Stanlee – Ragdoll of the Week
Before I, Okie, married my husband, Ted, I already had two rescue kitty children, a ginger tabby boy named Smiley, who lived to be 19 years old (2012), and a mixed girl named Taco Bella who lived to be almost 20 years old (April 2013). Four months later in August, I pushed the idea of a puppy onto my husband. My logic was this: “If you think I’m going to live the rest of my life with just you, then you’re just crazy.” He gave in, but not to a puppy, rather to getting another two rescue kitties. Instead of getting rescue cats again, I asked him for only one very special kitty. I reminded him of the Animal Planet’s Cats 101 that showed the Ragdoll, nicknamed the “puppy cat”. I figured if he wouldn’t let me have a puppy, then he should buy me a cat that acts like one.
We found lots of Ragdoll breeders online, but to our avail, none had kittens available. Until we finally got a lead on a breeder in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. We called her and she had a Seal Color Point male. We asked her to email a picture of him. And when she did, we were instantly smitten by the kitten. She said he’d be only $500. So we accepted the price not realizing then, but knowing now, that her price was very low and that this should have raised a huge red flag, but only to the experienced buyer.
We drove up to Blue Bell, just outside of Philadelphia, in just five hours. Jean Levito, the hobby breeder, lived in a townhouse and had, I think, at least four adult Ragdolls for breeding. Our kitten was about 9 weeks old; he had no shots and was not neutered. We stayed just a little while at her house and on the road we again back down to Virginia. Our kitten was amazing in the minivan. We’d taken the extra seats out so he’d have a lot of space to run around during the ride. He played a little but mostly laid in the litter box I brought along. But little did kitty know, he wouldn’t have much need for litter once we got home.
Now home, I showed kitty where to find the litter box in the bathroom and once he used it, I quickly took it away and put him on the City Kitty filled with flushable litter setup on the toilet seat. I watched many YouTube videos and read lots of reviews before deciding on this product and I was ready and determined to have a litter-free home. So I watched him and I watched him until he finally hopped up onto the toilet and used it. From then on, he had no problems using the toilet all the way to the very last step. No litter and not one accident. Yes, he is amazing and the story behind his name is a little amazing too.
Even before driving to PA to get our kitten, I’d come up with an amazing name for him and of course it had to be husband approved. My husband is a huge Pittsburgh Penguins fan and with hockey comes the Stanley Cup. He’s also a huge Marvel Comic movies fan, all of which are inspired by comic creator Stan Lee. Blend these together and you get Stanlee, also known as “Puppy” to his mommy and “The Bubbies” to his daddy. I always enjoy telling this story, but know now that the rest of the story isn’t so happy.
A kitten with fleas is not a good thing and these fleas of course led to worms. To the vet we went for him to get treated and then put on a monthly dose of the pricey Revolution. Know that Stanlee received all his vaccinations, boosters and rabies shots and was neutered early on. If fleas and worms were all I had to worry about, then I’d be very happy, but this was not to be.
As early as December of 2013, Stanlee, not even 6-months old, started sneezing. A few days go by and the sneezing gets worse. It’s obvious that he’s trying to clear the green snot that’s clogging up his nose, making it hard to breathe. To the vet we go and after a shot of antibiotic, a shot of steroid and hefty vet bill, we’d head back home. He does get better, but in another month or so, he starts sneezing again. And to the vet we go…again. This time blood work proves Stanlee has feline herpes, a disease he’s stuck with for the rest of his life. Because it’s very contagious to other felines, Stanlee would have to stay an only child. It was so sad seeing him suffer so much with the sneezing and congestion month after month and as far as the vet knew, this wasn’t a disease that was going to kill him. Sadly, it would be something else.
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In December 2014, I started noticing Stanlee getting on and off the toilet more than normal. Being proactive, I tracked his business by placing a pan in the toilet bowl to catch his urine. Because he wasn’t peeing hardly anything, I called the vet for an appointment. He was given an antibiotic shot and other medication. On another visit he was given a $160 shot for pain, an ultra sound and more meds – $450 later. From December to this year June, Stanlee never really seemed to get any better. On Saturday, June 6th I monitored his visits to the toilet and the amount of urine in the pan – so many visits and no urine. I woke on Sunday, June 7th and rushed to the toilet to see if any urine was in the toilet – nothing. I yelled to my husband that we needed to take Stanlee to the emergency vet right away – and so we did.
Stanlee laid in my lap the whole way to the hospital – something he’d never done. The doctor knew right away that Stanlee was suffering from Feline Idiopathic Cystitis because of his full batter and lethargy and a blood sample showed extremely high potassium. This was a horrible situation to be in because the vet said emptying Stanlee’s bladder with a needle could cause it to burst or sedating him to enter through his urethra could cause heart failure due to the high level of potassium in his blood. Something needed to be done, so all we could do is leave him in their hands. It was later that week that my husband was able to pick up our baby. Stanlee was in a small white box placed in a white paper bag. (Tears pour down my face writing this.) On June 8th, I called and left Jean Levito, the breeder, a message about our kitty; she’s not called back – no surprise. Our handsome Seal Color Point Ragdoll Stanlee, our boy, would have turned two years old on June 29, 2015. This makes him a perfect choice for “Ragdoll of the Week”.
Thank you for letting me share the story of our beloved Stanlee.
Ted & Okie Sidehamer
Newport News, Virginia
Do you have a Ragdoll Kitten or Cat? Consider submitting your kitty! Ragdoll of the Week submission guidelines