Our newest member of the family and already the oldest cat we have ever had. Isn't she beautiful? She looks like a more pure breed Siamese, unlike Sherlock who is definitely a mix. AppleSauce is a seal point Siamese in case you were wondering. Sherlock is a chocolate point siamese.
We got her on March 8th of 2021 from Craigslist. Some family was getting rid of her (they apparently had quite a few other animals there too). In the ad, they told us she was three years old. There must be something about lying about a cat's age on Craigslist? We had that issue with Sherlock as well.
Let me first tell you what it was like when we first got her: she had tons of health issues. The first day we got her we became very concerned. She did not eat at all and only kept drinking water...TONS of water. She would either sit for a few minutes (think 1-5mins) and likely be up to going to the bathroom or try to cuddle up with us for comfort. In 20 minutes we watched her drink tons of water and then go straight to the bathroom every time. We wondered if it was the anxiety of a new home (and an unwelcoming Sherlock). But on the second day, she still wasn't eating. This was alarming because she was literally skin and bones. She would try to stand but be bunched up as if holding pain in her abdomen. It was a very sad sight and with so many bad signs, it did not look like she would make it long. AppleSauce constantly had stuff running out her nose and eyes or sneezing. She also had that old people smell, the one where it almost smells musty and close to death? Yeah, she smelled STRONGLY of that for a week. We couldn't take care of a dying cat. My cleaning had tripled per day just for one additional cat. With my energy low enough as it is and us having jobs, we were wondering if we would have to find a new home for her more suited for her issues.
The picture shown above is over a month of having her and she already looks amazing. We were worried in our first week of her thinking we wouldn't be able to keep her so we didn't take too many pictures. But her fur was so short and thin that you could almost see her skull underneath. If you wanted to know what a cat skeleton looks like, she was it. Her hip bones were extremely pointed and stuck out sharply. Her claws were all stuck out, unable to retract. After some time here, she had been able to retract her front paws, but due to age, it's common for their claws to stay stuck out like that. Her back claws are slowly receding but are still very obviously stuck out. Because of this, we nicknamed her 'Scary Claws or Scary Paws' because they are SHARP and she knows how to use them! Having to give her meds meant we encountered them a lot and we suffered many many scratches to the whole body.
So after a day and a half of watching her suffer, we decided it was ER time. There was NO way what was going on was healthy in any way and definitely not from rehoming. We were strongly expecting them to tell us she had liver failure and she would die within a year or two. Luckily it wasn't that severe and a pretty common issue. She had just been fed bad food for a while and it had been clogging her up. Though because the owners didn't notice (or didn't care), she ended up suffering a lot for it. We both think that the previous owners just didn't want to deal with her issues nor wanted to pay to help her. They had gotten her in October of 2020, so only kept her for about five months. FIVE MONTHS and then they wanted to abandon her. Possibly due to her health conditions.
Cats tend to pee crystals which can grow and scrape the insides of the cat's bladder/intestines and it is very painful. So cats will drink tons of water to help them pass this. It does result in blood in the urine and clumps of white blood cells when she tries to go to the bathroom. It was so bad that the ER had to flush her system TWICE. We were given her medication for her anxiety and for her inflammation. After just a week of taking the meds, there were already significant improvements. At the one-month mark, she was well on her way to recovery. That was also about when we went to the vet to have her checked.
This vet was not our usual veterinarian and we were not pleased with her. She basically stood there accusing us of how bad Applesauce's condition was. We asked her if she had even read her records we sent in a few minutes ago and the vet just flat out said 'no'. We were insulted that we were being blamed for her health condition she had for years prior to us even meeting her. Why we will be sticking with our regular vet who is much more respectable.
But going into that...what happened to her in her past 8 years?
The biggest issues we read from her papers:
-Some of her teeth had rotted so they had to remove many of them. She now has about half of her teeth. Also, the vet recommendations of only wet food were not followed by the last owner. (She sent us home with a half-eaten bag of dry food stating that "she wasn't picky and would eat anything")
-She had been living with multiple other cats and their litterbox was changed only once every 4 to 5 days and dumped every 15-30 days. There was only ONE litterbox for all of them. Let me say that just having Sherlock and Applesauce, I have to clean twice a day to keep the smell and dander down.
-She was basically in and out of surgery throughout September of 2020. With all of the medical details of what happened to her, we are determined to give her tons of love for the rest of her life. She had suffered enough. Your heart would break reading what they had to do to her to help her recover.
This poor girl has been through a lot of stress and since both of us have diagnosed with anxiety, so we understand what is needed to care for this condition. We typically keep a quiet and peaceful home as much as possible anyway. The only anxiety she may have now is having Sherlock chase her when she doesn't want to be chased. AppleSauce does have it in her to run around the home at full speed every so often and sometimes we will hold Sherlock for a while to give her some time to run the house undisturbed. We also give her tons of cuddles and pets to get her purring for hours each day. Purring is quite surprising as it can help encourage healing for cats and help provide comfort for them as well. We think that this has helped immensely in her recovery.
So now it has been two months and a week and we have seen some amazing improvements! Her fur is full and soft. It smells lovely, almost perfume-like as she has plenty of time each day to clean herself. She will find some time each day to run around the home, even dashing up and down the cat tower. Instead of feeding her the recommended amounts and times that her medical papers said, we have adjusted to what she needs by observing her every day.
Example: Because of all the dental work they had to do on her, they recommend only feeding her twice a day, half a can of wet food. Well, we can't quite do that: 1) Our patterns are crazy due to our own health issues and how life goes 2) She doesn't eat it all and will leave to have it dry and turn crusty when she's ready to eat more 3) we have a second cat that likes to eat extra food if she has opportunities 4) we read that it is actually not a good idea to have set times for feeding (though I do keep general times such as around noon time so as early as 11 to as late as 1) and would encourage them to be a little more aggressive in pushing feeding times sooner. Now she either hints at us or waits patiently by the kitchen entrance when she is wanting food. So our adjustments are: 1) we have a timed feeder that drops dry food mostly for Sherlock. She sometimes doesn't eat it all so there are always a few nibbles of food throughout the day for AppleSauce if she wants more food. If she doesn't eat a lot of that type of dry then she does fine. I also will vary feeding amounts based on our schedule. So if I get to stay home all day, I may feed them a scoop of wet food every 5-6 hours. I try to only get fish (as beef never does well for cats) with lots of gravy. Then I take some of her medicated dry food (that we got from the ER to help with her urinary infection) and soak it in the sauce. John researched that the medicated food is only slightly better than regular food and AppleSauce might just do better with more wet food. Which we did. And lo and behold! We have a much healthier baby who has such bright cheerful eyes now.
Though they aren't buddies, they are finally able to sit next to each other every so often if we are around. Usually only because we are there. So like here on the bed, I was sleeping and these two decided to snuggle up near me. Sherlock is special in that she wants to be friendly and play...but her version of 'play' is basically stalking AppleSauce and then jumping her. AppleSauce won't take any of that and usually angrily hisses and trots away. We are still training Sherlock to be gentle and note when NOT to chase AppleSauce...but if AppleSauce is running around it just encourages Sherlock to join in.
Sherlock has a very specific personality that is almost like John and my own. AppleSauce is still growing in hers as we have noticed her picking up a few habits and behaviors that were definitely Sherlock's. We hope they will grow closer as well and cuddle together but that may be much later down the line. So far after two months, they are already doing pretty well considering how the first week went! Sherlock would growl in her sleep at night!
Here is a clip of the two enjoying a cardboard structure we made for them. Sherlock used it far more over the next month than AppleSauce. AppleSauce prefers to snuggle upon us (probably also due to our body heat).
These girls are such a joy and we are so happy to have another little one in our family! Happy Ninth Birthday AppleSauce! We absolutely love and adore you! We hope to have many more years with you~<3