A few weeks ago Jennifer and her husband lost their dear Snowball to Saddle Thrombus, the same horrible disease that took our Fritz’s life in March. Their feelings of helplessness over Snowball’s sudden death were used to give another beautiful cat a new home, and this is Jack’s adoption story as told by Jennifer. You can read more about Jack on their blog Adventures of Jenn and Randy:
“I wanted to share our adoption story – a follow up to the crushing story of Snowball’s passing a couple weeks ago. Randy found a picture of a cat at Wayside Waifs, a local animal shelter. Eggnog looked very much like Snowball, but in his picture he had sad eyes. I instantly felt pulled to this cat. As I read through his bio, I discovered that he had been there since Halloween and he was Snowball’s exact age – 10 years and a couple months. The pull got stronger.
After looking at his picture several times a day and corresponding with the shelter about him, we decided to go meet Eggnog in person that weekend. Snowball had only been gone a week, and I felt disloyal and guilty for looking so soon. But I also felt Snowball led me to this cat, and I didn’t know how much longer he would be around – older cats don’t often get adopted and he had already been there 6 weeks.
We went on the condition that we couldn’t take him home just because he reminded me of Snowball. I was very nervous that I had “set him up” with all my expectations. But after we met him, we both knew. We were taking him home.
The first few days were fine – he was recovering from an upper respiratory infection and sluggish and sneezing. We figured after he got accustomed to us and his new home, we’d start to see who this cat really was. We dubbed him Jack – a name that somehow really suits him. Well, instead of getting better, by Wednesday Jack was not eating or drinking and had diarrhea and was vomiting. I rushed him to the vet – the very one who a week and a half before had put Snowball to sleep. She was concerned that he had kidney issues and to take him back to the shelter for tests. She warned me not to get too attached.
I made an appointment that afternoon with the shelter vet. Jack was not too happy to be returning to the vet. The shelter vet was concerned he may have coccidia and gave him some meds immediately and sent me home with some. His fecal came up negative for that, but it was a poor sample and possible to get a false negative. I also had the vet take a blood sample. The vet called the next day with the blood work results – everything checked out except he had high neutrophil levels – suggesting his immune system was fighting off a serious infection.
He asked me to return with Jack so he could do a feline distemper test. Shortly after taking the test, the results were in – positive!
Unbelievable! The vet was telling me my “replacement” cat was probably going to die! We discussed the situation at length. He had seen 12 cases of distemper at the shelter – none of them had survived. If I left him at the shelter, I would be leaving him to die. My only option was to provide him supportive care myself. I had no choice with Snowball, but I did with Jack. The vet sent me home with fluids, cans of AD, and medications to reduce fever and vomiting, and anti-bacterial drugs. He shook my hand and said “good luck”.
The next three days, I spent dedicated to Jack’s recovery. I pumped him full of fluids, and administered his medications throughout the day, keeping track of everything I did to him. The vomiting stopped after a day of the anti-vomiting drugs. I started force-feeding him watery AD through a syringe on Saturday. I also slipped him some colloidal silver in the AD – supposed to help immune support. Randy and I spent a lot of time in his bathroom just sitting with him and petting him. We knew he was too weak to move about and he needed lots of love. I read up on feline distemper and did everything I read to do for him. And I counted. If he made it to day 5, he had a good chance of making it. Day 5 was Monday – and he started improving. By Tuesday, Jack was showing signs of recovery – he started eating and drinking on his own, and he started doing kitty things – playing, purring, wanting his belly rubbed. And today he is even running around and enjoying the delights of his new home – birdwatching and sunbathing (inside of course!).
We could tell even during his illness how much he loved being here – when he was too weak to jump on the bed, he would meow at us until we lifted him up and he loves to sleep in between us! Now that he is feeling better, we are really getting to see what a great cat he is and a wonderful addition to our family. I know Snowball approves. Snowball sent him to us.