Firefly is pretty much the polar opposite of Tonks: the oldest, refined, well-behaved at all times, and while we guessed at her birth date, I know his almost down to the hour. This dapper gentleman has been a part of my life since before he was born (true story!), through terrible boyfriends, through less-than-stellar dates, right through my engagement and current wedding plans. And if he prefers to sprawl across my fiance’s chest to snuggling beside me, I try not to take it personally (he still sleeps next to me – that’s all I’m going to say).
My handsome little man was born under my bed – literally. His mother was a tiny little foster, and he and his brother, Smoke (who lives with my parents) came into the world in the wee hours of the morning on July 10, 2008. Contrary to what EVERYONE thinks, he wasn’t named for the TV show (sorry to disappoint). He got his name for the white tip at the end of his tail. There was no plan for either of the tykes to stay – they were fosters, after all – but Firefly’s journey down the road of lemon-hood started early (it’s so easy to justify not wanting to foist a kitten with medical issues off on someone, isn’t it?). Almost twelve years later, I regret nothing.
(My bank account does not get an opinion)
Regal though our boy may be, his list of problems seems to compound on a yearly basis. Things were slow to start, though, and he easily out-stripped his tiny mom in size: both he and smoke topped 17 pounds – and they were just plain BIG cats! He could (and still can) stretch from one end of a queen-sized bed to the other! Courtesy of that size (and Firefly’s good temperament) both boys were blood donors, saving the lives of other cats on numerous occasions (in fact, Firefly saved Squeak’s life – but that’s a tale for another post). Which was when karma decided she wasn’t in the mood to return the favor.
The Universe has a sick sense of humor.
In 2014, Firefly was diagnosed with diabetes mellatus. That put an end to his donation career, and it set him up for a lifetime of insulin injections. He tolerates them very well, I have to admit, though I curse the pharmaceutical company on a regular basis. I would have been content to juggle that problem, but Firefly wasn’t quite done yet.
In 2018, my then-boyfriend (now fiance’) noticed he was missing a canine tooth. A trip to the dentist revealed feline oral resorptive lesions (FORL) AND, just for fun, his lab work showed hyperthyroidism. Now he needed another medication. Once his T4 returned to normal levels, he was able to undergo anesthesia for dental radiographs…which showed FORL on EVERY SINGLE TOOTH IN HIS LITTLE HEAD. The poor thing ended up having full-mouth extractions. It cured the problem, and he eats fine – he just looks funny when he hisses at you (think of a snake).
Good enough, right? WRONG!
His blood pressure started climbing, requiring not one but TWO more medications to get things under control. (Not having any teeth DOES make pilling him a breeze)
Apparently, the Universe was still bored.
Remember the hyperthyroidism? Well, his thyroid decided that the twice daily pills just weren’t cutting it…and upping the dose didn’t do the trick, either. Nope, it was time to break out the radioactive isotope. I-131 is an injection that targets the abnormal cells in the thyroid and destroys them, effectively curing hyperthyroidism. The end of October 2019, he received the therapy, and his T4 is now normal – one problem solved!
The Universe hates answered problems.
Through all this – I would like to point out – Firefly has been the best patient in the world. He is sweet as pie, and everyone who works with him loves him. So when we noticed the weird spot on his right eye, I wasn’t too worried. Well, turns out he has a sequestrum…and an ulcer on the left…and low tear production which is inhibiting healing in both. Fast forward five months, and we’re still battling all three.
**mindless sobbing goes here**
Our poor little guy has a giant list of problems – no one questions that – but he also has a heart of gold. He snuggles with his sister (his brother, not so much), he loves his new Daddy, and he always comes up to me when he wants something. He is my favorite child, and I don’t care who knows that. Everyone who meets him falls in love with right away, and he thrives on the attention.
You couldn’t ask for more of a trooper. He’s been through a lot, but he continues to behave as good as gold. How Tonks has failed to learn from him, I’ll never know. He’s my darling little man, and I was never luckier than when I heard those tiny mews under my bed.