Simon’s mystery illness


Simon’s my main concern so far this week.

He’s been so sick since Monday night. He had been just fine that afternoon, and in fact I let him outside in the backyard with Hurley and I as I was doing some yard work. I kept a constant eye on him, though, because I am terrified he’ll try to jump the wall and get out of the yard. I didn’t see him eating anything. He didn’t want to come inside, and it took forever to finally herd him into the house. Hurley was trying to catch him and pin him down so I could grab him– which has worked very well in the past, actually; Hurley is an excellent tag-team partner for catching Simon– and Simon was too fast and wiggled away before I could get close enough to grab him. Ugh. He just had so much energy and wasn’t ready to go inside again. This was not an ill cat.

After we closed the back door and everyone was inside, I noticed that a roach had come in with us. One single, ugly roach. I pointed it out to Simon and he killed it. This is a normal thing, too. (And the best part of having a cat! He kills bugs!) I didn’t worry about it.

Later, I vacuumed and mopped the floors. Most of my house is tile or laminate, so this is a big process to finish the whole thing and I need the pets to be out of the way. I always put them in my bedroom. Again, totally normal for them. I called them, they both trotted down the hall obediently and went into my room without any issues.

After the floors were done and dry, I let them out of my room. Hurley was limping. Simon was subdued and sitting on my bed with his eyes closed. It was weird, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. As for Hurley, he sometimes gets sensitive paw pads from overlicking/chewing and it appeared that’s what he had done. He stopped limping before too long.

Simon never moved out of my room. I didn’t even notice, to be honest. I was doing other stuff, getting ready for bed and everything. But when I did look at him, he was sitting on the floor, legs all tucked up underneath him, and making a kitten-mew that was kind of strange. I went over and pet him, and he cried out. He didn’t really jump, he just tensed up and cried. I was only petting down his back lightly. When I touched his belly, he yowled. Then, he got up and went into the hall bath, and threw up bile all over the floor right in front of me. I cleaned it up and by the time I was done with that, he had retreated to my office and hid in the empty shelf at the bottom of my bookcase, which is an area Hurley and I can’t really get to. He put his head down and was breathing very heavily, and the second (or third?) eyelid on each eye was closing up around his irises. He looked terrible. When I reached in and lifted his head with my hand, he was limp and whimpering.

I was terrified. I texted my sister and began searching online to try to figure out what could be wrong with him. When I talked to my sister, she thought it sounded like he ate something he shouldn’t have, and suggested I give him a little bit of boiled potato or white rice. Unfortunately, I don’t have either in my house right now. He didn’t want to eat or drink anything, and his gums were white and the skin on his neck was doing that thing where it stands up when you pinch it, so I know he was very dehydrated. I got a tiny amount of water into him by dipping my finger in water and rubbing it on his gums and nose (so he’d lick it off). I had a bad night’s sleep, worrying about him and trying not to think about it too much.

In the morning, he was still in the same spot he was when I finally went to bed– curled up on my desk chair. The little bowl of water I’d given him was still full. He looked miserable, and was still crying/moaning. I decided to run into the office to get a couple of urgent things taken care of, and then I left as soon as I got an appointment. The vet urged me to get him there as soon as I could.

I had to buy a cat carrier, since I don’t own one and I didn’t have time to try to figure out how to borrow my Mom’s or my sister’s carriers. I ran into Petco on my way back to the house and bought the first carrier I saw that I thought would work. My debit card was declined. I had to charge it on AMEX. My stress level was through the roof as I drove home to get Simon.

(I checked my bank account, too, and saw that all the automatic bills were taken out, leaving me only $29 in my account. The carrier cost $35. I transferred some money over from savings and ran to the vet, still wondering how I was really going to pay for what was likely to be a huge bill.)

The vet was recommended by one of my bosses, and they really were very good. I liked them more than I’ve liked some of the recent vets I’ve been to, I think. I also signed up for this Care2 account (I think that’s the name– I didn’t bring the paperwork to work so I don’t know off hand) so I could charge the bill and pay it off in installments. If it’s paid off in 6 months, there is no interest added on. Whew. What a blessing! I wish I knew about that account sooner. Now I can use it in emergencies, like this, if I need it.  So much better than draining my debit and savings accounts. (I try not to use my credit cards; just paying them off.)

Simon had x-rays and blood work, and the good news was they didn’t find anything serious. The bad news is that they didn’t find anything definitive, either. No sign of infection or inflammation. His kidneys, liver and pancreas all appeared to be working just fine. The bones in his spine and limbs looked normal, too. No signs of injury.

Yet, he was still crying in pain whenever anyone touched him. The vet sent me home with a painkiller and some IAMS low-residue digestive-friendly canned food to try. She also gave me little syringes to use to get water into him.

He hid all afternoon, only venturing out from under my bed to use the litterbox. He never urinated. He only had diarrhea. He refused food and water, all night. As of right now, he hasn’t eaten since Monday around dinner time.

This morning he is a little more alert and active, and was hanging out in the hallway watching me get ready this morning. He’s still softly crying when he’s touched on his sides or belly, but not with the intensity of yesterday. He refuses to eat or drink, though. I even put him up on the sink and dripped water from the faucet, which is his favorite thing ever, and he wasn’t interested. I had to squirt a whole syringe of water into his mouth before I left for work today.

He hasn’t urinated since Monday night. Which is NOT GOOD. He received fluids at the vet yesterday, too. I talked to the vet this morning and if he doesn’t pee by the end of the day, he’s got to go back in as soon as possible b/c he might have a blockage or problem with his bladder. I’m going to stop home at lunch to check on him. If he hasn’t peed yet, I will leave work by 4:30 and go home to check again. If he has peed, terrific. If not, we’re going back to the vet. The next step sounds like more testing, possibly endoscopy to see if there is something in his esophagus or stomach. SIGH.

The theory at the moment is that on Monday night, as I was mopping, Simon and Hurley were doing their usual rough-housing in my room. They chase one another up and down off the bed, mostly. What could have happened was that as they were playing, Hurley likely rolled off the bed and maybe landed on Simon? That could explain Hurley’s little limping episodes. And the vet thought that perhaps Simon had a soft-tissue injury someplace; the vomiting could even be a referred symptom and not caused by something specific. But he is still having diarrhea pretty bad, so he likely has inflammation in his intestine or something.

None of this really explains why he refuses to drink even some water. I’m stumped. And so is the vet, which is NOT a good feeling.

What the hell could it be?!

I hope he’s better by now. I’m heading home for lunch, so here’s hoping there is some pee in the litterbox. Everyone’s telling me how resilient cats are, so I am really banking on that. He’s so tough and strong with Hurley. Now, let’s see him be tough on whatever’s bothering him.


3 responses »

  1. All I keep thinking about is that Simon is acting exactly how my kitty Sebastian did when he had crystals in his urinary tract. Lethargic, not eating or drinking, not peeing, meowing when touched. But you said all of the testing came back normal so I’m not sure. The vet should have tested for that too since it is common in male cats. Maybe he ingested something/got stung by something outside? And it’s making him ill? I hope he feels better soon and that this mystery is solved. I hate it when our pets are hurt or sick because they can’t tell us what is wrong.

  2. Thanks… he seems to be doing much better. I witnessed him eating tonight, and I know he was drinking water because his gums are almost back to normal color. And, he did pee in the litterbox! I was never so happy to see that. Poor little guy is so wiped out and weak, though. Right now he is curled up behind me on the desk chair again, sleeping. He did seem to lose some weight during this ordeal; but once he’s back to his old self he’ll make up for lost pounds, knowing him and his piglet tendencies.

    I’m really grateful he’s apparently OK. I honestly couldn’t handle the thought of losing him, or even having him suffer. I love, love, love my sweet cat. ❤

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