You know that song from, “The Sound of Music,” that goes, “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” Yeah. Meet the cat for whom that song should be renamed.
Neighborhood Escort Cat
Jase is not one of my original four Boogie children. Jase belonged to some people who lived four homes down from me. He was mostly an outdoor cat, and was well-known and well-liked in the neighborhood. Jase befriended me in November, 2015. Jase would come visit, get pets and love, and just hang out. He was a very funny and loveable cat.
Around January, 2016, everyone started noticing that Jase had been losing weight. There were reports of vomiting and diarrhea from neighbors. I spoke with the daughter of the owner, and she said her mom thought Jase had tapeworms and was giving him tapeworm pills. They were going to be moving soon, and asked me to take Jase. I said they had to find out what Jase’s medical issues were before I would consider it. This went on for a few weeks, with them making up excuses for not being able to take Jase to the vet.
Finally, one very cold night in early February, 2016, the daughter came to me and asked me to take him for one night. She said her mom wasn’t taking care of him. I am nothing if not a sucker for a furry face. Not knowing if Jase was FIV or FELV positive, I couldn’t let him around my cats. I made him a bed in my enclosed patio and put food out.
In the morning, Jase was nowhere to be found. After 15 minutes of calling for him, he came running over, acting like it was no big deal that he’d been gone. Since I couldn’t continue to let him stay outside in that chilly weather, I decided to take him for an FIV/FELV test. It didn’t require an appointment, just a quick tech visit at the vet to have the blood drawn. I scooped him up, and off to the vet we went.
We were gone exactly one hour. One hour. And in that hour, his family was gone. They had packed up their things and were completely moved out by the time I returned with Jase. Obviously, Jase was now mine.
The FIV/FELV test came back negative, so I made an appointment for Jase with my regular vet. He was clearly ill and could keep no food in or down. The weight loss was very concerning. I was hoping it wasn’t cancer.
The vet recommended an x-ray, to which I consented. She came tearing back into the exam room, exclaiming, “its not good.” When she pulled the x-rays up on her computer, she explained that Jase had a diaphragmatic hernia. This is when the intestines get twisted and pushed up over the heart and lungs. The knot in Jase’s intenstines was the reason no food would stay in or down. This was very serious.
An ordeal began whereupon my then-boyfriend tried to figure out how to get the very expensive surgery Jase needed. We called all sorts of rescue organizations, started a Go Fund Me campaign, and collected wracked our brains over this one. A month into this, the situation became very desperate, and I very nearly walked Jase over the border into Mexico with a wad of cash in my pocket. The surgery that was $3500 – 6000 in San Diego was one fourth that in Tijuana. I had spoken with the veterinarian there, who had excellent English. Jase’s x-rays and medical records had been sent, all I needed was a rabies vaccine and a form from the US vet. It was late on a Friday afternoon.
Hope on the Horizon
Somewhere in my mind, I dug up the name of a pet rescue organization in the La Jolla area that I had saved a couple cats through several years prior. I rooted through my old emails to find an email address. I contacted them to see if they could help. By Saturday morning, I still had no reply, and was just about to leave for Tijuana when I got an email. They told me where to take Jase and that they would cover his surgery if the FACE Foundation did not.
The veterinarian Jase was being boarded at was just about to close, so an emergency run over there was made. Jase was picked up and taken to Petsurg/ER4PETS in Carmel Mountain Ranch. Jase was entrusted to the care of Dr. Diana Jones, who gave him a 50/50 shot at surviving surgery. He weighed only 5 lbs., 8 oz at this point, and his chart said he was, “wasting away.” I felt awful. How could we have let this go on for so long?
It took a day or so for Jase to be stabilized, and surgery was performed Monday, March 6 morning. Miraculously, he survived the surgery. He was permitted to come home Tuesday evening, whereupon he was “confined to quarters” for two weeks. We got what we called, “the recovery tent,” – a 6′ long x 2′ deep mesh tent to keep him in. He had everything he needed in there, and this kept him from running around the house, pulling his stitches out, and being too active. Of course, he had to wear the “Cone of Shame,” for several days. A day after returning home, he used the litter box, and my then-boyfriend and I have never been so happy to see cat poop in our entire lives. It was nicely formed, just like it was supposed to be. Jase was on the mend!!
Over the next several weeks, Jase gained weight, eventually topping out around 13 very muscular pounds. He quickly returned to being the vivacious, rambunctious, absolutely into everything, curious, sweet and lovable cat he was before he was ill. He has earned the nicknames, “Calamity Jase,” “Wonder Kitty,” “Psycho Kitty,” and “Jumping Jupiter Jase.” I love him to pieces, but he does try my patience. Just this morning, he came flying down from my 7′ tall bookcase headboard to land on my stomach, which has a 5″ long incision from recent back surgery that is still healing in it.
A few weeks ago, while recovering from that surgery, I was assembling a puzzle at the dining room table. Jase jumped down into the middle of it and 300+ pieces were flung onto the floor. I had about 10-15% of the puzzled assembled at that point, so I was not amused by his antics. As I type, I am still missing two border pieces from this.
To finish typing this page, I had to remove him from my lap several minutes ago. He had curled himself up, groomed himself, then made himself comfortable atop my afghan, so he could have a good snooze. It is hard to stay angry when he does such lovable things.