Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Felis Catus or Two Words for "ARGHHHHH!"

The litter boxes are changed. I am piggybacking cough drops as the dust from adding new litter will cause me to cough simply because everything makes me cough now. I sort of have an experiment going, without really trying. In the dark green box, I have Fresh Step. In the yellow box, I have Scoop Away. I've been using Fresh Step for a long time as they seem to like that, but it was more expensive for the same amount as Scoop Away at the last trip to the grocery. We'll see if there is a preference, not that I would become a certain litter loyalist. One observation, Scoop Away was dustier. When a change in litter results in a 20 minute coughing fit, that has to figure into the equation. 
This morning, Rascal refused to eat. Period. This is not good and I'm ever so tired of this battle at least once every 3-4 weeks. I know she doesn't feel 100% and a vet trip confirmed that she's got the markers for kidney disease. Well, if a cat lives long enough, it will have kidney disease, it's just what happens. But there was blood in her urine last Monday and that's never good. Last Sunday, she was listless and growled at me when I came to see why she was yeowling. She did not want to be petted although she plops down in the middle of the bed, almost defying me not to touch her. She's lost half of her body weight in 6 months, also not a good sign. Here she is in a photo that's 3 years old. 

She's never been a lover-cat. It took her a long time to accept being looked at, let alone touched. She has this fantastic coat, however, soft and very beguiling, so you just want to touch her. 
Her mom, Betsy, is the lover-cat and would spend her time getting in my way as I sat at the computer. Betsy has been the one I've been most concerned about up to now. Betsy lost a lot of weight in dramatic fashion in 6 weeks. From the end of January through February, ever other day, we went to the vet for fluids. She wasn't eating and has the symptoms of early kidney disease. I honestly thought, several times, I would have to make "that" decision. 
Then I went to a convention in Iowa at the end of February. Knowing Betsy needed a lot of care and that Pam couldn't do it, I boarded Betsy with the vet and Pam came to feed Rascal. When I picked Betsy up from the vet, I got such a cold stare. I could almost hear the, "How dare you, mom?" From that point on, she eats pretty much anything I put down for her. 
Cats will engage in "sympathetic eating", meaning if one in the group is sick, the others scale back their eating so the sick one can have more. I have seen it time and time again with my pride. I used to have 3 more living with me; Shakespeare, Penney and Half-Pint. Shakespeare and Penney succumbed to kidney disease. HP was hit by a car. But any time anyone was sick, the others didn't clear their bowls so the sick one could have more food. Rascal was doing that for Betsy, but it still doesn't account for the weight loss. 
Her recent refusal to eat is most upsetting. I have a human allergy drug which stimulates appetite in cats. But, to combat what was believed to be either a urinary tract or bladder infection, I have to give Rascal good ol' Clavamox. She's never been the kind of cat you could get next to, let alone pill. But, she's been listless so pilling her has been easy. I still have my arms and there are no scratches. I've been growled at but she seems to understand I have to do this. 
She didn't eat last night either so I gave her the appetite stimulant. Then, this morning, she never left the bed as I got up and headed off to work. It was obvious she did not feel well. 
After work, I stopped by the grocery and got tuna. You need to do something, anything to get the cat eating, but tuna is not nutritionally balanced. I come in the back door and she's up and around, tail in the air. It's obvious she's hungry. Crack open a can of Fancy Feast and pour tuna juice over it. She takes two sniffs and walks away. Shoot me, right now. I gave her a half tablespoon of tuna and she snarfed that down, so I gave her another half tablespoon. She ate half of that. She's currently lying on the floor behind me on top of a heating pad I have on very low on the floor for Betsy. For Betsy's part, she's walking up to Rascal and standing in her personal space so I have to listen to growling and complaining. 
Do I know what's going on? Of course not. Betsy has a tendency at night to wander, meowing, about the house from 1:30 to 3:45 a.m. She will not settle down. I got maybe 3 hours of sleep last night. I could take a nap right now and sleep for 2-2.5 hours but then I'd be up until 12:30 a.m. and I need to get my sleeping back to some schedule. 
Oh, and I forgot to mention the grossest hairball left in the middle of the bed for me to find when I got home tonight. I wasn't planning on washing linens and bedding. I guess the only redeeming factor is that whomever left it did it now, when I could wash the sheet and not at 2:45 in the morning. 
But, I can't imagine my life without a cat. They are part of my identity. 

Beverage:  hot water to help stop the coughing spasms. Try it some time. It does work.



  1. Gah, this is some month. I had to give up my two darlings last year when I came down with acute allergies, and they were shipped off to my mother at great expense. I just got word this weekend that Aliera has growths in her ears that need surgery and Zed got in a fight with a wild turkey and lost, and is bed-ridden for almost a month.

    I swear this is why cats are so loveable and reciporocating - they're a breed so tied to humans and civilization that they'd barely live past 5 years as we wouldn't live past 30 without modern medicine. Also explains why they're such good comrades. :)


  2. P.S. Thanks for the birthday card! :D I just got it today since I was in bed with the flu all day yesterday.