Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Story of Pagan

The letter is sent- certified, signature required, and should arrive on Friday. How long it will take to get a response is another story...
I have been working on Neala's website... If you get the chance, go over and look at the other kitties who were diagnosed with PRAA and their stories... There are two Sphynx, a domestic shorthair named Timmy, a Florida Panther, and a Savannah baby... That's five domestic cats, not including the Panther, diagnosed with PRAA that I knew of personally. Chantal, the breeder with the two PRAA Sphynx, actually found out about it due to another cat being diagnosed with it- so it spirals outward. I wonder how many cats truly have this congenital defect and how many die before it's diagnosed and how many are put to sleep as soon as it was diagnosed. Mind you- just the barium xrays at my vet, to DIAGNOSE the problem, were $350. That's a lot of money for a kitten- and for a lot of families, that would be the most they could spend on vet care for a small kitten... Not because they don't want to, but because money is hard these days...

Anyways, I promised Pagan's story, so here it is...


When Pagan was born, she was an apparently healthy solid blue Sphynx kitten. She grew rapidly- one of the larger kittens out of the litter and quickly stole my heart. I was planning on retiring her Mother and I felt that Pagan would be an exceptional baby to keep... Plus, she was blue! And adorable! It is very easy to fall in love with kittens- each baby, no matter what their color, fur type or not, that has been in this household has quickly charmed me...

At around 6 weeks, I noticed that Pagan had a rattle in her breathing. My vet quickly prescribed antibiotics and we continued on... She was still growing and eating and playing with her siblings and I was still totally in love.

The antibiotics did not seem to affect the rattle. So I took her back to my vet and we took xrays- assuming that perhaps she had aquired inhalation pnuemonia. The xrays showed clear lungs, however, and therefore we decided our best course of action was prednisone, hoping it was just an odd case of a kitten developing asthma at a very early age.

The prednisone did not help and Pagan's breathing began to grow worse... Sometimes, you could physically see her struggle to pull in air.

She was still eating and playing at this point in time though- she was a very happy little girl. She was an imp- her little eyes and face could easily steal your heart.

Puzzled, my vet and I decided to try an exploratory at our vet hospital. Pagan was knocked out, intubated, more xrays were snapped, and then she was woke up. She was such a trooper- so trusting and always purring. Just like Neala, who she wasn't related to, she charmed everyone she met. I call that a Sphynx Trick. They can charm anyone they meet!

These xrays still didn't show us the problem... There was a slight grey area upwards of her trachea, or windpipe, but we weren't sure if it was just the xray or something that needed to be fixed.

Our next option was to visit the Veterinarian Referral Center. I was forewarned- it would be expensive- simply to walk in the door costs almost a $200 exam fee.

But Pagan was slipping away from us quickly, now... I don't know if it was the exploratory irritating her trachea, I don't know if it was just as she aged, whatever the problem became worse, but she was fading and we had to make a decision.

Looking into Pagan's little face, I knew she had not quit- and that is my mantra. I will not quit if they have not quit.

We took her into the Referral Center and the staff was so kind and caring. They ensured us that all hands would be on deck as they knocked out Pagan, inserted a tiny camera down her trachea, and tried to find whatever was causing her respiratory distress.
Just as with Neala, we waited by our phone, barely baring to breathe... Just waiting...

The news, this time, however, was crushing. The vet could find no reason for Pagan's respiratory distress. The only thing the specialists could come up with was that perhaps she was suffering from laryngeal paralysis, which is another condition that is found in large breed dogs- they had never heard of it happening in cats before.

Since they were unsure if this was the condition Pagan was suffering from and they could not give us a success rate on the surgery, since they had never performed one on a 2 pound kitten, and since they had never seen this surgery performed on a cat at all- we made the hard decision of putting Pagan to sleep. While she had the will to live, she was truly suffering...

I drove down there, this time in the hush of the evening, and held our gorgeous Pagan as we let her slip from this world into no more suffering... I cried bitter tears because we could not save her, I cried tears at her loss and ours, but I knew we had done everything possible to save our little girl and it was just not meant to be.

Pagan's loss, maybe moreso then even Neala's, illustrates how much more we need to know in regard to feline health issues. Perhaps cat owners do not have the finances dog owners have to invest in their cats' healths. Perhaps it is a paradox- because cat owners, as a whole, own more cats- perhaps we don't have that extra padding to push the envelope, to explore further into a murky diagnosis... But we, as a whole, can help.

In less then two weeks, enough money was donated to save Neala's life- we need to use that same passion and that same goodness of heart to push for further research into feline health matters. Our cats- they are the world to us. We need to ensure the veterinarian field feels the same...



Just to leave you with a smile...

Pagan's story does not end with her loss either... The day we were at the vet, waiting to have the initial exploratory, I overheard the receptionists talking to a lady about two dogs she had found- two Pomeranian mixes. She commented that she found the puppies running down the street and since she found them, she was going to keep them. I do not believe they were microchipped, but I did momentarily wonder about the possible owners of these puppies and how they would feel at their loss...

A week later, while still dealing with Pagan's lost, I saw a post online about two missing Pom puppies and figured it would only take a moment of my time to email them about what I saw at my vet hospital 'just in case'...

As luck would have it, after the distraught owners talked to the vet staff that was on hand that night I was at the vet hospital, and faxing them photos of their puppies, the staff verified that these were, indeed, the two pups the lady had come in with! The puppies were soon returned to their original owners!

This is what the owner emailed to me after the puppies returned home, "I am so sorry for your loss (of Pagan). May her life have meant something as it saved my puppies... You were a God send and her life really mattered. Had you not been there, I am sure I never would have seen my puppies again..."


  1. Oh Trish what a touching story...I am so full of happy tears...

  2. Pagan was beautiful. You have really been through a lot. I am so sorry for your losses.

  3. pagan was a beautiful little girl. i agree that she could steal someone's heart w/ her sweet face. although her story is heartbreaking the ending is one of joy. it was so kind of the 2 pups owner to send you an email thanking you and pagan for helping to find her babies.

  4. What a wonderful story!! Pagen was beautiful!! And so cool that you got the puppies reunited with their owners!! ((((((((HUGGS)))))) for sharing with us!!
    Your TX furiends,

  5. Pagan was so beautiful. I'm so sorry that you lost her - she sounds like an absolutely wonderful cat. I'm so glad to hear, though, that she helped reunite the two puppies with their owner. I hope this helped you feel a bit better after her loss.

    Purrs and hugs -
    Katie and the Mishkat cats