Cat Behavior 101,  Cats,  Vet 101

When Bad Things Happen To Good Pets

If you love cats, sharing makes us purrrr :-)

This week’s vet Q & A with Dr. Goldstein is postponed until next week.

As many of you know, we have a new foster kitty named Ling Ling We have a New Foster Siamese Girl who arrived from the same shelter (Cat Assistance ) as Gris Gris and Odin. This tiny thing, the size of a four-month-old kitten, but a senior gal, has endured multiple homes, foster homes, shelters, had all her teeth removed, and when I met her, reached the end of her rope. She wasn’t eating or drinking. Of course she was stressed, but after a few days she seemed to rally, purring my in my lap. I figured all she needed was lots of love, but I felt uneasy.

Siamese-foster-cat-ling ling

By Sunday, she’s taken a turn for the worse, hiding out in my closet, coughing and gagging at the sight of food or water. Her omnipresent twitching tail relaxed only when I did Reiki (energy healing). On Monday, Sara from the shelter and I brought her to a vet who had seen her last year. The blood work, x-ray and exam looked normal. She received sub-cutaneous fluids and feisty Ling Ling proved a difficult patient requiring multiple pairs of hands. The diagnosis: emotional. A regiment which sounded like anorexia boot camp meant force feeding at the clinic.

I brought her back home and agonized over the decision to subject her to more stress and trauma. Intuitively, I felt something was wrong physically. I waited a day and decided to consult with my vet and the Cat Wisdom 101 cat expert, Dr. Richard Goldstein who arrived with his state-of-the-art mobile clinic on a sweltering hot day. We live in an antique farmhouse with limited air-conditioning. Ling Ling preferred the sauna hot third floor which prompted me to lock her in a cooler bathroom. I found her sunning herself at dawn in that bathroom yesterday morning with runny eyes and nose. A new determination arose.

cat-window-sill-Siamese-Ling Ling

No, to anorexia boot camp. No, to a going inside a carrier reeking with negative experiences. No, to going in a car to another vet visit. I prepped Ling Ling with some Reiki and communicated what was going to happen. I carried her in towel lined basket and into the clinic in our driveway. Dr. Goldstein examined her with gentle thoroughness and came to a quick diagnosis: upper respiratory infection or URI. No wonder she didn’t want to eat; she couldn’t smell her food. She’d slipped from 5.25 lbs. on Monday down to 5 lbs. and needed sub-q fluids again. I’ll continue to administer fluids daily until she resumes normal eating and drinking. It wasn’t what I expected. I’m exhausted from scrubbing and disinfecting while nursing my own cold, but it could be worse.

While not happy with the diagnosis, I’m happy I listened to my intuition. Ling Ling will be on antibiotics for ten days and isolated in her own wing: a bathroom, my dressing room and her favorite third floor. Ling Ling didn’t need multiple hands to restrain her with the less stressful environment, but I did wonder where Dr. G’s assistant Lisa was. She was instrumental in helping with Domino’s rescue and treatment.

I’m sad to report that last Friday, Lisa’s home of twelve years, an apartment in a restored antique barn was destroyed by fire. She lost everything including her beloved three dogs and a parrot. Bad things do happen to good pets. I’m still processing all the news, but in this moment I’m feeling very grateful. Oh, and Dr. G’s fee? A big fat zero. He said thank Nelson Mandela


  • Heather H

    I am a little puzzled as to why the other Vet(s) did not recognize something as common as URI – am so very glad to hear that Ling Ling is now on an antibiotic and hopefully recovers soon – poor sweetie has had too much stress and just needs a forever home to feel at home… and as for Lisa – teary eyed for her losses, a couch is easy to replace, so is a kitchen table – but not her beloved companions, she will need support while in mourning and I hope there is some kind of fund or org that can help her get back up on her feet to start over, sending love her way…. I enjoyed my read Layla – thank you for all you do πŸ™‚

  • Kent Butler

    Is there such a thing as extreme kindness? Must be -it’s the only way to even begin balancing the extreme evil we confront every day. Huge thanks to Layla, Dr. G, Lisa, et al for your extreme kindness. It surely helps!

  • Mary Fraser

    Layla… bless you and your “intuitiion”. So glad you have gotten some answers and all can move forward from here!!
    In a weird coincidence… I think I saw that news story on American television about the barn and the 3 dogs – re Lisa – … just yesterday or the day before… and was thinking… how very sad. Small world.. xx

  • Dr. G

    Ling Ling is one of the sweetest cats I have ever met. Not a peep out of her as we did her exam and fluids (Ok, maybe she wasn’t thrilled with the antibiotics… but who can blame her??). If anyone can nurse her back to good health, it’s her wonderful foster mom. And I am tickled that she chose to belatedly celebrate Mandela Day by eating some baby food today (Ling Ling, not Layla :-)). Continued good thoughts!! I look forward to hearing more good news πŸ˜€

  • Deb Barnes - Zee and Zoey

    I just read this post and am still trying to process it all… very relieved that Ling Ling is on the road to recovery. This petite senior cat does not need anything more to deal with and I am grateful with your intuition, gentle hands, and compassion that she is being given the respect she deserves.

    As far as Lisa, I cannot comprehend the loss she must be feeling right now and my heart goes out to her. Words just are not enough right now… if there is anything we can to help contribute, please let me know…

  • Cory

    What an emotional post! Purring that sweet Ling Ling is getting the care and love she deserves and absolutely devastated by the news of Lisa’s loss.

    Sending comforting purrs.

  • Marg

    Gosh, I sure am glad you called your favorite vet in and didn’t give up on Ling Ling. We sure hope the antibiotics will work. We know here how stressful it can be for these kitties to go from foster to foster. Thanks so much for not giving up on her.
    Poor Lisa, that is so terrible to have your house burn down and lose the dogs etc. We are sending lots of purrs and prayers for both Lisa and Ling Ling. Please keep us updated.

  • Cheysuli

    We are so sad for poor Ling Ling but glad she is getting the care that she needs from you. Siamese can be very grateful. No doubt the URI is about grief (in Chinese medicine this is true) because Siamese feel so deeply.

    We are also so sad for Lisa. What a horrible thing to have to go through. We will purr for everyone.

    • boomermuse

      Yes, I agree with Eastern medicine and lungs being about sadness. Thank-you, I know you understand this on a deep level.

  • Bernadette

    I’m so glad you figured it out! And I’m surprised as well that the other vet didn’t figure it out. Intuition is the best diagnostic tool when all else fails, and even sometimes when it doesn’t. I hope she recovers soon enough to be able to begin eating on her own. Wonder if she’s been carrying something all along, perhaps from those bad teeth before they were removed?

    I rarely catch colds, but had one and was medicating my Kelly a few years ago and she began sneezing even though I washed my hands before I handled her. My vet said she’s seen it happen many times, even though it shouldn’t transfer between species. I’ll trust her.

    I heard about that barn fire on another blog and had no idea it was near you or in any way related. When I heard it was someone who worked with animals it made it all worse. Let’s hope for the best for her.

    Good thing it was Mandela Day.

    • boomermuse

      That’s interesting about the inter-species transfer. Nothing surprises me anymore. Which blog did you hear about the fire? And thanks again.

  • Jessica

    I’m so sorry to hear about Ling Lings past. Poor thing. I’m also glad to find out it was an upper respiratory infection. I get so irritated at some of these vets that don’t take the time to listen to the owner that there is something wrong. I hope both of you feel better soon.

  • Random Felines

    Please let Lisa know we are purring for her – what a terrible loss. Big Cheers for Dr. G – the world needs more people like him. And like you – we know Ling Ling is in good hands….

  • Caren Gittleman

    Ling Ling is lucky to have her path cross with yours. Lucky that you listened to your intuition. I am hopeful that she is on the mend. Emotionally she is lucky to have found you as well. I am certain she knows this.

    Deepest sympathies to Lisa, there are no words that can help to ease that kind of awful tragedy.

    Sunhat off to “Dr.G.” there truly ARE Angels among us! Ling Ling is lucky, she found TWO, you and Dr. G….

    “limited air?” I would die in this heat, sending cooling thoughts your way

  • Ingrid King

    I’m glad you had Dr. Goldstein come. How generous of him to waive his fee for the visit. I can’t believe the other vet wasn’t able to diagnose a URI. If anyone can nurse her back to health, you can.

    I’m so sorry about Lisa’s loss – I can’t even imagine what she’s going through.

    • boomermuse

      Ingrid, yes especially under the circumstances. A long work day for him with no assistance, driving from client to client.

  • Pam Kimmell

    Oh Layla….What a difficult journey for you and Ling Ling but perhaps now at least she will be feeling better (hopefully you too) and will begin eating again. She looks so miserable in the photo – no doubt she was at that point….poor girl. It’s tough enough getting old (this I know!) but being shuttled around from home to home, losing all her teeth, etc. she’s had such a tough time. Your home and your love are just what she needs! Sammy and I hope Ling Ling bounces back SOON.

    Pam and Sam, One Spoiled Cat

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