An Overdue Update on Phoebe


This is her cute face. Her surprised by the camera face. Her usual expression is more calculating. Even frightening.

I realized that it’s been a long time since we updated you all on how our cat Phoebe is doing–well over a year, actually. And at that time, we told you we didn’t expect her to live more than 9 more months.

Surprise! She’s been doing really well.

(For those of you new to the blog, Phoebe has a malformed heart. It’s missing important parts. Here’s the original post from 10/25/11)

Thank goodness for drugs and really smart kitty cardiologists. Thank you, Dr. Zimmerman! The first vet to diagnose her sent her home to die. Our lesson: seek out the good vets. The meds that keep Phoebe alive are not even expensive.

Her quality of life has really improved since diagnosis. It’s even improved since our last post about her. When she first began treatment, she was sick, breathing hard and moving slow. But ever since we got her meds adjusted correctly, she’s been spry and happy, not at all acting like an old cat anymore.

True, she’s not quite as hyperactive as our other two cats, but she beats up Buck, the youngest of our cats, every morning like clockwork, loves to savage the fishing pole toy, and is diligently destroying the underside of our sofa. The sofa is her great work, an evolving art piece about the nature of entropy.

She will have a short lifespan, though. The drugs just buy her a little time.  Dr. Zimmerman told us the oldest cat she knew with Phoebe’s rare condition made it to four years old. Phoebe has already passed her second birthday. I’ve noticed her breathing sounds a bit wet lately, so we’re going to the vet this week and we hope an adjustment of her diuretics will clear that up.

Knowing her time is short just makes her all the more precious. I’ve come to appreciate her as a real “cat’s cat.” The other two cats, Buck and Trout, known collectively as “The Boys”, are too friendly and simpleminded to do credit to the cat kingdom.

Meanwhile, Phoebe is a real cat, a stone cold killer, a witch’s familiar, a walking riddle, an evil genius, an Egyptian statue with scornful golden eyes. Erik is her devoted slave. Me, she doesn’t like that much–but I’m still in love with her.

Leave a comment


  1. Thank you for the update. I was thinking about your cat yesterday, wondering how she was getting along. I am so glad she is doing well.

  2. Cats can be incredibly resilient and vets do amazing things. Continued good health to Phoebe!

    Sorry to hear about your sofa, though. It does, however, qualify you as a member in good standing of the Cat Owner’s Association.

  3. I’m glad Phoebe is doing so well! I think a lot of vets will know there is more care they can provide, but will assume that people will not want to spend the money on a specialist like a cardiologist.

    Our older cat has an arrhythmia. I was really impressed that the vet found it, she was very thorough. Anyway, it was several hundred dollars to have the heart vet do an ECG, but the ongoing meds are only $5 every two months. I consider it a bargain. Before the pills, I thought her low energy was because she was just getting old. Now she is much more playful since her heart is pumping enough blood to her body!

  4. Thank you for the update, I just was thinking about her. Glad she is still queen of the castle.

  5. That is wonderful news! So happy for you. Finding a good vet is extremely tough, I agree, but the benefits are worth looking. Here’s to several more good years for Phoebe.

  6. Thanks for posting Kelly,

    Phoebs is a great cat. An Erik familiar although I might say, as you pointed out, that Erik is the cat’s familiar.

    Phoebe secretly loves you though. She sends me text messages about you when she’s worried for your spiritual safety.

  7. I am loving your description of her love (hate?) for the fishing pole toy and the couch. Our female cat is apparently even more cold-blooded, going for the arms of the couch/chairs rather than the underside!

  8. May Phoebe use her supernatural kitty powers to overcome her heart problem and live to shred your couch for years to come!!!

  9. that is wonderful news! I am glad you were able to seek out another vet. How do you get her to the vet these days? on the bike?

    • Rental car. I can only imagine cramming Her Royal Highness on the back of a bike!

  10. What a beautiful cat…………I prefer mine feisty too…..well we chose the ‘phoebe’ from the litter of cute placid boys and endure her personality which basically means we are enslaved to her wants and whims. Your last paragraph description I recognise well!
    Im glad to hear Phoebe is doing well its always a big question whether its the right thing to medicate pets to prolong life but she looks so healthy and sounds like she has quality of life that in this case you would feel like it was the right decision.
    Shes a very lucky cat!

  11. Thank you all for your good wishes! We went to the vet, and while one of her valves has become a bit worse, we can in fact address her wet lungs via meds, and the vet said she doesn’t need to be seen for another 6 months. So that’s pretty good.

    Poor Phoebe is skulking and angry about the whole ordeal.

  12. we have loved, and lost a variety of cat family over the years. Right now we are watching our 15 yr old oscar slow down, lose his teeth, and sleep where he doesnt belong. But he hasnt lost his sweet personality, and still seems to be enjoying his life. I hope your years with phoebe are spent in happy servitude.

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