What our Beloved Catify Cat Smokey has Taught Us Through his illness since June 2021 Through 2/18 !!
Updated: Feb 20
Smokey: 3/3/2014 – 02/18/2022 – One of the Best Lap Kitties I have ever known, full of Love, Life, and Kindness !! Smokey, You will be forever Missed, and ALWAYS Remembered!! Smokey was FAMILY to us !!
Let me start out by saying, our Smokey’s Passing (2/18/2022) and the “Frustrations” of getting Smokey the TIMELY Health Care he deserved, have made our DETERMINATION for getting Catify Café & Adoptions built and become a reality Stronger than Ever !! The Lessons LEARNED from what Smokey had to go through, let alone the fighting we personally had to do to get him the help he needed IS NOT something people should have to go through. WHEN we are able to open and as long as I am at the “Helm of Operations”, I will not let happen (to the best of my abilities) what we had to endure with Smokey when it comes to Feline Healthcare!!
These Pictures from THIS ROW going down are Smokey's Last Two Weeks with us !!
Let me start out by CLARIFYING, that the two different Vets local to us we used (Dr. Ted Gerber, Country Corner Animal Clinic & Dr. Jeffery Fink, Orrville Veterinary Clinic) we used with Smokey and the ONE Veterinary Hospital in Dublin, Ohio have been ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL with their Services, Care, Guidance and Empathy with us and Smokey and we Greatly THANK Them for all they did and would highly recommend them in a heartbeat!!
At this point, after MANY VISITS to our veterinarian and Smokey took a turn for the worse... There are Two Emergency Veterinary Hospitals semi-local to us where we took Smokey to ONE of them on December 29th, 2021, and we had an in-depth talk with the other hospital to see if they could help as well (at that point, we had 7 months of History and a complete understanding of Smokey’s situation and terminology). The hospital we took him to at the end of December, REFUSED to do a CT Scan at my request and our Veterinarians Request ($2500 their price and I was willing to pay it) because their “Internal Medicine Department” had a “Policy” that since Smokey was on Steroids (to HELP HIM BREATHE), they would only do one after the steroids wore off (2-3 weeks later). When we took Smokey to that hospital Smokey WAS at that point was having a bloody nose, stopped eating AND having a Hard Time Breathing with the Steroids!! The Steroids at this point in time were lasting SHORTER AND SHORTER Time Spans verses when we started with them. So this hospital sent me home with him, told me to give him Doxycycline and make sure he eats !! Another reason we took him to this hospital as I HAD DOCUMENTED for them, he had STOPPED Eating and told them on the Phone History Consult we had from their parking lot!! He stopped eating because he COULD NOT SMELL what he was eating!! Most cats when they lose their smell, the refuse to eat.
Another Very Disappointing issue with this hospital was when they brought him out to my truck from their building. This hospital, as of December 29th, 2021 STILL had extremely strict COVID restrictions, including NOT allowing the Owner/Pet Parent to go in with him or get him when they were done!! So when I went to get him to pick him up, not only did I WAIT an HOUR once I called them to let them know I was there.... but when the Vet Tech brought him outside, she had Smokey in the carrier, up against her left leg, BOUNCING HIM ALL OVER for about 50' until I was able to run up to her and take him from her. The last thing Smokey needed was being bounced up against the walls of the carrier while being sick to begin with and also having a bloody nose. This INFURIATED ME and should NEVER have happened. Total weight of the cat & carrier, just at 15 lbs!! In all fairness, the Vet Tech who took Smokey INSIDE early in the morning did so GENTLY and Carefully!!
There were other things that happened with Smokey that I will not go into but gave me a VERY ILL Feeling about the care he received, and certainly, I do not feel they TRULY listened to our concerns, primarily due to HOW BUSY THEY WERE with pet patients . We even TRIED to contact the Vet Hospital at OSU, but it took them FOUR DAYS just to call us back to advise us how busy they were!! It took us 11 days in total to FIND a Veterinary Hospital (Dublin, OH - 90+ minutes from us) and get Smokey in for a CT Scan. We called them on Friday, January 7th, 2022 @ 4:30pm, explained the details of Smokey’s case and they took us in Sunday, 8am, January 9th. Not only did we get the answers of WHAT was going on, but they also took really good care of Smokey, the CT Scan was only $280 versus the $2500 we were quoted locally.
So, even though Smokey was on Steroids to help him breathe, the CT Scan found a massive Tumor/Growth that was located in a bad area to get to in his sinus cavity area and was big enough where it had broken through the bottom orbital bones of the left eye, thus why he was having drainage through his left eye. Our Conclusion: The Local Hospital would have found the SAME Tumor/Growth almost two weeks earlier if they had done the CT Scan when we requested it!! Even though the Steroids would reduce Inflammation, this Mass was large enough that it would have easily shown up at the 1st Hospital we took Smokey to!!
Another lesson I learned about AFTER THE FACT, and that is: THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX !! Going back to June 2021 when Smokey got what we thought was a BAD Cold/Sinus Infection/Upper Respiratory Issue with a snotty nose, sneezing, etc. He was placed on Clavamox antibiotics. After 7 days and it was still there (helped a little), he went on the second round of Clavamox. Now, after two-plus weeks on Clavamox, our vet thought it was probably a different type of sinus infection that the Clavamox would not get. His lungs were clear and sounding good, so we all thought a bad sinus or respiratory infection, and to shorten the story, Smokey went on TWO rounds of the Z-Pak (Azithromycin), and that DID NOT get it totally clear, so finally, after a FIFTH round of antibiotics, we stopped that round after a couple of days, reevaluated, and Smokey got his FIRST shot of Depo Medrol (Steroid). This cleared everything up by 95% for 5 weeks and it came back. At this point, we were possibly thinking Polyps in the sinus area but were advised that sometimes the Depo will shrink them and keep them small depending on what type of polyp it is. So we tried two doses of Depo over 2 months and it kept coming back.
The conclusion from this for us and our facility veterinary staff: In the future, THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX, if two rounds do not take care of a sinus issue, we need to start to look at x-rays, then a CT scan to rule things out EARLY and not let it get to the point where Smokey wound up. I feel now, LOOKING BACK at the vets recommendations (which at the time made sense), if we had caught this tumor/mass when it was SMALLER and not having the damage it was doing here since December, maybe we could have saved him, or maybe not if it was cancer, which we feel it was at the rate of growth it was showing here at the end.
There is so much more to this “Entire” story that discouraged us by how we were treated by the some local hospitals and even some vet offices who just didn’t seem to care about new clients or critical situations very well. Sadly, I have seen this happen in "People" Healthcare systems as well!! There WERE other vet offices whom we called that were very empathetic and either unable to take on new clients or weeks to months out with appointments…. We ALSO UNDERSTAND that there is a Shortage of Veterinarians, as well as Vet Techs to assist them which adds to the issue we had with Smokey. PART of this shortage of Veterinarians is they are getting BURNT OUT, Over Worked and Over Stressed and unhappy with their jobs from what we are hearing!!
So for Catify Café & Adoptions, when we are able to build this facility and open, we will always:
(1) Treat our Veterinarians as Family, Have enough Vets (for two shifts) to allow TIME OFF to refresh, enjoy life and spend time with family, etc. This way, when they ARE working with us, they are on their "A" Game and we will have a GREAT TEAM to serve this community.
(2) Be emphatic and treat cats and their pet parents the way they should be…Like Family!!
(3) Always try our best to THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX for unique / special situations, especially when standard protocols don’t work quickly when they should!!
(4) Have the equipment we need to handle almost all situations, which will NOW include a CT Scanner…
The time-lapse and frustrations in getting the proper care for Smokey should never happen, especially in critical cases. I will do my very best to see that our clients don’t have to experience this. I know that once we are open we will be slammed with business, but I will have our team execute excellent care on handling our pet parents and their needs in a timely fashion while doing our best to NOT letting the ball drop on any of our cases.
Smokey was an AWESOME cat, very smart and playful. He LOVED chasing the "laser light", playing and just spending quality time with us!!! Smokey will always be remembered, talked about and trying to find "Good" from his passing... It will certainly be what we have learned from this entire experience and educating us on what NOT TO DO to Pet Parents!!
Rest In Peace Smokey, Spooky & Tortie..... We MISS YOU SO MUCH!!