Little Maisi [UPDATED]

Meet Maisi

Meet Maisi

UPDATE #2 (28.7.)
A little while ago Maisi passed away. Donation buttons have been removed and donators are offered refunds. Expect a longer, more detailed, post within few days. -Lord J

UPDATE #1 (28.7.)
Added new buttons for GBP and USD for your convenience. -Lord Joyful

This is Maisi.

Maisi is three years and one month old. But we don’t know if she’ll reach her next birthday.

On the 11th July we took Maisi and her sister Lola to have their teeth cleaned, and also asked for advice on their ongoing digestive problems. For quite some time they’d been having upset stomachs and sickness, and it seemed to have worsened. We were told to start feeding them hypoallergenic food, give them Tehobakt (a powder containing lactic acid bacteria) and Inupekt (a “complimentary feedingstuff designed to support intestinal wellbeing”), as well as de-worm them (again…) When we took the girls home after having their teeth cleaned we were told that when Maisi had her temperature taken there had been some very small amount of blood.

A few days later, on the 13th July, we discovered black stool in the litter trays, and some on the floor. We couldn’t be certain whether it was Lola or Maisi who’d passed it, but we strongly suspected Maisi as she tends not to cover after using the tray and she has been known to have occasional accidents on the floor.

Black faeces tends to mean bleeding higher up in the intestinal tract. And this was very very black. We took both girls to the emergency vet (it being a Saturday) and had them looked over, with more attention being paid to Maisi as we were fairly certain it was her who had the problem. We were told to give both girls Tylosin (an anti-inflammatory) and Antepsin (used to create a protective lining in the gut).

Within a few days of starting the new treatments we noticed Maisi seemed to have become a bit less active and was sleeping more. She stopped scratching on the bedroom door to wake us for food in the morning. And she didn’t seem to be eating as much. At first we presumed the lack of appetite was because of the powder and tablet we’d had to add to her food, and we figured the sleepiness might be because of the heat.

Maisi loves to lie in the sun.

Maisi loves to lie in the sun.

On the 21st as we were giving Maisi her medicine, we realised her nose was white. As white as her fur. A quick look in her mouth showed the same for her gums. We quickly got on the phone to the vet, another emergency visit and to yet another practice. When we saw the vet she confirmed our suspicions and took a blood test. We waited 15 minutes and were told that her haematocrit levels were 18%. The normal, if I remember correctly, is somewhere around 30%. All her other tests were normal so the vet was uncertain what the cause was. Bloods were sent to Helsinki to see if Maisi had FIV or FeLV.

On the 23rd we heard that Maisi’s test results were negative for FIV and FeLV which was a huge relief (though we’ve since been told a negative on the test isn’t always accurate). But it did still mean that we had no idea what the cause of the anaemia was. The vet we spoke to on the phone prescribed Prednisolon (cortisone) for a course of 3-4 weeks, after which her bloods would be retested and if the red cell count was still low we’d do further tests.

The back of the sofa is one of Maisi's favourite places to sleep.

The back of the sofa is one of Maisi’s favourite places to sleep.

She didn’t even go a week.

On Thursday (25th) she vomited, and there were a couple of blood clots in it.

Thursday evening we were trying to give her the medicine. She was being uncooperative (as most cats are about medicine) and we had to hold her by the scruff. She started gasping so we released her scruff but kept hold of her so she didn’t run off without taking her medicine. She went limp in my arms. I lowered her to the floor and called her name a couple of times. Within a few seconds she was back up and in less than a minute she was back to her normal (for the last few weeks at least) self.

The following morning (Friday 26th) she seemed fairly happy. She jumped up on to the bed and lay on my stomach whilst I was reading. She was able to jump onto the kitchen table and lay among the papers I was trying to organise. She asked for cuddles, and even ate some food.

At three o’ clock she vomited again.

There were no blood clots this time, luckily. But her manner changed completely. She cried out after vomiting. Previous occasions when she’s had sickness she would perhaps cry before, but never after. She seemed to fall into it. She started to run away. I caught her and cuddled her. She lay flat on the floor. S called the vet and was told that they were busy, and we should phone at four for an out-of-hours appointment.

We waited for one long hour.

Maisi thinks that a baking tray is a fairly good bed.

Maisi thinks that a baking tray is a fairly good bed.

During that hour Maisi just lay and stared. Occasionally she would walk unsteadily a few paces to lie somewhere else.

When four came S phoned to try and get an out-of-hours appointment. The nurse who answered was very reluctant. She claimed that Maisi’s stillness was most likely from the stress of vomiting, and that it was just our opinion that Maisi wasn’t reacting properly to noise and movement. She did eventually agree to get us an appointment. For 6 o’ clock.

The wait was absolutely horrible.

At one point Maisi seemed to perk up a bit. She walked further than she had at any other time since being sick. She was a bit wobbly at first but steadied up and kept going.

After having her teeth cleaned Maisi was a bit sleepy and cuddled on S's lap.

After having her teeth cleaned Maisi was a bit sleepy and cuddled on S’s lap.

Then she tried to climb up the back of the sofa.

She got part way and was hanging on with her claws when she swung sideways. I rushed over and caught her, and as I did she seemed to stiffen and collapse again.

We phoned the vet we were waiting to see and were told we couldn’t get there any sooner as the vet was in the middle of surgery. We just had to keep waiting.

Six o’ clock could not come soon enough.

Computer chairs belong to cats!

Computer chairs belong to cats!

When it was time to leave we didn’t put Maisi in the carrier. S carried it to the car, and I carried Maisi. We’d put her harness and lead on her just in case she decided to run off, but seeing as she was barely moving it really wasn’t necessary.

As we left our flat Maisi stiffened again in my arms, her front legs coming up involuntarily to be beside her head, stiff, claws exposed. She seemed to vibrate. I thought she was having a fit, though we were later told these episodes were cramps. We hurried down the stairs to the car and as we did she cried, a long mournful cry that I’d never heard her make before. It was heartbreaking.

When we arrived at the clinic we put her in the carrier in case there were any dogs around. We didn’t want anything to upset her.

The vet was still in surgery so we had to sit and wait for about 20 minutes. We kept giving Maisi attention and love, and trying to see if she would respond. She barely did. The nurse asked us if she was still breathing.

Finally the vet was ready to see us.

Maisi is much more of a lap cat than Lola ever has been.

Maisi is much more of a lap cat than Lola ever has been.

S and I took Maisi through whilst his parents waited in the waiting room.

The vet asked lots of questions about what had been going on. At one point her phone rang and she left the room. I hated it. I wanted Maisi to be seen now!

After a few minutes the vet got Maisi out of the carrier. She was floppy like a rag doll, but still staring.

The vet told us Maisi was very sick.

It was simultaneously both difficult and easy to believe. Difficult because only a few hours ago she’d been relatively healthy. Easy because, well, you only had to look at her to see she was very ill.

Maisi came around enough to complain as the vet examined her.

Maisi (right) with Lola (left) and their brothers as kittens.

Maisi (right) with Lola (left) and their brothers as kittens.

The vet told S, in Finnish, that Maisi would probably have to be put to sleep. She said a few other things, though I’m not certain what. S wasn’t really up to translating. After a while she told me in English, that Maisi would probably need to be euthanised.

She did also say that there was a slim chance Maisi could be helped if we took her to the veterinary hospital an hour away. But it would be expensive.

She left us with Maisi, and S’s parents came to join us. There were a lot of tears. After some discussion we were all in agreement – we had to try. She’d been okay that morning. We couldn’t give up on her.

The vet returned and we told her our decision. She waived the fee and said she’d call ahead and let them know we were coming.

It was seven o’ clock. According to the SatNav it would take ninety minutes to reach the hospital, though the vet had told us sixty.

For the entire journey I had my hand holding Maisi’s paw. It was cold (her temperature was 2 degrees below normal) and floppy. My arm rested gently across her chest so I could feel her breathing. Every now and again she would take these big deep breaths, and I’d be terrified that it would be her last. The rest of the time her breathing was shallow and slightly too fast.

We got to the hospital at almost exactly 8 o’ clock.

The tops of our bookshelves are cat-zones.

The tops of our bookshelves are cat-zones.

More waiting.

Whilst they’d been phoned and told of our impending arrival they’d not yet got any of the notes through. S had to explain to the nurse exactly what was going on.

The vet was with another patient. I felt like ever since Maisi had vomited we’d just been waiting.

Finally the nurse called us through. As we entered the room she asked if Maisi had been given a sedative, because she was so unresponsive. The nurse went to the back door of the room to see how long the vet would be and nearly walked into her.

I don’t think we were even with the vet for five minutes. She got Maisi from the carrier and looked her over. The vet cuddled Maisi. She said they’d take her through and put her in an oxygen tent and give her IV fluids while they ran tests. She told us we could go home, and they’d call by one to let us know what they’d found.

Going home without Maisi was horrible. But we knew that if she could be helped, the hospital was the place to be.

Lola came to the door to greet us when we got home. I think she wondered where her sister had got to.

Lola and Maisi have always been very close, and love to have cuddles.

Lola and Maisi have always been very close, and love to have cuddles.

I dozed on the sofa whilst we waited for the phone call. It came just before one o’ clock. The vet told S that so far they’d found that Maisi seemed to have a stomach infection. They were giving her antibiotics and she’d perked up, even trying to escape at one point. They promised to let us know more in the morning.

Morning came, and went. A busy surgery meant we had to wait longer before we could be told anything. When we did get the phone call it seemed positive. Maisi was responding to the treatment, fighting back against the anaemia with a slight rise in her red blood cell count. In particular her reticulocytes were quite numerous. They still weren’t certain what the cause of the anaemia was. But it was an improvement, no matter how slight.

To add to our worries we’d noticed that Lola is pale, though not as white as Maisi. The hospital advised that we should get her blood checked on Monday. Admittedly, if Lola does have anaemia too it would seem to rule out some of the nastier possibilities (e.g. tumour).

We were told they’d call us again this evening. Once more the call was delayed due to busy-ness. As I’ve been typing this blog post S has been on the phone to the vet getting an update.

Maisi gets distracted from grooming by a camera.

Maisi gets distracted from grooming by a camera.

The latest news is: her haematocrit has raised 1% (though if S understood correctly it’s still around 10% and they would prefer it to be nearer 20%), and her other overall blood results have improved slightly; her infection levels are still very high; she’s become slightly less passive. Her reticulocytes are down to normal levels now, though they’d prefer they were still high. The vet is wondering if perhaps as well as the mature red blood cells being destroyed the immature ones may be either not maturing properly or being destroyed.

Again she seems to be improving, though only very little. The vet said “we can’t sigh in relief yet.”

But an improvement is an improvement. No matter how small.

Treatment is expensive though. We made the choice to try and save her, and it would be stupid to pull the plug on that when she seems to be improving.

And so I’m asking for your help.

This is the most recent picture we have of Maisi, taken on Friday (26th) not long after she'd vomited and started to rapidly deteriorate. If you compare it to previous pictures you can see just how pale she's become.

This is the most recent picture we have of Maisi, taken on Friday (26th) not long after she’d vomited and started to rapidly deteriorate. If you compare it to previous pictures you can see just how pale she’s become.

We want to keep trying, to keep helping Maisi improve, and hopefully before too long to bring her home to her sister.

If you would like to help Maisi, you can click the “make a donation” button at the bottom of this post, or on the right at the top of the page, and give a donation to help us keep getting her the help she needs. Any donation, big or small, will help us make the steps towards bringing her home. We would hate to seem like we’re begging, but we’re not certain we’ll be able to get her home without your help.

Thank you.

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