My Miracle Kitty - Luna
Author: Luna's mother (a 31 year old hospice care nurse)
I would like to share a recent story about my very sick kitten, Luna. A couple of weeks ago, I had noticed that Luna, who is about 7 months old, had some new patches in her ears. I called the vet to make an appointment, getting in the next day. I thought it was just some mild irritation that would require ointment or ear drops. The vet called me after examining Luna with “serious concerns.” The vet had told me that Luna had bruising all over her body (difficult for us to see with her hair), and bruising in her gums & ears. The vet asked how Luna had been acting. I said, completely normal, full of energy and eating. My heart dropped trying to think of why Luna would have extensive bruising. Did my dog or other cat get a little too rough when playing at one time?
The vet then went on to tell me that they did a complete blood cell count and that Luna’s platelet level count was severely & dangerously low to the point where she could bleed out spontaneously at any point. I could hardly breathe through the tears with this news, I had brought Luna in for a few patches on her ears. At this time, the vet recommended taking Luna to urgent care as they did not feel comfortable keeping Luna at the primary clinic. We took her right over to urgent care, where we continued to receive bad news of Luna’s situation. Her red blood cell and white blood cell count were very low, Luna was very anemic & was at high risk for a secondary infection. They also did some diagnostic testing that was not providing any further clear answers.
Our primary vet called us to inform us of a negative test for Feline Leukemia Virus (FLV) while we were at urgent care. I’m a nurse, so I was able to follow a lot of the lingo which was fortunate for me, but I had never heard of FLV. I asked, “I’m assuming this is good news?” The vet paused and said, “Oh my goodness, yes. The prognosis for a positive FLV test is terminal.” I was able to take a deep breath of relief, wiping my tears away, holding my fiancé’s hand tightly. Shortly after waiting in the parking lot at urgent care, the urgent care vet called us with concerns of Luna’s condition and that it would be best if she went to the UW vet for continuous monitoring. At this time, the doctor had asked if chemotherapy is something we would consider if necessary-this was to help decide if a steroid treatment should be done. Now we are talking about cancer? I couldn’t believe it. They brought Luna to our car in her kennel and I was terrified to even hold her due to her possibly bleeding out at any point, but I wanted to hold her and love her with all my heart. I took her out, and she climbed right into the back seat into the dog bed with our dog Corrie. My heart melted. We then drove Luna to UW vet where they continued further testing. Luna stayed over at UW for two nights. We got news the following day that Luna’s test from their blood tests came back positive for FLV. Once again, I just couldn’t believe it. On top of it, they said that there was no cure for it, and with Luna’s blood cell counts, she had a week or less to live. My fiancé and I were about to play a volleyball game while waiting for further news, and the vet called us right before our game. I fell to my knees crying through the tears, trying to take in what I was hearing. The vet was incredible from UW, and was so empathetic. She recommended a blood transfusion for Luna at that time as her red blood cell count was extremely low and Luna was now more lethargic. She said this was “not a cure, but an opportunity for us to spend more time with Luna.” We just wanted to hold Luna tight with all our love, but agreed to the transfusion, so Luna had to stay over at the vet another night. The next day, we picked Luna up late morning, and she was her usual self, the blood transfusion was successful, but the vet didn’t know how long it would last. We were nervous but so happy to bring Luna home that Friday morning. We have another rescue cat that we were told to keep them separated now, as it is contagious. Our other cat Bunson didn’t understand, and was hissing at Luna, afraid of all the smells. They’re usually best fur friends. We also had to keep a close eye on our dog Corrie as she likes to play with Luna, but we needed to keep Luna’s activity level low due to everything that was going on with her. We set up cameras and the bedroom for our little Luna. I have never cried so much in my entire life.
The following day, Saturday, my fiancé had to work, so I asked my mom if she would come over as I was overwhelmed with sadness & anxiety. My mom came over, and we prayed for hours on our bed with Luna sleeping comfortably in her little sweater we had to put on her. Corrie, our dog, was laying in the bed with us too. My mom and I prayed through our tears, looking up to the sky. We prayed the Surrender Novena, and it was exactly what I needed to reintroduce myself to, it is a beautiful novena to surrender to our Lord. My mom also brought over a relic St. Philomena’s that was blessed along with other blessed pieces to place on Luna, along with holy water. I was so grateful to my mom, as I was feeling very weak and hopeless, but after our prayers, I was given strength again to continue caring for Luna. During this time, Luna was more lethargic, and her nose, paws, and gums were very pale. My mom recommended taking Luna to UW for a check-up that Saturday evening. The previous vet we had worked with at UW was not working that weekend, so we were working with an emergency vet. I took her to UW alone.
The vet called to update me about Luna after doing a CBC, concerned that Luna was “suffering silently.” I felt I was being judged that I was being selfish keeping Luna. I started second guessing the comfort I felt we had created for her, becoming very emotional again. This emergency vet brought up euthanasia that night or the following day, denying us another blood transfusion for more time since Luna’s case was so terminal. I advocated for Luna informing this vet that the other vet from UW was open to another blood transfusion for more time. There was also a very new anti-viral medication that did not have much research on, but was going to be our last resort as we felt we had nothing to lose with Luna. This vet refused to help with these interventions. I went on to say, “We’re kind of looking for a miracle here.” The vet responded instantly, “That’s not going to happen in this situation.”
I called my parents who were at church, and asked them to please come to UW to support me. I was extremely emotional again. I also asked my dad to come, which was difficult for him to do, as he could not have a bigger heart for animals, and it was very emotional for him as well as myself and my mom. It meant everything to me that my dad came, and I put the phone on speaker so they could hear the vet talking. My parents assured me that Luna was not suffering and it was okay to bring her home that night. We were all crying in the parking lot. I brought Luna home that Saturday night, where she was able to rest comfortably in her little sweater. The following day, Sunday, Luna was like a new kitten. She had more energy, she was meowing again, her appetite was pretty good, and she was back to kneading and purring. We were so grateful for a good day with Luna. My fiancé and I agreed to take it day by day, and to be thankful for every moment with her short- term prognosis. I am Catholic, my fiancé is not, however, he is very supportive of my faith. We prayed together for the first time during this difficult time, praying the St. Francis prayer daily when Luna was very ill. The St. Francis prayer also brought us peace.
The original vet at UW called us Monday, looking at what happened over the weekend and apologized for how everything happened. She confirmed right away that a blood transfusion could be done if needed moving forward. She was also thrilled with how Luna was doing. We took Luna in on Tuesday for a complete blood cell count. The vet was impressed with Luna’s energy level, and that her white and red blood cell counts were improving. Her platelets were still severely low however, so we just had to keep a close eye on Luna, keeping her separated in the bedroom with cameras if we had to step out for a few hours. We made a game plan to bring Luna in the following week for another complete blood cell count, and to call if there were any concerns with Luna’s health prior to that appointment.
Two weeks to the date from hearing of Luna’s short-term prognosis at our volleyball game, the vet called us while we were on our way to our volleyball game. The vet was thrilled with Luna’s blood cell counts, and her platelet levels were almost back to normal!! Tears of joy instantly took over, and I looked up at the sky right away, a beautiful blue sky, and I said in my heart, “Thank you Jesus!” My heart was full, and I couldn’t believe what we were hearing. The vet said, “This is the best case scenario for this situation, I almost can’t believe it!” UW had also sent out samples to confirm the FLV diagnosis to a lab in California. Strangely, the bone marrow sample came back negative for FLV, however, the vet still thinks that is what is going on with Luna, but she has regressed quickly with the symptomatic part of the virus. The vet has sent out further samples to get a complete confirmation. The vet meets with her team every day during the week saying, “Luna’s case is anything but straightforward.” The team included a pathophysiologist amongst other specialties to try and get the whole picture for Luna. The vet said, “Little Luna is teaching us new things over here!”
I took Luna in for some patches in her ears on May 19th. It is now almost a month later, and Luna is doing amazing. As I type this up at my desk, Luna is sitting in the open window checking out all the birdies, such a happy little kitten! My family and I truly believe that our prayers were heard and answered, and Luna is a little miracle kitten. Luna is not supposed to be with us at this time based on the initial prognosis of a week or less with no cure. I think it made the world of a difference when my mom came over to support myself and Luna with prayers, as I was able to let go and let God take over. I surrendered Luna to our Lord later that day, and said to my parents, “If Luna is leaving us, I couldn’t ask for a better companion than Jesus.”
Jesus heard our prayers, I know it in my heart. We are grateful for everyday with Luna, and continue to remain cautiously optimistic. If you have never read the ‘Surrender Novena,’ please do, it was life-changing for myself and Luna, and I pray it every day now. The Surrender Novena & a prayer to St. Francis below. Thank you Jesus!
Here's our miraculous HEALTHY Luna!
There are actually numerous prayers for sick pets, but my fiancé and I connected to a few of the below prayers:
This is the beautiful Surrender Novena: