Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Snowshoe Cat Enigma

What are Snowshoe cats? noseprints greeting cards
My Snowshoe, Mei Mei (Little Sister), loves water.  

 This really is how she drinks, all the time.  I have never seen her use her mouth like the other cats.  She can also open doors (we have handles, not knobs), including the shower door.  And she can close doors, also like the shower door.  It's the most fun to close the shower door when another cat is inside.

Snowshoe Blue Eyes Magnets 
I love Mei Mei's pretty blue eyes and pink nose

  When I first adopted her, I just thought she was a mutt that had some Siamese blood in her line, but hey, looks like she's her own breed of cat.  I looked it up and the bred was created in the early 1960's by Dorothy Hinds Daugherty.  The International Cat Association (TICA) accepted the Snowshoe as a championship breed in 1994.  In temperament, Mei Mei is pretty much exactly like every cat I've ever owned.  But then, when I had a purebred Ragdoll from a certified breeder, aside from his size and colors, his personality was pretty much exactly like any cat.  In other words, don't believe all the mystical magical personality traits breeds are SUPPOSE to have.  Although Mei Mei loves her fountain, I have a torty that adores drinking the same way from the swimming pool.  Mei Mei's  meow is not like the other cats, but not like a Siamese either.  It's more of a, "Mur, murreow," instead of a simple, "meow."

Her sister (died last year) was black and white.  Her name was Xiong Mao (Panda Bear).   But all the other kittens in the litter looked like Mei Mei.  

I don't know what killed Xiong Mao. Suddenly one night, she looked dehydrated (her fur looked bad). Took her to the vet, he said she was dehydrated and gave her fluids and sent her home. I couldn't get her to eat and she looked just as bad the next day. I brought her back to the vet and she had a fever and was jaundiced so he kept her there, hooked up to an IV for fluids and antibiotics. Later, her temperature dropped and he took her to an emergency clinic for plasma.  At 5 years old, she was still a young cat and she fought. She'd rally and he'd get ready to call me to come get her then she'd fail. She'd rally, then she'd fail. Finally, he went to pick her up out of her cage and she screamed in pain and died. He sent her body to the cat version of the CDC for an autopsy but never told us what happened with that. We paid extra for it but he would never tell us.  Every time I brought it up, he changed the subject. I needed to find out what she had so the others wouldn't get sick but I found out nothing. A few weeks later, Mei Mei showed the same signs. She was dehydrated and had a fever.  Instead of taking her to the vet, I made a mixture of yogurt, olive oil, and water and force fed her every couple of hours for 2 weeks. At one point, her temperature dropped to 98.2, just like her sister, and her breathing became rapid.  The vet said to warm her up and that she probably wouldn't make it through the night. I held her against me in a blanket and kept her warm and fed her until she seemed to stabilize. And then, after a couple of weeks, she began to eat again but was very anemic and had to go on medication for a while. None of the other cats ever caught it. FIP test came back negative.  I still don't know what it was since we have no poison plants in the house, didn't see any skinks around the house, and they're kinda rare around this neighborhood anyway, no chemicals, and they're all indoor cats. Doubtful, but maybe it was something genetic?

Mei Mei has been perfectly fine ever since.

And yes, I've changed vets.

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