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!

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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!

Tessa & Beans

A few weeks ago (last week of May) START II rescued Tessa and Beans from a high kill shelter.  They were owner turn-ins and we assume that they are brother and sister, because of their color and markings.  When I first met Tessa and Beans, both were horrified.  They hid under their rugs, curled into the corner of their cages.  Tessa and Beans cringed away from my hand when I tried to pet them.

By the second day, they were still frightened.  I get it.  They were used to living in a home (and they looked well taken care of), were dumped at the city shelter (so who knows how they were treated), and then brought to us.  Some cats take longer to adjust to surroundings.  And I didn’t want to force them to be “chummy” with me when they weren’t ready.

Every day I was at the shelter, I spent extra time with Tessa and Beans.  I would give them deep blinks and talk to them softly.  If needed be, I’d stuff the upper half of my body in their cages so they had human contact.  I would tell them that I loved them.

After a few days, I earned their trust.

It is interesting to see the different outcome between the two cats while I performed the same rituals.

Tessa came out of her shell first.  When I finally earned Tessa’s trust, she popped her head out from under her rug and put her head in my hand.  Soon, her whole body came out from under the rug.  Now, she knows when I enter the shelter.  When she hears my voice she’s at the front of her cage meowing and sticking out her paws.  I’ve dubbed her “Princess Tessa” because she looks so prim and proper.  Her markings are gorgeous, and I especially love the pattern on her face.  Tessa rolls around for belly rubs and makes biscuits on my face (and pretty much everywhere else in her cage).  When I’m cleaning cat cages, I leave her door open so she can see what I’m doing.  I tried taking her out once, just holding her and walking around the rest of the shelter.  But I think she wasn’t ready for all that yet.  She crawled up my shoulder and tensed.  When I put her back in her cage, she was fine.  Tessa started making biscuits and giving me kisses.

Princess Tessa

Princess Tessa

Beans, on the other hand, had a completely different reaction.  He remained under his rug until the weekend before father’s day.  However, prior to that, he still let me hunker down under his rug with him and pet him.  Beans finally came out and was a little nervous.  I calmed him down with lots of pets and kisses.  And Beans showed the belly.  And made biscuits on my face.  Even though his name is Beans, I have gotten in the habit to calling him “Mister Beans.”  He responds to both.  Like Tessa, Beans responds to my voice when I enter the shelter.  He pops his head out from under his rug and start meowing at me.  Beans’ confidence made strides of improvement after we gave him a stuffed mouse toy.  He loves to play, and can play for hours.  This past weekend, Beans hopped out of his cage on his own.  This was such a big deal, that Jodi and I were gossiping about it on Monday!  He didn’t go far.  He just explored the office where his cage was located.  Yesterday Beans came out into the main cat area, and ironically, during a thunderstorm with thunder rumbles so loud, the other cats were a little on edge.  He explored for a little while then went back in his cage.

Mister Beans

Mister Beans

I love both these cats to pieces.  I wish I could take them home with me.  Often, I think about them when I’m not at the shelter.  (Sometimes it feels like I’m cheating on my own cats.)  They are available for adoption through START II.  Adoption info can be found here.

If My Cats Were Superheroes …

… we’d all be doomed.

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If my cats were superheroes, I could see the reject roster lining up to something like this:

The Feline Rejects

Castiel, alias: Muggsy Sunshine; superpower: avenging shelter kitties by crapping rainbows in animal abusers’ faces. (The skewed logic to this is that rainbows = good, animals abusers = bad; therefore, rainbows trump animal abusers). [I swear, this was his superpower before I even heard of Nyan Cat!!!]

Ishtar, alias: Tail Shaker; superpower: flicking tail one way shoots out targeted healing power, while flicking tail another way sterilizes feral cats.

Orlox, alias: The Assassin; superpower: successfully trips everyone that gets in his way, causing certain death.

Pandora, alias: Silent Stalker; superpower: to blend with her surroundings and sneak attack when perpetrators least expect it.  She also has the ability to speak a multitude of languages, giving The Feline Rejects the upper hand when it comes to cryptolinguistics.

Prometheus, alias: Wobbly Charmer; superpower: ability to hold the stare of enemy, enchanting them, and giving a good ol’ jab and uppercut to knock the sucker out.

Boots, alias: Head Smasher; superpower: to smash through obstacles with his huge, titanium-reinforced head.  He’s the muscle of the operation.

Icarus, alias: Sidekick Ick; superpower: his powers are developing – right now he’s still a kitten and, therefore, a superhero reject in training.   For the time being, Sidekick Ick aids the other Feline Rejects on missions, but not past his bedtime.

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The Comfort of Paws

Castiel Paws

This morning, Boots awoke me at 4am meowing with crazies.  I got up and gave him some water drips from the bathroom tub faucet.  When I got back into bed, Icarus decided he wanted to bunny kick my hand.  And attack me every time I moved under my quilt.  I had difficulty falling back to sleep.

Icarus decided he wanted to wrap his front paws around my arm and give me more bunny kicks to my hand.  I started to pet his belly and head.  Seemed to work, because he settled down into a kitten slumber.  When Icarus fell asleep, his paws were still wrapped around my arm.

CastielPawsThe multi-colored fleshy pads were cool against my skin.  We slept with the windows open last night, so the bedroom was cool around 4:30-5:00am.  A chilly breeze reminiscent of early October wafted through the screens.  It was the perfect sleeping weather.  And Icarus’ paws helped me fall back to sleep.

Maybe it’s just me.  There’s something about paws that relaxes me.  I love kitty paws (claws intact, thank you).  Sometimes cats get sensitive about people touching their paws, but I try to get in the habit of touching my cats paws daily.  The more familiar they are with me handling their “fingers” and “toes,” the easier it is for me to trim their claws!

Sometimes Castiel, Prometheus, or Ishtar put their paws in my hand and fall asleep that way (and sometimes I do, too).  I don’t know.  Something about holding a cat’s paw just relaxes me.

Boots Paw

Boots Paw