Tales of the
How I learned
To Stop Worrying
And Love Bast
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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.