Tales of the
How I learned
To Stop Worrying
And Love Bast
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Tuesday, 9 Feb. 2016
12 days down, 3 days to go. Poor Saffy, it's so hard for her to see Opal on the sofa and in Randy's lap getting hugs when she can't be allowed there, too. She's being such a good girl about it. We make sure to give her love and bellyrubs, though it means having to wash our hands a lot.
Friday, 5 Feb. 2016
Pippin did something tonight that he hasn't done in year and years, since he was a kitten. Randy was getting him to play with his favorite ball in the living room, which is a rare enough thing. Then Pippin picked the ball up in his mouth, carried it upstairs to Randy's office, and played with it there. Randy said Pippin dropped it in Saffy's bed, carried it around some more, and batted it back when Randy rolled it to him. It makes us so happy to see Pippin feeling good enough to play like a young cat.
Monday, 1 Feb. 2016
We continue to have hissathons around here. Saffy must still smell strange to Pippin and Opal because they hiss after sniffing her. Pippin gets into trouble himself because his vision is so compromised that he bumps into the girls without meaning to and gets whacked in return.
The first night that Saffy had to sleep in Randy's office, she cried for about half an hour, then settled down and was okay the rest of the time. The next night, she didn't cry at all until she heard us getting up in the morning. Last night she was equally quiet. She's being such a good girl. However, she's developed a sneeze and slight congestion. We're working hard to avoid being sneezed on. Randy referred to her as our little radioactive sneeze sprayer.
Friday, 29 Jan. 2016
I picked up Saffy at 1:30 and she squeaked piteously at me on the way home. She was profoundly happy to be home again. She prowled around and attacked her scratching post vigorously. She sat in the kitchen and regaled us with lectures, the cat version of "WTF was THAT about?!" Unfortunately, we're supposed to keep a foot to three feet away from her, keep physical contact to a minimum, and wash our hands immediately after petting her. Poor Saffy is feeling insecure and looking for reassurance when we can barely get close to her safely.
In typical fashion, Opal and Pippin are having total hissy fits because of how Saffy smells. They're even hissing and taking swipes at one another when they're not harassing Saffy. I had a hell of a time giving Pippin his subcutanous fluids tonight because he was growling and hissing and being generally pissed off with the universe. But we persisted and got it done.
We've closed off the bedroom door, to keep Saffy from sleeping on the bed, as she often does in the evenings. That's off-limits for two weeks. We have her favorite cat bed set up in Randy's office, along with a cat box and water. While she was napping there this afternoon, Randy said she would wake up crying, like she's having nightmares about being locked up in a strange place.
She'll have to stay in his office overnight. We don't think she'll be happy about that and we're wondering how much sleep we'll get.
Tuesday, 26 Jan. 2016
Today Saffy became a radioactive cat. I told Randy she'd better not get bitten by a spider and come back as Spider-Cat.
Last week, she had chest x-rays. Her blood work was current enough that we didn't need to have it done again. That's all in preparation for this treatment -- radioactive iodine therapy. They inject it into her neck like any other shot. The radioactive iodine has an eight-day half-life, very short, and it kills the benign tumors in the thyroid that cause a cat to be hyperthyroid.
I've heard of the treatment before, maybe as long as twenty years ago. Other vets suggested it when I had hyperthyroid cats. My current vet had it done on her own two cats and swears by it. It has a 98-99% effectiveness as a permanent cure. It's expensive, but in one year I would have spent the same amount on the thyroid medications with no cure at all.
She comes home on Friday. I feel so sorry for the poor little girl having to be in isolation for four days. I brought along a sacrificial shirt for her to sleep on, an old flannel shirt of Randy's that she sleeps on at the foot of our bed. Because of the treatment, they'll have to dispose of the shirt afterwards.
We have to follow strict precautions when she comes home, too. For the next couple of weeks, we can't have her on our laps or snuggled up next to us or sleeping on the bed. We'll have to wash our hands a lot and so on. We have to dispose of her urine and poop using flushable cat litter. I was amazed to be told that the state of California requires that. I wouldn't think they'd want radioactive by-products in the sewage system, but whatever. I was given the name of a couple of the flushable cat litters. I checked them out and they're a more expensive version of what I already use -- chicken feed. Made of wheat and other grains. So I'm sticking with the chicken feed.
We miss her around the house. She's a warm, talkative presence and it's too quiet without her.
Friday, 15 Jan. 2016
Saffy had a brief visit to the vet on Tues. to have blood drawn to recheck her thyroid. Putting the thyroid cream in her ears has been nice and easy.
The vet called today to say that her levels are normal and her blood work looks good, which clears the way for getting her the radioactive iodine treatment. I went to radiocat.com to read up on it. And as it turns out, the authorized place to do it in northern California is the emergency clinic that we regularly use. I know it'll be expensive, but not as expensive as years of buying methimazole to give her.
Tuesday, 6 Jan. 2016
The most recent $500 vet bill was brought to us courtesy of Opal. Last Sunday, she woke us up around 5 am with what sounded like vicious hairball hacking, except that she couldn't get anything to come up, not even liquid. She began making deep gulping sounds and was wheezing badly through her nose. She was obviously in distress, wouldn't eat, didn't act like herself.
After a few hours with no improvement, we took her to the emergency clinic. They kept her part of the day, gave her fluids and various meds, took x-rays, etc. The x-rays showed that her stomach was hugely enlarged, mostly filled with gas. There was no clear-cut problem, so we brought her home to let the meds work.
She was seriously out of sorts that night. Mostly, she hid away and wanted nothing to do with us. By Mon., she started to bounce back and gradually acted more like her old self. She ate ravenously, something she's been doing a lot of lately. Given how thin she is, her constant hunger, and drinking a lot of water, I suspect she may also have a thyroid problem. Her thyroid levels were normal back in July, but the signs are there.
First, I need to have Saffy retested, which happens next week. I've been rubbing the thyroid meds into her ears twice a day. She thinks it's pretty weird, but she's not especially bothered by it.
Pippin continues to have his ups and downs. He'll do great for a week, then suddenly it's the old battle to get him to eat or we're cleaning diarrhea up. We have three unique protein foods to try on him. When Pippin gets tired of one type, Randy will put out three bowls and let Pippin decide which one he wants.
Zoe's getting chunky. I'll have to cut back on her food amounts soon. This morning, she tested the durability of my work laptop (I was working from home) by vomiting all over it. That was a lovely mess. Fortunately, the lid was down at the time, so she didn't get any on the keyboard.
Jetta's doing well, though I finally admitted defeat trying to comb out the growing mats in her hindquarters. I got out the scissors and snipped them off. Wrestling Jetta to enough of a standstill to do that safely is a feat in itself.
Tuesday, 29 Dec. 2015
I was walking toward the kitchen and saw a tableau that was hysterically funny. I quickly called for Randy to come and see. We have a momma squirrel that we've been giving peanuts to for years. She's become tame enough that she comes right up to the glass doors in the kitchen (that open onto the back yard), stands up with her front paws on the glass, and eagerly peers inside going WANT PEANUTS NOW, PLEASE! She'll stay there when we slide the door open and will take peanuts from our hands.
Momma squirrel was standing up against the glass, looking for her humans, while Pippin, Saffy and Opal were arrayed in the kitchen facing her, watching squirrel TV. I wish I'd had time to grab my camera, but I'm sure you can imagine the scene.
Thursday, 24 Dec. 2015
Before I could post my write-up for the 22nd, we lost our AT&T service again. It would go out for hours at a time and come back for no reason we could figure out. No internet. No TV. Then it went out Tues. morning and didn't come back. The repairman didn't get here and fix it until late in the day on Wed.
In the meantime, I caught up with the vet. She wanted me to bring Saffy in, so that the tech could show me to apply a new kind of transdermal thyroid med. I threw on some street clothes, put an unsuspecting Saffy into the carrier, and was at the vet's half an hour later.
They've given me five syringes with a gel form of the medication. I have to wear a latex finger guard (so that I don't absorb it myself). The doses are marked out on the syringe, so I have to carefully push out exactly the right amount onto a fingertip. Then all I have to do is rub it around inside on the flap of her ear twice day.
I'm doing her right ear in the morning and left ear at night.
It's easy, which is great, but this stuff is also damned expensive. It was $95 for a 25 day supply. At 21 days, the vet wants to retest. She also recommended that I consider the radioactive iodine treatment because Saffy is young and healthy, and she stated that this treatment is a cure. I've looked into this many years ago with other hyperthyroid cats I've had. I couldn't do it at the time because of the cost. It was about $1500 then and I got the impression it's about that much now.
But I can either pay it up front in one big lump sum, or pay through the nose for years to come for the thyroid meds. A quick bit of research has me strongly predisposed to go for the iodine treatment.
Tuesday, 22 Dec. 2015
I've been playing phone-tag with the vet since last Thursday. I dropped Saffy off on my way to work and Randy picked her up later in the afternoon. The vet left me voice mail on Friday to say that Saffy's general bloodwork and chemistry was good, that her urinalysis was normal, but her thyroid is "profoundly elevated". So she's hyperthyroid.
I've had several cats before that became hyperthyroid and it's not hard to deal with. It comes down to giving her methimazole pills. They used to be outrageously expensive, but it looks like I can get a generic form that isn't as pricey.
What puzzles me is how that caused Saffy the urinary problem that was so similar to having stones. That's one of the things I want to talk to the vet about. That and getting some meds into Saffy as soon as I can. She's done with the Clavamox, which has resolved the catbox problem. That makes me think it wasn't necessarily from the thyroid, but who knows? One thing I remember about my hyperthyroid cats, especially the males, is that the hyperthyroid condition forces the kidneys to function at a more efficient level and can mask underlying kidney disease as a result. Hopefully that isn't the case with Saffy.
Wednesday, 16 Dec. 2015
There's a corner of the kitchen counter that's been turned into a cat pharmacy. A whole line of bottles and medicine and treats stand ready for me morning and night. Most of it's for Pippin, but now some of it is also for Saffy.
Because, yes, Saffy has joined the roster of cats needing expensive vet visits. Randy had been noticing small scattered spots of urine in the boxes, but didn't know who was doing it. By Mon. night, Saffy was spending all her time in the box trying to pee or crap. She'd get out a tiny bit, jump out of the box, retreat to the living room for half a minute, then return to the box. It was highly similar to Jetta's behavior during the worst of her kidney stones.
It was so bad that I ended up hauling her to the emergency clinic. To no one's surprise whatsoever, her bladder was completely empty and tiny, so they couldn't get a urine sample. The vet couldn't see anything significant with ultrasound. Saffy seemed otherwise in good shape, so they sent me home with antibiotics and pain med.
We were already feeding her a small amount of the Royal Canin SO (designed to dissolve struvite crystals), so we increased it to be the majority of her dry food, plus adding it to her canned food.
Saffy seems marginally better today. I'm dropping her off at our regular vet's tomorrow morning on my way to work. They're booked solid, but will work in doing a blood panel and getting urine from her during the day and then Randy can pick her up. She's overdue for a thorough physical anyway.
If she also turns out to have kidney stones and/or struvite crystals, that will make all three females from this litter to have the same problem.
Thursday, 10 Dec. 2015
The Pippymeister ponders.
(photo by Randy Littlejohn)
Sunday, 6 Dec. 2015
We had a couple more bad days and nights with Pippin. We were up to 1:30 am the other night cleaning up after his diarrhea. On one memorable occasion, he squatted and let loose right next to me while I was standing in the dining room. We think we know which dry food is causing it, but it was also the only thing that seemed to make Pippin interested in eating the dry food that's good for him.
So we bought yet another new type of expensive dry food from Royal Canin, a special protein blend made of rabbit. He hasn't been wildly enthusiastic about it, but he has eaten it. We'll see how he does on that.
We were in bed and about to fall asleep the other night when we were startled by a bright light suddenly going on next to Randy. While traipsing across his nightstand, Opal somehow managed to turn on Randy's phone and then activate the flashlight app. What worries me the most is when she starts texting....
Opal is such a precious princess that she'll turn up her nose half the time at eating her dry food. Then she'll turn around and eat the exact same dry food that Saffy has just finished throwing up. Cats, I swear.
Princess Opal lounging around. "We are not Amused."
Tuesday, 24 Nov. 2015
Pippin snuggles with the Sofa Lump (aka Opal).
Read all the 2015 posts in the Moggyblog Archives.