An Update on Watson

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Little Watson

Update Thursday, September 24 at 7:43 AM

As I briefly mentioned last night our vet now thinks that Watson quite probably has FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis). They are running a new test to confirm this. If this is the case Watson will only have a few weeks or possibly months to live. This possibility was mentioned to us on Sunday when we met with the vet but had not been addressed again at any other time during our weekly visits or updates. So last night when we came to pick him up I was completely blindsided. It seems that Watson’s cultures did not grow any bacteria so through process of elimination this is the most likely diagnosis.

I’m still holding out a little hope that this isn’t the case, but unfortunately he seems to fit the profile for this horrifying disease. Obviously Chris and I are extremely upset. I can’t even begin to describe the array of vivid nightmares I had last evening. Watson is definitely not himself. Dexter wants nothing more then to play with Watson but when he gets close to him Watson cries so we’ve had to keep Dexter in the spare bedroom. We also had the equally unpleasant experience of having to give Watson his oral antibiotics this morning, on the off chance that this is still treatable. Needless to say it didn’t go well.

So for now we wait and see and try to keep Watson eating and drinking and as happy as possible. I could really use a miracle now though so if you believe in prayer please say a little one for my kitten.

Update: Wednesday, September 23 at 3:09 PM

Chris just spoke with Watson’s doctor and while he still has a low grade fever that continues to fluctuate they are convinced that his affliction over the past few days is simply a virus. They have taken him off the IV and he’s now taking oral antibiotics. The best news is that we’ll be able to bring him home tonight! We’ll be picking Watson up at the animal hospital around 7:00 PM.

Last night during visiting hours he was super active and practically jumped over Chris’s shoulders to get to me at one point. Before we left he was calmly dozing in his cage but as soon as we walked away he started meowing … well really yowling pitifully. So I’m extremely relieved that we’ll be able to have him home with us in a few short hours.

He’ll probably still have a fever for up to two weeks but as long as he continues eating, drinking, and taking his medicine he should be just fine. This has been quite an emotional roller coaster and I wanted to thank you all again for wishing Watson well and sending your hopes for his speedy recovery. I’m sure he’ll be back in “picture perfect” form in no time at all and at the very least Dexter can go back to grooming Watson instead of trying to groom Chris and I in the middle of the night.

Update: Tuesday, September 22 at 11:56 AM

I wasn’t able to speak directly with Watson’s doctor this morning but I did have an assistant read her notes to me over the phone. According to the veterinarian Watson is looking well today. He’s eating soft food and his temperature is down to 102.5. This is still high so they will continue to perform supportive care today. Chris and I will be visiting him this evening from 6:00-7:00 PM and hopefully we’ll learn a little more at that time. It’s so reassuring to hear that his fever is beginning to drop, and I’m finally starting to feel cautiously optimistic instead of scared to death.

Update: Monday, September 21 at 10:55 PM

When the surgeon attempted to biopsy Watson’s Lymph node this evening she decided it would be in his best interest if they simply removed it as the tissue was very deteriorated. We were able to see our kitten during visiting hours. His fever is still hovering around 105 degrees but he ate today and drank water. He was absolutely ecstatic to see us and tried his best to jump around and rub us with his head. I was worried that he would pull his stitches out. He has quite the Frankenstein monster look going on with his neck wound right now so I guess Watson wont have any trouble picking out his Halloween costume this year.

It will still be at least two days before the culture is back on the lymph node test and in the meantime the doctor is concentrating on continuing to give Watson antibiotics and keeping him hydrated. Either way it was definitely a personal relief for both of us to see Watson eat and drink today. Hopefully now that he’s had a little food his tiny body can fight off this nasty bug.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your kind comments, texts, and emails. Chris and I both appreciate your warm wishes for Watson’s speedy recovery very much! I’ll update you more via this post as we learn new details. xoxo, Erin


On Saturday morning Chris woke me up with the ominous sounding choice of, “Do you want to hear the good news or the bad news first?” The good news was that he was making pancakes for breakfast and the bad news was that Watson had taken one look at his plate of cat food, left the kitchen, and climbed back into his kitten bed. Obviously something was very wrong. As the day progressed he became more and more lethargic and continued to refuse all offers of food and water. We tried everything from tuna, to fresh chicken, to sardines all without any results. To make matters worse he had an enormously inflamed lymph node on his neck that felt approximately the size of a gumball. Our primary Vet was completely booked and unable to see us so Chris and I decided we’d see how Watson felt on Sunday and take it from there.

When we arrived home from dinner with friends that night Watson was still completely out of it. We attempted to give him water which only made him hysterical and earned me a scratch on the face. At that point we decided he needed to be seen by a doctor immediately. So we coaxed Watson into the cat carrier and whisked him off to Angell Animal Medical Center, which is unfortunately practically in Jamaica Plain.  We’ve since realized that there are several closer hospitals but at the time this was the only one that came to mind.

When Watson was finally examined he had an extremely high fever of 106.5 degrees. Needless to say they admitted him. Chris and I left him with his favorite snowman towels from his kitten bed. All the way home I just felt horrible. By taking the “wait and see” attitude he had obviously suffered all day long and I wish I had just taken him in as soon as started refusing nourishment.

Little Watson

On Sunday we went to see him during visiting hours in the morning. They still didn’t have any idea what was wrong with him and Watson would again have to spend the night. The pathologist and radiologist, who were needed to read and confirm his tests, wouldn’t be in until Monday. All they could really tell us was that it was either a viral or bacterial infection. It could also be another disease that is quite fatal but I refuse to think about that right now.

We stayed with Watson for an hour. It was so incredibly heartbreaking to see him hooked to his little IV with his front paw all taped up. I tried not to cry but when Chris took Dean Bearchester from his pocket Watson started rubbing his head all over him and I pretty much lost it.

This morning the vet at Angell called. The tests were inconclusive so they are now going to do a biopsy of Watson’s inflamed lymph node. He’ll be placed under anesthesia and then they’ll attempt to grow some of the cells in a culture. It’s all very confusing. They’re also going to retest him for feline leukemia. He tested negative back in April but apparently the tests can sometimes be wrong in young kittens.  His fever keeps fluctuating but even with the antibiotics it’s still rather high and hovering between 103.5 and 105 degrees.  Apparently though he’s been purring for various people so I have one small ray of hope.

Little Watson

Essentially we don’t know anything concrete yet. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to visit him this evening. I’m holding onto the probably ridiculous notion that he just has some sort of infection and that it will work itself out with a different type of antibiotic and he’ll be home cuddling with me soon, but in reality that is probably not the case. In the meantime please do yourself a favor and get pet insurance for your animals. It’s only around $20 a month per pet. Watson’s vet bill is already approximately $3000 right now and it appears that we aren’t even remotely done yet. Obviously we seriously dropped the ball in that respect and I’d hate for you to face the same thing.

I’ll keep you posted should any developments arise. Please keep the little guy in your thoughts. He’s such a precious kitten.