Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Raleigh at the Hospital

Raleigh made another journey to a veterinary hospital yesterday, this time for a more detailed examination. The news is not good, but neither is it too bad (ie. irreparable).

Peachy does not have ear-mites (anymore?) but does have an ear infection. For this, anti-biotic drops were prescribed. He also has an eye infection, for which different drops will be given. The doctor thought he may have a congenital deformity in the tear duct that keeps his eye from draining properly. I recalled then that when I had been applying earlier drops (which were weaker than those now prescribed), I noticed that while the drop was ‘absorbed’ in his right eye (that is, it remained in the folds and crevices of the lids), it flowed more freely out of the left. In any case, the infection is being treated.

Raleigh’s biggest problem is that he has stomatitis. The doctor said that it could be treated with steroids but that might not end it, and may, since my newest cat is FIV-positive, cause more problems than it treats. She recommended that Raleigh have his teeth removed. Most of them, if not all, will have to come out.

As the majority of you reading this probably know, cats usually do well without many or any teeth. My foster-cat, Parker, had most of his removed (not due to stomatitis, but simply due to bad teeth; he didn’t floss, I think) and was the better for it. He clearly felt less pain, was more active and used his mouth more while playing. He is a happy fellow. Raleigh is already a big fan of soft-food, so feeding him if he has no teeth will not be a problem, and he has tested hard-food, too. He likes it but hasn’t eaten much, possibly because it is painful to chew it, or keep in his mouth.

In a couple of weeks, then, this poor fellow will be heading back to the hospital for a longer appointment.

Good news, however, includes the doctor’s opinion of Peachy’s heart and lungs, which sound good. He has gained a little weight since his neutering (I was concerned that I was not feeding him enough). Also, when he came home, he did not have the frightened reaction I had thought he might. He had been spending much of his time hiding behind the couch in the library; in the past few days, this behaviour has changed and he has ventured out much more. I thought the doctor’s visit would set him back, but it does not appear to have been the case.

I try to spend time with Raleigh every evening. I put him on my lap and stroke his sides and under his chin. When it was time to get up last night, I set him aside and before I could stand, he had crawled back onto my lap. But the end of lap-time wasn’t so bad, as it meant the bed-time snack was about to be served.

Bit by bit, physically and emotionally, Raleigh is improving. If there is the right home for him out there, we will find it for him. Until then, he will stay with me, and re-learn the ways of the inside-cat. That includes, unfortunately, at least one more journey to the hospital.

Monday, October 15, 2018

All-weather Parker

There isn’t much that prevents Parker from enjoying his walks outside. During the summer, all was well, but when autumn came, and the leaves fell, he was puzzled. He didn’t mind the leaves, but he couldn’t find the grass. I saw him pawing at nature’s new carpeting. The sturdy-boy eventually found the grass underneath, and that seemed to satisfy him.

Then came some snow. We didn’t get much, but it changed the setting somewhat. Parker was bemused by this change, too, but not for long. He did a lot of sniffing, smelling the small patches of snow. He may have seen such precipitation before, but only from within a house. I don’t think he was impressed with what little aroma it had.

Parker is pretty much an all-weather harness-cat. Wind, he finds, brings him all kinds of scents. On windy days, we stand more than walk. As someone remarked, why should he go anywhere when the smells come to him?

He doesn’t care for rain. A few drops won’t deter him but a constant fall is not to his liking. He tried it once, and decided to go back inside very quickly. It’s a rare instance when he is eager to abandon the great outdoors.

But he has yet to encounter deep snow, or slush that is spattered across sidewalks and lawns. And he hasn’t had to brave very cold temperatures. When these days come, I will let him decide what he thinks of them. This winter, my all-weather Parker may prefer to view all the weather - from inside.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Roly Poly Rolling On

The roly poly entered a new phase of his continuing war against diabetes yesterday. Tucker’s recent curve was so good that his doctor has reduced his insulin dosage from one unit in the morning and two in the evening to one unit daily, to be administered in the mornings but only if his blood-glucose number is fifteen or greater.

While this is undoubtedly a step forward, it is in the way of an experiment. The doctor says that Tucker may be going into remission, but cautions that there are other possibilities that may arise. My sausage of a cat may need to stay on insulin. If he does, however, it will likely be of an amount less than he has been receiving, perhaps only one unit a day, or one unit twice daily. I will need to test his blood each morning for a while, to see what his numbers are. If he doesn’t receive insulin for a few days, he may require it thereafter. This is the test: can his body cope without insulin at this point? If not, how much can it fight the diabetes on its own, and how much insulin will it need as an ally?

While his condition may be in flux at the moment, it is clear that Tucker’s current dose of one-and-two is too much. He simply doesn’t require those amounts. That in itself is a victory.

Clinically, he is well. His behaviour remains the same. He is drinking a modicum less water. He is still himself, cheerful, playful and, when he sees Raleigh, annoyed. The roly poly one rolls on.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Parker Learns His ABCs

Parker is learning his alphabet. Let me demonstrate his version of it.

A. Hey, you’re not supposed to be up on the kitchen counter.

B. And if you were allowed to be on the kitchen counter, you wouldn’t be allowed on a dish-cloth.

C. You’re not getting down, are you?

The lesson continues…

Monday, October 8, 2018

In Gratitude

It is Thanksgiving Day today and, while I try to be thankful every day, such a holiday helps to focus gratitude.

Firstly, I should mention the weather. Saturday and Sunday were, here at any rate, two perfect autumn days. The temperature was actually warm – in that autumnal way in which a certain temperature feels different than the same temperature in summer or spring – with a strong sun in a blue sky. It was a delightful day for walks or performing outdoor chores, both of which I did. Today, however, is cold and grey, with a mist you can feel against your face as you walk. Both types of day are autumn days. I was grateful for the two beautiful days before the one best spent indoors.

I am grateful that I am still employed and able to pay for the cosy apartment. That apartment has, as you may know, become cosier of late with the addition of a new inmate. I have six cats living with me now.

Raleigh continues to combine an enjoyment of physical affection with a human with sheer terror at any proximity to a person. He spends most of his days in hiding, but comes out for the litter-boxes and for meals. He also will inexplicably decide he is not afraid of me or the other cats and emerge to lie in a heated bed or on a chair. I am grateful that he is slowly making progress. I hope.

Cammie is doing well. Every day and, especially, every night, I listen for signs of digestive distress; when I come home from being out, and when I wake, I look for piles of vomitous debris. Every time I feed her, I watch her reaction, and wait to hear her crunch her food, and see how much she consumes. I observe her behaviour and note any differences. But so far, so good. She continues to come to bed now and then and lie on my neck. This keeps me awake, but she purrs heavily while she does it, so I can spare the time. I am grateful that my princess is recovered, and grateful for each day she remains so.

The other beasts are well, too. I performed a curve on Tucker yesterday, and it appears to me the best yet. I will discuss the results with his doctor. Parker is fit and active; during our walks, he likes to throw himself at trees and climb six or seven feet up. He was angry yesterday when I helped him down from one. Today he is a little miffed at not going out for a walk. Today, we stay in.

Renn’s health is unremarkable, which makes him remarkable among my cats, though Josie is doing just fine, too. They are my normal ones; long may they maintain that quality.

And finally, a word about my recent house-guest. Beulah was at last delivered to her new foster-home on Saturday. I admit to some anxiety over the move. Certainly, she could not stay in the cage she inhabited in my apartment, but she was going to a home with several more cats than I have. When I brought her there, though, my mind was relieved. The cats there are all old, FIV positive, or otherwise have unusual needs. They are all easy-going. One giant orange and white beast ambled over to sniff Beulah, who gave a mild hiss (I don’t think she is capable of any other kind), and the behemoth shuffled away again. No other cat bothered the newcomer. She will have safety and warmth inside, but freshness and exercise in a catio, as well. Beulah was, of course, unnerved by the change, and hid. I took a photograph of her. That’s her, second from the rear. She is clearly not the only shy feline there. I am confident she will make friends or, if she prefers, be free to be alone.

Another Thanksgiving is here, and it brings a multitude of reasons to be grateful. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Counting My Chickens

Never take anything for granted when it comes to pets. I should know that by now.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how Cammie had eaten some soft-food, had an adverse allergic reaction but had recovered on her own. This was certainly the case, I believe. I further believed that the food that makes up the bulk of her diet assisted in the recovery.

Last week, Cammie suffered another allergic reaction. This time, I could not find any cause for it but the secondary hard-food she eats. She has been consuming Orijen for years and, after I determined that one kind of soft-food after another was bad for her, it became the only variety of food the princess ate. It was superseded by Z/D, but not entirely replaced. The Orijen remained available for her to eat, as it was for most of the others.

The usual remedy for her reactions is an injection of Cerenia, delivered at the veterinary hospital. This was duly administered, and Cammie came home. I would keep her off Orijen completely. A couple of days later, however, her stomach began rejecting her food again. What was disturbing about this episode was that Cammie was not keeping down the Z/D. As that was now the only food that she could tolerate – so I thought – this development bordered on the disastrous.

The long weekend was approaching, which meant the veterinary hospital would be closed for three days. I decided on Friday to have Cammie given another injection of Cerenia. It had been necessary to give her two such shots to placate her stomach once before, so the failure of the first is not unprecedented. But I went further, and had a complete examination of my girl. I wanted to know if anything else could be found that might explain her repeated episodes.

As it turned out, Cammie is in very good shape for a thirteen year old. There was some progression toward kidney failure, but that was expected from previous exams. It might as well have been explained by the slight de-hydration she was suffering. (Fluids were given.) An indication that she was experiencing an allergic reaction was, of course, obvious. Nothing other than food sensitivity was discovered to cause her vomitory episodes.

The doctor would have been reluctant to give a second shot of Cerenia so soon after the first, but Cammie’s good test results, and the fact that an injection might not be possible for several days, decided the issue.

This time it seemed to take. Cammie ate nothing Friday evening, but began nibbling Saturday morning. By that evening, she was eating more, and her appetite was regular by today. Another crisis had been overcome.

As I have mentioned before, I cannot be complacent about Cammie. I forgot that, and thought that her body was gaining strength against her allergies, when in fact it may have been losing ground. I cannot have her eat anything now except the Z/D; even this food may be rejected by her stomach if she gets into anything else. I would sequester the princess in a room by herself while others are fed, but her protests and the difficulty of corralling her for such an operation would be enough to upset the others, and put them off their meals. The only solution is extreme vigilance. I cannot take anything for granted, and counting my chickens even after they have hatched is no guarantee of a full and secure hen-house.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Everyone Survived

Everyone survived their first full day together. There was a single puff of white fur on the floor; it could have come from any one of several cats, and may have come just from grooming. If there was a fight, it hadn’t been serious.

Raleigh was hiding behind the couch in the library when I came home. I hope he hadn’t been there all day, though he runs to hide when he hears the door open; we had a visitor who cleaned out his ears, and he fears a repeat, I think. He may have been out for much of the day. I left a litter-box in the library, in case anyone felt threatened going to those in the store-room. But no one used this extra box.

Raleigh is progressing in most things. On the subject of litter-box, he soon learned to use a hooded box, which cut down on mess, and he now resorts to the ‘general’ boxes in the store-room; previously, I had been leaving one in the bathroom (where he had been spending his nights), in case he felt more comfortable going there, but I needn’t do that any more. My Peachy doesn’t go often, and usually not at all during the day. Evenings and mornings are his times.

He is very bold when it comes to eating, and I’ve had to keep him away from sticking his nose into others’ meals. He trots over whenever he realises there is food in the offing. On the other hand, he runs and hides if I approach him directly or openly. One of the things I cannot fathom in his thinking is that he runs from me much of the time, but if I sit down and pat my lap, more  frequently than not, he will come over and jump up to lie on me.

And now he is playing. He watched the others play, especially with a string-toy, and has begun to use his big saucers to bat at the string himself.

I am pleased that all the cats can be out without my supervision, but the food situation still needs revising. Parker’s health is very good now, but its balance would be thrown off if he were able to free-feed on a bowl placed at everyone’s convenience, as had been the case when he was incarcerated. Furthermore, I am hoping to keep Cammie away from Orijen, and on Z/D exclusively, as I think the former contributes to her vomitory episodes. She doesn’t eat much of it, but she will nibble at it if the opportunity is there and she is hungry. At the moment, there is no food out when everyone is free. The beasts will hunger toward the end of the afternoon, but they won’t starve, and will hopefully be more receptive to their dinners. But availability of food at other times, when I am present, needs to be addressed, simply because no one but Parker and Raleigh eats enough soft-food to keep himself going.

But so far, so good. There was no combat and no injuries. Let’s see if they can do that two days in a row…