MERCY – June 2020
Mercy is an almost 12-year-old, adorable tuxedo cat with the longest whiskers, greenest eyes, four white feet and a white chin. I fell in love with her as soon as I saw her in the kennels at the Surrey SPCA in 2009, and I brought her home with me that very day.
Mercy is a special needs kitty and requires several medications each day. She was diagnosed with some neurological issues when she was still a kitten. She has some twitches and her front legs and head jerk quite often and she has a little habit of rubbing her teeth together which make a swishing sound. She also has arthritis in her elbows from a bad fall, a sensitive tummy due to IBD and a misaligned jaw and teeth. Mercy is a wet food only cat and requires small feedings throughout the day, often with lots of encouragement from me. In the last eight months she has had two seizures which may have been related to her untreated hyperthyroidism and the hope is that they will stop once she is hyperthyroid free. In the past five years Mercy has had two dentals with extractions due to the appearance of restorative lesions. I often feel like I have a cloud of worry floating over my shoulder because Mercy is such a complicated kitty and it’s a scary feeling when I know that I don’t have the money for all of these unexpected medical surprises. In some ways though we are two peas in a pod as I suffer from several autoimmune issues and have chronic pain and fatigue. There are days when I find it difficult to manage all of the special care Mercy needs, but even on those days it is my commitment and love for her that helps me to keep going too. Mercy is such a little trooper and even though she doesn’t like having to take her medications she sits quietly while I do what I need to do, as long as she gets her special treat of Honest Kitchen goat’s milk at the end.
Despite her health issues Mercy is bright eyed and bushy tailed and she loves to play. One of her favourite games is when I blow a poof of air through a rubber tube. Mercy sits and waits at the other end listening for the sound of the air coming through the tube so she can pounce on it and catch it in her paws and with her teeth. Something you can all try at home even with your dogs! She also loves to be carried around on her double wide cardboard scratcher and being and excellent jumper she will leap onto the board when I hold it out to her. She also loves to start the day with a nice brushing, on the double wide of course. A hug from Mercy is one of the sweetest things ever and when I pick her up she puts her paws around my neck and rests her cold wet nose at the base of my throat which melts my heart every time. Mercy loves to sit at her window seat to watch the birds and listen for the trucks that go by on our street. She also can’t resist climbing into an open desk drawer full of paper so that she can do some digging. Sometimes I think she is part canine. Mercy loves to play with her toys but she equally loves to chew on my phone headset, my ear buds, the ties on garbage bags, and ribbon of any kind. This is why her middle name is “Trouble” and I go to great lengths to make sure that these items are well hidden and away from her mischievous paws and teeth.
Mercy’s more recent troubles began after a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism with a related thyroid tumor on June, 2nd, 2020. To top it off she will also require another dental to extract two more teeth after her thyroid is under control.
Mercy was prescribed the thyroid medication Methimazole and seemed to be tolerating it well but on June 15, 2020, Mercy became very ill with vomiting and excessive drooling. Even after a rushed visit to the vet and a switch to the transdermal form of Methimazole Mercy continued to vomit and drool. In a fit of desperation, I contacted North West Nuclear for Animals and spoke to Seantry Dean, who is one of the amazing veterinarians there. She told me that Mercy was exhibiting all of the classic signs of a cat who cannot tolerate Methimazole and to stop the medication immediately. Once off the Methimazole she did begin to recover but she was thin and weak and left untreated her hyperthyroidism would have put Mercy in a life-threatening situation. We had only one option left to us and that was to get Mercy a Radioactive Iodine treatment. There is a 97% cure rate with this treatment but it is also very expensive and especially for persons like myself who are living on a fixed income and now I had two medical procedures to deal with. I was in fundraising mode and trying to think of everyone I could call to ask for help for Mercy when Kathy at Paws for Hope told me about an organization called In memory of Maggie May. I managed to contact Eva and we had a flurry of phone conversations and messages and there was a mad rush to complete the applications with my vet and submitting them in the nick of time because Mercy’s RAI treatment had been moved up unexpectedly and there was no time to waste.
On the very day of the RAI treatment Eva and her people at Maggie May came through with a generous donation for Mercy and in conjunction with the added financial support from the VHS McVitie Fund and Paws for Hope, Mercy had her RAI treatment on June 29th, and recovered at North West Nuclear for Animals. During her stay there an irregularity was detected in Mercy’s heartbeat. It is possible that this is a result of some damage from the hyperthyroidism but there is hope that it will stabilize over time. We will continue to monitor this at Mercy’s one month and three-month RAI follow up appointments.
After eleven days away Mercy came home on July, 10th, and she is very happy to be here. She is recovering nicely and we are almost finished with the radioactive phase. Her count is very low now and, in a day, or two we can get back to normal which will be wonderful because I haven’t been able to give her a proper cuddle since she had her treatment. It was pretty stressful trying to follow all of the protocols for having a radioactive kitty, but Seantry, Sheila and Lori from North West Nuclear and Eva from Maggie May were incredibly supportive and kind to me and helped me get through the first few days until I got the hang of things. If all goes as planned Mercy will have a life free of hyperthyroidism, and the health complications that go along with it.
This has been an emotional journey and it has served as a reminder to me of just how much I love Mercy. I have felt honoured and privileged to meet some amazing people through my fund raising for her. If it wasn’t for the dedication and compassion of organization like In Memory Of Maggie May, Paws for Hope, the VHS McVitie Fund and Balfour’s Friends Foundation, many people like myself would not be able to get the help they need for their beloved animal companions.
I too share a deep love for animals and although I am unable to work right now, I spend a lot of my time following my passions which are advocating for animals and the environment. I do a lot of research for new information on animal and environmental causes, writing letters and signing petitions. I also try to share awareness with people about the plight of animals around the world. I am a committed vegan and I hope that one day I will be able to fulfil my dream of working or volunteering at an animal sanctuary and helping to rescue animals.
I would also like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to:
Kathy from Paws for Hope, Terri from The Vancouver Humane Society’s McVitie Fund, Seantry, Sheila & Lori at North West Nuclear for Animals, Yaletown Pet Hospital’s DR. Archeck, DeAnna, DR. Karley & The Angel Fund, Balfour’s Friends Foundation (for a generous donation toward Mercy’s upcoming dental), My Family & Friends.
Aeron & Mercy