This morning was Kazon‘s turn for his annual exam. For reasons I will explain momentarily, he did not go willingly or quietly.
Kazon hates the cat carriers. More importantly, he hates going to the vet. Why? Each year since I adopted him has been a progressively worse experience for him. As is the case with many animals, he reacts poorly to the rabies vaccination. Exponentially worsening since the first one he ever got, he inevitably comes home quite sick with a high fever, flu-like aches and pains throughout his entire body, and the overwhelming feeling of illness. Last year was the worst yet. He spent three days being completely miserable, including many calls to the vet to confirm it was a reaction to the vaccination, and he remained curled up on the bed shrinking away from every touch, moaning and groaning as though he was dying, and generally being sicker than he had ever been in his life.
This is not entirely unusual as animals exposed to the vaccine year after year can develop bad reactions that worsen with continued exposure. After last year’s debacle, I decided he would no longer get vaccinations. The vet agreed wholeheartedly as even she could see how his reaction to the visits was worsening into a phobia. He now relates the carrier and vet to his being quite sick.
Knowing his reaction gets worse each year, I can only imagine what kind of suffering he would have to endure if he were to receive the shot. That’s just not going to happen — ever again. I wept last year as I lay next to him watching his labored breathing, listening to him groan in agony, and knowing I could not even pet him as it elicited more pain and anguish. It was heartbreaking to watch and endure as I knew he was suffering tremendously and there was nothing I could do about it.
The damage is done, however, as he may never regain any comfort with the carriers or the vet. Only time will tell.
His checkup was relatively good this morning aside from one major problem that sent the vet and technicians into a near panic. If their records are correct, he’s lost three pounds (1.5 kilograms) since last year. That would be 20% of his body mass.
Now come on! Don’t you think I would have noticed such a thing over the course of the last twelve months? Losing that much weight for a cat like Kazon would be so noticeable and disturbing it would send me into absolute panic.
He has always hovered around 14 pounds (6.5 kilograms). When I mentioned this, they pulled up his history and found he was right at 14 pounds in 2004, jumped to 16.95 pounds (almost 8 kilograms) in 2005, and fell back to 13.95 pounds (just over 6 kilograms) in 2006. 2005 is the only year in which his weight seemed to have varied significantly away from 14 pounds (excepting his kittenhood, of course).
My impression is that it’s a typo. I do not remember noticing he gained almost three pounds in one year, and I sure as hell can’t see that he lost it in the last year. Given his consistent history of hovering around 14 pounds, a sudden jump to 17 with a subsequent fall back to 14, and all in only 24 months, is just not possible. Kazon is not built with extra body weight. On the contrary, he’s a lean cat who stands tall and is quite long, so changes in his weight are obvious. Dramatic changes in his weight would undoubtedly send me packing to the vet with him in tow.
The vet agreed with my assessment. They have no indication that anyone there took notice of the sudden change in 2005. As it would have with me, they knew it should have caught someone’s attention. Just to be safe, he’ll go back in 4-6 weeks to confirm his weight is not shifting radically and to verify the 16.95 was a typo.
Besides, look at the number pad on your keyboard and tell me the relationship between the 3 and 6 keys. One is right above the other. How easy would it be to enter a 6 when in fact you were aiming for a 3? Too easy, I’d say.
Other than this one brief moment of panic thinking Kazon was the next to be diagnosed with some terrible illness, his exam went well. Skipping the vaccinations ensures he doesn’t have to suffer from them anymore, and hopefully in time that will help diminish his hate for the carrier and vet.