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!

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Orion’s First Vet Visit

Ron and I took Orion to Animal General yesterday for his first geriatric check-up.  Everyone fell in love with him!  Dr. May tended to him and gave him a complete exam.  We had blood work and urinalysis done.  She was surprised (other than his weight) of how good he looked, especially his teeth!  🙂  Physically, everything looked like things where functioning correctly, but the tests would give her more information.

We waited up front for Dr. May and crew of vet techs to finish up with Orion.  She came into the lobby and said that everything was fine and blood and urine samples were taken.  Apparently, the vet techs were so in love with Orion and touched by his adoption story, he received the Wizard of Oz treatment – clipping of his hind claws and brushing of all his matted fur.  Mind you, I had brushed all the mats out of his back, but still had his legs, chest, and belly to conquer!

During this time, I spoke to Dr. May privately.  I told her in detail Orion’s adoption story.  She was emotionally overwhelmed and excused herself.  Before she left, she said, “What you did was a good thing.”

I’ve been hearing that a lot lately.  The vet techs said it, friends at START II said it, and my friends on WP said it.  Yet, I don’t see it as a “good thing.”  I only see it as the “right thing” to do.  I certainly wasn’t going to let a mildly deformed looking senior cat sit in a shelter to die of FIP or euthanasia, when his only crime was being “old.”  Yeah.  That kinda outraged the public when Soylent Green came out.  How would people like it if their older parents or grandparents were euthanized because they were simply too old and a burden to take care of?  My point exactly.

Like I said, Ron and I promised to adopt mostly “special needs” cats.  And in the height of kitten season, a senior on death row goes beyond special; it’s more like urgent need.

So, I received a call before with Orion’s test results.

Dr. May said that everything check out – his kidneys and thyroid are functioning as they should.  However, his platelet count was a little low (23%, when the low normal is 29%), so that raised a flag.  Only because of his age though.  Because he’s malnourished, it could be that everything is thrown off.  But she suggested an x-ray just as a precaution.  If anything cancerous shows up, it would be early enough to treat with medications.  I kinda expected something like this to happen.

If our home needs to turn into a hospice for Orion at any time, than that’s what we will be.  We were prepared with the facts, that he was 16 yrs old and at any point his health could decline.  We refused to see him sit in a shelter and get worse, not provided the proper veterinary care he deserves.  We refused to let him sit in the city pound and die because he was too old.

We love Orion.  And we will do what is in his best interests.  Not ours.

So, we’re off to the vet next week for some x-rays!  Hopefully, they’ll come back clean!

Orion Post-Wizard of Oz Treatment.

Orion
Post-Wizard of Oz Treatment.

Orion

The past few days have been pretty busy.  On Sunday afternoon, I found a post on FB from my sister-in-law about a senior cat on death row at NYC Animal Control.  He’s 16 years old, an owner surrender.  I just can’t fathom surrendering a 16-year-old cat to a shelter.  If the shelter didn’t euthanize him, he was certainly die alone.  Let’s face the facts – city-run shelters overcrowd easily, hence why all of them euthanize.  (I say all because I have never heard of a city-run shelter not euthanizing.  If you know one, please comment on this post and prove me wrong.  This is like the one time I would love to be wrong!)  If by chance, he managed to stay off the kill-list for more than a week, it would be likely that health complications would arise.  I’ve seen senior cats at the shelter come down with severe depression.  In turn the cat’s immune system weakens and something serious sets in.  One time a cat, MooMoo, was so heartbroken by being dumped at START II by his companion, he entered this state of depressions.  He came down with such a bad case of conjunctivitis that his eye ulcerated and needed to be removed.  After he was in foster care post-surgery, he developed FIP.  The whole ordeal was traumatizing for MooMoo (who rapidly declined within 48 hour and need to be put to sleep) and the volunteers.  But, MooMoo’s story is another blog post.

I knew that if this kitty (whom was named Uno) remained at the shelter, no one would adopt him.  I couldn’t bear the thought of Uno sitting in a shelter awaiting death alone.  I shared the post with Ron.  My sis-in-law got me info to be considered for adopting Uno.  It was a process similar to other shelters/rescues with a pre-screener, interview, and contract.  To be perfectly honest, since Juno and Apollo’s crossing the Rainbow Bridge, it really hasn’t been the same without the presence of an older, wizened kitty here.  Granted, Pandora is ten, it’s not the same as being sixteen.

NYC Urgent Cats contacted me within a couple of hours after I filled the pre-screener.  By evening’s end, I was in contact with Heather, director of cat rescue at AmsterDog Rescue.  It was going to be a race against time to get Uno out of the shelter.

While I was rearranging my schedule at START II planning to take a ride to Harlem, I was informed that Uno could be delivered to me.  I sorta did a double-take over the phone.  That was not something I was expecting.  There’s a group called Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, in which adopted rescues are transported to their new homes within the tri-state area! So, Heather made all the calls to the right people and prevented Uno from being on the following morning’s kill list.  She also arranged his transport with Mayor’s Alliance to my apartment.  And she metaphorically held my hand throughout the entire process.  Which I needed.  I was an emotional mess.

Uno arrived yesterday afternoon, just after 2pm.  When I brought him to his room, he was scared.  His fur was matted severely, he was all bone, and beelined for the water bowl.  I can’t imagine how his previous owners treated him.  I was less than impressed with their answers on a questionnaire included with his medical paperwork.  I spent all afternoon with him.  He circled the room a few times, getting the lay of the land.  Each time he circled around, his tail was held higher.  So happy to see that.  He loves to give head butts.  This morning, he was waiting by the door.  When I opened it, he looked up at me and meowed.  Uno loves attention! And he’s gonna get plenty here.

The next task was renaming him.  While Uno certainly described his ear “situation,” it sounded too much like Juno and we couldn’t have that.  We settled on Orion, after the huntsman that Zeus put in the night sky.

Orion has a geriatric vet visit on Friday morning.  He’s gonna get the works!  I have a feeling he has hyperthyroidism, but the vet will determine in a couple of days.

Until then… Here’s a quick picture I snapped with my phone.  Not the greatest of quality, but 1 hour after his arrival.

Orion an hour after being home.

Orion an hour after being home.

And I would also like to extend a huge THANK YOU to my sis-in-law, Nikki, Heather @ AmsterDog, and all the kind folks at NYC Urgent Cats and Mayor’s Alliance.  Without your help, Orion wouldn’t have had a second chance!