Over the weekend, Cammie was ill. My princess seems to feel under the weather often compared to other cats. It is not always a serious affliction but this time, it struck me as more worrisome than others. She threw up two or three times a day, usually in the early morning. It did not always depend upon when she ate, and indeed she stopped eating, refusing even to have an interest in food.
At first, I thought the matter was caused by a hairball, so I applied some hairball-remedy. This was not fun for either Cammie or myself, as I had to force the substance into her by syringe. This was the beginning of a number of similar feedings over the weekend. Continued vomiting suggested that a hairball was not the cause of my cat’s problem.
A consequent concern was a lack of nutrition in Cammie’s system. After several days, the absence of sustenance can cause irreversible damage to a cat’s internal organs, so it was essential that she eat, sooner than it would be for a human. I had a tin of Recovery, a soft food designed to restore nutrition to a cat’s body after - or during - an illness, but of course the difficulty remained of keeping that food - any food - in her body, when the very symptom that was causing my alarm was her vomiting.
Enter slippery elm. Suggested by a friend in the Lethbridge PAW Society, this natural substance, which may be purchased in a powder, settles a cat’s stomach. I mixed some with water, heated to a simmer in a pot on the stove, let it cool and then put that into Cammie by syringe. This was followed five minutes later by a similarly syringe-fed Recovery/water mixture.
My princess of course hated the ordeal. More of the syrupy elm ended on the bathroom floor and walls than in Cammie, but by expending ten or eleven cubic centimetres, I was able to put five or six into my cat. I also managed to have her eat enough Recovery to keep her going - if it stayed in her body.
It did. Two doses of the slippery elm, and two accompanying doses of food, seemed to tip the balance in Cammie’s favour. She stopped throwing up and Sunday night ate a little bit of soft food of her own volition. I could tell by other elements of her behaviour that she was feeling somewhat better. She stopped hiding under the bed - which seems to be her new spot for when she wishes to be alone - or lying on the heated towels in the library.
I woke yesterday morning to see Cammie’s silhouette on her cat-tree in the bedroom; another good sign. She ate more food on her own for breakfast - indeed seemed eager for some - and for dinner. Last evening, she came out to the sitting room for the first time in days, and sought me out for some attention, and was happy to spend some purring time on my chest. I think the worst is behind her, but she needs rest and food to recover completely.
Once she started eating on her own again, I ceased force-feeding her, as I did not want to put her off her slowly increasing desire to feed herself. Anything that would cause her annoyance or discomfort had to be avoiding. Fortunately, she was on the ascendant again.
I don’t know what the illness was, really. I am sure that the slippery elm was instrumental in defeating it, as it allowed Cammie to keep food down. But her body’s refusal to retain sustenance was surely a symptom, so merely being able to eat again probably did not defeat the problem in itself, though it undoubtedly gave her strength to do so. Yet the fact remains that once she kept food in her stomach, she improved.
I am not complacent. I could return home today and find her relapsed, though I think this unlikely. I will keep my eye on the little Siamese, watchful especially as this malady, whatever it was, came on suddenly; it may return with just as much warning. Another crisis appears to have been defeated, which is good, because both Cammie and I could use a rest.