Blogger and/or my internet connection were behaving quite badly last night, and I wasn't able to post.
It's probably just as well, because I was mostly frantic last night. Rosie, the cat, had been hiding all day in the closet. When DH went up to bed around 11, she walked out to see him, and he noticed that her gait was "wobbly", her hind legs were crossing over each other. She couldn't walk well at all, and she seemed to get very tired after only a few steps.
Of course, I freaked out. DD had come home from school with a fever, and I had been running around all over hither and yon doing stuff when I should have just been chilling out, but -- no. So I was exhausted, and having my cat come down with something obviously serious just was more than I could bear.
So I cried for about 30 seconds and then called the vet to find out which emergency vet they recommended (it's on their after-hours answering machine message), and DH packed up the poor little furry dear in her carrier and took her out there. They did a bunch of blood work and took x-rays and, some $350 later, came to no solid conclusions, except that the condition she has is known as ataxia.
I was at home nursing my sore neck, and obsessively searching the web. I found a great veterinary advice site, Vet Info's Cat Index. They have similar info for dogs, but since I don't have any, I didn't look at it and can't speak to its usefulness. It helped some to just read about different conditions that could cause ataxia, including stroke or blood clot, spinal cord or nerve damage, or toxicity. Rosie's workup ruled any of these out -- at least there was no damage visible on the x-ray. So the theory is that she may have some less serious injury that was causing her problem, and we're treating her with prednisone for a few days to see if she improves.
Poor dear. She's been so much more cuddly these days and even friendlier with the kids as they get older and less frenetic. I know cats don't live for very long in the grand scheme of things, and I will have to steel myself for the inevitable some day, but I am hoping that day is not soon. She does seem a little better after the Prednisone today, but her digestive system has been out of whack for months now, and we know there is something going on there, too.
She was my first pet, and aside from a kitten we had for a few months when we first moved out here to AZ, she has been my only pet. DH is a lot more pragmatic about this, which is not to say that he doesn't care or is at all callous (he cried and cried when Sparky had to be euthanized for FIP). But he has had many pets and is a lot more accepting of these things as a result.
Here is some additional information about the "genetics" of this condition that was written by our Genetic Counselor and other genetic professionals: http://www.accessdna.com/condition/Ataxia_with_Vitamin_E_Deficiency/46. I hope it helps. Thanks, AccessDNA