Tales of the
How I learned
To Stop Worrying
And Love Bast
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Friday, 19 December 2014
We've had a terribly unhappy couple of days with Pippin. Our best guess is that his system can't handle the venison food, either the other ingredients (such as chicken meal, turkey meal) or the venison itself. He's had severe diarrhea. Worse, he's done something completely out of the norm and taken to crapping in the dining room instead of using his box.
We gave in and bought the Science Diet Z/D dry food. $64 for a 8.5 lb. bag. It's insane. But we're at our wits end.
He's thrown up two mornings in a row. On Wed. morning, we found seven piles of diarrhea all around the periphery of the dining room. Then he did it again last night.
Randy got him to the vet this afternoon. The kidney functions continue to look good, which is a relief. We have some meds for him and he got his SQ fluids tonight. We had hoped to stop with the SQ, but we can't risk stopping it while he has this problem.
So far, Pippin is eating the Z/D mixed with the other food until we ease him into only the Z/D. We're hoping like hell it works.
Monday, 15 December 2014
Several weeks ago, I began a Moggyblog project. It was sparked when I wanted to find a particular cat photo I'd taken sometime in the past and had to dig through the Moggyblog archives. What I'd done was to put each month of the blog into the archives, which meant that I had to navigate through month after month, year after year, trying to find this picture. I realized that the way I'd set up the archives was a massive pain in the ass.
I began compiling the months into one long entry per year. As I began doing that, I realized what a mess the old html code was. A long time ago, I started redoing the pages using CSS, but hadn't finished the process. The reason it took me so many weeks is that it was a ton of work to clean up, revise and update the underlying code, reorganize how the data was stored in folders, and fix other issues. While I was at it, I cleaned up the layout and removed outdated links on the main blog page.
Everything is up and feels far cleaner and easier to use. Please feel free to visit the new Moggyblog Archive page and let me know what you think of it.
Going all the way back to 1997 and moving through the years was an emotional rollercoaster ride. So many wonderful cats and painful memories and life changes. It became overwhelming at times.
Sunday, 14 December 2014
Things are slowly settling down with Pippin. He's not eating as much as before, but he's eating enough to satisfy us. On the upside, he needs to lose weight, so eating a bit less should be beneficial in the long run. His intestinal problems vacillate, but have been improving.
Saffy is of course convinced that the magic food in Pippin's bowl must be better than what she has and we have to stand guard at feeding time to keep her from moving in and driving Pippin away from his bowl.
Sunday, 7 December 2014
A couple of days ago, Randy pulled a brilliant piece of cat psychology on Pippin. When Pippin once again showed no interest in eating his dry food, Randy put down three bowls with three different varieties of food in them. Pippin wouldn't touch the duck food, nibbled at a couple of pieces of the rabbit food, and then tucked into the venison and ate the whole serving.
Since then, Pippin's been eating more normally, though not as much as before and not with the voracious appetite he used to have. We continue to struggle with the intestinal problems. We're hoping that getting him settled on one food for a while may help.
I came into my office and found Zoe happily curled up on her cat bed...way out in the middle of the office. Somehow she manged to relocate her bed and its blanket from underneath the desk all the way to the center of the open floor. Only she knows why.
The blog is long overdue for some photos, so here we go.
Pippin yawns in my general direction.
Saffy peeks from burrowing inside Randy's sweater.
Opal makes a fine ornament on the bedpost.
Zoe wonders what I'm up to.
Jetta is happily nipped up on catnip.
A soggy cat toy.
Pippin loved the new doormat.
And so did Saffy.
Opal displays one of her very odd ways of drinking water.
Nothing makes a better cat trap than a box and packing paper. Pippin charges his laser beams in case Saffy needs help escaping.
Wednesday, 3 December 2014
Unfortunately, nothing has changed in the past few weeks in Pippin's condition. I've purchased bag after bag of expensive, special dry food. We've tried him on duck, rabbit and now venison. He used to eat the duck, but now won't touch it. He tried the rabbit, but soon refused to eat that. We tried trout. He took one sniff and backed away as though it was radioactive. We tried venison and he's sort of eating that, but we're having a terrible struggle getting him to eat any kind of dry food. The only thing he seems interested in is the regular cat food the girls eat, but we stopped giving him that due to his intestinal problems.
But he's having the intestinal problems anyway and nothing we do makes much of a difference there either. We had a long stretch where he was eating the duck dry food and not having diarrhea. We can't get him back to that situation. He's been back to the vet a couple of times. On the plus side, his kidney and liver functions continue to look good. It's so strange that this cat, of all cats, who has always been a stomach on legs, should suddenly refuse to eat. We're baffled.
Tuesday, 11 November 2014
Five days later, we're still having trouble getting Pippin to eat. He's eating maybe a fourth as much as he normally would, and this is the cat that was always hungry and always eager for food. His diarrhea got very bad and is only slowly getting somewhat better. And yet his blood tests came back normal. We left word for the specialist vet that's been treating him to see where we go from here.
Meanwhile, Saffy, Zoe and Opal keep up the #1 Cat Hobby: vomiting. Saffy comes upstairs after her first small amount of dry cat food in the morning, lies quietly and peacefully near me as I do my morning exercises, then suddenly throws up. Opal is fond of loud retching in the pre-dawn hours. I was amused to note in a recent email from our regular vet in which she wrote "Went to a seminar this weekend and one topic was vomiting in cats." I had this image of a hotel conference room full of professional people having a serious discussion about cats throwing up. I'm willing to bet the final summary went something like, "Why do cats throw up so much. Who the hell knows?"
Thursday, 6 November 2014
We've had trouble getting Pippin to eat for a few days, coupled with him having intestinal troubles. He threw up all his dry food three days ago and has been resistant to eating his dry food most of the time since. And he's left behind some of his canned food, which is unheard of. In an abundance of caution, I hauled him to the vet this afternoon.
The good news is that his kidney functions looked even better than on his last visit, but the vet's doing a full blood panel to be safe. I came home with anti-nausea and anti-diarrhea medicines. He has a small pharmacy of his own on the kitchen counter now with four bottles of pills. The bill was painful: $420.00. We're worried about having five cats that are all the same age (ten) as we start seeing vet bills like these.
In other earth-shaking news, I saw Zoe and Jetta with their heads together drinking from the water bowl at the same time.
Tuesday, 21 October 2014
The vet called today to talk about Jetta. Some of the tests had been specifically to check for gastrointestinal disease, but everything came up normal. Because I give Jetta a duck protein dry food, the vet asked me to try her on the canned version. I've tried that in the past with no luck, but gave it another try tonight. Sure enough, Jetta took a couple of licks, then turned up her nose and walked away. I gave her the Z/D instead and she ate that with good appetite. I suspect the Cosequin powder might be part of the problem, too. So I'll keep her on those two foods only while we wait and see how it goes.
Monday, 20 October 2014
We had a new visitor to the back yard this weekend. It was a large, fluffy cat with black and white patches. He looked as though he'd found cat heaven, which he basically had. We have a new crop of rats that have been showing up, not to mention the pigeons, etc. We didn't see a collar on him and he was too shy to stick around and let us be friendly with him. As soon as we opened the kitchen door, he vanished over the fence. Hopefully he belongs to someone nearby and isn't a stray.
Sunday, 19 October 2014
Pippin had a follow-up visit last week and the results were normal again. The vet is amazed and pleased, but wants to use an abundance of caution given how serious his original condition was. We're going to continue the same schedule of SQ fluids every three days for another six weeks and retest him. All indications to us are that he's doing great. Being quicker and more definite in giving him the SQ has also helped.
His sister, Jetta, has had a couple more bouts of excessive vomiting. Dry food, canned food, liquid and foam -- all during the course of a day. I hauled her to the vet on Friday and am waiting on her on the test results. They gave her another anti-nausea shot. The vet still thinks Jetta may have a food allergy problem going on, so I'm continuing the Z/D canned food, but eliminating the chicken and brown rice baby food I was mixing in with it. To my surprise, Jetta's been eating it fine without the baby food. Also...she's gained two pounds! She's up to 16 pounds now, even on a restricted diet. She takes after her brother. She's almost his weight, but half his size. The vet didn't want me to cut back on her food just yet, until we get a sense of what's going on with her.
Randy was in the bathroom last night setting up a new SQ bag and needle. Most of our interior doors have lever-style handles rather than doorknobs. Randy saw the door lever being hesitantly pushed down. He couldn't figure out why I was being so hesitant and why I wasn't answering him. The handle went down, the door pushed open...and he found himself looking at Opal, who was perched on the bathroom counter where she could easily access the door handle. She's a cunning little impette.
Sunday, 12 October 2014
Last night, I took Pippin into the bathroom for his SQ fluids, but I fumbled around trying to get him to take a treat (he refused) and getting things ready, and Pippin had time to decide he was having none of it. He hissed and growled and twisted around trying to get at me as soon as I pinched up the fur at the back of his neck. He's usually so good about it that it threw me off. I got the needle into him once, but did such a bad job the fluid wouldn't flow, and then I ended up sticking my own finger with the needle by accident, so I gave up. Those needles are damned sharp and also large, so my finger was a bloody mess.
Tonight I decided that I'd been too hesitant and had to control the situation. The minute I got him into the bathroom, I quickly inserted the needle before he had time to anticipate it. And this time it worked perfectly. He was as quiet as usual and it was over and done in a couple of minutes.
Sunday, 5 October 2014
Mysteriously, Jetta showed no signs of the problem the next day. She didn't continue to throw up. She ate (though last night she turned up her nose at the canned food for some reason). She didn't seem to be dehydrated. It's a mystery. I'm wondering whether she eats something she finds elsewhere in the office that makes her throw up for a day, though I can't imagine what.
Meanwhile, Zoe has learned a cunning new trick. There's a shortcut key along the top of my keyboard that opens the Windows media player. She's developed the knack for stepping on it each time she crosses from one side of my desk to the other by skirting the top edge of my keyboard. I've lost count of the number of times I've had the media player suddenly pop open when I'm in the middle of doing something else.
Thursday, 2 October 2014
Wouldn't you know it, I'm home trying to fight off a virus, so I was here to see Jetta throw up about six times. She started by throwing up her dry food and progressed to liquid. She had very little interest in canned food tonight. This is a repeat of what happened at the beginning of September. She may be making a visit to the vet tomorrow.
Tuesday, 30 September 2014
Last Wed., Pippin had a check-up and his bloodwork was excellent. For the next two weeks, we're going to continue doing SQ fluids every three days, but cut the amount in half. I had to go out of town for a few days, so we did the full amount of fluids just before I left and started the reduced amount as of last night. Both Pippin and I appreciated the shorter time with the needle in his neck.
I've also discovered that Pippin will happily take his pills by eating the PillPopper treat. I don't need to force it down his throat. However, like many cats he has the uncanny ability to eat the treat and spit out a clean pill. Amazing how they can do that. So on occasion, I still have to put the pill down his throat.
I have to be careful when I come down the couple of steps into my office because Zoe has taken to leaving me offerings in the form of cat toys. Sometimes it's the string toys, but today it was a stuffed creature that I hadn't seen in years. I'm not even sure where she found it, but there it was.
Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Pippin appears to be doing well getting his SQ fluids every two days. Of course, cats are notoriously good at masking symptoms, but he's looking good and behaving normally.
I thought Jetta was doing all right, but I found a large amount of canned food vomit a little while ago and I suspect it was from her. Now I'm watching her to see whether it was a fluke or a return of her problem.
Thursday, 11 September 2014
For the last week or so we've been giving Pippin the SQ fluids every other night instead of every night. Today he had his follow-up and the vet was enthusiastic. "He's doing great!" she said. He's doing well enough that we're moving to a schedule of giving SQ every two days, with a follow-up in two weeks. It was excellent news.
Tuesday, 9 September 2014
So far, Jetta has bounced back pretty well. Maybe "bounced" is too strong a word, but she's eating again and not throwing up. The emergency vet called me yesterday to say that the urinalysis came back normal, but with some sedimentation, as he had noted in the exam. No sign of inflammation or infection. I've written to Jetta's regular vet, who will have the results from the emergency vet, to see what she thinks may have happened.
Sunday, 7 September 2014
I've noticed many times that cats cunningly devise to get sick on a weekend. I've been finding way more than the usual amount of vomit in my office for a couple of days. Yesterday I finally discovered it was Jetta. She was throwing up all her dry food, then throwing up liquid, which is never a good sign. Starting yesterday, she also refused to eat and was becoming lethargic.
Thanks to Pippin's situation, we now have an excellent weekend veterinary office, albeit a bit more expensive. I didn't want to let this continue longer, so I went ahead and took her in. I had to wait a couple of hours because the emergencies had priority, like the woman who rushed in carrying a white lab that had just eaten rat poison. It had a happy ending. He hadn't eaten much and she'd gotten him there within 15 minutes, so they got him to throw it up.
I finally got in, ran down Jetta's history of urinary tract problems, showed them my copies of the previous test results, etc. She's up to a hefty 15 lbs. That's a lot, especially given that she's half the size of Pippin. They took a urine sample and the vet commented that on a quick look, there appeared to be sediment in it. I'm not sure what that means yet. They're doing a full urinalysis and in the meantime, they gave her an injection of antibiotics that lasts two weeks and a shot of anti-nausea medication.
She was slightly dehydrated, so lucky me, after we got home and I gave her some time to recover from the trauma of the vet visit, I had the thrill of doing SQ fluids on her, too. Since then, she's eaten dry food and tonight she ate all her gooshy food and part of Zoe's. She's acting more her normal self.
Next I wait for test results to see where we go from here.
Zoe's off her feed as well, which is unusual for her. She seems completely normal otherwise, so I'm not worrying about her yet. She's chunky enough that having a bit less food wouldn't hurt her.
Wednesday, 3 September 2014
We are happy people and Pippin is a happy boy. He had a two-week follow-up exam. His kidney functions are down to normal levels. We're now going to try giving him SQ fluids every other night instead of every night. That means Pippin got the night off from getting fluids. Better yet, I got the night off from having to give them. The vet wants us to keep him on the hypertension pills for now, as a precaution. We'll do another follow-up a week from now to see how well he's doing on this schedule. And he'd lost a little weight. He came in slightly under 19 lbs.
Monday, 25 August 2014
I've been muddling through with Pippin doing the SQ fluids. Tonight, for the first time, he hissed at me, but that was because he wants to sit up and I was trying to hold him down ever so lightly. He reacts to the slightest sense of being restrained and that's why he hissed. Unfortunately, the needle tends to fall out when he sits up. This is a problem I haven't found a solution for yet. I give him treats, but they aren't a sure-fire distraction and he tends to gobble through them faster than the drip process takes. He seems pretty happy otherwise -- energetic and feeling spunky enough to chase Opal again.
Thursday, 21 August 2014
So I decided to try something new tonight. I brought Pippin's catbed into the bathroom. Pippin is so big, I actually bought him a small dog bed, but it's built the same way as the other catbeds we have: an oval made of foam with vertical sides and sheepskin covering. Although the sides aren't very high, I thought the comfort and familiarity of it, plus a sense of containment, might keep him from moving around so much. It worked great...this time. The real trick is to see how well it works night after night. But anyway, success!
Wednesday, 20 August 2014
Randy took Pippin to the vet for his third? fourth? follow-up visit. I've lost count. The great news is that his kidney functions have improved even more than the vet expected, almost down to normal. All the same, she wants us to continue giving SQ every day until his next follow-up two weeks from now.
Unfortunately, this was the first night in weeks that I utterly failed at giving the fluids. The needle kept slipping out and after I'd stuck him for the fourth time, I called it quits. I figured the poor boy had already been through enough today, having blood taken, etc. Tomorrow night, I must return to getting it right.
I'm seeing an increase in litter on the floor outside the box Zoe and Jetta use, so I'm going back to the dose of tranks Jetta was getting previously, before the urinary problems get out of control.
Tuesday, 19 August 2014
Jetta left a gift in the water bowl. I haven't seen this toy in years. I have no idea where she even found it.
Sunday, 17 August 2014
I had one more night of getting blood from Pippin while doing the SQ fluids, but it's been going pretty well since then. The hard part is that he wants to sit up and it's easy for the needle to slip out.
Jetta is acting more sprightly and even played with her birdie now that I've reduced her dosage of trank a bit more. I was giving her a quarter of an Amitriptyline in the morning and half at night. I reduced the night-time dose to a quarter as well.
On the downside, she's way less tolerant of being combed or being caught to take a pill. It turns out that the gains I thought I'd made with her were mainly due to the trank. Sigh....
Part of the morning routine is that Saffy goes downstairs to eat her first bit of breakfast while I'm doing my exercises upstairs in the bedroom. She often comes up to hang out with me before I'm done. This morning, I was lying on the floor doing an exercise and she kindly threw up about a foot away from my left ear. Ah, the smell of fresh cat vomit in the morning.
Wednesday, 13 August 2014
Pippin was restless during the SQ tonight. He didn't manage to dislodge the needle, but he bled a little when I removed it. The research I did make it clear that it's not uncommon to get some blood and it's nothing to worry about. Other than getting the blood drops out of the carpet. It's the first time that's happened, so I'd say I've been pretty lucky so far.
I've decided to slightly reduce Jetta's amount of tranks to see how minimal a dose I can get away with. There's one instant indicator when she's having urinary trouble -- the amount of cat litter scattered outside the box. Normally, there's very little. When she was having her problem, there was a lot of it on the floor. The minute I see signs of that, I'll know I've gone below the effective level.
Monday, 11 August 2014
When I checked the Fosters & Smith website today, the date for the SQ fluids was pushed back to 9/10. After doing some more research and calling around, I gave up and went to my regular vet to pick up a couple more bags of solution. That will carry Pippin through to his next check-up, at which time we'll find out how frequently he has to get the SQ.
The situation with Pippin has dominated the Moggyblog. It's time to talk about Jetta and the tremendous gains I've made with her. Her urinary tract problem has been under control for months, ever since I put her on the tranks. She's doing great on the minimal dose I've worked out for her. Hiding the trank inside the mushy Pill Pocket treats has made it easy to pill her. The downside is that she no longer has interest in playing with the birdie toy. I'm a little sad about that.
But the real success is in getting her to accept a routine that goes like this: I bring Jetta over to my desk and set her down without restraining her. I quickly pop the pill in her mouth, then I start to comb her. Usually, she wouldn't tolerate combing at all and would end up with dreadful mats in her fur. I start combing under her chin and work my way back while crooning to her and telling her what a good girl she is. She responds so well to the praise, that sometimes she even leans into me or gives me an elevator butt. This lasts anywhere from ten to thirty seconds, but I can get a lot done in that time. I stop as soon as she becomes the least bit agitated, tell her she's good girl and then we immediately go over to her horizontal scratching pad. I sprinkle out the "pixie dust" aka catnip and Jetta gets stoned. I think the catnip reward has made a big difference. About half the time, she'll even wait for me while draped over the scratching pad. The fact that I can pick her up there to begin the routine without having to chase her around the office is a huge win.
Even though I comb her twice a day now, she remains scruffy looking, though without the tangles. There's simply something about her fur that makes it look scruffy no matter what I do.
I was hoping that a side-effect of the tranks and catnip is that the fur on her belly would grow back in. She never quite allows it to happen. She isn't licking her belly completely bare any more, but the fur never entirely grows back either. She has a dark down and that's it. I figure if that's the worst problem she has, we're doing okay.
Sunday, 10 August 2014
Things continue to go well with Pippin. He's been well behaved during the SQ and the process goes smoothly now. I'm feeling more confident about what I'm doing. He's eating well and behaving pretty much normally. The long-term prognosis is unknown, of course, but so far, so good.
We struck out trying to buy the SQ fluids (called Lactated Ringer Solution) and drip line at Costco. For some reason, they're unable to get it from their supplier and haven't been able to get it for months. I went to our local CVS just for the hell of it, but they didn't even know what I was talking about. A helpful pharmacist looked it up and gave me the same news as Costco -- they can't get it from their supplier.
I went to the website for Drs. Foster & Smith, an on-line pet supply place that I've used before. I can get everything I need through them at about half the cost of buying it from the vet...but they're unable to take orders for it until 8/15. So even they don't have it in stock. It all seems rather strange. We'll have to pay premium price in the meantime. Each bag lasts for four SQ sessions and we only have half a bag left.
Wednesday, 6 August 2014
Pippin has been feeling better and better, so he's been getting antsier about being stuck in the small bathroom getting the SQ treatment. I've had to reinsert the needle a couple of times after he moved around enough to shake it loose. But he's been getting the amount he needs and that's what counts.
Today, Randy took Pippin for another follow-up visit and blood test, and we got great news. His kidney functions have improved significantly. She wants us to continue the SQ for another two weeks. If the next evaluation shows the same or better results, we may be able to cut back to doing SQ every other day. She also wrote up a prescription so that we can start buying the fluids, tubes and needles at the Costco pharmacy far more cheaply. You don't have to buy a Costco membership in order to use the pharmacy. Now all we have to do is find one.
Sunday, 3 August 2014
Continuing to have success with Pippin, though last night he got a bit restless. He climbed out of and into the carrier bottom and was looking for a way out. He even ignored the final treat I tried to give him. It's a miracle the needle didn't come loose until the very end, just as I was about to shut off the fluids anyway. He got his full amount, but I'm thinking I won't take the carrier bottom in with me tonight. I'd rather let him move around on the floor than climbing over the side of that thing. He looks better, is eating normally, and is acting as though he feels better. His next visit is on Wed., so we're hoping his blood test will show improvement.
Thursday, 31 July 2014
Another easy, stress-free session with Pippin tonight. I can't convey how relieved I am. He sat quietly, eagerly took his treats and the whole process was over in about five minutes. He was excellent.
I forgot to mention that Tues. night, after we'd taken him to the vet in the afternoon, Pippin left another dump in the dining room. The dining room is close to where the cat boxes are, so it's not like he couldn't get there. Randy theorized that Opal may have been preventing Pippin from getting to the boxes. My theory is more along the lines that Pippin is letting us know how he felt about going to the vet.
Unfortunately, Opal has become a total psycho bitch, hissing and striking out at Pippin at every opportunity. She no longer drinks water with Pippin in the peculiar, over-under method they used to have. Plus she's extended her behavior toward Saffy. We're growing rather concerned about it. She's been lucky so far that Pippin hasn't turned on her, considering that he outweighs her by ten pounds.
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Pippin still didn't want to eat this morning, so I gave him about half as much of the Mirtazapine as we did the first time. Randy was somewhat concerned during the day. The stuff definitely worked to get Pippin to eat. Pippin vocalized to Randy all day, he said, which is out of character, and ate a lot. But he was also breathing more rapidly than normal. Fortunately, by the time I got home around 7 pm, most of that had gone away.
The new technique of dealing with Pippin went amazingly well. I put the bottom half of his carrier, with his towel, in the small bathroom. This bathroom has only a shower stall and toilet and isn't even big enough for two people to stand in it, so it provided confinement without feeling like restraint. It's so small, that I had to leave the carrier on the toilet lid in order to close the door.
There are towel hooks high up on the back of the door and it was perfect for hanging the bag of fluids. Randy put on a new needle and got it all set up for me. Because Randy and I were both upstairs doing prep, Saffy and Opal were hanging out with us, so Pippin got curious enough to see what was going on. I didn't have to track him down or carry him upstairs and give him time to worry.
I put him in the carrier and set the carrier on the floor, then let him decide how he wanted to settle down in it. Using the technique the vet tech showed me, I had one false jab, but got the needle in on the second try. He didn't budge. I started up the fluids without touching him or the tubing or needle, and he remained calm. I petted his head and told him what a good boy he was and fed him a few treats over the course of the treatment. The next thing I knew, we were done!
I reversed the process by lifting him in the carrier onto the toilet lid, opening the door and setting him down outside. He strolled out and got more praise and petting from Randy, then went downstairs when Randy offered him food as a reward.
This is a great relief, but one night does not make a success. Pippin never goes into that bathroom, so he had no expectations and no idea what would happen. Now that he has an idea what's going to happen, we'll see how the second and third nights go. At least we've had a good start.
Tuesday, 29 July 2014
The news on Pippin is not so good. We went more nights utterly failing at getting fluids into him. The last couple of nights we did slightly better and got some, but not the full amount of fluids into him. He fights us and fights us and bites and will NOT be restrained. And he is a big, strong, almost 20 lb. cat, so this is no joke.
This afternoon we took him for the scheduled follow-up visit. His kidney functions have gotten worse. It basically comes to: we either get the fluids into him or he dies. And even if we get the fluids into him, we can't be sure it will save him. If he continues to fight getting fluids...there's not much we can do. Then it becomes a quality of life issue.
We discussed the situation with the doctor, who strongly recommended creating a setting in which Pippin could feel safe and secure without being restrained. One thing she suggested is to put him in a box with high sides and let him be in there while we do the fluids.
The vet tech gave Pippin his fluids while we were there. That way we could see how it was done properly. We left Pippin lying in his carrier, but with the lid off. He was totally calm and didn't fight at all! But it's not the first time I've had a cat behave completely differently at the vet's than at home.
That gave us relief from having to do it tonight. Tomorrow night, I'm going to try a radically different approach. I'm going to take the bottom half of his carrier into a smaller bathroom and try to keep him calmly lying in it while I do the fluids by myself with no restraining. If it doesn't work, we'll try the box method.
He was eating fine until noon today (well before we took him to the vet) and he's only eaten a tiny amount since we got back. We'll give him one more try to eat tonight. If he continues refusing to eat, we'll have to try the appetite stimulant on him again. But this time, I'm using less than before. We haven't given it to him again since the one time on the 20th and his eyes continue to be more dilated than normal. We can't blame that for sure on the medicine, but I remain suspicious.
Pippin, Saffy, Opal and Jetta turned 10 this last April (and Zoe in May). Ten years is way too soon to lose him to kidney disease.
Friday, 25 July 2014
Yes! It went way better tonight giving Pippin the fluids. Having the bag hung higher made a huge difference. And this time I sat on the floor behind Pippin, so that he couldn't try to squirm away from Randy in front on him by backing up. That screwed us up last night. Pippin was unhappy, but he didn't bite this time. He was quite happy to get his treat of cat food afterwards.
Thursday, 24 July 2014
The fluid process started out okay, but then the needle slipped out and Pippin began to fight Randy. He gave Randy a couple of hard bites. Fortunately, not enough to go through the thick leather gloves. We only got about a quarter of the fluids into him that we should.
I decided to turn to the Great Pipes of Knowledge aka the intarwebs and watched a couple of videos on giving subcu fluids. I saw a couple of useful tidbits, but man, all the cats in those videos are way more relaxed and forgiving than the Pippymeister. We've decided that if things don't go better tomorrow night, we'll take him to the clinic to have it done. Other than that, he's eating well and tonight he even played a tiny bit with his birdie toy.
In other news, Opal continues to have hissy fits at Pippin and water is wet.
Wednesday, 23 July 2014
Yesterday we had a scare with Pippin because he threw up liquid on the bed early in the morning. Then Randy noticed that Pippin's pupils were enormously dilated and didn't change. That's a potential sign of massive hypertension brought on by kidney failure.
As it happened, I was working from home that day, so the two of us managed to get him to the specialist clinic to have his blood pressure checked and eyes looked at. We were scheduled to bring him in today to have blood tests redone, so we had that done yesterday instead.
His blood pressure was slightly high, but that could have been the stress of being brought there. The evaluation was that it was a side-effect of the Mirtazapine, but they gave us another medication to bring down his blood pressure just in case.
Last night was an utter failure at trying to give Pippin his fluids. I suck, pure and simple. Tonight was almost as bad and we only got a small amount of the fluids into him, but with each attempt we learn something new. Tomorrow night has to be better.
There was cautious good news on his blood work. His kidney values have come down slightly. They're still not in normal range, but at least they're going down and not up. His pupils are more normal, plus he's still eating well. He was pretty zonked out before, but is behaving more like himself today. We've decided not to give him more Mirtazapine unless it's absolutely necessary.
Monday, 21 July 2014
Okay, that Mirtazapine is potent stuff. That's the prescription I picked up last night. For humans, it seems to be a somewhat risky antidepressant. Maybe it's designed to get depressed people to eat. At any rate, by 11:30 Pippin was eagerly chowing down dry food.
Randy said Pippin has been eating his usual amount of food all day, which is the first time since this ordeal began last Wed. Pippin looks and acts better. Tonight, giving the fluids went quickly and with no fuss.
Hopefully tomorrow we'll have the result of the culture test and we'll know more about what brought this on.
Sunday, 20 July 2014
I fear that Randy and I are about as traumatized by this situation as Pippin is. After eating fairly well yesterday, he would hardly eat at all today. Randy couldn't even get him to lick soft food from his finger. It was battle trying to get the fluids into him and I'm not sure I did a good job of it.
The vet gave us a prescription for something to increase his appetite, if we felt in need of it. So at 10 pm, we located a 24-hour pharmacy and I drove to the next city over to get the pills. First, I gave him the antibiotic, which was the most important pill to get into him. But then he was in full resistance mode for the appetite pill and Pepcid. I put them inside a pill popper treat, but in a feat of mouth dexterity, he licked off the treat and spit out the pills. With my fingers in great peril, I tried to get both pills into him again. Later, Randy found the remains of one pill, but we don't know quite what it was. We're hoping it was only the Pepcid.
I hope tomorrow is better, because my nerves are badly frayed.
Saturday, 19 July 2014
We've been doing well getting Pippin to eat. He's had dry food and canned food throughout the day, plus he's been drinking water on his own. He still wants to have Randy hand-feed him with canned food on a finger, but Randy's happy to do that. Pippin had a pee accident upstairs, I think mainly from stress and not having enough strength left to go back downstairs. We quickly set up an extra catbox upstairs. He used it several times, but he still had two accidents on our blanket during the night while sleeping on the bed.
He's weak and can't do much except rest, but we didn't have any more accidents during the day. He's been both downstairs and upstairs. The real challenge was having to give him the fluids this evening. I hate doing it because I'm so terrified I'll screw up and hurt him. Randy rigged up a hook to hang the fluid bag from a towel rack in the guest bathroom. Wisely, Randy also put on a pair of heavy leather gloves to hold Pippin in place while I inserted the needle. In the initial irritation, Pippin bit all the way through the gloves, but not enough to do harm. The process actually went well, to my great relief, until I withdrew the needle before remembering to stop the flow from the bag and squirted us for a few seconds.
Randy fed Pippin right afterwards. That was about a hour or so ago. We'll need to feed him again so that I can give him his pills.
Opal continued to hiss and carry on and act out all day long. We figure Pippin doesn't smell right to her. Even so, she's being rather mental about it.
Friday, 18 July 2014
The diagnosis on Pippin is renal failure, but we haven't yet solved what brought it on. There's no initial indication that the mass in kidney is a cancerous tumor, but the only way to know for sure would be to do a biopsy. He's not well enough for that. Plus the internist vet thinks that it's secondary to some acute problem with the kidneys. He's lost about 75% of his kidney function. It could be a severe infection of some kind or it could be long-term failing kidneys that suddenly got worse for an unknown reason.
It might have been better to leave him at the hospital to keep getting IV fluids over the weekend, but the problem is that he wouldn't eat. A big cat like him can't go too many days without eating before liver failure begins to set in. I felt fairly sure that he was too stressed and freaked out at the hospital to be willing to eat. A blood test from this morning indicated that his kidney enzymes had improved. Not back to normal, but at least coming down.
So after discussion with the vet, I decided we'd bring him home. It means that we have to give him subcutaneous fluids for the next several days. I've done that before on older cats and I hate doing it. Randy will have to help me as I can about guarantee that Pippin will be difficult about it. We need to keep giving him antibiotics and Pepcid, then bring him back in for a follow-up blood test on Wed.
I'm so lucky to work at Zynga, a place where people are encouraged to bring their dogs to work. My boss heard what was happening this morning and promptly told me to go home for the day to deal with Pippin. My primary work machine is a laptop, so it's easy for me to work from home.
Randy went with me to pick up Pippin at 4:30. We had another consultation with the internist vet, whom Randy hadn't met yet. He was as impressed with her as I was. Then the tech brought Pippin in and went over the subcu instructions with us. Pippin was wearing a cone of shame and they'd had to lightly trank him to remove the catheter. He got "feisty" during the night, they said, so the cone was also for their protection. We were able to remove it before we left.
Opal is in snit, hissing and running away. She always reacts to her siblings coming back from the vet like that. Saffy gave Pippin a good sniffing up and welcomed him back. Pippin wandered around woozily a bit. Randy mixed up some of Pippin's canned Z/D with some of the organic chicken and brown rice baby food that I use for Jetta. When we first caught Pippin and his sisters, Randy would feed him with canned food on the tip of his finger. He did that again this afternoon with great success. He's gotten a couple small meals into Pippin so far.
There's no telling how it will go from here, but Pippin is a lot happier already. We're trying to stay hopeful.
Thursday, 17 July 2014
Pippin is a very sick boy. He's in the hospital for tonight and possibly for the weekend.
We've seen him throw up fluids a couple of times recently, but last night he lost all interest in food and threw up everything he'd eaten. His behavior was way off. We could tell he wasn't feeling right. Then he did something completely bizarre for him and he left a turd in the dining room rather than using the cat box. He also kept reacting to sounds or motions by running away as though frightened.
He kept us awake most of the night by continuing to throw up. He ran out of food to throw up and would throw up liquid or dry heave. He never got onto the bed to sleep with us, which he always does without fail.
In the morning, he came down for the food call, ate about one piece of food and went off in the corner to heave again. I quickly called the vet and had a stroke of luck. She'd had a cancellation and I was able to get him this morning. She kept him for a couple of hours to do a blood panel, urinalysis and x-ray. She called to let me know that she was worried and wanted me to get him to a specialty clinic nearby for an ultrasound ASAP. One kidney showed up as larger than the other on the x-ray, but she was mainly concerned about the seriously elevated kidney function results.
So I jumped back in my car without having lunch, picked up Pippin at my vet's and took him over the specialty clinic. The vet specialist I dealt with there was terrific. She did the ultrasound and reported that his kidneys don't look normal. One kidney looks larger because there's a mass of some kind in it. There are no stones and no obstruction, which was one of her big concerns, but the abnormal-looking kidneys are what's making him so sick.
I left him to be hospitalized with an IV to hydrate him and flush out his kidneys, antibiotics, and Pepcid to settle his stomach. We need to get some food back into him. He'll get more tests in the morning to see whether there's improvement. She's also doing a culture on his urine and a lab test on cells from the mass or tumor or whatever is to see what that can tell us.
I'm already over $3,000 poorer, but it was the only way to help him. Think healing thoughts in his direction.
Monday, 26 May 2014
I'm a bit stunned to realize I haven't posted an update for over two months. Life gets away from me, what can I say.
As far as the Moggy Horde goes, the main battle and complication has been Jetta's urinary tract problem. I went through more courses of antibiotics with increasingly weaker results. She's had blood work, x-rays, urine analyses, cultures, ultrasound...a small fortune's worth of tests to work out the nature of the problem.
As the vet explained it, and to grossly simplify, it could have been caused by a) a bacterial infection; b) crystals or kidney stones; or c) nervous stress or emotional disorder.
A straight infection would have been the easiest to deal with, but was quickly ruled out.
Crystals or stones would have been the second easiest to deal with, but that was finally ruled out, too.
That left the nervous stress of some kind, the hardest one to deal with because it's the most amorphous. I gave in to the inevitable and began giving her half an Amitriptyline twice a day. Luckily, I found a way to get past her violent dislike of it. My brother, who lives on the east coast, is the kennel manager for a vet and he'd sent me a care package with some cat toys and a couple packages of the Greenies Pill Pocket treats. They're soft treats with a hollow interior. The idea is to put the pill inside the treat and the cat will eat it.
Yeah, right. I haven't met a cat yet that will eat those as a treat. However, I found that I could take half of one and moosh it around the half a trank, just enough so that Jetta couldn't detect the smell or taste of the pill. It works beautifully. I can pop the treat-coated pill right down her throat with no fuss or battle.
To further reinforce the good behavior, I immediately follow it up with a dose of "pixie dust" aka catnip. I put the catnip on a horizontal scratching pad where Jetta immediately rubs herself all over it and has a pleasant fit of euphoria. It's gotten to the point where she knows the routine so well, she'll go over to the scratching post after I give her the pill and wait for her catnip dessert.
To further help her along, I'm giving her a special kidney diet food (canned stuff), mixed with Cosequin. She's not too crazy about it and the only way I've found to get her to eat it is to mix it with chicken and brown rice baby food.
It's been a few weeks and so far the results are good. She's peeing normally and not using the catbox excessively. The one area where I haven't seen much improvement is that she continues to lick the fur off her belly. I'm wondering if that's become too much of a habit. I'm going to give it more time to see whether she'll eventually get past it.
Sunday, 9 March 2014
Screw it, I've decided to stop giving Jetta the Amitriptyline. She loathes the stuff, it's a struggle giving it to her, and I can't see that it's done her any good at all. She continues to lick her belly bare the same as she's been doing for a year now. Whatever the problem is, I don't think it's just "nervousness". I'm still giving her the catnip because why not? It probably makes her way happier than the trank.
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Jetta has slowly gotten better and I'd say she's pretty much back to normal. I found a ploy that works well with giving her the trank -- I immediately follow it up by giving her a hit of catnip. She loves her catnip. It works wonders on getting her to forget about the pill I shoved down her throat.
Both Jetta and Zoe went to the vet today for rabies shots. I would never bother with rabies shots normally with completely indoor cats, but the county of San Mateo requires it. Jetta was just there, so she didn't need an exam. I pointed out that Jetta continues to lick her stomach bare in spite of changing food or using the trank, but the vet didn't have another recommendation. I have no idea what else to try.
Zoe hadn't been the vet's in a long time, but the vet thought she was in perfect, gorgeous condition. I've gotten Zoe's weight down a little and it's just right now. The vet loved Zoe's big, big eyes. She had these huge elfin eyes as a kitten and somehow they grew with her instead of her growing into them.
Sunday, 2 March 2014
Opal woke us around five singing the mousie song. We went back to sleep. She started up again around seven. We ignored her. She pawed at the covers. She threw up in the bedroom. She went downstairs and slammed kitchen cabinet doors. She's an adorable girl, but there are moments when I want to throttle her.
Wednesday, 19 February 2014
I think Jetta is slowly improving. I'd say she's about 70% better, but not back to normal. At least she's not going to the box nearly as often and is spending less time in the box when she's there.
She seems to love the Cosequin. It was always a struggle to get her to eat her canned food, but for the last few days, she has cleaned her bowl in one sitting. What a change.
When I got home from work yesterday, I opened the door and saw birthday balloons that Randy's sister had sent him. Pippin and Opal were hanging out in the living room, but Saffy was nowhere in sight. Saffy's always there to greet me when I come home, or she comes running down the stairs to greet me. Not this time. She was hiding upstairs in fear of the balloons. Neither one of us could coax her down. She's usually the boldest cat of the three. She even hangs around me when I'm using the vacuum cleaner. But for some reason, she can't cope with the balloons. We cut the balloons loose and they're floating on the ceiling for now. Saffy is keeping a wary eye on them.
The Terrifying Balloon Monster
Friday, 14 February 2014
Jetta had her kidneys x-rayed on Thurs. Everything was good. No stones, no tumors or masses (which was my other secret worry). That leaves us with persistent urinary tract inflammation. She's done with the Clavamox and is getting Cosequin mixed into her gooshy food, something the vet recommended. Jetta seems to like it just fine. The vet also gave me three doses of a liquid painkiller, in case Jetta's reacting to pain. She seems to be spending less time in the catbox, but I'm not sure we've totally handled it yet. I'll be keeping a close eye on her during this three-day weekend.
Tuesday, 11 February 2014
The vet checked in with me via email on Mon. to see how Jetta was doing and based on that, she called me today to talk. A bladder inflammation should have cleared up within a couple of weeks, so she wants to x-ray Jetta's kidneys to see whether she could have kidney stones. The vet said kidney stones could make Jetta feel as though she needs to urinate. So the plan is to drop Jetta off Thurs. morning on my way to work and have Randy pick her up later in the day. You can't do much for humans with kidney stones; I have no clue what you could do for cats, if anything.
Sunday, 9 February 2014
Jetta's feeling better today, though she's still spending a lot of time in the catbox. And scattering lots of cat litter in the process. Ever since this started, I've had to clean up about ten times more scattered litter than before.
She ate all her canned food tonight, she got into my lap for the first time in a long time, and she even let me get away with combing her. But she and Zoe had a tiff a few minutes ago, so she's gone off. It was one of those silly cat tiffs where they start out licking one another and being friendly, and then suddenly they're hissing and whacking one another. Ridiculous moggies.
Saturday, 8 February 2014
We had an unpleasant surprise waiting for us this morning. Pippin left a large, semi-soft crap in the dining room. That's far from normal behavior for him and we're baffled by it. There are no changes to the catboxes. I clean them twice a day: morning and then a couple hours before we go to bed at night. It's remotely possible it was a fear-crap. Late in the evening, we heard the gate near the front door clanging again and all the cats exploded up the stairs. But it sure seems like we would have smelled it, if it had happened then.
Nothing we've tried over the years has solved his intestinal problems. We've tried all kinds of food solutions. He gets pumpkin every day. He's been to the vet multiple times for this, but it's chronic. About all we can do is clean up after him. One of the first morning tasks has become the Pippin butt-check. Often followed by the clean-up. I keep baby wipes around for that purpose. I wish we could find a solution.
And then there's Jetta. I was down to the last Baytril and she hadn't improved much, so I emailed the vet. Friday I arranged to work from home and took Jetta in to get subcutaneous fluids and to pick up a different antibiotic, Clavamox. I've given both these meds to cats numerous times over the years. I have to get the Clavamox into her twice a day, so I've been taking advantage of Jetta's long sits in the catbox to give it to her there. I've had to develop a routine of cleaning one cat box, gently getting her to shift over from the one she's in and then clean the other one. Otherwise, I'd wait for hours trying to get both boxes clean. She's still spending more time than I like squatting in the boxes. I'm waiting to see better results soon.
Monday, 3 February 2014
As expected, I'm seeing slight improvement in Jetta tonight. Last night, the only way I could get her to eat her gooshy food was to lift her out of the catbox and place her next to the food. She ate most of it, but immediately returned to the catbox.
Tonight, she came out to greet me and she was ready to eat her food, though she only ate half of it and spent another ten minutes in the catbox. But after that, she finished the rest of, visited me briefly at my desk, and then back to the catbox...but not for too long. Now she's in her catbed. That in itself is way better than last night.
Sunday, 2 February 2014
I left urgent messages for the vet and was able to talk to her on Friday. Randy ran over to the clinic for me to pick up another course of Baytril and some Amitrityline. This vet seems determined that Jetta should have the trank and it's only a very low dose, so I'll do ahead with it. This time the vet said it would help prevent "bladder spasms".
Last night, poor Jetta spent almost three hours just sitting in the catbox. I couldn't even get her to come out for the gooshy food until hours later. She ate a bit and then went right back to the box. I gave up and simply gave her the pills while she was sitting in the box. It's only her second pill in this course, so I expect it will take at least one more dose before I see significant improvement. It sure concerns me that ths problem came roaring back so severely within a week of getting the other course of Baytril.
Funny moment doing the laundry. Opal likes to fetch mousies and hide them inside Randy's socks and underwear. It isn't unusual for me to find a mousie has gone through the laundry cycle. But this last time, I found two mousies in the washing machine. Opal has upped her game.
Thursday, 30 January 2014
Well, damn. Jetta stopped sneezing, but her urinary problem is back and she's spending excessive time squatting in the box again. I left a voice message for the vet.
Sunday, 26 January 2014
I left a message at the vet's office first thing Thurs. about needing to hear from her, and she called me back at the end of the day. I filled her in on how well Jetta is doing. She didn't have any other recommendations other than putting Jetta on Amitriptyline if I thought she was too nervous or stressed. She said there's a connection between stressed cats and the bladder inflammation. Jetta is on the typically neurotic end of the normal cat scale and I really don't want to give her the trank. The vet didn't recommend anything in particular for diet other than trying to feed Jetta more moist food. It's already a struggle getting her to eat the canned z/d, so I don't see much luck there. Other than that, she said to keep an eye on her.
Friday, Jetta started sneezing. She's been sneezing ever since, though not excessively. I'm keeping an eye on that, too.
Last night, Pippin, Opal and Jetta heard something that sent them scampering up the stairs in a panic, though Saffy was quick to come back down. Randy and I were sitting in the living room reading and wondered what could have set them off. Then we heard the sounds. Just outside the front door porch area, immediately to the left, is a chain-link gate that opens to a narrow walkway between the house and the fence leading to the back yard. That's where we store the recyling bins. We immediately recognized the sound as the metal gate being jostled. It can do that on a windy night, but there was no wind last night.
Randy stepped outside to investigate and found himself a few feet away from a skunk. I saw a skunk in our front yard a few years ago and we've smelled them going off in the neighborhood many times. He quickly retreated unscathed as the skunk turned and went its way.
Wednesday, 22 January 2014
I managed to get Jetta through the entire course of antibiotics with almost no fuss. She's perked up tremendously. She's no longer spending long minutes in the catbox. What I'm finding in the catbox are normal amounts of pee. Jetta's appetite has picked up and returned to normal. And she's been more playful and energetic.
The last thing I heard from the vet, a couple of days ago, was that Jetta's urine culture came back negative for bacteria, so no bacterial infection. She gave a diagnosis of feline lower urinary tract disease. She mentioned something about additional treatment, but I'm still waiting for details. You tend to get urinary tract problems in males more than females. I'm hoping it's a one-off thing.
Wednesday, 15 January 2014
The vet, bless her, gave me antibiotic pills that I only have to give to Jetta once a day -- at night. Tonight I fed her and waited for her to jump onto my desk as part of the usual routine, then quickly popped the pill into her mouth. I followed that with a lot of petting and praise for what a good girl she was.
I figure I'll get away with that once, maybe twice. We'll see how it goes tomorrow. She's no fool.
Tuesday, 14 January 2014
I've been home sick with a cold for a few days and it proved to be a good thing because I've been in my home office a lot more than usual. And that allowed me to discover that Jetta has some kind of urinary tract problem.
I would go to clean the cat box and find Jetta sitting in it. I'd wait. And wait. Go away for a few minutes and come back to find her still sitting there, absolutely still, trying to pee. Eventually, she'd get out and I'd find just a tiny bit of urine. Then a minute later, she'd come back and sit in the box another five minutes or so. I was keeping an eye on this, but what pushed me over the edge was when she did this at least four times in a row. She must have spent twenty minutes sitting in the box.
She's been a bit off her food lately, too. It's been a struggle to get her to eat the canned food and she hasn't polished off her dry food the way she used to.
I left an urgent message for my vet overnight so they'd get it first thing in the morning. Getting a last-minute appointment is a near miracle, but I got lucky. They had a cancellation and I hauled poor Jetta to the clinic at nine this morning. She complained loudly.
It's been nearly a year since I had Jetta there for the skin allergy problem. I was astounded it had been that long. She's lost about a pound since then. They had to get a urine sample, but she was bone dry, no surprise, so I had to leave her there half the day. I had them go ahead and cut off the more persistent clots in her fur and clip her nails while they had her. They did a full blood panel as well. I won't know the results until Friday. The vet has me giving her antibiotics in the meantime.
Jetta was powerfully happy to be home. She even demanded petting and attention, which she almost never does. I got out the new rod & string toy I recently bought and Jetta played with it energetically. I guess she can't be feeling too bad. Hopefully, the antibiotics will improve the situation.