Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Why Can't You Be More Like Renn?

Renn’s urine analysis came back to the veterinary hospital yesterday, and the doctor said that it looked “great”. There is nothing wrong with my big boy’s water-works, and the kidney values that were slightly worrisome to the veterinary were likely due to mild dehydration; Renn is not drinking enough water.

He does need to have some dental repairs made. He has gingivitis - I haven’t smelled that, but I could see it - and perhaps a few teeth need pulled. I will schedule that operation for some time in the near future. His blood-work and urine testing, however, have been done, so I need not concern myself with those.

Renn’s wetting in the bath-tub, then, is likely due to stress; whether this is over some discomfort from his teeth or because of the situation at home, I can’t say, though I believe it is the latter. Parker’s illness, and my anxiety over it, are no doubt contributing to some disarray in the cosy apartment’s harmony, but that can’t be helped at the moment. I think Renn may also be feeling slightly displaced due to Raleigh, who monopolises my lap when I am on the couch. My big boy has only rarely been a lap-cat, but he likes having me on the couch with him, and I am sure he looks askance at Peachy being there. But since that is the principal time that the new boy gets physical attention, that can’t be helped, either. I will make an effort to give Renn more attention, as well.

While he needs some tooth-work, Renn is in very good shape. He has always been my healthiest beast, and while there is the chance of an ailment that cannot be detected by the tests just done, there is no reason to suspect it. He will continue to be my example to the others in terms of their well-being.

“Why can’t you be more like Renn?”

Monday, February 25, 2019

I Remember

For someone who likes history as much as I do, it is surprising that, in my own life, dates are not very important. I will note when a significant event occurs, and I will commemorate it if I remember it, but I don’t always remember it.

Five years ago today, my foster-cat and friend, Bear-Bear, died. I almost forgot the actual anniversary. But it doesn’t matter. I remember Bear-Bear.

I recall that the BB was a long cat, and that he liked to eat his soft-food on the second step of the stairs to the basement of my house. He used to make a ‘raa’ sound, sometimes a ‘rao’, if he was in that sort of mood. I remember he loved laps, and moments before he died at the veterinary hospital, when he was very weak, he tried to crawl on to my lap. I placed him there, and that’s where he passed away.

I remember my friend, Tungsten, too. She died thirteen months after Bear-Bear, on March 26th, 2015. She was my first cat, and paid the price too many times for my ignorance of, and inexperience with, feline kind. But she was tolerant. Well, to an extent. She was the top-cat, once I started bringing in others. She liked to curl around my hand while lying on my lap, and lie in it while we slept in bed. She was very small, physically, but a giantess in spirit.

So too will I remember Parker, when his time comes. That will be shortly, I fear. I will note the day of his death, and I will commemorate it, if I recollect it at the time. But if I don’t, it won’t matter. I will remember him. I will remember all of them.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

A Bum Deal

Saturday morning, I thought it would be Tucker’s turn at the veterinary hospital.

I woke at 5.30, as I always do, in order to give the sugar twins their insulin injections. Right away, I noticed that Tucker’s visit to the litter-box, which usually immediately follows upon my waking, was of very short duration. In the next fifteen minutes, he probably repeated that visit ten times, each with no result: no sounds of digging or litter being moved about, no scraping, and no waste left behind. As well, he wanted to lick his bum, and he tried to rub that portion of his anatomy along the rug.

This, of course, meant trouble. It was either blocked anal glands or constipation. It could have been other things, but likely one of those two. The hospital is open Saturday mornings, but whether I could get the roly poly in to see a doctor was unknown. As well, it would not be open for three hours.

However, about half an hour later, while drinking some water in the library, Tucker left a deposit. Afterward, he was relaxed and untroubled. He did not go back to the litter-box for a few hours, and he lie peacefully on the carpet. The deposit he made was hard. It was, after all, just constipation, though that in itself is nothing to laugh at.

So the sausage-cat is receiving a treatment of hairball remedy this week, which I believe is pretty much a laxative that smooths the way for the removal of food. However, I will be checking with the doctor tomorrow when I speak with her about Renn. The good news – aside from Tucker relieving himself at last – is that he likes the hairball treatment; it tastes good to him, which is practically unheard of in my household. And these days, I will take what good news I am given.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

A Scientist Subjected to Science

Renn’s visit to the veterinary hospital went well. On the way there, my big boy cried in his tiny voice, and once out of the carrier in the examining room, wanted back in. He allowed the actual examination with a stoic acquiescence.

His lungs sounded clear, his heart was good; his teeth may need attention again. A startling discovery, though, was that he had lost about four pounds in two years. I have been weighing the beasts over that period and should have caught this. I knew that he was losing weight, but it’s been gradual, so I didn’t notice the full extent.

Renn was taken away to provide blood and urine samples. The blood tests showed that everything was acceptable, except his kidney values. They were a bit worrisome, but no conclusions will be drawn until the urine test’s results come back on Monday. He may be having kidney issues.

Until the start of the next week, then, I won’t learn much about Renn’s problem, though I know what is not a problem, including hyperthyroidism: his T4 results were satisfactory. His kidneys and weight-loss will be main questions, followed by those about his teeth.

Unlike the others whom I have brought to the veterinary lately, Renn behaved without much fear, once the poking and prodding were completed. While tests were being conducted in back rooms, my big boy stayed with me in the examining room. He explored. He climbed onto counters and looked into drawers, generally contaminating every surface. His scientific nature would not be denied, even under such conditions, and he was purring as he looked about.

Renn is going on twelve years old, and it was time for such a full examination of his physical condition. Despite what the results may be, his wetting in the bath-tub, which occasioned this medical visit, may be emotional or mental, and due to stress. While he has no animosity for Raleigh, the addition of a new cat may be a little unnerving for the veteran. And then there is Parker’s situation. While I try to be happy and optimistic, for everyone’s well-being, Renn, and the others, undoubtedly know that the orange-boy is sick, and may be reacting to it.

Such are the complicated dynamics in a large family, and I hope Renn will cope with them without too much discomfort and disarray in what must have been his pleasant routine.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Why Good Days are Splendid Days

Parker is doing well. He does not appear to be in pain and, as he sleeps in the same position for hours, I know he is not in strong discomfort. He plays a little and still wants to go outside. And he is still eating.

He has re-discovered Fancy Feast. After all the exotic varieties and expensive brands in which I have tried to interest him, he is, for the moment, eating Fancy Feast. Yesterday, he ate almost a tin of it for dinner, and then I cut up roasted chicken for his bed-time snack, and he consumed all the meat of a drumstick, and then some. And it all stayed down.

I watched Parker eat, hungrily, eagerly. When he cleaned his bowl, he wanted more. He wanted nothing at snack-time (eight o’clock) but before bed, he was peckish again, and had his favourite, chicken. Afterward, he stretched, and I stroked his still smooth and soft fur. We played: I pretended to step on him and he wrestled and kicked my foot. Finally, he groomed himself. He didn’t throw up last night or early this morning. Yesterday was a good day.

And yesterday was why good days with Parker are splendid days. He felt good. He filled his tummy and I know that he felt good. One day, he won’t. One day, he will not eat, and not eat ever again. He will feel pain, and no position in which he lies will bring him comfort. One day, the cancer that fills his body will win.

But not yesterday. Yesterday, Parker won. And yesterday cannot be erased. It is indelible, and long after he has left me, yesterday, and days like it, will remain. Yesterday was a good day. Yesterday was splendid.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Renn is Forced to Volunteer Next

I summoned the beasts for a roll-call last night. Once they were assembled, I asked who had not been to the veterinary recently. There was mumbling and a shuffling of feet. Tucker tried to bite me, which was his way of showing me that he had no teeth as a result of his last visit to the hospital, his teeth being the latest of his bits to be removed. Cammie hissed, her way of reminding me that I took her for yet another Cerenia injection last Saturday. Raleigh looked bewildered; he has already cost me an arm and several fingers at the hospital, so he was excused. Parker sighed. He was excused, too. I looked at Renn and Josie. My Chubs kept giving sidelong glances toward my big boy, trying to deflect my attention to him. I didn’t need my attention deflected. I knew it was Renn’s turn.

Well, there was no roll-call, really. If there had been, the cats would have ignored it. But in the line-up of animals who need to see the doctor, it is a fact, unfortunately, that Renn must go next.

Renn has been urinating in the bath-tub. Certainly, there are worse places he could go, but that is not the point. He always joins me to wait for the tub to fill on bath-night; it’s a highlight of our week. He must, rather intelligently, associate the tub with water, and perhaps with draining water. To use it to relieve himself makes sense. But it also may indicate a problem.

I am not overly worried about my big boy. I suspect that, if there is a problem, it is a minor urinary tract infection. However, a minor infection can lead to major issues, and is uncomfortable in itself. So Renn and I will be going to the doctor Friday afternoon. I imagine he will be as pleased as he looks in this photograph...

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

He Still Fits, So He Still Sits

There isn’t anything new to report from the cosy apartment, which, I think, is what I want: anything new, considering the situation, would likely be bad.

Parker is doing adequately. He is still eating; right now, he favours Tiki Cat wild salmon in salmon consomm√©. (I hope I haven’t jinxed it by writing this.) He generally eats a good dinner (after being without food all day) and much smaller amounts at snack-time and bed-time. Breakfast’s amounts can vary.

At one point, I locked Parker in the library with a bowl filled with a tin’s-worth of food, hoping that he would eat the whole amount through the day. He did, but then threw it up. This was followed by a refusal to touch that variety of food again. I have chosen not to repeat this experiment, as I can’t guarantee he will eat anything else, if he goes off his current menu. As well, the past couple of days I have found small amounts of vomit which could have come only from him. If he had had a full stomach at those times, all the food would have come up. Finally, there is the fact that, being hungry through the day, he is putting away a good amount in the evening, and under my supervision.

The Trout Towne Tabbies reminded me of sardines as a tempting dish. Parker did indeed eat a whole tin of the fish – then refused any other tins (the same brand and purchased at the same shop, but at different times), though he drank the juice from them. That is, unfortunately, how other foods have been stricken from the menu – a sudden and inexplicable disdain for them. I have heard of other instances of such behaviour among cats who are nearing the ends of their lives. This doesn’t mean that sardines won’t be offered again, however.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and advice during Parker’s on-going problems. As with suggestions regarding the outsider-cats’ food and water, Cammie’s illnesses and all the other puzzles here at the cosy apartment, I appreciate the help and the company from those who read this blog. I am grateful.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Doors That Are Now Closed

I think the worst thing about a person or animal going before his time is all the possibilities that won’t happen.

Cammie has always felt about Parker a little differently than she has the other cats. This feeling didn’t appear to progress, and certainly didn’t become friendship, but over time it may have done. Now, I’ll never know.

Last night, Parker jumped on the bed for a snooze. Cammie is often there already, perhaps between the pillows. She looks up when Parker disturbs the bed but doesn’t move or make a sound. She settles back to sleep, even if Parker is just inches away.

Then, last evening, I noticed this. Parker’s tail was actually touching the princess, and she accepted it. I can’t think of any other beast of whom she would be so tolerant. Usually, there would be a hiss, a growl and a re-arrangement of positions. Not with Parker.

Why are some cats different than others, especially to other cats? What is it about Parker? What does Cammie see in him that is lacking in her other roommates? What does he lack that they have? It is an insoluble mystery; at least until that time when all mysteries are solved. Cats are spared thinking about possibilities; people are not. Sometimes I envy cats.