This week’s news

I sorta did a bit of an emotional collapse after getting this message from the vet two days after Cory’s appointment:

Hi Steph, reporting Cory’s blood test results. Good news is that although his Lymphocyte, Eosinophil and Monocyte counts are still all elevated, they are stable. At this point I really think the changes we are seeing are related to his allergy/skin disease issues and may be something we will always see on his blood work. Whether the oil will help with this, who knows? I think we can continue with medication and supplements as planned, and see if we can slowly wean down his buprenorphine. Call me if you have any further questions, but good news overall.

Not cancer. Still some odd autoimmune stuff, still some undefined neurological stuff that he is working through beautifully, but… NOT CANCER!!!!

And his whole response to my reaction has basically been, “Geez, Mom, what’s all the fuss? Put me down, I’m hungry.”

We’ve been working on getting his buprenorphine shots down as rapidly as we can while still watching for any trace of pain. Having started at 0.08ml twice a day, we’re now down to 0.04ml in the morning, and he had 0.02ml last night which will be the last evening shot he gets. I’ll bump tomorrow morning up to 0.05ml, just in case to make sure he’s not dropping too fast, but then we’ll go back to 0.04ml. I think we’ll keep him at that level for 2-3 days, then start reducing it again. Within a week or so, I think we can have him off it entirely, assuming we see no signs of pain!

The only reaction we’ve seen was once, while I was giving him a syringe of blenderized Fancy Feast. Quick troubleshooting established that it was because I was just a bit careless and didn’t warm it enough when it came out of the fridge. Apparently he has one or more cold-sensitive teeth. So do I, for that matter. He’s fine with his fountain, which is not heated, and with shower water even before it warms up, so I think as long as he’s in control he can avoid any discomfort. (I can suck on a small ice cube or have a cold drink, but dental cleaning makes me crawl out of my skin with pain, so I can relate.)

Otherwise, he’s his happy cheerful loving self, and he’s been extremely inquisitive.

We put down big leaf/garden waste bags for them now and then, it’s just heavy brown paper and they love it. I always cut an X in the bottom end so no one can get cornered in it – they’ll rip it the rest of the way if they need to. I also gave Cory a smaller one meant as a bin liner for organic waste, on my bed.

I’m not allowed to remove the one from my bed entirely. The other cats are not allowed to use it. They are allowed to use the big one near the balcony door.

This bag are belong to me.

It’s just as good outside it…

… as it would be inside it.

Good thing Cory didn’t catch Trick doing this!

And he has a third one that he hunted for himself. A leaf bag that was still folded, that had slipped to the floor in my room. He did his best to get the open end open – he couldn’t quite because it was still folded, but when I unfolded it to see what he’d do, he forced his way in and opened it the rest of the way. It’s still on the floor near my desk, and the other cats are not permitted to make use of that one. He gets quite indignant. I had to rescue Trick out of it. Cory realized Trick was inside and started stomping up the outside of it. Problem is, he started at the opening, and I wasn’t given a chance to cut an escape hatch in this one – it wouldn’t work anyway, it’s shoved tight against other furniture. I had to scoop Cory up so Trick could get out, he was being scrunched hard against the bottom end!

We’re getting a little frustrated with the CBD oil situation. We were giving Cory the dose recommended on the first bottle we bought, which was 75mg in 30ml of salmon oil. That turned out to be around 3mg/day, for his weight. It’s been working wonderfully, with no side effects.

After over a week of waiting for them to get more in, I just bought 2 bottles at the local pet store where I do 99% of my cat supply shopping. This one is NOT in salmon oil, it’s in coconut oil, which has something like 3x the calories that salmon oil does, and the ASPCA says it can cause stomach upset and diarrhea. A little deeper digging, and the company that makes it turns out to be very very heavily biased towards products for dogs. Like, almost exclusively. And dogs are more tolerant of a lot of things.

Cory already has a serious problem with weight, although admittedly it’s mostly carbs that he has trouble with. The thing is, his normal daily intake (his choice) is in the ballpark of 300 calories. Adding 40 or 50 cal to that per day is like adding a single dose of medication to a human diet that’s 250 cal or more, proportionately! Even the salmon is going to add calories, of course, but less than 20.

So, I’m going to be asking them if I can return one bottle. I’m going to have to use it for the moment, I’m virtually out of the 75mg salmon. I’m also going to have to recalculate what to give him, because this bottle and the kind we intend to start buying online both recommend lower doses to start with (!). I don’t particularly want to drop him by much, since this dose is working so well, but dosing is always a bit dicey since it includes instructions like “half a dropper full” or, at best, counting drops.

This is sorta one of my gripes about the medical marijuana thing. If I buy Tylenol, it does not have different dosage recommendations for each brand making generic versions. (I also have gripes about the lifestyle thing – there is no bloody lifestyle for any other medication, can you imagine how absurd celebrating the insulin lifestyle or the pantoprazole lifestyle would be? And if you smoke it, keep it to yourself, you don’t get to use your freedom to use it to ignore my freedom not to! Ways to give a useful plant a bad rep, peeps! But anyway…)

We did find an online one, in Canada, and the price after shipping is only negigibly higher as long as we buy two bottles at a time. Apparently they’ll absorb the sales tax, so we actually will be paying just about the same. Salmon oil does good things for cats, and it’s a carnivore oil. Coconut oil is not.

Also, Cory’s weight had gone UP by .8kg as of Monday, since the first week of June. ARGH! We spent 5 months, from late December onwards, on getting him to LOSE weight! The vet is very concerned that, at 9 years old and being seriously overweight (not his fault! prednisolone didn’t help, and she told us another factor, keep reading) he’s at extremely high risk of developing diabetes.

Now, we’ve tried to get his weight down. We’ve tried getting him to run and play more (he’s not the world’s most high-energy cat, but he has moments). We’ve watched his food and reduced it, and reduced it again. Nothing made any difference. He’s a kibble addict, who only intermittently likes wet food. Mostly the Fancy Feast gravy varieties – any Primavera, Chicken Florentine, Grilled Chicken or Turkey, that kind of thing.

Keep in mind that he’s allergic to corn and wheat both, and gravy flavours have wheat gluten in them. We kept giving them to him, in limited amounts, just to keep him eating wet food of some sort, but it’s not exactly great for his itching.

Well, the vet told us that some cats, for some reason, just absolutely cannot handle carbs. At all. They just pack on the weight with carbs in their diet. And dry food, even grain free ones, still have high carbs. Her advice: get him off the kibbles. Get him eating low-carb flavours of wet food.

Seriously?

All right, so, we flipped things. Instead of free-feeding kibble and having set mealtimes of wet food, we inverted it. Wet food always available, low-carb Fancy Feast pates and also the Performatrin Ultra grain free flavours from our fave pet store, which he decided were okay. Kibble, in decreasing quantities over time, hand-fed 4 times a day, then 3 times a day, and he was down to about a teaspoon 3x a day! We made it a game, him sitting on one of us and getting one kibble at a time.

Then the weird neuro stuff started at the beginning of June, and he started dropping kibbles a lot and drooling from the left and his left eye was just not responding right. After that came the cancer diagnosis. And we, vet included, became more concerned simply with getting enough food into him, because for a while there, he had minimal interest in food. Being on Metacam for a bad tooth that she’s reluctant to mess with doesn’t help, I don’t think at this point it was ever 100% effective.

Over the past couple of months, we’ve had a bad reaction to Metacam, and a bad bout of viral diarrhea. Interestingly, once we stopped the Metacam, he got more interested in eating again. Since the CBD started, he’s been more determined to eat for himself. But we’ve been allowing him to just eat kibble, other than the bits I syringe into him, because 1) we thought cancer, and 2) at least he was eating, on his own!

Now, it looks like we have to find a way to get his carb intake down again, as much as possible, in hopes that diabetes doesn’t complicate his already complicated health issues further! We’re giving freeze-dried raw a try. He’s on a turkey kick lately, so I picked up some turkey. Freya has thought the samples of chicken and salmon, and beef and salmon, were about the greatest thing ever, and Trick is mildly interested. Just gotta get Cory to actually take to it.

Last night was our first try. We basically powdered a serving-sized brick and sprinkled most onto the wet food Freya and Trick had, but kept a little out. Put that in the bottom of the bowl Cory eats from, and added a few turkey kibbles, his faves, on top, without trying to shake them around or coat them. After his evening shot and snuggle, I started offering him one kibble at a time… and he actually ate them! This might not seem like a big deal unless you know just how incredibly fussy that boy is. That he was willing to eat his turkey kibble with even the slightest trace of the freeze-dried turkey on it is extremely promising. I doubt we can get him to eat the raw exclusively, but since it’s something like 93% ground up turkey organs and necks, with extremely minimal carbs, it might help! Cross your fingers! (I know there are some health concerns with raw, especially for a cat with immune system issues. This is a reputable company, it is freeze-dried, and I’m a bit desperate besides!)

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