Angel’s progress plus a photo-bomber

More detail than anyone really wants to know, but some cute pics. :-)

Poor Angel’s reaction to the meloxicam has been, to say the least, bad. It’s been almost 48 hours since her third and last dose. I’ll spare you the grim details, but, well… large and extremely fluffy cat with very bad diarrhea means a lot of laundry, a couple of emergency fur-clippings in areas she was unthrilled about, and dropping everything to come running when she uses the litter-box in order to clean it, her, and change her bedding.

Cory was not very happy about being unable to reach his kittymom. Actually, he and Trick both came in to visit and check out the living conditions. Cory was apparently considering moving in with mom, as you can see from the pics. Freya insisted on photo-bombing most of the shots Jackie tried to take. Scroll to the bottom for pics.

She wasn’t very happy last night about being alone, even after as much cuddling as she wanted (not much).  Snagged from my Facebook: *yawn* Coming up on 1 am. Angel’s unthrilled. I tried cuddling her on the couch before bedtime, but she was grumpy and I had to put her back and she went in her den. Was just dozing off and heard her calling, spent maybe 15 minutes on the couch with her, maybe 5 of that with Jackie too, then grumpy again. Different positions, but maybe something hurts? She’s looking kind of forlorn now. We covered most of the sides with dark sheets to give her some quiet overnight – covering all of it made her upset, but partial might help. I hope. We have to sleep and while I WILL sleep on the floor next to her if I must, I’d rather not. Let’s hope with quiet music on and everything settling down, she’ll just sleep now…

Snagged from FB, a bit later: 5am, sitting in Angel’s corner with her. Got woken up by repeated vomiting sounds, could only find one small hairball by Trick – then noticed the very distinctive aroma of Angel’s Metacam-induced diarrhea. Well, PART of her mess was vomit… ugh. Poor baby grrl. Couldn’t just leave her in that!!! Had to swap out her blanket and remove one mat from beside the litter box and I’m glad we bought a few extra foam tiles, several are in a bucket soaking. (At least they’re easy to remove and replace!) Once we got the mess cleaned up, she had a drink and a bit to eat and settled back down in her den. I’m going to sit with her for a bit, then head back to bed. At least given how attuned I am to my purrkids I woke up and she wasn’t stuck with this for long.

Trick, Cory, and Freya, in that order, all stopped by to investigate. Freya decided that the sheets draped over the sides were there to make a cave for her, and I was worried briefly that she was going to bring the whole thing down, but then she decided chasing my fingers under the edge and plotting an ambush of Cory would be acceptable. It took Angel maybe half an hour to settle down and go to sleep.

She’s drinking tuna water but not eating very much. We were scared because she’s picking up even her fave treats and then dropping them, but the vet looked at her teeth while we were there and assures me there’s no sign of gum disease or anything nasty like that to complicate matters. She believes Angels’s doing it just because, well, she feels like crap. Given how little she’s eating, I’m skipping her insulin entirely for tonight. Her blood glucose is pretty low anyway (we’re gradually reducing her insulin) and with no food, I’m worried she’ll crash, which would probably kill her right now. Tuna water isn’t ideal, since too much fish tends to upset her tummy a bit anyway, but compared to dehydration and all from the diarrhea, it’s the lesser of two evils. With any luck, she’ll start getting back to a normal diet tomorrow. If she doesn’t start eating over the weekend, I’m supposed to bring her in on Monday (vet’s closed Sunday, open limited hours Saturday).

We folded our futon-style couch down into a bed right next to her room, and she and I had a quiet snuggle for a while this afternoon – she didn’t want active petting, but she did doze off leaning against my arm and hand. She’s not pleased about being unable to stroll out at will, but on the other paw, when she IS out, she heads back there as soon as she’s had enough so I think she’s accepted it as her own territory, which is a huge relief.

The vet is going to check in with the office manager about the status of the possible funding help to get her surgery done. Until then, and until she gets over this reaction, there’s not a whole lot to do except try to keep her still and comfy and give her all the love she can tolerate.

More news as it develops… probably in far too much detail. :-)

BTW, Cheezland is in re-runs for the weekend while I concentrate on this. I just can’t focus on sorting out a lineup of posts when I’m tired, not eating well, and seriously distracted. I’m intensely grateful for a community that understands this kind of thing (many, if not most, have been through equivalents or can imagine it all too clearly, I think).

(Note Cory’s self-inflicted bare patch, due to an environmental allergy we haven’t been able to trace.)

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Angel’s lameness, update

Well, it turns out that the surgery for Angel’s knee would cost a little over $2000 (Canadian). That’s a tad out of our range. There are some things we can try to make her more comfortable, but ultimately, the only real solution is to stabilize her knee by essentially creating a new artificial ligament. Our options are dwindling. She had a bad reaction to the Metacam – diarrhea, some limited vomiting and decreased appetite – so that has to stop, which means no anti-inflammatory to help with the pain or the swelling.

The office manager is trying to find out whether we can get any help from a place called the Farley Foundation, which is for people on social assistance who have problematic emergency vet bills. So, we’ll see.

Meanwhile, all research has emphasized heavily that, surgery or no, she badly needs to NOT STRAIN THAT LEG. She has steps up to the couch and my bed, which we set up because of her arthritis, but she’s persisting in using them – or even not using them and jumping on and off the couch directly. She wanders all over the apartment, which has hardwood floors that give her minimal traction. Once we actually assessed the situation, well… horrified is maybe not too strong a word. And we’ve been letting this go on, in the belief that she wasn’t in acute pain or at least wouldn’t do anything that would make the pain worse. (I’ve been living with Jackie for almost ten years, I should’ve known better…)

So, we did some serious thinking. We have a largish dog crate here, but while that might work for Freya, it wouldn’t be large enough for Her Floofiness to have litter box, food, water, and a place to lie down. She is, after all, a shade over 19 pounds. That wouldn’t be viable even for a day, let alone the longer period she’ll probably need. Something larger was called for.

So, we vandalized the framework we normally put on the balcony to give the cats a safe enclosure, and we tore apart and rearranged our entire (slightly cluttered) living room, and we made a few small purchases mostly from the local dollar store, and right in the middle of everything where she won’t feel isolated (some cats would want to be alone – trust me, she’d rather be able to see what’s happening), we built her a room of her own. [lots of pics below] Continue reading

Angel’s lameness

Okay, so…

Angel’s a big girl, although a fair bit of it is muscle (the rest involves heavy-duty food anxiety issues from an early history of abuse and not being a very naturally active cat). And she’s diabetic, but we’ve got that pretty nicely controlled. Last winter, we started her on glucosamine treats for stiffness in her hips, which worked beautifully. Then the company recently “improved” the formula, she stopped eating them, and there was a lapse with none. We finally found some (not great, but something) and got her on those in early March. Shortly after that, she stopped putting any weight on her right hind leg. Since this was at a time when the weather was horrible, we attributed it to an arthritis flare-up. I checked her hip, I checked her foot, found no heat or sore spots. She was even lying on that side sometimes. No pain signs like change in appetite, hiding, increased desire for cuddling, none of that. Still interested in playing, to the limited extent she ever has been, and has been refusing to slow down – she’s still been jumping onto the couch and often ignoring the step in place for her, using only her good back leg, and doesn’t always use the low-sided litter box set up for her, even though it’s the same litter cleaned just as often. Seemed like something minor, and the vet stresses her horribly (along with our household budget) so we let it go and just watched her and tried to help her – which isn’t easy with a very strong-willed and sometimes crotchety cat!

That was three weeks ago. Still no weight on hind leg. Took her to the vet this morning.

I checked her hip and her foot. I missed her knee, in among all the long dense orange fur.

Her knee is swollen and sore and the vet almost lost a hand while flexing it.

Turns out, Her Floofiness has managed to tear the cruciate ligament(s) in her right knee. Which is painful, and has been hurting her. Probably there’s been minor damage off and on for a while due to the arthritis, which is almost certainly making things worse, and it finally just… gave.

The fact that she’s refusing to slow down means she’s putting extra stress on her left knee, which of course is increasing the chances of IT developing problems.

Okay, that’s bad. (Although the good news is that some quick blood work done at the office says her kidneys are perfect, which is always worrying with diabetic cats.)

Then there’s the treatment.

For the moment, she’s on meloxicam/Metacam, an anti-inflammatory, to try to bring the swelling down and help with the pain (that’s going to be heaps of fun to administer). She’s also on glucosamine treats from the vet that we can hope she’ll actually eat (cross your fingers).

Ideally? She should have surgery on that knee, which the vet described as “a large one”. Basically add some support to her knee.

Angel is diabetic – and even well controlled, diabetes can interfere with and/or slow down the process of healing. Angel is big, strong, and highly uncooperative about a lot of things, including being kept relatively quiet for at least a couple of weeks after the surgery – she’s not even willing to cooperate with attempts to help her NOW. The surgery worries me, but her healing afterwards terrifies me outright.

Then there’s paying for it. The vet’s going to email me a proper estimate, but I already know, it’s going to be more than we have.

Two adults, both on provincial disability… not a lot of extra money to go around. Four cats is more than we can afford. I know that. We were doing all right as long as the vet bills stayed “ordinary,” always managed to scrounge up enough to cover things, but with Angel’s diabetes and Cory’s calicivirus and allergies, it’s getting seriously tight. We’ve already maxed out all credit options, between the chronic stuff and Trick and Angel both needing dental surgery a couple of years back. Three of them would be dead if they weren’t with us, though, and Angel’s one of them (and the fourth is, so far, very healthy). So, we’ll keep trying. I mean, what else can you do?

The ironic bit? We cancelled our pet insurance about three months ago. After two and a half years on it, paying them almost $1000 a year for four cats (two of them mature), in and out of the vet repeatedly with three of the four cats, I added up the totals and discovered that if we’d never heard of them, we would not have racked up the vet credit card bill or still owed the vet money, we would’ve had it all paid off by then with some to spare. They kept not covering anything that we actually needed help covering, despite it not being the most bare-bones plan available, and with the initial deductible and the co-pay and the various exceptions, they were giving us back next to nothing. We concluded that we literally could not afford it. The next major expense I expected was dental bills for Cory, which they help very little with (calicivirus attacks the mouth cavity), and I’ve been trying to put money aside for that since we cancelled the insurance – but it’s now going to this, and vanishing fast. This particular incident, the insurance would probably have paid for.

It figures. Her diabetes is doing wonderfully (we almost had her off the insulin injections entirely ’til we hit a bad bottle of insulin that messed things up, and we’re working it back down again fairly quickly but very very carefully)… so I guess there just had to be something else, right?

Right now, I have no idea what to do. Even if I was capable of working, and I know I’m not, I’d be lucky to get a part-time minimum-wage job at this point, which would be a step down. Ditto for Jackie. Even if we had the money, I’m not at all sure about putting her through the surgery anyway – whether she’d survive it, whether it would work, how bad the recovery would be for her. But without the surgery, she’s hurting and there’s that risk of her other knee being damaged by the extra strain and… I don’t know.

2013 Kingston Cheezmeet!

Soooo… honeycakerabbit was in Toronto Canada for a conference, and had a couple of days afterwards for fun! She caught the bus to Kingston and we planned a day (summer solstice!) in Lemoine Point Conservation Area, which is a gorgeous place on Lake Ontario. 4point5kittehs came down from Ottawa area too. We packed up lunch in backpacks and away we went!

As near as I can guess from the map, we walked 5 or 6 km total, and we saw some friendly human-type peeps, some with dogs, and we saw wildlifes!

This is 3 of us, with Seanya taking the picture:

honeycakerabbit, prysma, 4point5kittehs

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Lolspeak in the 1800’s???

I just found this in a book I was reading (credits for the book are below). This is, in essence, lolspeak!!

Following a long discussion of the ubiquity of “OK” in English and the many many attempts to trace its origins, this appears:

Allen Walker Read traced the origin of OK to a fad of facetious abbreviations that swept Boston beginning in 1838. In the summer of that year, Boston newspaper editors took to creating abbreviations for various phrases. These included, but were not limited to:

  • O.F.M. = Our First Men
  • G.T.D.H.D. = Give The Devil His Due
  • N.G. = No Go
  • S.P. = Small Potatoes

This practice is much the same as what we see on the internet today, where abbreviations such as the following are common:

  • ROTFL = Rolling On The Floor Laughing
  • IIRC = If I Recall Correctly
  • WYSIWYG = What You See Is What You Get
  • YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary

Often these Boston editors would deliberately misspell an abbreviation. On June 18, 1838, some nine months before OK makes its appearance, the Boston Morning Post included the following: “We jumped in, and were not disappointed either with the carriage, distance, or price. It was O.W.—(all right.)”

Clearly, the editor is abbreviating the phrase as if it were spelled oll wright. New York papers picked up the practice in the summer of 1838, using K.G. for no go, K.Y. for no use, and K.K.N. for commit no nuisance.[…]

It is in this tradition that OK makes its debut. The date is March 23, 1839, and the paper is again the Boston Morning Post. One of the editors penned: “. . . perhaps if he should return to Boston, via Providence, he of the [Providence] Journal, and his train-band, would have the “contribution box,” et ceteras, o.k.—all correct—and cause the corks to fly, like sparks upward.”

Over the next few weeks and months, the Morning Post reused OK several times and by September the term had travelled south. The New York Evening Tattler first used OK on the second of that month. The newspaper abbreviation fad hit New Orleans in October and in November both the fad and OK began appearing in Philadelphia papers. The term was off and running.

But OK probably would have died the death its cousins O.F.M. and G.T.D.H.D. did if it were not for another event. In March 1840—exactly a year after OK made its Boston debut—New York Democrats formed an organization called the OK Club. The name of the club stood for Old Kinderhook as Martin Van Buren was running for reelection that year. Since OK was in widespread use prior to the formation of the OK Club, it seems likely that the name of the club was due, at least in part, to the phrase. In choosing the name, Democrats were linking their candidate, Old Kinderhook, with the phrase that meant “all is right.”

The 1840 presidential campaign saw widespread use of the initials O.K. They appeared on signs, in newspapers, in pamphlets. They were shouted at meetings and conventions across the United States. Old Kinderhook was not the origin of the word, but it was probably what cemented the word’s place in American speech.

This is from: Word Myths – Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends by David Wilton, Oxford University Press, 2004

Trick, Gardening

As usual, way behind on updates… Angel’s diabetes, Cory’s allergies kicking back up, the kids alternately sulking about the recurrent wet cold weather and enjoying the sun, the really sweet male black Great Dane/boxer puppy who lives near me and reminds me of the black Dane female I grew up with, life in general. There’s a bunch of pics and a couple of videos still to get posted, too.

However, here’s what happened when I tried growing some grass for the purrkids to chew on. :-)

Plz note: earlier version of video on YouTube corrupted somehow, no longer playing 3:46 but only one second, altho it had been working fine until then and had 40+ views. This is a copy generated on YouTube with the lighting adjusted slightly.

Cuddle, Play, Eat, Sleep

Approximately in that order –

I’ve lost count of how many little nose-licks I’ve gotten from Cole, and a few times I’ve had to clean kitten nose-prints off my glasses because of particularly enthusiastic cheek-rubs. As soon as we go in to see him, which we do as much as possible, he greets us and comes to say hi immediately. He loves being picked up and cuddled, he snuggles right up under my neck at times, purring madly the whole time. I flopped onto my back once while holding him, and he draped himself across my neck for maybe half a minute like a little purring fur stole. His fur is so soft!

He has a kitten’s energy, and mad hunting skills! We’re giving him two intensive play sessions every day, once early in the morning shortly after the household wakes up, and once shortly before bedtime, each over half an hour long, plus more casual playtime in between during the day. Which isn’t to say he’s unduly demanding, because he’s very good at amusing himself when he’s alone. I suspect it would take a lot less playtime to manage his energy levels if he had more than a single room to live in. He still loves that toy mouse from the videos; he’s also recently been introduced to laser pointers (get that red dot!!!) and really likes one of my long string toys, which he stalks and kills repeatedly and fiercely with immense enthusiasm.

Right now, because he’s recovering from a urinary tract infection, we’re giving him lots of wet food – he’s going through two 85g (3oz, I think?) cans of food every day, and has Kitten Chow available for snacks between. Once he’s done the antibiotics, we’ll start reducing the wet food, I think, but for right now, the more fluids going through his system, the better! And, like everything else he does, he does it with intensity and total absorption.

As for sleeping… we have a reading lamp set up in that room (and in one other) to create a kind of artificial sunbeam spot for chilly days (the other cats are sulking slightly about being reduced to one). He quite likes the little nest under it, but he’ll crash wherever he happens to be standing when he runs out of energy. And he loves to have someone to sleep against, including all night – given the choice, he’ll nestle himself right up tight to sleep.

He’s 5 months old, but he doesn’t act like it. I’m not seeing anything resembling tom behaviour or even really adult behaviour at all. He’s very much a kitten, and a deeply loving and trusting one at that. The climber in that room was new to him and made him nervous briefly, but he adapted to it with amazing speed and now uses it in his games; the window made him a bit uncertain at first, now he sits in it and looks at the world below with interest, although he’s not currently keen on having it open even a crack! He doesn’t need attention 24/7, he’s fine by himself for a while, but he’s delighted to have company again and makes that very clear; like most cats, having a schedule when he expects to be alone and expects to have someone there seems to make him happiest, but he’s so adaptable I have no doubt he’ll adjust himself to any schedule or lack of it as long as he gets enough love.

I hope we can find him the wonderful forever home he deserves (okay, they all deserve it, but this one’s going to be very easy for someone to fall in love with).

Because I didn’t do a post for a couple of days, I have a bit of a backlog of pictures (no video at the moment). I’m going to do those in two separate posts, to try to keep the flood down a bit!

Video Issues

There appear to be some issues with people seeing the videos properly in DailyMotion. Video files have been uploaded now to YouTube as well. Individual links will probably be changed later, but all four videos of Cole are also available at my YouTube account.