I'm supposed to be working, but not doing the best job of that today. If you follow me on Facebook, then you already know that we lost our sweet kitty, Miss Pitty Pat. It's been hard, because she was not quite 6 years old — and you don't expect a young cat to die of heart disease.
If you have kitties, and you've never heard of saddle thrombus, I urge you to look it up. (Or go here.) And then I urge you to ask your vet to give your kitty's heart a good listen the next time you take your baby in for a check up. That's not fool proof, but it's possible the vet will hear a murmur. If your cat has a murmur, push for more info.
MPP never showed any signs of heart disease, and we had no clue until she had the first clot nearly eight months ago. Turns out that she had very advanced heart disease, an enlarged heart, and thickened walls. We had NO idea. The only possible clue was that she tended to throw up her food a lot, and she would go off her food for a day or two — but then she'd eat again, no problem, and wouldn't regurgitate for days. I never suspected heart disease, and my vet never heard a murmur.
The other thing you can do, if you really just want to know and you're willing to spend the money, is get your cat a heart work up. I would have done this had I known it was something to look out for. But I didn't. I had no idea these things could happen to a young cat. My previous cats lived to very ripe old ages, and I assumed we were on the same track with MPP. It'll cost you around $500, which is why most vets don't recommend it as a matter of routine when most cats won't ever have a problem.
Heart disease in cats, especially the kind where they throw clots, is rare — but apparently it's not THAT rare because it happens quite often if you do an internet search of saddle thrombus. The chances your cat has a bad heart are slim. But if, like me, you would rather know, then ask for that heart work up. You may have to go to a specialist for the echo-cardiogram. Many vets don't keep that kind of equipment on hand and it takes a specialist — either a cardiologist or an internist — to read it.
You can be sure that I'll ask for these tests as a matter of routine for Nimitz — and for any future cats we get. I would have rather spent that money up front, and got MPP onto heart meds much earlier. She might have had more time with us if we'd caught it early. This truly is a silent killer. One minute she was fine, the next she was not. Literally. And the same thing happened on Friday morning, only this time we couldn't save her like we did last June.
She was on the bed with us, happy and bouncy and loving — and then she jumped onto the floor and started to throw up. When the heaving didn't stop, we knew. Almost immediately, her remaining back leg went weak and she couldn't walk. We got her to the vet in record time, but this was the third clot she'd thrown, the second in as many weeks, and it was just too much. Her heart was done.
We are bereft, but I wanted to share this with you because I know many of you have cats you love as much as I love MPP. If you can prevent this from happening to your baby, I want you to be able to do that. Again, most cats are fine. But some are ticking time bombs. Some cats die in the first few months of life from this. Some die when they are young, as MPP did. Some make it to their teens first. Only you can decide what you need to do for peace of mind, but that's why I want you to know about this.
Google heart disease in cats. Make yourself aware, and get your babies checked for that murmur at the very least. Doesn't mean they will throw clots if they have one, but it might be the impetus for more tests if you know they do.
Best wishes to you and your fur babies. We're hurting badly in Chez Harris, but we will be okay with time.