18.6.2016 | 15:27
It is with a heavy heart that I write this today.
We knew it was coming, sooner or later, but so close on the heels of saying good-bye to Finn, we had to let go of Opal yesterday morning.
We’d only had her for not quite a year, but she won us over from the beginning – the day I met her, she came right to me, purring steadily, and let me pick her up and walk around her previous owner’s house with her in my arms.
She had a sweet disposition with everyone, and her fair share of “kitty quirks.”
(When she used the litter box, she would then race through the house on a tear, as if trying to get away from her own … business. It was hilarious – and a bit unsettling at times. But it was distinctly Opal.)
We are so very grateful that she was a part of our lives, even for such a brief stretch.
We knew we probably wouldn’t have her for a long time, as she was 14 or 15 when we got her. So we were prepared – even though we didn’t think she’d get a diagnosis like IBD within a few months of joining our household.
Opal was the third of our eight cats (over a period of 25 years) to be diagnosed with IBD.
And apparently we’re not the only ones.
Our vets have said they’re seeing more and more of it, especially in cats.
What the hell is going on here???
Yes, we feed our cats “commercial” pet food – because that’s what they’ll eat. We’ve tried some of those fancy raw diets, and they won’t touch the food.
We feed them the highest quality organic, grain-free, etc. etc. etc. food.
For years we had to feed them Blue Buffalo’s Wilderness diet because that was the only brand of food Finn could tolerate without vomiting. (Yes, really. We weren’t thrilled about it, but we were less thrilled with cleaning up cat puke on a nearly daily basis.)
I’m not the only one who’s noticed this either – someone else brought it up on a call with Steph Jackson, in her Functional Probiotics course.
For all I know, if we hadn’t lost our sweet Isis to a congenital heart condition at the far too young age of just 7, she might have eventually been diagnosed with IBD too.
So out of six cats, one had a heart issue, one had kidney failure, and one (we think) had a neurological problem – her symptoms presented like a feline version of Parkinson’s disease.
Three have had IBD.
Murphy’s only a few years old, and healthy as they come. And Osiris is still only 10, with no signs of the heart condition that affected his sister Isis.
Our vet in Asheville thought she was giving us good news when she diagnosed Opal with IBD (instead of cancer).
But we’d already seen this movie – twice!! – and knew how it would eventually end.
Flare-ups, remissions, getting the symptoms under control … until you run out of options and nothing helps.
We need to figure out what’s going on with this:
Is it the food? Is it some other sort of environmental toxin? Is it a still-unknown pathogen?
I don’t know. But I want to find out.
I don’t want to lose another jewel like Opal (or Clayton or Scott) to this devastating condition.
I love my “fur kids,” and I’m tired of seeing them suffer with something that has seemingly become epidemic in our society.
I fell in love with Opal the first time I saw her, and her last moments were peaceful – she was so sweet and gentle, it helped calm me as well.
Coming so soon after losing Finn, Debra and I needed that. It was Opal’s final gift to us.
We will miss her sweet, affectionate presence.
Thanks for reading. Take care of your fur kids – and your 2-legged ones too.