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These are the posts I posted on the weddings board about Figgy, explaining the journey Figgy went through.  The girls were so great with their well wishes, constant thoughts about Figgy, suggestions, ideas, etc.  When we finally had to let him go, the support was overwhelming.  I always said Figgy had so many more people worried about him (people that had never even met him or me) than he could ever even imagine.

Post 1 (March 9, 2004):

My cat Figgy has had a cold for awhile, but we didn't think anything of it because it's just a cold and he could get over it, right?

Well on Saturday we took him to the vet because he could hardly breathe, he was so congested.  He did a blood test to rule out kidney failure and apparently he has a really bad upper respiratory infection.  He's on anti-biotics now and Jamie has been able to get him to swallow the pills wonderfully, but he's not getting any better.  L

He hasn't eaten since Saturday and drank a very little bit of water today for the first time since Sunday.  I have a home remedies book for pets and we've tried just about everything in there to break up the congestion.  My vet said he won't eat if he can't smell the food.  We've given him chicken broth with garlic (had to force feed him that with a medicine dropper), we've kept him isolated in the bathroom (as our vet told us to do) and have turned on the shower to get the steam to decongest him.  We got a humidifier last night that seems to be working well, his breathing isn't as raspy anymore, but he's still not eating.

My vet wants to hospitalize him for a couple of days and put him on IV's and he said even then there's no guarantee that he'll be okay.  He said the virus could already be too bad that there's nothing that can be done.  L  We're taking him to another vet tonight for a second opinion.  This doesn't get any easier.

Anyhow, thanks for listening.

Post 2 (March 10, 2004):

First off, thanks to everyone and their well wishes!  And the well wishes from all the pets as well!

To answer some questions, Figgy has been on anti-biotics since Saturday.  We didn't expect an instant cure, but he wasn't making any progress.  We did actually try force feeding him tuna on Monday, but he just kept spitting it out.  He refused to drink, we had to get fluids into him, like I said, with the medicine dropper.  We were giving him chicken broth and some tuna juice too.  He actually never puts up a fight when you "capture" him, he's a great cat, and allowed us to do just about anything to him.  He was in the bathroom since Saturday all day everyday, as our vet recommended that he be kept by himself.  We did have the humidifier in there and left it on all day for him.  That's what really helped his breathing, but he still wasn't eating.  He did drink some water yesterday morning and then last night before we took him to the vet, he was drinking again, but as the vet said, when you're that severely dehydrated, you can't possibly drink enough to get you over it because your stomach just can't handle it.

So last night we go in and they give us an estimate and all the stuff they want to do.  They did the Feline Leukemia test first and then that came back negative (thank God!) and then they did blood tests to check his kidneys and liver.  While my original vet didn't do a full kidney test, apparently from the blood work he did do, he said kidney failure was ruled out.  But last night the doctor called us and told us that he had kidney disease, which is not uncommon in older cats.  (We were told Figgy was 8 when we got him, but the vet said she would place him at about 12!)  So, we'll say somewhere in between.

The part that shocked me was she said that if we go through with all the IV's and keeping him hospitalized, he could still live a couple more months.  Months!  That's all?  I kept asking, "Well, is that it?  I mean, he could live longer right?"  Apparently, one kidney is functioning right and the other one is putting out high "numbers", which basically says that it's not fuctioning correctly.  She said it could be due to the severe dehydration, but it could also be something else.  I said, "Well if it is just because of the dehydration, then when he gets rehydrated, he'll be okay right?"  But she said no and that there is still something going on with his kidneys.  Apparently there is no cure for kidney disease, but we can slow it down with a change in diet and by giving him injections at home.  Jamie and I were both just shocked by this.  Finally he said, "Screw it!  Get him better!  I'm not going to put him down just because he has a cold."  I did tell him that something to think about, since he said he would pay the medical bills, since I really can't afford them right now is, "Are you going to be okay with it if you spend all this money and he goes through all this and only lives 2 or 3 more months?"  And he said, "He's a great cat!  I'm not dealing with this!  Just get him better!"  I was really surprised at how worked up he got.  All last night he kept saying, "Let's go get Figgy." and "I want my cat!"

Anyway, we're going back tonight to visit him.  I have to call the vet's in about an hour to see what the doctors say.  I've already called and the technicians said that he's still on IV's and is doing well, so hopefully the doctors can tell me something else.  I'm just hoping that since the first test my doctor did showed there was nothing wrong with his kidney's, that this might just be a false positive, or something along those lines.  They're redoing the blood test tomorrow to check his kidney numbers.  Anyway, with any luck, we'll hear good news and will get to bring him home tomorrow.

Post 3 (March 11, 2004):

Apparently Figgy is eating and drinking a little, but the doctor still wants to keep him another night on IV's.  She said his one kidney value has returned to normal, but the other one is still a little high.  And apparently now he's anemic, which she says sometimes happens when they have a virus like he had with the upper respiratory virus.  What else can this poor cat go through?

Anyway, we've visiting again tonight.  He looked good last night!  Just like normal.  Just a little run down and tired.  I just want to take him home!  Hopefully we can talk to the doctor more in depth tonight and see what we have to do for him at home with his kidney disease.

I still feel like something's not right, like this can't be true.  Thanks again to everyone for your support and well wishes!  This cat has more people concerned about him than he could ever imagine.

Post 4 (March 12, 2004):
(He was doing so well...)

We went to visit Figgy again last night.  I think he's mad at us.  Everytime we would sit down by him, he'd get up and move to the other end of the table, and back and forth.  J

Well, he's coming home tonight!  Can't wait to go pick him up!  I talked to the doctor last night.  She said we should change his diet to help with his kidney disease, and that probably fluid injections at home would not be necessary right now.  We will take him back in a week though for another blood test, and if his kidney values start creeping up after he's off of the IV's, then we'll have to do the injections.  So hopefully they stay low.  She did say his one kidney value is back to normal, and he seems very well hydrated now.  She said he responded so well to the IV fluids that he may have longer than she originally thought, and once again, it may have all been just because he was dehydrated.  I asked yet again, if it was just because of the dehydration, if he did in fact have kidney disease and she still says yes, so that's not good, but at least he's doing better than the doctor thought he would!  We'll still have to keep an eye on him and give him different food.  I hope he'll pull through and this won't even be a factor for him now.

Poor thing is still all stuffy though from the upper respiratory infection.  His nose just keeps running.  He can't seem to get over it.

Anyway, for now things look positive.  Hopefully in a week when we take him back, his kidney values will be fine and he can live a normal life without injections.

I bet he can't wait to come home.  Hopefully after we pick him up, he won't be mad at us for too long.  J

Post 5 (March 15, 2004):

I called the vet again.  Figgy ate a very, very little bit of veal baby food on Saturday, but nothing since then.  She has no other options for us to try, but did say that we have to decide when "enough is enough".  I just want him to eat!  I do not want to put him down!

We have tried milk, meat baby food (per the vet) 8 different kinds of canned cat food, ham lunch meat.  We are at a loss.  He's even on an appetite stimulator (one of his five medications) and it's not working.  The vet seemed very surprised, but it seems to have no effect on him.  He seems extremely interested in food!  When we walk in with a plate, he will run over to it, but then he just kind of hangs his head and walks away.

I'm sorry for constantly posting here, but after shelling out over $900, we are not ready to put him down!  We just want him to eat!  For all the cat owners out there:  any suggestions for food we could try?  The vet said at this point we could try anything to get him to eat, as it's been well over a week since he's had a substantial meal.  But any heads up?

Post 6 (March 17, 2004):
(A response when a member asked for an update as to whether we were able to get him to eat.)

We are trying and trying and trying.

I did find out some interesting facts yesterday when I researched the five medications he was on.  Three of them cause him to have an upset stomach along with nausea and vomiting.  That certainly won't make him want to eat!  One was an appetite stimulator that was clearly not working, so we stopped giving him that.  The other was apparently a decongestant that was listed online as a medicine to help pets with itchy skin.  No where did it say sometimes used as a decongestant, so we stopped giving him that.  I found out that cats with kidney disease sometimes have a lot of stomach acid, which will make them not want to eat, and most cats with this condition are on Pepcid AC.  Our vet never recommended this, so I called and they said we could give it to Figgy.  We did last night.  He still was not eating, so we got some more baby food and force fed him with a medicine dropper.  We were hoping that with the less medicine, less upset stomach, and the Pepcid to help the stomach acid, he would feel more like eating.

Jamie said he finally ate on his own this morning!!  Not a lot, but he still ate!  When we get home, we'll see how much he ate, and if he's continuing to eat.

We did get oatmeal and sardines while at the store last night to test out Erin's suggestion, but haven't tried it yet.  Hopefully he'll continue to eat on his own!  Fingers crossed.

Thanks for asking!

Post 7 (March 19, 2004):
(A response when another update was asked for.)

Awww!  Thanks Erin!  J  J  I think the Pepcid AC is really helping him.  A couple of hours after we give it to him, he has been eating.  He ate on Wednesday night.  We had gone to the store Tuesday I think and thrown away most of his uneaten food (we were giving him a lot of different choices, so opening multiple cans of food at once).  Wednesday morning Jamie got him to eat and then nothing at night.  We were just about to bust open the sardines and start mashing, but he gave him a Pepcid and left him alone.  Not too long after that, we opened one more can of food and he ate it!  He ate like he was starving (though I'm guessing he was!  He hadn't had a decent meal in a week and a half!).  Thursday morning I gave him some more of the same kind of food and he ate it.  Jamie went downstairs afterwards to give him a refill and he grabbed the wrong food and Figgy wouldn't eat it.  He got the other food, he ate it.  So we went to the store last night and got some more cans of the food he will eat.  Last night he ate and ate and ate after we gave him his Pepcid (then the silly cat fell asleep with his head in his food! - using the plate as a pillow I guess).  This morning he didn't eat anything, and then Jamie gave him his medicine, which he does not like, so I'm hoping tonight we can get him to continue eating.  He's doing so well!  And his water intake is back up right around normal too!  You can just imagine how relieved I am!

Thanks so much for asking!

Post 8 (March 23, 2004):
(And then so fast...)

I don't understand how this could happen!

He was eating and doing so well.  But he still wasn't gaining any weight.  We think now that his phosphate binder that is used to break down his food so his kidney's don't have to is breaking it down and he's not getting any nutrition from it.

But last night he just stopped eating.  He wouldn't eat at all, even after we gave him a Pepcid.  This morning, same thing.  Except that also last night he very suddenly had a hard time walking.  He tried to walk on the bed and just kept falling over.  We put him on the floor, the same thing.  We thought he might be tired, so he slept all night.  I picked him up this morning and put him down by his food and he fell over.  Jamie put him in his litter box and he fell over.  He had to hold him up so he could use it.

I called the vet we took him to (the second vet) and they won't talk to me.  They only want us to bring him in and spend more money.  I feel completely unsatisfied with how they've handled the whole situation.  So another appointment tonight with a third vet and hopefully it won't cost another $900.  I just don't understand how he can go from getting better and having a terrific appetite and drinking a lot to not eating, not drinking, and not being able to walk.  I'm a complete wreck.  I need to stop crying at work.  People are going to think I have seious issues.

Anyway, just updating everyone.

Post 9 (March 24, 2004):
(The last update.)

Thanks again to everyone for their well wishes, thoughts, prayers, etc.  Figgy had more people worried about him, (people who had never even met him or me), than he could ever even imagine.

I called yesterday and set up a third vet appointment.  When I got home, he was so much worse.  He was just laying there completely lifeless and unresponsive.  I freaked.  I called the vet and they told us to bring him up right then.  They did his kidney test and the kidney values came back at 130!!  Normal kidney values are right around 30.  They gave him some fluids and we took him home.  But the poor cat couldn't walk.  He couldn't hold his head up, he was just shaking.  He tried and tried to walk, but he couldn't.  He just kept falling over.

Right before bed, Jamie checked on him (he was on his pillow on the floor at the end of our bed, where he'd been laying), and his pillow was all wet.  We turned it over, gave him new towels to cover him.  When I woke up this morning, he was wet again.  His head was just kind of hanging off the pillow because he couldn't pick it up.  I looked at Jamie and we knew we couldn't let him suffer.  He couldn't walk, he couldn't move, he had lost all control of his bladder and bowel movements and just had to do everything where ever he was laying.  No one and no animal should have to live like that.

It was so hard and I just started bawling my eyes out, but the waiting is definitely the worst.  We knew we had done the right thing.  He hadn't moved, he couldn't walk, and he must have peed on himself about 10 times.  It wasn't fair to him.  It's so hard, and yet Jamie and I feel... better.  We don't have to worry about whether he's eating enough or getting enough medicine or whether he's all alone and he has to move, but can't....

Anyway, I'm babbling.  Thanks for listening and thanks for the tremendous support I got from everyone here.  I'll be back tomorrow.

I'll post some pictures later so that everyone can put a face with the name, for the mystery cat that they've been so worried about.

Post 10 (March 25, 2004):
(My Thank You post.)

I know I haven't been around at all yesterday or today.  I've basically been jumping all around the pet boards today and trying to catch up on work.

I wanted to let everyone who posted about Figgy know that your thoughts and words did not fall on deaf ears.  I read and re-read and even read again the wishes and sympathetic words.  Thank you so much.  I truly appreciate the support I have gotten.  When I wrote the post yeserday, Jamie and I did feel better, but then throughout the day and even today, I've hit the hard moments.  It is so hard to remember him how he was the last day, lying in my arms seeing that look of confusion and defeat on his face.  It just rips my heart apart.  I have good and bad moments, but I'm missing him terribly.  Last night I looked around our room and saw his pillow, his litter box, his food plates, the humidifier we bought specifically for him to help him breathe easier when he had his stuffy nose (and can you believe he finally got over his upper respiratory infection just a couple of days ago?  Figures...).  Everything for Figgy was there, but Figgy was not.

A few special "thank you"'s I wanted to point out:

Lesley, your comment about Ethan showing Figgy the ropes made me smile.  Jamie appreciated it too.  It's gives a good mental picture.  Thanks.

Erin, I'm so upset because we never got to try the oatmeal / sardine mush you suggested for Figgy.  When we bought the sardines and oatmeal, he started eating Fancy Feast.  Now we have sardines at home and no Figgy to eat them.  I'm sad too because I really wanted to see if he'd eat it.  Thanks for the suggestion!

Sarah, don't feel bad about not responding.  I have been guilty of the same thing.  Sad posts about animals depress me and leave me way too upset, I usually skip over them too.  Trust me, I understand.  Thanks for reading my post and replying when I needed to feel the support.

And Marion, I told Jamie yesterday that you said you were going to plant flowers for Figgy and he told me today, "You know, there are a lot of nice people on Ivillage.  Like the girl planting the flowers.  That's really nice of them to care so much about a cat that they never even met."  Thank you for posting an updated post to let me know that you had, in fact, planted lilies for Figgy.  That is just such a sweet gesture.  I can't get over it.  I called Jamie and told him too and he said to tell you he said thanks.

Anyway, thank you to everyone who responded.  Each post helps to make me feel better and they all touched me in some way.  It may sound cheesey, but it's true and I really do appreciate the support.  Thanks girls.

Still working on getting those pictures of Figgy so everyone can see him.