By KaLeigh Underwood
If you read my introductory column last week, you will already know that I’m a bit of a crazy cat lady. My two cats, Sophie and Ghibli, are basically my children. I spoil them with lavish treats and toys, and love nothing more than to spend lazy days cuddling with them.
Because of my experiences learning to care for the two, I thought I knew most of all there was to know about cats, their habits, and their illnesses. However, I quickly found out I was wrong.
Last week I was introduced to a rescue kitten in need of a good home. The little grey fluff ball quickly stole my heart, but I knew I couldn’t take him. Due to the financial responsibilities of the two I already have, I wasn’t the right momma for the baby in need.
So I coerced one of my roommates to take him instead. This way, I get all the benefits of the kitten, without having to break it to my parents that they had another fur-grandchild. We named the baby Totoro, and brought him home.
The next few days passed as Totoro adjusted to being a part of our family, and we started socializing him with my cats. Then on the fourth day, something tragic happened. What was first shaken off as the little guy trying to get out of his new collar, quickly developed into a terrifying situation.
I watched as the kitten would bring his front paws to his face, then bat at his face while shaking his head violently. After these episodes, he would seem dazed, and he had completely unresponsive pupils.
After I decided this was obviously not normal, I called my veterinarian, Dr. Putnam of Richmond Veterinary Clinic, and asked for his help. Luckily, Dr. Putnam’s office phone transfers to his cell phone after hours, otherwise I don’t know what we would have done.
Dr. Putnam confirmed that Totoro was seizing. He recommended giving him something high in sugar, because it is common for little animals to have hypoglycemia. My roommate and I immediately started funneling pancake syrup down the kitten’s throat. When that didn’t seem to faze him, the doctor said it was a good idea to bring him in for an emergency visit.
After a full panel of blood work tests, it was determined that Totoro was hypoglycemic. He was having a hard time eating the dry food we were giving him, and the solution was as simple as a kitten-specific wet food. My roommate had to stay up with him that night to feed him every two hours and watch for any seizure-like activity, but thankfully, our little guy did fine.
I guess the moral of the story is to be educated. So many people adopt or rescue these little guys and aren’t prepared for them. Even I, the owner of two, who thought she knew it all, learned a new lesson. Make sure whenever you get a new animal, whether it be dog, cat, or anything, that you take it to the vet as soon as possible to ensure the best quality of care and life for your new fur baby. Even if you think you’ve asked all the right questions to be prepared to care for the new addition, the smartest move is to take them to a professional to get a well-educated opinion.