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Celeste was born probably around late-September or early-October in 1990. When the first time I met her, she was in a cage with her sister at an animal hospital where I took Blackie I, and later, Phil and Don. She was about eight weeks old. The animal hospital has an animal rescue fund in memory of an employee of the hospital. He died in a plane crash and his parents donated his last paycheck to be utilized to help animals. The fund is called Peter Zippi Fund for Animals in honor of this employee. She was one of the "Zippi cats." When I passed by the cage, this rather scrawny looking kitten with long legs and a tail (with a kink at the tip, too) and big ears came towards the front of the cage and started climbing the wire mesh to reach me. "Hi, cutie, nice to see you!" I told her, but I didn't have any plan of adopting a third cat at that time. I left the hospital, wishing she and her sister would find a good home.

About a week or so later, I went to a cat show at a nearby Howard Johnson Hotel. I looked around the pure-bred, snobbish-looking show cats in the event hall, then came outside of the hall where there were several cages that contained kittens with nondescript origin. A vet tech from the hospital whom I knew was attending the cages. Apparently, they were Zippi kittens. When I went close to one of the cages, I found that scrawny, long-legged kitten with big ears alone in the cage. Again she climbed up the mesh to the top of the cage and extended her paw. She came home with me that day and was named Celeste. The rest is all history.

Celeste reprimands sneezing

Celeste has a very strange habit. She reprimands me with snappy chatter everytime I sneeze. I don't know why she hates my sneezing. Very strange, and very cute. I sometimes do fake sneezing to make her chatter.

She also hates her photos taken. This is because she hates the flash. She chatters whenever I point a camera at her, even when I don't use a flash. She is very clear about what she likes and disikes.

Celeste has chronic bronchitis!

Celeste has had occasional wheezing and hacking coughs in the past, probably once every three weeks or so. However, in the spring of 2004, the frequency of her wheezing and coughing increased. In the beginning of June, she was having wheezing fits almost everyday. I took her to a general practice vet. The vet listened to my description of her symptoms, asked her history, and took two chest X-rays and did a bloodwork. The X-rays showed "tramlines" and "donuts" of her airways in the lungs. A-ha! Feline asthma! Or so we thought.

She started taking prednisone, but it didn't help. So the vet prescribed theophylline (a bronchodilator) in addition to prednisone. It didn't help. Celeste's breathing sounds got worse. The general practice vet was stumped, and decided to send us to our internal medicine specialist for further treatment.

Celeste might have multiple myeloma?

Celeste and Tina had a senior wellness checkup in early May of 2004. They are both 13+ years old and were due for a checkup to see how they are doing. Celeste's total protein, globulin, and triglyceride were very high. Repeated bloodworks still showed these higher than normal. Serum protein electrophoresis was done and it showed monoclonal gammopathy. The next step was Bence-Jones urine protein test.

The result of Bence-Jones protein test was negative. Two out of four criteria for diagnosing multiple myeloma are out (lytic bone lesions and Bence-Jones protein). There is one remaining - bone marrow biopsy, which we scheduled for next week. She will be anesthetized for the procedure and if she is doing good while under the anesthesia, they are going to perform either tracheobronchoscopy or tracheal wash to find out what is going on in her airways. The District of Columbia Academy of Veterinary Medicine has a good article on Respiratory Medicine that discusses various diagnostic techniques of respiratory diseases in small animals.

Celeste has been on a different bronchodilator (terbutaline), antibiotic (doxycycline), and prednisone for about two weeks after she started seeing Don's internal medicine specialist, but the medications didn't seem to have any positive effects. A couple of days ago, she started taking Flovent inhaler (it's human formula, bought at any pharmacy). It didn't show improvement at first, but her wheezing and noisy breathing is getting a little better, I think. We will wait and see if Flovent improves the condition. (She sleeps next to me at night and her noisy breathing sounds keep me awake all night. I'm sleep deprived, but so is Celeste. We both are hoping things will get better soon.)

Flovent seems to be effective. Celeste still "snores" while snoozing, but the sound is not as harsh as before. She is tolerating the mask of Aerokat aerosol chamber very well. I can even puff the medication into the chamber after I put the mask to her face. (Many cats don't like the "whish!" sound of the inhaler, but Celeste doesn't seem to mind much.)