Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Hidden Side of Neville

Neville’s fur has really grown in. It is thick, and when I brush or pet him, it throws off static electricity. That’s not a problem, but the density of his fur in his nether regions is. Sometimes, coming out of the litter-box, he feels that he hasn’t entirely rid himself of what he needed to lose, so he will, naturally enough, rub himself along the rug.

That doesn’t bother me overly much; it makes sense to him to do it. When I see him doing it, it makes as much sense for me to try to clean him. Therein lies the difficulty: I have yet to find the spot I need to clean. I know it’s somewhere in there; Nevsky’s anatomy is, so far as I can tell, normal. But he hides it well.

Fortunately, if I make his fur damp back there - and that’s unavoidable in my attempts to locate and wash the correct spot - he will clean himself satisfactorily. Even so, it’s an interesting problem, searching a cat for his rear end, and not finding it.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Letter of the Law

We don’t have a top-cat at the Cosy Apartment. We have had only one top-cat, and that was Tungsten. She was like the great barbarian chieftain who managed to bring all the tribes together under her rule. When she died, the tribes began squabbling and the confederation disintegrated. There is no ruler anymore.

Josie comes closest, I think, but she cares to assert herself only at the food-bowl. She is more of a ‘first among equals’ than an actual leader. When she wants to eat from the hard-food bowl, and there is already a cat present, she will stare at them. Then she will step closer, and stare at them some more. Rarely, it will come to blows, but the Great White always wins.

Neville, being the newest, had to learn the rules. He has, but his interpretation of them is unique, and literal. This is his reaction to Josie’s unspoken demand that he move away from the food-bowl.

Josie was clearly uncomfortable with the proximity while she ate, but she was hungry and Nevsky had done what he was told. This is what happens when you being a barrack-room lawyer into the household…

Friday, April 3, 2020

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

If readers can stand a bit more about Cammie, I would like to share what I learned from the doctor yesterday.

The conversation I had with her was most interesting. She is not Cammie’s usual veterinary, but she was the one who examined the princess yesterday, and she consulted with the usual vet before calling me. I was going to talk to her about Aventi and other phosphate-binders, and probiotics which would help in the same process, but she pre-empted that specific topic with news.

There is a product available to veterinaries called Semintra. It came out in 2014 and is advertised as “the first ever angiotensin receptor blocker to receive marketing authorization in veterinary medicine… It is licensed for the reduction of proteinuria (the unwanted loss of protein via the urine) associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) in cats.” As it was explained to me, it combines the functions of a phosphate-binder with the ability to reduce urea.

Though not quite new, I gather it is still not in common use, though my veterinaries have read very good reports about it, even that its continued use can diminish and eliminate the need for subcutaneous fluids. I will be picking up a bottle of this new medicine today. It is in the form of a liquid, to be given in different amounts to different cats, depending upon their weight. I would prefer it to be compounded for a transdermal delivery - and that may be in the future - but a liquid is much better than a solid pill or powder.

Combined with that treatment will be a doubling of the amount Cammie receives of benazepril: I will give her the same dosage, but now twice a day. Initially prescribed to prevent another stroke, this medicine, which lowers blood pressure, will also allow the kidneys to filter the blood better; an increase in medicine will assist the kidneys further to do this.

The disadvantage of this new programme is the cost: the amount of money I spend on benazepril will double, and Semintra is not inexpensive. Fortunately, with the corona virus troubles in the world, my holiday on the Orient Express will have to be cancelled, so I’ll have extra funds...

My girl’s Semintra treatment will begin today, the doubling of the benazepril tomorrow; I will be studying techniques for giving her fluids during the weekend. Cammie is not going to be happy with me in the next little while, but if she lives longer annoyed with me than she would otherwise, I will be satisfied with that.

That’s the plan, anyway.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

A Return to Medicineland

Cammie’s adventures in Medicineland continued yesterday. I felt I had no choice but to take her to the veterinary hospital. Tuesday night, she seemed in discomfort, and around her mouth was crusted discharge, likely to be bits of unswallowed food. In any case, it was unprecedented for the princess, and I thought it best to have her seen by professionals, especially before the weekend.

I dropped her off early and picked her up later in the day. In between, Cammie was examined physically and had her urine tested. I chose not to have her blood tested; that had been done in late summer, and the doctor felt that her problems probably stemmed from worsening kidneys. This is the case.

Cammie is now in stage three kidney failure. Though her creatinine is at an acceptable level, her urea has been increasing and seeping into her joints. She has, in effect, gout. This has been causing pain for her, especially when she moves. The doctor told me that it could even have ben affecting the gums, which might go some way to explain why Cammie looked as if she were having trouble chewing even soft food, and why she didn’t want to eat.

My Siamese girl was given sub-cutaneous fluids, to help flush out the urea, and relieve the pain. The level of her benazepril dosage, taken for her blood-pressure, will be re-assessed. For the moment, Cammie is in better shape than she was earlier this week.

I must learn how to give sub-cutaneous fluids, and to do it by myself. I feel that Cammie would be cooperative enough for me to achieve it; the actual mechanics of the process elude me. For that, I will have to watch some videos. It would, of course, be much easier with a second person, but that isn’t always feasible, and certainly isn’t in the current global situation. But such fluids are the best way to ease my cat’s discomfort.

The doctor stated that examining Cammie was a little difficult. Cammie was angry at the staff of the hospital. In other words, my princess gave them what-for. That’s my girl. But she was undoubtedly frightened and confused. It’s bad enough for a sighted cat to endure such a day, but for a blind one, it must have been terrifying. She was quite agitated when she was returned to me, but in the taxi-ride home, I spoke to her and touched her through the bars of the carrier’s door. She continually rubbed her face against my fingers, and was calm by the time we walked through our front door. She ate later and, so far as I could determine, had a restful night.

Once again, then, we have a plan, a route mapped out for my girl through Medicineland. It’s up to me now to provide her with the tools to navigate her way, so that the path to her last years is easy and smooth.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

She's a Mystery Girl

I believe that the black cat who is visiting me these days is probably Sable, an outsider-cat from some time ago. If I am right, that means that something happened to her sister, whom I had named Sablette.

This Sable is a little more skittish than the previous, but nonetheless comes down to the bottom of the ditch to eat soft-food I place for her even before I finish closing the glass door to go back inside. She glances about quite often while eating, but is more concerned with dangers from elsewhere, rather than afraid of me. She is sleek and soft, with a good, smooth coat, like Sable, and, also like her, she sometimes comes by just for a nibble from the hard-food bowl, and doesn’t always wait to see if a softer menu will be offered. And she doesn’t appear every day.

If she is Sable, this brings up many questions. Where has she been since she vanished from my knowledge some months ago? Where does she eat when she doesn’t come to my bowl? If she has a another source of food, why is she hungry enough to consume a large tin (or more) of soft-food some days? Where does she live? How is her coat in such good shape if she is living wild? Most importantly, of course, what happened to Sablette?

It is very difficult taking care of outsider-cats. One always worries about them. When one sees them, one is reminded that they don’t - or may not - have a home. When one doesn’t see them, one worries why one doesn’t see them. Are they getting enough food? Are they healthy? What if they need a vet? When they disappear, as they almost invariably do, one is confronted by a mystery, and can hope only that it is solved, somewhere, happily.

For now, I will give Sable as much food as she wishes. One day, she will likely deepen her mystery by vanishing again, this time for good. But one day, maybe, she will tell me her secrets.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Dirty Lies

I have cat-beds, heated and unheated; I have a human bed; I have couches and chairs; I have soft carpets and rugs. This is where Neville likes to lie sometimes. It is the old rug in the entrance hall of the apartment. I need to replace it. In the meantime, it is dirty, being on what I wipe the soles of my shoes when I come in. Nev likes to lie on it.

He does like listening to the noises that come from outside the apartment, noises from the corridor beyond the door. Perhaps he wishes to escape and is awaiting his opportunity.

He reposes elsewhere, too. He enjoys the rug in the sitting room, and the top of the taller cat-tree there. But he also lies on the relatively hard and definitely dirty rug by the front door. I don’t mind that much; he does keep himself clean.

And if I ever want him to stop, I’ll just replace the rug with a clean, soft and comfortable cat-bed. He’ll never go near it.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Easier Like Sunday Morning

It was a bumpy week for Cammie, but I believe this one will be better.

I did have to take the princess to the doctor on Friday. I perhaps should have done so earlier, but I was hoping such a stressful event would not be necessary. However, she threw up thrice that morning, starting in the wee hours. I called the hospital as soon as it opened and arranged for Cammie to be brought in just for a Cerenia injection. If I had requested an examination, it may not have been possible, as there were no appointments available.

It was an interesting journey she and I had to take (as I age, I am growing to dislike interesting things, unless they are books or movies.) The veterinary hospital has reduced its hours because of the corona virus crisis, and thus is busier. I would have preferred a quick once-over for my Siamese girl, and perhaps some fluids, but those were not, I thought, necessary. A quick injection, however, was possible.

The cab was more than an hour coming after I had called one – I had checked beforehand into how long I would have to wait, and had been told thirty to forty minutes. The cab companies are operating with decreased drivers, and are very busy. When I arrived at the hospital, I had to wait outside for a veterinary technician to come and retrieve Cammie in her carrier. The door to the hospital was locked and unlocked each time an employee came and went. The taxi-driver was kind enough not to keep his meter running while I waited. (He told me that they were “not very busy, anyway.” His opinion was, clearly, different than his dispatcher’s.) Cammie was returned to me after receiving her injection. I had taken time off of work for the trip and returned there, afterward.

Strangely, following a week during which Cammie continued to eat and drink in between vomiting, quite contrary to her usual episodes, after being given Cerenia, she lost her appetite – but didn’t throw up. She did eat and drink some Friday evening, but she was out of sorts again Saturday, and ate little. Today, however, she is behaving a little more typically. There is, I believe, nonetheless something still a little ‘off’ about her. She has not brought up any more food or water, thank goodness, and is eating, so the immediate problems are in abeyance.

I can’t help thinking that she has weakened recently. She walks with more frailty and, now and then, her rear legs give out on her. But this morning, she climbed the stairs to the bed, and lie on my chest for a while, purring. She indulged in her morning stretch – a walk around and outside the bedroom – and had a decent breakfast. For a blind, fifteen year old cat who suffered a stroke ten months ago, she is doing adequately. For the rest, I will keep vigilant and, as are many of us currently, be thankful day by day.