Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Warm Orange

As many wrote in response to Tucker’s exploration of the cylinder cat-house, it’s fun to see our beasts look into new things and locations. Parker has been with me for more than three months now, and he still finds novelty about the apartment.

Recently, he stepped into one of the heated cat-beds for the first time. He must have liked it because he has come back to it. He doesn’t often stay long in its warm comfort, which I find odd. Even if some of the others, such as Tucker, visit the heated cat-beds infrequently (in his case, usually at night), they normally remain there for some time. But Parker is actually a restless fellow, and likes to try numerous positions and locations for his relaxation. I can’t see that that would be relaxing, but it seems to be his way. He does eventually settle down and snooze.

But now he knows the warmth the heated cat-beds afford. Perhaps when the year turns cold again, he will find their temperatures more congenial. He may simply not need them right now; his sturdy body may be enough to ward off any chill. But he is aware of the beds and their advantages. And, as his knowledge of his surroundings grow, so will his comfort and ease, and that’s good for everyone.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Unexpected Agility

I do not associate Tucker with agility. I perhaps do him an injustice. In my defence, I may point out that he looks like an immense, hair-covered jujube. One does not expect a gummy candy to have much climbing ability. As well, he has diabetes, which can reduce strength in the nether regions. Though Tucker has suffered from this characteristic in the past, the regulation of his insulin has ameliorated it. It should have been less of a surprise when I saw the roly poly one appear in the cylinder cat-tree.

This is not an easy tree to penetrate. Jumping directly into the opening of the cylinder, or pulling oneself in are the only means of entrance. Escaping requires a drop down to the platform straight below or, even farther, to the floor. Nonetheless, Tucker managed both directions without complaint. 

Why he decided to explore the cylinder cat-tree, I don’t know. He did not stay long. He may have been merely curious, in an olfactory way. Renn has re-claimed the location recently, and Tucker may have been wondering about its attraction. In any case, he made it there and back again, without injury.

I am rather proud of my roly poly, not just for his achievement, but for attempting it in the first place. Perhaps an extra helping of food is in order; something non-fattening, so as to facilitate his unexpected agility.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Leaning With Parker

After the worry and stress of Cammie’s situation - she is still recovering, but is eating and, furthermore, expressing a desire to eat - I thought something lighter would be a pleasant way on which to end the week. Take a look at Parker, my foster-cat.

This orange boy, who is doing well, is what I call a ‘semi-lap-cat’. Before you ask what a ‘semi-lap’ is, let me explain that Parker is a leaning cat. He doesn’t settle fully on a lap. It’s not that he is too large or heavy for it. After all, both Tucker and Renn have found comfort on my lap. (Whether I can find it when they are there is another matter.) Parker simply likes to lean.

Here he is leaning on the base of the tall cat-tree. He will lean on me in the same way. He also likes to lie on my bed, his upper body and his forelegs on the folded comforter at the bottom of the bed. That inch or two of padding makes the difference to him.

Whatever his means of finding a cosy position, he is welcome to it, though it reminds me of a fellow lounging about a street-corner in a small town, waiting for friends to walk by and pass the time of day. And I can assure you that Parker would be a good cat with whom to pass the time.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Beautiful Sight

This is what Cammie was doing last evening.

When I came home from work, I found no signs that she had thrown up. If she had, it would have involved some of what she had eaten that morning. And as she had shown an interest in hard-food before I had gone to work, I doubted that she would not have ingested some of that. Evidently, it all stayed down.

When I prepared the beasts’ dinners, the princess was ready to eat. I served her some Fancy Feast and she eventually consumed not much less than she normally does at that time. I didn’t press her, though. At snack-time, several hours later, she ate some more soft-food, and then, near bed-time, I took this photograph.

This morning, Cammie ate more Fancy Feast. I was a little worried when, afterward, she hid under an armchair, where she had hidden while sick. But she may have eaten a little too much for her stomach to handle right now, or she may have been afraid that I was about to carry her off to the bathroom and force-feed her again. But when I left for work, she was snoozing in a cat-bed, with no sign that she was about to be ill. So far, everything that has gone into her since Monday night has stayed down.

I have not yet observed her using the litter-boxes, though she may have, as I found some Cammie-sized poop there, but it was a different shape than usual. That is to be expected, I suppose, under the circumstances.

I am not a naturally optimistic man, so I remain guarded. However, while I don’t think we are quite out of the woods yet, we are on the right path, and we can now see green meadows through the trees.

Strangely, the other cats reflected Cammie’s illness. Everycat’s eating - except Parker’s - was off during the holiday weekend, but has recovered with a vengeance now. It’s true that I am serving for the time being Fancy Feast - everycat’s favourite - to get appetites moving again, but even so, it’s gratifying to see.

I want once more to thank once all those who have written and thought about, prayed and purred about Cammie during her trials. It has all helped.

Oh, and Tucker was doing his part. To encourage Cammie, he apparently wanted to show her that dying is not pleasant, and gave her his imitation of that awful state. I’m glad to write that the roly poly, too, has recovered.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Cammie Fights Back

Cammie and I have mounted a counter-offensive against her illness, and so far we have been successful.

I came home yesterday to find that the princess had eaten nothing during the day, but had thrown up nonetheless. I resorted to the Cerenia pill that I had been given by the veterinary but, perhaps predictably, Cammie regurgitated it almost immediately upon receiving it. The same fate would have befallen a pepcid pill. I consulted with a friend from the rescue-group to which I belong and she urged me to try some more slippery elm.

The elm I had used initially in this episode was old. There was a possibility that it was no longer effective. I had purchased a new supply and prepared some for Cammie. This elm thickened quickly and more densely than the other; this encouraged me. Armed with this and some Recovery-and-water, I brought my unhappy cat into the bathroom.

While our ammunition remains the same, I have changed our weaponry. I had previously used large-calibre syringes to deliver the elm and food to Cammie. I reduced the sizes. If I were force-feeding a cat like Tucker, placid and co-operative, a large amount of food injected swiftly would be the proper tactic. With Cammie, I needed more control and better aim. This I think I have achieved with a syringe as small as ten millilitres. Certainly, I have put more food into her and given her less opportunity to shake away, spit out and otherwise eject the precious nutrients.

With this new plan, I gave Cammie a feeding at about seven o’clock last night. I have no idea how long one must wait until the body is no longer capable of vomiting food it has ingested, so I anxiously waited. By ten o’clock, I knew that an amount of food, though small, had gone to where it could not come back up. If she threw up anything thereafter, that serving at least would help keep her organs going. She received another meal before bed-time. She did throw up the slippery elm, convincing me that I was giving her too much. I did not see the elm spilled on the floor until after I had fed her a second meal, but it stayed down anyway.

I heard no sounds of wretching during the night, and found no evidence of it this morning, so another meal was on its way to strengthening the princess. I fed her again just before going to work. A good sign I observed before leaving was that Cammie was waiting her turn at the hard-food bowl. She wanted to eat. Hopefully, she does not over-indulge, though the slippery elm I gave her earlier may provide a buffer against too much food.

This is how the battle stands so far. I feel confident. Though I may be greeted with an unpleasant mess on the floor when I return home later today, Cammie will have been given sustenance, at least for a while yet. Her stomach has provided her other organs with material to keep from degrading.

As for the cause, I believe the culprit is some new food I gave to Cammie in the hopes of giving her increased fluids, since she refused all kinds of kidney-assisting nutrition. She stopped eating it three days before the onset of her vomiting, but the latter has been accompanied by a severe flare-up of the lesions or bumps on the sides of her head. These have subsided now, and she is beginning to feel better. I will, as Kari, one of my readers, suggested, talk to the doctor about the possibility of pancreatitis.

Again, I must thank all those who have wished Cammie well in her fight, and who have provided suggestions to help her. I read and am grateful for every comment.

Monday, April 17, 2017

A Grey Holiday

This weekend was not a good holiday at the cosy apartment. Cammie is sick again. It started Thursday. She was well in the morning, but as soon as I returned from work I knew something was wrong with the princess. Through that evening and Good Friday, she regurgitated everything that she ate, usually within a few minutes. She also vomited without having eaten anything.

I gave her slippery elm to calm her stomach; this remedy usually solves the problem, but did not in this case. I called our veterinary hospital’s emergency number - as the hospital was closed for the holiday - and was put in touch with the doctor on call. I asked about Cerenia, the medicine that settles the stomach. The doctor agreed that Cammie could benefit from an injection, so I arranged to bring her in the next morning, as the hospital is open until noon on Saturdays. (We were lucky, as there were no appointments made until about 9.30 that morning; when I arrived, however, I overheard a telephone conversation which stated that the hospital had had a flurry of calls and was now booked solid that day.)

The Cerenia helped Cammie. She ceased throwing up but, though she had tried to eat through most of Friday, the resultant vomiting robbed her of any desire to attempt further. Consequently, she returned to eating very slowly, and I was forced to feed her Recovery by syringe, which is stressful for her, and wasteful, as I suspect only half - if that - of the food gets into her. She tosses the rest away with violent protests.

Easter Sunday, she began eating, small amounts, on her own. The Cerenia, good for 24 hours, would have worn off about 8.30 that morning. Cammie continued to take in little bits of food. She was not eating or drinking enough and her appetite for hard-food came back only in the evening. I was relieved at this, since what she was eating in Fancy Feast wasn’t going to restore the weight she’d lost in the past couple of days (she’d diminished from 4.8 kilograms to 4.52), and I wasn’t forcing enough into her to do any more.

Unfortunately, Cammie threw up during the night. She had just eaten a large amount of hard-food, and I heard her wretching at 2.09 a.m., and all of the hard-earned meal had come back up.

The doctor provided me with a Cerenia pill, of which I can give Cammie half to duplicate the effects of the injection. But I need to be able to give it by syringe with water or it will never get down her throat. And once it goes down, there is no guarantee that it will stay down. I will be consulting with the doctor as soon as the hospital opens.

My princess was drinking water - a long draught of it - just before I left. With her kidney issues, she needs that as much as food, if not more. A great drink of water and a sick cat’s empty stomach do not sound like a successful combination, so any good thoughts for Cammie would be appreciated.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Happy Easter!

This weekend is Easter, and I want to wish everyone a happy holiday. I hope you will be able to celebrate the event with the ones you love. I will be keeping a quiet Easter, as always, and staying home with the beasts. I may take advantage of the extra day off I have and follow Tucker’s example.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

On Bended Paw

When it comes to posture, Renn appears to be my most imaginative cat. Tucker comes second, but not a close second. Renn is always finding different ways in which to sit and lie. Look at this instance. My big boy is resting on bended paw.

His extremity wasn’t sore. I made sure of that. It wasn’t weak. He continued to jump and run and trot as normal. And though he placed his foot like this several times over a few days, he hasn’t since.

Renn is frequently leaning, hanging, drooping, lying or squatting in some strange position; strange but, apparently, not uncomfortable. My big boy has always had a unique way of doing things.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Sunny Whiskers

I saw Parker playing with a milk-jug top-ring on Saturday (he likes other toys but seems to find those which cost me money less appealing than the free ones). He stopped in a sunbeam, and the light illumined his whiskers.

He has a fine set of whiskers. They are not as long or as luxurious as Renn’s but they are a good collection, nonetheless. In the sunshine, they make him look a bit like a walrus. But in any case, I think his sunny whiskers suit him very well.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Flying Colours

Cammie’s dental procedure went very well. She required no teeth extracted. Early on, the veterinarian called me because she was concerned that some inflammation of the gums may have been indicating bad roots in a couple of molars, and wanted to know if I would authorise the expense of a couple of x-rays. I thought it would be foolish to deny it, so the pictures were taken, and showed that the roots were in fine condition. So my princess’s mouth required nothing but a good cleaning.

When she returned home, Cammie appeared unaffected by the anaesthetic. Though I was told that she may be a little groggy, she trotted about the apartment and climbed cat-trees as if she had never been sedated. I was also warned not to feed her too much at first. Cammie doesn’t eat a great deal even when she is hungry, but last evening, she ate quite well - the result of nineteen hours without sustenance. I spread her dinner over several portions, but I thought this a good chance to put some soft-food into her, and she was willing. The only noticeable effect of her ordeal was that she was a little troubled eating hard-food. While I was advised that there was no reason Cammie could not, my princess was undoubtedly suffering a bit of soreness in the mouth, so the hard kernels were initially less desirable than the soft-food. But at bed-time, she was eating as usual.

Yesterday was good for Cammie. It not only gave her teeth a cleaning that was needed, it demonstrated that they are in very good condition, and won’t likely need a great deal of work as she ages, and is less able to handle anaesthetic and surgery. I will of course have her looked at in the future, but for now, she has passed her examination with flying colours - one of which was tied about her neck as a bandana by a veterinary technician.

(And thank you to all those who expressed wishes for Cammie's health. Such thoughts were appreciated.)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Awful Tooth

Cammie is at the veterinary hospital today. She required a dental procedure, as determined during her physical examination a month ago, and, considering her middle-age (eleven years) and budding kidney issues, I decided to schedule the dental work for sooner, rather than later.

Denying a cat food when it is used to having it at certain times is difficult. There is no explaining the situation; there is only a lack of food that she doesn’t understand. The princess could have nothing to eat after ten o’clock last night. Prior to that hour, I plied her with tempting dishes but, having had an unusually successful meal-time (everyone ate well and Cammie in particular) and it not being the time for any food, according to a well-established household schedule, she was having none of it. Naturally, about ten o’clock, she wanted food.

Cammie was abnormally friendly during the night. She almost never comes onto the bed during the dark hours; her time is right at bed-time or when I wake. But I think she was trying to coax some edibles from me. I was on my stomach and she lie on my back and purred, most unusual. And this morning, she of course wanted breakfast, and could have none. The others received theirs; however, the routine was thrown off and they being aware of something strange occurring, and so were off their appetites.

Now my little Siamese cat is at the hospital. She will receive fluids during the surgery, of course, but also afterward for as long as she is there. I have requested that I be notified of any teeth that may look like they need removal. I think that considering Cammie’s physical condition, it is the best policy; bad teeth in a cat won’t get better and, as she ages and fights kidney failure, neither will conditions for a smooth operation.

I await word of the results. I don’t expect any bad news. There really isn’t much to go wrong, but one always worries until one’s pet is home. A doctor may know more, but home is safe. Cammie will be home after four o’clock today.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Worth the Wait

There was good news for the household over the weekend. Tucker’s insulin dosage - which had been at three units in both the morning and the evening - was not giving satisfaction. After consultation with his doctor, the dosage was raised a unit in the mornings only. This change has resulted in quite an improvement.

I performed a curve on the roly poly one Saturday. His nadir - the lowest number induced by the insulin, which should come about half-way between the two injections - actually comes about ten-thirty or eleven. I take readings every two hours, but, as his nadir approaches, I take a single reading at the hour, rather than the two. When his number dipped to about 14 at nine-thirty, I was pleased, as I suspected that it would fall to twelve at its lowest. Taking a sample sixty minutes later, it had fallen to 10.9, which was a pleasant surprise. Then, after taking a sample at the next hour, I found that his glucose reading had slipped more than half a point, to 10.3 - an even more pleasant surprise. Thereafter, the numbers started to rise, as anticipated.

The number Tucker’s blood-glucose reached at its nadir is a very good number for him. I don’t think it needs to go lower, and I think the doctor will concur. I want to ask her if Tucker’s evening dosage should be raised as well. Before his morning injection, his number was 22, which is high but only to be expected. With a dosage of three, rather than four, in the evening, his numbers may not fall as low as during the day. On the other hand, since he is sleeping during the night and eating nothing, a higher dosage may not be necessary. We will see about this.

In any case, I am quite happy about Tucker’s new numbers. He was switched to four-and-three some weeks ago, but the body takes time to absorb the alteration, so his curve had to wait. It was worth it.