Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Get well soon

Ursula, the lovely little creature shown here in two views, stopped eating and drinking late last week, evidently feeling very sick, and she got severely dehydrated. We had to bring her to the veterinary hospital, where she has been getting IV fluids for the last few days. Still too early to tell if she has acute kidney disease or merely a treatable infection. We already have to give our elder statesman, Shadow, regular fluid shots under the skin (which he mainly tolerates, being extremely placid and good-tempered), but a second recipient may soon be in the offing. Before you know it we'll be operating our own veterinary clinic.

Ursula is very young for kidney disease (age 7). We adopted her from an animal shelter, thinking she was a standard brown tabby plus something-or-other mutt, but uncanny likenesses from a cat book have since persuaded us that she is probably what's called a wild Abyssinian (a breed that was created by crossing Abys with Singapore street cats). The only breed cat we've ever owned, a Somali (Aby offshoot with a mutant gene for bushy tails) died before age 2 of kidney disease. I don't know if this should put us off Abys, breeds generally, or neither.

Ursula is a moderately shy but exceptionally affectionate cat whose good opinion has to be earned (unlike Shadow, who likes everyone from the moment he meets them). Having her sick is a tough way to start the new year.

UPDATE: Ursula is back home, but the long-term prognosis remains unclear.

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