Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Silent Starr

Starr was just a teen when I trapped her at the Corvallis homeless camp by sneaking into the camp in the night, amongst the sleeping campers to set traps and catch kittens and otherwise avoid, via tip toe trapping at night, the waking problems of alcohol consumption, drugs and drama.  That was just over five years ago.

She was among 52 cats and kittens I trapped at that one camp, with help from Poppa's president, who came down from Beaverton to help.  I had poison oak that whole summer from going in and out of the camps.  I relocated or rehomed almost of all of those cats, over time.  Starr, Teddy (her brother) and Honey remain here with me.

Starr had recently begun crying out suddenly, when eating.  It was only a few times, but I noticed. If she noticed I noticed, she'd shut up quickly and run off.  She also seemed to be staying closer to me, watching me, as if imploring something of me.  This behavior often means a cat is having pain, I've found.  Cats are so subtle and silent in their suffering.

So I made an appointment for her at a vet in a small town about 30 miles away.  She is more affordable than other vets in the larger towns.  She came recommended by a Lebanon woman I know.

Starr, turns out, has some strange disease, quite common though, but I'd not heard of it.  Feline resorption.  With this disease, which is not the same as the allergy to the lining of their teeth, I guess, that causes stomatitis, the enamel of the teeth are attacked and holes appear in the teeth.   At least the staff there said it was different.  I found this website with graphic photos of teeth being resorbed:

Click here to see it!

There is no known cause and the vet said she'll need checked again in two years, if not sooner.

Today Starr had her teeth cleaned and seven teeth pulled.

She's back and recuperating.  Poor baby.  Thank you to all of you who have donated to the medical care fund for the cats here.  Today, $325 of that was put to good use.  Here's the link to the vet bill fundraiser, should you care to donate.  It's always there on the right on the sidebar, partially showing due to my ineptitude with template manipulation.

Click here to go to the fundraiser site!

Starr should feel much better.


  1. Good Grief. Isn't there ANY peace for animals? If not being abused or neglected by humans, they have the full range of hurts and traumas courtesy of mother nature. And the pain from nerve endings being exposed in her teeth has to be horrendous.

  2. They get bad teeth too and all these strange diseases like we do. Yes, that had to hurt and to hide it, as cats often poor baby. She's a wild thing too, not cuddly, so I could not even look in her mouth myself to try to see what was going on. No drooling, like the cats I've had who have the allergy to the lining of their teeth. No pus, no weight loss either.

  3. And if Star feels better you will too. I once read that cats can get any disease we humans do - and a few doozies of their own. Which sucks. And they mostly suffer so much better than we do. Which also sucks.

  4. The whiners always win, EC. Here, in the US, those who whine and cry about the tiniest things, they get everything they want (except respect). Those who suffer in silence, human or animal, can be easily overlooked, ignored, written off. (guess my issues are popping into this)

  5. Yup, resorptive teeth. My cat had them. She's now down to two teeth, but much happier with the rest of them gone. I read that this is more common in female cats; symptoms, at least for me, were really bad breath, head shaking and excessive sleeping.

  6. This is FORLs (feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions) isn't it? It's not uncommon in the UK for sure, but it's still lousy wherever it occurs.

    Hope Starr feels better now. It's a foul and painful thing for kitties. Have had two cats with it, both did well once all those gnashers were out.

  7. Yes, Forls, but is it the same thing Gretal and Poppy have, I can't figure out, where every bit of tooth must be removed for them to be ok? When I read about resorption, says it mainly attacks premolars. But with what Poppy and Gretal had, the vet said the teeth have to all be pulled down to every bit of root. So are these two different things? Do you know, Jane?

  8. I don't know Jody, and I'm a bit confused, because, I thought that FORLS was part of the allergy to their own teeth thing.

    One vet told me that there is a theory that FORLS is caused by chronic inflammation and it is this that sets off the allergy response, which then becomes resorptive. The initial inflammation is thought by some to be caused by tartar, but sometimes saliva might be involved (as a catalyst for the condition) if the cat has some renal failure going (mouth, throat ulcers common in severe renal failure)that might be a factor too, but I don't think they really know more. Healing is impossible because of the constant onslaught of the permanently changed responses of the cells surrounding the teeth. I have probably got this totally wrong btw, but it's what I remember of the conversation (I think ha!)

    I think the practice of taking out all of the teeth is to ensure no further problems. Fragments left in the gum cause hell, so a total tooth extraction is usually a last resort.

    Pre-treatment for oral Interferon use in Calici, involves removing every tooth behind the canines, including the little carnassial teeth. This is most often used in cases of mouth wrecking Calici. The protocol in the UK for using oral Interferon insists on all the teeth behind the fangs coming out to avoid further reservoirs of inflammation or infection.

    Could Gretal and Poppy be Calici carriers? I have been told that it's not unknown for for cats to be carriers, not showing the fever and glandular swelling of a typical Calici crisis, just getting the ulcers, this can then develop into FORLS some time later. Some cats are carriers and never have a crisis.

    Will let you know what I find out.

  9. I doubt they are. Gretal was extremely ill when I rescued her, after she was dumped by someone denied by Safehaven, but with intestinal parasites, giardia, etc, not URI. I have seen a link between poor to no nutrition when a kitten (including untreated intestinal parasites) and young age dental issues. And that would be true for almost every cat here, so that may be the root cause. I rarely have even one cat here with a cold, rarely diarrhea, which is really terrific considering I have a lot of cats, so otherwise, they are exceedingly healthy here. However, all came from poor circumstance, and had very tough kittenhoods with negligent nutrition.

  10. Cougie and Rogue and those poor cats who roamed the Albany business were not even fed, and constantly in starvation states. They ate pigeons, as the property was home to huge flocks of pigeons (Albany itself is overrun with pigeons, ducks and morning doves) almost exclusively, and rodents. Most kittens did not survive due to starvation.

  11. Like I say, some cats can carry calici, have lousy mouths without disease crisis. I have seen this and seen it develop into FORLS (now called FRLs apparently - my bad lol)

    Stomatitis might also be a culprit, so many of these dental problems seem linked to each other and develop into new ones, if there's a set of conditions/diseases present.

    Early nutrition affects everything in infant animals, you are right about that. Stress too, the Albany ones must have been through hell.

    Page from International Cat Care which gives a good run down of dental disease in cats. A bit brief but it distinguishes between them clearly, looks at links to other conditions such as FIV too.

    Eyes too bad to read Merck today, tried, but no cigar.

    ICC are good, used to be Feline Advisory Bureau. UK based.

    How about contacting a Feline Dental Vet. Over here, it's a speciality (and boy does it need to be - I have seen horrible messes left by gungho vets in general practice, tackling feline teeth with gay abandon and leaving gums full of fragments) You must have feline dentists over there - email one, get that dialogue going - maybe your observations could be of help to feline dentists!

    I'll have another go at Merck if we have some decent daylight tomorrow.