Tag: Stella

One thousand posts and counting

This post is the 1000th entry on Y Ceffyl Du. It’s only taken seven years to get here. I’ve blogged the tales and tribulations of four cats, five horses, and major events in my life. Here’s to Isis, Basette, Stella, and Ambush, who have passed and are missed. Their antics and memories are chronicled here.

Here’s to Rajiyyah, Logan, Kasane, and Prize, two still in my life and two with other people who love them dearly. And Kiesha, the only furrball left of the original four.

It’s amazing to think that I’ve stuck with this blog enough time to last seven years and 1000 posts.

Pretty neat.

Seven years later…

The first blog post on Ceffyl.net was on April 11, 2004. At that time, I had two horses (Isis and Logan) and four cats (Basette, Ambush, Stella, and Kiesha). Seven years later, I have only one kitty and three horses.

I started this blog as an outlet for dealing with the medical issues my cats and horse had. Basette, my sweet little black cat, was a diabetic who never responded to insulin treatment. She was a courageous loving cat who never complained even as the diabetes stole her eye sight, coordination, and eventually dulled her mind. A few years later, my same vet who struggled with finding a treatment Basette would respond to, diagnosed Ambush with diabetes. My yin-yang cases: the black cat whose diabetes was never controlled and the white cat who immediately responded to treatment and lived several years after the initial diagnosis. Ambush died just over a year ago from complications from the diabetes.

The two constant characters on this blog have been Isis and Stella. Isis turned 18 this past March. She has survived medical conditions that have killed other horses: laminitis, EPM, and colic. She has been the Miracle Mare (and may she remain so). Dear little Stella passed away this past December, after a long life of 21 years. She died from old age and was playful and happy up until the last day or so she was alive.

Kiesha is the only kitty still with me. At 14, she was the youngster. She has thyroid problems but it is relatively easily controlled. She has turned into an aggressive cuddle-cat and does her best to make demands equivalent to having four cats in the house.

Seven years and almost 1000 posts on this blog. Most of them written to catalog what happened with the horses and the cats, as a way of helping me preserve my own sanity. I’ve also used the blog to share details and pictures to my vets. I also hope that some of the topics I’ve written about will help others learn from what happened to my animals.

I also have a few techy-geeky posts, Open Office procedures, and archaeology-related posts. I have gotten a few thank-yous for my Open Office procedure. Every time, these posts make my day.

Thank you for sharing this continuing journey with me.

Stella’s ashes


I got to work this morning determined to make it through the day. It’s taken a lot of effort to get anything done since Stella passed last Wednesday. My focus has been off, to say the least. I did manage to get some work done last night, into the wee hours of the morning. Better than I had been able to do for the week prior.

I was doing pretty well until the vet called and said Stella’s ashes are at the clinic.

I found these two pictures on my Mac desktop from a wonderful evening at home. One of the few times when Kiesha and Stella both curled up on my lap and were resting next to each other. They had decided to share the warmth on one of the first cold nights of the waning year. Instead of batting Kiesha away, Stella snuggled in and they kept each other warm. The tiny kitty next to the woolly mammoth. I wiped away the tears a little, after seeing the pictures. Good memories, before Stella really went down hill. Finding those pictures after the vet called was the hardest.

It’s like you know your pet has gone. You feel their loss at home. You don’t see the little furrball roaming the hallway to get a drink from the fountain and romp down the hallway playing a game of tag. You adjust, slowly, and things get kinda back to normal. Just enough time passes that you start to function. And right about then, the little furrball’s ashes arrive. Everything that happened is suddenly real because you are holding the tiny box.

When I picked up Basette’s ashes in 2004, I was okay until the vet handed me the blue plaque with Basette’s paw prints. My thumbs fit her paw prints exactly. She, like Stella, was a tiny kitty with a huge personality.

Deep breath. As a friend of mine on Twitter said, one day, one hour, one minute, one second at a time.

The people here at work are patient and understanding. Everyone has lost a pet or a loved one. Seems like only yesterday I was writing about picking up Ambush’s ashes back in March.

Glad I don’t have any meetings today. Hopefully no one else will ask me how my holidays were.

Riding the roller coaster with Stella

In the past two weeks, Stella’s weight has gone up, gone down, gone up, gone down. Today she was back up to 3 pounds 15 ounces. Stella has been getting her anti-phosphorus medicine and potassium supplement every twelve hours.

Every morning and evening around 8:00, Stella gets her medicine. She knows what time it is and moves away from away from me when she seems I’m carrying a towel. I pick her up carefully and set her on the floor then wrap the towel around her so she can’t scratch me. First the anti-phosphorus stuff and then the potassium supplement. I’m careful and gentle with her, but she still isn’t happy. (Can’t say I’d like to have stuff like that either.)

Since her dose doubled, I’ve been taking a lot more time to make sure she swallows (instead of dribbling the white fluid onto the towel). She gets each dose in 2-3 small squirts and gets away from me as soon as she can.

She’s not happy about it, but after a while, she eventually doesn’t mind being petted again. She purred at the vet’s today when we gave her fluids. Such a sweet little kitty and so patient with all of the stuff she is asked to put up with.

Stella update from vet visit

Stella had her second visit to the vet this week for fluids. She lost 2 ounces, back down to 3 pounds 12 ounces (she was 3 pounds 14 ounces). She seems to be feeling a little better. She’s been more playful over the past day or so.

The vet gave me two cans of prescription kidney disease diet food for Stella. I’ve been feeding the wet food (or rather leaving some in a bowl) for her every day. At the end of each day, the contents of the bowl are gone. No way to tell if Stella or Kiesha is eating the food.

Stella isn’t getting around as well. She has lost a lot of coordination with her hips. She still jumps up to the bed and back down but when she walks she’s not always stable.

She mostly sleeps and curls up with me every night. She still purrs and seems happy. I just don’t know how much more weight she can lose.

Riding the roller coaster with Stella

Over the past week and a half, Stella’s weight was in a state of slow decline. She lost about 8 ounces, taking her weight from 4 pounds 3 ounces down to 13 pounds 10 ounces. I watched her losing weight and felt like there was nothing I could do.

Her appetite was half of what it was a few weeks ago and she has been sleeping a lot. For quite a while, she ate her dry food, Catz a Flocken, well and Target-brand Boots and Barkley wet food. She started refusing to eat any of it. There were days when I didn’t see her eat and couldn’t tell if she had eaten any of the wet food I put out for her.

One of the vets suggested testing Stella’s Phosphorus (P) levels. Stella currently gets 0.4mL of aluminum chloride to reduce the P levels. High P could definitely impact her appetite. In fact, when she was first placed on the anti-P meds her appetite had improved considerably.

Thanksgiving Day Stella didn’t look good. She mostly slept on Thursday and Friday. Saturday she seemed to perk up a little. Same on Sunday. My parents visited on the holiday weekend. Mom went with me on Friday for Stella’s fluids at the vet’s. It was clear just how much Stella had dropped weight — and continued to lose. We made an appointment for Monday to have her P levels rechecked.

This morning was her vet visit with the regular vet. Her P was ioff of the test chart, actually. That would impact how she was eating. She also had a UTI and borderline low potassium levels (which could contribute to Stella’s muscle loss). She was given a shot of antibiotics, has a new potassium supplement, and the dose of her aluminum stuff was doubled.

The good news was that Stella’s weight was up 4 ounces.

Stella is one little fighter kitty. Some days I wonder how much more she can lose before she just blows away, and then she regains some weight. And the process starts over again.

Stella lost weight

Stella is now the smallest she has ever been: 3 pounds, 13.5 ounces. This Friday we’re going to recheck her phosphorous levels and make sure her meds are at the right dose. Poor little kitten.

She is in good spirits and she has been playful. She seems okay, she just didn’t want to eat much for the past few days. Sigh.

Other critter updates

It’s been a little while since I posted about Stella and Kiesha. Stella has been on meds to control high phosphourous levels in her blood. It’s made a huge difference: Stella is eating! After months and years of trying to get her to eat while her wait continuously dropped, she’s on the upswing. She has been regularly gaining a little or maintaining. She is feeling so much better.

Kiesha has been responding well to her hyperthyroid meds. She drinks the pills every morning in tuna fish juice. She has a good appetite and her weight has stabilized. She went down to 9 pounds from 12 pounds. She is back up to 10.5, probably right where she needs to be.

Since Ambush passed away, both Stella and Kiesha have been so much less stressed. They don’t fight and they periodically play tag up and down the hallway. They are two very happy older kitties.

Stella is currently curled up on my lap with her head pressed against my left hand while I’m typing. She’s purring softly and content.

Post vet visit with Stella

Boy, what a day. Stella is feeling so much better tonight.She’s been playing on my desk and keeping me company. She also ate some wet food and dry food after we got home. I don’t know what it was about last night and this morning, but she is feeling worlds better.

She also gained 2.5 ounces! That’s a lot for a little kitty who has been constantly losing and not gaining. Yay!

Some time it will be her time to go, but not today. Today was a good day for Her Cuteness.

Mild panic, resolved

I got home last night and went to the bedroom to check on Stella. She was curled up where my pillow is. I lifted the end of her tail and let it fall back to the bed it. She didn’t wake up. Pushed on the mattress next to her and she didn’t wake up.

Mild panic ensued.

In the dim light, I could barely see her rib cage rising and falling with her breathing. She finally woke up when I sat on the bed next to her. Gave me quite a fright.

There’s nothing left of her, poor kitten. She is still affectionate but she doesn’t play and mostly she sleeps. She’s not interested in eating much, no matter what I put out. She sniffs it but then doesn’t take even a bite.

Amazing to think I’ve had her for so long. She is such an amazing little kitty. So affectionate even now when it’s hard for her to control which way her hips fall when she lays down. She still curls up with me every night. This morning she pushed her head into my hand for petting but then pulled away even from light contact.

I am supposed to go on a trip this weekend. Stella and Kiesha will be at the vet’s while I’m gone. Stella doesn’t eat much when I’m not home. Not sure how she will do, but it’s safer to have her at the vet’s so she and Kiesha can have their meds.

I’ve known that it’s getting close to her time. I’ve talked with my vets several times about her condition. She’s 21. At some point her organs will start shutting down. In the past 2-3 weeks she’s gone down hill a lot. Her coat condition has gone from soft to scurfy. She continues to lose weight no matter what I do. Instead of 1-2 ounces every now and then, it’s 4 ounces within two months on two separate occasions.

She will be the hardest one of the kitties to say goodbye to.

Did I mention Stella is eating?

Stella is eating food again. None of the wet food I’ve been giving her, but she is eating new dry food. Her flavor of the week is Solid Gold Kats N Flocken cat food. The pet store manager I spoke to swore up and down that she would eat the food or else I could bring the unused part of the bag back for a refund.

Okay, so we’ll see what happens. I have to replace the cat food with fresh food every morning otherwise she won’t eat “stale” cat food.

Since Stella was started on the treatment for the high phosphorous levels, she does seem to have a better appetite. Problem is that she is still incredibly picky about what she will eat. I keep hoping that her weight will increase if I can just find something that she’ll eat.

Cute little kitten is sitting on my lap headbutting my hand to get me to pet her.

Stella: Little kitty is smaller

Stella had her regular appointment for fluids this morning. She is still down 4 ounces from three weeks ago. She now weighs 4 pounds, 4 ounces. I don’t know if there is anything I can do to help keep weight on her. She’s lost a lot of muscle in her hips. It’s hard for her to coordinate things. She still jumps on my shoulder while I’m sitting, so some things are still normal.

I’m supposed to go to Mom’s this weekend. I don’t know if I can take Stella with me because of the stress of travel and staying in a house with dogs (even if the dogs are locked out of the bedroom). Stella usually eats if I’m sitting with her. When she stays at the vet’s, she doesn’t eat much (if at all). When she is at home by herself, she doesn’t eat much even when my sister checks on Stella daily. The vet is supposed to call me back and let me know what she thinks.

Taking Kiesha with me to Mom’s would be …interesting. Two weeks ago, Kiesha was diagnosed with hyperthryoid. (Under 4 is normal, Kiesha was at 14.) She has to have pills twice per day. She is not happy about it, but she’s dealing with it reasonably well. Kiesha has other stress-induced problems that I don’t really want to have come up again. Kiesha probably could be put into the kennel for the weekend.

Isis is also in the middle of an IR episode. 🙁 She has to be worked regularly. The IR flared up last week while I was at the con. Kasane is El Blimpo from having two weeks off between extreme heat and when I attended ReConstruction.

Yeah, I’m fretting. I don’t normally have two horses and two cats all with issues. Normally it’s just Isis or Stella.

Older kitties: joys and pains

Stella’s eyes are changing. Today her eyes are not very responsive to the light. When she opens them, the pupils stay wide and are slow to adjust to the light. The vet warned me on Friday that Stella might end up with detached retinas from the hypertension (high blood pressure).

Basette ended up with detached retinas as a side effect of her diabetes. The night she lost her vision, she wandered in to my office and sat by my feel like she usually did. The light caught her eyes wrong: her pupils looked like saucers filled with a murky grey-black fog. She could still follow my fingers and discern shapes.

Picture taken the night Basette went blind.

That night was the first night Basette was confined to her kitchen containment area with her food, litter, and bed all neatly arranged. Basette adapted to being blind — but she still had her hearing. (Basette only lived a few weeks after she went blind.)

Basette's self-contained world in the kitchen after she went blind.

Stella is a courageous little cat. We have both adapted to her deafness: I’m careful to tap the floor or the bed if she is asleep so I don’t startle her. How do you deal with a kitty is both blind and deaf? She’ll have to be confined (she will absolutely hate that) but it will be much safer for her. We’ll deal with that situation if we come to it.

Some mornings she is so quiet and still that I watch her chest just to make sure she is breathing. She looks so tiny and pitiful. She isn’t in pain. She still plays and goes after my hand if I don’t play with her enough. Her rear end is wobbly pretty consistently now. It doesn’t stop her from jumping up on the desk to be with me. I have taken to setting her on the floor or picking her up so she doesn’t have to jump around.

Stella is currently asleep on the desk. Her coat is in rough shape. I should give her a bath. (She will hate me.)

Stella and Kiesha on my desk.

I feel guilty for not forcing the high blood pressure meds down her throat. She was miserable from me trying (and 75% of the time failing) to force the meds. Instead of curling up with me every night she ran from me. We tried for three months to get her to take the pills. It seemed better to let her go without them. It came down to a quality of life. I chose to let her be happier… but at what expense?

She is dreaming now. Her little legs are twitching. This little cat has been with me for more than half of my life.

Kiesha, on the other hand, seems to be absolutely fine. No puking (except hairballs) and she is eating well. Like a vacuum. She purrs whenever I say her name and greets me at the front door most days. Not today though, which made me go look for her when I got home. She is curled up on my lap right now with her head tucked into my elbow while I type.

This last vet visit made me realize just how much Stella has gone downhill in the past few months. It’s been hard on her: moving, losing Ambush, and her kidney issue worsening. Instead of looking like a kitty who is half of her age, she looks like she is her age now. The vet said that she looks like she is 17. Poor little kitten. She’ll let me know when it’s her time. I hope we have more months together of her being in good health.

Happy birthday to Stella, and a vet visit

Stella is 21 this month. She is the oldest cat I’ve ever had. She has been very healthy and spry for the most part.

Since the move to the new apartment, she has been losing weight and not looking as good. She is looking more her age instead of being so kittenish. (She did play with her tail last week in the bathtub. First time she had done that in a while and the first time in the new place.)

She still seems to be losing weight and this week she has started sleeping away from me. She’s hiding in dark corners — same thing Ambush did when he started going down hill. (In fact, the vet said it can be a signal that something is really not right.)

I have been encouraging her to eat by following her around with food bowls. She walked up to me just a few seconds and I offered her the food bowl. She ate a few licks and then groomed herself. She did stay on my lap for a few minutes to be petted. Then she went back to laying down under my old desk on the other side of the room. She hasn’t been wanting to sit on my lap much either.

Kiesha has been rather annoyed with me because I’ve been feeding Stella and keeping Kiesha out of the food.

Stella just came up and meowed and asked for food. Gave her a little and then she walked off.

I am supposed to go to Mom’s this weekend but I’m a little worried about Stella. I’ll only be gone from Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon, so just over 24 hours. Stella has a vet appointment in about 30 minutes. I’ll update with what we find out.

Update: Stella’s blood work came back at a reasonable level. Her kidney numbers were only slightly higher than the tests from 8 months ago. She isn’t anemic, either. The urinalysis showed that she has a UTI. She was given a shot of antibioitcs and that should take care of her.

Funny kitty behavior

It’s only been a few days since Ambush past and the kitties seem to be adjusting. Kiesha periodically walks around the house yowling. When she’s called, she meows lightly and trots in for pettings. Stella has also yowled a little, but, being mostly deaf, she doesn’t hear it when I call her. Instead I find her, and she does her little “purr-ip” and trots up to me.

After Saturday, the kitties started doing something odd: they wouldn’t eat the food they shared with Ambush. Even fresh Innova Evo from the bag was untouched. The wet food flavor the kitties have eaten for the past 8 months stays in the bowl all day. Stella and Kiesha are eating the new salmon flavor Innova Evo samples I brought home. They ate all of the different flavors of wet cat food I had for Stella. But none of the flavors they ate when Ambush was here.

Kitty food selection for Stella and Kiesha, March 2010

All of the kitty beds are washed. Both kitties have stood on the beds, sniffed them, and curled up in other locations.

The odd thing is that Stella has been eating more wet food so she looks like she has gained weight. Her fur looks a little rough, so she’ll go back for fluids this week.

They both seem to be adapting to one less kitty in the house. She and Kiesha have been playing every night: galloping through the apartment like a miniature herd of elephants.