CAT NEWS DAILY – May 16

Max and Charlie both cooperated for the administration of the good drugs this morning (which is amazing – normally I can’t medicate Charlie and he’d just have to grin and bear it). Max also got an anti-inflammatory (by which point Charlie had already fled to the depths of the closet, so he did not get one). 

I have witnessed both cats eating today, both wet and dry food. They really seem to like the new special Kidney Support diet food, which is good, because it turns out the dry food I’d been feeding previously was actually pretty high in some of the minerals that can make Chronic Kidney Disease worse. I’ll be pitching the old food, and ordering a bigger bag of the new. Ideally Charlie will continue to eat the wet food primarily, since he also gets urinary crystals and needs the extra fluids. 

Max has been in my lap, asking for pets and chin scritches, even though he’s very loopy. We have resumed purring, but not jumping up on things (too dizzy), so I’ve moved the water fountain down to the floor so they can drink.

I need to go to OfficeThing and scan in the RX for Max’s new food and the RX for the sub-q fluid bags, which I will need to figure out how to order and then how to administer (it’s not hard, they showed me at the vet, I just need something to hang the IV bag fluid from).

My leg is VERY asleep, but I don’t want to dump Max on the floor, so I am grinning and bearing it.

Posted in cat

Vet Update: Max and Charlie, May 2019

So Max and Charlie haven’t been to the vet since Dec 2017, and at that time I was broke and couldn’t afford to schedule them for the teeth cleaning that the vet recommended for both of them. Also at that time, Max’s bloodwork came back with his kidney function as “slightly out of normal” – which the vet said wasn’t something to panic about, but was probably the early stages of kidney failure for him.

Today I took them both in (I wish they gave me a volume discount) to get annual exams, bloodwork, and dental cleanings. Max also needed a chest x-ray to see if the histoplasmosis in his lungs was still controlled.

I just got off the phone with the vet, and she had good news and bad news.

I don’t always eat kibble…

Charlie: his bloodwork looks perfect, health looks perfect, had three teeth that were questionable, but they were small teeth up front, so they’ve been removed. He now only has one lower canine, so he’ll be lopsided. He’ll need pain meds for 3-4 days, and be good to go. Charlie is back in his cat carrier already, because he is ANGRY AF.

Charlie can’t go to the vet without being sedated, so ANGRY AF is expected. He’ll be pissy with me for a few days, but otherwise I’m not too worried about him.

OHAI

Max: Histoplasmosis in his lungs has cleared up a bunch (yay), but is still showing on the X-ray in places. Kidney function has gone from “slightly out of normal” to “chronic kidney disease”, and he’ll be going on special vet-ordered kibble (see: $$$$$) and getting sub-cutaneous fluids once a week for the next three months, and then we have to check him again. If he’s improved, he’ll move to bloodwork and vet checks every 6 months, if not… well. If not we’ll figure out what to do in three months. He’s in good bodily condition (13 lbs even), healthy otherwise, and has great quality of life right now, but he’s definitely on borrowed time at this point. Mostly it’s “supportive care” for his kidneys and continuing the histoplasmosis treatment (and knowing that he could have easily died from that in 2015).

Max had only one tooth that was questionable, and shouldn’t need pain meds after today. Because he’s immunocompromised, he’s got a 2 week antibiotic shot to keep him from getting any infections. Max is recovering on IV fluids, and I get to learn how to give him sub-q fluids from the vet when I go pick them both up at 4 today.

I’m trying to be positive, because so much of this IS positive, but it’s going to get expensive around here for all this vet care and special food and ordering the fluids and needles to give him the fluids. Get to learn some new things when I go back, and hopefully in three months he’ll have gotten his kidney function a little better supported. I can feed him expensive kibble, and I can do sub-q fluids, but Exam+Bloodwork every three months is going to get expensive, especially if there’s not much we can do for him.

Mostly I’m also just really glad I’m bringing both cats home today. Anaesthesia on 13 year old cats is always risky, and I’m glad they both did well. I think they both will get some tuna as a treat tonight. 

Missing Morty

Morty (Short for Mordecai, or so I’m told) was the cat who inhabited the bookstore where I work. He lived there for about 10 years, and he was my favorite coworker. He, like many cats, liked boxes – and working in a bookstore, he never had any shortage of boxes to crawl into. I loved opening up a DVD box and finding only half a box of DVDs and the rest filled with a very fat black and white cat.

Morty was also my lunch buddy, as he had a penchant for people food. Especially turkey. Since the break room is always freezing cold, he didn’t usually turn down a warm lap to snuggle in or next to either. Since I tend to take little cat naps on my break at work, he was a nap buddy too.

Sadly, Morty got very very sick last May, and though I and another coworker nursed him pretty much constantly through it, eventually they discovered he had inoperable cancer. As much as I am glad I was able to be there to help care for him, I wish they had found the cancer sooner, as I really think he was in a lot of pain.

This week, I think because it’s the holidays and getting chilly outside, I’ve been missing Morty. I still think I see him around the store sometimes, usually when I glance over and mistake a black sweater or hat for a snoozing cat in my peripheral vision. I ate the last of the turkey soup at work (made from the Thanksgiving turkey carcass), and I couldn’t shake the feeling of wishing he was there begging for a taste. Last year he actually got up on my little tray table and licked at my soup bowl when I wasn’t paying attention (he also stole cheese).

Still, I’m glad I got to “work with” Morty – he was a big source of comfort during the holidays last year, when I was pretty unstable and work was beyond challenging. He was a good cat, and I miss him, but I am glad I got the chance to miss him, if that makes any sense at all.

*For those curious, the store is not getting another cat. Morty was grandfathered into the rules, which now do not allow for store pets of any kind.

Critters

(Inspired by a twitter conversation with Temerity Jane, Awlbiste, and Naithin)

I make no secret of my love of animals. Dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, even fish and reptiles (and amphibians!) are worthy of admiration from me. Yes, I’m the weirdo that feeds the garden toads, chases the cats away from the geckos that get in the house so I can catch them and put them outside, won’t step on spiders (and, in fact, will feed the big outside garden spiders), and chirps at the tree frogs in the yard.

I also am currently the caretaker of two (mostly) fabulous felines. Max and Charlie are a great deal of fun, and rarely a day goes by that I don’t at least smile, if not laugh at one or both of them being … well, cats. They love string. They love playing Kitty-WWF on my bed and then tearing after each other through the house like tiny furry rockets. They love playing chicken with my laptop.

Unfortunately, this time of year is rife with people doing horrible things to animals – particularly cats, especially black cats.

I get that not everyone is a cat fan (preferences, we has them), which is totally fine. Being annoyed with a cat is… well, part of living with cats, and when they do annoying things, generally it seems that the appropriate response is to shut the door, ignore them, go somewhere else, dump them off your lap, etc. Or possibly to engage in some corporal cuddling, whereby you are as annoying to the cat as it is to you.

Being annoyed with an animal does not equal maiming, mutilating, or otherwise doing horrible things to it – as TJ was noting had been happening in the news where she lives in Arizona, and which has recently been on the news from Florida. It doesn’t mean torturing an animal that is essentially helpless. (I’d rather not go into any more specifics, simply to avoid getting internet hits from creepy fuckers who want to do that kind of thing, but I’m sure a little Google-Fu will find you everything you never wanted to see, and more)

Reading about it, hearing about it… honestly makes me a little sick.

I look at Max, who was obviously someone’s pet that ended up out on his own for several months (whether through ill will or escape tactics, nobody knows), starving outside until he got picked up, and realize he was lucky. And that to live with us, he’s /really/ lucky. When we got him, he barely weighed 7 lbs and his fur was scrawny and thin.  Now he weighs 14lbs and is considered healthy – if a bit chubby – by the vet, with a gorgeous cream coat with pumpkin points.

I look at Charlie, who has taken the better part of two years to get over his fear of my husband and of anyone’s shoes and of loud noises, and see that he’s warmed up into a happy and sociable cat. And I realize he was less lucky than Max, but that he still has a happy ending that includes gooshyfood and feathers-on-a-string and a screen porch to watch birds from.

So if there’s a critter in your life that you love (or maybe just tolerate most of the time), give him/her/it a pat from me today.

I don’t know what any of us can do to keep horrible people from doing horrible things, so I settle for doing the best I can for the two I signed up to care for.

Obligatory note that if you are looking for a pet, rescue organizations that you can find through Petfinder.com are a great place to look (whether you want a young animal or an adult, and whether you want the standard cat or dog, or something a little less common).

Particularly if you are interested in a cat or kitten, adopting a black cat is often less expensive because of the superstitions commonly associated with them; you may not be able to adopt a black cat or kitten in the months of October/November, however, due to people doing horrible things to them and ending up on the news.

Joyriding

So one of the things about this house that the cats absolutely /love/ is the screen porch.  They sit out there and bask in the sun and then lay on the cool floor in the shade – quite literally all day long.  If I shut the door, they howl at me until I open it.

Yesterday evening I noticed we’d not seen much of either of them (which is somewhat unusual, most evenings we get visits from both perioidically), but I checked the porch and shut the door and went to bed.  Note that the porch light does not work, but I was pretty sure there were no cats out there.

I wake up this morning to the sound of very distant howling, and go to investigate, and there’s Max, sitting on the porch, howling to get in and get breakfast!

Spidey sense tingling.

I go out on the porch to find that they have, in fact, knocked one of the window screens out and Charlie is out in the yard eating grass.  He, of course, bolts as soon as he sees me.  Max is too busy inhaling kitty kibble to notice anything going on until I open the can of tuna.  I did give him some, and the rest went on a plate to go find Charlie.  He was hanging out by the garage, looking warily at the door and hungriliy at the tuna.  Fortunately tuna > all, and he sat down to slurp some up and I was able to nab him. (He protested loudly until he got inside and got his plate of tuna again)

So it would seem that the two of them spent the night out joyriding in the neighborhood – they’re both filthy (particluarly Charlie, who is medium-long haired) and probably will need at least a good brushing, if not a bath.  Fortunately they’ve had their flea/tick/heartworm/earmite medicine already this month, so they should be fine on that front.

It’s been a little stressful though, esp. in light of the massive plumbing issue we had yesterday.  But that’s another post.