Friday, April 12, 2019

The Day Our Hearts Stopped

We've waited a couple of weeks to share this post with you. Before you even start to read, we first want you to know that we're all ok. A routine visit to the vet recently turned our world upside down. And it's taken us some time to figure out the best way to tell our story. 

Please know that Waffles is ok, Katie is ok, and Glogirly & Gloman are ok. ❤️

WAFFLES:  Boss? I'm really glad you're ok. You scared me and Glogirly.



KATIE:  I'm glad I'm ok too, Waffles. And I'm sorry you were scared.


WAFFLES:  I'm glad you came back on account of I would have missed you. Like, really missed you. A lot.

KATIE:  I'm glad I came back too.

WAFFLES:  So what did you see, Boss? Was there a rainbow bridge with bright movie lights and funky music? Was there popcorn and catnip?


KATIE:  It all happened so fast, Waffles. I don't really know for sure. I remember seeing Dr. Fern and all the vet techs. I saw Glogirly and Gloman. I saw their smiles. And I saw you too. 


 
WAFFLES:  Really? You saw ME, Boss?

KATIE:  Yes, Waffles. But don't get all mushy on me.

WAFFLES:  Mushy like mashed potatoes and gravy mushy?

KATIE:  You know what I mean, Waffles.

WAFFLES:  I know, Boss. You have that reputation thing. But I really do love–

KATIE:  I know, Waffles. Me too.



And then our hearts stopped
It was really just an ordinary day. It started with a Jeep ride to the vet for Waffles and Katie's annual exams and blood work. There was the usual car ride drama. Waffles sang the song of his people and Katie provided backup vocals. Both Waffles and Katie have been doing so great in terms of health. We had no concerns going into the exams.

Waffles went first. He had a few hisses for the techs in the beginning, but he warms up quickly and even turns on his charm.

Katie went next. Vet visits have always been very hard for her. She's not a fan of being in strange places and doesn't like being around people, other than Glogirly and Gloman. She doesn't like being touched or held by anyone other than them as well. In order to make her blood work and exam less stressful, her vet has been giving her a fast-acting, mild sedative for as many visits as we can remember. They take her back to their lab area in her Sleepypod so she has her "safe place" and are very gentle with her.

On this particular day though, something went terribly wrong. 

After they'd completed the exam and blood work, and while Katie was still sedated, Glogirly sensed something wasn't right. She had her head pressed against a small narrow window in the door at the back of the exam room she and Waffles were waiting in. She could see the lab area where Katie, the doctor, and the vet tech was. Suddenly Katie was surrounded by five or six vet techs. Glogirly could sense the urgency and tension, but didn't know what was happening. She could hear Dr. Fern calling out Katie's name.

Through a narrow window in the door to the back of the exam room she and Waffles were waiting in, she could see a team of techs surrounding Katie. She could sense the tension. She could hear Dr. Fern calling out Katie's name.

Though it seemed like an eternity, it was just seconds later that Dr. Fern came to the door she could see Glogirly was glued to. Glogirly could barely breathe. The first words gutted her. "Katie went into cardiac arrest." The nanosecond in-between those words and what came next seemed even longer. "She's alive."

Katie's heart and breathing had stopped, but within 30 seconds Dr. Fern had been able to bring her back. It didn't require full-on CPR. Just some very fast thinking and fast action. Dr. Fern immediately massaged Katie's chest area and was able to get a heart rhythm. A few seconds after that Katie began breathing on her own.

Had it not been for our Vet's extensive training and experience in emergency veterinary medicine, things may have gone very differently.

So what happened?

Moments later, an x-ray revealed what appeared to be a severely enlarged heart and fluid in the lungs.  the fluid was a result of the arrest and Katie was give a medication that quickly extracted fluids from the lungs and into her kidneys. The heart required an electrocardiogram (ECG) to determine what was going on.

Little did we know, one of the top veterinary cardiologists and a colleague of Dr. Fern, was just a few blocks away. Once Katie was stable, Glogirly had her and Waffles back in the Jeep and they were at the emergency clinic in less than 5 minutes.


Waffles and Glogirly waited in another room while the cardiologist did an ECG of Katie's heart. About 30 minutes (another eternity) passed and the cardiologist came into the room. Her first words were, "Katie's fine." Immediately Glogirly felt like she was getting her breath back. "In fact, Katie's more than fine. Her heart is healthy and normal."

She went on to explain that Katie's heart is surrounded by fat. Apparently, this is quite common in some cats. It can be very misleading in x-rays and look as though the heart is significantly enlarged. The ECG though, gives them much more information and can help determine the health of the heart.

Glogirly responded, "So this is good news, right?"
"Yes. This is GREAT news. The BEST news." 

So back to the cardiac arrest. Its cause is something of a mystery. The cardiologist gave it a long and complicated name, but essentially it translates to a fluke. It's possible Katie had a reaction to the sedation. It's possible Katie's stress level was a contributing factor. We'll likely never know. To be safe, Dr. Fern has put together a great list of alternatives to make Katie's future vet visits as calm as possible, without using the same sedation medication we've been using.

One thing is for certain. Our Katie Girl, for as beautiful, ladylike and soft-spoken as she is, is one tough kitty. And we couldn't be happier that she is still a part of our world. In fact, she's not just tough– According to her senior blood work, she's as healthy as can be. Every single lab result is purrfection. And that's saying a lot for our 14-year-old girl who has had more than her share of health problems in the past.


Pause
We'll never know what went through Katie's mind during those 30 seconds. Just like we don't know what happens when we leave this life we know so well. We'd like to think that it's calm, peaceful and that we are somehow reunited with those that we've loved. This has certainly given us pause and has served as a reminder to love every moment we have. It's reminded us to take time to smell the trees, listen to the birds, and show those we care about how very much we love them.


Two Very Heartfelt Thank Yous
We want to thank our veterinarian, Dr. Fern Slack of Uniquely Cats Veterinary Center and Hospital, for having the strength, knowledge, and experience to do what needed to be done and do it FAST.

Fern was in touch with us that evening and through the next day, making sure we were all doing ok. We're like family and this shook her to the core. Glogirly wasn't the only one who shed many tears.

Thank you also to Dr. Karen Sanderson, of Alpenglow Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center. Within minutes of Katie's arrest, Dr. Sanderson had Katie in her care and was able to give Glogirly the best news ever.


Don't go anywhere, Katie.
We plan on loving you for many years to come.



73 comments:

  1. I just nearly had a heart attack mysrlf, from reading this! We are so glad everyone is ojay now πŸ’—

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    1. Thank you, Vicat. That's why we started out with a little explanation. Didn't want anyone to jump to the wrong conclusion. πŸ’•

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    2. Me too - terrifying. I’m glad she’s ok.

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  2. How very, very terrifying that must have been. So glad your little lady is OK. Lots of us out here also don't want beautiful Katie to go anywhere either

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    1. We were all pretty scared. Even Waffles seemed to know something was wrong. And having him by her side during all the waiting really helped Glogirly. Thank you so much for your sweet comment.

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  3. Whew, that scared the cat hair right out of me! Poor Glogirly must have been terrified. Thank goodness it ended in the best case scenario. Purrs and purrayers for future vet visits. XOXOXO

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    1. Thank you so much πŸ’•. We're certainly be very cautious the next time we go in for wellness exams and blood work. And we're so very grateful Katie is ok and doing so well.

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  4. I think my heart stopped reading this post! Several of my kitties and my mom's have heart murmurs so we do a heart check up every year--it can be an issue that causes cardiomyopathy, heart health problems. An ECG gets done and sent via email to a cardiology vet to interpret. My mom's kitty, Spotty Jones, who looks very much like Katie, has a murmur and lung issues and will need surgery soon for a cancerous tumor, and we are all concerned about the surgery and sedation. Not a complicated surgery, but the sedation could be. So I feel this so close to my home. Several of my kitties have to be mildly sedated for their annual checkups. I am SO grateful Katie is okay!!!

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    1. Oh my gosh...you certainly do know what we went through! Thank you so much for sharing your story. And big purrs and love to you and your kitties.

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  5. jeesus mary and Josephine!! I'm sitting here breathless and weeping tears of joy all at the same time! Glogirly you got rocks of steele! thank all gods living and dead (and the most important ones wearing scrubs) that Miss Katie is still with us! I imagine even with some adult sedation later that evening you each slept with one eye open! Xoxo

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    1. Thank you, Miss Stacy! We're also SO happy Kaite is still with us. And about that adult sedation...YES!

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  6. This happy ending for Katie and your family is a happy bedtime story for me. I'm thankful that your hearts aren't broken and instead, are relieved and grateful. Please give Katie a kiss from me? Hugs to all.

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  7. Thank you so much, Joni. Kisses back to you from our Katie Girl. πŸ’•

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  8. How scary! We're so glad you're ok Katie.

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  9. So happy that Katie is healthy and happy that was a scary thing to read and makes me think twice about sedation as my babies age.

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  10. Oh my word! Thank Bast that all are well, and long may it be so.
    Rejoicing purrs
    ERin

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  11. I'm in tears, but I'm so glad that Katie is OK and that your medical team is so amazing and well connected. Prayers and purrs for a healthy Katie (and Waffles) for a very very long time.

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  12. Thank you, Jesus! I am SO RELIEVED what happened was a fluke. SO relieved. I'm glad she's in purrfect working order and will be bossing Waffles around for a while yet and ruling with a velvet paw.

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  13. Oh wow! We’re so relieved everything is ok. Praise God!

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  14. I don't think I breathed once reading this! I am so relieved that Katie is fine and that it was a fluke reaction. We all love Katie and want her around for a very long time.
    BTW, I was getting my notifications of your posts to an email I rarely use now so unsubscribed from it. You are in my Feedly reader though so I am still following you.

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  15. How scary! I'm so relieved that Katie is fine. Please, don't scare us like that again, Katie!

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  16. Wow. How terrifying! We're so glad Katie's okay. Bear's been struggling these past few months and the line between okay and not okay is so thin.

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  17. Oh my cat!!!! So glad that Katie is well and that she was in the right place at the right time, with those angel Vets and Techs at her side. Headbonks and purrs to Waffles and Katie, and a huge hug to you and Gloman from me and Roxie Cat. Who knew that when I posted a picture of Katie on Facebook (not knowing it was copyrighted, I was looking for a picture of cats in jail and her photo popped up) that is I would become so emotionally invested in your dynamic duo!

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  18. How scary for you. So glad she is alright. Hugs.
    Sue B

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  19. I was sat frozen as I read this, teeth clenched and breath stuck in my throat. The narrowest of squeeks that has shake of of us Katie fans (and young Waffles I'll bet).

    Keep well and enjoy the coming summer to the max!

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  20. I'm so very glad Miss Katie is ok. To be honest I got teary ... My own losses are still far too recent, and the cat blogosphere has lost too many.

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  21. Well, now that I stopped crying, I can actually comment on this. I can’t even imagine what you must have gone through! Thank God for Fern and her team!

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  22. Oh dear, how very, very scary for all of you, our hearts skipped quite a few beats just reading about it. I'm so glad that dear Katie is okay and we send tons of happy hugs to you all.

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  23. I'm so glad Katie and you are ok!! You're totally right every moment is precious! Snuggle your kitties extra for me!! πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

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  24. We are so glad you are OK Katie, that scared us just reading about it. Mommy always worriers whenever we are sedated. Luckily for routine visits we don't have to be as long as we have Mommy and our lightening fast vet.Her and Mommy make a great team Mommy distracts us and Dr Lisa examines us and gives shots.

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  25. OMG I'm so glad there was a happy ending. Blessings to you all!

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  26. That must have been very scarey. I am so happy Katie us okay. I have been reading your blog for a few years now and Katie and Waffles have become special to me.

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  27. That was a frightening thing to read -and how horrible for you and Waffles to go through as well as Katie. I was scared to death on reading even the very beginning, and thanking God that all is well. How wonderful that you have a Cats Only Vet Clinic and it is so good that you were able to get to the cardiologist so quickly. I am thankful both are well and that Katie is so healthy. XX

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  28. So terrifying! Even knowing that everything turned out all right, my heart dropped when I read this. My kitties need dental work in a few weeks and the thought of anesthesia is very concerning. Teaser has a heart murmur. Both are 13 years old. SO happy that Katie is hale and hearty! ����

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  29. I’m just so glad to know Katie girl is okay. I can’t imagine what that was like for you if for her! My eyes are welled up with tears thinking abour you hearing the vet call out her name. Great work on the part of the vets. And my dear sweet Katie girl. Love that last photo of you, it’s perfect! What a relief that all is okay.

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  30. Miss Katie, please don't give your mum and the rest of us any reason to have our hearts stop. Please be better. Sending lots of love and purrs to you, Waffles, Glogirly and Gloman. We all love you.

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  31. Oh my goodness, what an ordeal! We are so glad Katie is ok.

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  32. That must have been so scary. Thank heavens for that great vet and thank heavens it hapened at the vets. Katie, we are so glad you are all right.

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  33. OMG we're glad everything turned out ok. You really scared us for a moment.

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  34. Oh Katie! You had mom in tears too. She was so scared reading through this post. Being a vet tech mom knows first hand how scary events such as yours are. We are so happy to hear you are doing fine. We love you all.

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  35. good heavens - that will certainly make you stop and smell the catnip a little more often. we can't imagine how scary that was at the time but we are SO thankful for Dr Fern and that Katie is declared very healthy

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  36. How very scary for everyone. We are very glad Katie is okay (and that you are too!).

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  37. What a scary experience. We're glad everyone is okay and that Katie's heart is healthy. Angel Ellie had a similar experience with blood work (although she was not sedated at the time). Her heart didn't stop but she passed out as soon as they started to draw blood.

    The Florida Furkids and Mom Sharon

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  38. omc......shake me to my core, so glad efurry thing turned out ok

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  39. We are SO glad Katie is okay. The cat that came before us, Scooter, went into cardiac arrest during surgery he was having...and was "down" for almost 2 minutes. It too was a fluke...his heart was later to be just fine...and no explanation for what happened has ever been determined. Fortunately, Scooter fully recovered just like Katie. Sending you all lots of purrs.

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  40. How frightening! We are so glad that Katie is healthy. I'm glad there's a good plan in place for the next visit.
    xxoo
    Maggie

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  41. I’m so glad Katie is okay. I’m sure you were shaken to the core as you watched through the window. It sounds like you have a wonderful vet!

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  42. Pumpkin here. So glad Katie is ok. After @danapixie lost TSK when he didn't wake up from anesthesia during a dental, mom's terrified every time one of us has any kind of sedation. I'm still shaking just thinking about Katie. *hugs*

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  43. How scary! Glad all is OK - we love you Katie!

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  44. Oh my goodness, how skeery!! One of my cousins died of cardiac arrest during surgery several years ago, so Momma has always been extra paranoid and careful around any kind of sedation. We are so SO glad that Katie pulled through and is doing okay!!

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  45. We’re so glad Katie is ok! Sending you all hugs and love.

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  46. TW was in tears and still is after those words "cardiac arrest." She remembers when I went into respiratory distress at the vet many years ago and almost died. The vet is very stressful for me and that's why we continue to see Dr. D. even though the clinic she's at now is a long ride. She won't sedate me cos of the asthma which most likely came from the respiratory distress episode. She takes everything slow with me. Last time she was able to draw bloods and trim my claws which is a first. I'm glad my sister from another mother, Katie, is still here and well.

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  47. How terrifying ! We're so glad Katie is OK ! Thank you having written big and bold the most impawtant information : she's alive, and she's fine ❤️ Purrs and hugs

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  48. OMG I was so afraid to read this and I am happy you prefaced it with everyone is ok. OMG I can't even imagine what you went through. Thank GOD Katie is ok. Cody has never been sedated at the Vet, I am grateful he doesn't get upset there. The only time he was ever sedated was when he was neutered. Our Vet does bloodwork before they sedate them for dentals, etc., too..........I am glad your Vet was so quick-thinking and quick acting.

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  49. Wow! I am so grateful everyone is ok. Your vet is a Godsend. I had a kitty that was very frightened of the vet visits like Katie is. He had to be sedated every time. I didn't realize that could be so dangerous.

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  50. How terrifying! So glad Katie is okay!

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  51. so glad it turned out okay. katie and waffles are the highlight of my day. poor glogirly having to go thru this as well.... hugs....

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  52. That had me in tears. I could imagine your fears. Scooby gave me a scare like that when he was neutered. He went into a full seizure, then his heart stopped. The vet who did the surgery got the words out "he's gone" and I went into life saving mode. I pushed the vet out of the way and did CPR on my own pup. As you know, 6 years later he is still with us.

    I am so glad your vet knew exactly what to do. I am crying happy tears that beautiful Katie is still with us. ((hugs))

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  53. Quite a story, there, guys....

    The opinionated Pussycats and Daddy Kiril are glad it all turned out OK!

    Elvira Mistress of Felinity

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  54. Katie! At least you've got eight more lives...

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  55. Wow. Katie we are sooo glad you are alright and that Iatrogenic (no one knows) heart issue is passed. We are still sending you ALL purrs and prayers of support
    Timmy and Family

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  56. I just read this and have to say that my fur babies plus me are so happy that you're still on this earth Katie. I cant imagine the fear that went through your parents and how thankful they were to have such good vets. Your blog always brings a smile to my face. My tripod just turned 14 and is healthy as a kitten and who I'm not ready to go. Stay healthy Katie and know we send our love and healing purrs
    Love Shadow, Sayang, and Juliana

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  57. Just.... wow. The Big Guy and Big Cat were truly watching over your sweet girl and happily thought it wasn’t her time to come Home. They know just how much you and Gloman love them and well, all of us too.

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    1. One last thought, and this is NOT a story to compare etc. just something I learned was possible and has been such a blessing and gift. My little grumpy girl has never been a fan of travel or the vet. But the last time (a few years ago)I tried to take her via a kitty carrier to the vet. I had to follow her and go back and forth for over 20 minutes, calling and coaxing her. When I finally had her in the spare room, door shut. No yelling, screaming or running but she became so frightened she urinated and defecated right there. My heart broke. I called a friend who specialized in cat rescue. She told me of a vet who made HOUSE calls! Cutting the story. This amazing and loving vet, no driving and no strange noises and scents has helped my BooBoo Bunnycakes beyond belief. Yes, she doesn’t like to come out with strangers but we are now on year 4 and she will visit and not run when she sees Dr. Jackie. Added bonus. More than one kitty-lol line em up on vaccination day. No matter what, we are sending you waves of love and love and peace. ❤️

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  58. I'm not crying. YOU'RE crying.

    Sorry we're late getting here, Katie, Waffles, Glogirly and Gloman. We can't even begin to imagine how scary this was. We are glad it was a fluke, and that Katie, and all of you, are okay.

    Love and hugs to all of you.

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  59. I missed this post. I am glad Katie is OK. I can't imagine how scary that was.

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  60. Katie; we R troo lee sorree ya had thiz scare; N sorree yur mom, dad N waffles had thiz scare; but we R veree happee ya iz doin grate. if itz Ok ta say; we like ta think st francis waz watchin out for ewe, N over ewe... that day two.... him iz one kewl dood..984 pawz up ta yur vetz N heerz two a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooong happee healthee life for like 75 mor yeerz ♥♥

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  61. YIKES! So glad to hear that all turned out well in the end. What a scary ride though!! Hope those two are being a wee bit nicer to each other.

    Please keep our Gracie girl in your thoughts as she has to have part of her tail amputated next week (diabetes related we think). It's been a nightmare. I feel like I need some catnip or something. πŸ™€
    Aaacckkk.

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  62. Oh my goodness Glogirly I'm so so sorry I just read this. I just read it out loud to my husband. We were both on pins and needles. Thank goodness Katie is doing well and came back to you. Oh my god she would have been missed so much! Our mainecoon has a heart problem. He's only 3 years old. He gets checked regularly by our vet and a cardiologist. We treasure every day we have with him. Hugs and kisses to sweet Katie! ❤❤ and we know Waffles wouldn't be the same if he didnt have his sweetie Katie. All my best πŸ’•

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