Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nine Lives? Let's Hope

About a month ago, a little cat showed up on our front porch.  She's since adopted us.  We didn't want a cat, but we couldn't resist...we even shelled out money to get her spayed and get shots.  She's seriously one of the sweetest little creatures I've ever encountered.

Which begged the question, "Why would someone get rid of her?"  Byron and I guessed she had been dumped off on our street, since she was obviously used to being around humans.  Well, last week we found out why someone may not have wanted her.

Friskies had a seizure.

It began right after we'd put the kids to bed.  We were keeping her in the house for a few days after her surgery, so she had, in typical Friskies fashion, followed us upstairs.  Byron called her to come downstairs, and she started to scurry toward the stairs, which was strange.  She may be sweet, but she's still a cat and cats don't usually come when you call unless bribed with food.  She then stopped by our door and began convulsing.  I called Byron in a panic.

Our combined thoughts were the she was either choking or having a seizure (Byron actually had a student a few years ago who had a seizure in class).  In any case, after we got her out onto the front porch, we both tried sticking a finger in her mouth; we found out a couple bandaids later that cats don't swallow their tongues during seizures.  But as she sat afterwards, her breathing shallow and her eyes glazed, we were convinced she was either going to die or be brain damaged.  In either case, I really wasn't ready to have that "Do cats go to heaven?" discussion  with Akea.  Seriously.  She had spent at least half an hour that afternoon drilling me on the eternity of God and the Trinity, and my brain still hurt.  Besides, I had become rather fond of Friskies and I wasn't ready to say goodbye to her either.

We were literally overjoyed to see her back to her normal self the next morning.  When we had gone to bed the night before, she had been almost catatonic and very unresponsive.  Apparently cats can be in this state for anywhere from one to twenty-four hours after a seizure.  She slept most of the next day, I and made some phone calls and did some research on possible causes.

Some cats are born with this condition, and others get it from environmental causes, such as head trauma or eating something they shouldn't.  It's relatively rare in cats as compared to dogs, and vets recommend a series of blood tests to determine the cause...and sometimes, even after dozens of tests and hundreds of dollars, the cause remains elusive.  It's also possible that cats can get seizures as a result of the rabies vaccine, so I called the clinic.  They said she would have reacted within an hour of the vaccine, so that was a no-go.

Possible remedies to seizures are a variety of medications that have ill side effects on vital organs, such as the liver.  That seems rather counter-productive to me.  The solution that Byron and I came up with is to keep her inside at night, so if she does have a seizure in the wee hours, she at least won't be prey to foxes, opossums, and the spattering of other potential predators that may roam the woods behind our house.  I grudgingly bought a littler box and pooper scooper.  We had a talk with the kids and told them we were going to be thankful for whatever time we had with Friskies. 

But cats have nine lives, right?  Here's to hoping that the nine lives myth is true!

Girl's best friend!


  1. The nine lives thing could be true...we have a chicken that is on her 3rd life ;-)

  2. I'll have to check your blog for more info on that particular bird!

  3. Friskies is a Special Needs Cat just like our Fancy. I'm glad Friskies is staying in at night but any cat can get grabbed in the middle of the day by a fox, coyote, etc. Also, after a seizure, they tend to not be at their best, a bit spaced, therefore, not able to defend themselves (escape). I don't know if Friskies is continuing to have seizures or not. Maybe she won't have any more. If it happens again, you may want to reconsider medication. Yes, they do liver damage after long term use. Our research found that another cat that had to be put on phenobarbitol for seizures lived to be 13 years old. The seizures do further brain damage. They need to be controlled or they could get worse. Also, as your kitten grows and her weight increases, the medication will need to be adjusted. We all are aware of the reputation cats have with taking a pill. I wasn't sure it would work and not all medications will if you do this, so check with your vet, but we put the pill in a syringe (no needle) and pull anywhere from 1 to 2 cc of organic skim milk into the syringe and let the pill dissolve. Then we give Fancy her pill as if she were drinking out of a water bottle. No stress. I have three Special Needs Cats, all CNS (Central Nervous System [brain] cases. It is always a tough decision to go ahead with medication that can cause problems but Fancy wouldn't be here today if it weren't for the medicine. Fancy is five years old now and living comfortably as a spoiled house cat. We also know to just enjoy each day we all have together. Feel free to email with any questions

  4. Thanks for the advice, and for visiting the blog! She hasn't had another one we're hoping!