UPDATE: February, 2023. A venison diet still seems to be the only option that works reasonably well. Fortunately, the supply has been stable since last summer. Although she reacts somewhat to the rabbit, we felt we should continue with it in case the venison supply once again becomes insecure. From time to time, when a flare-up is particularly bad, we will put her on three to five days of a 1/4 tab dexamethasone. It reduces her inflammation but massively increases her appetite. Flare-ups happen when Peggy gets into another foster cat's food dish. Despite the foster provider's best efforts, it's impossible to prevent one hundred percent.
UPDATE: July, 2022. Venison frozen raw food has become increasingly difficult to source. We decided to introduce another raw protein, rabbit. We did this as slowly as possible but she still reacted. We then made the decision to put her back on a tiny amount of dexamethasone - 1/4 tab every four days. It seems to be working - not perfectly - but enough so that we have an alternate to venison if/when the supply becomes unavailable (and it surely will do that again in the future).
UPDATE: February, 2022. Peggy is no longer on allergy injections. We didn't feel they were helping because they do not prevent a flare-up which happens if Peggy accidentally eats food she shouldn't eat . Even a mouthful of food can cause a significant allergic reaction that lasts for several days. She is still tolerating well the venison raw, a special-order frozen product by Primal. Her foster family has to be diligent about not having any other cat food around when Peggy is out and about. It's not ideal for anybody, but Peggy is worth it.
UPDATE: January, 2021. Peggy ended up having to go back on dexamethasone last fall due to a flare up...but now, once again, she is steroid-free. We had to stop feeding the Sensitivity VR and she's doing much better on a raw venison food. We are still hoping to stabilize her care plan so that she can find her very own home. We are continuing with her allergy injections - they vary from every two weeks to every six weeks (under the on-going advice of her dermatologist). Her biggest problem now seems to be chronic rhinitis (sneezing) which was due to being on steroid therapy for a long time. Otherwise she is doing very well, good weight, beautiful coat.
UPDATE: September, 2020. For the first time in two years, Peggy has been completely weened off dexamethasone. Fingers crossed, she won't need to go back on it! She is still receiving allergy injections. We have found only one food - RC Sensitivity VR - that seems to work reasonably well for her....but we are grateful there's at least one food that she can tolerate(ish).
UPDATE: June, 2019. Peggy is now receiving allergy injections by her foster providers. We think it is helping, however, she still has flare-ups from time to time. Her foster provider has to be very careful that she doesn't get into the other cats' food (but accidents do happen). It is necessary to keep her isolated for certain periods of the day when the food bowls for the other cats are out. After a lot of trial and error, the routine is going reasonably well.
UPDATE: September, 2018.Peggy has significant food allergies. She saw a specialist in Calgary in June, 2018, and was put on steroids and antibiotics. So far, she is doing very well and is gradually being weened off dexamethasone (steroid). She will be going for a follow-up appointment on Oct. 25, 2018. We'll keep you posted! We may decide to do definitive allergy testing at that time.
Color: DSH Dilute Tortoiseshell (micro-chipped)
Age: Born Approx. May 1, 2016
Gender: Spayed female
A young cat was seen in obvious distress between two lanes of traffic due to a hit and run on a brutally cold day in mid December, 2016. A PAW member just happened to be first on-scene. Our member prefers to think the driver who hit the young cat didn't realize what had happened. Anyway, there she was, a little gray cat hunched on the road, bleeding from her mouth and nose and crying loudly. Had she not received immediate help, she would have quickly succumbed to exposure and shock or been hit again. Another driver helped stop traffic and little "Peggy" was gently placed on our member's front car seat and driven just a block to Highlands Pet Hospital. They admitted her immediately and, although she didn't appear to have injuries to limbs or torso, her head had taken a hit. Further observation revealed a broken hard palate and soft tissue injury to her soft palate. Her teeth, miraculously, were in tact. She had a deep gash under her chin.
Cats are amazing survivors, aren't they? After four days at the clinic, Peggy was discharged with pain medication, an anti-inflammatory and antibiotics. Of course, we'll never know how long Peggy had been homeless before she was scooped off the road - but it was obvious she hadn't eaten in awhile or, for that matter, had shelter. She was very thin and had frost bite along the tip of her left ear. After three weeks in her foster home, her eating finally slowed. She has been spayed, "just a teeny-tiny uterus", said her vet, vaccinated and treated for ear mites. It took about six weeks for her to regain her kitten-energy. She's now very active and can entertain herself for quite some time with her favourite toys (springs, sponge balls, the bathtub). She poofed up the first time she saw the little resident dog, but that was over in about a minute. It's fun to see a cat's personality emerge. SEE ABOVE UPDATES After a few years, we felt we had no choice but to designate Peggy a sanctuary cat. The likelihood of her finding a permanent home outside of the PAW family is quite low. However, if she were to be an 'only' cat and someone could afford her food costs ($200 + per month), Peggy would be a delightful little family member. Her fur is just the softest! Her purr is deep and contented. She is playful and very loving.