Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Compensatory Annoyance

With the concerns regarding Parker and Raleigh, there are still the other four (four? One, two, three, four… Yes, that’s right. How did I get that many?) cats who provide worries, entertainment, frustrations, joy and affection in turn. Next up, Tucker.

My roly poly is a funny fellow. Though he must know he has no teeth, he still tries to ‘bite’ me during our play sessions, though he clamps his jaws down on my fingers harder than he used to. He, in fact, never did bite, but would pretend to do so. Now, he closes his mouth on my digits, likely knowing that it tickles more than anything else. But I have noticed another new behaviour since the loss of his teeth.

When at the dining table, during meals, this sausage-cat will reach out for morsels he wants. He has not done that before. He may have expressed a wish to have something, but has never tried to pull my hand toward his mouth. It’s hardly aggressive, and he looks fittingly contrite when I chastise him for it. Well, he does for a few seconds. Then the paw comes out again.

One might suggest simply not having Tucker at the table while I eat. This suggestion I do not understand. He has always been by meal-buddy, always hoping, always watching, and now, always grabbing. To him, it is common sense. How else is he supposed to get a piece of my food? I am clearly not going just to give it to him. Besides, if he does it enough, and I sternly refuse him enough, I may give him some out of pity, or to be nice.

He knows me well, this impolite little tube-cat…

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Week Ahead

These days, I seem to bounce from one cat’s health problems to another, specifically Parker and Raleigh. The former had a good breakfast and would have eaten more but I was out of Recovery, and the orange-boy isn’t eating anything else. I will be buying today what I think will be enough tins of his latest preference to last him a week; I hope I will need more before the week is out.

Raleigh, meanwhile, had to have his Prednisolone dosage adjusted yesterday. I am in contact with his doctor via text-message, even on weekends, and told him that Raleigh seemed to be experiencing trouble eating, giving signs that his mouth hurt him when he chewed. His mouth was also becoming messy, as it was before the steroids had an effect.

The Prednisolone delivered a severe beating to the stomatitis, but the latter is a persistent enemy. Peachy’s mouth looked very good when examined on Thursday, so the doctor cut back his dosage of medicine to a pill on alternate days. That appears to have been premature, though from the signs at the time, it was a good decision. The stomatitis was apparently waiting for such an opportunity and attacked again. So Raleigh is on a pill every second day, and half a pill every day in between.

Last night, I at last managed to coax him into eating the last of the food in which I had hidden that day’s crushed up Prednisolone pill. His ‘cold’ (actually a kind of infection) is back, causing him to turn away from food. But if I start trying to get him to eat the steroid-laced food early enough, he eventually will.

But Raleigh is still in good spirits. He spent quite a bit of time in one of the heated cat-beds, so that undoubtedly made him feel good. And whenever I sit down, he starts squeaking and trots over to lie on my lap. Last night, he kneaded me for the first time.

This week will continue the battle for Peachy, and may be decisive for Parker. I fear it will be a difficult week for both of them.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Shiver Me Timbers!

Sometimes, something happens that startles one into using an expression one doesn’t often use, except in a moment of extreme surprise. Puzzling over the deleterious and possibly deadly effects of Parker not eating, or eating very little, I was running out of ideas. I would call the veterinary and ask about a B12 injection. I would try Parmesan cheese or dried meat sprinkled on his food. But these solutions would not be available until Monday. A friend in my rescue-group, in the meantime, told me to offer Parker some Recovery.

Recovery is a nutrient-heavy tinned food that is, as the name implies, used to build up in a cat what illness or other harmful conditions have taken away. None of my cats has liked it. But, oddly, some other felines have. I keep one or two tins in my cupboard at all times, in case they are needed when they cannot otherwise be obtained; the food may be purchased only from veterinary hospitals. This morning, I thought that there was no harm in following this latest suggestion. I opened a tin and spooned out a small amount for the orange-boy to sniff.

He sucked it up as if his stomach had developed a black hole. I gave him more and it similarly disappeared. At one meal, Parker ate half a large tin. He would have consumed more had I given it to him. But, while I had a second tin at the ready, I also had the rest of the day to get through and, if he continued to eat as he did for breakfast, I would need to ration it.

Fortunately, Parker just finished off another large portion of Recovery for his luncheon; breakfast was not just a one-off event. One tin is gone, and a second begun. I have three-quarters of it to last through what, during Parker’s glory days, would have required a whole tin. Tomorrow, I will buy more, and the sturdy-boy will have as much as he likes. It is expensive, more so than the best quality pet-foods, but it will be worth every penny to see it disappear into my friend.

I must, of course, caution myself that this development does not change the basic problem with Parker’s liver or bile duct. This still needs to be addressed, and there may be nothing that can be done about it. But, as long as he eats, and eats well, it will provide his body with strength and his heart with morale. It gives me a means with which to feed him his crushed medicinal pills, and it gives us time. Perhaps most important, it makes Parker feel good. There is nothing better for the spirit than a full tummy. He purred tremendously after his first decent meal in a couple of weeks.

I hope to hear that sound some more.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Where He is Going

My friend Parker is not doing well. The Mirtazapine which was intended to enhance his appetite has had no effect. In fact, after I gave it to him Friday evening, he lost even the small interest he had had in food, and did not eat again until the next day. Even then, though he wanted to eat, he consumed only the small amount he has been eating at each meal for some time.

The orange-boy has been transferred to another doctor at another hospital. She agrees with Parker’s previous veterinary that his diabetes is not causing his current liver problems. There is something else. Though the liver can suffer damage from anti-biotics, the doctor wants her predecessor’s prescription of two weeks’ worth of anti-biotics maintained. Parker would then be brought in again for an examination in three weeks’ time. To be honest, if things continue as they are, my friend won’t last that long. I feel that he has cancer.

I think he is in some discomfort, though not pain. He moves from one position to the next, lying on the bare floor, then on the carpet, then at the base of a cat-tree, then on the bed. I woke very early this morning to find him lying on the dining table. Though he does that from time to time, and always has, he has never done it at night, and he wasn’t sleeping; he was lying prone but staring off into space.

On Monday, I will talk to the doctor, and see what can be recommended. Perhaps B12 as an appetite-stimulant. In the meantime, I am trying all the kinds of food I have, soft and hard, to interest Parker in eating. The only item he cares for right now is Fancy Feast ‘seafood’ variety, and he doesn’t eat much of that.

I believe this coming week will be significant in the sturdy-boy’s survival. We will see what it will bring.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Raleigh Advances

Yesterday was Raleigh’s turn at the veterinary hospital. The purpose of his visit was just to check his mouth’s progress. It has been good, and his prescription of Prednisolone has been halved: one pill every second day. This will continue for a fortnight, and then he will be re-assessed.

This is a positive development, as you may imagine. Because of Peachy’s trouble getting rid of his stomatitis, there is always the chance that it will never completely vanish, or that it will recur if not treated on a regular basis. There are cats who live contented lives while receiving a small dose of steroids now and then. I am pleased with the results of Raleigh’s treatment.

I am pleased with his progress in other ways, too. Terrified of every sound and movement at the hospital, once Raleigh returned home, he scurried about for a minute or two, fearfully. Then I mentioned that it was dinner-time, and he trotted over to wait, impatiently, for his meal, of which he ate everything. Afterward, he waited, impatiently, for me to sit on the couch with my tea, so that he could lie on my lap. There, he fell asleep.

While my ugly spaniel would rather die than go to the hospital, life becomes good again almost immediately upon his return home. He still takes fright easily, and I must watch how I approach him at times, but he has come a long way from the constantly scared little creature I first brought to the cosy apartment. I have no idea how he feels about his life right now, but I like to think it is an improvement on what it once was.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Parker's New Enemy

Parker was examined by his veterinary yesterday. My orange-boy was unhappy about the whole thing, to say the least. He grumbled and muttered and ignored people like a miffed cat should. Aside from his attitude, though, there were some reasons for concern.

Firstly, the doctor stated that much about the Parker looks good. His blood-glucose reading was normal for the time of day; furthermore, his urine suggested very good management of his diabetes, so it is not believed that that condition has anything to do with his loss of appetite. (Taken to a separate room (the theft-of-fluids room that all veterinary hospitals seem to have), Parker let loose with his bladder’s contents all over the technician. Hehehehe. However, the joke was on the sturdy-boy, as the technician was able to collect a sample regardless, thank goodness.) There seems little wrong with his blood or his thyroid gland.

The problem lies with his liver and / or bile duct. The true problem might be discovered only with an ultra-sound. While the hospital, indeed, any of the animal hospitals in my city, may be able to use ultra-sound to determine a variety of things, the detail required for this, and the knowledge to interpret the results, are found closest in another city, three hours away. And if a journey is undertaken, an ultra-sound examination may or may not reveal something about which nothing can be done anyway. So, while it may come to taking Parker to a far-away destination, an initial remedy is to be attempted.

The doctor mentioned the possibility of cancer, but only because that is on everyone’s mind in such a situation. I know it is a fear of mine; not just cancer, but that undiagnosed, sometimes undiagnosable, condition that accomplishes the same result. But Parker’s problem may be occasioned by something as relatively innocuous as an infection. So for now, an anti-biotic was prescribed, along with an appetite-enhancer, Mirtazapine (as mentioned by Eileen and Holly in one of their comments.) Both come in pill-form. (I forgot to ask about the ear-ointment form for the Mirtazapine; I will inquire of the pharmacist.)

As you may imagine, the thought of attempting to give Parker pills was trepidatious for me. But I crushed the anti-biotic and mixed the powder with my foster-cat’s food. As long as it is something that appeals to him (right now, that is Fancy Feast seafood flavour), he is eating enough of it to consume all of the pill. The medicine is, in fact, the same as what Raleigh is just finishing, so I knew it would provide little taste to alert my boy as to the presence of a foreign substance. I will be acquiring the appetite-enhancer today, and trying it on the unsuspecting patient tonight.

The doctor was hopeful, and I am, as well. We’ll take Parker’s treatment one step at a time.

An added element in his situation is that his doctor is going on maternity leave for a year. I already must take him to a small town some distance outside of my own (a remnant of Parker’s previous rescue-group’s  programme), and, while his current veterinary is trusted, I know nothing of the replacements. He may be switched to the hospital to which the cats from my rescue-group go.

So my orange-boy begins a new fight, battling an unknown enemy, while he is also combatting diabetes. Fortunately, he has weapons and he has allies. Victory lies ahead.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A Slight Delay in Our Programme

Raleigh’s veterinary appointment has been re-scheduled until Thursday afternoon, while Parker will still see his doctor tomorrow, Wednesday. Nothing else has changed with the pair, though Parker, who used to lie on the table while I write, now likes to lie across my papers, so I have to write around him. It’s hard to move the orange-boy, however, as he purrs the entire time. How can I tell a cat he’s bothering me when he clearly enjoys interfering in my activities so much?

And then there’s this…