Tales of the
How I learned
To Stop Worrying
And Love Bast
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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, 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Friday, 1 May 2015
Happy Birthday, Zoe! She's approx. ten years old and still a love-sponge.
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!
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.