Tuesday, February 28, 2012
OK, I know I should have posted this yesterday. Did everyone see Uggie at the Oscars? So dapper dressed in his bow tie, gold dog-bone name charm and gold-trimmed leash.
Well, Uggie's story is a great one. He's a 10 year old rescue (one year older than my Annie) who, rumor has it, is retiring from the film industry. Great that he's going out with an Oscar-winning film as his last picture although the general opinion around our house is Uggie should have received a special Oscar for his role in The Artist.
Anyway, check out Uggie's page on IMDB and remember, do your due diligence before bringing home a pet. If you do, everyone including your new four-legged family member, will be happier for it.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Well, today will be a very busy day. Besides running errands for myself (Library, Post Office, etc.), we have dual eye-doctor appointments (after work). On top of all that, I've got to get to the Pharmacy to pick up Buddy's sub-q paraphernalia as well as drop by Hope Vet to pick up his Famotidine.
I'm on the run - thankfully, nothing eventful is going on with either Annie or Buddy so I can do what I have to with a clear head!
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Thankfully, today is an uneventful Sunday - no major dramas or crises, no maestro or diva temperaments and above all no attention-grabbing crying, howling, pacing, poking and prodding from either my little man or my sweetheart of a girl.
Sometimes Buddy surprises me with his antics, reminding me that somewhere inside this 16+ year old stray is still some of the young cat we took in. He kept calling me Saturday; generally he's on my kitchen counter when he does this but yesterday he wasn't. I went looking and found him perched king-of-the-hill style on top of the lid of his old litter box which he no longer uses but we keep around for old times' sake. It was a pretty funny and heartwarming sight. No secret agenda there, he was just letting me know what he was doing.
Lately, Buddy's taken to breaking into a run for no reason at all. This was something he did frequently before his diagnosis. It's certainly funny to see him at it again lately - almost like he's got a new lease on life.
But of all the quirky things Buddy does my two favorites and the surest way to melt my heart are:
- When I hold Buddy he will place his front paws (claws in) on either side of my face pulling us together then he licks my nose. Turns me to mush every time!
- When he plays "Tip Your Head". My brother taught him this one. We tell him "tip your head" and he will bow his head for a kiss from you on top. Then we tell him "Give me a kiss" and he will lean in and lick your nose. We repeat it; he repeats it and the game can go on for quite awhile. It's so adorable!
Being part Maine Coon, Buddy is very verbal. He will sit on my kitchen counter or climb onto the recliner arm and talk incessantly to me. Although cute, it can become very annoying and I frequently catch myself saying "Shut up, Buddy." to which he answers with more meows.
Our best-buddy time is when I'm on the computer. Frequently when I'm emailing friends or writing this blog, Buddy will sit on the edge of my mouse-pad, not speaking just keeping me company.
I love it when he grunts. That sounds absolutely crazy but he does intersperse his meows with grunts. Mostly he'll cuddle in your lap or on your chest and grunt for a bit before he starts purring.
The single most quirky thing he does that endears him to me is when he's looking to snuggle up to sleep. After lights out, he will come on my bed and start talking. I'll pull him next to me then cover him with his blanket. After a few minutes, I'll feel him relax his body as he gets comfortable for the night.
Unconditional love and friendship. This is what Buddy brings to our pet/human interactions (Annie, too). I wouldn't miss it for the world. It's why I do what I do for him - for them, both.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Buddy is back to eating regularly; he has more energy and a new spring in his step. I decided to add a drizzle of olive oil to one meal every couple of days. The change has been dramatic. Buddy's coat has taken on a new shine.
Because of Buddy's irregularity problem, I've updated the lists I use to track medicines, meals, etc. to include olive oil and toileting. Whatever will make life easier. I added a section to track urine and bowel movement - just a box to check off when Buddy and Annie "do their business" for the day.
I should mention I keep a notebook to record doctor visits, weight and any other medical information for Buddy and Annie. The front half of the notebook is for Annie; from the middle on is for Buddy. This has proved invaluable. I take it to their doctor visits in case I need to refresh my memory, give Doctor Young an update or jot notes as we speak.
Buddy is now at 2 years 8 months past his initial diagnosis. Talk about being on borrowed time - absolutely amazing!
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Well, I've come to the conclusion that Buddy is probably allergic to me. LOL. Today he's back to normal - no runny eyes, no congested breathing. That means no doctor visit, at least for now.
He's eating normally, in fact, he's been crying and driving my brother and me crazy for food since yesterday. Believe me, neither of us is complaining. We're just downright relieved.
Annie is a bit bummed out, however. Too much attention to Buddy and Annie sulks. My brother gave her an extra walk today and as soon as I'm done posting, I'll give her a mini-massage. The extra attention will perk her up a bit.
Yesterday, my brother brought her a packet of gourmet doggie cookies (which she loves) and that made her day. We do our best to check ingredients and make informed decisions before purchasing store-bought treats for Annie. We don't have to do any such thing for Buddy because he woke up one morning about two years ago and refused any and all store-bought treats. That one action on his part has rendered the feline treat issue academic in this household.
What types of treats should be avoided or limited? Please, people, avoid rawhide chews! I don't believe in them. Dogs can choke very easily on them and there is the salmonella issue which I think isn't worth the risk. If you insist on giving them to your pet then your pet should be supervised at all times.
Always try to pick treats without food coloring, artificial additives or large amounts of sugar. It's better to bake your own.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Well, today is uneventful (so far). Buddy is eating and drinking. Annie isn't licking that mark on her leg. Buddy pooped this morning so that drama appears to be over for now. At the moment both of them are sleeping peacefully; I have a reprieve.
There are still some issues to contend with. Buddy's breathing sounds slightly congested and his eyes are running. I've been using the eye medicine but just when the runny eyes clear up it's only for a day or two and then it's back. After a couple of days it clears up again then it's back - AGAIN.
We will probably make a doctor visit before the week is out. We need to find out why the runny eye problem is ongoing.
Monday, February 20, 2012
I'm constantly talking about sub-q in my posts but never mentioned what I do with the needles and syringes. The needle on the sub-q bag is changed every day and deposited in an old plastic Chinese food takeout soup container. Likewise for the needle attached to the syringe used to inject medicine into the IV line except I change the syringe/needle once for every IV bag. Since I'm injecting into the line and not directly into Buddy this is OK I recommend you discuss this with your veterinarian and follow whatever your animal's health professional prefers. The needle-less syringe is discarded in the trash. THIS IS NOT RECOMMENDED PROCEDURE FOR HUMAN SUB-Q!
Once the container is full of needles you can bring it to your veterinarian (there might be a disposal charge) or you can check with your local hospital, health care facility or drugstore about disposing of them for you. Since we live in NY, I've attached a link to the Department of Environmental Conservation website outlining disposal of sharps:
Always, always handle needles carefully. If you should stick yourself after the needle has been used, wash thoroughly with soap and water. Follow up with a disinfectant and talk to your doctor about the incident.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
OK, I have to admit my little guy is completely amazing. After not eating all day yesterday, he decided to eat last night. Buddy polished off a nice sized dish of roast beef and turkey breast.
This morning, he was bugging my brother who gave him milk and a slice and a half of turkey breast. About an hour after that, he cried on and off for two hours, asking for more water and more food. I gave him food several times and since water is always available but picky likes it fresh, I pour off a small amount and top it off with fresh water then he drinks.
This was getting a bit wearing so I decided to get his capsule in him as well as his sub-q and shot. Once that was accomplished and Buddy was lounging on my kitchen counter, the crying session over, I decided to clean his ears and brush him down. Well, I managed to clean one ear when Buddy decided he'd had enough and took off for parts unknown. I'll catch him and do the other later.
And now to Annie. She is still licking that paw but it does seem to be healing up a bit. Maybe the extra attention is paying off. Only time will tell. Once I'm done feeding her, I will take her for her walk. I'm now adding a mini massage to our daily routine as a bit of a stress-buster. If I have some extra time today I'll bake her favorite cookies, Snicker-doodles. That will definitely make her happy.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Buddy is not right today. He's off his food. Absolutely will not eat anything although he is drinking water. I gave him tuna - he turned his nose up at it. So not like him. At. All.
I offered him some warm roast beef; he generally eats it but today he wasn't the least bit interested in it. He did drink quite a bit of beef broth. Please note the broth was made by adding water to the beef when it was heated. Don't give your cat or dog broth made from bullion cubes, powder or crystals. Commercially prepared broth contains a large amount of salt and MSG.
I'll wait awhile to offer him some other food choices. Maybe he will be interested in turkey or chicken liver instead of tuna or roast beef.
If my little man does not eat any solid food by this evening, we will need to make a doctor visit. I'm dreading what I might hear...
Friday, February 17, 2012
Eureka! Buddy finally pooped. All our home care measures worked and he is eating regularly. I even caught him grooming himself today which he hasn't done since I can't remember when. Hopefully we have a reprieve and Buddy will be with us for awhile longer.
On the other hand, my focus is now on Annie as she has been licking one of her hind paws. She now has a lump and an open sore plus the constant licking has worn away her fur. Researching this issue I came up with something called a granuloma.
Granulomas are caused by stress licking or allergies. My guess is Annie's comes from stress licking. Because of his illness, Buddy gets the lion's share of our attention at the moment. This, of course, will change once he's gone but for now, he is our main focus.
In the meantime, I will be reading up on this condition to determine how best to handle it. Already, we have started to shift some of the focus back on her, making an effort to spend more time walking and playing with her. In addition, my brother has started giving her mini massages which Annie always likes to get. We notice a marked difference in her body language after a mini massage. She will stretch out instead of curling up and she appears more relaxed than usual.
I'll report on this condition as we go along.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Buddy's still hanging in there and doing much better although the situation got a bit dicey the past two days. He was totally wiped out Tuesday, moving in slow motion when he wasn't sleeping. His siestas were so deep that I couldn't wake him even by gently shaking him. I was concerned. He also was drooling on himself and he smelt sour. On top of all this, Buddy hadn't pooped since his enema. He appeared weak and shaky; his voice sounded old and scratchy. But the worst of it was as of Tuesday morning he was refusing all food. He was just turning his nose up at anything we gave him. I tried force feeding him by opening his mouth and putting food on his tongue but I'm not good at that. It was a messy affair at best; time consuming with Buddy eating very little of what I was managing to get into his mouth.
By Tuesday night, we decided to give him another enema. Thankfully, Buddy was patient and held still for the entire proceeding. There was a marked difference in him once we finished. He seemed to perk up, was a bit more energetic, the shakiness went away and he was definitely more alert. Most importantly, he began eating again. However, he still hasn't pooped.
My thoughts on this incident are that even though Buddy had his fluids and was drinking, he became dehydrated; the enema remedied this condition. Dr. Pitcairn's book suggests adding salt and potassium chloride to the enema if you are using the enema to re-hydrate your pet because of vomiting. We didn't because re-hydration was an unexpected result - not what we were going for and because no vomiting was involved. The entire incident is a cause of concern because I'm dreading the day when we arrive at zero food options and cannot turn it around.
I'm convinced this will be how it ends - Buddy will cry and cry for food but not eat anything we offer or he won't cry for food but will just turn his nose up at anything offered. It's too sad and distressing to contemplate. Anyway, we are back on track food-wise with tuna still occupying the number one spot on Buddy's hit parade.
In the wee hours of the morning, Buddy was in the kitchen crying for food. I gave him (what else) tuna which he ate enthusiastically. While he was drinking water, I returned to bed. Not too long after, I heard him running through the house. He bounded onto my bed, coming to sit next to my pillow where he proceeded to start a conversation. I gathered him to me and covered him with his blanket. He snuggled down, using my arm as a pillow and in short order he was purring up a storm. Finally, he let out a sigh and fell asleep. For me, this was reward enough.
The temperature here dropped and when that happens, Buddy takes to baking himself by the radiator. He's been doing that quite a bit lately. He also has a habit of coming on the bed in the middle of of a cold night and crying until you cover him with a blanket. Converting some of my old worn out pullover sweaters into blankets solved that particular problem. The other alternative would be to let him under the covers - not a good idea when the cat is only six or seven pounds.
Since I'm into recycling, finding second and third uses for items and generally using something until it can't be used anymore, I've developed a surefire way to re-purpose my heavy cotton knit sweaters. Here it is:
Lay the sweater flat on a surface for cutting. With good material scissors, cut off the arms where they attach to the sweater. Next, cut open the sides along the seams. With the body of the sweater still together on the table, cut across the shoulders just below the neckline to remove the opening for the head. Sew the top closed, eliminating the opening and making the front and back one long piece. Trim the edges of the 'blanket', fold under and sew all around and voila! a blanket for the cat (or dog) that cost you nothing but a bit of effort. If you want to be fancy you can add a piece of thin material as a backing but I don't bother. Buddy and Annie never complain about the seams.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Well, my brother and I are both very relieved. Buddy pooped on his own yesterday. It was small but at least he didn't need another enema!
Even so, we're not exactly "dancing in the aisles" yet. He's still not eating a decent amount of food. We suspect a possible oral problem which would not be a good thing. He's drooling quite often and his breath smells sour. In short, we suspect a bad tooth. He is letting me touch his face, chin and mouth so I'm not 100% sure of our "diagnosis".
Today's project is to read up on this to determine if we need to visit the doctor. If so, I'll groom him and make an appointment.
I just wanted to post this update; now I'm signing off to take care of him and Annie. First and foremost, I need to see if I can get more food into him. We weighed him and he's down to 6 lbs. Not good in my estimation.
Also, I need to remember we still might need to give him another enema if the bathroom issue isn't completely resolved. It will be a nice Valentine's Day if we can avoid any big issues, disasters or emergencies. Oh, well...
Monday, February 13, 2012
Have you ever given a cat an enema? Until yesterday evening doing so was not something I had ever contemplated.
I know I posted the details of Buddy crying for food but not eating much of what was offered him. Along with all of this, my brother and I noticed only water no waste when he relieved himself over a two-day period. Sunday became day number three. Add to this the fact that now he was eating practically nothing, sleeping very deeply all day long and generally acting indifferent (not licking my nose, etc.) Not a good sign.
The last time this happened, we didn't know for sure when he last eliminated. Dr. Young ordered an X-ray to determine Buddy was bound up and the Vet Techs administered the enema. Let me tell you, Buddy was not a happy camper afterwards. He's only hissed at me once in the 10+ years we've been together and that was the first time I picked him up - intelligent cat that he is, Buddy knew right away that I didn't have a clue as to what I was doing and the hiss was to let me know he wasn't feeling secure.
When the Vet Tech handed him over to me he hissed again but I firmly believe that was because he was totally ticked off about the enema. So you can understand when I say it was with some trepidation that we embarked on this episode of administering a feline enema. Immediately, I pulled out Dr. Pitcairn's Book to read up on the best method for such an undertaking and kept my fingers crossed that we all would come out of this unscathed. Then we assembled our supplies:
- A bath towel
- Wee Wee Pads
- one large syringe
- a glass jar
- measuring spoon (1 tablespoon size)
- fresh lemon juice
- olive oil (book calls for vegetable oil)
Sounds like a motley collection of items but everything was put to good use. My brother lined the bottom of the bathtub with the wee wee pads and the newspapers while I measured two tablespoons of water into the glass jar and heated it up in the microwave. The water is supposed to be pure and lukewarm but I had to use tap water so I heated it until it was hot then let it cool to lukewarm (you can test it on your wrist like you would a baby's bottle). Once it was cool, I added a few drops of fresh squeezed lemon juice as the book indicated and filled the syringe.
Buddy loves to hang out in the bathtub anyway so getting him into the bathroom wasn't a problem. Once inside we secured the door. After standing him in the tub we wrapped a towel around his front part so we wouldn't get scratched just in case he became frightened. I lubricated the syringe tip with olive oil (all I had around at the time) and inserted the tip of the syringe into his anus and slowly depressed the plunger taking care not to do this too quickly. Dr. Pitcairn suggests taking 2 to 3 minutes to administer the entire enema.
We weren't sure if this would work. Buddy squirmed a bit and cried a bit but once we were a third of the way done, he must have realized it was helping him or making him feel better and he settled down. We finished administering the lemon water basically waiting for something to happen. The book said it would help him void right away unless his body absorbed all the water in which case we would have to repeat the entire procedure in another 4 hours.
Nothing happened. We let Buddy out of the tub and he headed for my hall closet (lined with wee wee pads and newspapers), past his litter box, to try to relieve himself. As he circled around positioning himself we hoped for the best but he only urinated. Disappointed, we decided to keep an eye on him and keep our fingers crossed. Within a few minutes, he did have a normal sized bowel movement. Off he went to bed, totally exhausted, he fell asleep.
Today, he's definitely better. He's dispensing licks and looking a bit for food but the improvement isn't dramatic in the food department - I thought he'd be ravenous but he isn't. We might have to do this again (I hope not) but I'm going to keep a close eye on his bathroom habits and decide from there.
The bottom line is you can do this if you have to. I would say it depends on your cat's temperament whether or not you try this yourself only you can judge. The same procedure is used for dogs (up to 1 pint of water for a large dog never more than that).
P.S. My brother's weekend became unexpectedly busy effectively eating up any time he originally planned to use for blogging. I'll just say he will guest-blog sometime in the future but without promising when that will be. When it happens, it happens.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Our new plan did work somewhat - Buddy ate quite a bit more yesterday devouring three shrimps, three quarters of a slice of turkey breast and a generous portion of low sodium tuna. Definitely more than he's eaten in the last few days.
However, the getting-him-to-not-pester-us-for-food-through-the-night-gambit didn't work; Buddy woke me at 4:30 AM looking for food. After eating a bit (not enough to stop crying) he drank his portion of milk for the day and back to sleep we went. At least he didn't wake either of us an hour later as has been his habit as of late.
Buddy now refuses his NF canned food which he was constantly pestering me to give him. Just goes to show how this disease works and how his preferences change.
Right now as I blog, he's eating another meal with his capsule added and it's quite substantial in size. Maybe we are getting a bit of a reprieve. I certainly hope so.
My friend Mary told me she just went through this with one of her cats (the cat recently died) and this scenario will most likely end with Buddy refusing food and water. I sincerely hope this scene won't play out for awhile yet.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
I know I promised my brother as a guest blogger this week and that I haven't blogged myself in his place. It's been a very busy week that just got away from us.
Buddy hasn't been eating well but that hasn't stopped him from crying for food most of the time. He's also been waking us up continually during the night. Crying for food, water or to be covered. It's been a stressful week for all four of us (Annie included).
Buddy seems to be leveling off - he did eat somewhat better today. My brother and I have come up with a new strategy we hope will work. We're going to give him a meal of turkey just before bedtime. Turkey is his favorite food and we're hoping the tryptophan will make him sleep better and the turkey meal will satiate him.
Let's hope it works. My brother will blog over the weekend.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
My friend Annette and her two wonderful children, Amanda and Jamie, gave me a beautiful calendar with many adorable photos from The Humane Society of the United States entitled 2012 HSUS Pet Lover's Calendar.
I mention this calendar for two reasons:
1) It was a very thoughtful gift.
2) Not only is it full of great pictures, it's chock-full of great information and advice for pet owners.
I'm going to share some of that information with you here.
Enroll your new puppy or dog in behavioral training classes helps prevent animal behavioral problems.
Put together a special First Aid Kit just for your pet.
Behavioral problems can be health related - make sure all your pets visit the veterinarian at least once a year.
Make sure you have a plan for your pet in case of a disaster such as a hurricane, tornado, flood or fire.
Make sure your pet wears an identification tag.
Play with your pet every day, provide some individual attention.
Plan for your pet's future in case something happens to you. (humanesociety.org/petsinwills)
Spay or neuter your pet.
Adopt a pet when you are thinking about an addition to your home.
Always report abuse or neglect to the proper authorities.
Next week my brother will be a guest blogger writing about how Buddy became a part of our family.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Thankfully, Annie is back on track. All her stomach issues have cleared up and she's eating twice a day, both meals normal size for her.
Buddy isn't howling or crying for food anymore but I don't really know if that's a good thing. His food intake has gone down a bit although it's steady. He's taking his meds and holding still for his Sub Q. He's happy and comfortable which is very important to both myself and my brother.
I keep wondering what the end will be like for Buddy. Will it happen at a time when we can bring him into Dr. Young's practice. We want Annie to be present when Buddy goes to sleep for the last time; it's important she knows she has lost her friend. If we have to put him to sleep we will - the very last thing we want is for him to suffer.
It might seem silly but I hope I remember to take his collar with me when he's gone. Since he joined our family he's been wearing a bright blue collar with a small silver-tone bell and a baby blue heart charm that I crafted for him. Buddy is certainly unique and when his life is over, he will be cremated. The collar and charms will be our keepsake along with the photos we have of him.