Friday, March 29, 2024

Making a Deposit

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Good Friday. Here, despite the promise of renewal that is implied in the Easter season, the weather is still wintry: overcast, just below freezing, and ice pellets, alternating with light snow.

However, there is better news inside. Since his return from the hospital, Brazil has been eating well. He has not continued to consume food as if ravenous, but he is eating. I offered him some Merrick chicken from a tin, when his enthusiasm for Fancy Feast faltered, and he is liking that; he has had it before, and I will move his offerings about when needed.

But he had not deposited any solid waste in a litter-box since that hospital visit. As it may have been a day or so prior to that when he had left something in the litter, it was a cause for worry, especially since the veterinary had seen, via an x-ray, an amount of poop awaiting its chance to appear.

Each night, Brazil has been locked in the library, so I would know that it was his product in the box come the morning; I did the same when I went to work. A telephone call from the hospital to check up on Shimmer led to the doctor’s declaration that Brazil should come in again on Monday, if nothing was forthcoming. Considering his reaction to this last visit, I wanted to avoid that, if possible.

Yesterday, I gave the reluctant crapper a dose of hairball medicine, in the hopes of coaxing the reluctant interior to give up its loot. That seemed to do what was needed, and a decent amount of poop was awaiting discovery in the litter-box this morning. It was flattened, so I suspect that it was softened due to the hairball medicine. I will give Brazil another dose of it today.

That in itself is a bit of good news, too. Like catching Brazil for incarceration in a carrier, capturing him for the hairball medicine was easy. He allowed me to inject the substance by syringe into his mouth, and did not resist. Afterward, he didn’t run or hide. This is quite a change even from the last time I had to give him something by mouth. It bodes well for future necessities, if providing medication.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Shimmer's Day at the Hospital

Brazil’s veterinary visit was, I believe, beneficial. True, it did not lead to any great discoveries, though that was probably all to the good. His blood was checked, and found to be in good shape, except that his sugars were very high, in the diabetic range. This did not concern the veterinary, nor did it worry me. Neither of us see Brazil as a diabetic cat. The cause need be nothing more than Shimmer’s fear – terror, really. He was more scared than any cat I’ve ever seen at a veterinary visit, and the adrenaline this put into his body was likely more than enough to account for the high blood-sugar numbers. He was, in fact, so hopped up with adrenaline that the sedation didn’t even knock him out, and he remained conscious, though manageable. The doctor had never seen that before.

X-rays showed that Brazil has some gas and poop in the intestines, waiting to come out. But it is not enough to suggest constipation; the doctor doesn’t see that as the cause of Brazil’s lack of appetite. He believes that is just a matter of an upset stomach. He was given an injection of Cerenia.

Since coming home, Brazil has eaten about half a tin of Fancy Feast. Further, he was enthusiastic about wanting it. I was taking a risk giving him so much after days of so little, and he may bring it up again. But I decided that the odds were worth it.

For now, things are looking up. Cerenia’s history with my cats is a good one, and I think its effects will continue even after it has worn its way through Brazil’s system. I will be watching how food goes into Shimmer at one end, and what comes out at the other. So far, I am pleased with the day’s results.

Shedding fears in the sunshine.

A wonderfully empty bowl.

And some lap-time for reassurance.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Brazil Under the Weather

Brazil will be going to the doctor tomorrow. For several days, he has been ignoring any and all soft-food. He has been nibbling hard-food, so he won’t starve, but I know he is hungry. At meal-times, he rubs up against me and waits for food, but then walks away from anything served to him. I have tried all sorts, even the sauce-and-bits kind from a pouch that got him eating the last time he stopped eating. There is a difference this time, in that when he has eaten some soft-food, he has thrown it up.

The rescue-group has decided to give Shimmer a full physical. Considering his great fear of strangers, we are going to have him sedated. This will enable the doctor to examine him closely and slowly. If necessary, an x-ray can be taken while he is knocked out.

Initially, it seemed to me to be something psychological, perhaps related to Emori’s visit. But if Brazil is throwing up, there may be more to it. Since he has not before had such a complete examination, this will be useful in any case, even for future comparisons.

The trouble is that there is nothing definite to look for, so I suspect that everything will come back negative - nothing sinister discovered. I suppose that will eliminate possibilities, but it won’t point us to an answer. But we will see what results.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

They Have Faces

Brazil loves the company of his fellow felines. He’s a cat’s cat. He enjoyed snuggling with his younger foster-siblings, especially Chiff, and he will do the same with his older brothers, if given the chance. The trouble is that neither Renn nor Neville are cuddlers. They tolerate other cats well enough but if they were loners, that would be fine with them. Unfortunately, at least in their minds, they are not loners. They have roommates. They have Brazil.

As Norma Desmond said, “We didn’t need dialogue. We had faces.”

Friday, March 22, 2024

Emori Leaves the Cosy Apartment

Emori will be going back to her regular foster-home today. It was a pleasure meeting this sweet cat. She is very friendly, loves being petted and likes being picked up and held. She is very quiet; except for purring, she has been silent.

I didn’t integrate Emori with the perma-cats, as she was staying only the six days. She is strong and tough in regard to other felines so, while integration would eventually be successful, it would have taken time, and therefore was not worth the effort, and the stress to the cats.

We do have someone interested in her, and it would have been nice to take her straight from my apartment to a new home, but any adoption is still in the future. Emori is an adaptable little creature. Back and forth among homes is confusing for a cat - which is why we don’t like doing it - but she would suffer little from it, I think, before she found herself enjoying her new surroundings.

In any case, I am glad to have met her. She has been through a great deal in her short life, but has shown that she will certainly make the best of all that is to come.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

At Least Someone Likes It

I watched my oldster, Renn, one day last week, and he looked a little chilly. The poor fellow has no fat any more, so I thought he was suffering from the cool air we were experiencing that day. I therefore set up a cat heating pad on the chair that he likes in the sitting room. With a couple of layers of towels, it is warm, not hot (of course heating pads made for cats never grow too hot, anyway). I placed him on it, so he would realise there was added warmth there.

Since then, he has preferred the bedroom’s saddle-topped cat-tree. When he is in the sitting room, he climbs to the top of the taller cat-tree and lies there. He has ignored the heat.

Who has enjoyed the heating pad? Brazil. He will be two years old in April, is full of vigour and health, yet feels the need for some snug warmth, especially after heating himself up by rocketing about the apartment. Cats are perverse creatures.

Well, at least someone is enjoying it…

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Enjoy the Day

On the weekend, we had a preview of a real spring day. It’s true that the trees are some time away from budding and the grass is still brown, but we had beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures, up to 20° C (68° F). Furthermore, because of the time of year, the sun’s direct light is beginning to fall into the apartment once again.

However, because this is southern Alberta, this happy state of meteorological affairs will soon change. The temperature is already near freezing and for the next week, it will be below that point, falling to -7° C (19.4° F), and there is snow predicted for tomorrow and the following four days. I should not be surprised, as this is only the first day of spring; heavy, wet snow usually falls once or twice in large amounts in March or April. Still, it is a bit disappointing after such a fine weekend. Certainly, Brazil and the other cats enjoyed it, feeling the warmth of the sun on their furs for the first time in months.

But soon, it will be too hot, and I will be anticipating autumn, and in any case, time moves too swiftly now. So I will enjoy the days regardless - no matter how much they try to persuade me otherwise.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Emori in the Morning

Emori was silent during the night. She is used to spending the dark hours in her own room in her foster-home, due to altercations with another cat there; her foster-guardian thinks that Emori rather looks forward to the quiet and solitude of a restful night. When I came in to the library this morning, I found Em on top of a bookcase.

She has no trouble at all in getting about. Lynn (of Lynn and Precious) gave another example of a tripod-cat, her Angel Peepers, whose mobility seemed unimpeded by the loss of a leg. I think that animals, once confronted by a situation that they instinctively know will not change, simply adapt; unlike some humans, they don’t worry about what might have been or what was. If they can cope, they cope; if not, they don’t. Mostly, they cope.

Emori would do well with the right cat, but she is a good candidate for those people who want only one. She is friendly, highly adaptable and, if her current situation is a standard, largely untroubled by change. She is eating less than I would like, but that, I think, will change - or would change - with time. In the meanwhile, she is a good weight, and is eating, so I am not worried. Her litter-box visits have already been satisfactory, and she makes little mess, which surprised me; I expected her disability to mean that she would have to throw some litter about in her exertions. That isn’t the case.

This little cat is one appealing roommate.

Marietta wanted to read my previous entries about Emori, so here are their links:

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Emori Comes to Visit

Readers may be familiar with the Cosy Apartment’s guest: it’s Emori. I’ve written about her capture – along with the three kittens of her first litter – and the birth of her second litter. She is featured in this blog’s sidebar; her double surgery – for the removal of the remains of her missing rear leg, as well as her spay – was very expensive, and the Lethbridge PAW Society is hoping to recoup some of the expenditure through donations (click on her picture in the sidebar to learn more.) Now, she is my guest for several days.

The rescue-group doesn’t like moving foster-cats about; it’s confusing for them, and might result in some anxiety and behavioural changes. Emori, however, seems a most adaptable cat. She arrived this afternoon, and has been pushing against me, accepting pets and strokes, and purring since then.

She is a small cat, but thankfully has gained weight since her rescue. She cannot gain too much, though, as it would make things difficult for her remaining rear leg. But right now, she moves about with no problem. It may look painful as she walks with a bit of a hop, but her three-legged condition is giving her no discomfort, and she can climb and jump without difficulty.

Emori will be with me just until Friday. Her foster-home has to bring in a human guest for the week, and with other fosters occupying all available space, diverting Emori to my apartment for the time was the best option. She probably won’t meet the perma-cats in that period, and I will be spending as much time with her as I can. So far, she doesn’t seem to mind me in the least.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

His Own Way of Walking, Unfortunately

I want to add a short note about Renn. Firstly, while he is eating rather well – for Renn – he has also thrown up three nights in a row, expelling all the food he had consumed the previous evening. This started before his most recent visit to the veterinaries, so it isn’t caused by the Solensia injection he received. I intend to give him a shot of Cerenia this evening, to try to keep things down. I don’t want to lose the benefits of him eating decent amounts.

Secondly, this photograph shows something that I have just noticed about my big boy. He is walking and, in this instance, sitting, on his metacarpals (front bones of the foot), rather than on his toes. This, I think, confirms arthritis, or at least some form of joint problem. This is one of the symptoms which I hope the Solensia will reduce.

Now, in anticipation of a non-Renn event, I will write that a guest is arriving tomorrow at mid-day. She will not staying long, but nonetheless should provide some interest for cat and human alike in the Cosy Apartment. More information and, hopefully, pictures, will be provided Sunday.

Friday, March 15, 2024

The Subject Was Renn

I was able to discuss a number of Renn’s problems yesterday with his doctors. I spoke first on the telephone with one of them about providing Renn with Solensia, to help what I perceive is his arthritis. The doctor said that that was certainly an option, and that it has helped a couple of cats whom the staff at the hospital have. (In addition, a number of bloggers’ cats have benefitted from it, for news of which I thank my readers.) Then she suggested that, if I could, I should come in that afternoon; not only could Renn be given his injection of the new medicine, but there was a slot free which could be used to give Renn another ultra-sound reading. A second doctor - whom I have also been consulting for some years - would be in the hospital then and, as she was more practised in ultra-sound reading, she could take a look at the results.

Both veterinaries examined the ultra-sound and again pronounced Renn’s bladder healthy for its age. There is a small object within it but, as was considered on previous occasions, it has neither the look nor placement of a tumour. It is believed to be a polyp.

This led to talk of Renn’s use of anti-inflammatory to fight what is probably the frustratingly idiopathic cystitis. My big boy has lost more bigness lately: he’s down a pound in weight. The doctor thinks this is due to the kidneys leaching protein due to the anti-inflammatory. We knew this could be a problem: it was always a matter of reducing discomfort in Renn’s bladder at the risk of hurting his kidneys. The doctor believes there is a chance that Renn’s litter-box problems are caused more by arthritis making difficulties in his position than in a false need to urinate initiated by cystitis. In that case, the Solensia would help greatly. However, it was admitted that this is a long shot. What it will probably come down to is the original choice: uncomfortable bladder or deteriorating kidneys.

Nonetheless, all opinions are that the Solensia will help my oldster. It will likely need a few weeks to show effects, though - possibly coincidentally, possibly not - Renn ate a good breakfast this morning for the first time in my memory. As regards the continued use of anti-inflammatory, that will be determined in the near future. He returns in a month’s time for another injection of Solensia, so that will likely be a good time for a decision.

And on to Renn’s increased vocalisation… The doctors didn’t think it was due to discomfort or pain, which confirmed my belief. Renn often talks loudly when he’s emerging from the litter-box but not during its use, which I think argues against there being pain in the process. He talks when he’s simply sitting on the bed, or when he wants my attention. More than one fellow-blogger has commented about the possibility of deafness, and yes, my old boy is growing more deaf. I noticed his difficulty in hearing as long ago as a couple of years - I am careful not to startle him as I approach - and it doesn’t seem to have lessened. Why cats who are hard of hearing need to make sounds, I don’t know, though it probably has to do with instinct: needing to know that they can at least hear a little, for safety’s sake. My very-oldster, Minuet, was completely deaf and rarely made a sound; once the hearing is gone, I suppose there is no sense in trying.

So yesterday was a day of progress with Renn. Despite his weight-loss and the postponement of a decision about the anti-inflammatory medicine, pending observation of more effects, some things were done, some things were determined. The next few weeks will be important to my old man.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

New Help for Old Bones

Renn has been exhibiting some odd behaviour lately. His vocalisations, which are not new, have become more pronounced, and more frequent. Though they are often heard as he is coming out of the litter-box, I don’t believe they are symptoms of pain, since he doesn’t talk while in the box, and he also talks at other times, even when he is simply trying to get my attention. As well, they don’t sound quite like representations of pain.

This video was sent to his veterinary who agrees that it doesn’t seem to be coming from pain or discomfort. There was even mention of some mild form of dementia. Since these sounds appear to be a more prevalent form of what he has done for some years, that would make sense. However, he will be having his anti-inflammatory medicine switched, as the one he is on now does lose its efficacy after a while. That too is a possible reason for his cries.

My big boy is going to the doctor today. In an unrelated problem - or, perhaps, related, but only by age - Renn has been quite unsteady in his gait and looks to me to be having some trouble standing or lying down. Once up or down, he doesn’t have discomfort, but in the process, he seems troubled by more than just co-ordination.

Therefore, he is going to start receiving injections of Solensia. I first read of this drug in the Eastside Cats’ blog; Sweetie receives it to ease what I believe to be arthritis. I read about the medicine, talked to Renn’s doctor about it, and have decided to try it on my old man. Though the doctor stated that the makers of Solensia caution that it might take as much as two of the monthly injections before the effects are felt, a technician at the hospital tried it on her cat and saw positive results within a couple of weeks. In any case, I hope that this will make old age a bit easier for my veteran.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Theodore at Home

I was given permission by Theodore’s new person to publish some pictures taken in his new home. The photographs and their sequence pretty much speak for themselves. Theodore was uncertain and reticent at first, of course, but then, he couldn’t help exploring. Then he met his new brother, Brody. Brody is the sort of cat who likes everyone, and expected to be friends with the newcomer right away. For him, another cat meant play-time! Theodore was not quite so taken with the idea at first, and it required about a week before he started lying next to Brody. Soon, they were playing together. Now, they are family.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

The Newest Bedspread

I have bought yet another bedspread. This is to replace the one initially punctured and cut by numerous cat claws, and eventually torn into strips by time and the antics of kittens. The kittens are gone, and the cats who formerly used the bedspread as toe-holds when they leaped onto the mattress are too old for such actions now.

I briefly had another before this, but found it unsatisfactory. Despite being labeled for a bed my size, it was not the right fit (it was square, for one thing), and was a quilted object, which took away its softness. This new one is the same material as the previously destroyed spread; it is soft, comfortable and easily folded.

As one can see, the three cats who habituate the bedroom seem to approve of it (though Imogen noticed that the comforter cover had been washed for the first day of the new bedspread, and so was enjoying that position once again.) I hope this new item lasts longer than its predecessor, but there’s no telling when an errant claw will have its way.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Soylent Renn

It’s become clear to me that Brazil likes the company of other cats; the physical closeness of them, in fact. I of course had seen this previously. But his snuggling in the cylinder-house cat-tree could have been mere acquiescence – he was already present when Chiff decided to join him – and Brazil may have reasoned that the top of the taller cat-tree in the sitting room had plenty of room for two felines.

But periodically, Shimmer likes to try settling in with Renn in the bedroom’s saddle-topped cat-tree. There just isn’t room for two larger or longer cats here. Theodore and Chiff successfully managed it when they were not full grown. But Brazil’s attempt to share the space with his foster-brother does not go over well with the latter, who starts complaining (ie. whining) in a loud and strong tone. This – and the lack of anywhere comfortable to stretch out or curl up – causes Brazil to jump down.

But it doesn’t keep him from trying later.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Firing the Guns

Monday night, I heard someone throwing up, twice. It’s usually one of my oldsters, Renn being particularly prone to puking in the mornings, due to his kidney disease. But Neville nonetheless lets fly now and then, too. When I woke, I dreaded what I would find, since it would add still more time and work to my morning before going to my job. As it turned out, it was just a small pool of debris, and on the uncarpeted floor of the storeroom, so its cleaning was easy and swift.

I had forgotten that I had heard someone throwing up twice.

I was reminded of this when I came home Monday. I didn’t find it until later that evening, when I was playing with Brazil. Neville, for that is whom I believe responsible, had chosen the premium location for vomiting: the top of the taller cat-tree in the sitting room. His delivery was impressive, as he hit two of the platforms - striking others with small bits - throwing detritus against both the glass panes of the sliding doors and the blinds that hung in front of them, and dropping what was left on to the base of the cat-tree, the carpeted ledge, and the floor.

Despite the praiseworthy effort, I could not but feel rather put-out at having to perform more work, cleaning up stale vomit in numerous and varied forms. Alas, it was far too late to remonstrate with the guilty party, and I had to settle for a steely look in his direction. Neville returned my gaze with one filled with his usual volume of concern and remorse.

I think he believed it was time to re-load…

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

We Have Heard the Crimes at Midnight

Last night, I was asleep, as I often am at night, when I was woken by sounds of running, thumping and dropping. I looked at the clock and saw that it was precisely on midnight. I knew who was about such an hour: it was Brazil, playing.

Despite not having a friend to chase and wrestle, Shimmer enjoys his games. He will often leap on a fuzzy mouse, knock it about, then speed away, as if the toy were after him. Then he will return, at a similar velocity, shoot past the mouse and down the corridor, or up a cat-tree. The difference was that this time, he was doing it in the dark, and while I was trying to sleep.

But it didn’t bother me. I enjoyed hearing Brazil have fun as much as he enjoyed having it. I want him to have a companion, someone to play with, but he is a cat who can make his own games, too, and his excitement and activity can reach a height as great as that when playing with a friend. So I listened to him run about, scurry on the uncarpeted floor, bang and scratch against the cat-trees, and generally commit all sorts of crimes and misdemeanours against household serenity at the darkest of hours.

A little later, I fell back asleep. In the morning, Brazil was in the saddle-topped cat-tree in the bedroom, himself just waking. We both had had a good night.