Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The next step for Baggy...a quiet place to recuperate

When the vet first diagnosed Baggy as being FeLV+ and seeing her anaemic state at the time, I was given the impression that there was no hope for her to survive. Almost two weeks have passed since that day, and Baggy seems to have somewhat stabilised and has been eating very well, which is all very good.  My gut feeling tells me that her body is able to cope with her condition and she may even gradually and steadily improve, especially since her appetite is still good.

Now that her condition is stable, I have to think of the next step for Baggy.

I have read many, many websites since Baggy was first diagnosed, and they say the same thing but in varying degrees, especially about how FeLV spreads.  One thing that all the websites advise is that in a multi-cat household, an FeLV+ cat should be isolated from other cats because the FeLV virus is contagious and can spread through prolonged physical cat-to-cat contact. While there are various information on how the virus is transmitted, the fact remains that FeLV is contagious, especially when the cat is ill.

As such, I now have to seriously think of isolating Baggy from my 7 other cats to safeguard them from contracting the FeLV virus.  Ever since Baggy's diagnosis, it was fortunate that my college was on semester break and I was able to take my annual leave to monitor the situation at home. "Monitoring" here involves cleaning out Baggy's litter immediately after she has used it, changing her water bowl after she has drunk from it and preventing close contact between Baggy and the other cats.  Most of the time, she just rests and I have to ensure that others do not come into direct contact with her.

But my semester is starting again and I cannot be at home to do this monitoring anymore.  Baggy should be isolated from the other cats but I don't have the means to isolate her in my house as I have no other cat-proofed area.  The websites say that as long as a cat is still FeLV+, it will continue to shed the virus in its bodily fluids and the disease is contagious.

I've discussed this at length with Andy Lew and he and Emily have graciously agreed to let Baggy go back to them.  Baggy can have her old room back and there would be no danger of the virus spreading to other cats.  Baggy would be going back to a familiar place with familiar people.

Baggy has also been pretty much a loner ever since she came here.  More so now that she is ill, she just wants to stay under her table most of the time.  I've noticed that my boisterous cats make her uncomfortable and she wants to be away from them.

For example, today it rained all day and all the cats came into the room. Baggy remained under her table, but I quickly brought her into the room because it was raining. But she wasn't comfortable in the room with the rest and she kept wanting to go out and sit on the wet tiled floor. Finally, I had to take her into the kitchen to be away from everyone else.

I think she wants to isolate herself as that is the nature of cats (or most animals) when they are sick. Maybe they need some quiet space and time to recuperate. I've discussed this with Baggy's vet too and she agreed that my boisterous alphas could be a source of stress for Baggy when she first came and even now. I asked her about the idea of Baggy going back to Andy's place and she agrees that a stress-free environment away from my alphas may be helpful for Baggy's recuperation. Tabs is also still very playful and inquisitive by nature, and I have to keep her from disturbing Baggy.

This is one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make.  I would readily look after Baggy if the virus was not contagious and my other cats are not at risk or if I can find a quiet place to isolate Baggy so that she could recuperate.  But the virus is contagious, and all my 7 cats are at risk. Bunny and Tiger are both confirmed FIV+ and their immune system is already compromised. Tabs is just a little over 1 year old and she is susceptible too. Yesterday, Tabs started sneezing and that really jolted me. I quickly gave her Vetri DMG.

While I want very much to look after Baggy, I need to be fair to my 7 cats too.

It is strange and unpredictable how things work out.  Baggy and Baloo were brought to me to be fostered.  Andy and Emily adopted them.  Baloo passed away mysteriously (now we think it was also the FeLV virus) and Andy and Emily had to go on their overseas work-trip, so I offered to look after Baggy in case she needed any medication attention while they were away.  Baggy stayed on with me after that.  But now, Baggy has a contagious disease that could spread to my other cats and Baggy needs a quite place to recuperate.  So, Andy and Emily are going to look after her again.

Life and love go around.  We can only do our best.  Our lives are intricately linked and we need to look at the bigger picture to make decisions that take into consideration all the lives that are at stake.  Not every decision will be the "right" one, but as long as it's the "best" that we can make under our circumstances and with the constraints we live with, we have to find peace in it, somehow.

Andy and Emily visited this evening and the plan is for Baggy to go back to them after her last EPO jab on Wednesday.  They were even willing to take Baggy today, but to minimise the travelling, we might as well let her have her last jab first and Andy and Emily can prepare her old room for her.

Baggy having her Fancy Feast dinner.

Baggy, being the lady that she is, eats slowly...but surely.

Andy and Emily asked about all the supplements and the medication that Baggy would have to take and how to care for her.  I will be preparing everything that Baggy needs, but from my observation, what she wants is just a quiet place to rest and she wants to eat her regular meals with minimal disturbance.


Sandra said...

Hi Dr Chan, there is FeLV vaccination for cats. Pls refer to this link: http://suite101.com/article/cat-vaccinations-a63822

chankahyein said...

I have enquired. The vaccination is not reliable.

loh lay peng said...

good luck Pink Pink Baggy.Sis,u r a REAL GOOD HUMAN CAT MAMA.thumbs up to u.

Sandra said...

Oh I see! Dr Chan you have done your best and now most of us understand that you need to do what is best for the welfare of your 7 cats. And Baggy, you be strong ok, you know we all love you!

chankahyein said...

Thank you very much, Sandra and Lay Peng. I have been concentrating so much on getting Baggy well again, now I need to look at the bigger picture and do the best I can for everyone, including my 7 cats.

Chen said...

Yes, this is a good plan. Bobby also needs attention too. And Baggy needs to be separated from other cats.

chankahyein said...

Yes, Bobby too. The poor chap has been very accommodating to everything that's happening. He's been a real gem, barely giving any trouble to anyone. This is really as much as I can handle now - 7 cats and 1 Bobby. My whole world goes topsy-turvy if anyone of them falls ill.

nandhini said...

baggy, everybody wants to take care of you! kah yein, andy, emily, its good that the best has been decided. baggy,do take care. we love you:)

Connie said...

Difficult but wise decision. Baggy is a clever feline, she will appreciates it.

chankahyein said...

Thank you! I really hope so, and I'm praying this arrangement will turn out better for Baggy and speed up her recuperation.