La Vie est Belle – the Nine Lives of a Cat

Nine Lives of a CatMy parents like to joke that La Vie has nine lives. They joke, but then we always have to list out the nine lives of the cat. I don’t know a ton about the year before I got La Vie, but I know a bit.

Life 1: The Fairground Litter

A litter of kittens was found and rescued at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. This one is pretty self-explanatory.

Life 2: First Adoption

A Durango resident adopted one of the kittens from the fairgrounds. She named the kitten “Katie.” (Meant to be? Sure was.)

Life 3: The Sad Surrender to the La Plata County Humane Society.

It happened about a year after the initial adoption, I never knew why she had to surrender “Katie” but I know the woman was sad about surrendering her young cat. She even wrote a note introducing “Katie,” which she addressed to her new kitty-parents, what she likes and does not like.

After a few days, a college student (me) came into the shelter looking for a cat. She picked out a timid, torti-colored kitty that shook when she was held. Her name was Katie, just like hers (awe, right?).

Of course, I couldn’t keep calling her “Katie” as I figured it would be confusing to have the same name as my cat. So I named her La Vie after the only sentence I know how to say in French: La Vie est Belle or life is beautiful.

La Vie the CatLife 4: A Week in the Wilderness of Small-Town Colorado.

During a summer in college, I was going to attend a photography school in Montana and could not take La Vie. So she stayed with my parents.

She managed to ninja her way out of the house, through the garage, and was lost for a week or so. She showed up in the backyard during a rainstorm, coaxed back into the house with dry food.

Life 5: Lost Again!

We lived in an apartment in Littleton, Colorado. Carpet cleaners came as a perk of re-signing the lease. They didn’t close the door and La Vie doesn’t like new people or loud noises. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the consequences of an open door.

Two weeks and many tears and lost posters later, a lady called me saying that my cat is in her shed. I jumped in my car and within minutes I was coaxing La Vie out of the shed with string cheese (a favorite at the time).

Life 6: Diabetes Rears its Ugly Head Against My Kitty

After a lot of out-of-the-cat-box peeing, La Vie was diagnosed with diabetes. Feline diabetes is a pain to manage. Glucose tests, fructosamine tests, needles, insulin, special prescription food that is supposed to help but doesn’t.

I finally researched our way into a diet that negated having to stick my poor La Vie with needles twice a day. Her diabetes is now completely regulated by diet.

Life 7: A Teeth Cleaning and an Allergy to Chicken

(It’s debatable if this is a “life” or not…hopefully not, but I’ll detail it anyway.)

Routine vet visits for cats is not something my family regularly does. We are farm/ranch people. Cats keep mice and spiders “away” and snuggle with you when you are sick. They don’t need vet visits unless something is broken or bleeding.

The diabetes diagnosis taught me otherwise. So after noticing that La Vie’s belly was bald and the “fur mowing” was moving to her legs, we went back to the vet. They suggested a teeth cleaning, along with a few extractions, and to try food without chicken, as chicken is a common food allergy in cats.

Do you know how hard it is to find chicken-less food for a cat whose diabetes is managed by diet. I cried on the couch for an hour in frustration after trying to search for something that I could feed my cat. Nothing cheap was found.

Life 8: Hyperthyroidism

Seriously? Hyperthyroidism in a cat? Apparently this is becoming super common due to a few items in cat food processing. I will spare you my “get on my soapbox” on why it shouldn’t be happening.

So a new medication was prescribed. Twice a day dosage, mixed in with food. Which she then started to vomit up. Nausea and scratching at her head and face were the telltale signs of an allergy to the medication. Back to the vet we go.

Finally, we were sent home with a topical version of the medication. But after a fair bit of research on my part, I discovered that I’m not really “on board” with giving my cat something that may just make her more sick in the end. There must be another way.

More changes to diet and alternative medications are in the works.

So here we are.

La Vie is now 16 years old. I’ve had her for almost half of my life. She snuggles with Dave on the couch. She chases Porter down the hallway and allows Ports to chase her back. She gets as much wet food and cream as she wants (just don’t tell her we put holistic thyroid support and CBD oil in some of her food).

She is my happy, tiny, senior cat. My La Vie est Belle.

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