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Breed - DSH - Black & White Tuxedo
Sex - female
Age - Sanctuary
Cat Friendly - Yes
Dog Friendly - Yes
Housebroken - Yes



Lyra was diagnosed with Cholangiohepatitis and is very ill.  Cholangiohepatitis (also known as cholangitis) is a disease of the liver and biliary system.  Clinical signs of disease include jaundice (yellow pallor to the skin, whites of the eyes, and gums), loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and painful abdomen.  It is a serious disease, BUT responsive to treatment in the majority of cases.  Lyra had inflammation of the gall bladder and liver failure.

Her guardian mom noticed bright yellow urine in the liver box one day and was sick to her stomach because she knew that one of the kitties was going into liver failure.  She knew this because she had just lost one of her precious babies (Mercury was actually one of Lyra's very best friends - see the many pictures of them snuggling above...) on 3 January to cancer and secondary liver failure, so she knew it was serious!  Although Lyra had been acting normal, she was able to discern that her skin was developing a yellow tinge.  She took her immediately to the vet (Dr. Cohen - Wicker Park Veterinary) whereupon he referred her to a specialist (A.E.T.C.) to have an ultrasound.  It showed that Lyra's gall bladder was thickened and he recommended a liver biopsy to confirm his theory of cholangiohepatitis.  Unfortunately, the specialist was tremendously expensive and Dr. Cohen does not perform this kind of surgery, but he gave a few recommendations, one of which was Animal Care Center.  Lyra has been under their care ever since and they have been paramount in saving her life!!!  

Lyra was hospitalized for 12 days, had a liver biopsy needed to confirm cholangiohepatitis in order to proceed with the correct treatment protocol, has had several ultrasounds to check the progress of her gall bladder and liver, had a feeding tube inserted into her neck because she was not eating on her own (a consistent quantity of daily food is necessary to reverse the liver failure), is on 7 different medications, and has weekly blood tests.  For a feline, the normal level for bilirubin (one of the liver values) is 0.5...  at one point, hers topped off at 21!!  Lyra's medical journey began on 11 March.  Dr. Hartwig is hopeful that she will have a 100% recovery by the end of June, but he said more than likely it will be mid-July.  In the beginning, Lyra gradually became more ill as her liver values got worse.  Her guardian mom was not going to let her die and just had a feeling inside that Lyra would pull through.  It has been a very long road already.  Lyra needed to be fed every 5 hours for several weeks.  She could tolerate only small amounts of food or she would vomit.  It has been heartbreaking to see Lyra feel so rotten.  However, even though you could tell she was feeling dumpy, she had good spirits.  Once she had been on the medication for a little while and was getting enough nutrition, she felt well enough to become more mobile.  Her guardian mom would come home and find her in different spots - even perched on cat tree ledges!  Lyra is normally a slightly vocal girl and has the cutest meow.  Sadly, she has not made a sound while she has been sick.  On Friday night, 15 May, Lyra was snuggled next to her guardian mom on the couch when she looked her in the eye and made a noise!  It wasn't quite her adorable meow, but it was a noise / a vocalization nonetheless.  It turns out that was the precursor to a MIRACLE...   Lyra ate for the first time in TWO MONTHS on Saturday morning, 16 May!!  WOO HOO!!!  That was a HUGE breakthrough!!!  She is currently eating small "snacks" on her own, but she will still be fed through her neck-tube to ensure that she continues to receive the full amount of daily nutrition needed in case she isn't consuming it by herself yet.  Things must still be taken slowly.  Her bilirubin went down from 21 to 18 to 16 to 13 and is currently at 8.  Lyra is still on 7 medications, goes for bloodwork once a week, receives subcutaneous fluids every other day, and is fed through her neck tube 3 times a day.  

Why save Lyra's life when it is expensive to do so?  Simply this - she is worth it.  Lyra's precious life is worth saving.  Lyra is young and only 6 years old.  She never "crashed”, she didn’t have cancer, and you wouldn't have really known she was tremendously ill except for her test results. "Animal rescue is basically heartbreaking and gut-wrenching on a daily basis.  I am well aware that I cannot save every single animal.  There are just too many precious babies to save.  My goal is not to save every single animal.  That is ultimately impossible as things stand in the world.  Many rescues are about numbers - 'We saved "this many" lives this year' as if it was a race to just put dogs and cats in homes.  Lovin' Life Rescue is about quality not quantity.  I believe that every single life matters individually.  So, we try to give the best care we can to each precious life that we save, which includes every possible avenue regarding medical care.  Some people say that 10 animals can be saved for the cost of that one.  Well, how can I look that "one" in the eye and say, "I'm sorry, but your life is not worth saving."?  In the moment, the cost of medical care for a sick animal can be overwhelming.  I choose to see it as a cost spread out over the lifetime of the animal.  All things are taken into consideration regarding medical treatment decisions including age and potential results.  If a sick or injured animal needs a surgery that costs $1,000 and lives 10 more years, the cost is $100 per year.  (Many people spend more than that at Starbucks in one month…)  A life is not worth $100 a year?  I believe it is.  – Linda Schifferdecker 


 Lyra is a Sanctuary Kitty and is not adoptable.  She is a bonded pair with Paolo (a feral cat).  She was adopted out twice and returned twice (the first time on her own and the second with Paolo).  She does not do well in another home.  She hides for weeks and stops eating, which could have lead to liver failure, but was returned before that happened.  It was decided that it was in her best interest to have environmental stability for the rest of her life.