Category Archives: Cats

Experiences with our cats.

Cat5 Update

Cat5 had her annual physical today. She’s doing a lot better. She had been at the point where she was throwing up 4+ times a day. The Prednisolone has been a miracle drug for her. To my knowledge, she’s only thrown up once after the first couple of days of being on it. She also gained one pound! This may not sound huge but she’s been losing weight steadily for the last year. Now she’s at 10.4 lbs.

We were gone over the weekend and I noticed when we got back that she looked a lot healthier (sometimes living with a cat it’s hard to see the change until you go away). Anyway, I’m feeling a lot more optimistic than I have for a while.

Ongoing, the vet would like to see if I can drop the Prednisolone to every third day. If that doesn’t work, my impression is we just maintain her at every other day indefinitely. This isn’t as bad as it sounds because since I just rub it into her ear, it’s a pretty painless application for everyone involved. It’s also not a terribly expensive drug and can probably pay for itself in my decrease of buying rug cleaner 🙂

Another Cat5 Update

Cat5 is still having problems. The feces problem has decreased, somewhat, but she’s still throwing up all over the place. Then, last week, Jaeger noticed that she had gone back to grooming herself raw. This time it was two places on the inside of her leg.

I took her to the vet again and he examined her and pondered. On the plus side, she’s still not constipated. That’s a major improvement over last year. Also, the places she’s over grooming means that her bottom isn’t particularly bothering her which is also a good sign. Our previous vet in Longmont did a lot of tests that ruled out some of the other possibilities. So, at the moment, the vet is leaning toward thinking she might have allergies of some sort that is causing her skin, and possibly bowel, problems.

One problem I have with Five is it’s extremely hard to give her medicine. She’s not a particularly smart cat but is pretty good at detecting medicine when it’s hidden in anything, including the pill pockets. I have about a 50/50 success rate when I try to brute force the pill down her throat. In addition, previously the vet prescribed a sticky gel (like hairball medicine) that you try to put in the cat’s mouth so they’ll lick it off and swallow it. I tried using it a while ago and got a little bit on the side of her jaw. Five completely ripped out all the hair on that side of her jaw. It looked like someone who had tried to shave for the first time. Completely bare skin with little red nicks all over. It was really, really disturbing. So, I stopped giving that to her.

With allergies the vet said he was thinking about trying to give her something like cortisone. This sounded like a good idea to me because back when she was doing very poorly last year, the Longmont vet had been giving her injections and that seemed to help more than anything else we tried. I mentioned that and our new vet said he was hesitant to give actual cortisone injections because apparently it can push a pre-diabetic cat into full diabetes and, unlike people and dogs, it’s hard to tell when a cat is pre-diabetic. He admitted that his opinion might be a little skewed because this is what happened with his own cat. He gave the cat a couple of shots of cortisone, triggered diabetes, and now has to give his cat insulin for the rest of its life. However, I can barely handle Cat5’s needs at the moment and I don’t think I could deal with her being diabetic.

In the end, the vet prescribed a gel solution of Prednisolone (0.1 mL Gel twice a day to start with and gradually decreasing if everything goes well). Given my experience with the last gel-like substance I was a bit leary. However, this is a different consistency and you apply it to the inside of the cat’s ear. Apparently the odds that she’ll over groom that part of her anatomy, at least to a harmful level, is low. Though, of course, I’ll monitor her closely to make sure there aren’t any problems. The vet also instructed me to try to avoid touching it and use gloves when I’m giving it to Five. It must be absorbed via the skin and the vet wanted to make sure I wouldn’t get an inadvertent dose of it. Fortunately, due to Five’s variety of messes, I always have massive supplies of latex gloves on hand1.

I’m feeling slightly hopeful that this treatment might actually work. I’m definitely atopic and, given how many skin problems I’ve had, it just make sense that Cat5 would follow in my footsteps. So, now we’ll just wait and see. I really hope this somehow magically fixes all her problems . . .

  1. It doesn’t matter how careful I am. If I don’t have gloves on I always manage to get some of the mess on me.

Cat5 Update

Too much info about my Cat5:

Cat5 has been having litter box problems for over a year now. Sometimes it gets better and sometimes worse but it hasn’t gone away completely yet. I suspect a lot of this is due to the stress of all the changes she’s gone through this past year. She gets constipated and then we have to take her to the vet to get an enema (this, as you can imagine, is fun for everyone). In addition, she goes in the litter box but has been inadvertently dragging feces out with her. This is a very bad thing with a preschooler around the house.

We boarded the cats over Christmas for 2 weeks while we were in Hong Kong/China. While there, she once again had became constipated. At that time, the vet suggested we try switching food on her to one that is high fiber and specifically designed for cats with intestinal problems. I agreed to try it but Five couldn’t keep it down. She was vomiting 2-3 times a day. I know a certain amount of stomach distress is common when switching food but she kept throwing up for 2 weeks which seemed excessive. Plus, I was worried that she wasn’t keeping enough food down. Her stools were a lot softer but still were ending out of the litter box.

I made another appointment with the vet and took her in yesterday evening. To my relief, he does think it’s unlikely it’s her anal sphixter that’s the problem as that’s apparently quite rare with cats, even those that have bowel problems. Also, when the vet felt her, it didn’t feel like she was constipated at all which is a very positive sign. He hopes that if we just get the proper food mixture, not too hard and not too soft, everything will go back to normal. So, I took home a different bag of cat food with hopes that it provides better results. On the plus side she hasn’t thrown up today. I hope we get this figured out . . .

Cat5

Note: Serendipity seems to insist on adding escape characters for every apostrophe at the moment. I\’m not sure why but I don\’t want to take the time to deal with it at the moment . . .

I just got back from picking Cat5 up from the vet. I have a bad feeling we might be at the middle of the end for her. I guess she\’s starting to get old for a cat. I recall the cats at my parents\’ home living for a long time with nothing more than benign neglect. I mean, my parents took them in to the vet once a year but that once it, they had very minimal intervention. I\’m sure they never got their teeth cleaned or anything like that. I could be wrong, but I\’m pretty sure Midnight lived to at least 15. Nimrod* might have been a little less but not by much. They both wandered off into the woods one night and never came back. Five is probably 11-12 years old. We got her at the Humane society about 7 years ago. This doesn\’t seem old to me but I was reading a couple of sites online that said cats tend to average living 12-15 years.

Several months ago I noticed that Cat5 was having litter box problems. I thought she was just being picky so I was more careful to clean the litter box. Then, I tried adding an additional litterbox in case she just wasn\’t wanting to share with Willow or wanted different boxes for different purposes. This seemed to help temporarily but that could have been my imagination. After Christmas, things got noticeably worse. She was having messes all over the house. I took her into the vet. He tried to get a good feel but couldn\’t without sedating her because she was so swollen and sensitive. So, he gave me some antibiotics with hopes that would hope any possible infection and asked me to come back in a week. During that week, it seemed like she was getting worse. She started leaking pudding-like consistency whenever she sat down somewhere.
When I went back the following week, the infection, if that is what it was, hadn\’t gone away. The vet told me that he really needed to sedate her and get a good feel inside because he was afraid she might have a tumor, possibly cancerous. I can\’t remember exactly what he said but I\’m pretty sure he was trying to gently prepare me for a bad scenario. He said something about not treating colon cancer (I think that\’s what he was talking about anyway) on cats because they have such a poor survival rate. When I came to pick her up that evening, the doctor said that he couldn\’t feel anything that indicated there was a problem and he preferred not to do a biopsy without a specific reason due to infection risks. So, basically he cleaned her all out, injected her with cortisone, gave us a 2-week supply of antibiotics and told us to call if she wasn\’t better after that.

Things seem to improve a lot during those first two weeks. She stopped having messes and seemed to be doing better. However, just this last week, things started going down hill again. She started going places other than the litter box again. Saturday night, I happened to glance at Five when she was cleaning herself and noticed she had a sore right above her anus that was bleeding. I got her an appointment for this afternoon and took her in again. The vet took one look at her and said, \”yes, that look like a tumor\” and told me he wanted to try to feel her again. However, as he picked her up, she squawked and so he looked at Five again and said it looked like there was something weird going on with her tail also (a structural problem of some sort). So, he wanted to do x-rays to double check she hadn\’t had a break or something that was the root cause of this problem. After the x-rays, he didn\’t say about seeing any breaks so I assume those where fine but he said she was so backed up that it was pushing her anus out. He recommended giving her an enema and another cortisone short. If that seemed to help, we might need to give her monthly cortisone shots. I left her, because he suggested I didn\’t want to deal with the aftermath, and was told to call in a couple of hours. I picked her up a half hour before they closed for the day. It turns out they had to sedate her again because she was so sensitive there was no way they could get the enema in her otherwise. She obviously had been through quite an ordeal.

I have a follow-up scheduled for 3 weeks from now (unless she doesn\’t improve or gets worse in the next couple of days, of course). If monthly cortisone shots fix the problem, that\’s great. However, she\’s been so miserable these last couple of weeks that I\’m not sure what we\’ll do if that\’s not the solution. I\’m starting to worry about her quality of life.

I\’m afraid we may be near the end for Five. Five is much better with Calvin than Willow is. Willow is still, perhaps wisely, afraid of Calvin. Though, I\’ve never caught Calvin purposely abusing the cats. In any case, Five lets Calvin pet her sometimes which he really enjoys doing. In fact, when we were at the vets office I told Calvin that Five was kind of scared to be at the doctors office just like he is sometimes and Calvin immediately started petting Five, presumably in some sort of mutual sympathy. Intellectually, I know that Five is old enough that we\’re going to have to explain death at some point to Calvin. However, I cringe at having to do so soon.

*Yes, that was really his name. Being the naive Adventist I was, I named him after the great hurter in the Bible not realizing that was a derogatory term.

Cat Teeth Cleaning

Down

  • I took the cats to their yearly vet appointments last month and the vet said they needed their teeth cleaned. This didn’t surprise me because the prior year a different vet (that use to be at the clinic but isn’t anymore) had told me that Willow would probably need her teeth cleaned next year. Up till now, I haven’t had any experience with cat teeth cleanings. I have no idea if this is usually done on an annual basis or if they just do it when they see a problem. Willow had her teeth cleaned first which was fairly expensive but also pretty straight forward. Cat5 just got her teeth cleaned today and it turned out to be a much bigger deal. She had to have five teeth pulled. Last year the vet hadn’t said anything about Cat5 needing her teeth cleaned so now I’m wondering if she needed it and it just wasn’t mentioned or if her teeth really deteriorated that fast. I feel bad for 5 and annoyed that I didn’t realize I needed to be paying attention to this earlier. The new vet, who I like so far, also said that Cat5 throwing up all the time might be due to allergies. I hadn’t thought about cats being allergic to their food but it makes sense since humans can react poorly to food allergies by throwing up. She suspects that 5 might be allergic to chicken so I’m now buying special rabbit-based food for her. We’ll see if this helps. Hopefully this is the end of our cat expenses for a while since the two cat cleanings (and teeth extraction for 5) added up to about $700.
  • I’m really sad that Borders is closing. I know it’s a chain bookstore but it’s one of the few places I enjoy that catered to people interested in some solitude and a book. When Jaeger was gone for some reason or another I would often hire a babysitter and then go to Borders to drink their hot chocolate and read a book. When I went, I always bought a book as sort of an entrance fee. Now I feel like I should have bought more books there sigh The Longmont library doesn’t have a cafe or any particularly relaxing place to hang out (they also have an aggressive “no cell phone” policy which, while no doubt well-intentioned, is a non-starter for me when someone is babysitting my child). In addition, they close at 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays and aren’t even open on Sundays during the summer. The other bookstores in Longmont are small and aren’t really designed as places to hang out. I guess I could go to a coffee shop and have mediocre hot chocolate but then I don’t have the special treat of buying a new book to read. I suppose I could drive to Boulder which has several good bookstores but driving 1/2 hr away means I have less time at the bookstore itself. I could also go to Carbon Valley Library but they also close early on the weekends and isn’t quite as relaxing since I work there :-) Anyway, I’m pretty annoyed about the whole thing but haven’t figured out a good solution yet. What’s particularly exasperating is I believe the Longmont store made a profit.

Ups

  • Today was my “day off” and I couldn’t handle doing my normal exercises today. So, I walked to the Longmont Library and checked out a copy of Don’t Throw It, Grow It. While there, I found a used copy of Cry Wolf, by Patricia Briggs, that was in good condition. Cry Wolf was the first Briggs I ever read. I think I like the Mercy Thompson series a bit better but this one is still pretty good.
  • Jaeger was gone Thursday-Sunday to climb Kings Peak in Utah with his brother. To my surprise, I survived alone with Calvin perfectly fine. In fact, I think it was less work than when Jaeger’s here because I didn’t have to make supper most of the nights. Calvin and I require substantially less food than Jaeger so we’re fine if I just whiz up Tomato Bean Soup. Nighttime was still a problem. Jaeger does put Calvin to bed easier than I do. The first night I didn’t get Calvin asleep till it was my bedtime. I finally dragged our “yoga mat” into his room and slept on that and he happily slept next to me. The later nights I lay down on the mat as soon as it was time to go to bed and listened to my iPod until he was firmly asleep. This worked fairly well.
  • Several months ago we ordered a sleeper sofa and a new dining room table with 8 chairs. They’re suppose to be delivered this Thursday. It’s the most expensive furniture we’ve bought so far but hopefully it’s worth it. Our current couch was used when I bought it in college. It has lasted pretty well but the fabric is almost worn all the way through in some places. Our dining room table and chairs were bought at the thrift store right after we were married. The table has lasted pretty well but the chairs have been breaking for years now. Jaeger was able to patch them together for a while but at this point we’re only left with two functional chairs. As a result, anytime we entertain we have to pull out the folding chairs which are a little tacky. At the moment, we’re planning to keep the sofa and just move it down to the basement. However, we need to get rid of the old table and chairs.

Calvin Moment

  • Jaeger likes chopsticks. I think he feels my inability to properly use them is a moral flaw. Calvin appears to be taking after his father. He adores chopsticks. This summer his daycare had an “around the world” theme. Last week, their theme was China. Since it’s zucchini season, we had Ratatouille for supper. Calvin was already at the table preparing to eat when Jaeger arrived home. Jaeger glanced at Calvin’s daily report card and noted they had done something with chopsticks at daycare. Calvin heard Jaeger mention chopsticks and immediately demanded we provide him with chopsticks for his Ratatouille. Ratatouille is not something I would normally consider eating with chopsticks but Calvin insisted. He certainly doesn’t have the technique down but he does have the motivation to learn how to use the chopsticks.

Calvin & Cat5

Down

  • It’s hot. Hot. Hot. Hot. I don’t like hot. I miss the misty Oregon beach :-( (It seems a bit cooler today but still, too hot.)
  • I’m getting increasingly annoyed by all the machinations around the debt ceiling issue. Very unhappy with my representative at the moment.

Ups

  • A got a chance to clean the house for the first time in two weeks. I feel much better now.
  • My tomatoes are starting to ripen. Like last year, I doubt they’ll be able to keep up with Calvin’s appetite but he’s very intrigued by eating tomatoes off a plant. Unfortunately, it’s hard to explain the “no, they’re not red enough” concept.

Calvin Moment

  • I referenced this next anecdote on twitter a couple of weeks ago. However, it’s funny enough that I think it deserves it’s own mention. Calvin usually watches kid DVDs while I make supper. This time, the show had ended and he wanted me to start it at the beginning again. I told him no because it was almost supper time. He insisted but I kept declining. Finally, he became so upset that he literally stomped up the stairs, opened the baby gate at the top and then closed it, ran into his room and slammed the door. When he heard me coming up the stairs, the baby gate is very squeaky, he poked his head out of his room and yelled, “Go way! mommy! Go way!” while gesturing me frantically away. It was the funniest thing I had seen in a long time. I’m sure his mood wasn’t improved by my helpless peels of laughter. I went back downstairs and waited for him to cool off, which he did fairly quickly, and then he wanted to cuddle.
  • Calvin has started picking his own books. I took Calvin to Pajamara Story Time at the Carbon Valley library last night. Its theme was trains so he was entranced. On the way out, he veered and grabbed a book from the bookshelf and then demanded we read it immediately. Since it feels like sacrilege to deny such a request, I complied. We then checked it out and he’s asked me to read it three times since. There’s a segment in the book where Molly, the protagonist, is being carried away by helium balloons. Each time we come to this section Calvin tries to pinch her friends between his fingers and move them up closer to Molly to help her. I’m not entirely sure what he thinks he’s doing. He does have a sticker book so maybe he thinks he can peel them off the page and put them closer to Molly and everything will be better.
  • This evening Calvin decided he wanted to go on an expedition on the path behind our house. I shrugged and hopped the fence to follow holding the book I was reading. Cat5 decided she wanted to join the walk also. When I was a teenager, I developed the ability to walk and read at the same time. So, 5 and Calvin walked side by side with me following slightly behind with my nose in a book. (5 follows us when we walk better than many dogs I’ve seen.) However, once Calvin got closer to the busy road beside our subdivision, I stopped reading to keep a better eye on the two small mammals. There’s a pretty wide grassy area between the busy road and the first houses in the subdivision so I let Calvin run around in circles giggling to himself. All was well until, for some reason, both Calvin and 5 headed straight for the busy street with the fun vehicles. I shoved the book under my arm, scooped up 5 with one arm and Calvin with the other and firmly started walking back toward the walking path. Neither mammal was pleased by my interruption of their run and protested loudly. Eventually, once I felt we were a safe(ish) distance away, I set them back down. I told Calvin that we needed to find “daddy” at which point we started our journey back home. However, it was a very long meandering one, very like the story of the Israelites in the dessert. I’d suggest going one way and 5 and Calvin would protest and run squealing in the exact opposite direction. (Well, Calvin ran squealing, 5 just followed Calvin.) Then I’d catch up and Calvin would reverse direction and run circles around me before falling down in the grass. It was exhausting but Calvin seemed to have a lot of fun.