Post-heatwave late update

Um, yeah… sorry if we worried anyone. I was tired enough that I was starting to have trouble focusing properly. There’s a half-finished draft from the 26th (!!) that I seem to have just dropped. It started like this:

Are you surprised that Cory demanded water at 5:30 am? If you’ve read the past few posts, you shouldn’t be! :-) I passed back out after the water without offering food, which may have annoyed him. At least, when the alarm went off and I dragged myself out of bed and took him to Jackie, he promptly bolted. I retrieved him, and he had his meds, but refused to let her feed him. Less than half an hour later, he was in my room demanding food. He polished off his entire breakfast, and then an hour later, ate almost two full snacks.

Meanwhile, there was lots of cuteness involving Freya in a sunbeam wanting loves, and Trick wandering around dragging random strings (shoelaces and such) while hollering about how no one notices him. At least it wasn’t worms from Jackie’s balcony garden this time (if they’re still alive – she’s had a lot of bad pain lately and care of the garden’s been a little ragged, which some plants are handling better than others).

He’s decided since that he only likes turkey crunchies, not the other flavours, and they have to come from me, not Jackie. But she is allowed to give him water and loves.

Cory relaxing on the balcony, June 26th

Then we had our first heat wave of the year, and while I realize that the local temperatures during a heatwave are normal range for many of my friends farther south, we really are not used to it – and the humidity was unpleasantly high as well. And the warm air mass causing it just sort of parked over us for days. The whole household just sort of slowed down to a minimal functional level while it was bad. The cats handled it just fine, sleeping all day and being active at night when it was at least slightly cooler. I tried to imitate them. :-) And yes, seriously, playing. Cory has had episodes of beating up a shoelace under some newspaper, rough-housing with Freya and chasing her around, chasing a large flying buggly that got into the house (“Stop feeding me kibble, Mom! I want THAT instead!!!”), ferociously sharpening his claws to show the dense foam pads we keep around for that purpose (meant for kneeling on hard surfaces) who’s the big bad bosscat, and generally being active and happy. Every 2 or 3 hours he comes looking for food, he sporadically demands water, and it’s all good.

So, yeah. I’ll see if I can sort out some pics for later. Those are easier if I can do them a day at a time, so oops.

In general? Freya’s happy, purring, and shedding an astonishing amount of under-fur for a short-haired little tabbygirl. Trick’s been generally fine, although he’s had a bout or two of mild constipation, then getting hairball goo to loosen things up, then one episode of diarrhea.

Cory’s more complicated. He’s been on Metacam, an anti-inflammatory and painkiller, for his teeth. We’ve had to nudge it upwards several times because it started wearing off too early and then he’d end up in pain. We did a final bump, up close to the max the vet said, a few days ago. As long as we’ve increased it slowly, he’s usually been okay – once he did throw up, but at that time we backed down a step for a while and he was okay. At the same time, I started a more focused push towards getting at least some wet food into him via syringe. He has decided lately that he only likes turkey. Turkey crunchies, and apparently only turkey stew, diluted and hand-blendered and strained and syringed, since that one causes much less resistance than any other variety.

Wednesday evening, someone threw up a bellyful of undigested food. We weren’t sure who, but Trick is the usual suspect. Then very early Thursday, I caught Cory throwing up, a much smaller volume but, uhm, it basically matched. So Thursday, we dropped the Metacam dose from 6.5 down to 5, and watched him. He was hungry Thursday morning, then basically lost interest in anything wet or dry. Around 4:30 I woke up, and gave him some water via syringe, but he had no interest in food despite not eating in over 12 hours.

And he threw up again in the wee hours sometime. We can’t tell for sure if the diarrhea in the litter box is him, Trick, or both.

So, we skipped the Metacam entirely this morning. Our vet is on holidays this week, but I called and asked if I could get one quick answer from whoever is on. Turns out that was the senior vet who works limited hours these days but used to take care of my heart-babies. I asked about swapping Metacam for buprenorphine, the painkiller that the usual vet gave me as an emergency thing, just through the weekend to let him tummy rest and hopefully get him eating again, until we can talk to usual vet Monday about long-term solutions. Cory is, after all, a complicted bear, and even if another vet had the time to search through his records, it would still not be a 100% picture.

Vet said yep, get him off the Metcam for at least 2 days. If GI issues stop, then we can start re-introducing it at a low dose. Meanwhile, use the buprenorphine so he doesn’t refuse to eat due to sore teeth.

Buprenorphine is an opiate, not an anti-inflammatory. I’m not that worried about dependence at this point. He was on it previously, after a nose biopsy, and responded very well.

We do have one small point on which we aren’t quite eye to eye with the vet. Buprenorphine is usually, for cats, squirted into the cheek – it’s absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth. When he was on it before, Cory hated that – and this is the cat who will let me do anything. Also, these days, with the partial facial paralysis… well, frankly, he drools. Not all the time, but when anything is about to go in his mouth, even just water, he drools. A lot. And it doesn’t get swallowed, it, well, ends up escaping out the left where he has less control. And as I have found with syringe feeding and finger-feeding, if I want it to get into him, I have to get it as far into the back of his mouth as possible. Otherwise, and especially if he doesn’t feel cooperative, it all gets drooled out in a major and very messy hurry. I could try this with the meds, but I know exactly what would happen: very little of it would actually get into him, and it would effectively be a wasted dose.

His previous vet, no longer around, suggested injecting it. With teeny-tiny insulin syringes, he doesn’t even notice, and he gets ALL of it. I went back and found (on Facebook) my notes about what we were doing and the dosage: right after his biopsy, he was getting .11cc / 11 units twice daily, then after a while we dropped to 8, then still late to 5, and eventually gradually down to once a day, then over about a week we eased it down to nothing. He did great on this. However, current vet isn’t entirely comfortable with the injection route. I didn’t make an issue of it before because wasn’t sure we’d ever end up using it anyway.

I think I’m going to have to fudge just a little and tell her we tried the cheek-squirt method and got little to no effect, so we made a judgement call and switched to injected to make sure he isn’t hurting. Because, seriously, I’m dealing with this daily, and we’d have to anyway, and it would be a waste of a dose. There is no way he can get enough into him past the drooling to be effective. We actually skipped that step and just gave him a slightly reduced dose (.1cc/10 units, instead of the .12cc/12 units she gave us) by injection. Hate not telling the vet the full truth, but in this case… I don’t want my bearcat to hurt.

And besides, I’m watching him closely, and checking on him regularly to make sure he’s breathing okay and all. He’s fine. He’s currently the world’s most relaxed, mellow, happy, boneless, purring little bearcat, actually. We’ll give him a little less next time, but we wanted to get him off to a good, pain-free start. He’s in his kitty bed in the closet, and I’m not sure he’s exactly sleeping, but he’s just a black puddle being held together by the bed, his head pillowed on one edge. His breathing is just fine, slow and deep and normal for a sleepy relaxed cat, and he’s responsive to sound and to touch, so I’m quite sure he’s not OD’ing or anything. Just… having a really good morning, after a couple of bad days. :-) I’m going to wake him soon and get more sloppy stuff into him. Just after the meds hit, I gave him some, and he didn’t resist at all even tho… oh the horror!!!… it wasn’t turkey! :-) If all he gets into him for today is sloppy stuff, that’s okay, it’s something and it’ll be easy for his tummy to handle while the irritation settles down.

His usual vet is back on Monday. Given the need to keep increasing the Metacam even though we’ve clearly maxed out what he can tolerate, I wonder whether we’re looking at putting him on a low dose of buprenorphine as a supplement to it – Metacam to keep the inflammation reduced, buprenorphine to handle the residual pain. I’m not terribly concerned about opiate dependency at this point. Only priority is to keep him at maximum quality of life for as long as possible. Vet has same goal, which is a huge relief.

It’s so frustrating, that this has nothing to do with cancer or neuro issues or autoimmune stuff, it’s a question of bad teeth making him not want to eat and the meds to counter that having side effects that keep him from keeping food down!

PS, Jackie’s going to look into medical marijuana for cats. CBD is an anti-inflammatory, and less likely to upset his tummy than the Metacam, and if it helps his appetite and all as well (that’s more the THC, tho) then so much the better. Going to take some research, tho, her current contacts have info on canine use but not feline.

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