Thursday, July 17, 2014

The post about Jack

What can I say about my boy. Jack came to me in a litter of four kittens in 2002, and it was the third litter I fostered. One of the four got very ill and was put down rather soon after I brought them home. I think back then they had so many kittens coming at them all at once they just took four that were of the same general age and put them all together. I don't know that, but looking back it seems very possible.

Because of the early loss, I feel in love with them rather quickly and rather deeply, but wee baby boy Jack (known then as Houdini and for good reason) quickly stole my heart, right out through my ear lobe. That boy was OBSESSED over nursing on my ear lobe. I still ache to this day that he outgrew that. I know it isn't all that acceptable, but it was so endearing.

I had made my husband a promise when I started fostering that I wouldn't keep any of the kittens I fostered (feel free to laugh at both of us) but when Jack came along I was totally distraught at the prospect of sending him back. I had two cats at the time, Em and Ollie, and we really were foolish to bring another cat into the house full time, but the heart wants what the heart wants. I was home crying that night after returning them, and my husband pretty much said if you are going to cry over him, you might as well go get him. I FLEW down to the shelter the next morning and snatched him right up.

I was unemployed at the time, and as a result where ever I went that I could bring him, I brought Jack with me. He learned to love riding in the car, and he loved his harness, because it meant spending time with me. He would often go and sit by the door and ask that we go somewhere together, and I could never resist him. Sometimes we would go to the local ice cream shop and get him an ice cream. Weren't we a spectacle, how often do you see a cat getting an ice cream?!? Once I got a job, I wasn't able to take him out as much, and he lost some of the confidence he had in new places, but he still doesn't mind riding in the car and he still overflows with confidence in the house and constantly asks anyone who shows up if they might have a smackerel or two of honey treat for a roly poly kitteh.. (he is not fat, he's fluffy, and he has a big dulap)

A few years ago I was watching a TV show about different breeds of cats, and on that program the highlighted the Nebelung. I was looking at cats that looked exactly like Jack. Every Nebelung I have seen looks amazingly similar, and they all have that wonderful outgoing friendly personalities. I have since started calling Jack a Nebelung, and part of me wonders if I will avoid adopting any others once he passes, or if I am going to form a Nebelung rescue and have 100 of them.

Jack has had way too many health scares for my liking. First was he was exposed to FeLV and ended up testing positive back when I used to let my resident cats mingle with my fosters. He tested positive twice over six weeks apart and I then started supplementing him on Vitamin C.  A year or so later he ended up testing negative.  When he was a young cat, he ended up being blocked after developing urinary crystals. I had one cat who was diabetic, and Eli had also recently blocked, and I was determined to make sure everyone else was healthy, so I bought them 'premium' dry food. It had all the right key buzz words, and it felt like I was doing the right thing for him and my other cats (the word truthiness pops to mind at this point) Well he blocked, and then he blocked again and I was told he had a very narrow urethra. After his second blockage is when I started my crusade to figure out what I could do, and when I learned how snowed over the general population is when it comes to feline nutrition. Unfortunately Jack is a wee bit (OK fine, a lot) food obsessed, and he is willing to eat just about anything he can get his paws on... and sometimes he bypasses his paws and goes right for the gobble.

Since becoming blocked as a young mancat, he has blocked a few other times, mostly when I am not careful and he gets into too many treats with plant based ingredients (which are currently banned from the house) or I don't put the dry food I bring home for the kittens away fast enough and he chews through the bag and eats till he gets sick. The most recent time he blocked was when I was visiting Amy and Lisa, and I was absolutely beside myself.

And I think we have a reason for that.

Due to my not being comfortable going back to my original vet, I have been shopping Jack around for the past few months / years with his urinary issue. I now have a list a mile long of vets I will not go to *sigh* and I had been attempting to help him myself and doing a very poor job of it. I finally broke down and tried 'one more' vet. There were a few that I was considering, most were more than 30 minutes away from my home. While Jack doesn't mind the car, most of my other cats do. A new clinic opened recently just a few hundred feet away from where my original vet (who took care of the cat I grew up with) and by a vet who used to work with a woman I used to work with who said (back then anyway) that he was very nice. So when Jack peed on the floor one too many times that week, I called them and asked to be seen. They squeezed me in - since it was a urinary issue in a male cat.  He tested normal once again - no obvious reason why he was peeing, and I suggested we do blood work to look at liver and kidney values - because I still believe and I always will that those treats I gave him harmed him - and the vet suggested we run a comprehensive panel - aka old kitty blood work.  Since cats are considered old at 8, and he is 12, I thought it a good idea.

Well his thyroid level came back at 5.4 (out of a 0.8 - 4.9 range) so we started him on thyroid medication. Originally we started him out at 2.5mg BID and in two weeks he tested at 0.8.  The 'other' vet at the clinic that called with the results said he was 'right where we wanted him to be' and I asked three different ways if I shouldn't be worried about him going too low, because we were told to test in 2-3 weeks so I assumed it hadn't fully settled yet, and each way I formed the question her answer was 'he is right in that range' and I was none too happy, especially since she completely avoided my concerns, and about ready to find a new vet, but I had scheduled an appointment with Muffin (perfect), Eli (perfect) and Fleurp (still dealing with anemia), and I decided to keep it and ended up having a nice discussion with the vet I had intended to have treat my cats anyway.

So truth be told, he should be around '2.something' not 0.8  After consulting on the yahoo thyroid board and reading more on thyroid, I took a day off of giving him the pills and lowered his dose to 1.25 BID. Since he really wasn't showing signs of being hyperthyroid other than the peeing (which oddly enough is actually a symptom - hence my 'unnecessary vet visit' post from Monday) it is very hard to tell if he is doing better with this new dose or not. The vet I intend to have as my primary vet agrees with my decision.  I am not overly pleased with this vet, but he is someone I can work with, and that is very valuable to me.

I am currently in the process of working up the courage to contact yet another vet to discuss doing the I-131 radioactive iodine treatment.  I am way too introverted and way too phone phobic to enjoy doing this, but I will get it done for my boy. Part of me, a very large part, wants to put off treatment until the end of October when I am going to be out of town at BarkWorld so I don't have to stress over him being stressed over my being gone, but we will have the discussion sooner than that and see what they think is best.

#howIwakeup is a regular feature on my instagram account

I do not know what the future will bring for my boy, but I do know that he will lay on my pillow each morning he can and lick my nose, because that is now his thing.. (I still wish it was my earlobe)


  1. When a cat has really troublesome health issues, sometimes it brings you even closer together. I can tell how bonded you and Jack are. My human wishes I were better bonded with her - all I can say, is imagine how not-bonded we might be if I were in perfect health!

  2. You and Jack share a wonderful and special bond, similar to the one Charlie and I share. He also had many health issues as a kitten and continues to be the one with ongoing problems today. I get love bites, although thankfully he's never sucked my earlobe.

  3. Oh Jack, you were meant to be part of the Crew. :-)

  4. Awww Jack is so special for you. The nursing on your ear lobe thing he used to do is so sweet.
    And it's so cute Jack and you go to ice cream shop together :-) It's great he doesn't care car ride. Our vet is about 20 minutes away and it'll be very difficult if it's farther!

  5. Cosmo blocked twice as a young Mancat and I was also told he has a very very narrow urethra. He was on "premium" kibbles at that time. After lots and lots of reading, I put him on canned and we've not had a problem since.

    I didn't know peeing inappropriately was a symptom of trouble of the thyroid. Will need to do some reading on that.

    Jack sounds like a real Mommy's boy. :)

  6. The head peep knows the feeling about feeling she can work with the vet, even if he's not what you really want! She also knows not wanting to phone vets to have unpleasant conversations, but do call and find out their I-131 protocol. The specialist here required that Rhett be off of methimazole for an extended period before treatment so that it fully cleared his system. If you're thinking about doing the treatment during BarkWorld, it's best to make sure you know how early you need to stop the meds ahead of time.

    PS The head peep is really excited about the prospect of meeting you at BarkWorld, even if you're going to be worrying about Jack the whole time.

  7. I think it's very true about bonding more to the ones who have health issues. Skootch has had a LOt of problems and near-death experiences, and he still, at age 16, remains my "Baby Skootch". He knows I am his protector, especially when Louie and Wilbur are around. I am always trying to get him to eat - under his fluff he is scrawny.

  8. Oh, sweet Jack we do hope your health issues get gone and you will be doing great. That is so sweet that you sucked on your mom's ear lobe. We have only ever heard of one other cat that does that. That is cool that you and your mom had ice cream together. We think it is great that you like car rides, none of us cats like car rides. Hugs and nose kisses

  9. Barney used to suckle on my eyelashes. I miss those days too! Jack is just the sweetest boy and I hope he continually makes improvements.

  10. Jack is such a handsome boy and does look like a Nebelung. Enjoyed hearing his story and big purrs to him.


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