The first of November 2016 was a special day for us.
As cat lovers and Pokemon geeks, it made perfect sense to name the new kitten curled up in the living room Eevee. At eight weeks old, she was a tiny bundle of black fluff with big marble green eyes. At first, we were concerned that our other two cats, Mittens and Poppy (both five years old), would not be so accepting of our newest family member. I could recall very vividly how it took Mittens a long time to adjust to Poppy when bringing her home. Lots of hissing and paw slapping was expected. And so, Eevee remained curled up by my feet for the first half an hour.
Poppy, the dominant feline of the household, gave her the glare and a few short hisses and growls to assert supremacy. Mittens, as predicted, remained uncertain and kept her distance to watch from afar. To our surprise, after being in her furever home for merely an hour, Eevee began exploring and confidently interacting with Poppy and a reluctant Mittens. It did not take long for her to enjoy her first meal of meat, introduce herself with the activity center and basket of cat toys, and find herself a sleeping spot on our bed. That night, we even found her stealing a few cheeky bites of our spaghetti bolognese.
It felt as though she had always been apart of our family straight away. I became like a mother of a newborn, with fingers giddy on my phones camera to capture every moment so far. Her first nap. Her first groom. Her first lying-in-a-cute-pose. It was like an obsession, much to the annoyance of those friends on my Facebook page whom are dog lovers.
Over the next two months, she found a best friend in Mittens. The pair of them would do everything together. Eat, sleep and play wrestle. It was a rare occasion to find them not in the same room. My inner photographer went crazy, snapping up as many pictures as I could of the two of them curled up on the bed snuggled up together. And the bond I shared with Eevee was something magical too. She would follow me around like a little lost lamb, always at my feet. Every night, she would sleep on my chest, purring gently away to herself. She was my little baby.
She was also the craziest cat I had ever known. It seemed she never ran out of charge. A constant fluffy ball of hyperactivity. She would play with anything she could find. Shoelaces. Doors. Straws were her particular favorite item to play with. She would hide them all over the house, and attack them like a wild animal when her eyes crossed paths with one. She was constantly climbing and jumping into spaces she shouldn’t, places we did not even know existed. Exhibit A being the tiny gap at the back of the toilet, which resulted her being behind the bathroom wall, beckoned out only to the sound of the rustling packet of her favorite treats. It was never a dull moment with her in the house.
That was until the thirtieth day of January. Almost two months of having Eevee in our family, although at that point, it felt as though she had been with us for two years. We had woken up early having planned a day trip. I got in the shower, only to hear my name being called frantically. I jumped out, shampoo still in hair, and entered our bedroom to find my partner on the floor, looking over Eevee. Only something was wrong. Her tongue was sticking out her mouth. Her eyes were rolled back completely. She was breathing strangely, rapid and blustering. Within seconds of seeing this, it suddenly stopped. She went limp and still. I bent down and put my hand in front of her mouth. She wasn’t breathing. I checked for her heartbeat. Nothing.
I still recall with great distress at the sight of her lifeless body as I scooped her up from the ground. She was like a teddy bear, unable to support itself. Her head flopped back and she felt cold. I cradled her in my arms, wrapping her in the towel I had put on. I was crying. Frantically calling her name. But she was gone.
I told my distraught partner to call the vets. In all honestly, I did not think there was anything anyone could do. I just looked at her. Staring at the kitten I knew to be a bouncing menace just a few short minutes ago. Only a few months old, and she had died. I couldn’t accept it. I wouldn’t. I moved her tiny tongue out of the way and started blowing my breath down her throat. It was not as though I had a clue what to do, but I followed my instincts. I lay her down on my lap and began pushing softly at her chest. I remember saying her name over and over again.
In a miracle, after one minute of doing this, she gasped out a tiny little rumble of air. I cradled her in my arms, sobbing hysterically as she opened her eyes. Instantly we could see that whatever had happened to her had left an affect. Her left eye appeared blind. And she was unable to move.
We took her to an emergency vets. I held her in my arms the entire journey. She was obviously exhausted and kept wanting to fall asleep, but I kept her awake. I wasn’t certain if she would wake up again if she did. As an indoor cat, she was utterly intrigued to see a different perspective of the world. She craned her neck back in the car – the only part of her entire body she could physically move – to get a decent view of the window. I said to myself in that moment that at least if she dies now, she had the chance to see something beautiful before she left. It was a sunny morning – a rarity for a January’s day in Britain.
Upon arriving at the vets she was taken from my arms immediately before I got to say a word to her. For twenty minutes we waited in the reception to be called. I could not stop crying. It was the longest twenty minutes of my life. Finally they announced her name. The vet wore a downcast expression as she explained that Eevee had suffered a seizure. She was put in intensive care and had several drips installed into her arm to keep her stabilized and the fur around her neck had been shaved. The vet said they would have to keep her in for a few days to monitor her and see if she recovered at all. It also gave them a chance to conduct tests to find the cause of the seizure. When asking honestly if they thought she might recover, we were told it would be slim but they would do all they could.
That night was one of the worst I’ve ever experienced. The house was so empty and quiet. Too quiet. I could do nothing but cry as my eyes caught sight of all of her things. Her favorite toys. Her empty meat bowl. The little den she made on the bed to sleep in. It was all too heartbreaking. Mittens and Poppy were just as confused. They constantly circled the house searching for her. Poppy started sniffing at the part of the carpet where Eevee had collapsed. I went to bed very early wanting to wake up and find it to all have been a nightmare. But the next day was no better. Upon calling the vets in the morning, we were informed that she was not eating or drinking, and could not express urine herself. She had not made a sound since being there – very out of character for a kitten that never stopped purring and mewing for a fuss. And still, she was unable to move. I called the vets about four times that day for updates but there were no changes.
The first few tests they conducted were all returning negative. I started researching everything I could about the subject trying to find an explanation. How to aid a paralyzed cat? What causes cat seizures? What medication do they need? What are the chances of recovery? I watched several videos of people whom lived with paralyzed cats and how they went about caring for them. I read countless articles from vets and people who had owned a cat with similar conditions. I educated myself on all the medications and tests, so much so, I learned most of the lingo the vets talked about.
The next day came around. We asked if we could come in and see her, but they said she was having her second wave of tests. That evening calling up, we received news that they did not know why Eevee had the seizure. Nothing had come back on their tests to suggest any of the usual causes. No parasites. No diseases. No kidney infections. No head trauma. Nothing. We asked about bringing her home. The nurse said we would have to come for an appointment in the morning to discuss options.
Discuss options. I knew that one of those options would be to put her down.
I called the night nurse late that evening. I couldn’t sleep. I missed Eevee too much. To our surprise and relief, the night nurse had some good news to share. Eevee had been moving around her cage. She was struggling but still, it was the first sign of movement and fight within her. When asking if she had made any noise, the nurse had said she was being very vocal. Mostly growls of frustration but it was sounds nevertheless. She had also eaten and managed to urinate by herself. The nurse seemed attached to Eevee and said she had given her several a lot of fuss. I started crying heavily as I told her to give Eevee a cuddle for us.
The next morning we called the vets and asked if we could bring her home, to which they agreed. We would keep her at home for a week and see how she did and return a week later for a meeting in regards to her future. We packed her favorite toys in her travel case and excitedly waited to see her. When the vet brought her out, she seemed grumpy and tired. It was clear that she was very frustrated in herself as she wanted to move around but couldn’t. The vet gave us instructions as to how to take care of her. As she could not move, we were to stretch out her limbs and turn her over every now and again so she did not get sore. We also needed to ensure she was lying somewhere safe, where she could not fall or roll into something dangerous. We bought her a large soft bed and a Disney tsum tsum of Marie from the Aristocats that made a noise when pressed – the idea being if she rolled over in the night it would alert us.
As soon as we brought her home, it felt like home once more. Poppy seemed very happy to see Eevee again, although sadly Mittens, at first, did not recognize Eevee and was quite fearful and confused. It was because she smelt different and wasn’t the same fluffy ball of energy Mittens was used to. That evening, Eevee refused to drink anything. I had to dip my fingers in water and place droplets around her mouth so she would lick it up. I also got her some tuna and poured water in with it, as tuna was her favorite food. She was very resistant of her meals that night and just seemed as though she wanted to sleep.
Then, three hours after being home, she got up. Staggering, she walked a few steps before falling. It seemed she had no strength in her front paws. But again, she got up with a frustrated yet determined growl and continued stumbling over towards the litter box. I assisted her and to our surprise, she managed to urinate – something which the vets were concerned about. Already we were overjoyed that she had managed to move around so much – we did not think she would ever stand up again.
She went from strength to strength from there. Every day she pushed herself a little more. She started playing with her toys, began eating and drinking regularly as before and even attempting to play fight with Mittens. Mittens could sense she was not fighting fit and simply let Eevee roll around the floor, her paws leaning out to give her a light tap. Every day that passed she was getting stronger. She started taking longer walks around the house, still stumbling but relearning how to walk. It was amazing to witness. A small kitten whom had been at deaths door fighting on, proving everyone wrong.
A week has passed and we returned to the vets. To their absolute surprise, she stood up proudly on the desk and took a few steps. They were delighted and shocked at how quickly she had managed to recover, just as we were. And by the end of February, it was as though the seizure had never happened at all. The shaved bits of fur on her paws and neck had started to grow back, she could walk once more, even run. She jumped around the house onto anything she could find, chased Mittens and Poppy around constantly and returned sleeping on the bed with us, curled up on my chest.
There have been some noticeable differences since her recovery – her walk is a little clumpy and funny, her balance is sometimes off and she will fall over on rare occasions or miss her jump. She goes into very deep sleeps and kicks her legs sometimes when she is dreaming. But besides that, she is the same happy, hyper little bundle we brought home on the first of November. The same kitten that eats everything in sight. The same kitten that never stops playing, especially at 5am. The same kitten that purrs and meows and grows frantic when we return home from work.
She is our little miracle cat, Eevee. And thanks to Calder Vets Dewsbury, we are blessed to have her in our lives even longer.