Yesterday, my family of six left our home to go for a set of doctor's appointments in out of town.
We fed our two cats - healthy and acting normally at the time - and left, returning in the early evening.
This was our first time leaving the cats home alone for a day, after owning them for about seven months.
When we returned home, we were greeted to several pools of vomit, and no sign of one of our cats - Blake - who we could only assume was the culprit.
Stranger yet, since Blake is a lively, social and affectionate cat, who usually greets us whenever we come home.
After a bit of a search party effort, we found him in a hiding spot we'd never seen him in before; huddled away in the corner under a bench, dazed and drooling, and breathing through his mouth.
Our first assumption was that he'd eaten something that wasn't supposed to be eaten, or maybe even had a seizure, but we couldn't find definitive evidence to support either theory.
We couldn't coax him out, or even do so much as get him to respond as he usually would to sounds we use to grab his attention (kisses, clicking, etc), so we set some water down next to him and called the vet.
The vet was minutes away from closing, so we were advised to offer him some plain cooked chicken in the mean time, and to come in the next day if his condition didn't improve.
Blake has always been a picky eater - somehow he doesn't even like wet food! - and unsurprisingly refused the chicken.
Most of the very limited moving he did was to limply, stubbornly turn his back to the bowls we set by him.
The most he did was follow us upstairs, and we can only assume he did this because he's always absolutely hated to be left alone, and was desperate for company even in his discomfort.
He largely stay curled up in one spot with his head down - conscious, but mostly unresponsive to things that would usually have his head and ears twitching about to investigate.
This goes against everything we know Blake to be - bright, alert, energetic and curious, like an overgrown kitten! This display was incredibly worrying.
He (presumably) slept like this through the night.
He didn't improve in the morning, and we took him to the vet immediately.
Here's what we were told:
Without running tests, it's impossible to say for sure what happened.
What we know for sure is that he's incredibly dehydrated after throwing up everything he'd eaten and refusing to drink, and is in enough pain to wail at us when he's handled - and he never meows.
The vet suspects a problem with his pancreas, and/or some kind of toxins in his system messing with his head.
To properly diagnose what the underlying issue behind all of this is, and keep him in stable condition, we'd need to look into (including, but not limited to)
- Hospitalization + Daily Care ($120 per day)
- IV Catheter / Fluids ($80)
- Ampicillin (an antibiotic) ($22)
- Blood and Urine tests ($230)
- X-Ray ($300)
- Ultrasound ($500)
Coming down to a total of about $1250 not including tax, and this all needs to be covered as soon as possible.
And these are just the costs of diagnosis - this speaks nothing of what it may cost to treat him, or for how long.
All funds raised beyond that point will go towards a few extra days' worth of Hospitalization, and further treatment, if we can get that far.
We're at a loss for words. After just scraping together the funds to fix our only car after several weeks, this isn't the kind of money we have on hand.
This all came up at the worst possible time - we're completely unprepared to tackle this.
Blake is a wonderfully friendly, playful, funny cat bursting with personality. He plays fetch, goes crazy for laser pointers and strings, and even chases his own tail.
He brightens up our day with his mischievous antics, and it pains all of us to see him in this condition.
He is the first family pet my youngest brother, 10, has ever had, and it's gone amazingly well - Blake has helped him go from terrified of cats, to completely enamoured with him and playing with him at every opportunity.
He's also been a particularly big emotional support to my quiet, animal-loving sister, who had been begging for a cat for years before we would rescue Blake, and the cat who came with him, Gracie.
Even Gracie seems distressed and confused about Blake's whereabouts, and naturally it's impossible to really explain to her what's going on.
Please - If you could manage to donate anything at all, my family and I wouldn't be able to thank you enough for helping to save Blake's life, and helping him continue to enrich ours.
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