Sunday, July 18, 2010

Silence in the Sewing Room

Not lack of sewing, just silence.

Lily the cat seems to have lost her voice. Normally she has a very loud and demanding meow, particularly when she's standing outside the workroom.

Yesterday, low scratchy meow. Today, nada.

This happened before - about a year and a half ago, when she had the expensive butt surgery, her voice changed. It changed back, but I don't remember when.

One of the many negatives about the internet is if you go looking for something, you're sure to find it; searching "cat voice change" gives you lovely frightening ideas like laryngeal tumors and renal failure.

So I took her to the University of Penn's vet emergency room last night around 7:00 p.m. My vet didn't have hours until Monday and Ididn't know if I could get her an appointment, so even though it might just be something minor, I wanted to get her checked out. Minor has a way of turning major very quickly, and animals rarely show when they're in pain.

When we walked in, the waiting room was overflowing. A tech comes out, asks what's wrong, I give her the symptoms - also licking her lips, a little lethargic, maybe a little weight loss, just not acting like herself - and the tech says they'll probably run some blood work to see what's up.

8:00. 9:00. 10:00. Another tech comes out. "Lily?" she asks. I raise my hand. She's come to take a full history, including all about the surgery in January 2009, even though she's got the chart in her hand - which she obviously hasn't read because she asked if Lily had sustained another animal bite. Two hospital visits, one surgery and several thousand dollars later, it was determined it was never a bite; she'd simply been picking at her own infection.

But whatever. She takes a new history, disappears.

11:00. Midnight. Doctor comes out, with tech in tow. "Lily's people?" We get up, go into an exam room with her. She goes over the history again.

Why did I think my cat was sick? I repeat the symptoms. So that's enough to make me think she's sick? Yes. She's lost her voice, she's licking her lips constantly, she seems a bit lighter than usual, she's not acting like herself and she hasn't slept with me in a few days. The last time she exhibited most of that behavior, she was nursing a $3K infection just left of her tail.

The upshot: her bloodwork is fine, her kidney function is completely normal, her temperature is good, she's a sweet cat and I'm apparently a competely hysterical paranoid mother. That'll be $175 please - and 6 hours of your life.

I'm still taking her to my vet tomorrow, because now she has no voice at all, and I know my cat better than an overworked doctor in a Saturday night emergency room who can't see a (hopefully) minor issue with Lily because she's got way worse problems to deal with.

Fingers, toes and paws crossed, everybody. Even though I complain about her constant yammering at me, it's too freaking quiet in the sewing room right now.


lsaspacey said...

Aww, poor kitty. I've had laryngitis many times, I can't even imagine how frustrating it is to a very vocal cat. Hope it's not another infection. Take care.

lsaspacey said...

What I mean is I've known vocal cats, they're already frustrated that we humans can't seem to grasp what they're saying so it must be really aggravating not to even make the noise that at least gets us to notice them.

Catherine said...

I`ve been in your situation many times (10 aging cats). Only your regular vet knows you and your cat. When my cats have a change in habits there is usually something going on though not always serious. Good luck.

This is my first visit to your blog and it`s been enjoyable. Thanks.

Helen said...

I think you're right to take her to your vet. I hope it turns out to be nothing (or something minor). Good luck! Please keep us posted.

Elaray said...

I guess vets, like pediatricians, are quick to dismiss pet-parents whom they feel are worrying about nothing. I think it's a good idea to take Lily to her regular vet and I'm crossing my fingers (Tangi and Soleil are crossing their paws) that Lily is fine.

meredithp said...

Well, hopefully it *will* be nothing, or something very minor, but it's always good to be sure! Especially with cats.

I know if our vocal one suddenly went quiet, he'd be at the vets in a blur. Let us know, please.

Little Hunting Creek said...

I hope Lily feels bettter soon. Here's hoping it is something minor.

Rose said...

Oh no! I cannot imagine sweet Lily as a quiet kitty. (I feel like I know her from reading your blog.)I hope that the only problem is a worried Mama. Of course, you are going to make sure that she doesn't have a problem lurking.

Claire S. said...

No one knows them like we do !

My Pom pants all the time - that's his normal. A few weeks ago he breathed without panting for 2 days - I was worried and kept an eye on him. If any other symptoms had shown up, I would have taken him in. Could you imagine what a vet who doesn't know him would've thought ?!

Hoping with crossed fingers & paws that your kitty is ok.

Michelle said...

Fingers crossed for your kitty.

I have a cat who is so quiet, I wouldn't know if he lost his voice. I would worry, however, if he quit trying to lay on my hands while I sew. He seems to think it his duty.

Rita said...

You were right to take Lily to the ER and again to your usual vet. A vocal cat who goes quiet that seems to be a red flaf.

I hope there is nothing wrong with Lily but it is always better to be safe than sorry.

snow said...

Hi Karen,
I hope Lily will be back to her old self in no time.Of course you were right to take her to the vet even though the endless repetitive questions could make you go mad. At least the tests came back negative and that's a good thing. Hopefully your own Vet will confirm this and Lily will find her voice. :O)