I don't normally talk about my cats because this isn't a cat blog, and there are so many talented cat bloggers out there it would be a pale imitation at best.
I'm breaking that self-imposed edict to warn all animal carers about this - cherry stems.
It's not a choking thing, it's cyanide toxicity, and as much as I'm a supercatmom, I nearly killed my baby by accident.
I had found some of these huge fresh gorgeous cherries at my favorite local market, since the a/c was out almost a week I hadn't been sleeping well, so I was exhausted. I didn't make sure all my stems made it into the garbage.
My Rags had been playing and batting around a single stem, chewing on it...but I thought nothing of it. Cat.
I went to lunch, returned about an hour later, and noticed immediately something was wrong. He wouldn't purr. No matter what. I saw him weakening by the minute, so I did what any mom does - I scooped him up and hauled ass to the vet, thinking, Screw the bill, I'll figure it out!
Immediate diagnosis of acute onset anemia was misleading, but based on low temp and pcv, it was all we had to go on. They whisked my baby to the back before I could even tell him how much I loved him.
That part hurt.
But they needed to begin transfusion, and fluids, run labs, all the things a freaking out mom impedes, and I didn't want to slow them down if it meant he would be better sooner. I returned home without him, rambled incoherently to my friends, some of whom chipped in on his vet bill, and waited.
The next afternoon he was stabilized enough to come home, because our Dr Stabby Guy felt he would do better with me, less stressful, but cautioned me that we still didn't have a cause, and certain labs wouldn't be back for a few days.
"Just from looking at all these other numbers, I'd think this was the healthiest damn cat I'd ever seen," our vet told me on the zillionth call.
Then the last one, the one that explained what was happening, and what we had to do.
SCOOP and back to the vet, on Saturday afternoon. My Rags had cyanotic toxicity from the damn cherry stem.
I'm not a vet, and can't explain all the terms and numbers, I can't express the sheer terror, the guilt, the horrible hours waiting to see if my baby would respond to a treatment of methylene blue (although when a friend looked up a price range for treatment I nearly fainted), and all I could think was, "I didn't know, why didn't I know? Does anyone else know?"
And that's why I'm writing this. Because I don't want anyone else to see any of their babies go through this. Cherries are not on most of the lists we all see of things that can be harmful to our furbabies.
My big strong 8yrs old mancat of 14lbs of love and muscle turned into a tiny 11.5 lb kitten struggling to survive because I didn't know.
It's been a weekend from hell, with almost no sleep, but this afternoon, finally, he is resting, with a smile, not just passing out from exhaustion, but I think we've turned the corner now, and tests tomorrow (that I still have no idea how I'll pay for) will show, but a mom knows. It will be a long road back but now, there is this, my baby.
I might sleep tonight.