Tag Archives: cats

Aaaaccckkkkk!!! 

I have missed 6 days!! I’m not so much writing a story today as a run-of-the-mill blog post. Heck, it might even border on mildly boring, but as I’ve had a couple of adult beverages … I don’t really have a snappy end to that sentence. 😄

Okay, so the kitty kat got her stitches out today. She does has an infection, most likely from licking the wound site, but she got a shot of antibiotics. There’s a bit of inflammation, too, but our vet is hopeful that it is just partial post-op inflammation and infection. 

We did get the biopsy results, and it is intermediate mammary adenocarcinoma. Runs in the family. We’re still staying hopeful, though, since the vet did cut ahead of the direction of the growth that she’ll be all right for awhile. 

On lighter news, we did have a busy memorial weekend of a college graduation and a birthday party. Thankfully, the graduation was at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY, and as it’s a small liberal arts college, there were only 206 graduating, so it didn’t take five hours! Of course, it was bright and early at 9:30 am, and we pretty much stayed outside for about 7 hrs, so between the sunny commencement and many games of corn hole, I got a little sunburnt. Not too bad, and thankfully when we got to the birthday party, the hostess made me go inside and get lotion. 

My husband’s and my work schedule has been ridiculously off center this whole week, so there’s been a couple of nights with 3-4 hrs of sleep, and not much of us seeing each other. I hate those weeks. I had today off, and he worked early, so it was super nice to have the whole afternoon and evening together. We finally had to come inside when it got too dark to see our Simpsons edition Uno card game. I am losing spectacularly! Here’s hoping tomorrow I can make a comeback, as we had to stop in the middle of the current round, and it will start with the second reshuffle of the deck in the same round. We have intense Uno battles, but maybe that’s easy to do with only two players! 

Hope everyone has a great weekend, and story tomorrow, promise! 


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A Not-So-Story A Day May #19

*Depressing Post Alert*

For any of you who have followed this blog for a long time, you’ll know about our previous cats. All new followers probably don’t, unless you actually like reading through 2-3 years worth of blog posts. 🙂 So for a short version for everyone new to the blog, my husband and I had three cats. For 12 years. Lexus, the mama cat, and Jupiter and Isis, her two daughters. Lexus developed mammary cancer, which eventually spread to her lymph nodes and then pretty much everywhere else in her body. Jupiter, who had a heart problem that we managed well for five-six years, also developed a tumor in one of her mammary glands, and after that was removed, she developed two tumors in her lungs. Now, both of those cats passed in 2012, two months apart.

Fast-forward to 2015, and by now we’d figured that we really dogged a bullet with the bad genetic lottery concerning this family of cats. Alas, that seems not longer the case. Two weeks ago I felt a lump on Isis, on her lower belly. It was small, and while we try to consistently feel her belly for any lumps (for the past three years) she’s not a lap cat. But, she never has been, unless she’s feeling like it and even then rubbing her belly was not high on her list. Isis does like to curl up with Tim between his knees at bedtime, or she sleeps on my pillow, above my head, so she can be a snuggler, plus being 15 has mellowed her out a little. Anyway, the lump. We made a trip to our wonderful vet, who recommended surgery, which I expected. Isis got an EKG last week because she does have an age-related heart murmur, but my vet wanted to recheck her heart so there would be no issues with anesthesia. Today, she had her surgery.

We’ve been staying positive about the whole thing, and I’ve been doing well … until last night. With Lexus, her surgery gave us another 7 months with her, and she had five tumors and one entire side of mammary glands removed. (A ten inch incision is pretty much the entire cat, btw) Now all I could think about last night was how her sister, Jupiter, had one small tumor removed, and died three months later.  I keep thinking about how she’s the last of the original three, and we’ve had her since she was in her mother’s belly. I held this cat when she was one week old, and she’s been my cat ever since. I don’t know what I would possibly do without my vocal, grumpy, sweet girl, who, like her mother and sister, purrs loudly and uses her vocal chords often. Our current two kitties purr, but it’s a quiet purr, and they aren’t very vocal cats. I’m not sure how I would even adjust to that kind of quiet.

Now, you might be thinking, well, Isis just had surgery, like 12 hours ago, and a sample of the growth was sent off, and the biopsy results will be back in a few days. You might think, why even worry about it being cancerous when you don’t have 100% proof that it is. The problem lies with felines. You see, for all you dog people out there, canines get growths sometimes. They develop warts and cysts, and benign tumors. With cats, the malignancy rate is about 90%. Couple that awful fact with an established family history of heart disease and cancer, and the odds are not in her favor. Sure, my vet cut out the growth and the four tiny nodules that were developing, and got the tissue ahead of it to cut off the chain, but that does not reassure me. I did chuckle when my vet called me after the surgery and said Isis ended up with a four inch incision. Caring for Lexus after her surgery three years ago will never have me worried about incisions again. (Seriously, ten inches. On a cat!)

I haven’t cried in a few hours, so I figure that’s got to be something. Of course, I had a pretty sleepless night, since Isis gets Hangry, and she couldn’t have food or water after 10pm. She fussed at bedtime, after bedtime, and started walking around, yelling at me and one of the other cats about 4am this morning.

Right now, she’s lying on her favorite blanket in our bedroom, pain pill in her system so hopefully she’ll get some rest tonight. I did manage to get this awesome shot of her this morning. She’s not and has never been a fan of getting in the cat carrier, and while it’s easier these days than it used to be, she found a bit of the old flare of defiance and got behind the headboard. Then, one of my facebook friends made the greatest comment about the picture, saying it looked like Gandalf’s “Fly, you fools.” face. I think I’m going to need someone to photo shop a wizard hat on her.

I'm not getting in that carrier.


A Gross Way To Start The Day

I haven’t had anything in the Quote Corner category in forever, so here’s the first conversation I had with my husband at 6:30 am. 😃

Tim: I just pulled a ‘you.’
Me: (taking out my earplugs) What?
Tim: I just pulled a ‘you’ and stepped in cat puke.
Me: Oh, thank god.
Tim: Although, I don’t know how I missed it on the way to the bathroom. It’s right in my path.
Me: I don’t know how you always miss it.
Tim: I know.
Me: Well, I’m sad to say that makes me really happy.


A Cautionary Tale

This story is dedicated to my loving and wonderful husband, Tim.

This morning I sat down on the couch to put on my shoes and knocked over both beer bottles sitting on the floor. Only one was empty. The scent of a New Belgium Brewing company (Loft or Blue Paddle, which one I do not know) wafted through the air as a decent-sized puddle formed on the floor. The clank and sound of glug-gluging liquid drew Simon into the living room, little paws bounding up to the edge of the puddle. Like any good parent, I cautioned the five month old away as he stuck his nose in it. A few paper towels took care of the mess, and afterwards Simon lay down in the spot where the beer had been.

The following is what could have happened next. (And probably did in some parallel universe.)

Simon and Karly go off to kitten school, where they meet their friends, and spend time running around, chasing tails and string. One of the other kittens, a worried but well meaning calico by the name of Kitty Miss Princess notices how Simon’s fur smells funny. Kitty Miss Princess knows that smell, and proceeds to tell their teacher, Mrs. Whitepaw all about it.

Mrs. Whitepaw takes Simon to see Mr. Graywhiskers, the principal. They all sit down and the adult cats take turns explaining the inherent dangers and evils of alcohol.

The same afternoon, after our adorable kittens return home, I’ve just got them settled down to dinner when the doorbell rings. To my shock, Mr. Graywhiskers, Mrs. Whitepaw and a strange cat are standing at my door. The principal introduces the stranger as Ms. Fuzzybottom.

Ms. Fuzzybottom carries a tiny wooden clipboard, and a monocle hangs from her collar. She’s one of those squashed nose breeds, so glasses are out of the question for this old cat.

The trio stalks into our home, and while Mr. Graywhiskers explains the reason for their visit, I notice Fuzzybottom is examining all the corners of the room, sniffing the furniture, the floor, the doorframe. She makes marks on the clipboard with her claw. To my shock, she comes up to me, tail swishing angrily, and informs me that she is from KFS: Kitten Family Services, and they are here to investigate a claim of parental neglect.

I frantically explain that we are renovating the house, and I’ve been sanding the mantle, so our coffee table is on the front porch, and how my husband has a bad habit of leaving his bottles and soda cans on the floor next the spot on the couch where he sits. I then drift into a tangent about how the porch is screened, and not street level, so people really can’t see the coffee table so it’s not as white trash as it sounds. I plead with the old, grumpy cat, by saying,

“Please, Mrs. Fuzzybottom, it was just an accident!”

Ms. Fuzzybottom,” she growls. “Consumption of beer by a five-month old kitten is no accident.”

“He didn’t consume it; he laid down in the same spot. The floor was probably still a little damp, so that’s why he smelled like beer.”

However much I pleaded and cried and begged, it was to no avail. Ms. Fuzzybottom had the principal take our tiny kitten away, and promised to come back for another home visit, fearing we would further negatively influence our nine-month old, Karly, and branded me as a ‘Bad Human Parent.’

See what happens? Do you see what happens, Tim? When you don’t take your cans and bottles to the kitchen and put them in the recycling bin, I knock them over and a grumpy, old, squishy-faced cat comes and takes away our kittens.

Image

Siblings from another mother – Karly and Simon. Adorably in the way hogging the bathroom sink while I’m trying to get ready for work. 🙂


Good Things Come in Tiny Packages

We got a kitten. It wasn’t something we were looking to do, even though I made my husband go look at the shelter animals every time we went to Petsmart over the last few months. It sort of just happened. A former co-worker of his from WV sent him a message one evening, which led to adorable kitten pictures and an offer for us to take this tiny furball she was fostering. We decided what the heck.

Not having had kittens for thirteen years, we’ve forgotten how rambunctious they are. Hyper adult cat is a lot different from hyper 4-month cat. Sure, everyone knows this, we even know this, but somehow time erases exactly how different.

Now we have kitten standing at the window, batting at the blind pulls. Kitten creeping behind our grumpy 13-yr old Isis, in an attempt to eat from the bowl that isn’t hers. Kitten chasing whatever she can bat around, and, oh yeah, we adopted her in the middle of her teething months.

However much an adjustment this is, it’s completely worth it. From the first night we brought her home, our new kitty was eager to explore the house. She’s extremely affectionate, and loves nothing more than to climb up my back, (oooh, tiny claws) and sit upon my shoulder, like a parrot. If I stand next to my husband, she’ll walk back and forth across our shoulders, alternating which one of us to hang out with. If she sleeps with Tim, she either curls up on his lap or above his shoulder. Sleeping with me means she MUST be right at my throat. She insists on laying right below my chin, and while it may be uncomfortable, thank goodness I’m a side sleeper and she’s damn cute. If I’m sitting, she wants to nap on the top of my chest, also with her head below my chin. Seriously adorable.

Lately, life has been consisting of work, work, more work, and house renovations, so it’s been a nice distraction having a pouncing, stuffed mouse playing, finger nibbling bundle of energy around. Our older cat would disagree, but she’s slowly adjusting. 😀

Karly the Kitten! The people at the shelter thought she was a boy. Turns out you can't neuter a girl, so we added a girly 'y' to Karl's name.

Karly the Kitten! Originally named Karl, because the people at the shelter she was rescued from thought she was a boy. (Turns out, you can’t neuter a girl.) Once we found out we were getting a girl, we added the girly ‘Y’ to the name. I like to call her Karly Simon Garfunkel.


And Then There Was One.

Almost two months to the day of losing our first cat, we lost a second. Jupiter was my cuddle buddy. She would go lay in bed with me when I read, follow me out to the couch during the times of Tim’s intense snoring, snuggle beside me any chance she got. When I had surgery a few years ago, she wouldn’t leave my lap for a week. Anytime I wanted to get up, I had to have someone physically remove her.

She also had cancer, and developed two tumors in her lungs. She started getting fluid around her lung tissue at the end of October. I noticed her breathing had changed. She didn’t seem in any distress, but it was faster and heavier, and by the end of her life, she had lost weight and muscle mass because all of her energy was going to trying to be able to get as much air in her lungs as possible. We came home from an errand one morning last week and found her lying on the living room floor, stretched out on her side, still alive, but we knew that was the moment. We sat with her while I called our new vet, and she moved around a bit, pushing her head against my husband.

At the vet’s office, one of the assistants took us to a room, had me sign the paperwork and pay then, so we wouldn’t have to worry about it after the procedure, which I thought was super nice. She left us alone with Jupiter, who was lying on a plush, fleece mat. It was at least ten minutes before the veterinarian came to put her to sleep, allowing us time to have with her. Jupiter wasn’t always the best patient, and unlike Lexus, who started moving around and even bit the doctor in WV, she didn’t even raise her head when the doctor entered the room. The first shot of anesthesia given to relax and put her to sleep pretty much did what the second shot intended to do. Jupiter had a heart condition, and though we managed it well over the last 5-6 years, I think her poor little ticker wouldn’t have lasted much longer even if we hadn’t gone that day. Jupiter’s blood pressure dropped so much that they couldn’t find a vein in either back leg for the second shot and had to use a front leg. By then, if her heart was beating, I couldn’t tell. She only gave a few breaths in between shots, and they sounded like the air reflex instead of actual breathing.

When we first arrived at the vet’s office, a woman was standing at the counter, and asked if our kitty was sick. Tim told her that we were actually there to put her to sleep. That poor woman. She immediately teared up, telling us that she lost her dog last month, so of course we felt even worse.

Now we have one animal in the house and it’s quiet. Isis is turning into a lap cat, which she’s never really been, and sleeping with us each night, which she didn’t do often because Jupiter would jump on the bed and stand near her until she got up and went away. Jupiter may have been a passive-aggressive snuggler. 🙂

 


Habits

 

I used to use Biofreeze, but our cat Lexus’ uncanny attraction to all things mint eventually forced me to find some non-scented pain relief cream. That cat’s love of mint may have exceeded her love of catnip. And I mean anything with or smelling of menthol, spearmint, peppermint, and wintergreen. She was a social cat who liked to be with her people. She loved to sit on the bathroom counter when I showered, or when I did my end of day face washing and tooth brushing. At times, brushing one’s teeth became a chore of trying to shut the door before she got in. When my husband would leave his gum in his pocket, she would smell it through his jeans if she was sitting on his lap. Mint made her incredibly high and crazy – like drooling catnip fanatic crazy. Her eyes would get this ‘crazed ex-girlfriend stalking you’ sheen. And, yes, I’ll admit there were plenty of times I would blow my breath in her direction after brushing my teeth just to see it.

Since childhood, when I get milk out of the refrigerator, I shake the carton. Don’t know why. Every single time. That sound would bring her running. Lexus loooooved her 2% milk. She’d drink 1% if we had it, and always turned up her nose at skim. A kitty after my own heart. We wanted to eat an ice cream sandwich? No joke, the sound of unwrapping an ice cream sandwich, no matter how hard we tried to be quiet or slow, would also bring her running to the kitchen, even from a dead sleep two rooms away. Our other two cats, her daughters, get wet food; Lexus – dry. Separate eating spaces even. Not too far apart, but even friendly cats can get super territorial when it is feeding time.

On October 3 when we arrived home from work, we came to decision that it was time for her. She barely ate the day before, and had nothing to eat or drink that day, or the next. She increasingly had difficulty walking. That night was the worst. With all the tumors in her lungs, we were told to not just watch her food intake, but her breathing. That was still fine, but that night when my husband picked her up and laid her on the couch, she lay on her side all night, in the same position, motionless until I got up at my usual 5:45am. Honestly, we both half-expected her to have died during the night. I thought how much easier that would be, if she would just slip away in her sleep. One of the other things that bothered me was that she did not purr anymore. I hadn’t heard it a couple of weeks. Every once in a while, I thought I would catch the slightest vibration when petting her, but the sound had vanished.

On October 5, after both of us spending the night on the couch with her, we took her to the vet a couple of hours after they opened. For a cat who had barely moved and had not eaten or drank anything in three days, she made a remarkable show of life. She even bit the veterinarian who put her to sleep, which is fine, because that vet is my least favorite of the doctors in that office.  🙂

In some ways, I think we could have kept her with us a few more days. But then I think of how much more pain she might have been in if we had. No food, dehydration, and tumors ravaging her tiny body are so much worse than any selfish decision we could have made. The tumor on the underside of her jaw had doubled in a month. The ones covering her stomach felt like they had multiplied. I know there are people in this world who would have taken their animal to the vet, gotten them IV fluids, force fed them, but that seems cruel to me.

My husband had to go to work that day, and I felt so awful for him. Had there been anyone to cover his shift, I know he would have stayed home. I was off work, thankfully, and once home alone, I did okay. I did okay until 6pm rolled around, which is dinner time in our household. I realized for the first time in twelve years I only had two cats to feed. I realized when I opened the freezer that evening and saw the box of ice cream sandwiches that I would never have to worry about trying to eat one in peace again. I don’t need to shut the bathroom door to brush my teeth, and my husband can leave his mint-flavored gum anywhere he pleases now. Neither of the other two cats meows incessantly for a bowl of milk when I get it from the refrigerator, so it’s a quiet occasion except for the shaking. All of these strange little habits finely honed for twelve years, which is how long I lived with that cat. It’s depressing to realize the actions that have become second nature are no longer needed.

We went to the funeral home a few days ago, picked out a nice urn, and collected her ashes. One of the catnip toys we have is this grey mouse. It’s awful looking now. Completely ratty, no tail, and half the fur missing. It was one of Lexus’ favorites, so I put in inside the urn, and as one of my friends at work stated, I did begin to feel a little better once she was home.


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