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Raining Cats & Dogs - Welcome Eli

May 19, 2008 - Amy Jo Hanna-Eckenrode
Well, this certainly ain't a Golden Retriever but it was raining cats and dogs when this little fella 'found me' Saturday night. Cold, wet, sick, alone and crying under my car. I had just returned from the Pints for Pets event at the Curve when this feline was bestowed upon me. I bet if I told a half dozen people at the pet event that "animals find you, you don't find your animal" then I said it a hundred times. I do believe that. It's my mantra. I just always thought it would be dogs with me!
I wasn't looking for a cat. Not at all. I don't know a thing about cats. I've had my eye out for perhaps another Golden to keep Mazey company but a cat never entered my mind. Thus, Eli entered my house. And, heart. Scrawny, so thin, so sick, sneezing, running eyes and nose. He was so pathetic. He came right to my friend when she called to him and we brought him inside. Dirt and and all. I know about as much about cats as I do wine. Nada. So, thank goodness Mary Jane Werner, founder of Laws for Paws, lives a block away. She is 'cat woman' as far as I'm concerned. She said Eli looked to have an upper respiratory infection and an even worse case of neglect. She helped me make a vet appointment for after work today so we can get Eli on the road to health.
He was so exhausted that he curled up on a big, plush towel and slept all night. On Sunday he began to eat me out of house and home. They say young cats/kittens eat a little but often. It's true. I also have to find a way to bathe him. I have yet to break that news to him. It ain't gonna be pretty. Mazey should be quite  entertained watching. She's an avid spectator.
As Eli started eating and drinking and getting quality rest, his activity level has also dramatically improved. I think he has wings as quickly as he can jump up on the counter even after I scold him. He took to the litter box quite nicely. Thanks for small favors but he's a bit of a messy eater. We'll work on that.
He's a natural cuddler. While curled up in a sleeping bag yesterday watching tv, Eli snuggled right up beside me. I covered him up to his ears with a towel and he slept the afternoon away. I hope we only find an easy to cure infection. I'll update as soon as we return from our vet appointment this evening.

7:50pm - We didn't have a very good trip to the vet. I kinda feel like Eli and I are 0 - 2.  I'd like to thank Dr. Hassanne. I have only met a very few number of vets as sincerely kind and caring as Dr. Hassanne at Altoona Veterinary Hospital. Mary Jane Werner kindly referred me and got me an appointment since my vet is in State College.
The staff immediately tested Eli for Feline Leukemia. (FeLV) along with FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) - often compared to the human version of AIDS- two of three extremely serious, incurable, and usually fatal cat diseases caused by viruses. We struck out. Eli tested positive for both. In many cases, even if they are not exhibiting symptoms cats are put down immediately because these viruses while only contagious to other felines are so contagious that most people won't take the risk.  After examining little Eli's toofers (teeth :-) Dr. Hassanne was certain Eli was more about 8 years old rather than 8 months. I have myself an old man... Eli was a trooper, never moving, flinching at the blood work and content to curl up on my lap while waiting for results.
Some cats will carry these fatal viruses for months or years before exhibiting symptoms. Because of this, many owners opt to provide their little feline a life of luxury and comfort until they start to show signs of illness or discomfort. My little trooper was just not ready to give up. The staff said he was one strong-willed boy.
I chose to take him home along with the necessary medications to ease his snotty nose, etc., some super vitamins for Eli's immune system and prednisilone to help with his gucky, snotty respiratory condition.
Eli is not ready to call it quits. He has a hearty appetite. He relishes being scratched and loved and wrapped in a warm blanket. Until Eli tells me he doesn't feel good enough to go on, he'll be a part of our home.
Mazey is not able to contract any of these deadly viruses. They are not passed to human or canine. Only from feline to feline. So, for a while, none of my friends who have felines will be able to visit unless they scrub well before heading home. I can spray them with my infamous Clorox Bleach.
Eli came here. He's here for a reason. And, he'll be a part of us until he is no longer supposed to be.
To learn more about these viruses, click here.

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