Starting from about three days after she arrived into our lives, Tomoyo has had health problems.
The first week, she almost died of suspected feline panleukopenia and had a very high fever for too long. After getting better, she developed some behavioral issues, mainly being incredibly destructive in spite of lots of attention, toys, access to a huge porch, and three other cats to play with. She’s a happy cat, and is always playing, but she’s incredibly neurotic. Sometimes she attacks her food dish, or other random things, as though she is really scared of them. And she never seems to relax the way normal cats do.
To add to this, she is always hungry in a way I’ve never seen another cat be. All tests done to her come normal, though.
About a year ago, Tomoyo developed another issue: an occasional cough. It wouldn’t go away, and worried our vet, who’d give Tomoyo some injectable steroids to ease the problem. Then she wouldn’t cough for a while.
One time in particular, Tomoyo was given steroids in pill-form. Within 48 hours of taking these, she developed a possible UTI that may or may not have been related… it was either that, or crystals in her urine (we treated for both) but it was a very bad time for her, and consequently for me, since I had to see her suffer. It was also all-around a very bad time for our wallet, in the hundreds of dollars, but eventually, she got better.
That brings us to last weekend. Her cough had made a comeback over the holidays, and over two weeks, it went from “mild concern” to “this is bad”. Tomoyo’s fur would stand on end, she would panic, and her head, neck stretched, would point in a different direction with each cough –very different than a cat trying to get out a hairball. She’d never vomit anything, but her breathing, normally noiseless and clear, immediately would become wet and crackly sounding, only to go back to normal until the next episode.
These episodes would generally be triggered by any sort of playing, jumping or running around, but sometimes would wake her up of a dead sleep.
So yesterday we went to the vet, again:
Dr. Pisano determined that it is extremely likely that Tomoyo has asthma. She was given a long-acting steroids shot, which immediately stopped the coughing, while the VERY EXPENSIVE asthma medication we ordered arrives. We also had to buy a device to administer these meds, which are literally the same inhalers people with asthma use… for the same cost.
With some luck, I was about to get an eight month supply for $110, and the device was $60. This doesn’t count the vet visit, shot, and a rabies vaccine she was due for… almost $300. Or the previous shots or visits this year… or her special food when she had the infection ($100 for like, 25 days worth) or the two rounds of antibiotics (about a hundred again).
I must point out I got very lucky with her asthma medicine, which I will have to find a way to administer every day. Normally, a 120 day supply would cost anywhere between $150 to $400 (with the higher price being the average.) This is forever.
Tomoyo is an expensive cat, and it would be so much easier to bear if she was cuddly, or if she didn’t destroy our possessions, or drive the other cats nuts. But with all that said, I do love her dearly. She isn’t a very cuddly cat because she’s constantly on the alert. She suffers from literal anxiety, and cannot relax. We tried multiple sedatives, which had the opposite effect. Her anxiety increased.
We’ve often mentioned to each other that our lives would really be easier and more relaxed without her, and this is true. But Tomoyo really enjoys being alive. I see this every day. She may not be what a human would prefer in a cat, but she’s a very happy animal, loving and clingy in spite of not being able to cuddle, and what to others is obnoxious and destructive behavior, to her is playful and curious.
Sometimes I think, Tomoyo ended up with us, because many other people may have given her up or have her put down because of all of her issues, health and behavioral. Maybe with age she will mellow out. We keep hoping for that.
Even if she doesn’t, I do love her very much, and she can be cute, sometimes…
Anyway that is the situation with her right now. Cost of medicine aside (and it’s definitely a serious concern) I really don’t know how I’m going to administer this medicine to such a violently skittish cat (emphasis on the violent part.) Forever. For her entire life (she’s young) EVERY DAY.
Well…I’m sure I’ll figure it out.