I honestly think I own the absolute dumbest cat on earth. Don’t get me wrong, I love her to pieces! Yet, I have never met a cat so short on intelligence. As a vet tech for many years, I have seen a lot of cats to base that opinion on, and anyone who has met my cat generally agrees with us…..she’s downright dumb!
Lest you think I am just exaggerating, let me give you a few examples:
- She got too close to the edge and fell off our second-story apartment balcony one day. Thank the Lord for bushes below to break her fall!
- When she shakes off, she usually falls over
- It took her 8 years to figure out she could jump over a baby gate
- It took her about 2 months to learn that she could walk between the posts dividing our stairway from our little loft by our stairs (before this, she would sit and meow for someone to come open the baby gate at the top of the stairs and help her get down the stairs
- It took her 9 years to figure out she could jump our backyard fence
- She will walk up to any dog she meets
- She will not run from a toddler torturing her
- She would try to jump a 12 inch gap between our washer and dryer, and typically missed the jump and fell in the trash can between the two
- She tried jumping through a closed window numerous times
- When we once gave her a choice of leftover turkey or collard greens, she chose the greens
Ok, I have to admit, Callie actually has a good reason for her lack of sense. She has a condition known as “cerebral hypoplasia” (aka cerebellar hypoplasia). While the initial cause could be many things, she has been this way since birth. I got her as a 10 week old kitten, and I honestly thought she would die within a few days. She just didn’t act like a normal cat. She was off balance, would not fight me in any position I held her in, and just seemed odd in general. As it turns out, she acted that way due to her brain being damaged.
Her issues allow her to be a great source of entertainment. She walks like a drunken sailor, with a really strange gait, has a strange sounding meow (as she is also deaf), seems confused almost any time she isn’t sleeping, and loses her balance frequently. Despite her oddities though, she is an awesome family cat. She has no sense of self-preservation, which makes her wonderfully safe for our young children. She will not bite or claw at anyone–even in rough play! Of course, we have to be sure we watch the toddlers extra close, but for the cat’s protection instead of the toddler’s! Interestingly, cats with this condition can live a perfectly normal lifespan. They don’t seem to suffer any from the issues (minus a few bruises), and are as happy and clueless as can be!
Callie wound up the topic of my post today because she has been on my mind a lot lately. For the first time in 9 years, she got mysteriously sick last week. She had just learned to jump over our fence into the neighbors yard, so I can only assume perhaps she at something toxic. In any case, however, I honestly thought she wasn’t going to make it several days ago. I even prepared the kids and explained to them that she might die. I realized that I was attached enough that I had to send S to the vet with her, because I knew they would want to run expensive tests. Sure enough, everyone was mystified by her symptoms, and the next step was a $700 lab and x-ray panel.
HMMMMMMMM………I love my cat dearly. For 9 years, I have ensured she received her annual check up and vaccines. I have fed her healthy foods and monitored her weight closely. In 9 years that cat has never been sick a day in her life (except of course for some moderate brain damage!). I do not allow her to wander the neighborhood. I definintely consider myself a responsible pet owner by all accounts. But $700 for a cat?! I could adopt and be a responsible pet owner to about a dozen homeless, starving cats for that much money!
We made the tough choice to treat her symptoms as best we could and take a wait and see attitude. I will not let an animal suffer in pain, but Callie did not seem to be in any pain. She just obviously didn’t feel well. The vet prescribed 1/4 of a pill to help increase her appetite, and we agreed to that. Based on experience, I knew if she ate, drank, pooped, and pee’d every day, she may be able to pull through. So for the last 5 days, I have been closely monitoring her symptoms. When her appetite decreases, I have had to force feed and hydrate her. I have had to dig through the litter box daily to monitor output (and details therein). We have used team effort to provide her as much TLC and peace from toddlers as possible. I have added normally forbidden people foods such as raw milk, yogurt, and other highly nutritious immunity supplements to her food and water.
I am happy to report she is improving, but very slowly. I have not had to force anything into her today, but she is still sleeping a lot. This whole illness has been so strange and unexplainable. The symptoms just don’t fit any condition we can find. Even the vet agreed with that fact. S and I have decided to give her until Friday. If she is doing significantly better on Friday, than I think she will pull through. If not, we will likely return to the vet to discuss the options to prevent any suffering. I can only hope.