Many of you probably remember I started this blog back in May as J.P., Paige and I were preparing for our team training at Canine Companions for Independence.
We were blessed to be given a 2-year-old Labrador-golden retriever mix named Karina.
Karina has adapted well into our family, but over the past few weeks, she has taken a back seat to one of our two 19-year-old cats, Belle.
I posted about our history with Belle and her sister, Ariel, several months ago after Karina joined the family.
About a month ago, Paige and I noticed Belle was losing weight and seemed to be having trouble getting around the house. It wasn’t getting better, so we took her to the veterinarian and learned after blood work that she had high kidney values and a dropping red blood cell count.
Even more troubling was that Belle had also fallen from 7 pounds to 5.5 pounds.
That’s not good news for any cat, but especially one that’s 19 years old.
I was given Ariel and Belle by a dear friend at WESH who was the proud owner of our cats’ brother, Fred. My friend’s sister is the owner of their mother, Candy Cane, who is 20 years old and still thriving.
There is longevity in the family, but a few weeks before Belle became ill, Fred passed away.
Belle was put on a steroid, and the veterinarian told us to take her home, feed her anything she would eat and bring her back to recheck her blood in a few weeks.
Belle has always been a big fan of chicken. When she was much younger, Paige and I sat down with a grilled chicken breast dinner at our coffee table, and before Paige could dig into her meal, Belle grabbed the chicken breast with her teeth and tried to make off with it.
Paige decided to get Belle some chicken at Chick-fil-A. We also moved the cat food into our main bedroom with a litter box.
It was the only way we could give the cats access to food at all times without Karina getting it.
Belle seemed to be doing better, and I took her back to the vet to repeat blood work and was asked how I felt she was doing. I told the vet she seemed better, but when she was weighed she was down to 5 pounds and her red blood cell count was lower. Her liver values were a bit better.
Since the liver values had improved a bit, the vet put Belle on a strong antibiotic, and we continued the steroid.
We finished the bottle of steroids over the weekend, and took Belle back to the vet on Tuesday.
There was better news with an improved red blood cell count and a weight gain of about a pound.
The vet said Belle may have had pancreatitis, and told us to keep watching her and bring her back if we have concerns. If not, we’ll repeat blood work at the beginning of the year.
For now, we’re happy she’s doing better, and J.P. still has his canine companion and two feline companions to keep him company as he starts fifth grade.
It’s a rare occasion when I’m more concerned about my cat’s health than my son’s, but Belle is currently the human equivalent of 94 years old.
I can only look ahead and be happy that Ariel and Belle’s mother is still around.
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