Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Raleigh and Comfort

Everyone in the cosy apartment is doing well right now. Food consumption is constant, interaction is tolerable and health is improving.

With regard to the last, I must qualify Raleigh’s position. His mouth is, from what I can see, a little better. He is not struggling with his food as he was, throwing bits about and making faces while he eats. I believe he is feeling less physical discomfort. But I suspect the doctor will want him continued on steroids for a while. Stomatitis doesn’t go away easily. His next examination is tomorrow, Thursday, in the late afternoon.

His morale is good, though, and he grows daily more at ease in his new residence. For three consecutive nights, I’ve said ‘good night’ to Peachy while he was lying in “Renn’s armchair”, looking out the window. The outside was something he didn’t care about until last week or so. I think he knows he no longer has to fear being cast out into it, so he needn’t pretend it’s not there. Previously, he would run and hide even if I opened a window to the fresh air.

And then there is the episode of the bed. Last night, after snack-time, I saw Raleigh squatting at the doorway to the bedroom, peering in. A few minutes later, he was on the bed. He had been there previously, but only in his early days in the apartment, and then only once, when I was also in the room. This time, he saw other cats on the bed, and the curiosity over whether this piece of furniture was comfy or not must have conquered him. He jumped up on his own - Parker remained where he was - and settled down for a snooze.

He was still there two hours later. He probably found the setting congenial. I should remind him that the cosy apartment is merely his temporary abode. He is here until he joins my rescue-group as an adoptable cat, and finds his permanent home with a loving family, like Parker will. And as Tucker did. And Renn. And Cammie. I think he understands.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Tucker's Latest Victory

Tucker’s break-through came Friday evening. Since his surgery, he has been sustained by small amounts of soft-food. He had never been a big eater of tinned nutrition and, during the period of his teeth’s decreasing health, consumed less and less of it. Since his operation, he has wanted to eat hard-food.

He had eaten some. The diabetic hard-food that neither he nor Parker liked very much had an initial appeal to the roly poly one. Then, when that palled, he was willing to try some Z/D. His desire for that too failed after a few days. He kept going to where the Orijen hard-food bowl is placed, and I would set the bowl down. He would want to eat but could not bring himself to do so. He had attempted it too soon after his surgery, and had hurt his mouth.

Then, Friday, I put the bowl in its place and Tucker ate a few kernels. This was his test. Would they cause him pain as before? They did not. He ate more. Since then, he has been eating the Orijen hard-food, as well as his usual small portions of soft-food. He doesn’t eat many kernels at once, but when I am home, and can watch who eats from it, I keep the bowl on the floor, and Tucker nibbles from it on a continual basis. Now, I hope he will stop losing weight.

His recovery is manifesting itself in other ways. When we play with a string-toy, and he catches the end of it, he brings it to his mouth. He used to hold it there, but no longer does. Even so, his mouth has healed enough for him to use it in play. As well, we have a little game whereby my hand will attack him. He grabs a finger in his paws and brings it to his mouth. Previously, he would pretend to bite me, though he wouldn’t even close his jaws on my digit. Now, he does something similar but my finger just touches his gums. Again, he feels comfortable enough to use his mouth for playing.

This is a victory for my little sausage-cat. It is all his. It has nothing to do with the veterinarian, or the drugs given him, and certainly nothing to do with me. Tucker summoned his courage and kept trying with the hard-food. Eventually, he found that the pain had dulled, and then vanished. He isn’t as sure when eating food as he was, but he will learn new techniques. A veterinary technician told me that Tucker would never eat hard-food again. I know of other toothless cats who do, and was confident that Tucker would. He just needed time to fight his way through his fear.

He has a ways to go yet, but the enemy is retreating; Tucker has won his latest battle.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

It's Not Over Yet, Raleigh

Yesterday, Raleigh went to the doctor for a check-up, following the removal of most of his teeth. Unlike Tucker, Peachy’s teeth were taken away from him because of stomatitis. This is, as explained by the veterinary, a severe allergic reaction to the plaque growing on the teeth; the removal of the teeth removes the plaque, most of the time. Unfortunately, Raleigh is a rarity.

Raleigh’s stomatitis is still with him. I had noticed that he was shaking his head sometimes when he ate, throwing about bits of food (both hard and soft) - not intentionally, but as if in efforts to chew something difficult. He was also becoming choosy about what he ate. The last characteristic may be due to becoming accustomed to living in a safe environment where, if he disliked one variety of food, he knew that another would be provided. In any case, it was time the doctor saw him again.

The stomatitis is not going away and is causing him pain, according to the veterinary. The cure for this is a course of steroids. Starting today, my ugly Spaniel, as I call him, will be given two daily helpings of oral steroid medicine. This will be very hard on the kidneys, which is why the first course will be given for only a week. Then Raleigh will be examined again.

Since he has to have the harsh steroid programme, I of course wish that he could have received it instead of his dental work, which now seems to me to have been unnecessary. But that is done, and there is no undoing it. I just have to hope that the new medicine isn’t too hard on my boy. Steroids must be very like a poison, for the kidneys to work ‘round the clock to eradicate them. The hope is that they take the stomatitis with them when they go.

Raleigh has FIV, and that is a grave danger to him at the best of times. But his kidneys and heart are strong. The doctor believes Peachy will be able to withstand the shock of the steroids. We will know next Thursday. Until then, Raleigh will have to take his medicine like a mancat, and I will watch him closely.

Life hasn’t been easy for this little fellow. I can only hope that he finds some compensation in a warm spot to sleep at night, regular food and the affection of a strange human.

Monday, December 3, 2018

The New Restaurant

My little shelter for the outsider-cats’ food-bowl collapsed a while ago. Inclement weather took its toll on what was in fact a stiffened nylon shopping bag. As we were having very little precipitation at the time, it was not a worry to me. But with the latter half of autumn came snow. There hasn’t been a great deal of it – yet – but there has been enough to cover the food I have been leaving out for the visitors. The food, hidden by cold, white flakes, might not tempt cats, and, of course, it would become wet and unappetizing. I therefore decided to provide another shelter for the bowl.

Confiding my plans to a neighbour, who also has cats, I was surprised a couple of days later by her generous gift of a plastic storage bin. Her intention was that I would use it to create a shelter, cutting out one side of the container for the animals’ access. I followed through with this plan and placed the new shelter next to the tube-house of Hotel Cosy.

As may be seen, my cutting skills are not the straightest. However, unless there is rain or snow blowing directly into the opening, the food-bowl is likely to remain dry. (It appears from the photograph that I needed to re-charge the contents.)

I decided to rename my little feeding station. Hitherto, it had been called Café Cosy, but I never liked the title. Though it implied its association with the hotel next to it, the little restaurant was never that cosy. While it is a bit more so now, I determined on the new name of Café Cavé. This serves the double purpose of illustrating the interior of the eatery, and indulging my eye-rolling fondness for puns.

Though the undinted snow that recently fell would have announced to me the arrival of the new restaurant’s first patrons, I thought it might also deter custom. With Tucker looking on, I swept the ditch clear enough of snow to make the path inviting.

I am pleased to write that Café Cavé has already had numerous visitors, including my loyal diners Sable and Sablette. The first time I saw them come to check out the new décor, Sable came by herself. She spent a couple of minutes eating and then disappeared. Half an hour later, she came back, with Sablette. They had a lengthy repast, and evidently liked both the ambience and the fare, for they have returned several times.

The predictions for winter in our part of the country are conflicting, some sources forecasting a hard, cold, though not long, winter, while others state that the season will be a mild one. Whatever the weather, I am relieved to have found a satisfactory way of protecting the outsider-cats’ food. They have enough with which to contend; they don’t need wet and frozen meals to add to their hardships. As long as there are customers, Café Cavé will be open – but not to the elements.

Friday, November 30, 2018

How Do You Spell Relief?

Do you remember the old Rolaids television commercial? Well, this morning, I spell ‘relief’ T-U-C-K-E-R, the same way I spell ‘worry’.

Wednesday night I checked Tucker’s mouth, to see if how it looked during its healing process. What I observed was this.

I thought the tiny white object was a fragment of tooth. It was not fixed in place; it moved but seemed attached to a bit of dark grey matter. I was afraid that the surgery had not been complete and that a bit of tooth had been left behind. I sent the photograph above to Tucker’s doctor, and Thursday morning made an appointment at the veterinary hospital. I was able to bring the roly poly to his doctor late that afternoon.

The examination relieved my concerns. The little white object was gone; there were other bits of light grey, which were food. The sutures that sewed up Tucker’s gums are extant and of course are catching tiny morsels. Some of these were cleaned out during the visit. An inspection of the mouth revealed no remaining portions of teeth.

(As an aside, the doctor who performed the surgery was not Tucker’s regular doctor, whom I would have preferred for obvious reasons. But I thought it better to have the operation completed as soon as possible - in light of Tucker’s diminishing eating capability - rather than waiting several more days for an available time with the usual veterinary. The doctor who examined Tucker yesterday was his regular.)

Though nothing alarming was found, it was good that my sausage-cat had a check-up following the operation. His mouth is healing, but not quickly. There is infection, for which more anti-biotic was prescribed. His heart and temperature are healthy. My principal worry is, of course, his greatly decreased consumption of food, but only time will remedy that.

Last night, Tucker wanted to eat from the regular hard-food bowl. He waited while Renn had a turn, and then Raleigh. My roly poly sniffed at it, but couldn’t bring himself to have any kernels. The memory of them hurting his mouth is too recent. But he did eat some diabetic hard-food I provided him. He is receiving nutrition and, though not enough to keep him from losing weight, it will sustain him until his life regains its equilibrium.

For now, I will simply be glad of my spelling lesson, and hope that Tucker’s r-e-l-i-e-f soon becomes h-a-p-p-i-n-e-s-s.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Weight on my Mind

At last, I was able to weigh all the beasts. It’s been too long since I’ve last done so, and the differences in the two instances are plain.

15th July, 2018
Josie: 5.72 kg (12.61 lb)
Renn: 7.32 kg (16.14 lb)
Tucker: 7.27 kg (16 lb)
Cammie: 4.60 kg (10.14 lb)
Parker: 7.63 kg (16.82 lb)

28th November, 2018
Josie: 5.46 kg (12 lb)
Renn: 6.86 kg (15.12 lb)
Tucker: 6.39 kg (14 lb)
Cammie: 4.38 kg (9.66 lb)
Parker: 7.44 kg (16.4 lb)
Raleigh: 5.40 kg (11.9 lb)

Everyone has lost weight except Raleigh (more about him in a minute). I think the diminution is due to the fact that I cannot leave the hard-food bowl out now; every cat is free to roam all day and night, so to maintain Parker's good blood-sugar readings, and to keep Cammie from eating anything that might cause her an allergic reaction, the hard-food cannot be free to all comers. This cuts down on how much the cats have been eating.

Josie keeps diminishing, which I don’t like. Her weight is not bad for her size, but the fact that she continues to lose poundage causes me concern. She was healthy the last time she was examined, but she is fourteen now, and I should perhaps have her given a thorough check-up.

Tucker’s weight change is due to his mouth troubles, which may not be over. He still refuses almost all hard-food, and he won’t gain weight consuming the small amount of soft-food that he does.

Renn’s loss is due, I am sure, to the aforementioned reduction of opportunity at the hard-food, though whenever he asks for it when I am present, I provide it for him. But he has always been a small-eater.

Parker has grown fussier about his menu, and no longer sucks up everything set before him. He is also wanting his bed-time snack less often. A check-up for the sturdy-boy may not be amiss.

I don’t know why Cammie has lost weight. The princess has her special Z/D nutrition given whenever she asks for it, and it is not calculated to slim a cat’s figure.

It may simply be age that is determining my beasts’ reductions. Josie is the oldest, but Tucker and Cammie are both thirteen years old, and Renn is eleven. Parker is about twelve and a half. Pounds are lost and appetites lessen as the seasons roll by.

As for my newest, and youngest, feline roommate, Raleigh, he has gained weight. He registered at 4.7 kilograms (10.36 pounds) when he was last at the veterinary hospital. He has put on almost three quarters of a kilogram (one and a half pounds). Though he does eat hard-food, the majority of his diet is soft-food, so it is good to know that he is gaining weight on such a menu. I like to think that having a meal at certain times of the day not only makes him healthier but gives him peace of mind, which he may not have had for a while. A full tummy and a warm bed are important ingredients in the recipe for peace of mind.

But in regard to the others, I will continue to monitor their weights and attitudes toward food. Tucker is especially worrying, as you may imagine, and I will be talking to his doctor about him.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Tucker's Continuing Journey

Tucker is struggling in his recovery from dental surgery. In particular, he has yet to find his new diet. Because he tried to eat his regular hard-food too soon, it hurt him, and he is shy of trying it again. He won’t touch the Orijen. Nor will he eat the Z/D that he formerly liked. (I am not too put out because of the latter; it is not the best food, nutritionally, and I serve it in the cosy apartment only because Cammie’s body seems to tolerate nothing else.) However, Tucker will eat the special diabetic food that previously only Parker consumed; I was surprised at this but am encouraging it. If Tucker is eating hard-food, I would prefer he choose Orijen; but he won’t, and he doesn’t eat enough soft-food. So a full belly of the adequate nutrition beats a nearly empty belly of  the superior.

He is finished taking his medicine. His blood-glucose numbers are high enough for insulin one day, and just too low the next. There will be an adjustment period for his diabetes treatment, I am sure. His body has received a shock, from which it is just now healing. The pain and, probably, toxins, from the bad teeth undoubtedly caused problems, affecting the diabetes. Then, there is his so far erratic menu. For the time being, his medical programme will necessarily be ad hoc.

But Tucker is slowly regaining his spirit. This may be seen in his boisterousness when I return each day from work. He is active and cheerful. He is not playing much, but he and I are getting back into our games. Last night he grabbed my fingers while I was attempting to crush his head with my hand. Normally, he then pretends to bite me; this time, he put my fingers to his mouth and gave them a gentle gumming.

I have no doubt I will see my roly poly fully rejuvenated, but it is a fretful path to that destination. I worry about the discomfort and discouragement he will encounter on the journey, but will support him every step of the way.