Thursday, May 17, 2012

Gidget Goes Viral. Literally.

Poor Gidget.  Our beloved rescue kitty went to the vet today because she's just plain feeling punky.  Last night she was sneezing and had a stuffy nose, her eyes were goopy, and she didn't want to cuddle.  Off we went to the doctor this morning, where we learned that Gidget will continue to pay for her awful start in life for years to come.

I adopted Gidget in 2010 from Purebreds Plus Cat Rescue.  She's an Exotic Shorthair, which is essentially a shorthaired Persian cat.  (That weird fixation on big-eyed, smushy-faced critters emerges once again.)  Ninety-nine (99!) Persians and Exotics had been seized from a breeder/hoarder home, and PPCR, one of my favorite rescue groups of all time, took in a ton of them.  They were all in incredibly bad shape.

Here's Gidget, bottom right, with a few of the other impounded cats when they first arrived at the shelter:
This photo breaks my heart every time I see it.  She looks so small and pitiful.

PPCR pulled out all the stops to get these kitties healthy and ready for new homes.  I had recently lost my beloved rescue Persian, Blossom, to cancer and was thinking about a new kitty.  All the cats from the hoarding case had been placed, but PPCR had just had one returned a couple weeks later by its adopter.  I agreed to take her without having met her when the PPCR placement coordinator emailed me this photo taken in the rescue center:
I mean, please.  How could I possibly say no to a face like that?  So I made the drive all the way to Santa Cruz to pick her up two days later.

Why did the first adopter bring Gidget back?  She hadn't said.  But within days of bringing her home, I think I had my answer: Gidget pooped on my bed.  Not just once, either.  She pooped on my bed EVERY time she had to go.  I put aluminum foil down on top of the covers to deter her.  She just scooted it aside and did her business.  I kept the bedroom door closed when I wasn't home.  She found a way to open it up, and yes, decorated the bed some more.  This went on for a couple weeks, with me literally in tears while laundering the bedspread for the hundredth time, because I just couldn't figure out how to make her stop.

The answer came from a shelter volunteer I know who goes by the nickname "Cat Diva."  She seriously knows her stuff.  "How many litterboxes do you have?" she asked me.  "One," I told her, "because I just have the one kitty."  "Get another," she said.  "You should have as many litterboxes as you have cats, plus one."

And you know what?  It worked, just like that.  I added a second litterbox, this one in the spare bedroom, and Gidget has never EVER had another accident.  She uses both her boxes equally, too.  She just wanted options.  Who knew?

Anyway, aside from a minor parasite issue (tritrichomonas, which was messy and disgusting and I won't get into it here), Gidget's been perfectly healthy for the last year and a half.  Until last night.

We came home from the vet today with five (yes, 5!) medications: antibiotics, eye drops, medicated ointment, anti-yeast wipes for her toenail beds, and an immune-boosting supplement the vet wants her to take daily for life.  She's fairly sure Gidget has feline herpes (a common byproduct of the kind of overcrowded conditions she was raised in) and has a compromised immune system that might continue to plague her over the years.  Blargh.

I just want my snuggly little Gidget back to her old self.  She only wanted to cuddle for a short time last night (usually she's a feline barnacle, impossible to dislodge from my lap), and didn't want to sleep in the big bed either.  Hopefully she'll be feeling a bit better by tonight, with a couple doses of meds in her and time to recover from the trauma of the trip to the veterinarian.

Rest up, Gidget!  Hopefully we'll have you feeling better in no time.


  1. Poor, sweet Gidget. I hope that she's on the mend soon. That's a lot for a kitty all at once. You've been through a LOT with her so far so it's obvious that you're an amazing cat Mom. My husband had two kittens when we met that had Tritrichomonas and it was horrible. I'm glad that you could work the litter box issues out. Thank goodness for that smart lady with her great tip (going to keep that one in the back of my brain for my four kitties in case I ever need it). Please keep us updated on Gidget. Sending good thoughts your way.

  2. Thanks a million, Eartha! I always love reading posts on your blog about your kitties (especially the ones about Pip!), so I know you're a first-rate cat mom, too. Gotta love the kittehs.