Fury’s Journey (Summer 2018)

Continued from our last post about Fury, our adorable cat…

As we returned to the vet for check-ups at both our local vet’s office and CSU in Colorado, we began to notice her hair falling out where her skin was scabbed from injuries. We still hadn’t gotten a look at the healing injury on her back, as it was re-wrapped weekly by the vets we saw. But the entire back of her neck lost all of it’s hair after we observed what we’d call dark red irritation bruising that crept up her skin after the horrible back injury. She also developed 2-3 thick, crusty “scabs” near her shoulder blades that ultimately could be peeled off, gently, only to leave a powdery white space that became gray and speckled in coloration and never grew hair back. It was surprising that the vet could peel these scabs off and Fury would barely feel a thing.

Several weeks later, the local vet determined that her skin wasn’t going to be able to heal the entire way on its own and after nearly 2 months of healing and body bandage re-wraps, they would have to debride this area and leave the wound open to heal on it’s own. This wasn’t a pleasant thing to see or look after, but our vet was right; it did ultimately heal after several more weeks.

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We next moved into the phases of medication investigation. We started with explorations of steroids, anti-seizure meds and other regimens that our vets have experience with in certain situations. I’d caveat this though to clarify that our vet team was great at finding doses that were tolerable without adverse reactions. The progress was obvious after several weeks: Fury was no longer having those frantic states of sprinting out of the room, looking like she was hallucinating or attacking herself. For several weeks at this point, we really felt like we were heading in a better direction (granted we wished we could snap our fingers and make it instant, but still, we were hopeful). Continue reading

Fury’s Journey (Spring 2018)

After making an introductory post about our cat Fury, I wanted to start documenting several medical challenges with her that we are working through. There is little  information out there (for pet owners or veterinarians) for animals like Fury and hopefully, by maintaining her story online, it can be one more source for cat owners (and other animal owners) that struggle with these conditions:

Early Spring 2018

Earlier this spring, we noticed that as Fury grew, she often scratched aggressively behind and below her ears with her back feet. It was just, a bit much. Minor injuries began to occur as slices or tears of the skin below where her ears met her neck. These were usually enough to require a small number of stitches or glue to close back up again.  Our local vet was very investigative when it came to these injuries. Yet without any presenting symptom other than itching, we didn’t really have any clear diagnosis other than to begin assessing skin allergies.

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We began to notice other odd behaviors as well over the weeks. Randomly, Fury would be in the room with us, and out of nowhere, she would enter a moment of frantic agitation. One second she’s fine, the next her pupils were dilated, she postured as if she was ready to enter fight or flight mode and she would sometimes dash out of the room for no reason at all. In fact, it almost seemed as though she was hallucinating. And just a moment later, she’d flip an invisible switch and be entirely back to normal again.

We started searching online for any guidance of what we could be dealing with and we started seeing feline hyperesthesia syndrome (or “Twitchy Back” syndrome). It seemed to perfectly align with most of her behavior but didn’t account for other behavior. We also noted from reading and in discussion with our local vet that this was a diagnosis only arrived at after ruling out many, many other diagnoses first, so this was put to the side until we could confirm more. Continue reading

Fury the Wonder Cat

In December, my husband’s early Christmas gift to me was the opportunity to adopt a cat from a local shelter. Being an animal lover, I’d missed having a furry companion for a while and was looking forward to it.

The original agreement was to select a cat after our family vacations at Christmas as we didn’t want to bring a new animal into our home 1-2 weeks before and then leave it alone. However, as he informed me nearly a month in advance this would be my present, Yours Truly was not waiting that long.

About a week later after this announcement, it seemed only prudent that we should go ahead to the local Petco to purchase some basic elements that would keep (food, food / water dispenser, litter, litter box). You know, just on the off-chance we found our new family member early and didn’t want to be caught unprepared!

I’m pretty sure my antics were transparent, but on arriving at the pet store that also just happened to showcase local shelter animals up for adoption, I zeroed in on a particular kitten who was just adorable. See, my husband is not swayed by anything. Anything. And my pleas and cajoling were getting me nowhere to want to move up brining a cat home earlier than agreed. It might have finally been having his nearly 40-year-old wife pleading in the public store, but after many walks through the aisles, the hubby relented and said we could choose a cat early but only if we went to the local shelter itself to see all the possible cats.

Now here’s the thing you need to understand about me. I will find something wonderful, precious and uniquely endearing about every animal I meet. So I knew that I would find some deserving pet this day who I could give a good home to. The puzzle factor was, finding one my husband would warm to. 

We looked at every cat there. I asked my husband, “See any that really speak to you or you like?”. I was met with, “Eh, maybe.” This gave me pause as I certainly didn’t want to take off for home with my version of the perfect cat that he’d not appreciate or find endearing going forward. We made a second circle of the circuit of the walls of cat crates. When I asked again, he nodded to a crate where a tiny black kitten was snuggled next to a sibling kitten who was creamy and equally cute.

When I prodded further if this was one he wanted to possibly see, I got a “We can.” So we were ushered to the meet and greet room and awaited the introduction. 

Now here’s where the plot turns.

I am the animal lover. I am the person stray animals always find their way to. I am the soft heart that picks up the injured or lost. I adopt everything that breathes and needs a home. When I introduced my older sister to my husband when we were dating, she even raised this for his awareness that it was only a matter of time until we had an animal menagerie. So I just knew I had better go ahead and take a seat on the concrete floor because the cat was for me. The cat would sense my adoration for all creatures and just gravitate to me. Not my stoic husband.

And as you guessed, when the volunteer arrived with the little black dollop of fur, we waited patiently and quietly for her to get comfortable walking around the room without being bothered. Only then did we begin to talk to her and move around a bit. And totally ignoring me on the floor, my Christmas present eyed my other half who was sitting in a chair in the corner, made a beeline to him and jumped directly into his lap where she turned 2 times, sat down and purred. Claimed. (When I told this story to my family later that night by text, the irony was not lost on them and it was met with a number of emojis laughing hysterically).

And so we went home with a 4 month old kitten.

The charade went on once we got home. She wouldn’t let me pick her up, wouldn’t come near me. Only my husband. I was heartbroken thinking how could this be? I’m the animal person. I loved her to pieces. She was my Christmas present. And how would this cat-relationship work now? My husband assured me over and over it would all be fine.

We struggled for days as to what to name her. Obvious options were Ebony, Midnight and other black-fur-themed names. However what she reminded us of most was the Dreamworks movie, “How to Train Your Dragon” where one of the main characters is an animated black dragon with striking eyes named Toothless. And Toothless was a type of special dragon called a Night Fury who over the course of the story, came into his own special powers through overcoming obstacles. So we named her Fury – it seemed odd at first, but there was something endearing that such a contrast in name fit the same type of lovable personality as the animated tiny black dragon in the movie.

Within a few days, roles had totally reversed. I’m not sure to this day if he had a special kitty conversation, or what happened, but ever since, she has preferred my lap to his. She looks for me in every room and sees me as her provider of all things. Granted she still has a special relationship with my husband. Any project he begins work on, she is right there to help: Sitting at attention next to him just waiting to be tagged in to help be part of the situation. But since my husband is in law enforcement and works night shift, and I’m home-based, we’ve become the pals I’d hoped we’d be.

Fast forwarding to present, we’ve had a lot of adventures in the last 5 months. Most of them medical that will be an ongoing journey, but some of them are the expected comedies any new pet family goes through with a new kitten. Our girl continues to be a furry force of love and fun so I’ll share some of those adventures with pictures as we go along. 

Because really, who’s day isn’t made better by a picture of Fury the wonder cat?

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First arrival home taken 2Dec2017.