Pippi’s Journey to Battling Feline Leukemia Part 1

Do not eat your potty.
I mean do not eat your litter.
You are not allowed to eat your sand.
This is not food. Are you hungry? Do you want me to feed you?
Please, my baby. 

Saturday, 10 May 2015

I drove Pippi to the vet. There was something wrong with him and I didn’t know what. Ever since his mother Oren G died out of unknown reason, I promised myself to take really good care of him. His mother’s death came to me as a surprise. It was nothing I imagined happening and it happened. You have no idea what terrible guilt envelops me till this day. That I did not have the money, or that I cared more about costs than about my cat. I am a terrible person.

Pippi had a fever, 39.5 °C. He was warm to the touch, but that was not how I knew something was wrong. He has stopped trying to sit with me or accompany wherever I went. He has stopped playing with his friends. He has stopped trying to bother me. Instead, he’d just be at a corner sleeping.

“Has he been vaccined?”
“Does he have fleas or ticks?”
“I checked, nope.”

Dr Izuan prescribed him with tolfedine, antibiotics and iron syrup as a supplement. I was glad. I thought that was it. He was just having a fever, and Pippi my baby will be all right.

Driving home I was insensitive to Pippi by blasting my music and winding down the windows and singing at the top of my lungs. I remember I was happy Pippi’s going to be okay, but it was as if I forgot that cats are not okay with environments like that. I was insensitive to my cat. I am a terrible person.

Sunday – Monday 

I don’t remember what happened, but I remember Pippi’s not feeling any better. I cried because I miss my sweetheart being himself and decided to take him to the vet. Our vet is closed on Mondays.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

My mother dropped me off at the vet while she went grocery shopping at Tesco. The other vet, Dr Nurul checked his temperature: 38.5 °C. She said it wasn’t that bad and began asking me a series of questions……

“Does he have ticks or fleas?”
“The last time I checked, no.”
“When was the last time you Frontline-sprayed him?”
“Ummm the last time I bathed him.”
“Has it been more than six weeks back?”
“It has been more than six weeks back.”

Now, before you start judging me over how I hadn’t bathed my cat in six weeks, know that cats don’t need to be bathed often. They are already clean creatures who know how to clean themselves.

“It is possible that he has either blood parasite or feline leukemia.”
“Feline leukemia? But no, it can’t be. He’s vaccinated! Yearly!”
“Did you do the 5-in-1 vaccine or 4-in-1 vaccine?”
“What, I don’t know? I’m just told to vaccinate him.”
“Did you pay $40 or $80?”
“Then that’s the 4-in-11 vaccine, it covers everything but feline leukemia.”

My head didn’t feel like bursting, but for literary purposes I’d write that my head burst, as if this customer was angry over the misinformation as I thought I had him vaccinated against everything. I am a good mother, I am not allowing anything to happen to him. I promised myself to be a good mother, and a good mother I am.

Truth was my heart sunk deeper than the depths of no specific ocean with the lowest depth level.  I’m no oceanologist, I have no idea about what water levels are where et cetera but it did feel like that. I felt like the lowest level of a loser to have not known about the fact that he was vaccinated against everything but feline leukemia. I am a terrible person.

FELV was only a possibility, and I didn’t want to know it. I stepped outside the vet consultation room to call my mom if we should do a FELV (Feline Leukemia Virus) and a FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) test. She said yes and that’s what I told the vet.

In the room the vet, while pointing at Pippi, told another patient’s owner, “Wouldn’t it be good if your cat was as good as that cat?” Yes, Pippi is my good boy. He has always been my good boy.

It turned out that that cat was going to be put to sleep because of Feline Leukemia. The owner didn’t want him to suffer and spread the virus to the other cats. It’s a virus that is spread via moist. He has 8 cats and this one’s the most aggressive therefore he felt that it would be best for him and the other cats via putting him to sleep.

Pippi’s hand was shaved and he was tested positive for feline leukemia virus, but negative for the feline HIV. Afterall, I did vaccine him to cover him from everything but the leukemia virus. What an idiot.

My mom walked into the room. Oh, she’s here. Dr Nurul broke the news to my mom. Her eyes started to water, “Oh no please no.” Everyone knows this virus is fatal to cats.

I’ve probably read enough on this to write about this so here goes:

The Feline Leukemia Virus is a virus that only affects cats. It doesn’t affect cats and dogs. It can cause death approximately three years after contracting the virus. It’s fatal once the virus attacks and lives on the bone marrow otherwise you won’t know it until it goes on another level, like Pippi. Most cats gain resistance against it, only 20% of cats get this virus and from that 20%, 85% do not survive. Highly contagious though it can’t survive outside the body but thrives on moist like cat litter and water and food and cat licking each other. ……..or something like that.

Anyway I spoke to the man who was putting his cat to sleep because of this leukemia virus. The dude whom the vet said that his cat should be as good as Pippi. His cat is aggressive, he says. Looks healthy to me, but probably in the early stage of this leukemia as well. I saw he was holding back the tears in his eyes. I told myself not to cry in public, but when I looked at Pippi who was sitting in his carrier, he looked back at me and slow-blinked…

Pippi slow-blinked, and looked away. According to Jackson Galaxy, the Cat Daddy, the Cat Whisperer, the Cat Dude, slow-blinking and looking away means “I love you.” Specifically slow-blinking and looking away. Staring/looking in the eye is a threat, so to look at someone and then look away is a sign of love.

I failed myself by crying in public. Driving off I cried even more.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

I tried giving Pippi steroids and antibiotics but then he started gasping for air. He couldn’t breathe. It was as if his throat peristalsis didn’t work and it was stuck. It wasn’t usually like this feeding his pills. I opened up his mouth wide to blow in the throat for the food to go down. I was panicking. He could have died not because of leukemia, but because of choking.

I had my friend from Sufi School who now owns a counselling/training centre to help me decide on whether or not we should continue using the drugs. Based on my past experiences with our other cats with probably the same disease, they didn’t get any better after consuming these drugs. It did prolong their lives, but it didn’t improve their health. She had a sitting (it’s a Sufi thing we do to get answers). I had done my own sitting and the answer is: no. I asked her to confirm. Her answer to steroids was no too, but she told me her ego says yes.

I took it as a No. No to steroids, No to antibiotics.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Pippi started to eat his litter. I looked it up. It means emotional issues or illness. Another site says it means that cat is anemic. It’s like my mother who is clinically anemic (she has been sent to the A&E and hospitalised for it) who craves ice. Pippi probably craves ….his litter. I gave him a shot of liquid iron syrup. Unlike on Tuesday, he was okay with it this time.

He was on two things by this time:
1) Soursop Tea which is for cancer (Teh Durian Belanda)
2) Colloidal Silver which kills viruses

I then was curious about the a/d high calorie, high protein cat food for critical care he was eating. It was the only thing he wants to eat. …..and the website listed “pork liver” in its ingredients list. Wow, that was mind-blowing for me. Very un-halal! Totally haram! By then I had pork on my neck, on my clothes, my floor and my carpet because I had just finished handfeeding my cat (I’ve washed my hands of course). I watched a video by Ustaz Azhar Idrus (a famous Islamic teacher in Malaysia) who explained that pork, if no longer in its original shape, when touched, doesn’t have to be special-Islamic-cleansed. Say if it’s pork liver, the whole pork liver, when touched, must be cleansed. Not when it’s blended and minced and added with other ingredients like Pippi’s food. At least that’s what I think………

Anyway being the Haram Police I am anyway I washed the whole kitchen floor with a special clay soap, handwashed the rugs and my carpet, mopped my bedroom floor with the clay soap, washed my body and hair with the clay soap and washed utensils with the clay soap. It was exhausting. Till this day, I still have not prayed in my room. It feels dirty to me.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Pippi wasn’t getting any better. In fact, it was worse. He hasn’t defecated in a week and every time I tried to pick him up he squeals. He was also having difficulty breathing. Panting regularly and abnormally fast heart beats. In the afternoon I phoned the vet for questions, she said to bring him to the vet. My mother spoke to the vet on the phone and told me not to bring Pippi to the vet. She told me to give our holistic formula (my dad was a Doctor in Holistic Medicine a decade ago) for stomach. I did, and surprisingly he was able to swallow them easily. He went to sleep afterwards.

My dad had sent me couple of emails on FELV, what people used to treat them. Skimming through were stuff I know I couldn’t get immediately, but one word as if highlighted and blinking caught my eye: acupuncture. A man wrote abut how he treated his cat with FELV with some tea and sent his cat for acupuncture treatments for his kidney and lungs.

“Do we even have acupuncture here in Johor?”

I know of a vet acupuncturist in KL, but I didn’t know if there was one in Johor. I Googled and thankfully found one and immediately rang them. “It will only boost his immune system.” I said okay, and then asked my mom to call them back to make an appointment for acupuncture. Then I didn’t even know what acupuncture could do for him, or if it was right for him. I just followed where my fingers wanted to press and what my eyes wanted to see.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

I woke up, fed him and he went to my dress on the floor and started positioning his butt on it. My dresses are usually not on the floor but it fell off the chair at night. Brought him to the toilet where his potty was. And he defecated!!!!! Three healthy stools! I was so happy. I left him and went to do my dawn prayers. After the prayer I heard him enter the toilet again. Yay! Three more healthy stools! However he stepped on one and started walking around. More cleaning work for me.

We got ready and went to the vet. Since living in Indonesia nothing seems far anymore. We arrived at 9.50 AM. Appointment is at 10 AM, and the clinic opens at 10 AM.  Yep, that’s my family (and myself). We don’t believe in making others wait for us as how we don’t like waiting for other people. It’s a waste of time. Punctuality is a simple test to how you value other people. When we’re late it means something happened or that we do it deliberately because sometimes we try to “fit” into the “late” mould. It’s sickening. It’s rude. It’s not right.

Oh, oops about my rant on punctuality. The vet opened about thirty minutes later with the two vet assistants waiting outside the closed clinic. But all’s forgiven when we see that the vet, Dr Pang is a very friendly lady. She genuinely loves animals and the clinic is in great shape. Well, it’s new, but I love the place. I didn’t like the fact she was late, but I like her.

THATS Animal Clinic: Traditional Herbal Acupuncture Treatment for Small Animals.
31-G, Jln Austin Perdana 3/8 81100 JB

Dr Pang was educated in veterinary medicine in Malaysia, but studied the Chinese medicine in the USA.

We found out that her fiance is an IT Engineer, which explains why her internet presence is good.

Oh again oops back to the vet trip. Pippi was the first one because he has an appointment. He had his blood taken from the other hand. She didn’t even shave Pippi’s hand because “it’ll look ugly.” The results came 5 minutes later:

WBC: 36.5 (normal: 5.0)
RBC: 2.06 (normal: 5.0)
HCT: 11.4 (normal: 27.0)

I have no idea what HCT is, but if it goes below 10 he’d need blood transfusion.

While waiting for the test results she actually has a toolbox full of acupuncture needs. She pokes one on his head to get him to relax, ……and all the other places. A total of 9 needles. Dr Pang kept praising how Pippi is a good boy. And yep, he is.

I wish my internet was good that I could upload pictures. The acupuncture session lasted half an hour.

He was given Chinese herbs that Dr Pang wrote “blood tonic”. She didn’t even charge me for consultation, which was great! Her assistant told me that only first-time comers get charged RM20, but subsequent visits none. I’ve spent a lot on Pippi this past week so given a RM20 discount felt great. Aaaaaaaaand Pippi has another appointment later!

Dr Pang advised to give the steroid (prednisolone) if he has a fever, as his blood levels will cause his body temperature to fluctuate but to continue giving the antibiotics (doxycycline).

She said that Pippi will feel sleepy after the treatment. He continued sleeping the whole day as cats would and was just opening his mouth and staring into space or over my head when I carried him. It was scary, and I begun to wonder if acupuncture and blood tonic work. I decided I’d give him some more time, after all it’s only been a day…

Back at home Pippi was still trying to eat his litter whenever he thinks I’m not looking. I read online that doxycycline should not be taken with iron supplement so I was confused as to which was more important. I WhatsApp’d Dr Izuan my concerns and he sent me a picture of a page from his Veterinary Handbook which said “iron salts should preferably be given 3 hours before or 2 hours after the tetracycline dose.” I decided to give him the iron supplement that night, doxycycline in the following morning.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

I woke up at 4.40 AM to hear crunching and munching sounds. I’ve been leaving food in my room at night JUST IN CASE Pippi’s hungry, but so far he’s never touched them. WOWWWW. I was so happy I didn’t even want to praise him (because then he’d stop) that I started replying to everyone who left me messages. I’m not popular, but once a month for about two days I’d be especially popular because boys from the boarding school I taught get their phones, and they’d constantly ask me when I’m coming back. Cute.

The thing about Pippi is that he’s a light sleeper. He, like me, can’t sleep if he knows there’d be people constantly checking up on him. I fed him some food that late morning and decided to tag along with my parents out to allow Pippi to rest fully.

When I came home about six hours later, obviously opened the door, Pippi dashed out. I’ve not seen him with this much energy for a week! But he was still sick so instead I carried him to watch cows. It was his daily evening activity before he was sick.

I went upstairs and…surprise!!!! Pippi had left poop at his regular “accidental” spot! It was black from the iron but it was a healthy stool.

That night trying to feed his Chinese herb was difficult. With more energy, he tried to fight me and accidentally bit my nail. There’s a hole in my flesh right index finger now, but thankfully he didn’t pierce through it. I’ve had my thumb pierced by a cat who thought it was a piece of chicken. My nail cracked and SAKIT SANGAT OK (it hurts so much, okay!).

My Pippi is a good, gentle boy who accidentally bit me. Then at night I saw him sitting on the wet bathroom floor. What is this? Dehydration? (I know about feline panleukopenia, Pippi doesn’t have those symptoms. He just likes to sit in the toilet.)

It was this day too that I started calling him My Healthy Pippi to let my words come true.

Monday, 18 May 2015

In the morning my sweetheart hurried to the food bowl in my room when I poured it. Hungry? He had already finished the two bowls of food (wet food and dry food) I left for him at night. His appetite is back! Feeding his meds was a breeze too. He then went down to say hey to friends and sat with my mom who was cooking. But of course I didn’t let him linger for long.

Pippi didn’t defecate, decided he didn’t like  Fancy Feast unless fed by me. Eats the a/d only when fed by me. He is showing signs of recovery first from how he brushed his body against my feet to running down the stairs to say hey to friends to his yellowing paws now turning having hints of pink. He even starts to groom himself now!

The only problem he has right now is: only wanting to eat when fed by me and sleeping in the potty, sits where his potty was at (I’d take it out because he tries to eat them), craves his litter. I’ve changed his litter to shredded newspapers.

I am very grateful for his recovery. He had become extremely weak, very unlike Pippi and to see him change only after an acupuncture session and two Chinese herbs tablets is satisfying. I am not a bad mother and Pippi is My Healthy Cat.

I will do my best to help him regain full health and all those pink, soft paws and nose again.

Here are the list of things he’s on and how often he takes them:

1) Soursop Tea (for the first week, as often and as much as Pippi wanted to take)
2) Colloidal Silver (three times a day, 1ml per shot. Also added in his drinks and food)
3) Doxycycline (once a day, half a tablet. Prescribed by Vet)
4) Chinese Herb that says Blood Tonic (twice a day, one tablet. Prescribed by Vet)
5) RBTone Ferrous Syrup (1 ml, once every three days)
6) Healing, Projecting Good Energy to his body (whenever he comes to us)
7) Acupuncture therapy (fortnightly, 30 minutes)

I suspect Pippi was infected as a foetus, and as his lymph nodes are not swelling, I must have discovered this at its early stage. His blood count is very low, though. Please recover, my baby.

Did you notice how I started this blog post with a very sad and depressed tone? That’s because Pippi wasn’t this energetic and healthy when I wrote the first sentence.

I think I’m a better writer when I’m feeling sad forrealz. Otherwise when I’m not sad or feeling any negative emotions I’d be writing about happy stuff. I’ve received feedback saying they liked me better when I was an angry, depressed and/or sad writer. And I will admit to having forcefully allowed myself to feel mad at minor things, so that I could write.

So when you see my posts in a very unhappy tone, know that I allowed myself to feel that way. I’ve found that emotions ARE controllable and how you feel affects the people around you. In this case, my cat. Perhaps it was because I’ve been experimenting with self-made depression and self-loathe that my cat got sick. Trust me, if you can’t control yourself, don’t get involved with experimenting with depression. It was getting out of hand, I believed I was everything negative I said I was, until I was asked, “Did you waste your time going to Sufi School?” In Sufi School we were taught self-healing practices. This is really recent, by the way.

Would you do anything for literature?

I hope this lengthy post has helped you one way or another in finding holistic treatments for Feline Leukemia Virus! Remember: The Owner’s emotional balancedness plays an important role in his cat’s health. I care about my cat, so for now I’m going to stop writing sad stuff.

Well, that’s what’s according to me and I’m no expert and you are free not to listen to me :)