Posted on: February 14th, 2014 by Dr. Dale Rubenstein

Happy 16th birthday (and 4th anniversary) to our resident hospital cat, Aurora!

If you’ve been in an exam room and heard a cat loudly asking for lunch or for dinner, that likely is Aurora. She has no “shut off” valve when it comes to food, but our technicians check her weight daily to keep her on track. Aurora was in an unhappy situation when she came to us; her owner was ready to give her up. Aurora didn’t get along with her other house-mate cat, was not using her litter box, and had been banished to the basement. We had recently lost our previous resident, Jasmine, so her timing was good/lucky/perfect.

When Aurora first came to A Cat Clinic, she weighed 18 pounds with a Body Condition Score of 5/5 (you’ve seen the charts in our exam rooms) – very obese. With a careful diet of canned food, Aurora lost about 1/2 pound a month for a year, until she was a healthier 11 pounds. She was obviously happy to be able to groom parts she hadn’t been able to reach for a long time. She also became much more active and playful. Aurora was very “head shy” at first and would nip when we petted her. When she had lost enough weight to allow us to safely anesthetize her, we discovered she had bad teeth. Five teeth needed to be extracted! Aurora was more comfortable after the procedure and now allows frequent petting. She even has a few favorites (currently Dr. Mustillo and Caitlin), whom she will allow to pick her up and will sit on their lap. We have also added dental health products, such as Periosupport and t/d, to her routine, and her teeth are much healthier now.

Aurora tries to sneak anywhere she isn’t supposed to be – the basement and the front reception area are her favorites. During the holidays when no one was watching, she would take any opportunity to chew on the poinsettia plant by the fire place! Thankfully these plants aren’t seriously toxic, but they do cause “digestive upset”, as we found out (and had to clean up). Unfortunately Aurora is very shy with people she doesn’t know, so don’t be offended if you are touring our clinic and she runs away from you.

Two years ago, Aurora had a few days when she was just too quiet, and had some digestive upset when we knew she hadn’t eaten anything different (no diet change and no plants). When this very food-motivated cat didn’t want to eat, we knew something was wrong. An abdominal ultrasound exam showed abnormalities in her colon that we thought might be inflammatory (colitis) or cancer. Thankfully, she responded very well to medication and is back to bugging us for her next meal, 5 minutes after finishing the previous one. In other words, she is back to normal and we hope to keep her that way for awhile.

Happy Birthday, Aurora, and to many more!

Love from A Cat Clinic doctors and staff =^..^=