Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Twee Update

Twee playing

For anyone not following me on Facebook, Twee is doing very well. I am guardedly optimistic that we are going to pull her out of this.

After a short time of force feeding her, her quality of life declined dramatically. She did not fight me or give me any indication that she hated the feeding (well except when the food was too liquid) so my husband and I both started believing that whatever was wrong was getting worse. She was avoiding and isolating.

We had a discussion of what we can do and what we should do. The vet recommended an ultrasound to see what we were dealing with. There was no one local who could do it quickly so we were looking at having to travel an hour or two to find one. Twee travels okay but we weren't thrilled with the idea of traveling hours on end to only find that she was at the end of her life and having to put her down there. Most of the treatment for the issues we were facing included sedation which Twee has never handled well - to put it mildly. She stopped breathing the last time we sedated her, so we ran the risk of attempting to fix what was going on and having her die on the table or in recovery. Neither one of us liked the idea of not being with her until the end.

We looked at Twee and what she was telling us. We looked at our options and came to the conclusion that this was most likely a life ending event and we would be kind and be with her and let her go with love and care.

We got to the clinic and Twee perked right up. She investigated the entire room, jumped up on the couch and snuggled with my husband who later said "she told me she was not ready to go". The vet was incredibly kind and worked with us to help us make the next few decisions. She told us, and I knew full well, that this could be an adrenaline rush or just the end of life rally, but my husband no longer agreed that this was her time. I had the vet examine her to see if she was painful and she appeared not to be, so we made the decision to go down to Angell to get an ultrasound.

We did have a few other options, but we were looking at going to Massachusetts anyway, and we have friends in Boston, so we opted for that.

We got there at three in the afternoon and were not seen until after five. An intern talked to us for a short while, looked over the notes from her previous exam and blood work and said they would have to admit her. I was not happy. My husband was okay with this so this is what we did.

They kept her overnight on fluids and did not force feed her despite my informing them she had not eaten since last night and my asking that they feed her.

The intern called us to give us an update in the morning and told us that they still had not force fed her but assured me that she was getting nutrition through the fluids. They called me that afternoon and told me that the ultrasound showed inflammation in her liver, gallbladder and pancreas. She talked at me, not to me. When I asked questions beyond what was on the script of what she told me originally, she just reiterated what she had originally said and would not speculate or said that is for the other vet to determine.

She eventually started eating on her own. She vomited initially but continued to eat and kept it all down. It was recommended that she stay until Monday but both of us work and my husband was going to be four hours away from Boston that morning and that was going to be a lot of driving for him. We asked if it would be okay if we picked her up that night (Sunday) and the vet didn't say it would be a bad idea, so we went and got her. We got down there at eight pm and were told to wait in the lobby for someone to go over the discharge instructions and get us the meds.

Well, *sigh* they sent out a tech who was unfamiliar with her case who simply read the discharge instructions back to me. I looked at the bill and saw a double charge and mentioned it and she didn't believe it was possible so I had her check and I was right. Then she went over the meds - most of which were liquids, which I had mentioned on intake that she didn't do well with because force feeding her ruined her quality of life. I didn't think to refuse them and ask for pills because I was emotionally and physically exhausted, the pharmacy was closed and the tech didn't ask if liquid was okay. I should probably make it clear that we were in the lobby.. we didn't get to go into a room and have a serious talk with anyone.. I couldn't even really hug her when she finally got to us because we were in the lobby and taking her out of the carrier was a very bad idea. Whoever decided this is their protocol... well, it is a very bad idea for cats..

I was given a pain medicine despite no one mentioning she was in pain. (remember the exam at the vet up here didn't show a pain response) and two antibiotics despite not being told that they showed an obvious sign of infection or a reason for them. I asked if they meant to have two antibiotics and the tech that released her to us simply said yes, she didn't ask for clarification from anyone. Let me remind you that we already had an error on the bill.. I admit that having several organs inflamed must be uncomfortable, but painful? *shrug* I mean I accept that is a serious possibility and most likely in a lot of cases, but Twee isn't a statistic, she is a cat dealing with a health issue.. did *she* need pain meds??

I am angry with myself that I didn't challenge more. I am angry that I didn't demand to talk to someone who dealt with her, but it was late on a Sunday and who knew who was still there, who knew if it was an option. and I was exhausted..

I refused to take the meds I already had (again, they didn't talk to me about what she needed just dispensed it) and took everything else and came home.

Twee was so happy to be home. I gave her the pill that needed to be given on an empty stomach (why they didn't give it at the clinic, I have no idea) and we needed to wait an hour to feed her. She sat by the food plates looking like she was waiting for dinner, which killed me. We decided to engage her in play and she was incredibly playful! It made us so happy.

I pulled out a few food options and made her a tasting plate and set her up in the guest room. When we were ready to feed her I pulled out the liquid med for that evening and gave it to her and she hated it.. she became depressed. My husband slept in the guest room with her to see how she did and he reported she did well but didn't jump on the bed and snuggle with him. Her food of choice? Dry food *smh* but she didn't start eating until much later in the evening.

In the morning, I had the three liquid meds to give her. It was horrible. She took them well enough but started drooling and avoiding me and wouldn't even let me wipe the drool off her face. My heart and my spirit broke. I talked to my local vet and we talked about what I was giving her and what options we had. There were pill forms and injectable forms for everything she was on and the vet felt the same way as I did about two antibiotics and said she most likely would have only rx'd one but both wasn't a bad idea, and obviously it was my call.

My husband was due to come home before the vet closed, so I waited for him to see what he wanted to do. Twee is very much his kitty and I wanted him to make the final call. He was scared that all the medication was going to ruin her quality of life and the stress of it all was going to be worse than the medication. He decided to forgo both of the antibiotics and pain meds. I reluctantly agreed. I abhor stopping antibiotics before the course as you seriously risk making super bugs, but she only got one dose as far as I could tell. Not to mention that there was a chance that infection started this or an infection resulted from it we wouldn't be treating the cause.. I could only cross my fingers that we wouldn't wake up in the morning to seriously regret the decision. It was a very long and hard night for me.

Tuesday morning came and she was bright and happy and eating and put on some weight. I gave her some fluids. I offered her more food and watched her try to eat the small kibbles of the dry food I had on hand for the foster kittens. It was such a production that I had to go out and buy a bag of dry for her *shudder*. I had a feeling that as soon as I did she would start eating the raw with The Crew (and wouldn't you know it she did) but honestly, I was okay with that because I can give the rest of the bag to the fosters.

I was still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Not following the vet's instructions on a situation I really knew nothing about scared me. All I knew for sure was what I was told during the calls and my own intuition. I think the inflammation started from her not eating and the stress of losing Jack. It was my belief all along that if we could just get enough calories in her and rehydrate her that she would bounce back. What rational reason did I have for that? none. Not a single one. I'm not a vet, I don't play one on the internet or in real life. I only know what I felt, what I saw, and what I know about her..

So this is what we are doing. I am giving her the "liver protectent" that they recommended because I really liked the idea of giving milk thistle and this medication is derived from that. I probably would have preferred to give her actual milk thistle, but I own this now so I am giving it. I am giving her the appetite stimulate for a few more days and when I was snuggling her this afternoon her stomach was gurgling a little so I thought what the heck I have Cerenia I will give that too on the off chance she is nauseous, which Angell rx'd but I had on hand from Jack, despite not seeing any indications of that other than the initial vomit which the intern who called me said was most likely from eating too fast. I'm also giving CBD since that involves two drops instead of the huge amount of liquid that the other pain meds required.

So, either we are making the biggest mistake ever and things are going to go horribly wrong or she is going to continue to improve. Since she is up over nine pounds tonight (her original fighting weight is nine and a half pounds and her weight when we took her to the vet was eight and a half) I am cautiously optimistic.

I did receive a call from Angell today about her B levels and was told her folate levels were low.. the vet who called said the vet in charge of her case would like to see her in a couple of weeks for a follow up and I told her - since the information never seems to make it to anyone - that I was two hours away and that was unlikely. She replied with an "oh, two hours away..". I continued with "and I was so unhappy with the service I received and the lack of communication (because the notes that my vet got said IBD and intestinal issues despite no one mentioning that to me among a few other things) and the woman could not get off the phone with me fast enough.

Angell's reputation is very good but I felt like I was not a pet owner or pet parent just the human that came along with the case who had to be dealt with. I did not once felt they cared about me or even Twee (although they did make it a point to tell me she was incredibly sweet) and that it was just a "case" - I am not sure I am explaining it well, but basically it felt like they have removed all emotion from the situation and they might as well have been working on a toaster.

So I have become that owner that isn't compliant.. but it isn't because I don't care or it is "too hard".. it is because I honestly believe it is in her best interest. If we lose her over it I believe we are both okay with that. We will probably do the "what ifs" but I am checking in with her every hour or two while I'm awake to make sure I don't miss anything and while she is still a little tired, she is a darn site closer to 'normal' then she has been in a long while. If she shows ANY sign of back sliding I will run her to the vet and we can revisit the antibiotics and pain meds. If she continues to improve we will do a recheck in a week or so (they recommend two weeks and that was from this weekend) and I'll have them recheck her folate levels to see if we are dealing with malabsorption. I think if her levels are low I'll have them check Skippy's levels too to see if it isn't an issue with the recipe I'm using. I'm inclined to believe that the low level is from not eating for a long period of time, but I have no rational reason for believing that either. Time and more blood tests will tell.

I am beyond tired. I barely have had time to recover from moving and frankly I still have boxes laying around the house. I am so drained that I am having issues with my allergies so they are waking me up in the night.. Some serious self care is going to be called for her once we have the follow up and we have good news and I can stop worrying so much (ha ha ha) about things going south.. for now I have to settle for huffing kittens.. (update about the kittens tomorrow)

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Onyx's kittens

Their eyes are opening, they are fat and happy and they love hissing at me.. I don't know why. The first kitty in the bunch here is the girl and then her brothers.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

When not eating goes bad - Twee

As you know, we recently lost our oldest cat, Jack. Since his death, things have been very wonky here which happened when we lost our last oldest, Ollie, and the time before with Em. There is always an "okay, so now what" questions and posturing. Who is going to be 'in charge' and what not.  Eli has become incredibly vocal and there has been a lot of squabbling. Everyone stopped eating for several days - in fact, they still aren't eating well.

I took Eli and Muffin in for blood work because they are old and they were due for senior panels. I was actually hoping for thyroid issues with Eli because it would explain his being vocal - but no such luck.  He is as healthy as one can expect of a sixteen-year-old kitty.

The CatMan noticed that Twee was being "poopy" so I immediately weighed her. Her weight was normal so I didn't worry about it too much. I was still grieving Jack and to some extent Graham, I was dealing with Eli being incredibly vocal and demanding, I was dealing with Muffin needing fluids more often for her kidney issues. Twee is more of my husband's cat, so I kinda relied on him to watch over her.

When he mentioned yesterday that he thought she was still being poopy, I immediately plopped her on the scale and my heart dropped. I had just weighed her a few days ago - maybe a week before - and now she was a pound less than she was. I immediately thought of an appetite stimulant but I didn't have any on hand. I decided it was going to be better to bring her in and it turns out she has some liver impairment. The more I think about it, the more I'm thinking it is hepatic lipidosis from not eating but right now we still don't know.

Twee has never been an easy eater. We had to teach her to eat and even to this day she is basically afraid of treats and any special foods. If we offer her something yummy she turns around and runs away. Force feeding her has not been fun for either of us, but it has to be done. She seems a little brighter this afternoon then she did this morning, but I might be projecting.

I am hoping we can pull her through this.. because she is and always shall be our little girl.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Darcy's Kittens

I know, I know, I need to come up with names. I'm working on it.


Boy 1 - look at his whiskers!!

Boy 2

He really excels at the "disapproving kitten" look.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Checking in with the kittens

Things are progressing well at Casa de Gato. Darcy's kittens are growing fat and happy. Eyes are open, walking practice has started, bellies are round and all is well. Darcy is still quite socially awkward, preferring to make herself small and invisible when anything new happens.

I brought the Catman in to help me get photos of the kittens last night and she attempted to make herself even smaller and then wouldn't eat after he left the room. It took quite a bit of persuasion on my part to get her to try the food, but eventually, she started eating, so I take that as a good sign. I am hoping that the more I push past her "challenge line" the more willing she will be to step beyond it.

Onyx is doing well. She still won't eat anything other than dry food which is depressing for me. She's also had some stool issues, but she is holding her weight and her kittens are also fat and happy, so I'm not too worried about either issue.

She only looks grumpy because of the flash, she was purring and making biscuits. Her babies are doing well. They have a few eyes open at this point and I'm sure it won't be long until they are all open. Onyx has started to show more signs of being bored. We are trying to entertain her with toys which she doesn't quite get the hang of. She figured out the trackball the other night while I was with Darcy and the noise upset her.

I'm still interested in introducing them. I am not a fan of mixing litters because of my history and having had things go horribly wrong, but I think the benefit to both Darcy and Onyx will be worth the risk. It will still be a while off if it happens.

The Michaela and her Minions Calendar is on sale at for $14.99 and shipping is $3.99.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Thank you - missing Jack

I would like to thank those of you who have reached out to me after Jack died. It has been incredibly hard. I knew it would be, I had tried to rationalize it for myself for years, telling myself that when he dies I would go through hell and that was okay, but actually going through it has been harder than I imagined.

I've been complaining about the kittens being horribly boring because I wanted to foster for the distraction. I really shouldn't complain about boring because boring is healthy and happy.

Time will ease the pain, I know, because it did with Em.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Michaela and her Minions 2019 Calendar

Since I have had several people ask about a calendar with Michaela and her Minions, I went ahead and created one.

I have the Michaela and her Minions Calendar currently listed at $14.99 and shipping is $3.99. Lulu has coupons all the time. Like today they are having 15% off with the code "FIFTEEN".

I hope you like it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Monday, October 15, 2018

You would think with nine kitties I would be busier..

Seriously, fostering with mother cats is pretty freakin boring. Fostering a mother cat who wants nothing to do with me is even more boring.

Darcy is still quite nervous when I am around. I watch her on the web cam and she is a happy and attentive mother. When I show up to watch her in person she shrinks into a little ball and I can pretty much hear her chant "go away, go away, go away"

She doesn't mind if I reach in and scratch her chin and behind her ears, and she will eventually relax enough to purr but I know she doesn't trust me. Hopefully soon.

Onyx is doing well. I found a little acne on her chin yesterday. Hopefully, that will clear right up since I'm not using any plastic bowls. She refuses to eat any wet food, which is breaking my heart, but hey, you pick your battles.. as long as she is eating and the kittens are growing that is what matters.

I've got a couple of weeks of boring.. and then chaos.. I fostered two mother cats each with four kittens in a room smaller than this, so I know what is coming... that is if we end up introducing them. I'm not a fan of mixing litters, because you never know what is lurking below the surface. Not all diseases can be tested for, not all show themselves after two weeks - but sometimes those risks are worth it for the benefits. I think having Darcy watch Onyx love on me and not worry will help her calm a bit and I'm hoping that having Onyx watch Darcy eat wet food will get her to try it. *shrug* we'll see. They could end up hating each other and it is a mute point, but we will cross that bridge in a few weeks when we come to it. Right now each is happy to hang out in their nest and nurse.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

And now there are nine

My new momma cat delivered four healthy happy kittens. Three boys and a girl.

We have one white with black. One tuxie, one solid black, and one that is black with a white bib.

She gave birth in the little white cube that I bought a few years ago just for this purpose. It is a box for recycling but it is the perfect size and I like the lip in the front because it ensures that kittens that cling on will get knocked off when she goes to eat.

Both mothers are still spotting, but that isn't unusual at this point. The babies are all growing and doing well. At this point, they are pretty boring.. feed mom, scoop boxes, clean up the mess.. in a couple of weeks though, we are totally going to have mayhem.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Meet the "ish" - the black fuzzy watermelon with racing stripes aka my new foster kitty

Yesterday I cruelly left you with this image.. Many of you were wondering if Michaela was back. Sorry to get your hopes up, this is not Michaela..

As you can see, this little lady is heavy with kittens

She came with the name Onyx but I am totally going to pick something out. I'm leaning towards Marcy at the moment, but I'm totally not set on it. Currently - as you might have heard in the video - I am calling her Waddles.  "Waddles" is super affectionate like Michaela. She does not like to sit still and have her photo taken that is for certain. She LOVES belly rubs and you can feel how engorged her mammary glands are so she feels a bit like a fuzzy watermelon with two large "racing stripe" bands running down her belly. I think she has more milk than Michaela did. I did get to feel the kittens moving in her belly which is always cool.


So why two? I have a strong desire to help right now, mostly to take myself out of my own mind where I just sit and lament that Jack is no longer with me. Darcy is coming around but she is still quite fearful and doesn't really want me involved.. there is no real helping involved with putting down food and water and scooping a box, so when NHKittens was looking for a foster home for this kitty because the people who were going to foster backed out, I offered my kitten room.

See, Darcy needs a smaller space to feel comfortable. This left the rest of the kitten room empty and it was just so sad. Darcy is currently in a cage in the bathroom. I felt the need to put her food and water in the cage so she wouldn't have to stress about leaving her kittens alone too long.

I am still working with her and each day we have more and more progress. Last night I even got her to purr! I was able to massage her belly a little which she liked.

I have been a little concerned because she hasn't been using the litter box consistently so I forced interaction to hold the kittens and to pick her up and make sure she didn't have a fever and that her abdomen wasn't having any problems. I even checked her gums to make sure she wasn't pale and everything checked out in my cursory totally untrained exam. She has quite a bit of flea dirt on her but I assumed that was left over from her previous situation.

I picked the babies up to examine them. They still feel heavy for their size, but I'm still less than impressed with their progress. I need to get a scale in that room so I can be a bit more precise in the assessment. I generally don't weigh kittens because I can usually easily feel them gaining weight from day to day, but I will if I'm in a situation like this. Anyway, as I was looking over the kittens I noticed three fleas running across the belly. So yes, this would explain the lackluster growth I've been noticing. So I treated Darcy again and took care of the kittens and *fingers crossed* in a day or two hopefully things will get back to the schedule of gains that I'm used to.

Right now and for two weeks they will be separated. From there we will see how it goes. Chances are they are going to want to just nurse their kittens for the first three to four weeks. If nothing happens and they are still with me, and they seem to be okay with meeting we might mix the litters and see what happens. I'm not a huge fan of this because you can never know what could come of it as not all disease shows up in two to three weeks. I know a lot of people who do it all the time and chances are that it will be fine, but there is a risk. But we'll see. Maybe someone will want to foster kittens and they'll take one of mine to 'spread the wealth"

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

And then there were four.. ish..

Darcy gave birth sometime Monday night. I found her and her babies in the corner where she had been hiding herself.  Okay, that isn't strictly true.I saw her run into the corner and then I heard the tell tale mews of newborn kittens.

The room was a bit of a mess. She had urinated on the sink and there was wetness on the ledge by the window as well. There was litter everywhere. I was getting a little perturbed with her when I heard the mews.  I stood there contemplating what to do and I decided to set her up in the cage.  I got some blankets and a sheet and something to secure the cage door open so she didn't need to have food and litter in there with her. I also set up the webcam so I could watch her.

When I had gotten the room together I had to figure out how to move her without stressing her too hard and I figured the best way was quick and dirty. I removed the baby gate that was her protection and she tensed up quite a bit.  I reached in and took out the kittens. The first two I pulled out had the placenta attached, the third had it removed.  I put the kittens in a box I had prepared for them and stood up and got a pair of scissors to cut the cords.

I then reached in and grabbed Darcy as best I could and pulled her out of the mess she had made and placed her at the entrance of the cage and guided her in. The towel I had put down in her in that corner was soaked and there was a lot of blood. There were two remaining kittens left and it was painfully clear that neither one of them were viable.

I took a quick photo, peeked under the tails to see what was going on and found we had two boys and a girl, and gave each one to Darcy. She was happy to have them.

I left food and water for her and went to work and turned on the webcam to watch them. She settled in very quickly and started nursing them right away. She relaxed pretty quickly and seemed happy with her new accommodations.

I have gone down several times to get her used to the routine of my coming to visit. I walk on the stairs loudly. I announce my presence when I get close to the bathroom and then knock on the door. I can watch her on the webcam and see how she reacts to this. In the beginning, she would sit up and meatloaf leaving the kittens to mew and try to get back to the milkbar. After a few visits she remains in the nursing position and seems much more relaxed.  Sometimes when I visit I peek in and scratch her chin and her ears, sometimes I just sit there and talk to her and tell her what beautiful babies she made.

Last night I laid down next to the cage and reached in and took each baby out to examine. They aren't quite as heavy as Michaela's kittens were at this stage but Michaela totally overbaked her kittens so I know that is not a fair judgement. They are bigger than they were when I moved them into the cage, so I believe things are going well.  After I examined the kittens I scratched Darcy's ears and ran my hand down her back and over her sides, trying to get her used to me and also to try to assess that there were no issues. She didn't feel overly warm, she didn't have any tender spots or weird lumps from what I could tell.. although she did start purring.. so, you know.. I won 😸

Although it might have had something to do with the ish part of the post title.. Because I went and did a thing.. but, more on that tomorrow..

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