Things have, as always, been kind of crazy. Health problems throughout the pets & family. Epic fail at getting the lawn done (first guy never showed up, second folks didn’t show, first guy showed and tried to guilt us into having him do it [which just makes me mad and determined never to hire him again], second folks showed to do estimate, rain kept it from happening, and now we’re waiting for a dry day).
Cahlash’s asthma kicked off again, so he spent part of the weekend before this one on oxygen, and has had to take his inhaler rather often lately. He’s also on antibiotics for a possible secondary pneumonia infection. Poor kitty. Wanna see what an inhaler looks like when prepped for a cat?
I learned another new feline thing. You can use an inhaler on a cat. I just ordered a “spacer” and mask so we can use an asthma inhaler on Cahlash. Apparently he had an asthma attack night before last. Meanwhile he’s getting steroids (oral liquid) and antibiotics just in case of pulmonary infection (oral liquid).
Mealtime is getting to be quite complicated. This morning the first thing I did was load up a syringe of steroid stuff. They use pediatric liquid, so it smelled of cherry. I grabbed Cahlash from behind and after several tries managed to get most of it down his throat. Next I loaded up a syringe of lactulose for Selene, pried her out from her hiding place behind our shoes, and squirted that down her throat. Then I mixed their raw turkey breakfast with a little water, lysine for Cahlash’s feline herpes, and a GI support supplement for Selene, topping hers off with Cosequin for her joint stiffness. (Nothing like having your pets head into their senior years, I guess.)
Tonight (because giving Cahlash multiple meds will be easier once my husband is home and can help) I’ll load up syringes of steroids and antibiotics for him, and prozac for her, and go at it all over again, although their dinner only gets lysine added, so that’ll be simpler. At least by the time the inhaler mask arrives we should be down to once a day on the steroids for him. The real trick will be those days when we take day-trips to Virginia; we often get home very late. After the first two weeks on the inhaler twice a day it’ll become an “as needed” thing, thank goodness. I have a feeling that for the next couple of weeks we’ll have to leave our friends in Virginia early and try to get home a little earlier.
The x-rays they took while he was there led to the discovery that he also has an enlarged heart and a heart murmur. Thankfully it’s mild and doesn’t require treatment, but we’ll have to get it re-checked in 6-8 months to make sure it isn’t getting worse.
Well, we knew from the start that our cats were born prematurely and would probably have extra health problems. But they adopted us immediately, and we fell in love with them, so what could we do? And we certainly don’t regret that decision—how could we? They’re family.
First, that promised update on where all my time has been going lately: our cats.
Selene’s medical problems are under control with once-a-day medication, but she was still trying to kill her brother. So we caved and put her on prozac. Boy are we glad we did. It’s almost two weeks later and we haven’t had to separate the cats in days. She’s happy again, and snuggly, and cuddles up with her brother. She seemed a little gooned last night, but I understand that too will tend to fade as she adjusts to the medication, and we can always call the vet and adjust her dosage if necessary. She’s lively and happy today, as you can see in the photo I took this morning:
Anyway, the reason this connects to my lack of productivity is that it’s remarkably difficult to concentrate with that much feline viciousness and noise in the vicinity. Suddenly I’ve gotten six book reviews done this week:
Unfortunately, we’ve just solved one cat’s health problem to step right into another. Last night at 1 am Cahlash vomited (not that unusual), hid under the couch while drooling (rather weird), and then slunk downstairs and peed on the carpet (never happened before). We took him to the emergency vet, and he didn’t make a peep on the way there (another first). During the exam he was breathing very fast and hard, with little whining sounds. They took a full-body x-ray and said both his lungs and his heart looked a little off.
They kept him to do blood work (which came out normal), and to give him albuterol in case it’s asthma (it didn’t help). Next he gets to see a cardiologist today. It’s a rotten time to have to spend that much money, but worth it if they can figure out what’s wrong and make him better. I’m still waiting to hear from the cardiologist and hopefully bring him home.
This is why you should never get a pet as a casual thing. You have to understand it’s a responsibility, that you’ll have to take care of them when they get sick just like you would anyone else you’re responsible for. But in my opinion, it’s well worth it for the joy cats bring us.
Feline aggression is one of those really confusing things to unravel. It has so many possible causes and very few ways to pick them apart to find the right one.
It’s all about instinct. Aggression could be fear, stress, territorial disputes… or a sign of an underlying pain or illness. Cats instinctively know that sickness is weakness is danger. They will do anything and everything to avoid displaying that weakness and putting themselves in perceived danger. This means hiding symptoms, as well as using aggression to keep others at bay.
Selene, one of our cats, recently became extremely aggressive toward her brother. Because the timing was coincident with a cat coming around and making her territorially aggressive as well, the theory was that she was showing displaced aggression. However, my husband and I were convinced it was more than that. A test showed minor indications of infection, but further tests didn’t culture anything. We got the Comfort Zone diffuser with Feliway feline facial pheremones, which are used to comfort and calm cats. It definitely helped, but the situation continued to deteriorate.
We brought Selene back to the vet and they were kind enough to fit us in at the last minute with their behavioral specialist. Long story short, she has joint troubles (possibly arthritic) and was having constipation issues. Now she’s on glucosamine and chondroitin for the joint troubles and a medicine for the constipation. There’s still some aggression, but it’s very noticeably better and less frequent.
It’s often been said that, man’s assumption to the contrary, cats have not yet been domesticated. I think this is one of the more prominent indications of this. Things would be so much easier if cats would just display their symptoms instead of trying to hide them!
I spent most of last night vomiting violently and repeatedly, possibly as a reaction to an antibiotic. I was so sore by the time there was nothing left in my stomach, from all the spasming, but Cahlash pressed himself against my back in bed, stretched out against it like a perfectly-warmed and furry heating pad. It was awesome, and definitely helped me to get a couple precious hours of sleep. The cats didn’t even fight for once. And when we got up, Cahlash kept trying to lead my husband out to the living room where I was while he was getting dressed. Selene also spent much of the night cuddled against my shin. They get so concerned when their people are sick. It’s precious.
Anyway, I’d just like to say…WE WERE RIGHT.
*ahem* Now that I have that out of my system…
Several people kept saying that Selene’s new-found viciousness was most likely a behavioral problem. We kept insisting there was more to it than that and that something seemed wrong. Turns out both cats have an infection of some kind. As soon as we know what kind, we can treat it and hopefully the violence will end and they’ll feel better!
In the meantime, we’re trying a product our vet recommended called “feliway”. It’s a feline facial pheremone, the same one cats use to mark you as theirs when they rub their faces on you. It’s supposed to calm them, and you can get it as a spray or as a room diffuser (called “comfort zone”). We’re using the latter. I don’t notice any odor, and it doesn’t bother my many sensitivities & allergies. We’re also cautiously optimistic that it might be starting to have some effect. We trust our vet’s recommendations, and even the lady at the checkout at the pet store enthused over the stuff.
Now I just have to keep the broth down that I had for breakfast, and go see the doctor again in an hour.
I’m worried that one of our cats may be ill or in pain or something. She tends to get territorial and cranky now and then, but lately she’s practically been trying to kill her brother. It seemed to center around a cat that was coming to the back door; she’d see it through the glass, hurl herself at it, and when that didn’t work she’d go after her brother. We closed off the room that door is in, though, and yet today she went after her brother worse than ever even without that. Sometimes when one of them is feeling ill or in pain they’ll get pissy at each other, so I’m worried there might be something else going on. I made a vet appointment for her on Saturday. That won’t help her stress level any, but when we reach the point where I’m afraid to allow our two cats in the same room for fear that the next time I won’t be able to separate them…
So that plus the possibility that I might have another infection and might have to go get antibiotics again are making me stressed and cranky today.
…for, “my cat just tried to ‘help’ me do the step aerobics program, but I successfully completed it AND didn’t step on her.” And it should give you some sort of bonus points on your score. ‘Cause let me tell you, that’s a whole ‘nother level of difficulty!
Speaking of cats, the latest book review is of Jane Seabrook’s Purry Logic, which is just plain cool! I’m sorry that was it for reviews this week; Monday was a holiday, and then I spent most of the rest of the week working on other things. We’re THIS close to opening that Etsy store; I made a bunch more of those cloth bags; and I kind of got hooked on playing with a fractal program and turning the results into pieces of art:
I’ve also spent a lot of time working on our upcoming level 80 designs for Cafepress; speaking of which, all level 70 designs are on sale—and we’ll be phasing most of them out eventually, so get ‘em while you can!
There are at least three upcoming book reviews, though: of a health care book, a cookbook for cancer survivors, and a pricing/business book for crafters, most immediately. In the meantime, here’s a random bit of fun: (more…)
So there I was, drying off from my shower, when I heard a series of bumps outside the bathroom door, followed by the most unholy screeching sound you’ve ever heard in your entire life.
Context: When our male cat (Cahlash) gets mad, he gets quietly intense. When our tiny little female (Selene) gets mad, all 7-point-something pounds of her lets out a hell-raising screech that could wake the dead, and WILL make you think you’re having a heart attack.
So there I am, rushing around the bedroom without a stitch of clothing on, which is a great recipe for disaster when dealing with two exceedingly angry cats whose claws are overdue for a trimming. I finally managed to pin each of them to the bed with one hand, then grab Cahlash, toss him out the door, and shut it. He’s usually the easier of the two to calm down if you get him off by himself, so while I dressed I did my best to calm Selene down.
Cahlash was unusually agitated still by the time we came out, so I picked him up, took him away from his sister, and tried to calm him down too, with moderate success.
Next tactic: I got them their breakfast, then went off to clean out and bandage a few scratches on my hands. Boy was I wide awake by then!
And oh, ow, my tendonitis is acting up now. Pinning two very strong cats is not so easy on my tendons. Hey, I’m serious about them being strong. Last time we took Selene in for a vaccine shot and we reminded the vet techs to strap her down for her Benadryl shot, they looked at her tiny form skeptically and said something about not needing to do that. So we reminded them of the time she kicked while getting the shot and was lame for months. They came back thanking us for telling them to strap her down.
Today’s review is of Saskia Walker’s Reckless. It might be a few days (possibly Tuesday) before there’s another review. I’m reading my other beginner’s sewing book right now, which is rather long, and we have some stuff going on this weekend, and my husband’s taking a vacation day Monday (whooo!). Mind you, ‘vacation’ might be something of a misnomer. We’ve been so busy lately (when the heck did we develop such a busy social life?!) that we’re behind on getting the house into shape.