Tales of the
How I learned
To Stop Worrying
And Love Bast
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Wednesday, 14 January 2015
Pippin has been doing pretty well lately. He's still not eating the way he previously did, but he's eating enough and no problems in the catbox. Randy has offered him a variety of gourmet dry cat foods to choose from: duck, pheasant, trout and varieties of those. Pippin has settled for a fish and shrimp combo, though not with great enthusiasm.
Based on the improvements, we stopped giving him the SQ fluids a week ago. Randy took him to the vet today to have his kidney functions tested. The test results were normal except for creatinine, which was up slightly. The vet said to watch him closely and bring him back in a couple of weeks to follow up. Pippy seems to be feeling fine. I'm sure he's as happy as I am not to be going through the SQ.
Zoe and Jetta pulled a switcheroo on me the other night. Zoe ate half of her canned salmon food, then traded places with Jetta. She finished off Jetta's Z/D while Jetta finished off the salmon. Tonight, I found Jetta back to her old problem in the catbox where she sat and sat for fifteen minutes, meaning that her urinary tract problem has flared up again. I suspect the salmon. I think she may have a sensitivity to it. That's the only thing that's changed. Jetta's getting the tranks and eating the same dry food as always. I'm watching her to see whether it's going to clear up on its own or will need a vet visit.
Sunday, 18 January 2015
The Pippymeister keeps doing well, though no improvement in his food interest. Last night we gave him a plastic ball with a bell inside and Pippin went nuts for it. We haven't seen him that active or playful since he was a kitten. He chased that ball from one end of the house to the other. We're taking that as a good sign.
His sister, on the other hand, isn't doing so well. I picked up antibiotics for Jetta on Friday, but she continues to spend long sessions in the catbox. I'm being patient because it can take a while for antibiotics to have an effect. I've also slightly increased her Amitriptyline (trank).
Saffy got herself locked in our walk-in closet. She loves to sneak in there, so we're both careful to watch for her when we have to go into the closet. But she's a sneaky girl and got past me. We didn't know she was there
for a couple of hours when Randy noticed her absence during a time when she'd normally be hanging around with us. She didn't make a peep about it, though.
Monday, 26 January 2015
Jetta wasn't showing much improvement by the time I gave her the last antibiotic. I went to the vet's and she gave me a second course of Clavamox, so Jetta's still on that. I thought she might have turned the corner yesterday. She was behaving more normally and eating better. To my amazement, she actually got into my lap, something she doesn't do a lot even when she's feeling well. But tonight, she's barely touched her gooshy food. I think she's spending slightly less time in the catbox. I sure hope this second course of meds will do the trick, the poor girl.
Thursday, 29 January 2015
Randy took Pippin to the specialist vet for a check-up after being off SQ fluids for a couple of weeks. Pippin's creatinine has crept up a tiny bit more. It isn't terrible, but it remains above normal. More alarmingly, he's down to 15 or 16 lbs., depending on whose scale we believe. At the vet's, he was 16; at home on the same scale my regular vets use, he's at 15.15 lbs. I never thought losing too much weight was a problem we'd have with this cat.
We're concerned about the precipitous weight loss combined with how hard it is to get him to eat and the slightly elevated creatinine. After discussing it, we decided to start giving him SQ again. We'll try it every four days rather than every three days and have him retested in a month.
I'm waiting on a response from the vet about Jetta. She's done with her second course of antibiotics and hasn't gotten past the current problem. She's a bit better, but she still spending more than a normal amount of time in the box.
Tuesday, 10 Feb. 2015
I meant to catch up on the Jetta news on Sun.,but around 5 pm the power went out. We didn't get the power back until around 9 pm last night. Lots of fun with flashlights and candles. The cats were perturbed at the disturbance in their normal routine.
After Jetta didn't show much improvement last week, my regular vet said that we needed an ultrasound. I took Jetta to the same specialist that's been treating Pippin. It was an expensive visit, a bit over $700 for visit, ultrasound, and full bloodwork. But we got a definitive diagnosis of her problem. She has a small bladder filled with multiple kidney stones. The poor girl! It's unusual for a female to get stones like this.
The specialist said it could require surgery to remove them and if she did it, it would run upwards of $6,000. I almost fell off my seat when she told me that. What the ultrasound couldn't tell us was what type of stones Jetta had, and that makes a crucial difference.
I conferred with my regular vet again. She left some pain meds in a pick-up box that I was able to pick up on Sat., but the key thing she needed was a urine sample. Jetta spends so much time emptying her bladder that the vet hadn't been able to get a sample out of her at the office. The vet outlined a method that she needed me to try over the weekend. First, I went to Petsmart and bought a small bag of aquarium pebbles, something that would simulate having cat litter, but couldn't absorb the liquid. I bought them in a color as close to the color of the cat litter as I could.
Next, I set up the dog cage with Jetta's bed, a litter pan of the aquarium rocks, food and water. On Sun., I put Jetta inside and waited. She was deeply perplexed by the whole situation, but it worked. After a few hours, she'd used the litterbox enough that I could tilt it toward one corner and use a syringe to draw up the urine. It was so concentrated, it looked almost orange. I put it in a bottle and the bottle went into the fridge, as instructed. The vet needed a sample as fresh as possible and keeping it cold would keep other types of crystals from forming other than the ones she'd be looking for.
So you can imagine the extra unhappiness when the power went out shortly after that. Randy dropped the sample off at the vet's for me on Mon. morning. This morning the vet sent me an email with the results. Jetta's urine was packed full of struvite crystals.
This is actually good news. If they'd been stones made of calcium oxalate, it would require surgery. My vet would charge way less than the specialist, but it's still not a fun thing to contemplate.
She was hoping to find the struvite crystals. According to a quick bit of research, struvite is a material that is comprised of magnesium, ammonium and phosphate. They can be dissolved through a special diet within a matter of days to a few weeks, so my vet wanted me to get her started on that asap.
I was able to leave work early in order to get to the vet's to pick up both canned and dry food of the Science Diet S/D, and a whole bunch of Clavamox. Tonight was the crucial test -- would she eat the stuff? She's so picky, especially about canned food. For the first batch, I mixed half S/D with the Z/D she's been eating. I had to follow her around and persistently put the food under her nose, but she did finally eat it. In fact, she ate all of it, the first time in weeks that she's eaten all her gooshy food. Next up, I'll mix a small amount of the dry version into her regular dry food and see how that goes, then try to switch over completely tomorrow.
With luck, we'll have her back to normal in a couple of weeks.
Jetta would like to know what the hell this is about.
Tuesday, 17 Feb. 2015
The battle continues. The first day, Jetta ate the S/D and I thought I had things under control. But by the next day, she as on a hunger strike against the stuff. I've barely been able to get her to eat the tiniest amount of it. I tried mixing the canned S/D with her regular Z/D, but it didn't help much. As for the dry food, she utterly rejected it. I tried adding a small amount of the duck and pea that she normally eats. That didn't work. I tried cat psychology. Jetta would sniff at her bowl, walk over to Zoe's bowl and push Zoe away. I had to stand guard until Zoe had eaten her own dry food, then remove any that remained and refill it with the S/D. Jetta would naturally come over to eat what was in Zoe's bowl. But that didn't entirely work either. As soon as Jetta realized I was pulling a switcheroo, she lost interest.
I went to the vet's and picked up an alternative, Royal Canin SO, both canned and dry. I tried her on the canned food tonight. She licked at it and gave up. I mixed it with a little Z/D and used warm water to turn it into a slurry. I was able to get her to eat nearly all of that. There's no guarantee she'll keep eating it, though.
I don't have high hopes she'll eat the dry version, after seeing this.
She's still on the Clavamox and seems to be feeling okay. She goes to the box often, but at least she doesn't sit there for endless minutes. I guess that's progress of a sort.
Meanwhile, Pippin has been doing well. His appetite has picked up and his guts are good. You know you're a cat person when you find yourself saying stupid things like, "Pippin has an A+ poop report this morning." And you know your husband is a cat person when he's delighted to hear that.
Sunday, 22 Feb. 2015
Jetta just says no to the canned SO. She's not going for it, no way, no how.
So tonight I tried something wacky. I put the SO, Z/D and a little water into a blender and completely liquified it in a way I can't do by hand. Jetta was freaked out by the look of it. She did that hesitant, back and forth dance that cats do when they're approaching something that might attack them at any second. She snuck up veeeeery slowly on it, tested it out with caution, and then she lapped up a good 90% of it.
Happily, she continues to eat the dry SO with reasonable interest. Naturally, Zoe has decided that she loves the SO. She turns away from her own food and tries to get at Jetta's, then Jetta goes after Zoe's. I rarely have time to stand there and officiate, so I've taken to giving the SO to both of them. That way that can eat from whichever bowl they want. Cat psychology.
The one thing that concerns me is that Jetta's been throwing up fairly large amounts of completely clear liquid the past couple of days, so I wrote to the vet about that a few minutes ago. Otherwise, Jetta seems to be improving. She's behaving as though she feels better, and she's spending way less time in the catbox. I'm cleaning up fewer tiny clumps of pee.
In a bizarre coincidence, I was buying salad at Whole Foods the other day and happened to fall into conversation with a young guy stocking the shelves. Discussion of spinach contributing to kidney stones led to me mentioning the odd situation with my female cat...and he's going through the exact same thing with his female cat, including having to buy the expensive foods, etc. If I wrote that into a script, nobody would believe it.
A couple of weeks ago, I took out a small eyedropper and made the mistake of placing it on a chair for a few minutes. When I came back for it, it had disappeared, courtesy of Saffy the Klepto Cat. I looked around, kept an eye out for it, but never found it. A week later, I vacuumed the living room, moved a heavy piece of furniture and there it was. One day when we move from this place and all the furniture is lifted, we'll find at least a dozen or so cat toys and stray objects.
Sunday, 1 March 2015
Good news on Jetta; less good news on Pippin.
Jetta's a much happier cat. Her appetite has come roaring back and she continues to lap up the liquid food. I added Cosequin to the mix and she almost licked the bowl clean. She's perkier and is obviously feeling more her normal self. The vet wants to recheck her in 4-6 weeks.
Randy took Pippin for a recheck on Friday. His creatinine has jumped up again, not a good sign. We've been giving him SQ fluids every four days, so we're returning to the earlier schedule of every three days and will recheck in a couple of weeks. He was doing great, leaving healthy solid stuff in the catbox until this morning when we unexpectedly found bloody diarrhea...in the dining room. The dining room seems to be his go-to place for diarrhea. Our best guess is a stress reaction to either the vet visit or getting the SQ, or perhaps a bit of both. We'll see what tomorrow brings.
Saffy looks so beautiful in the afternoon sunlight.
Saturday, 4 April 2015
For those who may have noticed, there's a rather large gap between now and my previous post on March 1st. This is due to an accident I had on the evening of March 6th when I was crossing a street in downtown San Francisco and was rammed by a man on a bicycle. I'm laid up with a broken left leg that required reconstructive surgery and will take months to heal.
I'm completely unable to go up or down stairs, which means I can't get into my office and have no access to my desktop computer and other equipment. I'm limping by with a laptop, but I lack everything I would normally need to post to my regular Moggyblog at christymarx.com.
But I can at least continue to post here and catch up on the actual blog when I'm finally able to.
I've been hobbling around the house on crutches or scooting around on a small, wheeled office chair. Pippin, Saffy and Opal were decidedly freaked out by this for several days. Saffy adjusted the most swiftly. Weeks later now, all three of them have become relatively blase about my clumping or scooting around them.
Saffy is delighted that I'm forced to sleep downstairs on the sofa. She's my nearly constant companion and she sleeps on top of me at night. I find this comforting, until I wake up in the morning with a full bladder. She likes to bring me mousies during the day.
We only have a half-bath downstairs, which is where the catboxes live, so I get to share that bathroom with the cats. I've finally worked out a way to use the office chair so that I can clean those boxes. That helps Randy a lot.
One problem this has caused is around giving Pippin his SQ fluids. We had an effective set-up in the small upstairs bathroom, but I can't get there, nor can I yet bend over in the way I would need to. We've set up a place on the dining room table where we've struggled to get his fluids into him. Pippin is terribly uncooperative about this location and we're having a hell of a time making it work.
We're still dealing with Pippin's intestinal issues. Randy took him to our vet a couple of weeks ago to check his creatinine level and it had gone up again, so we're concerned about that. It makes the SQ issue more urgent.
I've been completely unable to take care of Zoe and Jetta because I can't navigate the steps to get into my office. Randy has had to take over feeding and caring and watering the girls. It drives me crazy that I can't interact with them and it's hard on Randy, who loves them, but is allergic and can't remain in my office for very long. It's a terrible situation. I can't even start physical therapy until the end of April and Bast only knows how long it will take to regain enough use of my leg to handle stairs.
Meanwhile, we've weaned Jetta off the tranks (it's nearly impossible for Randy to get pills into her) and she seems to be doing extremely well getting over the kidney stones. Randy will have to take her to the vet for me soon for a follow-up, but I expect she'll turn out free and clear of that problem. It will be nice to have one less problem to worry about.
Sunday, 12 April 2015
Happy Birthday to Jetta, Opal, Pippin and Saffy. They were born approximately in April of 2005, so our furry babies are now ten years old!
Friday, 1 May 2015
Happy Birthday, Zoe! She's approx. ten years old and still a love-sponge.
Friday, 1 May 2015
We continue to struggle to give Pippin good quality of life and to get his intestinal issues under control so that he'll stop crapping in the dining room. He wasn't doing all that well, so we changed the schedule of fluids. We're giving him fluids every other night now, though a slightly smaller amount. One of the problems is that he doesn't want to lie still long enough when we have to give him fluids on the dining room table. Which is the only place I can currently do it with my broken leg.
He perked up when we started that schedule, though he never has regained the kind of appetite he once had. Things are pretty much normal at this point. He's obviously feeling better, eating relatively well, and not having catbox problems.
I've started sleeping on an air mattress because sleeping on the sofa became too uncomfortable. I look forward to the day I can once again climb stairs to sleep in my own bed. Saffy continues to be my dedicated bedmate, sleeping on top of me, until last night when she decided to sleep upstairs. I think she got tired of me constantly having to move her, but I can only lie in one position for so long. She still brings me mousies, though.
Sunday, 3 May 2015
Opal is such a jealous girl, and her jealousy is directed entirely at her sister. We were in the kitchen with Opal the other night giving her a lot of love and attention. Then we heard Saffy singing the mousie song as she brought a mousie down the stairs toward us. We began to praise Saffy, as we always do when either Saffy or Opal brings us a mousie. Opal ran straight over and whacked Saffy as soon she reached the bottom of the stairs.
Last night, Saffy was hanging out in her favorite cardboard box minding her own business and Opal began harassing her so badly that Randy had to go over and break it up. Opal ran off and sulked.
She's usually a sweetheart, but she has her moments.
Tuesday, 16 June 2015
One of the girls, Zoe or Jetta, left me a hairball the size of Texas. I've had a hell of a time dealing with the mats in Jetta's hindquarters. I finally had to get out the scissors and cut them off. She's not cooperative about being combed now that she's off the tranks. Sigh....
Jetta had a follow-up visit to check on her kidney stones. Urine was clear, bloodwork looked good. The x-rays showed a tiny stone remaining in one kidney, so I have to keep giving her the special kidney diet food. She's not crazy about that. Given how expensive that is, I'm not crazy about it either, but she's doing so well that I don't want to take any chances. She's a happy girl these days.
Tuesday, 30 June 2015
Randy noticed that Opal was spending a lot of time licking her lips and obsessively wiping her paw around her mouth, so he took her to the vet for a general check-up. She was overdue for one anyway. He said that she yowled the whole way there, yowled from the back of the vet's when they took her to draw blood, and yowled all the way home. Once she got home, she hissed and growled when he tried to make up with her. She's calmed down since, I'm glad to say.
She's lost a pound from her last check-up, so there may be something else going on with her. The immediate diagnosis for the licking is that she has acne on her chin. My Siamese-mix, Querida, had a bad acne problem many years ago, which was when I learned to feed them from ceramic or metal bowls and not use plastic. In this case, it may come from not cleaning the dry food bowls. We clean the gooshy food bowls every night, but don't tend to clean the dry food bowls. That's now a part of the routine.
The vet sent Randy to get a gel for her chin at the local pharmacy. She said it wasn't very expensive, but it cost a whopping $117.00. What pissed me off the most is that I realized it's the exact same gel I use on my face to control rosacea...and I can get it through Kaiser for about $10.00. Randy tried to return it to the pharmacy, but there's a law prohibiting returns of prescriptions.
Tonight, while petting Jetta, I discovered that she has a small bit of acne as well. More gel on furry chins!
Saturday, 4 July 2015
Putting the skin gel on Opal's chin has not proven to be a happy experience. She hates it. HATES IT. The instant we're done, she shoots off like a rocket and hides. After that, she views us with deep suspicion and won't let us get near her. It takes hours for her to forgive us and come around again. And we have to go through this twice a day. Poor Randy is suffering the most, I think, because Opal is his precious princess and he takes the snubs hard.
We had a follow-up call from the vet with the blood test results. Everything looks good, though she's borderline high on the thyroid test. She's doing a second test to get more detailed info on the thyroid in case Opal is tending towards that condition.
The big surprise is that her urine was filled with struvite crystals. This is exactly what Jetta had with her kidney stones, so the odds are good that Opal has stones, too. We slowly changing her over to the Royal Canin S/D food that Jetta eats. She's eating it fine so far.
The makes three out of four in this litter that have a kidney problem of one sort or another. We'll have to watch for signs in Saffy and get her in for a physical soon. Saffy appears to have joint problems. When she's been lying in her favorite cardboard box for a long time, she is hunched and stiff when she first tries to walk. We've been giving her Cosequin for a few months, so whatever this is, the Cosequin isn't handling it.
Sunday, 5 July 2015
Opal continues to avoid us. I managed to capture her this morning, but when I smeared the gel on her chin, my finger came away covered with blood. I saw that her chin was covered with blood and I couldn't figure out why. Neither one of us sees her scratching at it. I got another look at her chin later and could see little scabs here and there, so I figure I must have broken one of these open. It sure seems as though this should be getting better by now. Hopefully Randy can consult with the vet tomorrow. I doubt that Opal would be having an allergic reaction to the gel. It's the exact same medication that I use on my skin for rosacea, so I know what it feels like and it's not the least bit harsh. But I guess that's always a possibility.
Sunday, 12 July 2015
"When I got into this whole cat thing, I didn't realize it would involve so much vomit." Thus spake Randy, the man who is allergic to cats, while cleaning up a massive hairball that Opal gave us. We take turns cleaning up cat vomit, but I'd say he does more of it than me. The man deserves a medal.
Opal's chin is improving, though she continues to hate the process fiercely. She regards me with suspicion now and won't even come over to me for treats. We reduced the treatment to once a day so that she has the rest of the day to calm down about it. It means I can manage to pet her a little bit when her guard is down.
The vet left voicemail on Friday to say that the more detailed test for thyroid also looked normal, but the vet still suspects that Opal could become hyperthyroid in the future. We'll need to have a follow-up visit to recheck the crystals in her urine, too, and to make sure she's not continuing to lose weight. She's always been a skinny girl, unlike the rest of her littermates, but this amount of weight loss isn't good for her.
Pippin has been giving us extra work, too. For some reason, he's been missing the edge of the catbox and peeing on the floor. He pees huge amounts, entire ponds worth of pee, so it's been a godawful mess that Randy, once again, has heroically cleaned up.
Zoe: "There she goes with that blasted flashing thing again."
Opal contemplates the Trail of Mousies leading into Randy's office.
Sunday, 16 August 2015
Opal had a follow-up visit to the vet. She's doing better with less struvite crystals in her urine.
We haven't had to put gel on Opal's chin for a while, thank Bast. The stuff must taste terrible because the minute I'd even tip up her chin to apply the gel, she would drool prodigously. She gets suspicious when we feel her chin now.
Pippin continues to position himself with his butt hanging over the edge of the catbox and pees lakes on the floor. It's getting to be a royal pain, but we haven't figured out a way to fix the problem. The other day he decided that he couldn't bother to wait for Randy to finish cleaning the catbox, so he crapped in the dining room.
I cleaned the master bathroom with the type of Lysol spray-cleaner that has bleach in it. Pretty soon, Saffy and Opal were rolling around getting stoned on the smell. I swear, it's like catnip to them.
We're all suffering from the heat. It's been in the 90s and we have no air-conditioning. My office and Randy's upstairs office are barely endurable. Zoe's laid out on the desktop next to me wanting her adorable belly rubbed, heat or no heat, but she looks about as lethargic as I feel.
Monday, 17 August 2015
Someone (I'm guessing Opal) gifted us with the Perfect Hairball. It was long, thin and cylindrical. Nice and compact. Truly a work of art.
I had to order a new keyboard, and according to the household tradition, we left the shipping box in the living room as a Cat Trap. First, it caught Opal. Then it caught Saffy. And finally, it worked its cardboard wiles on Pippin. It's a nice Pipppin-sized box and he quite enjoyed it.
Sunday, 23 August 2015
Randy took Pippin for a vet visit while I was out of town. We've noticed that Pippin's having trouble with his vision and sometimes simply seems unsure of himself. We're waiting for the results of the bloodtests to see how the kidney functions are doing, but he's lost a whole pound since his last visit. That's not good, especially considering what a big cat he used to be. She mentioned that there's another appetite stimulant we might be able to use that doesn't have the side-effects of the one we tried. We need to get more info on that.
His blood pressure was high and the vet said that Pippin's retinas are beginning to detach as a result. We're doubling his blood pressure medication dosage. She said it should be reversible if we can get the BP under control.
We're doing the best we can for our poor boy. He seems content enough, in spite of the medical issues.
Wednesday, 23 Sept. 2015
Pippin has developed a new Annoying Cat Trick (not to be confused with a Hat Trick). He has taken to knocking over the large plastic garbage bin in the kitchen. He's after things that smell like food, we guess. It's a new behavior, though, and We Are Not Amused. Now we know what a certain THUMP means coming from downstairs. Pippin runs like a rabbit when he sees Randy coming.
Wednesday, 7 Oct. 2015
Randy took Pippin for a follow-up visit to the vet yesterday. The news is grim, though not surprising. His kidney disease is progressing. driven by a large mass in one kidney and something equally wrong with the other kidney. His blood pressure remains high in spite of the medication. His red blood cell count remains high, and poor circulation to his skin is likely the reason is coat is poor and he's losing fur. He keeps losing weight as we struggle to get him to eat, though at least he is still eating. He's under 15 lbs. now.
The vet gives him a life expectancy of six months to one year. It's a hard blow. Even when you know it's inevitable, it's a sorrow that's hard to deal with. We'll keep doing what we've been doing, give him all the love and care we can, and watch carefully to make sure he doesn't suffer from a poor quality of life.
Sunday, 11 Oct. 2015
Zoe "helps" me when I'm working from home on the laptop.
Sunday, 11 Oct. 2015
We had an unfortunate episode with Pippin yesterday. He definitely wasn't feeling himself, wasn't eating, and then peed in our bedroom. And he has a huge bladder, so we're talking a lot of pee. This was just before I got home from work and I could tell that he wasn't acting quite right. He wouldn't touch his soft food later at all. We were pretty worried about him last night.
He seems better today. He's eating again, at least. We have him on an additional medication now to try and control the high blood pressure problem. We'll know in a couple of weeks whether it's helping.
Wednesday, 21 Oct. 2015
Zoe has been letting me know that she's not at all happy with the dry duck & potato food anymore. She's barely been touching it. She never used to be a finicky cat, but she doesn't have the problems the other cats have, so I went ahead and bought her some standard senior cat food in chicken flavor. She's been much happier about that.
We've had more and more trouble getting Pippin to eat. He's been getting the duck & potato for a long time because it was the only food we could find that he would eat at all that didn't give him intestinal trouble. Randy decided to try adding a tiny amount of the new dry food I got for Zoe to Pippin's food. Suddenly, he's eating with more enthusiasm. Now we cross our fingers and hope his system can tolerate it.
Opal made off with Randy's underwear this morning. He looked up as she was proudly hauling it out the bedroom door as a prize. She dropped it outside the door and batted it around a few times for good measure.
Saturday, 7 Nov. 2015
A lot has been happening with Pippin. Ups and downs. He had bloodwork about a week ago that showed some small improvement in the readings, though (no surprise) some kidney functions remain elevated. His blood pressure has come down, which is good. He continues to lose weight, which worries us constantly. He's also crapped in Randy's office upstairs and in the dining room again. Not so good.
After only a couple of days trying him on the chicken & brown rice, we had to stop giving it to him as we started seeing early indications of diarrhea. He's been resistant to any other dry food, eating it only grudgingly, so we've been supplementing with more canned food.
For the last four days, he hasn't pooped at all. I took him to our off-hours/weekend emergency vet this morning for an exam. He has poop in him and it isn't hard or impacted. After some discussion with the vet, we decided not to take further action just yet, but to increase the frequency of fluids. It could be that every three days isn't enough any more and he's getting slightly dehydrated. She also told us to double the amount of fiber we've been giving him. We've been adding capsules of psyllium along with pumpkin puree.
She noted something that our regular vet should have seen: a nasty tooth problem, especially in the far back on the left side of his jaw. The tooth will probably need to be extracted. We'll have to get him in as soon as we can manage for dental work. This could also explain his reluctance to eat the dry food. Poor boy could be in a lot of pain and we didn't realize it. Cats are too good at hiding pain and illness.
In other news, Jetta went off her food for a few days, leaving me to worry about her, and then she gifted me with the most humongous hairball I've ever seen. Must have six inches long, I swear. She's been doing much better since then. It must be all that fur she insists on licking off her belly.
Sunday, 8 Nov. 2015
All three of us are terribly relieved.
It occurred to me that I paid $100 for someone to stick her finger up my cat's butt and declare poop. Yes, there was more to it than that, but still....
Maybe it convinced Pippin that crapping was better than not crapping.
But more seriously, I suspect getting his fluids last night had more to do with it and that we'll have to give him fluids every other day.
Saturday, 14 Nov. 2015
Randy took Pippin to one of our regular vets that we trust highly who examined Pippin's teeth and said they aren't that bad. Not bad enough to knock him out for a cleaning, nor bad enough to keep him from eating dry food, though he recommends that we brush his teeth. I told Randy he was welcome to try.
Far more worrisome, to the vet and to us, is that Pippin is down to 13 lbs. For a cat that was once 22 lbs., this is pretty serious. Granted, he was too heavy at 22 lbs., but the vet says that his weight loss is worse for him than his kidney disease. It's been bothering me that when I pet him now, I can feel his hip bones.
And because nothing else explains why he's not eating, the vet thinks it comes down to a simple matter of not liking the food we're giving him. We've come to the point that some manageable soft stool is preferable to continued weight loss. He sent Randy home with a couple of cans each of Science Diet I/D (which is high fiber) and SD A/D (which is high caloric).
So far we've tried him on the I/D and he's inhaled it. He's eating more than he has in a long time. We've also offered him a dry food that we still had around that he'd ignored before, Wellness Core, another one of those super-expensive, non-grain varieties, and he's eating that with more interest, too.
We're waiting to see whether Pippin maintains his interest in these new foods before rushing out to buy more.
Monday, 16 Nov. 2015
We had a terrible night with Pippin. It was around midnight and he'd come upstairs to sleep on the bed with us as he always does. Randy and I were about to get in bed when Pippin let loose with two epic projectile vomits. About ten minutes later, he dumped a large pile of diarrhea on the carpet, followed by more vomiting.
Instead of getting to bed, Randy and I were on our hands and knees cleaning the disgustingness off the carpet. Poor Pippin wasn't doing well, but he got on the bed and settled in. As a precaution, Randy brought up a small catbox and set it near the bed.
Luckily, the catbox wasn't needed and there was no more vomiting. Randy reported that Pippin didn't budge from the bed all day. He was still lying on the bed when I got home from work. He raised his head slightly and thumped his tail a little when I petted him, but not with much enthusiasm.
We gave him fluids tonight. The big struggle is getting him to eat anything, even canned food. We don't dare give him the food he wanted to eat as his system clearly can't handle it, so we're back to the food that's safe for him that he doesn't want to eat. It's a dreadful bind to be in.
Tuesday, 17 Nov. 2015
Pippin did better today. Randy's been giving him extra canned food to make up for his lack of interest in dry good.
But poor Saffy has been sneezing for a week and she clearly isn't feeling that great. I've seen these "cat colds" go around when I had the larger horde of cats, pretty much the way colds get passed around between people. No sign of it in Opal or Pippin so far. What we can't figure out is how she got it in the first place.
Monday, 23 Nov. 2015
The Pippymeister has been doing well. We have him stabilized, meaning the intestinal problems are under control. He's had days where he's eaten exceptionally well, even more than he ate back when he was an eating machine. We're sticking with the fluids every other day as that seems to be helping.
And Saffy has finally stopped sneezing, so she's doing better, too.
Opal continues to be a rocket-butt. She's terribly fond of a new kind of small mousey with ball bearings inside that our petsitter brought on her last visit. Opal can nail one of those things at warp 10.
Tuesday, 24 Nov. 2015
Pippin snuggles with the Sofa Lump (aka Opal).
Sunday, 6 Dec. 2015
We had a couple more bad days and nights with Pippin. We were up to 1:30 am the other night cleaning up after his diarrhea. On one memorable occasion, he squatted and let loose right next to me while I was standing in the dining room. We think we know which dry food is causing it, but it was also the only thing that seemed to make Pippin interested in eating the dry food that's good for him.
So we bought yet another new type of expensive dry food from Royal Canin, a special protein blend made of rabbit. He hasn't been wildly enthusiastic about it, but he has eaten it. We'll see how he does on that.
We were in bed and about to fall asleep the other night when we were startled by a bright light suddenly going on next to Randy. While traipsing across his nightstand, Opal somehow managed to turn on Randy's phone and then activate the flashlight app. What worries me the most is when she starts texting....
Opal is such a precious princess that she'll turn up her nose half the time at eating her dry food. Then she'll turn around and eat the exact same dry food that Saffy has just finished throwing up. Cats, I swear.
Princess Opal lounging around. "We are not Amused."
Thursday, 10 Dec. 2015
The Pippymeister ponders.
(photo by Randy Littlejohn)
Wednesday, 16 Dec. 2015
There's a corner of the kitchen counter that's been turned into a cat pharmacy. A whole line of bottles and medicine and treats stand ready for me morning and night. Most of it's for Pippin, but now some of it is also for Saffy.
Because, yes, Saffy has joined the roster of cats needing expensive vet visits. Randy had been noticing small scattered spots of urine in the boxes, but didn't know who was doing it. By Mon. night, Saffy was spending all her time in the box trying to pee or crap. She'd get out a tiny bit, jump out of the box, retreat to the living room for half a minute, then return to the box. It was highly similar to Jetta's behavior during the worst of her kidney stones.
It was so bad that I ended up hauling her to the emergency clinic. To no one's surprise whatsoever, her bladder was completely empty and tiny, so they couldn't get a urine sample. The vet couldn't see anything significant with ultrasound. Saffy seemed otherwise in good shape, so they sent me home with antibiotics and pain med.
We were already feeding her a small amount of the Royal Canin SO (designed to dissolve struvite crystals), so we increased it to be the majority of her dry food, plus adding it to her canned food.
Saffy seems marginally better today. I'm dropping her off at our regular vet's tomorrow morning on my way to work. They're booked solid, but will work in doing a blood panel and getting urine from her during the day and then Randy can pick her up. She's overdue for a thorough physical anyway.
If she also turns out to have kidney stones and/or struvite crystals, that will make all three females from this litter to have the same problem.
Tuesday, 22 Dec. 2015
I've been playing phone-tag with the vet since last Thursday. I dropped Saffy off on my way to work and Randy picked her up later in the afternoon. The vet left me voice mail on Friday to say that Saffy's general bloodwork and chemistry was good, that her urinalysis was normal, but her thyroid is "profoundly elevated". So she's hyperthyroid.
I've had several cats before that became hyperthyroid and it's not hard to deal with. It comes down to giving her methimazole pills. They used to be outrageously expensive, but it looks like I can get a generic form that isn't as pricey.
What puzzles me is how that caused Saffy the urinary problem that was so similar to having stones. That's one of the things I want to talk to the vet about. That and getting some meds into Saffy as soon as I can. She's done with the Clavamox, which has resolved the catbox problem. That makes me think it wasn't necessarily from the thyroid, but who knows? One thing I remember about my hyperthyroid cats, especially the males, is that the hyperthyroid condition forces the kidneys to function at a more efficient level and can mask underlying kidney disease as a result. Hopefully that isn't the case with Saffy.
Thursday, 24 Dec. 2015
Before I could post my write-up for the 22nd, we lost our AT&T service again. It would go out for hours at a time and come back for no reason we could figure out. No internet. No TV. Then it went out Tues. morning and didn't come back. The repairman didn't get here and fix it until late in the day on Wed.
In the meantime, I caught up with the vet. She wanted me to bring Saffy in, so that the tech could show me to apply a new kind of transdermal thyroid med. I threw on some street clothes, put an unsuspecting Saffy into the carrier, and was at the vet's half an hour later.
They've given me five syringes with a gel form of the medication. I have to wear a latex finger guard (so that I don't absorb it myself). The doses are marked out on the syringe, so I have to carefully push out exactly the right amount onto a fingertip. Then all I have to do is rub it around inside on the flap of her ear twice day.
I'm doing her right ear in the morning and left ear at night.
It's easy, which is great, but this stuff is also damned expensive. It was $95 for a 25 day supply. At 21 days, the vet wants to retest. She also recommended that I consider the radioactive iodine treatment because Saffy is young and healthy, and she stated that this treatment is a cure. I've looked into this many years ago with other hyperthyroid cats I've had. I couldn't do it at the time because of the cost. It was about $1500 then and I got the impression it's about that much now.
But I can either pay it up front in one big lump sum, or pay through the nose for years to come for the thyroid meds. A quick bit of research has me strongly predisposed to go for the iodine treatment.
Tuesday, 29 Dec. 2015
I was walking toward the kitchen and saw a tableau that was hysterically funny. I quickly called for Randy to come and see. We have a momma squirrel that we've been giving peanuts to for years. She's become tame enough that she comes right up to the glass doors in the kitchen (that open onto the back yard), stands up with her front paws on the glass, and eagerly peers inside going WANT PEANUTS NOW, PLEASE! She'll stay there when we slide the door open and will take peanuts from our hands.
Momma squirrel was standing up against the glass, looking for her humans, while Pippin, Saffy and Opal were arrayed in the kitchen facing her, watching squirrel TV. I wish I'd had time to grab my camera, but I'm sure you can imagine the scene.