ZawieCo Ruhi
A sad story with a happy ending :)
The Coolest Cats in Florida
Lori Graf
772-781-1953
ZawieCo Ruhi
The story of one special little Bengal boy: Ruhi's story
ZawieCo Ruhi at 10 weeks old
Ruhi and his two siblings were born in Feb. 07. It was a beautiful litter, and they were deposited on almost immediately. The two boys were going to go home together and the buyer named them Tane and Ruhi.

When Ruhi was about 10 weeks old, he began throwing up. It was a daily thing. I took him to the vet and had x-rays taken, but they were inconclusive as to what the cause of the vomiting was. My vet suggested a few different treatment plans, none of which helped Ruhi.

I couldn't let him go to his new home with this problem, so I made an appointment for Ruhi to have an endoscopy. At this point they were looking for a condition called megaesophagus. The job of the esophagus is to push food down into the stomach. Congenital megaesophagus is believed to occur due to incomplete nerve development in the esophagus. The muscles don't do their job of contracting and pushing, the esophagus stays flaccid, food pools, and the kitty regurgitates.

Ruhi had this test done, and they believed he probably did have megaesophagus. We were sent home with Famotidine (Pepcid) and Cisapride (a motility enhancer).
Ruhi had been anesthetized during the endoscope, and when I brought him home, I felt that he wasn't quite "right". He wasn't the happy and playful kitty he had always been. I called the vets office and I was told that Ruhi had awakened irritated. They told me to give him a couple of days to be himself again.

It took two days before I saw a dime sized sore on Ruhi's shoulder. I immediately brought him back to the vet for an examination. To my horror, I found out that while recovering, but still under anesthesia, Ruhi (who weighed 3 lbs at the time) was laid on a heating pad and covered to keep him warm. My baby Ruhi had suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns from his shoulder to his hip!

Megaesophagus was a relatively small concern compared to what we were now facing. Ruhi was put on IV fluids and antibiotics, and wrapped in colloidal silver. They didn't know his prognosis-and couldn't guarantee me of his survival. They said he might need a skin graft, he might or might not grow his hair back, but they did know that he would not be the same kitten that he was before the burn. They said burns heal slowly, and they didn't even know how long he would need to be hospitalized. Ruhi stayed at the hospital for 3 long weeks, and Lloyd and I visited daily.

Ruhi was responding to treatment, but it was slow, and he was losing weight. It was devastating to watch. When I finally took Ruhi home, he weighed all of 2 lbs. The internist told me that burns require a lot of energy to heal, and that was the reason for the weight loss.
Once home, Ruhi began to thrive, and he was obviously happy to be home. His huge scab began to slowly fall away, but he still vomited daily and they still suspected megaesophagus. The internist recommended that I take Ruhi for another test, an esophagram (fluorscopy).

This test works like a moving x-ray. They give the patient barium, and then they watch and take pictures as the barium moves through the esophagus toward the stomach. We took Ruhi to Gainesville, to the small animal clinic at Florida University, where he was a huge hit with the entire staff! The official diagnosis that day was that Ruhi "likely has a congenital esophageal motility disorder that will remain unresponsive to medications"....in other words...megaesophagus.

Ruhi's buyer felt that she could not meet the needs of this special kitty, and after all that Lloyd and I had been through with him, we decided he would stay with us. Today, Ruhi is a very happy and feisty little man! Healing was slow, but his fur did grow back, and he has pattern, although he is scarred.

Weight gain is slow, because he still regurgitates his food, (although not daily as he once did) but at least he does steadily gain. Ruhi weighs close to six lbs now, but if you ask him, he'll say it's more like 16!!! Ruhi plays and rough houses with the biggest of them! Have you ever seen that picture of the little kitty looking in the mirror, but instead of seeing himself, he sees an image of a lion?
That's my Ruhi.
Addendum: I originally wrote Ruhi's story over 3 months ago. I had been told that there are some cases where cats do outgrow megaesophagus. Since Ruhi was already turning two years old, I didn't think that he would be one of these lucky cats.

Today, I believe that I was wrong....because today, Ruhi has not thrown up in 3 months!! Today, Ruhi weighs just over 7 lbs, and is steadily gaining. His coat has gotten shiny and gorgeous, and his face has lost the gaunt look that I had seen for so long.

Ruhi has incredible energy, I mean incredible energy! He has always been playful, but now it seems that his energy is just boundless. Do I dare say megaesophagus is a thing of the past, that Ruhi has been fortunate enough to outgrow it? It certainly seems so:-)

Dear Lori,

Ruhi’s story made me cry at my office desk, but then the happy ending made me smile (because so often these stories of brave little kittens don’t end well…).

He is really a testament to your love & devotion for your cats.

I’d like to bring a Bengal into my home some day, so I like to visit breeders’ websites to learn more about these beautiful cats. My current cats are a 14-yr old Oriental Shorthair & a 12-yr old Siamese mix; I like active, vocal, smart cats, so a Bengal would fit right in.

The snow Bengals are particularly appealing, with their blue eyes, but all of your cats are beautiful & have such sweet expressions.

Thank you for sharing all the pictures & information about your cats & their home.

Best wishes,
Ariel
Ruhi relaxing at home.. Jan 2010
Hi Lori:
I happened upon your website while seeking information about the coloring of my youngest cat, adopted from a cat rescue last March. Although she is not a bengal, somehow in my search your website popped up. I so enjoyed the photos and learning about these gorgeous cats! Wow – I think ALL cats are beautiful, but those are just . . . Stunning! And then I read Ruhi’s story. Truly a happy ending and deservedly so for that little guy, and for you! Your love and devotion and your willingness to do whatever was needed is truly a wonderful thing to read. We hear so many sad stories about abused and neglected animals. Thank God there are people like you who are devoted to and love their animals unconditionally.

All the best to you and your cats! I will bookmark your website and visit again to see these gorgeous cats.

Best regards,
Kathy in Kent, OH

Lori Graf
Beautifully rosetted brown and golden bengals, snow bengal and charcoal bengal kittens for sale in Florida