by Karen Koch

   Too often I see cats and kittens abandoned or left as strays because
someone just didn't have time for them, or they became inconvenient.
   At the present time, I have four cats, two that belonged to me and two
strays that my neighbors left when they moved and left them behind.
   One of the cats, Scooter, turned 18 on May 7, and I have had him
since he was a kitten.  Scooter started out as one of a litter of kittens
that they rescued from a blackberry thicket.  My vet gave him to me and
within a week, he got very ill and had to return for treatment.  He spent
the first month and a half of his life in the vets office fighting a bad
virus that ended up killing all his litter mates.  Scooter is the only
one that survived and he came back home with me at the age of two
months.  He has had a happy 17 years of being spoiled rotten as an indoor
   Last April, I noticed that he seemed to be acting strangely and would
sometimes walk into things.  After blood tests, full body X-rays, etc., an
astute vet asked me if his eyes were always dilated like they were when
he was in the office.  I hadn't noticed, to tell you the truth, but the
vet said he would like to check his blood pressure.
    He got out a tiny little blood pressure cuff and checked it on
Scooter's tail.  It came back extremely high, so we had our answer.  They
put him on blood pressure medication, but because it had been high for
a while, the blood vessels in his eyes had burst and he was 85% blind.
   I now had a special needs cat, although he seemed to adjust well as
long as I didn't move things in the house too much.
   About a month ago, I noticed that he was struggling again, so I took him
back in for another blood pressure check.  Even with the medication, it
was again high and it took the rest of his eyesight.  We raised the
amount of medication he is taking and he is doing well.  We will
celebrate his 18th birthday this coming Saturday.
   Having a special needs cat is more time consuming and a lot of people I
know keep asking why I don't just put him down.  I will never do that
until I see that he is suffering or in pain.  When I got him, I got him
for life, and that will never change!
   Cat owners out there -- please pay close attention to your cats eyes.  If
they are consistently dilated, get the cat checked as soon as possible!
His eyesight may depend on your quick intervention.  And even if he loses
it, love him and take care of him FOR LIFE!

              -- by Karen Koch    <KK1954 at>

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