, give her meds and observe her. While he was explaining the FIV to me, tears started welling up in my eyes, and soon Dr. Archie started tearing up too. That cracked us up both.

He told me that the FIV meant that Botchok’s immune system was compromised, and every time she got sick she would need immediate medical attention so it wouldn’t get worse. Her age was a factor too.

I told him that I knew she was old and sick, and I didn’t want her to be uncomfortable. If the treatment was going to be too stressful, I would prefer to just make her comfortable at home.

I left Botchok at the clinic, and when I got home I just spent the afternoon crying. I felt so helpless.

The next day Oneal and I went to the vet, and it was full of families and their fur babies. I went to Botchok’s cage. In the cage beside her was a fluffy black cat, his human cooing and petting him as Dr. Dara explained his condition. The human and I exchanged smiles as we laughed at ourselves and our sick cats.

When Dr. Archie finished with his patient, he came over to talk to us. They had punctured a tiny hole in Botchok’s stomach to release the air. They had given her antibiotics to help with the healing and whatever infection she had. But there was no change. She still wasn’t eating unless they force-fed her, and her breath hadn’t changed.

Without further tests, they couldn’t find out what else was wrong. Further tests meant MRI, ultrasound, and that would just put too much strain on her little body. If we did the test, they might find a tumor or other internal problem, and that would require surgery. She would not survive that.

We asked if we could visit again on Sunday, but they were closed and the vets wouldn’t be there. So we decided we would just take Botchok. All they could do was feed her and give her medicine anyway. I could do that at home.

They discharged her, and I put her on my shoulder. We waited in the car while Oneal bought food for the kittens. There Botchok performed a feat of agility and strength! She leaped from my shoulder to the back seat, and then to the back of the car! I was so surprised. Oneal was outside, and he was stunned to see my little cat pressed against  the window. I had to reach over to pick her up, and we sat in the back seat on the way home.

I was just happy my cat was home again.

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