Sunday, 3 February 2013
Many cats visited vets in the past several weeks. Nothing serious, fortunately.
Saffy went in because she was sneezing so vehemently, I thought she might have something up her nose. I'll never forget taking Owl the Siamese to the vet for prolonged sneezing and seeing her pull a three inch blade of grass from his nose. I learned this time that cats have to start to swallow something, then cough it up in exactly a certain way for it to get behind the soft palate in their mouths in order for a foreign object to end up in their noses. It comes in through a back entrance rather than being inhaled. In Saffy's case, it was a bad cat-cold and it cleared up in about a week.
Then Pippin went in with conjunctivitis in his right eye. He has a bad habit of getting dust from the cat litter all over his head, so I'm only surprised it doesn't happen more often. The vet was impressed at what a good job we've done of getting his weight down from 22 lbs. to 17 lbs. She recommended that he lose a little bit more, so we're aiming for 16 lbs.
And a couple of days ago, I took Zoe and Jetta in for their rabies and other required shots in order to have them licensed with the county. I've never in my life lived in a place that licensed cats and it irks me, but it's required by the place where I sometimes have to board them. Neither one has had a check-up for years, so I went ahead and had full blood panels done as a precaution.
Zoe still has a bad habit of eating her dry food too quickly and throwing up. I've taken to giving her a tiny handful of food first thing in the morning, then waiting ten or fifteen minutes before give her more. That seems to help. Today, I didn't wait the full time and sure enough, I came back to find cat vomit on my desk.
Jetta continues to have the bad allergy problem that keeps her belly bare. The vet noted red marks in the space between her eyes and ears where the hair is sparse. She said it has the classic earmarks (pun intended) of a food allergy. She gave me a can and sample of dry food to try on her -- the Science Diet zd low allergen food. Jetta loves it, so it looks like Jetta will join Pippin in eating expensive prescription food. And I can't really give it to Jetta without Zoe getting into it, at least the dry food, so I guess Zoe will be getting it as well.
Saturday, 9 February 2013
Holy crap, that Science Diet Z/D is expensive. Insanely expensive, even at Petsmart. An 8.5 lb bag was $55! I may have to look for alternatives for the dry food. Jetta is happily eating the canned version, which is a good thing, so I'll stick with that. Both Jetta and Zoe like the dry food, too.
The bloodwork came back with excellent results for both of them. No worries there.
I found poor Mr. Fuzzy Ball floating face down in the water bowl, a victim of drowning-by-cat. I let him dry off for a few days, then while I was out of town, Randy gave Mr. Fuzzy Ball back to Jetta to play with and found him drowned a second time shortly afterwards. Jetta is without mercy.
Tuesday, 19 March 2013
Jetta is totally cracking me up. She's deeply perturbed by something I'm doing. I've been writing a monthly comic book called Amethyst for DC Comics. I send in a script, the artist does the pencils, it gets colored and a letterer adds the balloons and captions. At the lettering stage, the editor sends me a pdf so that I can do a final proofing pass on the dialog.
I find it helps me to catch missing words or other problems if I read dialog out loud, so that's what I was doing. Jetta perched herself next to the keyboard as closely as she could get, stared at me intently and every time I started reading dialog again, she would meow at me as if to say, "What are you doing?!" She apparently thinks I've lost my mind.
On an unrelated note...I've just discovered that some unknown source is adding links to my blog posts! I have no idea how this is happening, but I intend to find out. I recommend that anyone reading this blog be careful to avoid clicking on these false links that I clearly didn't intend to be there. How infuriating.
UPDATE: It looks like I fixed the problem. It was a piece of advertisting malware known as "text-enhance" that had snuck itself in as an add-on to my browser. A plague on them.
Sunday, 21 April 2013
It turns out Jetta becomes equally perturbed if I sing to her. Not that I can blame her, as I don't sing especially well, but it's the same reaction she gives me when I'm proofreading a script out loud. She paces back and forth on the desk around my keyboard, then plants herself next to me, looks at me intently and gives me a sharp, questioning meow -- one of those full head meows where her ears snap flat back on her head and then pop back up. This only encourages me to do it even more.
And if I dance a bit while I'm singing or sing directly TO her...that really worries her. LOL!
She continues to eat the Z/D canned food. I consider it a miracle that she hasn't lost interest in it. I bought a less expensive, but still pricey dry food that's a duck and pea combination. Jetta refused to eat it for a while and complained vociferously about it when I put it in her bowl. So I picked up an expensive, high quality, no-grain food with salmon and mixed the two. Both Jetta and Zoe seem far happier about this blend.
Sunday, 16 June 2013
The past month has been spent wrestling with food allergies and genetic tendencies that Pippin and Jetta share. It's not surprising because they are the two out of the litter that look the most alike, at least in coloring. They're both black with a bit of white on the chest vs. Opal and Saffy the Torties. They have some differences besides being male and female: Jetta's long-haired while Pippin is short-haired and Pip has some extra white on his belly.
And both of them have food allergies. Pippin has had intestinal problems since he was a kitten. Jetta recently developed more of an allergic reaction and licked all the fur off her belly. Her hair was dry and rough and she had bad dandruff.
We took Pippin to the vet a couple of weeks ago because he was having persistent bloody diarrhea. He gets pumpkin every night with his canned food, but it wasn't helping. So now both Pippin and Jetta are getting the Science Diet Z/D canned food. But Pippin refused to eat any of his dry food if it had even a bit of the dry Z/D in it. And this is Pippin we're talking about, the Walking Stomach.
The dry Z/D is too bloody expensive to buy anyway, so I've been trying Jetta on a blend of unique protein food with duck in it and a non-grain food with salmon in it. She tolerates that pretty well. Her stomach is looking darker as her fur slowly starts to grow back in. For a while, I thought the condition of her fur was improving, but then I started seeing more dandruff again.
On the last trip to the pet store, I picked up another unique protein food with duck in it called Blue Wilderness. It's expensive, but not as bad as the SD.
Pippin loves it. Jetta also seems to really like it. Now we wait and see how well it does for them in the long term.
Tuesday, 18 June 2013
So far, so good! Jetta loves the Blue Wilderness food. Before this, I'd get home at night and find a third or even half of the morning's dry food still in the bowl, and this is with Hoover Cat (aka Zoe) around, which means neither one of them liked it much. Now there's not a bit left by the end of the day.
Pippin likes it as much as his sister does and he seems to be tolerating it with no intestinal problems. Yay!
A question about their ages from a long-time reader reminded me that I forgot to make note of their birthdays recently. They're all eight years old now. Saffy, Pippin, Opal and Jetta turned eight at the beginning of April and Zoe turned eight at the beginning of May.
Sunday, 23 June 2013
Zoe is such a character. She has a quirk about covering up food. When she's done eating her canned food, she'll drag cat toys over (especially the rod and string type) and dump them in the bowl to cover it up. If there's a blanket nearby, she'll drag that over. I have blankets on all the cat beds because blankets are easier to throw in the washing machine than entire cat beds. Zoe doesn't just do that with her food bowl. I came home one day and found a cat bed dragged halfway across the floor, then the blanket pulled off it even further. She'd used it to cover up a pile of vomit. And that wasn't the only time.
She's also a burrower and loves to burrow beneath the blanket that I've put on the cat bed, thereby defeating the purpose of the blanket. Whatever makes her happy.
Sunday, 30 June 2013
It's been a miserably hot weekend, especially considering that we have no air conditioning. Zoe and Jetta have been sprawled on my desktop, seeking whatever coolness they can find. Their appetites are down, though Jetta stuck her head into a corner and I think munched on a spider. She came out with her whiskers festooned with webs.
Zoe lies belly up, so I give her belly-rubs. She adores belly-rubs. So much so that when I tried to withdraw, she grabbed my hand with her front paws and wouldn't let go. I was simply forced to keep rubbing the belly and scritching her under the chin.
Tuesday, 16 July 2013
We think we've had a breakthrough in figuring out what triggers the dietary problems in Pippin and Jetta.
Would you believe...salmon?
We feed canned salmon cat food to Opal, Saffy and Zoe, who all love it. Randy noticed that if Pippin happened to lick up leftover bits of Opal's canned food, he'd have problems in the catbox. He's been more careful about that and we'd gotten Pippin back to normal.
Randy and I eat wild-caught salmon from Whole Foods once a week. Randy puts out the salmon juice as a treat. This last time after he let Pippin have salmon juice, Pippin had a severe case of diarrhea again. He's gotten over it and we definitely won't be giving him any kind of salmon in any form.
I realized that when Jetta developed her allergy problem, I was feeding her both canned and dry food that was salmon-based, plus treats that were a combo of salmon and shrimp. I was still giving her those treats even after switching her to the z/d canned food and the duck dry food. So I found some duck-based treats from a brand called Authority and weaned her off the other treats onto these. Fortunately, both Jetta and Zoe love them.
It never would have occurred to me that a cat would be allergic to salmon, but the evidence sure points to it.
Thursday, 18 July 2013
I had a wonderful, unexpected visit from my stepson who was in town doing special effects on a couple of commercials. He was able to take off enough time for us to have dinner with him last night. Afterwards, he visited at our house briefly. Everyone but Pippin came to greet him. He showed us something he'd put on his iPad for his own cat. It's a app that is an animated mouse that runs around inside a "box". It starts and stops as it goes from wall to wall. If you tap it, it squeaks and takes off in another direction.
He set it down where Saffy could study it. She watched it for a good five minutes and finally began batting at it. After a couple of minutes of that, she started looking under the iPad and then gave up. Opal came over and batted at it just a couple of times before she gave up on it. I'm afraid a virtual mouse isn't that interesting to these jaded moggies.
Sunday, 21 July 2013
There were two, giant, monster hairballs waiting for me in the office. I swear, Zoe and Jetta must have been saving up the hair for these beauties for a month.
In return, I did something I don't usually do and included them in the weekly "bath" with the anti-allergen liquid. In addition to neutralizing the allergens, the liquid seems to improve the quality of the cats' fur. In Jetta's case, she needs all the help she can get. I carried her into the small downstairs bathroom for her wet sock rub-down where she proceeded to wail like a banshee. If there were only a way to record this sound next to the definiton of caterwaul. And this from a cat who barely meeps at any other time. Randy came running from upstairs, wondering who was being fiendishly tortured.
The girls forgave me quickly afterwards when I gave them treats.
Sunday, 15 September 2013
We just got back from a ten-day vacation. We drove from the Bay area to Portland to check out more of Oregon. It culminated in an emergency root canal for me, so a lot of the trip was more painful that I would have liked.
Our moggies would overjoyed when we got back. We found a truly excellent petsitter, someone who not only works for our vet, but is in training to become a vet. She's taken care of Zoe and Jetta many times, but this was the first time she had to care for Pippin, Opal and Saffy. They mostly hid from her and were only starting to come around toward the end of the trip.
They've been clingy and needy ever since we got back, including Zoe. Jetta mainly had words for me along the lines of "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!". She lectured me at first, but is now quite happy to have me here.
Monday, 23 September 2013
Jetta and Zoe both lost interest in the Blue Wilderness duck dry food. They would barely touch it. I'd put a fairly small amount out for the day and find half of it left behind by the evening. They weren't eating much between the two of them.
Plus I haven't seen improvement in Jetta's condition. She still has only the merest fuzz of fur on her belly, which means she's continuing to lick it off. So I decided to look for an alternative food.
I came home with a NutraMax duck and potato food. So far, they're both inhaling it with enthusiasm and leaving not a speck behind. NutraMax is one of those brands that doesn't use grains, especially the corn meal filler crap that the cheap cat foods use. We'll see how it goes in the long run.
Saturday, 19 October 2013
The NutroMax Duck dry food continues to be a hit with Zoe and Jetta. Before, I'd put out a measured amount of dry food and come home at the end of the day to find half of it left in the bowl. Now they power through it and don't leave a single piece behind. They love this stuff.
More importantly, it seems to be working better for Jetta's food sensitivities. I'm rarely finding tufts of her black fur scattered around the office as I used to. The bare spot at the base of her tail is gone and it looks as though there's more new growth than before on her belly. Hopeful signs!
I took Opal to the vet last Wed. because she's been throwing up every single day, or more precisely every night or in the wee hours of the morning when we're trying to sleep. All the cats throw up because it's some kind of a cat hobby to throw up, but doing it daily starts to worry us.
The vet did a full blood work-up including checking the pancreas. Her physical exam and the blood panel were completely normal. She's up to ten whole pounds now (definitely one of the smaller cats I've had), which is more than when she was last seen in 2009. His best guess is IBS and/or food sensitivity. Given the problems with her siblings, Pippin and Jetta, this is hardly a surprise.
He recommended the unique proteins such as the duck and potato, salmon and green pea, etc. So we think we'll switch over Opal and Saffy to the NutroMax duck food and see how that goes. We've already switched their canned food and they seem happy with salmon and green pea. But we're not sure we should keep buying salmon when we don't know where it's coming from. Given the amount of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear accident that traveling in an ocean plume to the west coast, any kind of Pacific fish could become risky.
Opal yowled on the way to the vet, but was otherwise a sweet, well-behaved girl...until I got her home. Then she became a total imp from hell. She hissed at and whacked Saffy. She hissed at and harrassed Pippin so badly that he went around the house the rest of the day upset and hissing if we so much as touched him. It took hours and hours for the household to settle down again.
Thursday, 7 November 2013
We had a round of moggy one-upmanship. Or would that be one-upmoggyship?
Opal mostly wants attention from me after dinner. Part of our routine is that as soon as we finish eating, I give Opal love and attention and she rolls around at my feet. Tonight, she came upstairs to hang out with me while I was brushing my teeth.
Saffy found a mousie downstairs, sang the mousie song all the way up the stairs and dropped it at my feet. This requires me to give Saffy much praise and attention for bringing the mousie, so Opal immediately jumped up and ran away.
A few minutes later, Opal begins to yodel from downstairs, the yodel that is demanding a mousie to fetch. I tossed a mousie down to her and after a bit more yodeling and fussing around, she brought the mousie upstairs so that she could be praised and told what a good mousie fetcher she was. But not from me, only from Randy. I was still on her shit list at that point.
Let the mousie-fetching wars commence!
Thursday, 21 November 2013
We were watching the end of a TV show when we looked over to the side of the room to see Opal rolling around as though she were zonked on catnip. But she was rolling around and rubbing her head on some small object, so Randy went to investigate. It turned out to be a millipede. A millipede that apparently smells like catnip. We gave it a ride outside, much to Opal's disappointment.