When we woke up yesterday (Friday) morning, we thought our cat was dead. He was lying behind the stove and wasn't moving. There are no wires or anything that could've shocked him, so it was caused by whatever had been making him kind of sick during the week. We really thought he was already gone. Alexandre went to put him in a blanket so we could take him somewhere to bury him, but he started twitching a bit and let out a really weak meow. So we rushed him to the vet.
They didn't know what it was at first; they were just focused on stabilizing him. The vet kept saying, "muito mal," which obviously means "very bad" even if you don't speak Portuguese. They gave him an IV and warmed him and put him on oxygen. The vet was pretty sure he was going to die, and she didn't want us to stay there. In a very un-American way, they gently insisted that we leave and said they'd call us if he died. Otherwise, they said, come back around 4:30.
This was a shock. He had been kind of under the weather during the week, but seemed more or less better, aside from a bloated tummy. We figured he was still malnourished and was getting used to eating on a regular basis. We were planning on taking him to the vet that afternoon just to get him checked out.
The vet called in the afternoon to say that he was "melhorzinho" (a little better), but was dramatically anemic and was going to have a blood transfusion. She still wasn't sure what the problem was at this point, but said that the anemia was a symptom.
We went that afternoon, and after a torturous wait, they finally let us see Joey. He still had an IV in his arm, but he was walking around and mewing. When he saw us, he tried to crawl off the table and attach himself to our clothes. We really wanted to take him home, but she insisted that he stay overnight to be monitored, and also so they could try to figure out the underlying problem. They suspected the feline leukemia virus, which doesn't have a cure but with which cats can still live a good life for months or even a year or two. At this age, they typically received the virus from their mothers during pregnancy. She told us to come back Saturday morning (today).
When we went back this morning, he wasn't doing much better. He was eating and passing his food, but also throwing up. They shaved his stomach and discovered a big sac of liquid. This basically rules out the leukemia virus and makes her suspect a different virus that eats away at the stomach lining and surrounding mucus membranes, making it impossible for him to receive enough nutrients, and also causing stomach liquids to leak out into the body. This is worse than the kitty leukemia. Since he was still pretty weak, the vet said she wanted to keep him there until Monday so they could do tests and try to make him stable. However, it's very likely that he isn't going to recover or ever go back to being a happy, active, pain-free kitten. He was born with this and was doomed from the start. When we talked to the lady from the shelter yesterday, she said that his brother and sister died this week.
So, we're hopeful, but realistic. It's going to be a weekend of waiting, and likely a Monday with a sad decision to make. We have tried to be good kitty parents, but we can't compete with nature.
He's just a baby.