Monday, May 30, 2016

Monday Morning Kitten Update

This photo shoot was a bit harder than the last because they were so full of themselves, and the flags were oh so fun to play with so there was that too. I was interested in getting the photos quickly and sadly a couple of them are a little blurry.  Samantha here was totally up for watching me wave my magic feather stick. You can almost see her little marshmallow fluff working on how to get to it. Samantha has turned into quite a little love bug and is quite often up on the couch with me trying to get me to pat her.

Evelyn was absolutely obsessed with getting my feather stick and was totally intent on photo bombing everyone else once she figured out where the best place to get to it was (which was right where she was in this photo).  Evelyn is not as cuddly as Samantha and is often very busy doing very important kitten things.

Aech not only doesn't like the flash, but she and Parzival tie for the kittens that like humans the least. We are working very hard on that, but like Evelyn, Aech is very busy and has way more important things to do than be held by those people with the grabby hand things. This saddens me the most because she was so adventurous as a wee baby kitten, I would have thought she would have been one of the first to accept humans. That's okay though, I'll win her over.

Parzival has the least confidence of all of the kittens, which is a pure shame since he is the most beautiful. Yes, I know that is subjective, but this is my blog and I get to gush if I want to. It is a trick to be able to pick him up without him realizing it is coming, because if he sees grabby hands he runs, and we want to keep that running to a minimum. I'm thinking I am going to have to break out some Rescue Remedy for him, but I'm not quite there yet.  Getting him running around after a toy helps build confidence, so we will do that, and hopefully we will be getting some visitors soon which will also help.  Then there are trips to work which we can start any time now. I might try it after hours first.. with six of them they can be a bit of a distraction while they get the lay of the land.

Telling Shoto and Daito apart was originally quite easy because Shoto had some pretty distinct frosting on his hind end. As they have grown it is becoming less and less distinct. I am fairly certain I had them mixed up last week. I thought Daito had the rounded ears and the wider bridge nose, but looking back on photos I can see that was Shoto. I can generally tell from personality because Daito is up for anything and do first think later kind of kitten. Shoto is still more reserved, still larger, and still more reluctant to interact with us.  I also think he is lacking a bit of self-confidence and we are working on that too.

All of the kittens have a wonderful appetite and eat very well. I am glad because it can sometimes be hard for young kittens to eat enough to consume enough calories for all of the growing and playing they need to do. This problem tends to happen around week five/six, not six/seven, but you never know.  I haven't weighed them in a while because Daito is still quite small so what the rest of them weigh doesn't really matter.  They are scheduled to go to the shelter next week for their second vaccines, and then sometime after that, when Daito makes weight, they'll go up for adoption.  I'm hoping it is at least three weeks from now because I believe older kittens make better house pets. Not to harp on the self-confidence thing, but older kittens tend to have more of it and it helps them with adjustments into new homes.

Art3mis is still at the shelter, no major surprise there. She is doing well enough. I am hoping someone shows up soon who is willing to overlook how poorly she shows at the shelter and who is willing to give her a shot.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Former Foster Friday - Visiting Isaac Arnold & Smedley

At the end of 2013, I fostered a group of kittens and their mother. There were originally seven in the litter and one crashed and died with what I am assuming was fading kitten syndrome.  He went to the hospital without a name so his paperwork had the initials of the hospital, so I quickly named him Smivick.  The rest of his siblings needed names so I proceeded to memorialise Smivick by giving his siblings names based on the letters in his name.  Isaac Arnold and Smedley were two of those kittens. Isaac was originally going to be Arnold - which was the name of a friend's chicken - and I could never get over calling him anything other than Isaac Arnold... so IA he became.

Isaac Arnold failed to grow and Smedley had some pretty horrific diarrhea so they needed more attention than the rest of the group.  When the rest of them made weight, I sent them back and kept these two for a little more time. They were quite bonded and I lamented the idea of sending them to the shelter to be adopted by people who would probably separate them and would never give me updates.  I posted on Fb several times hoping against hope I could find someone who would like a nice pair of matching kitties.  I really lucked out.

Anne and her mom Janet were about to 'come on the market' for some kittens.  My post landed on her feed (thank you Robin and Lanna) and communication happened and I agreed to 'hold off on bringing them back to the shelter' while they made preparations to adopt.  In December of 2013 the adoption happened. Both Anne and Janet invited me down to see them at any time, but for a multitude of reasons I never took them up on it... one reason pretty high up on that list would be that I feared I would steal IA and run away with him. He reminded me so much of my Em it hurt to let him go.

But time has passed and I have come to really appreciate how much Anne loves her kitties.  I was pretty sure I was safe (and Anne promised to frisk me before I left), so when I found myself only an hour from her house, I had to stop by.

I was both familiar and unfamiliar to them since it had been two and a half years since they had seen me. They both stayed in the room with me and were easily led into play.

The clicking of the camera caught their attention and they proceeded with the catscans. 

I nabbed each one for a snuggle and a kiss, which was not all that appreciated. Isaac Arnold even told me off, not that I blame him one bit. We spent the next hour chatting and watching the cats be cats. It was glorious. 

Apparently Isaac Arnold has become quite the artist, preferring to work with a cardboard medium. He enjoyed showing off his double box top creation and I admired his work which he appreciated.

Not wanting to make a pest of myself, I scheduled a limited amount of time for the visit and it was over WAY too soon. I was very sad to go and hope that it isn't another two and a half years before I make it back.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Muffin, her kidneys, and #SDMA

Well, Muffin's bloodwork came back and we have very disappointing news. She has the start of kidney disease according to her SDMA levels.

The vet started talking about a low protein diet, which shut my brain right off from listening to her because I know full well that low protein is not appropriate for a cat.  She did talk about fish oil, which we had talked about before if she has the beginning stages of arthritis. She talked about other anti-inflammatories as well as weight loss, which we had also talked about with the possible beginning of arthritis.

Muffin is NOT a fan of the weight loss idea

Muffin weighs almost fourteen pounds, which is big for a cat, but she has always been a large cat. When we were giving dry food as treats she weighed even more. Lately, she has been screaming at me for canned food, which I had been giving Fleurp because of her anemia. I would give Fleurp canned food with liqui-tinic (an iron supplement) in my bathroom every few days and Muffin figured out what was going on. She was originally content to lick the empty can and Fleurp's leftovers, but in the last few months to a year, she would come and stand where the food was put down and whine continually.  She would also whine at me in other rooms and when I would go over to see what she was doing, she would lead me into the bathroom and ask for a can of food.  I was so confused. When do you decide that behavior is driven by personality and not physiological need? Did she want the food or did she need the food for some reason?  I tried to tell her no, I tried not to give it to her, but she became more and more insistent.  I would give in and she would be quiet for a while, and then start in again.

To facilitate the change of 'no more bathroom food' for Muffin, I have rearranged the bathroom and where the food went down is now a cat bed.  This seems to have helped a bit but she still whines.

Seriously? How can you resist this face?!?! It helps a little bit that she is getting fish oil so she is getting treats afterwards to ensure she swallows the capsule. a little bit. not much.

Anyway, my main dilemma here is what do I do?  SDMA is so very new there is not a lot of information on what we should be doing at this stage. There isn't a lot of information on how much damage is going on with an 18 vs a 14 which is the upper range. Her last blood test on 11/15 had her SMDA of 13. Is that an excessive jump in six months? I have no idea, and I'm not sure who would. I suppose I could contact Idexx (I emailed them but haven't heard anything), as they have the most experience with this test. Back in November her blood work report said this:

The specific gravity of her urine was 1.019 (and now it is 1.035). Her creatinine level is 2.4 (0.9-2.5) and BUN is 32 (16-37). She has no protein in her urine.

So now I am in full-on research mode. It is not helping that I'm overwhelmed and there is SOOO much information out there.. According to one site I'm doing pretty much everything I should be doing at this point and we'll do a recheck in a few months, but if you want to make any recommendations or suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them..

(found on internet after post was generated)
From Idexx's own PDF:
How much does SDMA vary normally over time or with repeated testing? What constitutes a significant change? SDMA, like creatinine and GFR, has a biologic variability of 15%–20% from measurement to measurement in the same patient over a week or more. Therefore, changes need to be greater than this to indicate a true change. For example, with 20% biologic variability, an initial SDMA result of 14 µg/dL could recheck anywhere from 11–17 µg/dL based on biologic variability alone, just like a creatinine of 1.5 mg/dL could vary from 1.2–1.8 mg/dL.
So there is a chance that her high reading was just a variant. Even if it is, it still means that her levels are high... but it could mean that we are still in the earliest of beginning stages and for a just about 14 yr old cat, I can accept that. I'll have her blood tested again in a few months and we'll go from there.. but I'm still very happy to hear recommendations/suggestions/ideas, etc.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A last minute Cat Show

A few weeks ago I received a Facebook invite to a CCF cat show "Peace, Love & Cats" in Auburn MA, by Robin Olsen who runs the website Covered in Cat Hair.  She was asked to be a guest judge and was bringing her cat Freya to be judged. Auburn is just over two hours away from me, so while I thought it would be fun, I wasn't sure I wanted to go.

At the end of last week I was talking with my husband and he had a list of things he wanted to do around the house. When he has such lists he finds that he is far more productive when I am out of the house, so we talked about my going.  I contacted Robin and told her I was thinking of going and she invited me to go to the opening of the Worchester Art Museum's Meow Exhibit This was also something I wanted to go to, but now I was faced with a night away from home, which immediately sent me into a panic.  Traveling is always taxing on me, but last minute travel.. I talked myself in and out of going about 100 times.  Finally, in a bid to convince myself to go I looked up how far Isaac Arnold and Smedley was from where I would be and found they were only an hour away.  I contacted Anne to see if she would be up for a visit, and she was, and it was settled.

I'll post about the exhibit and the visit later, but on to the cat show!

When I arrived at the show around noon, Freya had already been shown twice and was first and then seventh.  Robin was just about to start judging. I had time to say hello to her and her nephew who had stopped by to help out (you have got to love a cat man!) and then it was time. 

The ribbons she was going to give out

I was having a hard time getting good photos. There wasn't enough light to do it without the flash, and with the flash, I often ended up with washed out or blurry photos.

I have been to one other cat show and I have to say, cat shows are weird things, and cat shows for household pets are even weirder - well at least to me. I've often wondered if showing a cat might be fun, but considering how often you have to do it in order to make any 'progress' in it, I've decided it isn't for me, but it can be fun to see all of the cats and there are usually a lot of cat vendors there. Arubacat was at this show. They have some pretty impressive cat trees and if I had been there in a vehicle larger than my little convertible I probably would have bought one.

Back to the judging:

Robin had a hard time picking a winner - who wouldn't?  How do you pick one cat over another? There were a few cats that were getting frustrated with being shown and were getting hissy about being put in and pulled out of cages so their owners had to help. Some seemed to enjoy the attention. The dark orange boy really loved having his behind patted. She finally decided on winners and special prizes were given and her job was done for now. She did judge two more a bit later on.

Then Freya had two more showings.  She placed sixth and first again. She seemed to do much better emotionally than some of the other cats and came in and out of her cage easily.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see her last showing because it was getting late and I wanted to get home before it got dark. I did have a pretty uneventful drive and I was so glad to be home. The cats were also very glad to see me and spent a lot of time on top of me.
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