Lux’s outburst had put a wrench in the works for the Cat From Hell episode, which had wrapped on the joyful note that Lux was a normal, if misunderstood, cat, now to be adopted by quiet cat people with whom he could live happily ever after. That no longer rang true; would the couple still want to adopt without the assurance of a happy ending? Reassessment was necessary and some re-filming needed to be done. Again we set up in my kitchen; again we sat around my grandmother’s table and talked about Lux. These are the takes you see in the episode.
It was nearly 7:00 when we got the call. Jim and I met Jackson and the film crew at Lux’s veterinary clinic where the results of the tests were to be revealed. If Lux was okay, Jim and I would pick him up from the medical center where he was still sleeping off his encounter and take him home; if he wasn’t… well, we had to wait and see.
Our wonderful vet, whose name was given in the show but I withhold from this blog since I don’t know if she would appreciate the publicity, took us into the surgery where we stood around an examination table, awaiting the word. She explained that all tests had come back normal – no tumor or anomaly in Lux’s brain. There were no problems with his spine either. He was a fit young cat.
She then told us about a syndrome she knew of called Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome* which could manifest itself in different ways. She considered Lux’s case to be atypical, because usually cats didn’t act out violently, but it wasn’t unheard of. FHS is a seizure disorder and can be treated with medication. It might take a little work to find the right combination for Lux, but hopes were high and we were more than willing to try.
A funny incident: As we were filming in the lobby of the vet clinic, a TV news truck rolled by. Lux’s story was still secret at this time and would be until the show aired, so everyone held their breath, wondering if we’d been found out. Lux was a big deal in Portland, and any news crew who uncovered his whereabouts would have had a story. The news truck slowed and we saw them look our way. They pulled into the parking lot across the street and took another pass, this time at a snail’s pace. We were sure we’d have some explaining to do. Then they sped off, never to be seen again. Oops on them!
*”Feline hyperesthesia syndrome, also known as rolling skin disease, is a rare illness in domestic cats that causes episodes of agitation, self-mutilation, and a characteristic rippling of the skin when touched. It is often described as a seizure disorder but the cause is unknown. During an episode cats show a number of typical signs, including skin rolling or twitching, self-directed pouncing, or aggressive behavior such as biting or attacking the tail. There may also be pupil dilation, vocalization and a general increase in activity.” Wikipedia