You are here

Pee

Of Cancer, Carbs and Cats: Emergencies all Around. Part 2 of 3

Continued from part one.

Here’s where I sound like a b_tch.

 

Thing is, O.F. NEVER took his cats to the vet in their entire LIFE (other than the waste-of-time visit Buddy had a few days before we picked up the cats where the Vet wanted to run some tests and where they said not to bother). They’d been fed cheap dry food for SIX YEARS. They never were given “people food,” nor did they get canned food of any kind. I didn’t see a scratching post or a toy in the apartment they shared with O.F.. I asked O.F. if I could bring a cat bed or blanket with me that they slept on so they’d have something familiar smelling when they came to my home. There was NOTHING there for me to take. What kind of life did they have?

 

I asked for a very generous financial donation towards their care. I figured it would probably cost me about $2000 (this is without even knowing what might really be going on with them). I got half that amount. It’s not that I wasn’t grateful. I was, but I also assumed they both needed dental cleanings, at least, and that I couldn’t cover those costs with what we had. It wasn’t fair to ask me to take these cats on, with all the issues we knew about, plus the fear of what was to come and to do it for FREE or to magically pay for it when we didn't have the funds to do so. Yes, O.F. is very sick but he also didn’t tell me that with chemo he could live another year to THREE years. Somehow he skipped telling me that fact. I learned it through a friend of his. Was this such a dire situation or an easy way out to play the “C” card when he probably could have found a family member or friend to take the cats? It would have required effort and time, and I'm betting he didn’t want to deal with it. I began to feel my hackles go up, wondering if I’d been duped.

Buddy a few days later 650
©2016 Robin AF Olson. Buddy the day before surgery.

Once we got the cats home and I got a chance to really look at them, it was clear they were in terrible shape. I have six-year old cats, too, but these guys acted twice that age. Buddy kept going in and out of the litter pan. He could pass some urine, but I could tell it wasn’t enough. The fact that he kept going to the pan meant he was in pain and something was wrong. His eyes were running badly. His coat was dry. He was terrified and withdrawn. He and Belle were growling at each other. The two of them were quite overweight, with Belle overshadowing her brother by a lot.

I made an appointment for Buddy to see Dr Larry. I wanted to give it a few days so Buddy could calm down, but I was concerned that Buddy had crystals in his bladder. All it would take would be for one to slip into his urethra and cause a blockage, which would be an expensive emergency surgery. I prayed it was only a bladder infection, which would only mean giving him antibiotics for a few weeks. I knew we’d have to run blood work and urinalysis, update Buddy’s vaccinations and test him for Feline Leukemia and FIV so he could be adopted one day. I added up what I thought would be the costs in my head having had these things done so many times before. We could get by with what I had, but just barely.

Belle Reflecting R Olson 650
©2016 Robin AF Olson. Belle at 17.2 lbs.

 

But Buddy was too sick to delay getting him to the vet. Dr. Larry had to keep him for the day in the hopes he could get some urine to test. I got a call a few hours later. Buddy had a lot of blood in his urine. They did an x-ray and his bladder was full of LARGE stones. While we could change his diet, get him off dry and give it time over doing surgery, we’d be at high risk of him blocking up. We couldn’t wait. I begged a favor to pay off the costs over time, so we could do the surgery the next day. Buddy stayed at the Vet overnight while I began to do an emergency fundraiser. There was no way we could afford to drop $2000.00.

 

I hate asking for donations. I shouldn’t run a non-profit cat rescue. While I am deeply humbled and so very grateful we get the help we need when we need it, we NEVER have much in the bank to fall back on when there’s an emergency and that stresses me out to no end.

Funds began to come in for Buddy and we barely reached our goal after two days. Buddy had his surgery and came through with flying colors.

Dr. Larry said his bladder was loaded and the stones were very large. Buddy had to have been in pain for a very long time. Knowing that made my blood boil because O.F. lives about a block, tops, from a Vet. How hard would it have been to get the cat checked out years ago? Instead of saying no to diagnostics, say yes. Find out what is going on and face it. No. That was on me to deal with.

 

Buddy Stones 650
The stones removed from Buddy's bladder. They were quite large indicating they had been present for some time.

While Buddy recovered from surgery, I knew I needed to find out what was going on with his sister Belle. She wasn’t eating; not a bite for days. Nothing. I had to syringe feed her and that was very difficult. I’ve syringe-fed cats MANY times but Belle fought, spit, hissed, growled. Some how she spit cat food all over the ceiling. She also upset Buddy so much he ran behind me and attacked me, clawing my behind. Yes! It’s called re-directed aggression. Belle got upset and it upset Buddy so he attacked whoever was close to him---ME! I was not loving having these cats in my house.

Meanwhile, our 16-year old cat, Nicky, was depressed. I could tell he was in pain, too. He was losing weight even though we were offering him food many times a day. I was very worried about him.

 

Nicky had a seizure a few weeks ago right under my office desk, while I was working on a design project. I rushed him to the Vet where they put him on valium to stop the episode. Later that night, Sam took him to a neurologist where we learned he’d lost some vision in his left eye. It might come back. It might not. He might have underlying lymphoma causing the seizures, but it was too soon to do more tests.

 

We started Nicky on Phenobarbital but it left him doped up and miserable. We changed his medication but he still wasn’t right. He would “forget” the litter pan was in front of him and would urinate on the floor. Having chronic kidney disease, also meant when Nicky peed, it was a tremendous amount of output, often covering half of our kitchen floor. If he did it overnight while we were asleep, the urine would warp the wood floor near the kitchen. It infuriated me and kept me on edge. Every time Nicky got up, Sam or I would have to keep an eye on him because many times we’d have to grab him before he peed on the floor. I had to remind myself that it wasn’t Nicky’s fault at all. We loved him and would do what we had to do. The urine was very dilute anyway. It was mostly like cleaning up water, but it was exhausting trying to keep up.

Nicky Sick July 2016 650
©2016 Robin AF Olson. Our sweet Nicky, not feeling well at all. By the way, when you see your cat is depressed, something is wrong. They should be taken to a Vet to be checked out.

The night Buddy has his surgery, Nicky really seemed to be feeling lousy. Sam hadn’t given him his fluids because he got home late and was tired. I pushed Sam to do the fluids, while we made sure Nicky had a nice meal. Sam sat on the sofa and held Nicky as he often did, like a baby with his belly up and his hind legs stretched out. Sam was cold so I wrapped a blanket around his shoulders so he wouldn’t have to disturb Nicky. He sat there for a long time in the dark, just holding and comforting his dear cat. I asked Sam about getting Nicky’s blood work checked in the morning. I had an appointment set for Belle. He could have my appointment if there weren’t any others that day. Belle could wait if needed. He agreed Nicky should be seen.

I felt good going to bed that night. Nicky seemed much happier and comfortable. He didn’t come upstairs to snuggle with us as he used to do because he was somewhat weakened by his illness. We didn’t want to push him to do something he couldn’t do and Sam was worried he would fall and hurt himself getting on or off the bed.

 

If I only knew that was our last night together…

 

Part 3, the final chapter: Where we have to make a heartbreaking choice and I show my true colors about how I feel about O.F. and his cats.

Petunia Inside-Out

(continued from Part 1 and 2)

I wondered if I was seeing Petunia for the last time when I dropped her off early yesterday morning at Dr. Larry’s office. It had been barely a week since I’d found out she had a bladder full of stones, causing her incredible pain that resulted in a flood of inappropriate urination all over my house.

Petunia was quiet in the car as I drove along the river, choosing to take the slow route to the Vet. The brilliant sunshine of early morning began to warm us through the windows, keeping the harsh late winter cold at bay. The winds of March were raging outside the car, but inside it was peaceful.

Tunie in cat carrier
©2015 Robin AF Olson.

I thought about Celeste and about how she died; very possibly because she was so stressed from being at the vet her body shut down on her. I knew that I had to do everything I could to keep Petunia from following the same path. Petunia could be just as fearful as Celeste so I drove slowly and carefully, talking in soft tones to Petunia. I told her it would be all right. I tried to make myself believe that, too.

Once we arrived and before I let one of the techs take her, I told her to NOT do the surgery if Petunia was too upset and to give her another day to calm down if needed. Petunia is 12 years old. We have to respect her if she is just not ready.

In the end, Dr. Larry performed the surgery while I waited for news.

--------------------------

Meanwhile, I’d gotten word that a very special, cat-mama had fallen ill. Her name is Jodi Ziskin and she’s a pet nutritionist. She contacted me, asking if she could help formulate a diet for our foster kitten Freya. She'd been following Freya’s story and was charmed by her and also concerned that without proper nutrition, Freya would have a difficult time passing stool since Freya had just had surgery to create her rectum.

Jodi and I emailed often and spoke a few times on the phone. We discovered we both went to the same high school in Connecticut, but somehow missed meeting each other back then. She told me about her cats and her husband, Zach. She was training for a marathon she was going to run in LA to help raise funds for a cat rescue. She just amazed me by all she could do and by how well she cared for herself as well as her family.

I got news that at some point after she ran the marathon, Jodi collapsed. She missed her flight home and that’s when people started looking for her. She had been unconscious for a day once she was located. She was not in good shape and was taken to the California Hospital in Los Angeles while her husband dropped everything to leave their home in Florida to be with her.

I should have been thinking about Petunia, but all I could do was worry about Jodi. She wasn’t able to remember much about her life. She knew her husband, but not the names of her beloved cats. We started to fear that Jodi would have a very long road to recovery—if she would ever recover at all.

They began doing tests. Apparently from the extreme exertion of the marathon, Jodi may not have hydrated properly afterwards. Her muscle tissue was shredding, going into her kidneys. It made her collapse. In some people it can kill them.

After a few days Jodi began to recover. She was remembering things 25 years ago. Her kidney values were normal. She messed up her teeth very badly from falling. She hadn’t lost all the memories of her 17 year marriage. She remembered Obi and her other cats, but there are still some scary memory issues going on that are mysterious in origin. More tests are being done to find the root cause. It's a very scary time for Jodi's family and friends.

This is a BIG reminder to all of us NOT to take ANYTHING or ANYONE for granted. Jodi, stay strong. We love you!

--------------------------

It was 4 PM. Where was my call telling me to pick up Petunia at 5 PM? I started to wonder if that meant she was dead. Dr. Larry always takes a very long time to tell me bad news. I can’t say I blame him. Maybe he was busy and she was fine? I decided to call and find out.

Petunia did well. She was ready to go home, but I didn’t get any more information than that.

I raced over to Dr. Larry’s and waited to speak with him. It was the end of the day and the clinic was quiet. I wondered what he was going to tell me. Was it really bad? Did he find something else? Would Petunia be all right?

 

He looked tired when he entered the exam room. I readied myself for bad news. He told me that the surgery was a long one. Petunia’s bladder was loaded with approximately 40 stones. Most of them had little spikes on them so it had to have been very painful. He told me her bladder was in good condition even with all the stones. The tissue was soft, as it should be, instead of leathery as it would become if her situation was more dire. He spent a long time flushing the bladder out to make sure any tiny grains of stone were cleaned away.

 

Xrays side by side 475
©2015 Robin AF Olson. Clean, plump bladder with little white dashes below. Those are surgical staples.

We looked at a new set of x-rays. He was clearly pleased with what he was showing me. Her bladder had a plump look to it, indicating it was already filling with urine. I could see a carefully placed line of surgical staples along the underside of her belly, glowing on the screen. Her incision was rather serious in size, which meant there would be at least a week or two of recovery time.

I’d asked Dr. Larry to take photos of the stones before he sent them out to be tested. When I saw them my jaw dropped and I got shivers down my spine. It’s clear she needed that surgery and I’m glad I made the financial sacrifice to provide this for her instead of hoping to dissolve them with a diet change.

Petuniaolson2 475
©2015 Dr. Mary O'Donnell. The painful stones.

It was time to bring Petunia home and get her settled into her big dog crate so she’d have a quieter place to recover. I didn’t know what would come of this and if Petunia 2.0 would be better or worse off now that she was feeling well. Would the other cats begin peeing around the house if she stood up for herself? Would there be worse fighting? Would Petunia expand her living space now that she was no longer in pain? Would she still need to be on anti-anxiety medication to keep her from erupting in more bladder stones?

 

Only time will tell as I focus on doing what I do best—being her mom and caring for her, instead of vilifying her unfairly. Pee-tunia is dead, long live Petunia.

 

Tunie in crate 475
©2015 Robin AF Olson. Resting comfortably and on pain medication, now we wait to see Petunia 2.0 emerge.

Suffering for Years. The Shocking Truth about Petunia. Part 2

Part 2 of 2. Read part 1 HERE.

An hour later Dr Larry came into the waiting room to escort me into the back to look at the x-rays. Before he could even point them out, I saw them. Petunia has a mass of stones inside her. One looked fairly large. While we could try a diet change to acidify her urine and dissolve the stones, the most humane thing to do is to surgically remove them as soon as possible. The diet change would take months and it might not work depending on what kind of stones she has. It must be incredibly painful, yet Petunia never acted like she was in pain. She always was ready for a pet or snuggle. She never licked at herself or squatted and left small pools of bloody urine, but she was very sick.

Dr. Larry asked me what I wanted to do-do the surgery or wait? He told me he'd do whatever needed to help, but all I could do was cry. I asked him the cost of the surgery and he told me it would be about $1500.00. He does these surgeries all the time (which is fodder for another post because WHY are so many animals getting stones in the first place?). Normally I wouldn't bat an eye and just say let's do it, but this time I was lost and scared. I HAD TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN and by God I would no matter what.

Petunia Olson stones copy
Bladder stones. Lots of them.

Dr. Larry patted me on the back and said not to cry. I didn't have the nuts to beg for a big discount. I had to be a grown up and figure it out. I would find a way, but some times it's just tough to struggle and struggle, then feel like you're starting to make positive changes, then WHAM!, another big bill. I know I'm not the only one who feels like that, but it's hard to keep your head up some times.

I told Dr. Larry that I needed some time to gather my thoughts. As I drove home, I flashed back over the decade of peeing issues we've dealt with. I was fed up. I can't list how many things were ruined by her because there were so many. I was sick and tired of trying to find a way to get the cycle to stop. I thought about how many times I wished Petunia would die so the rest of us could live in peace. I know it's wrong to think that way but that's how far I'd been pushed. But all that ill-will vanished, quickly replaced with shame when I looked over to Petunia as she sat in her carrier on the passenger seat. I stuck my index finger into one of the holes on the side so I could touch her face. She rubbed her cheek against my finger a few times, desperate for some love. I realized that Petunia must have been in pain for YEARS and even through all of that she still loved me. How could I be so heartless to her in return?

A few minutes after we got home I called Dr Larry's office and made the appointment for Petunia's surgery. There would be no waiting on this. It had gone on far too long already.

©2015 Robin AF Olson. Petunia was in so much pain and desperate to drain her bladder she ends up urinating on her own mother, who is in the spot where Petunia has been peeing the past few weeks.

Though I arrogantly thought we’d checked Petunia for everything last year, we hadn’t and she’s been suffering in silence, been called names and shunned because of her behavior. All it made me want to do was hold her and tell her how sorry I was for being such a moron. I recalled that when Petunia was very young she had struvite crystals in her bladder. We treated them with a special diet and within a year we started transitioning our cats off kibble, to canned food without grains, and finally to a raw diet. It never occurred to me that she could even GET stones again since she gets appropriate nutrition. It’s clear this may have been going on far before the transition and is only getting to a point of severity where we’re noticing it.

I am so ashamed. The only thing I can do to make it better is to get this surgery done ASAP and help Petunia get on the road to recovery. Perhaps she’ll never need to be on anti-anxiety medication but it’s also possible that her anxiety is the root cause. There’s something called FLUTD (Feline Urinary Tract Disease) that could be part of the problem and it's also VERY LIKELY related to a whole-host of issues Petunia may have called Pandora Syndrome.

Pandora Syndrome can be a combination of many factors—genetics, environment, stress and diet. The result can be IBD, dermatitis, cystitis and more. Once I read this article, I realized that because this might have genetic aspect we may never be able to “cure” Petunia entirely. Then the light bulb moment: Petunia’s mother Gracie must ALSO have it! It would answer the question as to why we have never found a treatment for Gracie’s mysterious miliary dermatitis.

Gracie in 2013 at Vet
©2013 Robin AF Olson. Gracie at one of her MANY vet visits.

I spent two years searching for and trying treatments on Gracie. I sought out different specialists, did tests and biopsies. Gracie's a lot like her daughter and tends to be high strung. We've been working with her every day and over the past year Gracie's become less and less fearful, but now is more clingy and demanding. Her skin is improving slightly. We got her to stop vomiting clumps of fur every day and she no longer “barbers” her fur. She needs more work to help her mojo return, but I think the fog is lifting off these mysteries. I'm not happy about what might be going on because it means these cats are just not able to handle the stress they feel and how to reduce that will continue to be one of the biggest challenges of my life.

While I have failed these cats, I also feel hopeful that we may finally have some light at the end of the tunnel. I know that someone out there will read this and will say “hey, that’s my cat!” too. Perhaps they’ll take their cat to the vet and discover there was more going on than imagined. Perhaps it will save a cat from being given up or let outside to fend for itself. I can only hope that baring my soul will help others, because I really hate myself right now.

So, to all of you who feel like they’re suffering with inappropriate elimination problems with their own cats, don’t make the same mistake I did. Even if you already took your cat to the vet and they found nothing, KEEP SEARCHING if you can't solve the problem. Do research online, talk to your friends who have cats, try to see the world through your cat's eyes and if you feel they are subjected to a lot of stress, there's a big clue to how to help them feel better.

Get your cat vetted again, if needed, or get a second opinion. Yes, it may be costly, but this is YOUR cat, YOUR responsibility. Your cat may be in a lot of pain and I can promise that your cat is not trying to get revenge or ruin your life. They’re not “BAD” cats. They’re communicating in the only language they know and it’s up to us to be better at translating their message.

I’m so sorry, Petunia, but I will make it right. I promise.

Your surgery is tomorrow.

2013 Sweet Petunia R Olson 475
©2013 Robin AF Olson. Petunia suffered in silence for a long time, but I truly think I've learned an important lesson.

Suffering for Years. The Shocking Truth about Petunia.

Part 1 of 2

Four years ago I wrote about my cat Petunia. It was a guilt-ridden confession about how I’d missed the signals that she wasn’t just a high-strung, territory-aggressive cat who urinated all over my house. Something else was causing her issues. I foolishly thought I discovered the root cause of her behavioral problems so I stopped looking for a health issue as the trigger. Up until that point I’d never given Petunia a fair shake because she drove me crazy, ruining everything in her path. She was urinating, marking and defecating everywhere. [If you want to read this post it’s HERE].

I thought her issues were due to having impacted anal glands and that her bad scent caused some of my other cats to go after her. She’d flip out, then I’d find something soiled. The cats never fought. They just charged her, but it was enough stress to cause her to inappropriately eliminate.

Once her glands were cleaned the attacks slowed, but never really stopped. Petunia saw Dr Larry, had her teeth cleaned and had some blood work done as recently as last summer. I was under the impression she was in good health and that her behavior issues were genetic and/or stress-based. I was very wrong.

When Petunia was young she had Struvite crystals in her urine. I knew this because her urine was pink, indicating blood. When we tested it we knew she had crystals so the simple answer was to feed her a prescription diet that would acidify her urine, dissolving the crystals (something I would never feed now).

Tunie
©2011 Robin AF Olson. Petunia in a long-ago relaxed moment.

Petunia resolved her peeing issues for a time, but then I did more rescue and our cat-population began to increase. With each cat we adopted, Petunia lost a little bit more of her territory. First it was just that she stopped coming upstairs to bed. In a way I was relieved because it also meant I stopped finding urine on my 80-year old bedroom furniture.

But then her space, got even smaller. Though she stopped peeing on the banquette cushions in the kitchen (I finally had to remove them because they were so destroyed), she rarely ever entered the space to look out the window at the birds who were dancing around the feeders hung over the deck. The other cats enjoyed the view and one or two marked in this area most likely due to her marking first. Petunia made a huge mess and having that stop was yet another relief.

Four Cats on Tree 2012
©2012 Robin AF Olson. The best spot in the house is also the bone of contention between the cats over who rules it.

With her space dwindling down to the living room, mostly all points behind the sofa, we knew we had to do more to help her. We’d tried all along, but with 10 cats it’s very difficult to single one out and only play with that cat and only spend time with that cat. The others were curious if we gave her attention; some took over play time, some attacked Petunia if we tried to play with her.

I tearfully confessed to one of my friends that I needed help. I had re-visit the idea of re-homing Petunia. It wasn’t fair to her, but with her issues and age, it would be VERY difficult to find a new family who was willing to believe that she wouldn’t soil their home, too.

2010 napping girls r olson
©2010 Robin AF Olson. Before we added Blitzen, Mabel and DOOD, Gracie and Petunia often snuggled in our bedroom. They no longer feel safe doing that.

There also was the complication that Petunia’s mother, Gracie lives here and from time to time Petunia still goes to her mother for comfort, so how am I to find a home for a 14-year old and a 12-year old cat?

I was certain this was the answer, but just as much sure that I’d never find a home for both cats. Gracie has an incurable skin condition.

I had to find a solution here, so it was back to the drawing board.

----------------

Over the past year Petunia earned the nickname: PEE-tunia because she began peeing on the SOFA. No matter what we did she kept doing it until I finally got a static mat and that stopped the behavior. Well, really it just encouraged her to pee somewhere else, but it was on a cat bed I could cover with a wee-wee pad and that was something I could deal with.

Sam and I decided to make a concentrated effort to re-catify our living room, to help Petunia find her confidence, which Jackson Galaxy refers to as “cat mojo(a term I quite like). I realized that with the addition of Blitzen, DOOD and Mabel into our family came the reduction in Petunia’s living space. I hadn’t seen Petunia come upstairs to bed in years. Her living area was getting smaller and smaller to just the few feet behind the sofa. She was too fearful to go far because the others would charge at her. We HAD to find a solution.

Before Clean up
©2015 Robin AF Olson. BEFORE: Look for the towel to see the most prized spot in the house. There's a heated pad under the towel and it's next to the sunniest window in the house. SO how could we provide more optimal locations for more cats to enjoy this area? Also the cat trees on either side of the towel are perfect for sneak attacks so they had to be moved.

One night a few weeks ago we ripped apart the areas where the cats hang out the most. We moved cat trees, did a deep cleaning and set up one of our web cams to monitor the area when we weren’t around. We hoped we’d find out what was causing Petunia to avoid the litter pan when there were a few with in feet of where she was sleeping.

Living Room 3500 R Olson
©2015 Robin AF Olson. You can see the static mat on the sofa where Petunia used to urinate. We added a litter pan right near the heated cat carrier where Petunia often hid but we don't believe she ever used it. The cat trees are in front of the favorite window. There aren't any where the ficus tree is because we had a cat tree there that went unused. It was moved to the favorite window area to increase vertical space.

Every day we patrolled the area, particularly behind the sofa. This is the only place where Petunia pees-and when she does it’s A LOT of urine and it really smells bad. I should have known by that smell that something was wrong, but no alarm bells went off. I just grumbled, cleaned it up and looked around to see if I should move a litter pan closer or make another change that would help Petunia feel safer.

AFter on Cat Trees R Olson
©2015 Robin AF Olson. AFTER: The day after re-arranging the space there's a lineup of cats who want to use it. Notice, the three alpha cats are on it while Cricket, a lower cat doesn't get access right now. Petunia is in the cat carrier just off screen.

Sam and I also focused on spending more time talking to, sitting with, petting and grooming Petunia and that helped soothe her to a degree, but she was still anxious around the other cats. It also didn't stop her from defecating on the table just near the sofa.

I decided that after all these years, the last remaining option was to put her on anti-anxiety meds. I thought if she could better handle stress and the cats charging her, she’d stop acting like prey, racing off, which made some of the cats go crazy and chase after her. Poor Petunia would hide on the seat cushion on a chair under a table not far from her “safe zone” every time that happened. It happened so often I was afraid her life would be spent huddled on that chair.

What a terrible life.

Lineup R Olson 650
©2015 Robin AF Olson. A few days after we moved all the cat beds, I saw this. It was the first time more than one cat was on any of the beds. The far left bed is where Gracie sleeps and when Petunia most often pees (yes, even one time ON Gracie).

It’s hard to describe how hopeless I’ve been feeling. I couldn’t re-home her. It was too late. I blame myself for adding so many cats to our home, but I thought it would be all right. The other cats are fine. It’s just Petunia who is so stressed by them.

Petunia had to see our vet before she was put on any medication. Dr. Larry insisted on doing a full CBC, a stool test and urinalysis before giving her anything. When I got the results my heart sank.

While Petunia’s blood work was “Fantastic” (chalk it up to years of being on a raw diet) and her anal glands were fine as is and did not need to be expressed, her urinalysis was another issue altogether. Her urine had blood in it. Keep in mind that doing urinalysis with a needle (cystocentesis) often causes a small amount of blood in the urine, but she had far more than normal. She also had VERY elevated phosphorous and ammonia levels (remember how BAD her urine smelled?). It was an indicator that Petunia might have stones in her bladder.

At Vet 3 15 15 R Olson
©2015 Robin AF Olson. We lower the lights during exams so Petunia will be more relaxed. On this visit it did not help at all.

Last week I took Petunia back to Dr. Larry’s for x-rays that might show us if she had stones. It was a lovely day, lots of bright sunshine, but I was struggling to hold back tears. I knew that if Petunia had stones, it would mean surgery and I asked myself how I was going to make that happen when I’m already struggling. It wasn’t a good feeling. I didn’t have an answer.

What do the x-rays show? Is there any hope for Petunia? Find out in part 2.

Will the Real Jackson Galaxy Please Stand Up?

The fur is growing back on Jackson's front legs from where he was shaved to insert an IV needle. The fur is growing back on Jackson's chest where he was shaved so the cardiologist could get a better echocardiogram of his malfunctioning heart. In some ways, Jackson appears the same as he did when we rescued him from a kill shelter nine months ago, but in some ways Jackson is being transformed and the results have been surprising and shocking.

jack in the box.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Beginning to feel better.

It's been about ten days since we discovered Jackson was suffering from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy—a thickness of the lining of the walls of Jackson's heart. Twice each day Jackson needs to be medicated with two tiny pills. Every third day, Jackson gets a quarter portion of a baby aspirin to prevent clots from forming.

At first I worried if I'd be able to keep to the schedule of medicating Jackson. I feared he'd be resistant and grow to challenge my attempts. Luckily, Jackson's been surprisingly easy to pill-so far-knock wood. I can hide Jackson's pills in minute amount of Flavor DOH along with a little bit of his favorite canned food.

Jackson in the Egg.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Is Jackson a good egg?

The only difficult thing about treating Jackson has been keeping his pills organized and making sure each Sunday I prep his pills by cutting them into halves and placing them in a pill box. I went a bit overbid and got his prescriptions compounded into liquid in case I couldn't give Jax a pill. It was expensive and turns out, unnecessary. At least I have more meds should I run out without having a refill on hand.

Pill Box copy.jpg

Before the “incident” Jackson was either very quiet or cried at night. He mostly kept to himself and slept. Once in awhile he'd play with the laser pointer. Now that he's been on his medication, a new Jackson is emerging. One I'm not sure I like very much.

Tunie Nicky Jackson copy.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Petunia, Nicky and Jackson (in egg).

Don't get me wrong, Jackson is a sweet cat, friendly and affectionate, but as soon as his energy level increased, his behavior changed. I caught Jackson spritzing urine near the kitchen, then again in a few other places. I deal with cat pee every day, but adding ANOTHER cat to the “who did the peeing” list is a nightmare.

I do the best I can to clean it up and sort out why they feel the need to do that. Sam and I are always looking for more ways to make them feel more comfortable and at ease. We want them to be happy, but we need some sense of autonomy over our own living conditions, too.

Yesterday something happened that could be the beginning of the end-the one thing I cannot tolerate and I can tolerate a lot. Without provocation Jackson charged after Petunia, scaring her badly. That's not the end of the world, but what he did next shocked me.

Cricket looking up.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Poor Cricket is still stressed after being attacked.

Jackson jumped up to the top of a cat tree where Cricket was sleeping. Cricket is our “former feral” cat. He keeps to himself and he doesn't bother with any of the other cats. He's probably the most submissive cat in the house and one of the sweetest.

Jackson jumped onto Cricket, BIT him on the back of the neck, then grabbed him and literally threw him off the cat tree! Cricket fell to the floor, screaming. Clumps of his fur scattered around the living room. He ran off and hid, terrified at what had just happened.

What the HELL was going on? This is NOT acceptable. My cat-mother-protectivness came out with a vengeance. My cats are not going to fall victim to attacks like this. I don't care what is going on with Jackson. If he's injuring my cats that's it. He's out. It's not fair that my cats are subjected to new cats from time to time or have to suffer upper respiratory because I have sick kittens in another part of the house.

Jackson 9.14.12.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson just wants to be understood and loved for who he is.

But how am I going to talk about this? I'm going to get judged for what I do or think about this situation? Perhaps knowing that gave me pause and kept me from kicking Jackson out of the house.

I sat and thought about it and something clicked. Hyperthyroidism. It would explain his late night howling and eagerness to eat. It would also explain this sudden irrational behavior and it can be the root cause of heart problems/HCM.

Jax in the Egg alt.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

Tomorrow Jackson returns to the Vet. This is his first Vet visit since he almost died. He's no longer in pain and feeling better. We're repeating his x-rays to see how his heart is responding to medication. We're running a FreeT4 blood test to look at his thyroid levels and we're checking his kidney function because he can have kidney problems due to the fluids he has to move to keep his heart and lungs clear.

Perhaps we'll find out that all these issues are caused by his thyroid, which can be treated. Perhaps it will make it a lot easier to forgive Jackson for his mis-behaviors. I realize he's not a man in a cat suit and he's behaving as a cat does, but who IS this cat? Is he as sweet as sugar or the devil in disguise? Is he just bored? What am I doing to contribute to the problem or am I the problem?

I can't say today, but fairly soon we'll know more and hopefully be able to get a better understanding of just who Jackson Galaxy really is.

Not On My Watch: The Nick of Time

Last night I reached out to all of you to help us find a home or rescue to take Miss Fluffy Pants so we could open up adequate space to take in a Feral Mama and some of her kittens (two of the five are still missing as of this writing). I'm glad to report that in LESS THAN ONE DAY we have some hope.

A special lady stepped forward to adopt Miss Fluffy Pants!!! She lives in the Atlanta area, but for some reason if that doesn't work out, MissFP has been accepted by the East Coast Maine Coon Rescue as a cat they will include as a courtesy post on their web site. They get a lot of adoptions and it's great exposure for our sweet girl! Thank you to Chris & Vicky at ECMCR! Check out one of the cats they're trying to save-a gorgeous Orange Maine Coon in New Jersey!

Playtime.jpg
©2012 Maria S. Miss Fluffy Pants caught the eye of one of our friends in Atlanta!

As for our Emergency Rescue last night, it's clear we waited too long to step in, but these cats belong to a resident of the same town Maria lives in so we couldn't just jump in without his permission.

I'd like to say some very angry words about the person who "owned" these cats. Things like, “you had a chance to get your cat spayed a year ago for FREE, why didn't you do it?”

Or how about asking why your “cat,” weighs TWO AND A HALF POUNDS!!!!! Are you even FEEDING HER?! Her kittens weigh between 8 and 10 OUNCES. Is it because they're YOUNG or because they're STARVING?

 

Black Kitten Messy.jpg
©2012 Maria S. Our sad boy moments after rescue. I think he got a bit too excited to have real food to eat.

Thankfully Maria was able to get the Mom and the kittens set up in a two story ferret cage without too much trouble. It's not very spacious, but it's what we have until Miss FP finds a home. The Mama allowed Maria to wash the kitten's faces, carefully rinsing away the goop on their eyelids. They fussed as kittens do, but eventually she was able to tease their eyes back open.

Its a Girl.jpg
©2012 Maria S. It's a GIRL!

Once the kittens were clean, everyone got a huge helping of Halo cat food-thanks to the big donation they sent us! The kittens ate some of their food and wore the rest. Maria was able to tell that we have a Black male kitten, an Orange Tabby FEMALE! kitten and a FLAME POINT (our first!) female kitten. Mama is a Tortie to the max and full of “Tortie-tude.”

Flame Point.jpg
©2012 Maria S. The little flame point female.

This morning, Maria took the day off work so she could take the family to the Vet! It's a good thing she didn't wait. Mama is severely underweight and the kittens are too small. They all have Coccidia, fleas and an eye infection. Had they gone on like this much longer, I have no doubt the kittens and probably the mama would have died. It wasn't so much that they couldn't fend off their infections or parasites, but between the combination of all these things, PLUS poor or no nutrition…they wouldn't have made it. The fleas would have caused anemia, the parasites would prevent them from absorbing nutrition-if they got any and the environment was not safe at all.

Mama with Food.jpg
©2012 Maria S. Mama getting ready to chow down, but very leary of what she's doing in a cage.

Mama went wild in the car on the way to the Vet and while she was at the Vet! She peed, screamed and gave the Vets a big scare when they tried to de-worm her. She did NOT want to be messed with. At least they did get her blood and she tested NEGATIVE for FIV+ and Feline Leukemia!

The Gang.jpg
©2012 Maria S. The little tykes after something to eat. They're already using their litter pan!

It's going to be awhile before these cats are healthy. Mama is going to need a lot of food. Maria tells me she can see the cat's spine she's so thin. What a horrible life these cats have led-all under the “watchful” eye of a human, who did nothing for them until Maria stepped in and fought to save them and give them the chance at a better life. I'm glad she could keep her cool and just get those cats into safety. I hope we'll be able to find the two kittens who are missing. It's a bitter pill to swallow, knowing we could have taken them in sooner and saved all five kittens, but were too worried about taking up what few resources we have.

Mama trying to make sense.jpg
©2012 Maria S. Poor Mama. She's scared of humans, but the good news is…we MAY have a home for her, too! More on that when we have a confirmation.

 

AT THE VET 4.26.jpg
©2012 Maria S. Waiting for the Vet.

We did amazingly well with our fundraiser reaching just about the halfway mark of our goal, but because we had to take the cats to Vet and not the low cost clinic (because they are only open on Wednesdays), we already used up half of our funds to pay the first Vet bill. We urgently need to raise the remaining funds so we'll have that money ready when they need their vaccines, spay & neuter, and my fear-more medications and more emergency visits.

 

Morning Breakfast.jpg
©2012 Maria S. Nom-noms-a-rama!

If you didn't get a chance to help us last night, use the ChipIn Widget, below or this LINK to our fundraiser page on ChipIn. Every dollar adds up and no donation is too small.

 

The donation you provide to this Emergency Rescue is TAX-DEDUCTIBLE. The money will go to my 501©3 Non-Profit Cat Rescue: Kitten Associates.

If you'd prefer to send a check, please make it out to: Kitten Associates and please note on the check the funds should go to "Bright Eyes Fund" mail it to:

Kitten Associates
P.O. Box 354
Newtown, CT 06470-0354

Any funds not used for the care of this family will go into our General Fund.

Ginger Girl Sad.jpg
©2012 Maria S. Getting rescued WITH Mama…priceless.

 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!

 

A Tough Day for Nicky

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The intention of this post is to help educate, not sensationalize an event that was personally very disturbing to me. I've given it a lot of thought and I feel it could help others if I share what happened yesterday to our cat, Nicky. The video, below, shows puddles of urine that are very bloody. In fact, it looks more like puddles of blood. If this is disturbing to you, PLEASE do not watch the video. There is also a single photo of a second area of urine, below, as well.

 

It's been very challenging to take care of Nicky since we found out he has renal disease, a mass on his spleen (not cancer), and possibly, lymphoma. Nicky gets sub q (under the skin) fluids every other day. We monitor that he's eating well, but he's losing weight. He frequently urinates a great deal of urine, outside the litter pan. We've studied his habits, made certain the pans were spotlessly clean and had to stand “guard” next to him while he urinates in case he feels stressed. We've worked on keeping the stress down. It wasn't possible with kittens running around, but now that Jakey and Teddy are adopted, things are fairly quiet.

Sweet Boy.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Nicky a few months ago.

Thursday the 12th Nicky peed on one of the rugs. I caught him doing it. As usual, there was a huge puddle to clean up. There was nothing unusual about it. I battle with myself not to get angry, to just clean it up and move on. It's very difficult to watch my belongings and my home get ruined, but I know I'm not alone and that so many other people have far worse situations.

Friday the 13th, I was doing my usual routine of sitting with April and the kittens, getting mama fed, cleaning up the litter pan in her room and so on. Everyone was doing fine. Sam had to step out to run an errand. I said goodbye to him through the closed door of the foster room.

A few minutes later, I heard Bobette get into it with another cat. I've been allowing her the option to come out of her room, hoping she would get acclimated to my cats so I could use her room to foster more kittens. So far the experiment isn't going very well and she screeches at the other cats, then chase them away. So far she is not physical with them. The altercations last a second, tops. I finished up with April and got out of the room to see what had happened.

I went to Bobette's room. She was sitting on the bed. She looked fine. I walked down the hallway into my bedroom. I didn't see any cats. I thought I should take a shower and get ready for the day. I walked to the doorway of the bathroom and something caught my eye. There was a puddle of what I thought was blood on the floor.

urine on floor with blood.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The first sign of trouble.

I looked at it closely, then cleaned it up. It didn't smell like urine, but I know Petunia will some times mark near that spot.I thought it was her since she's had crystals in her urine in the past, but how was I going to figure out which of eight cats was doing this? I scanned the floor near the first spot and I saw small drops of bloody urine. There's only one cat who would drop urine and that was Nicky. Nicky had “PU” surgery years ago to remove his penis because he was getting blocked up so often. I didn't know about the importance of removing grain from a cat's diet at the time and if I did, we could have cured him without spending $8,000.00 to have surgery done. After the surgery we were told that Nicky may have some incontinence issues. I've never seen much from him, but seeing these drops made me realize it had to be him.

For some reason, I looked on the bed. We have a PawsOff® cover on it, but it wasn't covering next to my pillow, which was exactly where I found a small puddle of bloody urine. HE PEED ON THE BED!!!!!!

I ripped the sheets off the bed and put them into the laundry, then continued my search for both Nicky and for more puddles.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Warning: more blood, also, you can hear me crying so please be advised.

There were two bloody puddles on the landing between the first and second floors. There were droplets on the floor headed towards the bathroom. There was a puddle next to the dishwasher. I saw Nicky, he was straining on the carpet. I grabbed him and tossed him into the litter pan, blocking his escape. I was freaked out. I was angry. I knew I shouldn't be either, but I couldn't help it. Nicky ran out of the litter pan and started straining again. I grabbed him and tossed him into the downstairs bathroom and shut the door. At least if he peed on the floor it was tile and I could clean it up. I needed a few minutes to calm down and get things clean.

Then I realized my phone must have rung during all the commotion. There was a voicemail. It was Sam. He got a speeding ticket on the way to the Apple Store where he was going to try to get his dead PowerBook sent out for service! Great! I called him back, but only got his voicemail. I told him what was going on with Nicky. I called the Vet and told them I was pretty sure it was Nicky and they gave me an appointment for 12:30pm

nick and sam at vet.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Nicky and Sam waiting for Dr. Larry.

Sam called back and told me Nicky had been vomiting earlier that morning. This not good. Clearly something is terribly wrong. Nicky was furiously scratching at the door to be let out. I opened the door.

What I saw took my breath away. The bathroom looked like a scene out of a horror movie. There were puddles of bloody urine scattered all over the room, on the counter, and the floor.

Nicky ran out of the room and vanished. I made myself shoot some video of it because I wanted Dr Larry to see it later, but I was so upset I could barely get any footage. I was certain that this was a sign that Nicky was going to die and soon. I thought that perhaps something had ruptured inside him or that had had a mass in his bladder on top of everything else.

 

I called Dr. Larry's office and Super-Deb answered the phone. Deb is my comfort, my friend. She always has a way to help me calm down and take a breath, but Super-Deb just lost her most dear cat in the world, Pete Puma, to lymphoma. Pete was a big orange Maine Coon. He lived through so many challenges it was amazing he lived into his teens. Here was Debbie, being her usual calm self and I am bawling my head off. I told her I had an emergency and that we couldn't wait until 12:30 to come it and that I was bringing Nicky in NOW. Deb was great and said to come in and they would fit us in. I reached Sam and told him what was going on. He would meet me at the Vet. I just had to FIND Nicky, pack him up and go…oh and put some clothes on! I was still in my jammies.

Nicky was hiding in the closet. Not a good sign. I managed to pack him up and get us in the car fairly quickly, but once I got on the road, it was another nightmare. I didn't get more than 200 yards out of my driveway when I got stuck behind a driver going 30 mph in a 40 mph zone. I waited for the passing zone to come up and I shot past him, cursing the whole way. I didn't get very far because the traffic came to a dead stop. It was 10:30am! What was going on? A semi-truck got STUCK making a turn onto the state road, so the traffic was limping along. It was really only moving because the cars ahead of me were turning around and going the other direction.

I got onto a back road, then got stuck, again behind a driver crawling at abnormally low speed. If they were doing the speed limit I would have just followed along, but I couldn't tolerate these slow drivers. Nicky was crying. I smelled urine. I thought he could be dying. I passed a few cars and just did what I needed to do. I finally got to the Vet. They told us to wait a few minutes. Sam was there already. We both looked pale and miserable. I started to cry again, the sound of it mingled with Nicky's own cries.

meatloafing.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. This is what a cat in pain looks like. If Nicky was hunched over with his front paws tucked under him it would be called “meatloafing” which is another sign a cat's in pain.

Dr. Larry was in the middle of a difficult case regarding a dog. He had his partner take over so he could see Nicky, who he calls; “my boy.” Dr. Larry loves Nicky and would do anything for us. We're very lucky to have such a caring Vet.

Nicky's back end was bloody. They checked to make sure Bobette hadn't bitten him in the butt-which we were all hoping was the case. He had no visible injury so they took him in the back and did blood work and x-rays. We were sent home to wait.

Around 3pm we got the call to come get Nicky. X-rays did not show any mass. The ultrasound guy-Dr Kearns, was not available to come in, but from looking at Nicky's blood work it was clear something was going on. His white blood count was very high. His kidney function, as expected was not great, but not terrible. Nicky has lost over a pound in a month. With only those few things to go on and that Dr. Larry felt nothing on the physical exam, they decided to get Nick on antibiotics. They also gave him Reglan to keep him from vomiting and Buprenex(now that I look up a link for this medication, I see it should not be given to cats with kidney disease!!!!) to make him more comfortable.

We were to wait and see how he does over the next few days.

It's Saturday the 14th. Nicky didn't eat well and paced a bit. As soon as my head hit the pillow last night, he started to cry. I called to him and he came up to bed and was fairly quiet. This morning I haven't found any urine puddles, but I'm not sure Nicky has peed. He did vomit and he may be having problems with the antibiotics or the buprenex or both. Was this a simple urinary tract infection or is something else going on?

 

Looking back on it, I believe the urinating out of the box may have been a brewing infection. We were so locked onto the fact that his kidneys are losing function that we assumed that was the case. Perhaps we had two issues going on that needed to be handled differently?

 

At this point only time will tell if we're treating Nicky appropriately. We'll keep things quiet and hope Nicky improves or we may find out we missed something (again). For now, Nicky's home and that's what counts.

Breaking News: A “Game-Changer” for Cat Guardians!

What does the Periodic Table of Elements have to do with cats? Breaking news out of CERNs research facility near the Franco-Swiss border in Geneva, Switzerland indicates the discovery of a new element that's being called a “game changer” by cat guardians and cat behaviorists across the globe.

Peeridoic small.jpg

After decades of much heated debate, the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemisty assigned a new Element. Like it’s 118 predecessors, number 119 is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus. Element 119 bears the name, Urinium.

It's believed that Urinium was first discovered in 1855 by Dr. Joseph King after his tabby cat, Mossander soaked samples he was using in his research to find a new element. What he was close to discovering was Cesium, which eventually documented by noted scientists, Robert Wilhelm Bunsen (later of Bunsen Burner fame) and Gustav Robert Kirchoff.

cat diagram sm.jpg

The scientific community scoffed and chided Dr. King when he declared that bombarding ammonia gas from cat urine, resulted in the discovery of a pure atom and that atom, alone was the cause of the offensive odor after cat urine was sprayed on household items and the like. Because technology couldn’t confirm his findings, it wasn’t until 2010 when Dr. Mike Hunt, a scientist at CERN decided it was worth a second look.

Sure enough, Dr. King was correct in his findings, but sadly never lived to see the day his discovery would be verified. What this meant for the world is simple. A metering device could be created to measure the density of particulate (P particles), in the same way a Geiger Counter measures radioactivity. Because it works on an atomic level, cat guardians will never have to worry about being bothered by “Phantom Cat Pee” smells ever again.

They’ll aim, scan, locate and remove every cat urine stain in their home with the flick of a wrist and the push of a button. Engage the device, holding it near your cat’s urethra, so it can “sniff” the particulates that emit from the opening. Next it will create a unique algorithm to “track” the “fingerprint odor” wherever it occurs in your home.

The device, in the works right now, is similar to scanners you’ve seen on an episode of Star Trek; like the one where Captain Kirk scans for bio-signs on Sigma Draconis when he’s searching for Spock’s brain (because it was stolen, duh!) except it’s not quite as thrilling when you lock onto a target and only find cat pee.

whizzard olson.jpg

I was able to get an EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK at a working prototype. It’s so sensitive you’ll have to remove all the litter pans AND cats from your home and place them into a sealed charcoal lined containment device while you’re scanning the premises so the device doesn’t get “confused.”

Using the searing power of lasers-

the new device, codenamed: Whizzard™, will include this technology as a way to literally “zap” urine smell from the home!

Though it may spark small fires or melt certain objects, I think you’ll all agree, that anything is better than a soiled home that smells like cat urine.

NOTE: The Whizzard is so accurate that once the truth is revealed about the severity of urine all over your furnishings, you may feel you need to move out of your home, but that’s ok. Whizzard’s got you covered. For an extra fee (details are being worked out, now), a Clinical “Psychologist,” named Dr. Larry will come to your home and let you unload all your frustrations on him, while he nods, smiling sweetly, then shakes his head to confirm that he is, indeed, listening to you, cares and wants to help. Larry may carry with him a pocketful of Xanax, but I can neither confirm nor deny that.

The Incredible Transformation of Miss Fluffy Pants

I was very disappointed when King and Miss Fluffy Pants's (is this her name? It was just a code name, but I think it might stick) reunion was not a happy one. It was clear they were never friends at the Palette factory, where they were both rescued from. Perhaps they even competed for the same scraps of food?

King was nonplused at the first meeting, but Miss FP was pissed. She hissed and growled when Maria let her out of the cat carrier, into the small bathroom that would be her new home. We didn't realize it at the time, but Miss FP had just had a terrible 48 hours. She was sedated, then the Vet realized she'd already been SPAYED! She had her blood drawn and we found out she may be FIV+. She was nose to nose with a big dog at the clinic and she was so distressed when she tried to attack him through the door of the carrier, the momentum of all that energy almost flipped her cat carrier over and onto the floor! With her life turned upside down, from the routine of living on scraps at the Palette factory, to a clinic full of scary smells and a big dog encounter, needless to say, Miss FP was not a happy camper to be yet at another strange place full of different smells.

If Maria had space in her home, she would not have put Miss FP with King, but we had no choice. We had to make it work until we could figure out what to do.

After Maria let Miss into the room, she let it be known that she did not want to be touched or be anyone's friend. She was so fractious that Maria was scared to go near her. Fearing for King's safety and with no other options we decided to put Miss into a crate so at least she couldn't bite King. With a disability to contend with, I didn't want King to be exposed to FIV+, too.

in the crate.jpg
©2012 Maria. S. Miss FP in her little crate.

We were all very unhappy with the situation and I started to scramble, thinking of what I could do to make it better. Maria had to be at work. She couldn't stay home and monitor the cats so Miss was stuck in a tiny cage, probably getting angrier by the minute, while poor King started to cry and urinate all over his bedding.

A day passed and Maria let Miss out of her cage to stretch. She hissed at King, but didn't growl. It was progress, but not much. King was still urinating around the room to the point where we worried he had a urinary tract infection. Maria was very stressed and tired-and who wouldn't be from having to do a mountain of laundry and deal with her own cats and work, then come home to a big mess! I was getting stressed out because I couldn't figure out what to do and living 1000 miles away, I couldn't just come over and help-which I desperately wanted to do.

I realized I had to take it in small steps.

Number one: Western Blot test for Miss-ASAP. If she truly IS FIV+ then maybe she has to go to another rescue? I have two rooms in my home for fostering, that's it, and kitten season is almost here and it will be early this year since the weather is so warm. I can't bring an FIV+ cat who is nasty into my house and hope I will ever find her a home. I'll just end up not being able to help countless other cats if that happens. It was a terrible predicament. We even discussed returning her to the Palette factory now that she was vetted. At least we could donate some food for her and a new cat bed, but I knew in my heart that I'd never sleep again if I did that to her.

I had to find out how to reach this supposedly friendly cat. Bobby had told me she was very affectionate, but all Maria had seen was a cat who would swat at her hand or growl at her.

Maria sent me a photo so I could see some progress in the situation. All of a sudden, alarm bells went off in my head. I realized we had completely misunderstood Miss FP from the start.

Miss in the cage.jpg
©2012 Maria. S. The photo that changed everything for me.

The photo seems innocent enough. King sits near Miss's small cage. Neither cat is looking at the other. Maria interpreted it as King wanting to be close to Miss to be friends, but because he was ignoring her, I looked at it differently. Was King letting Miss FP know HE was in charge of the room-after all he's free to walk about and that HE could sit right up next to her crate and at any given moment, if he wanted to, he could pounce on top of the cage and get her, attack head on or get at her from any side of the crate. She was completely trapped and completely exposed. No wonder she was freaking out!

Maria also mentioned not being able to go near Miss FP. Then, I noticed the food dishes in the crate. They were full. Another alarm went off in my head-the food had to GO. Miss needed to be fed BY Maria, twice a day and that was it. No free feeding her. Miss needed to bond with Maria and see Maria as something good, not bad. Maria was the food provider, not the Dungeon Master!

Miss needed OUT of the cage ASAP. She needed a place in the bathroom to call her own. The problem is-where would that be in a such a small space? Of course…we needed a cat tree!

A cat tree would add a lot of vertical space to the room. Odds are, King would not be able to climb it, but Miss could. She could have the upper area to herself and feel safe. Perhaps that was what she needed?

In the middle of all this craziness, Maria and I are trying to help a pregnant Tortishell cat who was found by an elderly couple in the area! Maria was running around trying to get the cat some help, run Miss FP to the Vet to get her Western Blot test done AND she had to get to the pet store and find a cat tree ASAP!

I'm very lucky Maria is so devoted to helping cats or this would have been a complete nightmare.

Then, another puzzle piece fell into place. Maria warned the Vet Tech at East Lake Vet Hospital, to be very careful handling Miss FP. That she was nasty and might bite. The Tech said she would do her best and took Miss FP into the back of the building to do the blood draw. Awhile later, the Tech came out. Maria was worried something bad had happened and asked how it went. The answer surprised her and gave me a rush of hopeful excitement:

 

The Tech remarked that in all her years of working with cats, that Miss FP had been ONE OF THE EASIEST, NICEST and SWEETEST cats she'd ever worked with!

What was the difference? Was there a magic pill that she gave Miss FP? No. First, Miss FP was NOT in a room with another cat. Second, Miss FP didn't have to worry about territory. Third, the Tech probably approached her gently-not that Maria didn't do that, but Maria had grown fearful of the cat. All this adds up to-this cat is NOT fractious-she's ANGRY and SCARED!

 

Maria got a great cat tree and thanks to the donations we got for King's care, we could afford to get one right away instead of have to shop for one on discount, then wait a week for it to arrive. Maria set up the cat tree. I told her to take the cage out of the room. No more cage for Miss. We had to trust that she would not hurt King. She might take a swipe and him and claw him, but she'd calmed down enough for us to believe she'd not be a risk to give him FIV+. It was a very tough call, but for the sanity of Miss, we had to do it. Unfortunately, King cried with her out of the crate, then urinated on his bed. Was his sick or scared?

I can't explain how I knew what to do, but I can say that within moments of letting Miss investigate the cat tree, it was VERY CLEAR it was what she needed all along.


©2012 Maria. S. There's no footage of Miss FP being fractious because it was too dangerous for Maria to shoot video. She needed to protect herself and King. This video shows what happened after we put the cat tree into their room.

 

Miss FP climbed onto the top of the cat tree, nervously licked her mouth for a moment, then laid on her side and started to “make muffins” into the carpeting on the cat tree.

Maria didn't hesitate. She reached out to give Miss FP a pet. Her bravery was rewarded with a head butt into her hand. Maria overcame her reluctance to get close to Miss FP and had the simple joy of getting to know her as she really was all along.

 

Sticking out her tongue_sm.jpg
©2012 Maria. S. Safe in her new space, Miss FP enjoys some sunshine.

Miss FP relaxed. Her eyes were soft. Her movements were slow and easy. Her tail did not whip around or even move. She was HAPPY and with her happiness came more surprises.

Miss FP in the window copy.jpg
©2012 Maria. S. The posture and “soft eyes” of a happy cat.

 

Miss loves to be brushed. She loves to be petted. When her anger and fear washed away; a sweet lady emerged.

 

 

King stopped peeing on the floor.

 

 

King stopped crying.

 

King is still lonely and still loves Maria's cat, Kahlua, who comes in to visit for a few minutes once in awhile. King has also perked up now that he has some toys and the cat tree base to play with!

Although Miss and King are not best friends, they both have safe spaces to live in and places they can call their own. I'm sad that King wants a friend, but can't find one in Miss FP, but with all the surprises we've had, perhaps there are more to come?

Miss FP and King copy.jpg
©2012 Maria. S. We may make changes for King after this but we'll see how it goes. What do you think?

For now we wait for Miss's blood test results and we hope she is not FIV+.Tomorrow, King goes to meet Dr. Alan Cross, an orthopedic surgeon, who may help us understand what happened to King's back feet and what we can do to help him live a more comfortable life.

 

We couldn't have done ANY OF THIS if we hadn't gotten the support from so many of you. You honor King with your love and your donations. His success is due to your support, Maria's love and devotion to cats in need and my determination to unlock the mystery of what these cats are thinking and how to provide what they need.

 

Of Bites, Bandages & Boo-Boos.

WARNING: the video of Bobette walking may make you sad and it shows her injury quite clearly. Also, there is an out-of-focus photo of her injury that may upset the squeamish.

Bobette's been on one Hell of a journey along a very bumpy road. Just when I think we've rounded a corner, something unexpected occurs. I realize I'm getting caught up in this cycle of hope and fear with her situation. I have to hope she WILL regain the use of her leg and will be comfortable, but what if she doesn't? What if I have to make the choice to have her leg amputated? This is something I don't know if I have the courage to do for her and I hope it will not come to pass. In the meantime, let me catch you up on how she's doing.

After the first few days with the bandage, we adjust to a new routine. Every morning I check on Bobette to see what sort of mess I need to clean up. She can't manage getting around and often I discover wet cat litter on the edge of her e-collar, indicating she's fallen face first into the dirty litter. The inside of her crate is in disarray. Some times she pees outside the crate onto the floor. I started putting training pads on the floor around the crate to help offset this problem. I never get mad. It makes me sad. I hate this life for her. I so want it to be over-for her to be free from the crate and feeling well again. I must be patient. She will get there…she will get there…

Mess.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The morning mess.

Sam often spends time holding Bobette as I clean up the mess and get her fed. It's a nice time for her because she can stretch out and relax without her e-collar on. The day before her bandage was to come off, we left off her e-collar as well. She wasn't picking at the bandage and without the e-collar she had some hope of sleeping in an more normal position. It's very clear she's not getting much rest as she often falls asleep while Sam holds her. Between the pain from her surgery, being in an uncomfortable crate and her body working on healing, she must be exhausted.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The morning before the big day. Bobette is non plused.

The big day finally arrived. I couldn't wait to get Bobette to Dr. Mixon's to get the bandage off. I had to borrow Sam's car because we had about six inches of snow, followed by frozen rain and with my car being 2wd, there was no way I was going to get to our appointment on time.

Bobette cried in her carrier just once, then was quiet for the rest of the trip. I kept looking at the clock. I had to drive slowly but the roads weren't too bad. I got there right on time-at 11am. No sooner than I walked in the door, I was told that my appointment was for 9am! But I wouldn't have agreed to that time because that's about when the cats get fed. I didn't have time to worry about it because they said they'd squeeze Bobette in between appointments. Couldn't we just get this over with? I really couldn't wait any longer!

sleeping.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Sleepy Bobette.

A few minutes later, Bobette and I were in one of the exam rooms. Dr. Mixon and his Vet Tech began working on removing the bandage. I was worried that Bobette would become fractious, as she'd done so many 21s before. Initially there were no problems other than a lot of material to cut through.

With just about all the bandaging off, Bobette started to get VERY DISTRESSED. She started screaming as the last piece of tape was coming off. Dr. Mixon stopped and he and the Tech tried to restrain her. I tried to help, but she was thrashing around and shrieking so loudly, there was no calming her down. I foolishly tried to reach out to her and she bit down HARD into the top of my hand. I felt her canine teeth meet under my flesh. Everyone let go of Bobette and she began to urinate all over the exam table, then threw herself off the table and onto the floor. I was crying out to her, worried she had just broken her leg. My hand was throbbing badly and I felt woozy. There was a sink nearby so I washed my hand, pushing the blood out of it as best I could. I knew how filthy cat's mouths are and that I just signed myself up for a trip to the ER if we didn't get my hand clean-fast.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bandage removal time!

It was all a crazy blur. I was trying not to cry. The pain was unbearable, but I was still worried about Bobette. Dr. Mixon got big gloves out and we got the cat into the cat carrier to recover. They'd have to sedate her later and get the rest of the bandage off. No one understood what upset her so severely until much later. In the meantime, Dr. Mixon urged me to go see a Dr. right away.

Sleeping Bobbette.jpg

I was lucky the Clinic could fit me in if I could get there in 10 minutes. I met with Maureen, the Nurse Practioner. She said I needed to be on antibiotics as soon as possible and that if the infection spread-which it could do even with the oral antibiotics, that I'd have to go to the ER in a few days. Great. I don't have health insurance, or money, for that matter. What an idiot I was.

I was still pretty shaky and my hand hurt badly even though it didn't look like much. I picked up the antibiotics which were $71.00! I needed to kill some time while they were working on Bobette, so I called Gene, a friend and local pet sitter and asked him if he wanted to meet me and have some soup at the local grocery store. I'd seen him there before and figured he might be in the area. Sure enough, he said the timing was good and we had a little visit.

bite.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My hand is already turning purply blue and starting to swell just minutes after I was bitten.

Gene is so cheerful, it put me in a good mood. We talked about bad pet parents and his grandson (who he adores like no other), then told me he was just about to pick up his new car. This is big news since Gene's car has 180,000+ miles on it and he's getting a brand new RED VW Bug! Our chat helped me get my mind off my hand. Everything would sort out. It was just another bump in the road.

I ended up going home for about 45 minutes, then left for Dr. Mixon's to pick up Bobette. The shock from being bitten must have been getting to me because suddenly I was so tired I just wanted to sleep. I promised myself as soon as I got home and got Bobette settled, I'd get some rest. I'd already taken an antibiotic so that was hopefully starting to kill the pasteurellosis that was making my hand swell up.

injury from bandage.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh my goodness!

I got back to Dr. Mixon's in good time. I realized I'd forgotten to even find out if Bobette's patella was still in place or if it had moved out, back to it's old location. I didn't have to wait long for the news. Some of it was very troubling and some, hopeful.

While Bobette was sedated, Dr. Mixon examined her leg. The patella, oddly enough, was STILL in PLACE! Bobette still has at least a month to go before we know if she'll be able to walk normally, but this was promising news. Now I had to keep her from jumping, encourage her to walk and give her time to heal.

The bad news was that the wooden tongue depressor he used as part of the splint in her bandage, had slipped down and been rubbing onto the back of her leg, causing a horrific wound. One of Bobette's toes had a cut on it, which I knew happened just after the surgery. It was not healing due to being in the bandage for so long. Both injuries were going to heal in time, but one had pus in it, which meant more antibiotics for Bobette and and more difficult recovery. When I saw the wound it was clear why she was in so much pain. Looking at her leg makes me hurt, too.

I have a lot of guilt about this. I've tried so hard to do the right thing for her and I failed. It will be even harder for her to walk at all with the added injuries to her leg-which was clear when I got her home.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette's first steps.

I set up the bigger crate for her new home and gave her a real cat litter pan to use-at last. She went to it right away, got in, peed and got out, but her leg was very weak. Sam put her on the floor and we had her walk over to me. She was reluctant to uncurl her paw to even place it on the floor. As she walked, she wobbled. Some times she used her paw and some times not. I tried to put some calendula cream on her wound but she is so sensitive, I had to leave it alone. How is this cat going to recover from all these injuries and walk again?

I just don't know. I know I'll be there for her as we find out. Bobette is young and strong. Now that her bandage is off, she'll have a chance to heal. One day we'll know if this was all worth it or just a waste of time. It's too soon to tell.

For now, we both need some rest.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Pee