Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 reflections

2016 has not been kind to us.

Bon Bon and Mei Mei
We started 2016 with Bon Bon diagnosed with oral cancer on 27 Dec 2015. We fought the disease valiantly together with her for 2½ months, hoping for a miracle. It was not meant to be and we had to ease her pain and let her go in mid Mar.

In that same quarter, we noticed the Mei Mei had some blood in her pee. The vet found a bladder stone and had to operate to remove the stone. Luckily for us, a combination of early detection, Mei Mei’s relatively young age and the skill of the vet meant that she bounced back to health within 2 weeks.

We grieved the passing of Bon Bon in the next few months as the remaining 5 of them re-positioned their ranking within the family. Some routines changed. Mei Mei replaced Bon Bon and started to shadow Xin Xin around the house. Yuan Yuan became slightly more vocal. And every night when we reach home from work, we will find the 3 of them right at the door, welcoming us without Bon Bon tagging behind Xin Xin.

Kim Kim, Xin Xin and Chang Chang
In the middle of the year, we sent Kim Kim, Xin Xin and Chang Chang for teeth scaling procedures. With them being more advanced in age, especially Kim Kim, we were worried, not knowing how they will react to the anesthesia given. This was especially so for Xin Xin since she has a known heart and kidney issue and has a higher risk of not waking up from the anesthesia. Luckily for us, all 3 of them came through unscathed.

Chang Chang
Right when we thought things were smooth sailing again, Chang Chang ruptured his anal sac during the night in Nov. In just 6 hours while we slept, he aggravated the injury through aggressive licking of the wound area, creating a massive 2cm wide by 1cm deep wound right beside his anus. We were horrified when we saw his wound in the morning. It was so raw and bloody. We could not imagine the pain he was experiencing.

The vet could only clean the wound area and let the body heal on its own. There was no sufficient skin and flesh to stitch the wound. So in the next 5 weeks, we had to disinfect and clean his wound twice a day. He would sometimes yowled in pain when the disinfectant stunk the wound. With an E-collar though those weeks, he was miserable as it made eating and drinking difficult and grooming impossible. Gradually, the wound did indeed healed on its own, filling up the deep hole with extra tissue growth. It would be difficult to spot the wound area on him today.

Kim Kim
Kim Kim celebrated her 16th birthday in Apr and is our oldest cat. In human years, she is already close to 80 years old.

We have been keeping a close watch on her health for many months. Her movement have slowed down much and she rests a bit more compared to a year or two ago. Recently, we noticed that she has been drinking and also peeing a lot more. Fearing that she might have contracted kidney issues, we brought her for a blood test in early Dec. Her SDMA test showed her kidneys were still alright though the results were at the high end of the normal range. However, her glucose levels were high. She was diagnosed with a diabetic condition.

But because she was not eating well due to her herpes flare up, we had to get her to eat regularly first before we can have her hospitalized to determine how much insulin to give her. We syringe fed her twice daily. The medicine given did not seem to improve her condition. She was lethargic and spent most of the time under the sofa. As she continued to pee a lot, she became dehydrated and we had to give her daily sub-cuts.

Her condition got worse just before Christmas. She became weaker and was unable to crawl into the litter box. Uncharacteristically of her, she peed outside the box for days in a row. The vet ran another blood test on her on Boxing Day. Her ALT levels were 10X the normal level – it was within the normal range mid Dec. Her liver was not functioning properly and was immediately hospitalized.

Fortunately, she responded well to the aggressive treatment over the next few days and was finally able to eat on her own on 29 Dec. When we brought her back home yesterday, we were delighted that though not as strong as before, she still had the strength to walk around the house. Her appetite returned though we still have to coax her to eat.

Today marks the date we will have to add Kim Kim’s insulin injection to our daily routine of pilling Xin Xin. As I type this entry, she is resting in her bed next to me, grooming after her evening feed.

Our family ends 2016 on an even note, with no more highs and lows. I hope 2017 will be a better year for all 5 of them.

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