The Fortune of Abby's Fate
A Cat's Tale


What would we do for our cats? I found out the day after Christmas just how far we were willing to go for our first cat, Abby. New Year's was just around the corner and Art had suggested that we take our cats on their first cross-country trip for a visit to Bob and Sue Crane in Northern California.

Now through the holidays, I tended to ignore my cats while dealing with other things. For about a week or two, Art had mentioned that Abby, our first cat, was losing weight. I just did not pay attention to this as all three cats were on a special diet food to lose weight. Abby was a big cat that had weighed up to twenty pounds, now he was thin, weak, and walking around as if in pain. I called his vet in a panic only to find that she was on vacation until after the new year. The assistant told me to get the cat to another vet as soon as possible as rapid weight loss was not a good sign. After finding one veternarian that would call me at midnight, I took him to see her later that morning. This vet said that there was something seriously wrong with Abby and we would have to take him to a specialist in Las Vegas for emergency treatment.

With Art holding our poor, sick, and very weak cat in his arms, we drove the 65 miles to the Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital. This was the first time we had to face the possiblity that Abby may not make it, and with that in our minds, Art broke down and cried. It was so hard to be positive, but we were not going to give up.

Once we got to the hospital, we met Doctor Shery D. Babyak, who specilized in Small Animal Internal Medicine. She ran a number of tests on Abby's blood and took a biopsy of his liver. The results were grim, our cat's liver had for some unknown reason, shut down. He had ammonia built up in his blood that had reached life-threatening levels and with lack of food and water was barely holding on. She administered I.V.s to hydrate and stabilize him, then told us that she would have to insert a feeding tube into his stomach so that Abby could gain some nutrition without straining his liver until the biopsy came back and we could see what we were dealing with. She said she would call us the following day after she put in the tube. So we kissed our kitty good-bye and drove home.

Once at home, I had Art print out a large picture of a healthy Abby, which I placed in an area of our living room where we could look at him all the time. I kept a white candle burning during our waking hours, gave silent prayers and sent positive energy in my thoughts to him.

The next morning brought more bad news, during the pre-surgery, the doctor told us that Abby had started to have trouble breathing and that she had to assist him so she would not lose him. The stomach tube was abandoned and she ended up placing the feeding tube in his neck. She managed to stabilize him and told us to come into town the next day to visit him. It's now five days since we first took Abby to the vet in Pahrump and to see him with tubes in his leg and neck was heartbreaking. Doctor Babyak told us that he had a very high Bilyrubin count, a toxin that was produced as a result of his liver shutting down and his count was nearly 10 times higher than was normally found. He would have to stay in the hospital for continued care and tests. I left a little charm that was a gift from Evelyn Paglini with Abby and we returned home.

I think during this time that we both cried enough tears to fill a swimming pool, and had a number of discussions on whether we were doing the right thing in allowing Abby to be sustained with I.V.s and the feeding tube. Each day was a waiting game, but the doctor was doing all she could for him and when she was ready to move Abby to her new base of operation, Creature Comforts Animal Hospital, he was starting to take food. With patience, and a great deal of work, on January 5th, Abby walked into the visiting room under his own power, still frail from the tests and treatment, still with I.V. and feeding tubes, but talking up a storm and so happy to see Art.

Though he was not out of the woods, it was a vast improvement from 12 days before and now we felt he had a viable chance to come home soon. Every two days or so we would go into the city to visit and the doctor called us every night with a progress report. On the 10th of January, we requested the feeding tube be removed and he started to eat solid foods. The Bilyrubin count started going down rapidly and by the 17th of January, 23 days after we first took him in for treatment, Abby came home.

It was a moment of pure elation and awe for Art, Doctor Babyak and myself. It was a miracle that he survived, the doctor said that very few people can stick with the treatments and recovery when an animal is so sick. We still do not know what caused his liver to shut down, he weighed only 11 pounds, 2 ounces and he looked like a french poodle from being shaved for the tubes, but now he is gaining weight, chasing the other two cats around the house, and is loving and grumpy with us.

I want to thank Doctor Shery D. Babyak for everything she has done for our Abby. She is truly a healer in every way I can imagine and words will never be enough to express my gratitude and admiration for her efforts in saving the life of our Abby cat.

At this time I think that it's important that we all realize that we as part of the human race must take a responsible role as guardians to the animal kingdom, to respect all aspects of animal and plant life, and to defend and safeguard these precious lives for the future generations.

At the time of this article, a catastrophe had occurred in the Galapagos Islands, an oil spill that threated the very existance of the eco-system of this fragile environment. Only time will tell of the extent of damage caused by human error, last report is that the spill has been carried away from the islands, but the potential for the total obliteration of an entire eco-system unique to this area was very real and I believe if the spill had destroyed the Galapagos, the human race would ultimatly pay the price.

-- Ramona Bell