Highs and Lows

Bringing Jupiter home was definitely a high point of last week. Still, our happiness at his arrival was overshadowed–made a footnote–by the horrible events that happened in London. With that pain fading, but not forgotten, we believed Jupiter would be the ray of sunshine we needed in the days ahead. And this he proved to be, with caveats. Here’s how the ‘lows’ of last week went.

Prior to us picking up Jupiter, we were informed by his breeder that he had gotten over a very slight cold: so slight, in fact, that he was given a clean bill of health and sent on his way into our arms. Because little Jupiter had been in a house full of cats and since we had Persey’s (our 10 year old cat) health to consider as well as little Jupiter’s, we immediately took him to the vet. While being examined, he experienced a fit of coughing. We explained to the veterinarian that (according to what we knew) he had just gotten over a cold and been given a course of Clavamox–an antibiotic commonly used for animal respiratory infections. Curiously, we could not find this information on his medical history, nor had it been recorded on any of his documents. Ignoring that curiosity–which became another source of rage and anxiety altogether–we focused on the health of our new fur baby. We scheduled a checkup for a few days from then and finally took Jupiter home.

Saturday and Sunday night my partner and I were utterly sleepless listening to, and for, bouts of coughing. If you’ve never heard a kitten cough, it’s as heart-wrenching a misery as one can hear. I began timing the coughs, to see if the distance apart showed improvement. By Monday, Jupiter’s energy had noticeably decreased and having already, and recently, been through the loss of one pet, we rushed him to the vet’s well ahead of our appointment. Tests were done. X-rays were taken of his lungs. (I should mention that throughout all the poking and prodding, Jupiter remained one of the most loving and docile creatures we’ve ever seen–even falling asleep and purring at the vet’s!) The findings weren’t good, and after a specialist had a look at his panels, they could tell from one glance of the lungs that our new kitten had full on pneumonia.

(Again, I’m going to avoid discussing the circumstances that surely led to this having happened, as an animal–or person–generally doesn’t develop pneumonia in an hour or a day and Jupiter had supposedly already been treated for an infection. That situation is being addressed and I won’t talk about it here.) Regarding Jupiter, he was put on a course of paediatric antibiotics as well as a mega-dose of deworming in case there was a parasite in play. Needless to say the trend of sleepless fidgeting continued in our household.

Now for the upswing, kind of. By Wednesday, only 48 hours after antibiotics and anti-parasite medicines had been administered, he was showing marked improvement. He was full of energy and not as groggy as he’d been. Nor was he wheezing after excessive playing (Note: I wasn’t pushing him to play, he simply has an irrepressible vivacity and need to be entertained and socialized). Just as our nerves were settling, we got a call from the vet’s, who had the results of a stool sample we had collected. These, too, were not good, and showed signs of parasites, and thus another cycle of barely-restrained hysteria ensued. At least our sagely vet had the foresight to prescribe Jupiter the medicine he needed in case his respiratory distress had been caused by lungworm or another parasite, so Jupiter had already been receiving the needed treatment for days. Persey, who had finally (and quickly) come to love her new brother had to be treated, too, since they were sharing a litter-box. If you know anything about her personality, you’d know that squirting 1.5ml of liquid into her mouth is like feeding a raw steak to a shark.

You could say that it’s been one busy week, I suppose. I tried to take care of some work commitments, and I know I let a few priorities slide. But I’m not going to punish myself for where my attention has been. And, after all that fussing and stress, Jupiter is bouncing, not coughing and and due for what should be a much more positive checkup today. I try to not think what might have happened if we didn’t act on our impulses. More often than not, worry can be a sign of intuition. Sure, Justin and I seem to have a habit of inheriting beleaguered, ailing animals. However, someone needs to care for the world’s wounded, and those with health should feel indebted to help those without. Would we spend another couple grand for emergency services for our fur babies? Certainly–without blinking. Although, I really, really can’t stress the importance of pet insurance these days (for which Jupiter would not have been accepted given his ‘pre-existing’–but unrecorded, grrr–health issue).

The trials of our fur baby family should be the ultimate in cautionary tales for you pet parents. I’m hoping, though, that now that we’re past the rough spots, what new tales we share with you can be those of joy.

All my love,