Sunday, September 18, 2016

Foster kitty selfie: Meet Panda!

Panda the hospice foster kitty

Typically, I reserve my cat Sunday Selfie post for the cats that actually live inside of my house with my community around the clock. But this week, I'm doing something a little different. You see, this week I'm playing host to a very special kitty that needs a much larger community. And I know the lovely people that run the blog at The Cat On My Head can help.

Update 20161002: I'm so sorry to report that Panda did not recover from his illness. An update about what happened is here. Thanks to all of you for all of your help and good wishes.

This is Panda, and he's 12yo. He was living in the Willamette Humane Society shelter, waiting for a new home, and he had the misfortune of being surrendered right before kitten season. People who came shopping for cats often came looking for very small kittens, or if they were looking for adults, they wanted the rescue story that comes with taking home a cat that's blind or deaf or very old.

Panda fell through the adopter cracks because he wasn't a kitten, he wasn't nearly as old as some of the other cats in the shelter, he didn't have health problems, he didn't have a sad backstory and he got along with everyone.

In other words, he was a perfect cat that came in at an imperfect time.

He became invisible.

Panda the cat in profile

He grew so sad at losing his family and then waiting in a shelter for so long that he started eating just a little less with each meal. Then, he started skipping meals from time to time. Soon, he decided he wouldn't eat anything at all.

The team at the shelter worked so hard to help turn things around for Panda. They came and sat with him before the shelter opened, trying to help him to eat. They brought in food and treats from home to entice him. They gave him medications and fluids. They started force feeding him. But still, he wouldn't eat on his own.

Panda sleeping in his bed

The team moved into overdrive mode and popped Panda in intensive care, so he could get yet more fluids and meds and force feeding, but that didn't seem to help. He just seemed to shrink into himself, perking up only to accept love from people. He developed fattty liver disease, so his lips and ears turned yellow.

I wondered if moving him out of the shelter system as a whole might help him to find his reason to fight. I also know all about how to give medications, fluids and offer force feedings (typical treatments for fatty liver disease). So Panda is resting in my guest bedroom for the foreseeable future. He is weak and sickly and he often seems a little queasy (despite his anti-nausea medications). But he is also decidedly perkier, and his mental state seems a little more appropriate. He comes to me to ask for attention, and he happily sits with me for cuddles. He's also been using the scratching post from time to time.

Despite Panda's improvements, I'm not at all sure that he'll make a full recovery. It is incredibly hard to pull a cat from the brink. Cats that like Panda can lose enough so much weight that all of their organs shut down.

A lot of this recovery depends on Panda and how much he wants to live.

This weekend, I'm hoping to help him make the right choice. And if I can help to turn him around, I'll need yet more help to get him into a home quickly. I simply don't think he can handle the shelter. So I need all of you to think very good thoughts for Panda. And when he is well, I'd love it if all of you help me to network him.

He needs our community.

On a happier note, we have another transient visitor to the menagerie that seemed to want to pose for selfies this week.

Katydid selfie

It's a katydid! These little critters are typically nocturnal, so I am not at all sure why it was out and about on a sunny summer day. But it was very content to sit still for photos. Look at those antennae!

Thanks for reading, and do leave me a comment so I'll know you were here. And as always, thanks to our hosts for the hop opportunity. I always enjoy this one.

Do be sure to check out the other blogs in the hop! You'll be glad you did.


  1. Sending our POTP to this sweet boy. We hope is willing to fight and that his body will let him.

  2. Heck the perfect boy just with nobody to love him, that is so very very sad. Praying and will network when he is ready.... purrs ERin

  3. Praying for Panda that you got him out of the shelter in time and that your love with give him strength. -Katie

  4. Poor sad Panda. I am purring for him to pull through.

  5. I'm going to share this on my facebook page.

    Is there anything the vet can do, like prednisone?

    I'm just me (ie not a rescue) but please let me know what I can do to help !!!

    1. He's on good meds for both nausea and appetite. In theory, those should help him. What he needs, honestly, is the promise of a home when he is well. I worry about how he'll do if he improves and goes back to the shelter. He needs out for good.

  6. What a sweetheart. We'll definitely be purring for him. Thank you so much for taking him in.

  7. We will do our best to share for ths sweet boy. Your appeal broke our hearts and if he lived in NZ we would take him without any hiesitationl WSe will tweet, and FB and share as much as we can.

    Good luck sweet Panda.

  8. Here and sending *PRAYERS* and good thoughts for sweet PANDA <3

  9. We are sending a ton of purrs to Panda and hope he turns around...and can find the home he so deserves.

  10. This is heartbreaking, but we are so pleased you got him out of the shelter. We will be sending healing purrs to him and will be happy to share and network him.

    Purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

  11. We are continuing to share Panda every day.

    1. I have a longer update to share tomorrow, but I wanted to let you know that Panda is gone. He grew weaker and weaker after his recheck, and then started hiding. I took him in while he was actively dying. I've been too upset to discuss him very much, but I'll pull myself together for tomorrow's post. Thank you for helping him.

  12. Oh no. Oh Jean I am so sorry. So very sorry.

  13. Jean, I'm so sorry for your loss.

    I'd been talking with my gf about finding a way to adopt sweet Panda. I'm not sure where you are and would've had to wait until he was in good enough condition to move.

    I'd like to discuss in greater depth sometime down the road , but not today.

    For now I want you to please keep something in mind. You gave this sweet little soul love and kindness in his last days. Although it seems his little heart was broken beyond repair, you reminded him there ARE people out there who really do care.

    My words may offer little comfort but I'd like you to know you did make a difference.

    1. Thank you, Mark. Thanks for both helping to comfort me, and for offering up your home for Panda. I wish he could have taken you up on that offer. Nothing would have made him happier. I know that for sure.

  14. We love you Panda! Your shelter mates (Abbey, Sophia & Mittens) send their love and purrs. I'm sending you love and looking to help find you a forever home. Hugs, cuddles and purrs.

    Jean, thank you so much for your time and love for these sweeties. Panda is a sweet boy. I'm putting the word out for him and sending him love, comfort and strength. Blessings and strength for you also.

  15. Jean,

    I have an answer, although it's too late for darling Panda. I'm sorry I didn't think of this sooner, but I've been swamped with schoolwork and recovering from pneumonia.

    I think a good course of action is to prescribe the kitty antidepressants. I know it sounds weird but it will improve their mood so they will eat. Then the dosage can be tapered off once kitty is eating again.

    A supplement often overlooked in human and veterinary medicine is NAC. It is one of the most powerful antioxidants known and protects the liver.

    It's most often given in cases of Tylenol overdose to prevent fatal liver damage. NAC can pull people out of the brink of liver failure and I've heard it can even keep a kitty with end-stage kidney failure (smelling of ammonia) alive...although I don't know for how long.

    I've included a great webpage that goes over treatments.

    In my opinion, it's absolutely IMPERATIVE that NAC be given along with the antidepressant whether the vet thinks anything of it or not. Short term use is practically harmless so far as I can tell.

    Long term use can cause kidney stones in humans if not administered with vit C. I'm not sure if you'd have to worry about that in cats, since their bodies naturally produce vit C.

    I'm so saddened by your loss and I hope you and a kitty never find themselves in that situation again. If you do, I hope you will remember my (long-winded) post and try my advice.

    Healing wishes,
    Mark West

    1. This is good information, and thanks for sharing it. Here's hoping it helps other people who deal with this disease in their cats.

  16. Jean,

    Here is another reference from Merck. It's quite technical but outlines a treatment plan. In their words, "Prognosis for cats with HL is good with early diagnosis, full treatment support, and control of underlying disease."

    If you didn't already know, HL stands for hepatic lipidosis (i.e., fatty liver disease)