Story Time @ S.T.A.R.T. II

When Morpheus was first diagnosed with cancer, I read to him daily.  After he took his medication, we would sit together on the bed and I would take us on an adventure where cancer didn’t exist.  Usually it was somewhere in the Star Trek universe.  Most times Morpheus fell asleep.  Each novel I read dealt with bravery and sacrifice.  The morals hit close to home for both of us.  At times I asked myself if reading to him helped him at all.  Like my vet pointed out, hearing my voice relaxed him and put him at ease.  It was certainly making him feel more comfortable.  But most importantly, we were spending quality time together.  We read Star Trek novels everyday for a month and half together.  The last book I started reading with Morpheus was one of Philip K. Dick’s collection of short stories.  We never made it the end and the book is in his cardboard box with several of his favorite toys on the shelf in our bedroom closet.  I can’t finish it.

Then a few months ago (I’m sure you animal lovers have heard about this), there was an article about school children reading to the dogs at a shelter.  This always stuck in my memory and I thought it a great idea.

So, the past week, we have been integrating cats into our cat room at START II, slowly tearing down cages and closely monitoring behaviors and interactions.  The kittens have been having a blast running around and sleeping wherever.  Some of the adults would rather nap in the corner, but the kittens are haywire.  I decided to have a story time hour (or two) with the kitties in the cat room.

Yesterday after I finished cleaning, I started reading Isaac Asimov’s The Complete Stories Volume 1 aloud to the kitties.  I sat against the wall on a cat bed, pulled another cat bed next to me, and began.  No sooner did I get done with the first page, I had 7 kittens surrounding me, two on my lap, five in the bed next to me.  The adult cats were able to roam freely without worrying about kitten playtime crazies.  After about half an hour, many of the cats were relaxed and purring, belly up and happy.  I’ll be making it a weekly tradition now.  Every Monday, the kitties will get story time with Col.  The book is large, so we’ve got plenty to keep us busy. 😉  Wish I had a photo of it.  Other volunteers got a kick out of the scene.

Catification Voting

Soooo excited!  Save The Animals Rescue Team, II made it into the top ten finalists for voting for the Hauspanther Catification Contest!! 😀  We need all the votes we can get to win the grand prize makeover.  Anyone down for voting for Save The Animals Rescue Team, II?  If so, please vote here!

More GI Woes

Shortly after our last vet visit with Orion, Prometheus began having really bad poop.  It began mushy and slowly progressed to liquid and mucus throughout the week.  By mid last week, Prometheus started vomiting each time after he ate.  It began Thursday morning and got worse by the afternoon.  Like, it smelled like something crawled up Prometheus’ butt and died.  I made an appointment at the vet for the following morning and kept a close eye on Prometheus.

Like any pet parent, I worried.  A lot.  I racked my mind with different possibilities.  The symptoms looked a lot like Castiel’s earlier in June, when it was discovered he had a food allergy.  However, the food that we were feeding Prometheus hadn’t changed and he never had a reaction to it before.  I thought it was highly unlikely he had a food allergy and something more serious was going on.

What pushed my worry over the edge into uncontrollable anxiety was by 3pm Prometheus red flakes of blood in his vomit and a little blood in his diarrhea.  Every time I see any cat have that, my mind automatically thinks back to Morpheus when he showed those symptoms and it turned out to be stomach/intestinal cancer.  So, monsters in my head screamed tumor or obstruction.  Needless to say, I couldn’t focus on anything but Prometheus.  I lifted his food for a few hours to give his GI tract a rest.  When Pro Pro and the other kitties demanded their food by 6pm, I watched Prometheus carefully.  He didn’t vomit after his last feeding for the evening.  While I took this as a good sign, I was still worried about our special cookie.

Friday morning, Prometheus took a trip to Edgewater to visit his friends at Animal General.  Everyone loves him there.  After a thorough examination, Dr. O thought it was an inflammation of his colon and small intestines.  She couldn’t feel any constipation or foreign bodies or tumors, which put my mind slightly at ease.  She gave us the option of taking an x-ray to be overly cautious.  With Ron leaving with family for the weekend, we didn’t want to take any chances that maybe there was something hiding in his intestines.  So, we had a few x-rays taken.  Dr. O confirmed that the x-rays were negative for foreign bodies, tumors, and anything else out of the ordinary.  Such a sign of relief.

She suggested putting Prometheus on a bland diet for a few days and prescribed him flagyl.  This way, his GI tract could have a few days of resting on the bland diet while the flagyl worked its magic.

Less than a week later, Prometheus has some poop that has shape.  A lot of it is still mushy, but it’s solidifying slowly.  If he doesn’t have completely solid waste by next week, I’ll bring in another fecal sample to check for parasites.  When we first adopted him, he had a difficult time getting rid of a nasty case of giardia.  Best to check just to make sure.

Because Prometheus has CH, I have to wait for him to use the litter box and clean his paws after he’s done.  Sometimes he has a hard time maintaining balance when he’s going and gets a little on his legs.  But that’s just one of the challenges I signed up for when adopting a CH cat.  No complaints here!  Just want his GI tract to function properly!

WordPress Family Award

the-wordpress-family-award

 

I’m extremely flattered to receive another award from Janet and kitties at The Cat On My Head!  Thank you so much, Janet, Lily Olivia, Misty May, Mauricio, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo.  And Happy Cat Day to you, too! 🙂

And to all my friends here on WordPress – I just wanted to take the time to extend a thank you to you, as well.  I’m so surprised and grateful that you have taken me under your wing on this site and have made me feel connected and accepted.  THANK YOU!  Really, I can’t express my gratitude enough!  I have been constantly amazed at the sense of comradery amongst cat/dog guardians and rescue workers.  And I’m honored to be a part of it!

If you haven’t read The Cat On My Head yet, you should!  There’s a call of submissions on her page that I think you would be interested in!

Progress Within The Clowder

It has been awhile since I’ve posted about our kitties.  I’m terribly sorry for that.  Life has been a little crazy right now.  But without further ado –

Orion - comfy in his bed that Daddy bought him!

Orion – comfy in his bed that Daddy bought him!

Orion had another visit at the vet on August 2nd.  Dr. O requested more x-rays and blood work, hoping the imaging would show better once Orion put on weight.  We saw Dr. May (he’s so special, he has two doctors attending him!).

When we arrived in the exam room, the attending vet tech immediately weighed Orion.  I held my breath.  His last weigh-in was 6.9 lbs.  Well, we’re doing something right because Orion was 7.7 lbs!  Dr. May came in and commented on his weight first and about how happy she was he was putting weight on.  I was ecstatic!  Sometimes it’s difficult to tell by touch alone.  I thought his belly area felt a little fuller, but wasn’t really sure.  His back is still bony.  But, it wasn’t my imagination.  He really is slowly putting on the weight. 🙂  He’s got 2.3 lbs to go to reach his goal!

Orion’s physical exam revealed a slight heart murmur.  Dr. May said it was difficult to tell what was causing it at this point, without going through a series of different tests.  She suggested that focus on getting Orion’s weight to his goal first before we proceed.  However, if he started showing any signs that were not of his character to bring him in immediately.

He had another x-ray and blood work.  Unfortunately, the x-ray wasn’t clear like the first one taken.  Orion hadn’t put on enough weight yet.  Dr. May said that to perform an ultrasound at this point would be a waste because it would garner the same results.  And it would be a waste of money.  She suggested another follow-up visit in a month.  Other than the unclear x-rays and slight anemia (his blood work came back slightly anemic still), Orion received a clean bill of health!

We have been introducing Orion slowly to our other cats.  They get “supervised visits” for now.  So far introductions have been going as follows:

Orlox is curious about Orion, but when Orlox gets in Orion’s face, he hisses and swats at Orlox.  So far, Orlox hasn’t made a peep at Orion and backs off when Orion starts hissing.

Castiel is also curious, not so much about Orion, but more so regarding the room that has been closed off for the past month.  He walks around investigating everything.  When he finally sees Orion, he stares at him for a few minutes then leaves the room.  No hissing or swatting from either cats!

Boots just wants the window perch in Orion’s room.  That’s where he came out of his shell, and it’s Boots’ favorite place to nap.  Boots hissed at Orion when he tried smelling Boots’ tail.  Orion hid in the corner of the room until Boots left.  Orion didn’t make a peep.

Ishtar is curious.  When Boots, Prometheus, and Icarus were introduced, she was hissing the longest at them.  However, Orion is different.  She goes into the room with her tail high in the air, sniffs around, spots him, and stares at Orion for a little.  She gets within two feet from Orion, sits down, and stays there for a few minutes.  Then she leaves.  Orion hasn’t hissed at her.  His body language tells me his is comfortable when she is within two feet from him, but I have a feeling that he would be hissing if she came closer.  That’s okay.  It’s something we could work with!

Pandora was only interested in meeting Orion once.  And it involved treats.  She laid down  at the threshold of his room and just watched him go about his business.  Orion, in turn, ate and made himself comfy on one of his beds.  They watched each other for some time, their body language relaxed.  I was so proud of Pandora (she’s the cranky old lady of the house), that I awarded them with treats.

Prometheus wants to play with Orion.  But Orion has no interest in playing with anyone.  Prometheus makes his rounds in the room and runs up to Orion.  This kinda spooks Orion and he hides under the desk.  I think Orion is having a difficult time comprehending that Prometheus is a cat, because Prometheus doesn’t walk like a normal cat.  I was expecting this to happen, unless, of course, Orion grew up around CH cats.  When Prometheus was introduced, our kitties took a little longer to adjust to him and get used to the way he moved.  I’ll be putting special time aside to make Orion and Prometheus feel comfortable around each other.

And finally, Icarus – he is naturally mellow to begin with, so we started introductions with him.  Icarus is curious about Orion, but just loves hanging out in his room.  Orion doesn’t mind Icarus’ company unless Icarus decides to get within one foot of him.  The Orion hisses, but it’s soft hiss.  I think he feels most comfortable around Icarus so far.  Icarus visits Orion daily for lengthy periods and I’ve kept them in the same room together with the door shut without any problems.  Very promising, indeed!

I can’t believe tomorrow will be one month since Orion’s arrival.  It seems like he’s been here longer, and surprises me each day with the progress he makes.  I look forward to seeing what his weight will be in a month at his next exam!