July 2006 Archives


Last Thursday (July 20) my cat Boo jumped up on my office desk, something she does many times a day, sometimes TOO MANY times a day. She looked a little weak and acted like she had a hairball. I placed her on the floor so she wouldn't spew on my keyboard and nothing happened. I went downstairs to fix lunch and offered her some food, she didn't take it and again acted like she was choking. I took her back upstairs with me so I could keep an eye on her, and again she coughed and gagged. I realized she was breathing hard. I called my vet and she told me to immediately take her to the Veterinary Specialty Hospital of the Carolinas in Cary. On the way she was having more and more trouble breathing, and had mucous falling from her mouth. My fiance' Ben was already at the hospital, relaying second by second updates on Boo's condition and our ETA. We were greeted at the door by a nurse, Boo was taken to the back and we were shown the waiting area.

After what seemed like forever a vet came to speak with us. He said Boo had fluid covering 90% of her lungs and was essentially "blue" when she arrived. He tapped her chest and removed 300 mL of fluid. The fluid would be tested and they wanted to keep her overnight to run more tests. He warned us that it could be heart disease or associated with the thyroid, but unfortunately in most cases with cats the cause remains unknown.

Friday morning Ben stopped by the hospital on the way to work. The facility is run pretty much like a human hospital with visiting hours only allowing "immediate family". Ben noticed a BIG difference in Boo's behavior. He said she was much more cuddly and purring up a storm. Ben went back that afternoon to pick Boo up to bring home. As feared the diagnosis was "Chylothorax or thoracic lymphangiectasia" Basically, Chyle is a lymphatic fluid that arises from the intestine to the pleural space (thorax). There were no signs of heart disease, so the results of the tests were inconclusive as to the cause of the fluid build-up. The hospital suggested a special low fat/low protein diet and Rutin supplement.

Friday night and Saturday Boo was doing well, wanting to be held and such, but would not eat. I finally started spoon-feeding her babyfood. She was loving this. Sunday night into Monday I noticed Boo's breathing was becoming more labored. She was eating more on her own, but I still spoon-fed her. She was hiding under the guest bed more and more. I called my regular vet to talk to her about the diagnosis from the vet hospital. She was very honest and said in her 30 year career, she had never seen a cat pull through this, and at best we had a couple of weeks.

Now the hard part, Ben is in Portland, OR this week at OSCON. He has adopted Boo as his own and knew the situation when he left. I know he really wanted to see Boo through to the end. After talking with my vet and seeing Boo's condition go downhill, Ben and I came to the conclusion that it was time to help ease Boo out of her pain. It was obvious the fluid on her lungs was building back up and she was uncomfortable. She was never going to get better and only get worse.

So today at 1:15 pm I took Boo to the vet and gave her peace. It's never easy to see a loved one die. Boo was a very special cat. She was, as my friend Jeff dubbed her, the Attention Whore. Boo could never get enough petting. She didn't wait for you to pet her, she walked right up and rubbed her head on your hand, arm, leg, etc. Or give you one of her famous head-butts. She had the softest of soft fur. She loved to sleep under the covers and always found a way to weasel herself into just the spot she wanted. She was 17 years old, she had a glorious (SPOILED) life and will be greatly missed!