How old is Monkey?
Monkey is estimated at about 6 months old now. When he was found he was estimated at about 4 weeks old.
He was found on a roof of a house and no one knows how he got there, be it momma knew something was wrong and
left him behind, or maybe a hawk or owl thought he was a mouse then dropped him because he was a VERY LOUD kitten, or if some awful person threw him up there.
How long did it take to form the bond with him?
I Met Monkey (at the time he was called “Shingles” since he was found on a roof) when he was about 4 weeks old. The lady who runs the local shelter had him and 2 other even younger kittens with her while she was running a garage sale to raise money for the shelter. I held him and fell in love instantly, He actually peed on my step daughter and you know what they say, “an animal marks you as theirs if they pee on you!”.It was about a week for my husband and I were cleared to “foster” as my husband had said “no more cats”(we have/had 3 of our own but he was okay with fostering). We got “Shingles” and another foster kitten, then 2more a week later. Monkey was very high maintenance but it resonating as a “baby bond” instantly as I never was able to have children. He sort of filled that void with how much attention he required. He was very sick as a kitten and it was thought he wouldn’t survive since he was loosing weight. He developed pneumonia due to a suspected issue with his esophagus where air got in his stomach and food would come out his nose(especially formula)and get into his lungs. I refused to give up on him! A/D food got expensive very quickly so I started to cook for him cooking up livers w/the blood, adding a/d food, formula, kitten chow, water, organic cat food(for extra vitamins) and pureed it up. He quickly put on weight. Everyone was impressed that he pulled through since he was at that point a “failure to thrive” kitten.
Does he respond to his name being called?
Monkey, like most cats, responds to his name only when he wants to, no sooner, no later lol! He does recognize his name though if that’s what you are really asking :-)!
How is he doing now?
Monkey was put on phenobarbital about 2+months ago but it didn’t really do a whole lot. Just 3 days ago however, he was also put on Keppra and hasn’t had a “major” seizure since (knock on wood). He’s had some twitches here and there but nothing like before! He is way more playful and utilizing his back legs more(he NEVER jumped and was ALWAYS 4feet on the floor!). Now he is leaping over the other kitties’ (we have 3 other cats) play tubes! He is jumping/climbing onto low furniture as where before he was too leery to even attempt anything higher than a pillow on the floor! He is still super affectionate, though we seem to be entering the “teenage” kitty stage where he gets grumpy quick when he wants down to run and play!
How many medications is he on?
Monkey is currently on 2 meds, Phenobarbital(tiny and I mean TINY, round pill that he gets 3/8 of a pill of twice a day), and a fairly new (for use in cats anyhow) anti-seizure med called Keppra. He takes that one every 8hrs and it is doing AMAZINGLY well for him! I’ve considered taking out the Pheno since it didn’t seem to work but they seem to work together as Keppra is a “secondary” drug and I’m too scared to mess with his regime at this time.
Can he walk, run, play like other cats?
Monkey is thankfully able to do most things any cat can do. I do notice however that he seems to be scared to get onto anything high as where most cats love heights. He also seems to have moments of temporary blindness where he doesn’t see things in front of him. He has to have his food elevated a bit as he can’t seem to pick up things like treats off the floor, he just pushes into them and pushes them around with his nose.
How long has he been without a seizure?
Since starting the Keppra 4 days ago now, he hasn’t had any of his major seizures since. Prior to that, as a baby would have been the longest or at least we didn’t see them. He started having noticeable ones around 10weeks old(once he started gaining weight after being very sick for a long time). I have noticed some muscles twitches here and there and slight face twitches but those are a walk in the park compared to his old seizures. We have also noticed on occasion the last 2inches or so of his tail will bend like a crook in it, then shake like a rattlesnake tail when he relaxes. This may be a manifestation of his seizures but we don’t know.
What was he officially diagnosed with?
For now it is just idiopathic epilepsy with focal seizures. We have not been able to do an MRI as of yet due to lack of funds so it could possibly be a tumor or hydrocephalus(water on the brain) possibly caused by head trauma as a baby or could be congenital. However, even though i’d like to know in case another course of treatments is needed, since the seizures seem to be under control, it’s kind of a wait and see type situation. Even though he is in my care and we(husband and I and my step daughter)consider him ours, he is still technically a foster so I only have so much say in treatment. He is happy and healthy atm so we are letting the meds do their thing.
What tips do you have for other cat parents who have cats that have seizures?
I would have to say, be observant. Cat seizures are different than dogs’ and also pretty rare. My vet has been in practice nearly 20yrs and she said this is the first she’s seen, especially that didn’t pass away young from complications from what I’ve read. Document seizure activity and communicate with your vet. Also, research medications. Branch out on social media sites and find groups(even smaller ones) that focus on feline seizures as the people from different corners of the world may have different ideas that could help your cat. Sometimes other people that have been through it can give you better answers than the vets considering how rare this is.
What else would you like to tell people about cats who have seizures?
This is my first time dealing with this but from what I’ve read not all cats will let this happen in front of you. I’ve noticed Monkey seems to be able tell when an episode is coming on and will lay in his crate or on his favorite floor pillow that we cover with a garbage bag and put a blanket or towel over. Some cats though, will go and hide like in a closet or under a bed and you won’t even know it’s happened. In these circumstances, all you may see is urine or B.M. in an odd spot outside the litter box as often one or both happen so just watch for the signs. If your cat disappears then comes crying for you or acting out of character or off balance and you suspect seizures, check these types of hiding places for evidence like urine. If you find it let your vet know and consider closing off doors to other rooms and keep the cat in areas where you can see/hear him/her and be alert. If it does happen STAY CALM! Talk in calm soothing tones to the kitty and don’t try to pet him/her until its done, especially at first, because until you know what the seizures are like, you could get bit. For example, with Monkey, I won’t touch him when he has one as he seems to get an aggressive stance/demeanor so I keep my hands and OTHER PETS AWAY. Don’t restrain the kitty as it could cause it to hurt itself. DO however, make sure it’s not on anything high up where it could fall or hurt itself. Just keep the kitty safe, especially the head and keep the environment calm and quiet, turning down any noises or bright lights and talk softly till the kitty comes around then give it some space unless it comes to you for attention as some cats need some space after and allow him/her to “sleep it off” Also, if possible, record the episode on your camera or phone to show the vet to help determine the best course of treatment.
Is there anything else you would like to add about yourself or Monkey?
Well, I feel I’ve been long winded enough in my answers so I don’t know what else to add.