Category: Cats

Sugar kitties! Kitty with the diabetic problem

Cat Battles

It’s funny how much you miss cats purring in the morning until you don’t have both of them in the room with you.

Brie Brie, my Maine Coon cross kitty, was downstairs staring out the sliding glass doors when the neighbor’s cat walked up and sat about a foot from the door. Brie Brie didn’t know what to do. She would hunker down and watch the cat and then walk over to me for reassurance, then walk back to the cat and hunker down again. This process repeated until the cat finally walked away.

I thought everything was okay until Phaedra came downstairs. BrieBrie took out her frustration of not being able to get to that other cat by attacking Phaedra. She chased her upstairs and around the bedrooms. I finally got them separated, calmed down, and tried letting them be together again. Phaedra stayed under the bed and growled at BrieBrie all night.

The safest thing was to do separate them, give them some time apart, and then re-introduce them as if they were new kitties. Unlike dogs, cats don’t work things out. Their relationship just degrades. I wasn’t going to take that chance for the long-term happiness of the household.

It took several months of having them separate and then periodically able to see each other through a child gate. If they came up to each other and didn’t hiss or spit, then they got pettings and treats.

After child-gate therapy, they were allowed to be together during play time and then they were separated again. They are now to a point where I can have them out together at night. I have a pretty decoration to put on the sliding doors so if the neighbor’s cat comes up again, the kitties wont’ be able to see out.

I woke up with my kitties on the bed sleeping with me. What a beautiful thing. I’m not going to take that for granted any more.

No more sounds in the ceiling

The kitties have been downstairs now for two weeks. They are absolutely loving the extra space. They follow me around the house, sit next to me on the couch, and now have even more places to hide their toys. They do get on the table, but not on the kitchen counter. I can live with that so far.

For now, happy kitties!

And no more sounds in the ceiling. I don’t know if the mice have realized that the kitties are around, but I have not seen or heard anything that sounds like mice lately.

My neighbors on either side of me are also hearing things in their walls and ceilings. Maybe it is time to get some mouse traps and put then in the crawl space…

Update on kitties

BrieBrie and Phaedra have settled in and are doing incredibly well. BrieBrie has got her full Maine Coon on and has blossomed into a furrball. Phaedra is a cuddle cat: she has started sitting on my lap and purring. The little scaredy-cat has turned out to be pretty brave.

My parents were down for Thanksgiving and stayed in my room. This was the first time the kitties had to deal with people other than me staying in my room. Mom came in and they immediately loved all over her legs, purred against her, and were just so happy to be petted. They weren’t sure what to do when Ed came in. They did come out for him eventually. The kitties even slept on the bed with my parents.

Phaedra and BrieBrie have come so far from when I brought them home at the end of March. Every time I open the door, the kitties come running and greet me. They sleep with me every night. When I’m downstairs, I can hear them galloping upstairs like a heard of miniature elephants. Some nights, like tonight, they are quiet.

To show how much they have changed, here are some comparison pictures. Here is a picture of when I first met BrieBrie at Cat Angels.

BrieBrie on the chair at Cat Angels
BrieBrie on the chair at Cat Angels

Here is BrieBrie over the weekend, with her long haired heritage showing. She’s such a lovely cat.

BrieBrie, Thanksgiving weekend, Nov 2014
BrieBrie, Thanksgiving weekend, Nov 2014
BrieBrie Thanksgiving weekend, 2014
BrieBrie Thanksgiving weekend, 2014

And Phaedra, hiding under the chair at Cat Angels, on the same visit when I first met her. She was so scared, poor thing.

Phaedra, hiding and not very social
Phaedra, hiding and not very social

She is now an aggressive cuddle cat. She’s hysterical when she plays. The laser light is her friend and she goes after it with a frantic passion.

Phaedra looking very cute
Phaedra looking very cute
Phaedra in the sink 2
Phaedra in the sink 2
Phaedra by the food bowl
Phaedra by the food bowl

And finally, BrieBrie and Phaedra in the early morning curled up with me. This is probably one of my favorite pictures of them.

Morning with the kitties
Morning with the kitties

BrieBrie had Horner’s Syndrome

This past Friday evening, I noticed that BrieBrie was holding her left eye closed a little. I didn’t worry about it because I figured she had gotten into something. If it still didn’t look right in the morning, I would call the vet.

Her eyes were noticeably different on Saturday morning. Her pupils were dilated unevenly: the right one was almost fully dilated open while the left was a slit with the still-droopy upper eyelid. Her behavior, demeanor, playfulness, and appetite were normal. She had no trouble seeing: she chased the heck out of the laser pointer light.

briebrie_horners

I called my vet at Piedmont Animal Hospital in Hillsborough and was told to come in immediately. BrieBrie was so good for the vet. No fussy, no struggling, just curled up quietly and let the vet look at her eyes.

BrieBrie’s eyes looked perfectly normal structurally. No apparent damage any where, whether externally or internally. The vet said that usually the symptoms will resolved in a few days and that there wasn’t a chance of going blind. (I was worried about stroke or a neurological issue because of my experience with other animals.) I’ve attached a picture from Saturday morning and a picture from Sunday afternoon. Her eyes started looking more normal on Sunday and today they look back to normal.

briebrie_recovered

The vet said that BrieBrie has Horner’s Syndrome, a issue that can come up for no evident reason and go away on its own.

I have been so proud of her and Phaedra. When they go to the vet, they are so good. No fussing, no hissing, just quiet and patient. They are both gentle kitties.

Update June 2015: I took BrieBrie back to the vet when she had another episode of what I thought was Horner’s Syndrome. Horner’s actually effects the third eye lid, which isn’t affected when BrieBrie has her episodes. My vet consulted with the local vet college and thinks BrieBrie has an issue with a spastic pupil instead of Horner’s.

Reactions to declawing

After Kiesha died, I adopted BrieBrie and Phaedra fron Cat Angels rescue.  The two kitties have had their challenges, but for the most part they are very sweet. When I adopted them, I signed a contract stating I would never let them be out door cats or have them declawed.

Last night, I started watching a video about one vet’s fight against declawing cats. I couldn’t even get through the credits. I had to shut the show off.

Why would anyone mutilate a cat’s paws like that? If you have cats, then you adapt or teach them not to do things by providing alternatives that are more appealing.

It was very depressing. I went upstairs and played with the cats as therapy.

Size comparison

Briebrie is almost exactly twice as big as Phaedra. Here they are both sleeping in the same sink.

Update on the new kitties

BrieBrie has been coming around and is so friendly now. She hears my voice and comes out from under the bed and plays and talks. She’s adorable. She has discovered that the red laser fairy is her friend and she lurves it.

Phaedra is a lot more reserved. She doesn’t come out for me and she usually hisses at me a few times when I first come into sight. I’ve been working with the people from Cat Angels to try things that might help Phaedra. I’ve had her in the second bedroom upstairs. Currently BrieBrie in my bedroom and Phaedra in the second, separated by the bathroom. My “case worker” from Cat Angels suggested giving Phaedra a smaller space like the bathroom. Okay, so then how do I move her?

Phaedra solved that question herself because I found where she had been using one of her bed areas instead of the litter box. I cleaned up the area (arg, very frustrating) and scheduled an appointment to make sure she didn’t have a urinary tract infection. She was not happy with me taking her to the vet, but she turned out to be very good for them. The vet said that Phaedra’s urine was very concentrated and to try to encourage her to drink more.

When I brought her home, I moved her to the bathroom. She has a bowl of tap water, a fountain with filtered water, and a bowl with filtered water. I changed her litter from the pine pellets stuff to Cat Attract kitty litter (which has a guarantee that your cat will use the litter). She seems to be feeling better and has been a little more relaxed.

Imagine my surprise, when she started coming out and purring more for me.

BrieBrie came out to play!

It hasn’t taken BrieBrie that long to come out and play. Since she arrived, she’s mostly stayed under my bed and hasn’t come out. I’ve reached under there a few times and have had her purring on my hand and loving on me. Tonight she came out and was playing. She has a soft purr and talks. When she’s happy, she kneads while she is walking. Her paws come up so high she looks like she’s marching. Such a happy kitty! These aren’t the best quality pictures, but it does show she’s playing and out and social.

Phaedra is still hiding from me. She hisses at me whenever I come into the room or her line of sight. She’s probaby going to take a lot longer to get used to me. Patience is a good thing…

Two new kitties

I went back to Cat Angels today to meet Glynnis. She was a very pretty kitty, similar in build to Kiesha. Unfortunately, when I offered my hand she swatted at me. Not very social. My kitty case worker said that Glynnis would probably be best as a only-kitty and she would probably come around. Intuition said that she wasn’t the right kitty, so Glynnis will hopefully find another forever home.

Glynnis
Glynnis at Cat Angels

 

Over the past week, I couldn’t stop thinking about BrieBrie and Phaedra. Well, really BrieBrie more than Phaedra. BrieBrie I knew was going to be a good fit, and Phaedra I could see a little lap kitty in there some where.

So. I have two new additions to my house tonight. Phaedra is in my office and BrieBrie is in my bedroom. Neither one of the have come out of the carriers. They can take as much time as they need to. The people at Cat Angels were awesome. I am so glad I went to their shelter and adopted my two new furr-babies. I’ll post updates as I can about them. It took most of the day to bring them home.

BrieBrie in her carrier after arriving home
BrieBrie in her carrier after arriving home

My kitty case worker said that usually kitties come around in either three days, three weeks, or three months. Hopefully they will come around sooner rather than later, but that is okay. They can take as long as they want to. I’m just happy to hear meowing and purring (eventually).

We’ll get there. It’s been so long since I adopted any new kitties. We will see what happens.

Meeting kitties at Cat Angels

I haven’t been able to sleep well. I keep expecting to see Kiesha jump up on my bed. I keep seeing her shadow in the house. I started looking at some of the web sites for local no-kill cat rescues. I found called Cat Angels. They had two tortieshell kitties on their web site that were so cute: Phaedra and BrieBrie. Phaedra is a small, short-haired tortie. BrieBrie is a Maine Coone cross with a mischievous streak.

I made an appointment and met the kitties today (met all of the kitties in the rooms too). I was also interested in meeting Glynnis, a grey and white long haired kitty, but she was in seclusion after being sick earlier in the week.

Phaedra was a little kitty whose general build reminded me of Stella. She was shy and kept to herself. She wasn’t wanting to be petted much, but that was okay. There was something about her personality that tugged at me. Silly little thing. My kitty case worker said that Phaedra used to be a lot shyer and that their volunteers were working with Phaedra to help socialize her more. They said she had made a lot of progress.

Phaedra, hiding and not very social
Phaedra, hiding and not very social

BrieBrie and I got along fabulously. The kitty case worker also said that BrieBrie was shy and not to be surprised if she wasn’t very social. Except that BrieBrie was social with me. I offered her my hand and eventually she was letting me pet her and even started to play. My kitty case worker was excited — she was shocked that BrieBrie started to play with me.

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And what a face! How could anyone resist that face?

BrieBrie on the chair at Cat Angels
BrieBrie on the chair at Cat Angels

I am going to take some time to think about this, but I could have some new kitties. I would be so happy to have the company, even if it takes time to introduce the kitties to each other in their new universe.

Trying to cope with an empty house

When I came home on Tuesday after saying good bye to Kiesha, I slept for most of the afternoon. There is something healing about sleeping after feeling so depressed and upset. Although the empty bed and no kitty to greet met at the door was hard.

The house is empty now. I felt like I had to make it look different so I wasn’t going to be looking for her every where. I got rid of the litter boxes and cleaned up the food dishes. I even hung two new lights in the kitchen and outside the front door.

front_light

Once the stained glass light was up in the dining room, I fell in love with the way the stained glass lights look. I’ve replaced both lights in the kitchen now.

Dining room light with dragonfly motif
Dining room light with dragonfly motif
Kitchen ceiling light
Kitchen ceiling light
Pendant stained glass light over sink
Pendant stained glass light over sink

I don’t know if it is helping but it gave me something to do with the rest of the evening so I wasn’t sitting around expecting her to jump in my lap.

Good night, Squeakitty

I stayed home with Kiesha on Monday. After Sunday evening, I was worried about her. She still was not eating, although she did lap up liquid from some wet food. My regular vet was unavailable, so I made an appointment for 10:00 on Tuesday morning. I did take her in for fluids on Monday afternoon because she had been throwing up so much. She was a little dehydrated, so the fluids helped her stay comfortable.

She looked so small and uncomfortable Monday evening. I gave her some wet food with gravy in a bowl on the bed. When I checked on her a little while later, she had curled up with her rump in the wet food bowl. She had never done anything like that before. On Monday night, she slept at my feet instead of under the covers. My poor kitty. I could feel the bumps along her spine under my fingers when I petted her. She purred a little, but mostly she would move away when she started coughing.

I wanted desperately to cuddle with her over night because I knew what was going to happen when we went to the vet’s in the morning. She squirmed and complained if I picked her up, so I let her sleep where she wanted to instead of pulling her up next to me. I loved on her in the morning and stayed in bed with her as long as I could.

She went into the cat carrier without too much fuss. Curled up and was quiet during the entire drive. We had had an ice storm the night before, so the drive out took longer than expected. I talked to Squeaky on the way out, in part to keep myself from crying.

I kept telling myself that Kiesha was going in just for an “evaluation,” to see where we were with the tumor’s progress and what it meant for her outlook. Except I knew that I was not going to be bringing my kitty home with me.

There comes a point when you have to let a kitty go, and today was that day. She was so good and purred when I cuddled with her. The vet couldn’t get over how much the tumor had grown and also commented on how Kiesha’s coat, muscle, and overall demeanor had gone downhill. The tumor in Kiesha’s abdomen had also grown in size. From it’s location the vet thought it might be attached to Kiesha’s intestines (which could have interfered with digestion). The tumor under her chin was interfering with vocal chords, swallowing, eating, and would eventually interfere with her breathing.

Kiesha, last day
Kiesha, last day

20140304_104650

The hard thing about Kiesha’s cancer is that it was only going to get worse as time went on. She wasn’t going to heal. There weren’t any treatment options. She was already uncomfortable and hurting. I couldn’t keep her here for me when she was going to be in pain. The only choice I had was to let her go.

I stayed with her until she took her last breath. My poor little Squeaky. She was gone even before the vet had finished administering the dose.

Here’s to my sweet Kiesha, the aggressive cuddle cat and last of my four kitties.

Time to say goodbye?

For the third day in a row, Kiesha has been dry heaving and making those strange up-chuck then hoarse quack-squeak, with her stomach heaving up and nothing coming out. She hasn’t been looking good. Her coat quality has deteriorated. She is drinking water and using the litter box.

She hasn’t touched the dry food in a couple of days. I emptied it and put fresh food in there, but there still doesn’t seem to be anything eaten from it. The last time I saw her nose around in the food, she threw up two pieces of the dry food. It’s like she can’t swallow it so it comes back up. I think the tumor has gotten large enough that it has started interfering with her eating.

When I gave her wet food today, she immediately started licking it. She is so hungry and she can’t seem to eat anything. She licked t the food enthusiastically. She even took a few bites of the wet food. Even small bites of the pate caused problems for her. She would take a little bite and then stop, cough, half gag, lick her lips, and then lick the pate again.

When I was out running errands today, I tried to find types of wet cat food that would have a lot of gravy or juice that Kiesha can lick up and have some nourishment. I found two types of wet food (Iams and Friskies wet food in a pouch). The Iams is okay for ingredient quality. The Friskies isn’t any where near as nutritious as what she is used to. The idea is just to get some calories into her.

She eagerly licked at both bowls, lapped up the gravy. I felt very relieved that maybe I’d found something to help her. Except she started heaving again and nothing came up. Her breathing was labored, like she had a hard time catching her breath after the dry heaves.

Kiesha, 2 Mar 2014
Kiesha, 2 Mar 2014

She saw me come into the room and tried to purr. It is a pale echo of her loud, out-board-engine purr. It’s a whisper of a purr with a heavy rasp, like someone trying to purr but has smoked cigarettes for far too many years.

Instead of sleeping with me, she has been sleeping in hidey-holes. She sleeps in the closet, behind the closet door, next to the wall behind the book case, even under the bench at the end of the bed. This is all new behavior. Usually she sleeps with me and purrs. This morning and yesterday she wasn’t with me for most of the night.

I talked to Kiesha’s vet today. She said that as the tumor gets larger, it may interfere with breathing and eating. Tonight, Kiesha looked pretty miserable for the first time. I’ve known for the past week that something had changed for her. She’d hit the tipping point and we were going to have to do something soon.

Today she was so uncomfortable. I curled up next to her, loved on her, and cried. We’re going to the vet’s tomorrow for an evaluation. In my heart, I know it’s time but I don’t want it to be.

Morning sounds

I woke up this morning to the sound of Kiesha trying to up-chuck right next to my ear. She was heaving and licking her lips but nothing was coming up. I put her on a floor and then put a paper towel under her, in case she did throw up something. Nothing came up. She made a gargling noise, coughed with a strange after noise that sounded like a hoarse duck.

She continued to heave, with the strange noises. I sat next to her, petted her, and tried to do what I could to help her. She moved away from me when I tried to pet her. The tumor under her chin now is the width of her chin.

I feel so powerless to do anything to help her. She will still gently headbutt my hand when I hold it near her head. She likes it when I pet behind her shoulders, but not her head, and only when she is laying down. When she is walking, she moves away from any contact.

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Squeaky has been with me for 17 or 18 years. It’s so hard to watch her gradually deteriorate. She is such a sweet little kitty. When I pet her, I can feel more of her ribs and spine along her back. Her dry food hasn’t been touched today, but she seems to be eating the wet food.

She has the same slightly hollow look in her eyes that Basette, Stella, and Ambush all had in their last days. It breaks my heart to see her like this. I keep hoping she’ll get better, but I know she won’t.

Check-in with the Squeakitty

The mass under Kiesha’s chin has continued to grow. She doesn’t come downstairs to greet me any more. In fact, she’s only been coming downstairs once or twice per week. She purrs hesitantly when she see me, like an engine with a rough idle.

Kiesha, 16 Feb 2014
Kiesha, 16 Feb 2014

It’s hard to listen to her purr. She is having a harder time, but mostly seems okay. I keep watching for the day when she isn’t quite right, when she doesn’t seem happy or comfortable. I keep hoping we’ll have more time, but at the rate the tumor is growing under her chin, I’m afraid.