This is my contribution to the 2013 Virtual Advent tour. When Marg and Kelly gave me my date – Friday the 13th! – I wasn’t sure what I was going to write. And then, this week, I knew exactly what I would write.
This is Hobbes. He joined our family four weeks ago, a much awaited little brother for Creeper, who’s getting so big now. Hobbes hasn’t been a part of our family for very long, but he’s wiggled his way easily into our hearts.
A week ago Friday, after he’d been with us just three short weeks, Hobbes got sick. He was throwing up and had very severe diarrhea. The vet gave him a subcutaneous injection of fluids to deal with the dehydration, and took some blood for sampling. We had a very worrying couple of days, as Hobbes grew more and more lethargic.
By Saturday night, I knew there was a chance we might lose him. He was only eighteen weeks old, and two days was a long time for a kitten so young to be so sick. Visions of all the things that could be wrong with him – an obstruction from something non-edible he might have eaten, genetic kidney problems, various fatal feline viruses – danced in my head.
I didn’t want to think about a Christmas without him.
I was supposed to go to a Christmas party that night, but I stayed home instead. I Googled around and found a recipe for homemade Pedialyte, or “oral dehydration salts”. I prepared a batch and syringe-fed it to Hobbes, as well as leaving it out in the cats’ water bowl. I also switched his diet to one of plain chicken pureed with more of the homemade Pedialyte.
And on Sunday morning, he woke me up – to feed him! He was feeling hungry again, and while he wasn’t anywhere near his usual perky kitten self, he was definitely much better than he’d been the night before. He had drunk the entire bowl of homemade Pedialyte some time during the night. And he hadn’t thrown up the chicken mixture.
Long story short, he’s now almost back to 100%. We’re pretty sure the culprit is an allergy to fish – we hadn’t realized until that weekend, but all the flavours of the brand of cat food we were feeding him contained fish of some kind. I’d noticed, too, that one of his eyes would get all weepy after I syringe-fed him a mixture of his cat food and water. The same hadn’t happened when I syringe-fed him the chicken mixture.
That Saturday was a terrible, terrible day, but Sunday brought me an extra early Christmas gift. I hear him running like mad through the apartment, wrestling with Creeper, meowing plaintively at his food bowl when he’s hungry, and I smile. I am so very, very grateful.
I can think about Christmas again. Creeper and Hobbes’ first Christmas with us.
And Creeper’s pretty happy to have his little playful brother back again.