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Old July 9th, 2013, 01:40 PM
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My cat's mystery illness...

Hello all,

For the last 2 months, my tiger tabby Diablo, 6 1/2 years old, (I know, evil name... he was an evil kitten that grew into the sweetest cat, we have to find him a new name!) lost a lot of weight.

He had a clean bill of health on his annual vet visit last April 2013. A bit over weight at 17.1 lbs, but great otherwise.

Since then, it looks like he melted away. Now at 14 lbs and very weak after less than 2 months. For the last 2 weeks we have seen 2 different vets, done blood tests, and he is healthy on paper, they have no clue what is wrong with him. One vet tried antibiotics for 10 days, but he still has a fever today.

He was eating right up until this weekend, and drinking. Regular bathroom visits. He doesn't go outside.

He will not eat or drink. Still goes for milk though. The only thing wrong is that he has a fever, which indicates that he has some kind of infection, but both vets are clueless on what it could be.

Today one of the vet is trying tests for Leukemia and HIV, but really where could he have gotten that??

Did that ever happen to anyone? He used to be be so alive and funny just 2 months ago, now he sleeps all day. It's heartbreaking.

If anyone has inputs, please share, I will consider anything at this point!


Christine
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Old July 9th, 2013, 03:46 PM
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Oh no, so sorry about Diablo's health issues! Do you know what sort of blood work was done and can you get copies of all the results? What about other tests, like a urinalysis?

What is his stool like? (ie soft? hard? colour?)

What does he eat?

Is he an indoor cat or does he have access to the outdoors? Feline leukemia and FIV are retroviruses that are communicable between cats, either from a bite, passed down from the mother cat, or from exchange of bodily fluids.

If he tests negative for FeLV and FIV, would a specialist or an ultrasound be an option? Perhaps a holistic vet could also give you more insight.

In the meantime, it's crucial that he eat. Try offering him anything you can think of that might help jump-start his appetite. Plain chicken baby food, pieces of cheese, boiled chicken breast or some KFC with the skin removed, canned salmon, sardines, Temptations cat treats, stinky canned Fancy Feast with nutritional yeast sprinkled on top.... whatever it takes. Here are some more tips:
http://www.assistfeed.com/FelineAnorexia.htm

I hope you get to the bottom of this soon!
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Old July 9th, 2013, 04:58 PM
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Maybe you could try mixing some supplements into the milk , start of with a little so your cat will not know what you're up to. I hope the vets will find out real fast what wrong with your cat. Do have any house plants your cat could had gotten into?
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Old July 10th, 2013, 08:27 AM
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Hi!

The vet had the usual blood work that looks for diabetes and kidney problems, everything is normal... Also Leukemia and FIV, I will have the results today. The next step are x-rays.

Diablo eats Low protein vet food. I switched to that food when Bosco was diagnose with Kidney problems, the vet said it was no problem for Diablo to switch to that too since he was overweight, that's nearly 3 years ago.

He is an indoor cat, the most he has been outside is on my 3rd floor balcony with no access to meeting strange cats.

Yesterday he actually went to his bowl and ate a little. It looks very difficult to eat. I know he has a desire to eat, but something isn't right. He always had perfect teeth, and my vet doesn't see an abscess or anything wrong.

He hasn't groomed himself in 3 days. The milk gave him diarrhea, dark goo like molasses.

Poor thing. He looks miserable.

Thank you so much for the foods suggestions, I will try everything, he is very picky already (never liked canned food) so I hope I don't have to start "force" feeding him.

I'll keep you updated!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarcatmom View Post
Oh no, so sorry about Diablo's health issues! Do you know what sort of blood work was done and can you get copies of all the results? What about other tests, like a urinalysis?

What is his stool like? (ie soft? hard? colour?)

What does he eat?

Is he an indoor cat or does he have access to the outdoors? Feline leukemia and FIV are retroviruses that are communicable between cats, either from a bite, passed down from the mother cat, or from exchange of bodily fluids.

If he tests negative for FeLV and FIV, would a specialist or an ultrasound be an option? Perhaps a holistic vet could also give you more insight.

In the meantime, it's crucial that he eat. Try offering him anything you can think of that might help jump-start his appetite. Plain chicken baby food, pieces of cheese, boiled chicken breast or some KFC with the skin removed, canned salmon, sardines, Temptations cat treats, stinky canned Fancy Feast with nutritional yeast sprinkled on top.... whatever it takes. Here are some more tips:
http://www.assistfeed.com/FelineAnorexia.htm

I hope you get to the bottom of this soon!
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Old July 10th, 2013, 08:29 AM
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The milk gave him diarrhea, so I have to find something else. I started to think about poisoning as well. I do not own any plants, so now I am going through my household thinking of what he could have been in contact with...

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Originally Posted by Barkingdog View Post
Maybe you could try mixing some supplements into the milk , start of with a little so your cat will not know what you're up to. I hope the vets will find out real fast what wrong with your cat. Do have any house plants your cat could had gotten into?
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Old July 10th, 2013, 08:35 AM
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Other possibility that I am throwing out there...

Could he have that much of a physical reaction to our new rescue Lucie?

He really doesn't like her.

I put Lucie in a closed room for a week so Diablo and Bosco would smell her and get accustomed. They were fine. But Lucie is a very intense kitten when she plays and kind of scared Diablo out of his fur a couple of times, so he doesn't want anything to do with her anymore.

Anyone knows if depression is common in cats?
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Old July 10th, 2013, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christine79 View Post
Hi!

The vet had the usual blood work that looks for diabetes and kidney problems, everything is normal... Also Leukemia and FIV, I will have the results today. The next step are x-rays.

Diablo eats Low protein vet food. I switched to that food when Bosco was diagnose with Kidney problems, the vet said it was no problem for Diablo to switch to that too since he was overweight, that's nearly 3 years ago.

He is an indoor cat, the most he has been outside is on my 3rd floor balcony with no access to meeting strange cats.

Yesterday he actually went to his bowl and ate a little. It looks very difficult to eat. I know he has a desire to eat, but something isn't right. He always had perfect teeth, and my vet doesn't see an abscess or anything wrong.

He hasn't groomed himself in 3 days. The milk gave him diarrhea, dark goo like molasses.

Poor thing. He looks miserable.

Thank you so much for the foods suggestions, I will try everything, he is very picky already (never liked canned food) so I hope I don't have to start "force" feeding him.

I'll keep you updated!
Could there something stuck in his gums or throat that making it painful to eat ? Has he vomit after eating any food? Have you tried salt free baby food and you could add some water to it so it would easier to eat.
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Old July 10th, 2013, 09:06 AM
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Just a thought, does he go outside at alll? Is any of the blood work abnormal? Or even on the high or low end of normal? We sometimes see symptoms of a tick-borne infection before the blood work shows definitive signs. So, for example, if we have an ailing dog (usually lethargy and inappetence) and the bloodwork shows low (but still in the normal range) levels of platelets and normal range high or low WBC, chances are what's ailing them is a tick-borne disease. They can be devilishly tricky to detect so we usually just start treating with doxycycline on those occasions and that does the trick.

Also, did the vet check his mouth well? I have little experience with cats, but sometimes I think if their teeth are bad, they'll stop eating?
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Old July 10th, 2013, 09:56 AM
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Maybe there is something stuck, but nothing we can see. My vet inspected him quite thoroughly. He has not been vomiting at all.

I will try salt free baby food, thanks for the suggestion!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barkingdog View Post
Could there something stuck in his gums or throat that making it painful to eat ? Has he vomit after eating any food? Have you tried salt free baby food and you could add some water to it so it would easier to eat.
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Old July 10th, 2013, 10:01 AM
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Hi!
My vet used to say Diablo could be in commercials for oral health his mouth and teeth are so clean and perfect. 3 days ago my vet checked his mouth again and she sees nothing wrong with his teeth. He is not vomiting or anything.

The fever indicates some kind of infection or virus, and although he doesn't go outside at all, I will mention tick-borne infection.

Thanks for the tip!


Quote:
Originally Posted by hazelrunpack View Post
Just a thought, does he go outside at alll? Is any of the blood work abnormal? Or even on the high or low end of normal? We sometimes see symptoms of a tick-borne infection before the blood work shows definitive signs. So, for example, if we have an ailing dog (usually lethargy and inappetence) and the bloodwork shows low (but still in the normal range) levels of platelets and normal range high or low WBC, chances are what's ailing them is a tick-borne disease. They can be devilishly tricky to detect so we usually just start treating with doxycycline on those occasions and that does the trick.

Also, did the vet check his mouth well? I have little experience with cats, but sometimes I think if their teeth are bad, they'll stop eating?
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Old July 11th, 2013, 11:33 AM
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Update...

Hi all,

Nothing good so far. All tests come back negative, x-rays are beautiful. He is fighting an infection that is certain, but my vets don't know what.

They suggested that it might be at the neurological level, since he just started having difficulties to walk. An infection that got in his neurological system, or even meningitis.

The tests for that are very expensive and not necessarily successful.

I opted for another round of antibiotics and I will try to make him as comfortable as possible.

Anyone knows if meningitis in cats is easily treatable, and what are the chances that my baby remains with some permanent damage?
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Old July 12th, 2013, 08:45 AM
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If he's fighting an infection, he would have abnormal white blood cell counts.

Antibiotics can cause a cat to become nauseous and not eat which is not what you want at this point. Especially to just throw in meds that may not be doing any good. How about an appetite stimulant?
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Old July 13th, 2013, 12:54 AM
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Hi!

He does have a high white blood cell count.

Right now we are giving an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory (with cortisone) that is also a bit of an appetite enhancer. My vet does not recommend an actual appetite stimulant as it plays with the brain functions and his brain is already affected by whatever the illness is.

The vet as ruled out every common illness, we are still a bit in the dark, but it's becoming clear that it's some sort of infection of the nervous system.

The assist feeding goes relatively well, he is not too impressed with us but isn't refusing to be fed. Today he even gave up and just started licking food off my fingers. Growled at us when he was done, it means after 24 hours he already has more energy!

He still doesn't drink much, but shows no signs of dehydration.

He sleeps next to me in the bedroom and walks (slowly and wavily) all the way to his litter box. He still walks around regardless of his hind legs dragging a bit. We are making it it as safe as possible for him but we don't want to move things around for his convenience yet, as he always was a stressed cat that doesn't take changes well. We will readjust if need be.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Love4himies View Post
If he's fighting an infection, he would have abnormal white blood cell counts.

Antibiotics can cause a cat to become nauseous and not eat which is not what you want at this point. Especially to just throw in meds that may not be doing any good. How about an appetite stimulant?
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Old July 13th, 2013, 12:48 PM
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When mystery illnesses strike I often think of immune suppression of some sort. There are other causes than FIV to have an inmmune system compromised. It's just a thought though. Your theory of an infection affecting the brain such as meningitis sounds plausible too. I'll be including Diablo in my thoughts and daily requests.
The suggestions to feed him posted are really good. Sugar Cat Mom is really good with nutrition knowledge so you could sure use her advice.
It's really hard not knowing, not having a diagnosis. It's one of the worst parts. In the mean time vet bills growing plus the pain of seeing your cat not well.
I would also try a holistic veterinarian. He or she might have a different approach. Although seems that your vet is getting on the right track with the nervous system infection.
Go one day at a time so you won't be way too overwhelmed and keep Diablo eating and hydrated even if it's only from the water that food contains.
Get better Diablo. Get well and recover your strenght.
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Old July 13th, 2013, 03:46 PM
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What does his platelet count look like, Christine? Within range? Low or high within the range?
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Old July 13th, 2013, 04:06 PM
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Thank you so much for your support. It really is a day by day thing. This morning he threw up all his food 15 minutes after he ate. So I'm guessing his medication is gaving him nausea. Fed him again later and his was ok.

I did take a lot of Sugar Cat Mom's feeding suggestions. So far it looks like he wants to eat, but he gives up easily because he has trouble chewing, which again seems connected with nerve functions. So I bought medical a/d critical care food as it becomes almost liquid after a couple seconds in the microwave. He is being a very trusting boy, licking the food off my fingers, he won't take food from my husband though, for some reason, although they have been best buddies since Diablo was 4 months old.

Again, thank you so much for your input and we are very grateful for your thoughts and prayers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koteburo View Post
When mystery illnesses strike I often think of immune suppression of some sort. There are other causes than FIV to have an inmmune system compromised. It's just a thought though. Your theory of an infection affecting the brain such as meningitis sounds plausible too. I'll be including Diablo in my thoughts and daily requests.
The suggestions to feed him posted are really good. Sugar Cat Mom is really good with nutrition knowledge so you could sure use her advice.
It's really hard not knowing, not having a diagnosis. It's one of the worst parts. In the mean time vet bills growing plus the pain of seeing your cat not well.
I would also try a holistic veterinarian. He or she might have a different approach. Although seems that your vet is getting on the right track with the nervous system infection.
Go one day at a time so you won't be way too overwhelmed and keep Diablo eating and hydrated even if it's only from the water that food contains.
Get better Diablo. Get well and recover your strenght.
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Old July 13th, 2013, 04:32 PM
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I don't know the platelet count, but my vet said the only thing abnormal on his blood work was the white blood cells count (very high).

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What does his platelet count look like, Christine? Within range? Low or high within the range?
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Old July 13th, 2013, 08:12 PM
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There are medications for gastritis or irritated stomach that could ease his nausea. Maybe check that with the vet so the feeding process goes a bit more smoothly and he can feel better in that regard.
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Old July 14th, 2013, 09:03 AM
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So far, we readjusted the feeding time to smaller quantities more often, seems to be working!

Quote:
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There are medications for gastritis or irritated stomach that could ease his nausea. Maybe check that with the vet so the feeding process goes a bit more smoothly and he can feel better in that regard.
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Old July 14th, 2013, 10:57 AM
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That is great news! I hope you kitty will feel better real soon.
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Old July 14th, 2013, 05:23 PM
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Eating and keeping it down is good! Saying a prayer and that the meds and small meals work and that Diablo's turned the corner now!
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Old July 14th, 2013, 07:59 PM
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if small meals are working even way better the less medications needed the better. Foodie will help him to recover his strenght to fight that infection
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Old July 18th, 2013, 08:57 PM
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Last Update...

Well,

My baby passed away earlier today. Everything seems better until this afternoon. I tried to make it home from work on time, but he passed maybe 10 minutes before I got there. My husband was with him until his last breath, and he swears that I was better off not witnessing his passing. Not that it was horrible or anything, but you know, seeing your loved ones last gasps for air is... difficult. My husband is quite shaken by it still.

It hurts that we couldn't help him, and that we will never know what he had. It seriously looked like... Feline ALS. Is that even possible? He was great a month ago, started having trouble chewing his food, was not always achieving his high jumps, lost the weight from eating less, was sleeping more. We tried antibiotics for 10 days, he started having trouble walking. Last Thursday we started a new set of antibiotics and cortisone and he started eating and drinking again, but the walking was getting worst, falling and just a lot of trouble controlling his back legs, and today... he didn't get up to use the litter... started breathing with his mouth, and drooled. My husband laid him on his favourite blanket and there my baby took his last breath, looking into his best buddy's eyes, and surrounded with love. I arrived from work on quite a sad scene, and I am heartbroken that my funny and silly sweet boy went through this, and that my husband lived this horrible moment alone.

OK, sorry for the dramatic message. I am very sad still.

Thank you all for the support and tips and suggestions, if it didn't help my cat, it helped me understand how to help him better.

Thanks again Here are pictures of him at his best, cuteness, attitude and all!
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Old July 18th, 2013, 10:53 PM
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I'm so sorry for your loss, Christine You did all you could. Diablo was well-loved--and you can bet he knew it.

You're in my thoughts and prayers during this sad time.

Diablo
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Old July 22nd, 2013, 08:35 PM
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I wasn't expecting this. Came here to look for an update thinking he'd be doing better. I kept sending good thoughts but sometimes that's not nearly enough.
I'm really sorry for your loss and I understand how you feel.
What a handsome brown tabby he was. Maybe now he runs in the lands of the eternal summer.
I didn't want to mention it before but I also lost my Peanut (dog) about 5 years ago to a mystery illness. His immune system was compromised yet he didn't have any of the typical diseases that could cause it. Not even cancer and he faded away. One morning he was cold, I took him to the hospital where he fought for like a week with a feeding tube in the side of his neck. They did all the tests possible and could just not tell me what he had so I never knew and I still don't know. And I still have a broken heart. So I understand you. I've had my losses.
Rest in piece Diablo you are no longer in pain little angel
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Old July 22nd, 2013, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koteburo View Post
I wasn't expecting this. Came here to look for an update thinking he'd be doing better. I kept sending good thoughts but sometimes that's not nearly enough.
I'm really sorry for your loss and I understand how you feel.
What a handsome brown tabby he was. Maybe now he runs in the lands of the eternal summer.
I didn't want to mention it before but I also lost my Peanut (dog) about 5 years ago to a mystery illness. His immune system was compromised yet he didn't have any of the typical diseases that could cause it. Not even cancer and he faded away. One morning he was cold, I took him to the hospital where he fought for like a week with a feeding tube in the side of his neck. They did all the tests possible and could just not tell me what he had so I never knew and I still don't know. And I still have a broken heart. So I understand you. I've had my losses.
Rest in piece Diablo you are no longer in pain little angel
Same here I was thinking the cat was all better and I am so sad to learn he has dies. He was a beautiful cat and looked very well loved . RIP sweet kitty.
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Old July 22nd, 2013, 11:41 PM
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Same here I was thinking the cat was all better and I am so sad to learn he has dies. He was a beautiful cat and looked very well loved . RIP sweet kitty.
Very sad yes
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Old August 15th, 2013, 07:30 PM
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Sorry I just now saw your message... Thank you.

It is hard to accept when we can't know why... nearly 1 month has passed and I think of him often. My husband and I settled our minds with the answer that he was always a stressed/fragile cat, and that his immune system couldn't fight whatever the infection was. To receive a clean bill of health from the vet 3 months before his death... that's the only thing we can come up with, a violent infection of the nervous system.

My oldest cat Bosco laid right at the spot where Diablo passed for about 24 hours, and that was all the mourning I noticed from him. It seems much harder on us humans...

Thank you again for the good thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koteburo View Post
I wasn't expecting this. Came here to look for an update thinking he'd be doing better. I kept sending good thoughts but sometimes that's not nearly enough.
I'm really sorry for your loss and I understand how you feel.
What a handsome brown tabby he was. Maybe now he runs in the lands of the eternal summer.
I didn't want to mention it before but I also lost my Peanut (dog) about 5 years ago to a mystery illness. His immune system was compromised yet he didn't have any of the typical diseases that could cause it. Not even cancer and he faded away. One morning he was cold, I took him to the hospital where he fought for like a week with a feeding tube in the side of his neck. They did all the tests possible and could just not tell me what he had so I never knew and I still don't know. And I still have a broken heart. So I understand you. I've had my losses.
Rest in piece Diablo you are no longer in pain little angel
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Old August 15th, 2013, 07:32 PM
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Same here I was thinking the cat was all better and I am so sad to learn he has dies. He was a beautiful cat and looked very well loved . RIP sweet kitty.

Thank you so much.
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