Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Checking in on Art3mis

Last Friday I went to the shelter to check on Art3mis. She was not too pleased to be in the cage and have people invading her space. When I first open the cage door she didn't know what was going to happen so she hid in her cat bed and hoped no one would bother her.

I talked softly to her and reached my hand in to let her know who it was and she came out of her shell a bit.

She liked having her ears rubbed and slowly she came out even more. I had her eating a few treats and then I offered her a little food.

Her mammary glands had swollen up quite a bit and were actually so bad they were sticking out at least an inch on either side of her. Fortunately, she was dealing with it and it wasn't hot or obviously painful for her. I eventually picked her up and held her, which she didn't seem to mind, but she was still not quite sure of her surroundings and being out was more uncomfortable for her. I couldn't get her out on the cat tree, nor could I hold her for very long.

I went back on Sunday to see her again. This time, her cage was covered with a towel, an indicator that she wasn't dealing well with the stress of being there. I am sure it had something to do with the cage cleaning that the staff or volunteers do each day. Art3mis is a cat that likes to be asked permission to do things and whoever is cleaning wants to get in and out as quickly as possible. You can't really blame them for that, but it can cause a few things to not be done and putting up with a quirky cat can be one of them.  I learned that back when Abby was at the shelter, which is why I was making it a point to stop in and see her and give her some time with a human who she knew.

This day it only took a short time to remind her who I was and that I was willing to work on her schedule. I was able to pat her and she pushed into me as I scratched her ears. I reached in and picked her up, and for the first time, she actually snuggled into me and seemed to enjoy being held. I walked her around the room, giving her a better view of the other cats and the hallway to the other rooms as well as to the dog run. She saw the cat tree and she wanted to sit on it. I patted her and praised her and she seemed to soak it in. She wasn't comfortable with the some of the things going on, but for the most part, she was relaxed and it was very nice to see.

After a few minutes she seemed to get tense again so I put her back in her cage. She gave off the vibe that she wasn't happy about that, so I moved the cat tree over to her cage to see if she would come back out.

She was happy. She started rubbing on the tree and I gave her some loving. I tried playing with her feet and she let me. I finally got a good look at her poor feet.

If you look carefully at the first close-up of her foot, you can see I was able to pull some of the dead skin off. I asked the shelter what they are using for cracked pads, and they gave me some bag balm for it. I kinda wished I had brought my coconut oil. Ah well. In time, the dead skin will shed off and her feet will heal and be soft again.

As I was taking care of her, three staff members came in and talked to me about her. They asked if I thought she would prefer to be in a condo instead of a single level cage. I really couldn't answer that, but knowing that this would allow her to be away from whoever was cleaning the cage, I said it would probably be a good idea.  They also asked me if she liked other cats. I don't really know that either, but she was unreactive to the cats in the cages in the room with her (it is a good sign that she will but not necessarily a guarantee that she will). They asked me to stay with her while they set her up in a condo in another room. As I waited I saw signs that Art3mis was going back into heat again. It has got to be hard on her but being in heat will cause her to want to have someone touch her which has to be a good thing.

Once the condo was set up I picked her up and carried her down the hall. She took it very well. I put her in the cage and pointed out the amenities to her.

She could look out the bay window at the people or the birds. There were a few bunnies in the room waiting to be transported to a satellite adoption center, so she was able to watch the rabbits for a while. I warned the staff that if the bunnies weren't moved out before the shelter closed that they should take extra steps to secure Art3mis' cage. As a free roaming cat, I would imagine she hunted and caught her own meals for a while and bunnies might be too tempting for her. I doubt she would do it with the hustle and bustle of an open shelter, but when it was dark and quiet... I'd say all bets would be off. I was told they weren't going to be there much longer, but if that fell through precautions would be made.

The shelter was closed on Monday, so I'll try to stop by today or tomorrow to visit her again. I wish she would have been adopted by now, but I'm not shocked that she hasn't been. She does not show well at all (see that first photo) and she is going to be limited to the available homes that don't have children and are willing to work with her a bit. You never know when that right home will show up, but I'm expecting her to be there for a few weeks.

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.
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