Likes: eating Whisker Lickens snacks & snoozng in the sun
Pet-Peeves: Lizzy getting all the attention
Favorite Toy: any ball he I can lay my paws on
Favorite Nap Spot: window sill or on the sofa with Lizzy
Favorite Food: Cat snacks and tuna
Skills: Patience with Lizzy and holding long conversations
Arrival Story: Skinner came into my life as a stray cat. I would feed him, at my back door, every morning and evening - this went on for a year. During the year he was outside, he was treated badly by humans and kids in the neighborhood. I cannot even remember the countless number of times I went running (and screaming like a lunatic) out of my house - when someone was hurting Skinner (hitting him with sticks, throwing rocks at him, pulling his tail, throwing him into the woods behind my house , etc...). Despite all my efforts to have Skinner stay inside with me - he refused - to a point of pulling down blinds and scratching to get back outside. Then I stopped seeing him over one winter, and I was sick to my stomach, praying that nothing happened to this vocal and loving lil guy. He returned the following Spring - and we were back to the morning visits and feeding routine. In August 2007, Skinner came running into my house (which feral cats rarely do) limping, with blood behind both ears and he was skinny. I fed him dinner inside the house, and after dinner, he did not want to go back outside - he curled up on the floor and went to sleep. Finally - I thought to myself - Skinner has come home to stay for good.
I had my vet check him out, as I was concerned about his leg injury and this high fever he developed. 2 days later, the vet's office called me, and told me he tested positive for both FIV and FeLV.
I was devastated at his terminal diagnosis! With the caring support, and backing, of my vet - I decided that I would not put him to sleep (which is the most common ending for a cat diagnosed with FIV & FeLV) - that I would give him the most loving home to live in, until it was his time to cross Rainbow Bridge. I wanted him to experience unconditional love and for him to feel safe for once in his life.
In the time that he has been with me, he has learned to play with toys (which used to frighten him!), to learn to trust strangers (he is a ham when new people come over. He mews and rubs against everyone he meets, and he steals their hearts in the process), and that it is ok to sit on my lap and cuddle.
Things were going so good with Skinner, that he was gaining weight and even starting to grow a little bit of fur on his bald ears :)
When he went into remission, his testosterone shot up. He was in heat and not dealing very well with it - neither were my 2 female kitties (Winston and Baby). He started to get "stud tail" and actually seemed a bit miserable being in heat.
My vet and I have tossed, back and forth, getting Skinner neutered - as one of his testicles was undescended - which puts him at a grave risk for cancer to develop in that area. We always ended up deciding to wait until Skinner was in remission and his glandular swelling went down.
My vet came over to do a pre-op exam on my puppy (Lizzy) who I was going to have spayed as soon as she was mature enough. She decided to examine Skinner - just to see how he was progressing - and was delighted with the fact that he was doing so well in remission - that is body was acting the way it should - by going into heat.
After we talked about the pros and cons of Skinner undergoing surgery - the pros did outweigh the cons. The risk of cancer inflicting the undescended testicle really bothered my vet. She thought it was better to get it out of him, while he was in remission, as his chances of survival would be far better than to try and treat him if cancer was discovered later.
Normally - a neuter is not considered a high risk procedure. Because Skinner does have FIV and FeLV - my vet did let me know that it will be risky for Skinner, and to alleviate the risks, she would use anesthesia in a gas form - as it is less traumatic on the animal's system.
Skinner had surgery Sept 10th - and it turned out to be a more invasive procedure than first anticipated. The vet had to open up his abdomin and do an explortory procedure -to find the undescended testicle. Normally - it is tucked up just inside the cat - and is a fairly common procedure that is performed. Skinner just was not that lucky with the location and during the" longer than expected" procedure - he did lose quite a bit of blood. When he awoke from his anesthesia - he was having breathing problems - and was transferred to the local animal hosptial for inpatient care.
He finally came home a few days later, and we have been trying to make him 100% ever since.
He wasn't eating on his own - so I was (and still am for 1 meal a day) spoon feeding him and syringing fluids down his throat. Afterwards - his sutures were not healing as they should have been. In fact they were not healing at all. He kept ripping them open - and his sutures would bleed and weep. After his post op examination - to my heartbreak - I was told Skinner developed a staph infection. The likely culprit - his own body was attacking itself, due to the stress and trauma of his operation.
It took time - but little by little his sutures healed and the staph infection went away.
Just as Skinner was starting to make great progress with his recovery (increased energy, playing with his sister Baby, drinking his milk and just recently starting to eat a little bit on his own) - he suffered another setback to his recovery.
He started having blood in his stools - and as of this writing (11/19/08) - we are not sure why. Our vet came by today to take blood and stool samples, to send off to the lab for tests.
We are, yet again, facing a challenge that we will need to overcome.
Despite his hardships - he is one of the most loving cats I have ever owned. You can tell he has a big heart and loves life. He has a strong spirit and a strong will to live. He is a unique cat - I have never had a cat quite like him and despite all the hardships we have gone through with Skinner's health - I do not regret that evening, back in August 2007, when he stepped through my back door and into my house (and heart) for good.
Bio: Skinner has 2 kitty sisters, Baby and Winston and a puppy sister, Lizzy. Out of all the cats, Skinner has been the most fearless when Lizzy first came into our family. You can tell, by Skinner being there while Lizzy is growing up, that they have a very special bond.
Skinner has been going through a lot of ups and downs within the past year.
Everytime he has bounced back like that champion that he is.
The last few months, overall, he was doing extremely well and weighed 18 pounds! Talk about Fat Cat :)
Last week Dr Heather came to visit us as Skinner was hacing some problems eating and he had a fever that wouldn't go away with the use of a baby aspirin 1 every 48 hours (which normally would knock out the fever). Dr Heather noticed Skinner's mouth was swollen and had sores - a sign that his diseases progressed but we were not too concerned, as we knew the antibiotics would get the swelling down and he would heal. As a precaution - Dr Heather drew blood and took a urine sample to run tests - just to make sure nothing more was going on than what met the eye.
His blood work and urine revealed nothing abnormal. His organ functions we great and his white blood cell count was in the normal range. His red blood cell count was down - which is normally is due to his diseases.
On Thursday evening, Skinner suddenly took a turn for the worse. He wasn't moving much, he stopped eating on his own and he stopped cleaning himself. He also had a funny odor coming off of him - so I made sure he was clean and I tucked him into bed with me.
This morning - I called Dr Heather as Skinner was throwing up something greenish/yellowish colored. He still wasn't eating and he felt cold to my touch. Dr Heather immediately rushed over to take Skinner to the Hospital. They put him on IVs, gave him steriods and vitamins. They immediately tried to get his body temp back to normal also.
I just received a call from Dr Heather - and with great pain and sorrow, Skinner passed away, on his own, very quitely at 5:27 pm est.
I appreciate all the kind words and support you have given me during Skinner's life. He was a remarkable cat who filled my life with such never ending love, patience and understanding - it hurts to have to let him go like this.
Rest in Peace my Beautiful, Strong and Courageous Skinner.
I love you so much, it hurts to let you go, but you have enriched my life in more ways that I can express in simple words.
Since I last wrote - my body and I are still battling it out.
Some days I feel fine ~ my appetite is good, I am grooming myself, playing a little bit and my fever goes down.
Then other days ~ my fever comes back and I don't feel as playful as I normally am. At least during those days I do eat by myself - but my grooming, well... let's just say it is something to be desired. Binx has been helping me clean myself (so I keep up my boyishly handsome appearances for my wife, Chelsea Louise) and even Lizzy and Lennon get into the act of licking me clean.
So it has been a couple of weeks of ups and downs for me - which is the first time we have experienced me going through something like this. Normally - I am down then I get better and stay better. Maybe it has something to do with the weather (since that has been up and down itself)??
This morning - while Mom was running on her treadmill, and I was laying on my Chelsea Bed watching her - I started having a seizure. Mom stopped running, got a tongue depresser, and kept my mouth open (and my tongue down) so I wouldn't bite my tongue. I did bite it a little bit - but it could have been alot worse. Mom called Dr Heather's answering service to leave a message about what happened and that I was going to ER that morning.
Daddy came over (half awake - it was 6:30 am - which is far too early for his liking) and took us up to the ER Hospital. At that time - I didn't have any more seizures and I seemed OK - (I even mewed to Mom that I was feeling ok - I just got a shiver down my spine). She didn't want to take a chance. So off we went to the ER Hospital again :(
We got back home at around noon - after they ran tests and examined me. I had I high fever and the ER Dr wondered if that may have been one of the causes of the seizure (of course epilepsy, and other disease and/or exposure to toxins/poisons are the main culprit).
They wanted to put me on anti-seizure medicine - but Mom wanted to talk to Dr Heather first before putting me on anything (because of my diseases). The ER Dr got a hold of Dr Heather and she instructed them not to prescribe any anti-seizure medicine (since I only had that one seizure and it was the first time it happened) as she wanted to run more tests before administering any medication. She stated she will only put me on the anti-seizure medication if it is absolutely needed - other than that - she didn't want to put me at risk. I was prescribed more Clavamox and Mom was told to keep an eye on me and keep a record if I have any seizures again.
Dr Heather will be coming on Monday, to pick me up, and bring me to an animal clinic where they can do an EKG and other diagnostic tests.
I wanted to keep everyone posted on what has been happening to me. I apologize for not being able to respond to many of you - things have really been hectic for us at my house.
Please keep my in your thoughts and purrs - that the reason why I had a seizure will turn out to be nothing serious.
Thank you, everyfur, for the gifts and your pmails. I sincerely apologize for not responding to many - as I have not been feeling 100% yet.
I did start sending my Thank You's out today - so if you have not received on yet, please know I do have you on my Thank You List and you shall receive a note of gratitude, from me, shortly.
Dr Heather came on Monday - and unfortunately - I am no longer in remission as my lymph nodes are enlarged :(
Dr Heather confirmed I do have a URI and the 2ndary bacterial nasal infection. She did not agree with the arrythmia diagnosis given - as she said she didn't hear anything to indicate arrythmia.
Dr Heather told Mom she did the right thing by taking me to ER on Saturday. Dr Heather said when I come down with an infection/illness - we have to nip it in the bud right away - before it snowballs into something worse that my body cannot handle.
She gave Mom more Clavamox, told Mom to continue giving me 500mg of Lysine everyday and if I don't get better - Dr Heather will start Vitamin B12 injections and if those don't help - we will then proceed to interferon alpha therapy.
Dr Heather said I did look like I felt miserable - and I am starting to lose a bit of fur on my tail and on one side of my body. Mom has to watch that too - if it gets worse/doesn't improve - Dr Heather will start a new round of tests on me.
My appetite is still not very good - and I am a lot less active than normal. Mom says the biggest reason - she cannot knock my fever down. Dr Heather told Mom if I still have a fever on Friday - to call her and they will take it from there.
Dr Heather did give me a steroid injection - before she left on Monday - in hopes it would get my appetite going. Instead - I slept on the bed that my MIL made me for Valentine's Day and picked at my food.
Upon leaving - Dr Heather gave me a hug and Mom a hug - and told us that whatever it takes - we will overcome my latest setback.
I mewed in agreement - and told her about all my friends, and my Guardian Angels, on Catster. With all of you by my side - I have enough strength to get me through whatever life hands me. Right now - my battle is between me and my body - and I am determined to win :)
Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts and purrs.
You all mean the world to me and I am forever grateful.