How old are you Hector?
I will be 13 in March.
Where did you get your name from?
My slave named me after her grandparents cat. He was Hector too. She used to feed him with a spoon. He had a bit of an attitude, I am told.
How did you come into your family’s life?
My boy found as a tiny kitten wandering in the street. He scooped me up and put me in his coat and took me home to my slave. She said I don’t want to see what is in your coat, you go and ring doorbells and find where it lives. We walked around for a long time while he petted me and then went back home. I popped my head out of his coat as we went in and she said aww, so cute! And tiny. My gosh, who would let such a tiny kitten out. And the rest is history!
When did they find out your medical condition? Do they know if it was present at birth or did it develop?
I was around 9 and not feeling well. We went to the vet and they could not find anything. Slowly I declined, started drooling and I would sit right next to the wall, facing it and stare at it and drool. Back and forth we went to the vet. With fluids I always improved. Finally one night I was very bad. I was circling , round and round, and my pupils were huge and black. Back to the vet. How long has your cat been blind, the vet asked. My slave was s hocked, Blind! He is not blind. And the vet said I am afraid he is, watch him. You step across the room and see how he follows you. So she stepped away and I could not see her, I sniffed my way to her. She cried. Your kitty is very ill and must be admitted to the ER, he needs fluids and test. So I was there for a day and a half. They found I had a very bad UTI and needed antibiotics, but the rest of the blood work was fine. They wondered if I had gotten into any medications or poisons. We ruled out accidental poisonings and me eating medications I shouldn’t I was doing well and got to go home. Short lived recovery. I started drooling again, staring at the wall, not eating or drinking, no meowing. Back to the vet in the middle of the night. This time the vet gave my slave “ the speech”. You know the one, very sick, very stressed, lost a lot of weight. Things did not look good for me. I was admitted once again to the hospital.I spent 24 hours there and made a good recovery. The fluids helped immensely. They cleared out the toxins my liver could not. But at that time we didn’t know what was wrong with me. By now, the vet was thinking about a liver shunt but we had to rule out FIV, Feline Leukemia and Feline Toxoplasmosis. Those tests were negative. For the blood test to see if I had a liver shunt, I had to fast for 12 hours( I was so hungry ). That morning on the way to the vet was the first time I meowed in 3 months. The blood work said I had a shunt and it was confirmed with a specialist and an ultrasound. The treatment was a low protein diet, antibiotics- to change the bacteria in my gut and lactose to help reduce the ammonia in my gut and to help me eliminate it faster. I was finally officially diagnosed in early March 2010,right before my 10th birthday.
What about the heart murmur and the hyperglycemia?
I have had my heart murmur for a long time. Sometimes it was there, the next time now. In the last couple years it is there constantly. I don’t notice it much. And as long as it does not get any worse, we will not worry about it. My hyperglycemia or too much calcium in my blood was found last September.
Are any of these conditions a side effect of each other? (are they related?)
The heart murmur can be a side effect of the liver shunt. The hyperglycemia is idiopathic.So the vet does not know why I have it. Sometimes in kitties hypercalcemia can be caused by cancer, but I had all the tests done and I am cancer free.
How many medications do you have to take in order to stay healthy?
Right now I only take lactose I used to have an antibiotic too, but not any more. I had a bad UTI last September and the bacteria were resistant to many of the antibiotics that cats can take. My vet felt it was more important for me to be able to take an antibiotic for infections than to help with my liver shunt. I am doing fine on just the lactulose. It helps reduce the ammonia and toxins that cause my symptoms and keeps me pooping.
Do you have any siblings that live with you?
I used to have my pal, Logan. He was a great big cat. He was very nice and kind. I loved him. He went OTRB last May due to complications from his diabetes. My slave recently adopted a puppy. I call her the tan imbecile. She does respect me, tho. And I am raising her by the paw!
Do you have to follow up with the vet every so often?
I go for check ups twice a year. If I have any troubles I go more often. I usually have a full blood work up and urine once a year.
When I am stable, I don`t need to go to the vet often. I am like any other cat.
What advice would you give to people considering adopting a cat/dog that needs extra care like yourself?
If you adopt a special needs pet, no matter what that need is, you are saving a pet, you are giving a pet a new home, quality of life and you will learn a lot. And special needs pets love with an extra special love because we know how much our beans help us to live healthy, happy lives. Any pet that needs extra care knows the human beans are going those extra steps to help us feel better. It may take us some time to understand that the things they do are to help us , but when we do, we love our slaves an extra huge amount and we are super grateful. Never be afraid to own a special needs pet. My slave owns me, a liver shunt cat and also had Logan, a diabetic cat. He had to have a special diet and insulin twice a day. She made sure we were both taken care of all the time. Special needs pet give lots of extra love and cuddles. We know how hard our beans work to keep us healthy.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
It is not so hard to look after a special needs pet. I mean, really, wouldn’ t most of the beans out there look after other beans just the same. Us anipals are part of the family too. We get old, and have problems and diseases just like beans. And we are grateful for the care we get. My slave looks after me so well. I love her very much and I let her know everyday with purrs and headbonks and sometimes I love bite her nose. I also want everyone to know that liver shunt kitties can live and thrive with or without surgery. Never give up on your liver shunt kitty. I am three years post diagnosis and still doing well. All are welcome to come and visit my Facebook page and learn more! Thank you for this opportunity to spread awareness and save kitties live. I am very grateful!
In loving memory of Logan: You are forever in our hearts.
Author’s Note: I would like to thank Hector and his slave for letting me interview them and sharing his story as well as pictures. Pictures were used with permission.
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To honor all of the wonderful extra love needed pets that were featured on my blog..the facebook party is at the Furry Paws Disco on 3/24 at 4pm edt here is the link for details.. https://www.facebook.com/notes/peace-love-whiskers/raffle-details-and-party/494812007243433
There’s also a raffle that is going on from now until the 23rd and the winner announced at the party.. there are some great prizes and all the donations for the raffle will benefit the World’s Greatest CatHouse in Englewood, Florida where they are taking care of 200 special needs cats.
I would love to get close to the $1500.00 needed for daily expenses at the World’s Greatest Cat House and make this raffle and party both a success.